Cherryactive ice lollies made to help me sleep.

20130216-131645.jpg

It’s revision month and I’m already not sleeping well so I’ve invested in some Cherryactive. It is made from 100% montmorency cherries which are full of antioxidants and melatonin to help me sleep. The deep cherry flavour and colour makes Cherryactive ideal for making ice lollies which the rest of the family can enjoy.

20130216-133036.jpg

Just dilute Cherryactive to taste, add to favourite lolly holders and freeze. For an extra special treat add halved pitted fresh cherries to the mix.

We should all sleep well tonight zzzzzzzzz.

Valentines Salad

Well it is a long time since I have written a post. I’ve been busy at college learning about vitamins and super foods. It’s not long now until my next exam which I am dreading as usual. Today is my husband’s birthday and I will be at college on Valentine’s night so I made a nice and simple healthy Valentine’s salad for our lunch today. It looks great and tastes yum!

20130208-135758.jpg

It’s really simple to make. The bottom of the salad is a layer of rocket. Then on top are strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers all cut into heart shapes.

20130208-140028.jpg

Finish by adding a dressing of light balsamic vinegar. Optionally add white chicken breast. This dish can be served as a side salad or main meal.

Happy Valentines!

Congratulations, Jelly filled Orange Skins and Orange Sorbet

Yesterday was the Flitton and Greenfield Gala and whilst waiting for the parade to arrive we stopped in The White Hart for some refreshment. I was really pleased to find out that they were listed both in The Good Food Guide 2012 and in The Good Pub Guide 2012. I think this is fantastic news and my congratulations go to Phil and Clare and the team there.

When you dine at sophisticated restaurants such as The White Hart Flitton you are often given sorbets to cleanse your pallet between meals. These are super easy to make. Although high in sugar contents, sorbets are an easy way to introduce an extra portion of fruit into your diet. They are often seen as an adult dessert but kids love them. (At least they do if the way they get eaten in this house is anything to go by.)

By increasing your consumption of fruit and veg you are reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. We all need to eat foods rich with vitamins. Sorbets offer us the option of increasing our Vitamin C levels and antioxidants in our diet through the fruit contained within them.

This weekend I made two desserts in my quest to getting my family to eat and enjoy healthier foods and in particular more fruit. Firstly an Orange Sorbet and secondly Jelly filled Orange Skins.

The aroma of sweet oranges is said to reduce anxiety. I can’t say the consumption of these desserts calmed our house but they were consumed fully within a day of making.

Megan and I started by squeezing 5 oranges of their juice. This juice was set to one side and used for the sorbet later. The shells of the halved oranges were then scraped of the pulp and used as the pots to be filled with a standard raspberry jelly mix and raspberries. Be careful when squeezing and scraping the orange shells not to create holes in the skins. Set the pots in a dish before filling.
20120909-183523.jpg20120909-183542.jpg
For the sorbet place 200g of sugar and 275ml of water in a pan and bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in a freezer proof container and add orange juice squeezed from 5 oranges. Place in freezer and stir every 30 minutes until frozen. Take out of freezer about 20 minutes prior to serving.

 

 

Cucumber Pots – Great for children and adults

20120902-173836.jpg

Are you looking for an easy way to get kids to eat veg?

Here’s a little activity that will keep little hands active but also see a couple of cucumbers disappear quite quickly.

20120902-170849.jpg

Cut 2 cucumbers into chunks and scoop a small amount of the inside out using a melon scoop so the cucumbers can act as pots. Replace this with a healthy filling of choice such as low fat cheese, hummus, peanut butter, or any low fat dipping spread.

Cucumber itself is reported to have many health benefits. For example it has been suggested its high fibre content aids with digestion so it can help with constipation in both children and adults. Cucumber is also said to contain sterol which helps with the reduction of cholesterol. The large amount of water contained in a cucumber helps in rehydration. Good for those who don’t drink enough fluids. The consumption of fruity vegetables such as cucumber has also been reported to help with Asthma in children (Paediatric Allergy and Immunology. 18, pages 480 to 485. (September 2007))

 

 

Refreshing Watermelon Ice Lollies

The combination of this sweet watermelon and lemon and lime sorbet makes a refreshing and healthy treat on a warm summers day.

20120704-213138.jpg

Lemon and Lime Sorbet

200g Sugar
275ml Water
Zest and juice of 5 Limes
Zest and juice of 5 Lemons

Put the sugar and water in the pan. Bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Put to one side. Meanwhile zest and squeeze your lemon and limes. Mix together sugared water, lime juice and zest together in plastic container.

Set the mixture to one side and prepare the melon mix.

