SPICY CHICKPEA & LENTIL MEAL

JAPAN INSPIRED

How do you know a meal is nutritious? When it is colourful!

Essential colours to have on your plate include green, red, yellow, orange & black. Vibrant meals suppress your appetite and help you maintain or lose weight. Challenge yourself this winter to always have colour on your plate be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Sometimes it is best to have plant-based meals occasionally, like this spicy chickpea & lentil dish. This meal is packed with essential nutrients your body needs to perform at its best in this cold weather. There are vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein which are responsible for most of the health benefits, which range from weight management to blood sugar control.

Including chickpeas in your diet regularly will support your health and may reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.

Let’s delve into the 4 health benefits of including chickpeas into your diet.

1.    Chickpeas are packed with nutrients. They contain a moderate number of calories, providing 46 calories per 1-ounce serving. About 67% of those calories are from carbs, while the rest comes from protein and a small amount of fat. Chickpeas also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as a decent amount of fibre and protein.

2.    They are rich in plant-based protein. For all the vegans, the chickpea is a great source of protein. If you want to fill full and keep your appetite under control, then indulge in this wonderful legume.

3.    Chickpeas have several properties that may help manage your blood sugar levels. Chickpeas are a good source of fibre which is known for its role in blood sugar regulation. This is because fibre slows carb absorption, which promotes a steady rise in blood sugar levels, rather than a spike.

4.    If you are having bowel issues, consider including chickpeas in your meal. The fibre in chickpeas has several proven benefits for digestive health. The soluble fibre in chickpeas increases the number of healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. This can lead to a reduced risk of some digestive conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 2

  • ½ cup chick peas
  • ½ cup lentils
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Kale leaves
  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Cut chilies
  • Curry spice
  • avocado oil
  • Salt

INSRUCTIONS

  • Soak the chick peas for 8-12 hours (preferably overnight)
  • Stir fry some kale in a pan for 5 min and season to taste.
  • In an oven, grill the cherry tomatoes at 150 degrees Celsius for 10 min.
  • Put the chickpeas in a pot, fill with 2 inches of water and add ¼ tsp salt. Bring to boil for 15-20 minutes for firmer beans, 40 to 50 minutes for softer beans.
  • Put the lentils in a separate pot and fill with 2 inches of water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to boil for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cut some garlic, add them to your chickpeas, pour some avocado oil and stir.
  • Pour some soy sauce, add some raw cherry tomatoes to your fried chickpeas, add cut chilies and curry spice. Stir until your chickpeas are golden.
  • Dress plate with kale leaves first, mix the spicy chickpeas and lentils together.
  • Add some grilled cherry tomatoes on top of your meal as well as some raw cherry tomatoes.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Soak time: 8 hours

Cook time: 30 minutes

You may be wondering why you should bother cooking chickpeas. Well, it’s all about the texture. Canned chickpeas are a bit too soft and dissolve quickly in the mouth. This recipe will bring out the perfect chewiness of the chickpeas with a touch of spiciness inspired by Japanese cuisine.

I incorporate some soy sauce, garlic and cut chillies which are commonly used in Japanese food. The smell is amazing and makes you want to dig in.

I find it very helpful to soak the chickpeas overnight as this speed up the cooking process.

If you have forgotten to soak the chickpeas, do not worry. Add the beans to a large pot, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes then take off the heat and let them sit in the water for 1 hour. Afterwards, you can add the beans to a large pot, cover the beans with several inches of water, bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

All thanks to The Refillery SA for the best ingredients.

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5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD INCLUDE COCOA IN YOUR DIET

WINTER COCOA OATMEAL PARFAIT

SILENCE THE COLD

Make your winter full of goodness every time you wake in the morning!

Are you a fan of desserts? Imagine having a dessert for breakfast. Goodness me, I bet you will wake up with all the energy you have got (despite the cold) only for that bite of goodness to fill your belly with wonders. This wonderful cocoa oatmeal parfait will keep you & your family warm and happy this winter! Your kids will be motivated to go to school since they look forward to that delicious breakfast, you will experience improved focus and energy.

Winter parfait
Winter parfait

Let’s explore the benefits of having cocoa in oatmeal.

