I absolutely love my slow cooker. I bought my first one just before my daughter was born because I thought that throwing things into one and leaving it and dinner is served when you need it. My first one cracked and I felt like I was without my right hand for the week it took me to replace it! This is the one I have now but they all do the job! I prefer the ones with the ceramic pots.
This is one of my favourite adaptations of a classic. This recipe calls for flour which I adapted to use coconut flour. The secret to this is to use a decent red wine- one you would want to drink with the meal! My dad loves his wine and so we have a great number to choose from (two wine fridges and then some).
Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon
This is a delicious meal that fills the house with rich aromas and is filling and nourishing. The kids love it too!
Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. It is documented that they may have been consumed since prehistoric times as sweet potato relics have been discovered in some Peruvian caves. Christopher Columbus first brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492.
They have a creamy texture with a sweet, warm and a little spicey flavour that makes them ideal for savoury dishes. However they are also great in cakes, cookies, smoothies and even to make ice-cream. Although peak season for sweet potatoes is October to March, they are a vegetable that is readily available, inexpensive, and delicious.
Depending upon the variety, there are around 400 different ones, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple. The Japanese and Korean white/cream and American yellow-orange flesh are most common.
Although sometimes referred to as ‘yams’ in the USA, sweet potatoes belong to an entirely different food family. They are also very different from the common potato. Sweet potatoes are far more nutrient dense and healing. Their properties and uses are diverse, and when you choose sweet potatoes as a dietary root vegetable, you are getting a truly unique and superior type of potato. Some of the benefits include
They are high in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked to degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
They are a good source of vitamin C. While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin also plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen, which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity (sweet potatoes make us look young- bonus!), and is essential to helping us cope with stress. The anti-oxidant properties also may help to preventcancer.
They contain some Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and may support the thyroid gland.
Sweet potato’s are full of beta-carotene’s good for eyesight, immune system and digestive health.
Sweet potatoes contain some iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and protein metabolism, among other things.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function.
Another interesting thing about sweet potatoes is the antioxidant capacity of all their parts. Recent research has shown differences in consuming the flesh versus skin of the sweet potato. Both producing different concentrations of anthocyanin antioxidants. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes (when you can find them- Asia has them fairly regularly) are a fantastic source of anthocyanins (especially peonidins and cyanidins) as the darker and more vibrant the colour of a vegetable the more antioxidants they contain. In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was seen to be up to 3 times higher than that of blueberries.
Since they are not actually a potato so therefore not a deadly nightshade, sweet potato can actually have a healing effect on your digestive system rather than an irritating one. The fibres in the sweet potato actually feed the bacteria and are classed as fermentable as a prebiotic (food for bacteria). This therefore helps to create a more balanced bacterial environment in your digestive system. Thus giving a digestive healing effect with an immune boost too.
Finally most kids love sweet potato- it is a great first food, great in the lunch boxes cold and as hot chips at dinner time. A simple way to get some amazing nutrients into kids without too many arguments. Try them in smoothies, juices and soups for a smooth creamy consistency and natural sweetness.
Sweet potatoes are traditionally been baked, roasted or mashed, but they can also be added to risotto, pasta or curry. Here are my recipes;
Although readily available almost year-round, the peak season for Brussels Sprouts is from September to March. Hence why many people associate with Christmas dinner as they’re always on the menu! They’re members of the cabbage family (brassica or cruciferous)―and they look like it, too. It is not certain where they came from or where they were first grown, but the first official description of them did appear in Belgium in the late 16th century, hence the name. They made their way to England in the mid-19th century and there gained great popularity. Today, the British (and Irish!) remain the world’s top consumers of Brussels sprouts.
They’re the sort of vegetable that divide opinion and people either love or hate them. The vegetable has a reputation for bitterness, but when properly cooked, sprouts offers complex flavour with a subtle crunch and almost nutty sweetness. When overcooked they lose flavour, texture and give off a strong odor, which probably puts people off. This smell is associated with glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulphur: hence the smell. It also happens to be responsible for the cancer-fighting characteristics of Brussels sprouts.
I for one love them and my 4 year old daughter has recently declared them ‘her favorites at dinner, as we have had them quite a lot recently with them in plentiful supply in the supermarkets.
Brassica or cruciferous vegetables are highly regarded for their nutritional value. Vegetables included are cabbage, broccoli, cabbage, kale and turnips. Their properties have been widely researched and their role in oestrogen dominant cancer prevention and digestive and immune healing and strengthening is well known and they are enjoying renewed interest and of course recipes.
Vitamins A (cartenoids) and C, which may help against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts (1/2 cup of sprouts provides more than 80% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C – way more than an orange for example)
Potassium, which may help to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels.
Folate, which is necessary for normal tissue growth and may protect against cancer, heart disease, and birth defects
Iron, necessary for maintaining red blood cell count
Fiber, which aids in digestion and helps lower cholesterol (in Chinese medicine they are prescribed to improved digestive health). Can also support blood sugar levels
Selenium: associated with reduced risks of certain cancers, as well as increased male virility
All brassica family contain Indole-3-Carbinol which helps to break down oestrogen into its healing form (there are different forms of oestrogen one is cancer forming and the other cancer healing) and may also help repair DNA (read more about that here).
3,3′-diindolylmethane (also know as DIM) is found in all Brassica vegetables. Which may contain potent antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer actions which can affect/boost the immune system.
Sulforaphane is a chemical compound found in the Sprouts (especially in broccoli sprouts but also in Brussel Sprouts) “induces the production of certain enzymes that can deactivate free radicals and carcinogens.” (source)
To simply cook them, trim any loose, yellow or damaged leaves, wash and then trim the base. Some people cut a cross in the base to make sure they cook evenly, but with smaller ones, it’s not necessary, as it can cause them to go mushy. Larger ones can be cut in half. Steam them for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to check them regularly so they don’t overcook as cooking times will vary, depending on size.
These vegetables also contain goitrogens, which may suppress thyroid function. This can interfere with those on hypothyroid medication. Like anything can be absolutely fine in moderation and cooking them can also reverse some of these goitrogenic actions (the 3,3′-diindolylmethane may be an anti-androgen which affects the hormones). In any doubt, please consult your practitioner trained in nutrition for further advice on your personal case.
I normally do my weekly menus on Sunday. Mostly because its the day we are guaranteed to be able to sit together to decide and also because we will generally do a shop in the morning. I always have one night with Fish and one Vegetarian night and for the other days we try to rotate our meat and when inspired we will have a raw night too (most of our meals are served with salad anyway and we eat raw food as snacks and lunch most days otherwise). My kids (aged 1 and 3.5) eat what we do so it makes life easier! Here is this weeks upcoming meals:
Cauliflower Dahl with red rice (recipe to come on Tuesday!)
Rib Eye Steaks (chilled grass fed from NZ- bought from Chefs Express), Sweet Potato Baked chips (fries for my American friends!) and Apple Slaw (pictured- the kids eat it without the dressing just the raw veg!)