Watermelon Ice

1 Large Watermelon
4 tbsp Sugar
Dozen Blueberries cut into quarters

Cut the Watermelon into cubed batches of four. Remove all seeds. Add one tablespoon of sugar to each batch and blend with a food blender or hand blender. Sieve into another plastic container in order to remove any excess pulp and remaining seeds. Add blueberry quarters to mix. Stir well.

Put both containers into freezer. Stir approximately every 30 mins until slushy but not firm.

Prepare Ice Lollies

Whilst the mixture is slushy but not firm add to 6 paper coffee cups. First add half a cup of melon mix. Then top with lemon and lime mix until 3/4 full.

Cover cup with cling film. Slice a whole in the middle of cling film and place lolly stick through the middle into the slushy mixture so that it is most of the way into the cup but not quite touching the bottom.

Place filled cups into freezer and leave overnight.

To serve tear away paper cup and enjoy!

The paper cups and ice lolly sticks for this recipe were bought from the Cooks Collection in Ampthill.

20120704-212756.jpg

The idea for this ice lolly came from Eat yourself skinny blog using the lemon and lime sorbet from Jamie Oliver.

The importance of water

20120318-220317.jpg

After a walk to Flitwick Moor I began thinking about tonic water and drinking water for good health. I can’t imagine I would ever dare drink the water from the River Flit as I am sure it is full of various pollutions and I have not seen any springs to drink from during my walks.

Since studying at CNM I have gained a better understanding of why water is so essential to life and good health. After eliminating fizzy drinks from this house I found I was drinking more water but still not enough. So I have set myself a new goal to make drinking more water a habit in our household.

To do this I have to first gather my ammunition as Jim likes facts and I will need his support. Here are a few things I feel that are important to know which I have learnt through my studies and further research.

Firstly some stats……

75% of the body consists of water
95% of the brain consists of water
83% of blood is water

Then some reasons why our body needs water……

  • To transport nutrients and oxygen
  • To maintain body temperature
  • To aid digestion
  • To lubricate organs and joints
  • To eliminate toxins
  • To metabolise body fat
  • It is essential for our immune system
  • It is required by each cell in our body to function properly
  • It aids in the recovery of illness

How much water should you drink?

The common response to this is 8 glasses a day. A common formula used to calculate it is to divide your body weight in lbs. by 2. In fact it can vary with how heavy you are, how hot it is and how much you exercise. However if you feel thirsty and tired and/or your urine is dark it is a good indicator that you may not be drinking enough.

Actually a large number of us are dehydrated and this is known to reduce our physical and mental functions.

I used a simple water tracking app called waterlogged over this last week to track my own water intake. The results were not good and my consumption was far less than I expected.

So what can we do in order to increase are water intake as a family?

  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge and on the table at meal times
  • Eat foods such as melon, grapes and tomatoes which have a higher water content
  • Track what we drink
  • Add fruit to water such as lemons, limes and strawberries in order to make naturally flavoured waters
  • Drink herbal teas
  • Drink in the morning and before bed
  • Keep drinking water easily at hand
  • Associate water with good memories and good health
  • Make interesting water based drinks and interesting ice cubes
  • Make drinking water a habit

Megan and I made grape cubes today. They took less than 15mins to make and approximately two hours to freeze. The inspiration for these came from a book by Brian Preston-Campbell called Cool Waters.

We used grapes but blueberries, raspberries or strawberries would be great alternatives.

20120318-230600.jpg

To make these you will need a hand blender, 3 ice cube trays, a fine sieve, a measuring jug, 3 mugs of water and 250g of seedless red grapes.

For each ice cube you will need half a grape. Cut grapes and place in trays. Blend the remaining grapes with one mug of water. Then sieve the blended mix into measuring jug and add remaining 2 mugs of water and stir. Pour the grape water into the ice cube trays and freeze.

Sausage Muffins

20120307-190954.jpg

Trying to persuade a picky eater to eat can sometimes be quite time-consuming and fruitless as I found out today. Yesterday I found a recipe on the Internet for Meatloaf Cupcakes I felt sure I was on to a winner. So today I went to Flitton Hill Farm Shop to buy as many of the ingredients as I could. Unfortunately for me they didn’t have any mince but they did have Breakheart Hill Farm sausage meat. This sausage meat is 75% meat and from pigs that have been reared on a free range farm in Bedfordshire.

20120307-192316.jpg

On returning home and looking at the recipe and what I had in my cupboard it was obvious I was going to have to be creative in order to produce the meal I had promised for dinner.

Here are the ingredients I used:

2 tbsp. of Griffin Farm extra virgin rapeseed oil
1/2 Chopped Onion
3 Grated Carrots
2 Garlic Cloves
325g of baby tomatoes
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
500g Breakheart Hill Farm Sausage Meat
2 pieces of old bread for breadcrumbs
2 Large Breakheart Hill Farm Free Range eggs
Cooking spray
1 kg Flitton Hill Potatoes
5g of Butter
2 tbsp. of Milk
Bacon Bits to sprinkle on top

I put the oven on to pre-heat at 200 while I prepared the vegetables. I chopped the onion, peeled and grated the carrot and peeled the potatoes.