  1. Cocoa lowers high blood pressure– when you consume cocoa, there are more positive changes in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to when you consume black and green tea.  This helps in maintaining a healthy circulatory system.
  2. Cocoa is packed with antioxidants– According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cocoa exhibits higher antioxidant activity than black tea, green tea, and red wine.  The zinc present in cocoa helps protect you against oxidative stress, which is a major cause behind accelerated ageing.  If you want to keep ageing at bay, you better start having cocoa oatmeal for breakfast.
  3. Cocoa improves brain health- Doyou want your child to perform brilliantly at school? Then you have found your aid. Cocoa contains a high number of flavonoids which are known to maintain a healthy brain and have a positive effect on learning and memory functions.
  4. Cocoa relieves bronchial asthma- Are you suffering from asthma or shortness of breath? Do not worry, cocoa contains xanthine and theophylline, which aid in relaxing bronchial spasms and opening constricted bronchial tubes. You will breathe well in no time.
  5. Cocoa makes your skin beautiful- Consuming cocoa helps in decreasing the effects of UV-induced erythema and reducing skin roughness as well as scaling.  Do you want skin elasticity? Cocoa is shown to enhance skin elasticity, hydration, and density.
Winter parfait

Nutritional value of Cocoa~ According to the USDA, cocoa is rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium. It also contains vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamin B6, E, and K. It is also a good source of zinc, iron, and sodium while providing the body with energy, carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibres. It contains 0 cholesterol.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of chocolate oats with cocoa
  • 2 cups of full cream milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams raspberries
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • Mint leaves
  • 200 grams strawberry yoghurt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a pot, pour the milk & salt and bring to boil.
  2. Add the chocolate & cocoa oats and stir continuously for 5 minutes
  3. Once the oats are thick and creamy, cool the oats for 10 minutes
  4. In a cup or bowl layer the oats first, followed by fresh strawberries, strawberry yoghurt and raspberries until you build a beautiful parfait.
  5. Sprinkle some chia seeds and mint leaves.

Enjoy!

Winter parfait

All thanks to The Refillery SA for the best quality ingredients!

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Butternut squash

10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE WINTER SQUASH

MELT THE FROST

Are you tired of eating potatoes? Are you out of side-dish ideas to serve your family? Are you at the verge of giving up preparing a hearty winter meal for your guest coming over?
Well, have some little Faith (me), here is a little treat for you!
The winter butternut squash is where you begin. The nutrition and health benefits of butternut squash are plenty, and you can enjoy it—baked, boiled, or sautéed on its own, or added to stir fries and salads. It’s the perfect side dish to any entrée.
Before we delve into the recipe, let me give you some 10 amazing health benefits that the butternut squash can bring to you, your family and guests!

The Health & Skin Benefits of Butternut Squash

1. HEALTHY BONES

Have you been experiencing some leg or joint pains? Have you been struggling to go for those morning runs because your legs start aching when you run that first kilometre? The solution lies in including butternuts in your diet! The winter squash contains plenty of manganese and vitamin C. Manganese helps to maintain a healthy bone structure, calcium absorption and enzyme creation. Vitamin C is involved in the production of collagen, which is vital for building bone mass. Magnesium also contributes to the health of joints and bones. The squash contains minerals such as iron, folate, zinc and phosphorus which contributes to healthy bones and protects them against osteoporosis.

2. REDUCES PMS SYMPTOMS

Have you been suffering from excruciating cramps before or during your monthly period? Well, some people rely on the pills to subside the pain, but, how about approaching this differently. How about you try to adjust your diet, start to eat healthily or exercise more often? I believe that doing things the natural way will lead you to the perfect you. When you do so, you will experience fewer period cramps and have an immune system which is less prone to viruses (airborne). A study proved that the women who consumed high amounts of this mineral as part of their daily diet suffered fewer mood swings and cramps than others. Therefore, eating squash is a great way to increase your intake of magnesium.

Butternut squash
Butternut squash
3. ASTHMA PREVENTION

Butternuts contain high levels of Beta-carotene: an antioxidant. Studies have found that people who have a high intake of beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing asthma. This delicious orange vegetable can prevent the emergence of asthma in you or your loved ones.

4. MAINTAINS A HEALTHY SKIN

As mentioned earlier, squash is an excellent source of vitamin A. It has beta-carotene that gets converted into vitamin A within the body. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A is required for maintaining proper health and integrity of the skin. The butternut squash also contains nearly half of your daily dose of vitamin C, which has been linked to healthier skin.

5. PREVENTS SKIN AGING

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined links between vitamin C and skin ageing in 4,025 women aged 40-74 and found that higher intakes of the vitamin were linked to a lower likelihood of wrinkles and dryness. The squash protects your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure and prevents dehydration. Regular consumption of squash keeps your skin hydrated. Look younger!

6. BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS

The butternut squash is the best choice for healthy and sustainable weight loss. It is fat-free and very low in calories. A cup of yellow squash contains about 36 calories, 7 grams carbohydrates, 1-gram protein and less than 1-gram fat besides being cholesterol free. The squash has low-calorie content due to fewer carbohydrates. Thus, if you want to lose weight, you can easily replace higher calorie vegetables like potatoes and corn with yellow squash.

Butternut squash
Butternut squash
7. PREVENTS & FIGHTS CANCER

The high antioxidant content in the butternut helps in eliminating free radicals from the body. The beta-carotene present in the vegetable protects the body from pollutants and chemicals that can lead to cancer.

