Archive for December, 2013

December 16, 2013

The Healthier Side of Christmas

by lrmetcalfe

cranberries

Christmas tends to be a time of year, when we splurge and eat too much of  the foods we know we really shouldn’t be eating.  However a lot of traditional Christmas foods, have brilliant nutritional benefits- so why not top up your Christmas diet with these goodies, and cut back on the naughties!

 

 

Cranberries

Cranberry sauce is a Christmas staple but cranberries are a superfood that you should enjoy all year round.
Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, fibre and antioxidants. Preliminary studies show that drinking cranberry juice is good for the health of the heart. Cranberries have also been shown to help maintain a healthy urinary tract, so may be useful for those who suffer from urinary tract infections.

 

 

Chestnuts

Chestnuts are different from other nuts- they are low in fat and have high a starch content, this means that they are low GL and make you feel fuller for longer.
Chestnuts are high in vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants.
Chestnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health.

 

 

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin A, C, folic acid, potassium and calcium.
They are a good source of antioxidants, including the antioxidant Zeaxanthin, which studies show, is linked to preventing retinal age-related macular degeneration disease in the elderly.
Brussels sprouts are very high in fibre and protein.

 

 

Christmas Spices

Cloves- A popular topical remedy for toothache, acts as a mild anaesthetic, also has a powerful antiseptic effect.

Cinnamon- Can help to normalise blood sugar levels.

Ginger- Has an anti-inflammatory effect, a useful remedy for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It aids digestion by encouraging gastric secretion; it has carminative and anti-spasmodic properties, a popular remedy for stomach complaints and nausea.

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December 9, 2013

A Holistic Christmas Gift

by lrmetcalfe

If you’re looking for something a little different for your friend’s and family’s Christmas gifts this year, check out our holistic suggestions…weleda

 

A Pampering Treat

Why not treat your loved ones to a gift voucher for a massage or other complimentary therapy treatment. You can purchase vouchers from your local spa, health club or mobile therapist. Enliven Holistics provide mobile treatments in Birmingham, email me for more information: enlivenholistics@live.co.uk or find a therapist in your area www.theholisticdirectory.co.uk

 

Aromatherapy Gifts

Mix up your own bath oils and massage blends for your friends.

Almond and grapeseed oil, make great bases, add a blend of your favourite smelling essential oils (up to 10 drops for 50ml) and pour into a bottle. There are some beautiful bottles and containers on the market to make your gift look special, take a look at www.baldwins.co.uk or www.essentialoilsonline.co.uk for oils and bottles.

 

Natural Beauty Care

For those who love to look after their hair and skin the natural way, there are many organic and eco-friendly beauty products on the market.

My favourite gift sets include:

  • Burt’s Bees Essential Burt’s Bees Kit
  • Jason Organics Lavender Gift Set
  • Weleda Mini Body Oils Gift Set

 

Charitable Gifts

Why not buy your loved one the gift of helping another. There are many great Christmas ideas from charities which will benefit other people or important causes.

You could ‘adopt a hive’, this charity relies on donations to increase bee populations. Alternatively, Farm Africa, encourage gift-buyers to sponsor chickens or goats, providing a sustainable form of charity to people in Africa.

Check out Present Aid for more ideas…

www.farmafricapresents.org.uk

www.adoptahive.co.uk

www.presentaid.org

I hope I have given you a few ideas…Happy Shopping!

December 2, 2013

Warming Winter Soups

by lrmetcalfe

minestrone_0No time of year is finer, than Winter to whip up a delicious vegetable soup, using in-season British vegetables. Soups are easy to make, friendly on the purse and full of nutritional goodness.

Why not try one of these delicious warming soups, they are some of my favourite Winter recipes:

 

Minestrone Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3 oz spaghetti, broken into smaller pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, washed and finely chopped

6 oz carrots, washed and finely chopped

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1.5 litres vegetable stock

6 oz savoy cabbage, washed and finely shredded

1tbsp tomato purée

salt and freshly milled black pepper

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan, gently fry the onion. When golden add the celery, carrots and tinned tomatoes.
  2. Stir in the crushed garlic, add some salt and pepper, then cover and cook very gently for 20 minutes or so to allow the vegetables to sweat – give it an occasional stir to prevent the vegetables sticking. Then pour in the stock.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer gently (covered) for about 1 hour. After that add the cabbage, tomato puree and spaghetti, cook for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Serve with crusty warm bread.

 

 

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 large onion

1kg orange-fleshed sweet potatoes

25 g fresh root ginger

1 tbsb mild curry powder

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 litres vegetable stock

1 lemon

Fresh corriander

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onion and sweet potatoes.
  2. Peel ginger and chop finely.
  3. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and ginger and fry gently until softened.
  4. Stir in curry powder and cook gently for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the sweet potatoes and stir to coat with the spicy onion mixture.
  6. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
  7. Blend soup in pan using a hand blender.
  8. Add grated zest and juice from the lemon and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  9. Serve garnished with roughly chopped fresh coriander.

 

 

Chorizo & Chickpea Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

400g can chopped tomatoes

110g pack of chorizo sausage

140g wedge Savoy cabbages

sprinkling dried chilli flakes

410g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube

1. Put a medium pan on the heat and tip in the tomatoes, followed by a can of water. While the tomatoes are heating, quickly chop the chorizo into chunky pieces (removing any skin) and shred the cabbage.

2. Pile the chorizo and cabbage into the pan with the chilli flakes and chickpeas, then crumble in the stock cube. Stir well, cover and leave to bubble over a high heat for 6 mins or until the cabbage is just tender.

Ladle into bowls and eat with crusty bread.