Then I added a tbsp. of Griffin Farm Rapeseed oil to a saucepan over a medium heat. When the oil had warmed I added the onions, the carrots and the garlic and sautéed until the onions where a light golden brown. I put to one side to cool.

Next I put the potatoes on raising the water temperature to boiling and then reducing to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Whilst the potatoes boiled I took two pieces of bread and with the hand blender reduced them to breadcrumbs.

As we didn’t have enough tomato ketchup in the fridge, and I didn’t have time to make homemade ketchup or to blanch and peel tomatoes, I made a vinegar tomato mix.

To do this I heated 1 tbsp. of Griffin Farm extra virgin rapeseed oil in a small saucepan, added the baby plum tomatoes and cooked into a pulp with the aid of a wooden spoon. I then added two tbsp. of white wine vinegar and one tsp. of sugar for sweetness and blended the contents of the pan until it was smooth.

Next I emptied the sausage meat, the carrot onions and garlic mix, the breadcrumbs, the vinegar tomato mix, and two beaten eggs into a large bowl and mixed together with a hand blender.

I then sprayed my cupcake holders with a light dusting of oil before filling them with the mixture and placing them on a baking tray and into the oven for 25 minutes.

I drained the potatoes which were now nice and soft when forked and left over the pan in a sieve for at least 5 minutes before returning them to the pan. I then added milk and butter and with my blender I made a buttery mash potato mix.

When the oven timer beeped, I removed the tray of sausage muffins from the oven, piped the mash as best as I could over the muffins, and sprinkled bacon bits on top.

As I am a recent convert to vegetarianism I confess I have no idea what the muffins tasted like but my husband and eldest daughter liked them. The two youngest being the pickiest failed to even try a fork full but raved about the left over mash. This was obviously not quite the response I had hoped for :-(

Leak, potato and carrot soup

The reason I visited Flitton Hill Farm Shop today was primarily to buy lunch for Jim and I, and to get some staples for the week.

My favourite vegetable is leeks, so I love this time of year. The leeks I bought today were not only grown and sold in Flitton, they were consumed in Flitton and lovely they were too.

For information of what is in season and what is being grown at Flitton Hill Farm Shop visit their website or alternatively try http://www.eattheseasons.co.uk/ where many seasonal recipes can be found.

20120302-171853.jpg

At the moment my husband and two of my daughters are enjoying the homemade soups. (Emily is still refusing to try :-() I love the comments I am getting about the smell of the cooking, and the joy of watching it all disappear. We waste far too much food in this house and that needs to change.

I have been making soup for years. My mother quite regularly makes soups and I think it was from her that I learnt how to make them. I can’t remember ever trying to make one from a recipe in a cookery book or from the Internet. The soups I make are not runny. They are thick with fresh vegetables. It’s the only way I know how to make soup and I much prefer it to soup from a can. They are most definitely a good source of fibre in our diets.

So this is how soup is currently made in my house but in time this may change.

Ingredients

5 Local potatoes
1/2 Organic Onion
Approximately a tbsp. of local rapeseed oil
3 Leeks
2 Carrots
500ml of Organic Vegetable stock
500ml of hot water

1. Peel chop and prepare vegetables for cooking.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan; add the onion and the leeks and sauté until softened.
3. Add vegetable stock and hot water.
4. Add potatoes and carrots. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft when pricked with a knife.
5. Remove from stove and blend with a hand blender adding more hot water if required for consistency.

20120302-173932.jpg

Like this post? Why not leave a comment?

Lovefre.sh love Flitton Hill Farm Shop

We are really lucky to have an Organic Farm Shop very close to us. So expect to hear a lot about my visits to Flitton Hill Farm Shop.

Today during my visit to the shop I trialled the iPhone app Lovefre.sh . This is a social app with the goal to discovering local fresh food. The principle behind the app I love but none of my favourite local places had been marked on their map :-(. Which gave me a chance to use the app :-) .

I logged in and joined the service but you can check in at places anonymously basically you earn points when you check in. I am still not sure of the benefits of earning the points other than self gratification that you are sharing the discovery of fresh local food with others. The check in process is simple you just fill in a few fields describing the location and add a picture and a voice memo if you like. There are options for Facebook and twitter also. Other users can then love places which have been added to Lovefre.sh.

I will continue to add some of my favourite locations into Lovefre.sh. I am pleased to see Flitton Hill Farm shop marked now on their map even if I had to do it myself.

20120302-145928.jpg

Enjoyed this post? Why not leave a comment?