8. PERFECT FOR YOUR EYE HEALTH

The squash contains lutein antioxidant which plays a huge part in preventing the emergence of cataracts and macular degeneration, which often leads to blindness. If you want healthy eyes and improved eyesight, then start eating!

9. PERFECTS YOUR HEART HEALTH

Butternuts reduce the risk of heart disease as they contain negligible fat and almost no cholesterol. They also contain magnesium which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Magnesium along with potassium helps in reducing high blood pressure. The vitamin folate present in butternuts helps in removing an unhealthy metabolism which is responsible for heart attack and stroke. Moreover, folate lowers cholesterol levels, and this reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

10. FIRES UP YOUR DIGESTION

Doctors recommend that you should consume plenty of fibre-rich foods to aid the body’s digestion process. The squash contains good amounts of dietary fibre, and you can include it in your diet to facilitate bowel movements. If you have been having digestion issues such as constipation or bloating, the butternut squash can relieve those symptoms.

RECIPE TIME!
Butternut squash
Butternut squash


INGREDIENTS:
• 800 grams of butternut
• 350 ml of water
• 125 ml of full cream
• 10 grams of chia seeds
• ½ grapefruit
• ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
• Cucumbers
• Cooked beetroot
• Mint leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Chop the butternut into cubes
  2. In a saucepan, put the butternut pieces, pepper & water, then bring to boil.
  3. Boil for 20 min.
  4. Put the boiled butternut into a food processor.
  5. Add cream, squeeze the grapefruit juice into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy
  6. Decorate your soup with sprinkles of chia seeds, cucumbers and cooked beetroot. Enjoy!
    Prep time: 25 min
Butternut squash
Butternut squash

I would like to thank The Refillery SA for the wonderful chia seeds!

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THE BENEFITS OF GLUTEN FREE OATS

GLUTEN FREE OATS AND SOFT CITRUS PARFAIT
Gluten free parfait
YOUR HEALTH MATTERS

Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. In fact, oats have been the number one  breakfast food for many across the world, for about 130 years.

Most people love the taste of oats but to other’s demise they cannot enjoy oats due to gluten intolerance!

Good News!

There is a special type of oats called the gluten-free oats and these can be safely consumed by people who have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

So, what does gluten free mean?

Gluten free means that food does not contain gluten. Gluten means “glue” in Latin and is a protein that’s mainly found in wheat, rye, and barley. It helps things like pizza dough and pasta keep their structure, and for most of us, eating it is no big deal. But that’s not the case for everyone.

Gluten affects people with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which gluten causes the body to attack the small intestine. This results in lots of bloating, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhoea, weight loss, and fatigue.

So, what are the benefits of Gluten-Free Oats?
Gluten free oatmeal
  1. Gluten free oats are high in a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria and increases feelings of fullness.
  2. Gluten free oats aid in lowering the risk of heart disease by reducing both total and LDL cholesterol and protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
  3. Oatmeal helps you to lose weight by making you feel satiated. It does this by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and increasing production of the satiety hormone PYY.
  4. Oatmeal has long been used to help treat dry and itchy skin. It may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema. If you want to have the best skin, its best to include oats in your diet.
  5. Oatmeal protects against diabetes. The soluble fibre in oats does not contribute to  blood sugar spikes that can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you already have diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) soluble fibre can help keep your condition under control.
  6. Gluten free oats boost your immune system. One specific type of fibre found in oats is beta-glucan. This type of fibre helps your immune cells find and get to sites of infection quicker as it raises your immune system’s response.
  7. Oats contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides. These compounds may help reduce blood pressure and provide other benefits. They are also nutritious as they are rich in carbs and fiber, but also higher in protein and fat than most other grains. They are very high in many vitamins and minerals.
Gluten free oats parfait and oatmeal
INGREDIENTS:
  • 100 grams gluten free oats
  • 250 ml water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 50 ml full cream
  • 200 grams plain yoghurt
  • 3 soft citruses
  • 20 ml honey
  • 3 strawberries
  • Mint leaves
  • 10 grams almonds
  • 5 grams chia seeds
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. On a stove, put the water and salt into a pot and bring to boil.
  2. Add the gluten free oats and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add some cream for more thickness and flavour.
  4. Remove the cooked oats from the stove and cool for 10 minutes.
  5. In a bowl layer the oats at the bottom followed by soft citrus, yoghurt, mint leaves, more oats and soft citrus.
  6. At the top of the parfait, glaze with honey and sprinkle some chia seeds.
  7. Decorate with strawberries and almonds.

At the end of the day, oats are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Enjoy!

Prep & cooking time: 30 min

Gluten free oats

All thanks to The Refillery SA for the amazing ingredients!

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