I've been making a lot of raw desserts over the last few weeks, including my super simple raw lime cheesecake (voted best raw dessert I've made to date by a few of my friends last weekend! #notsmugatall), scrumptious raw fruit and nut, protein rich raw almond, date and coconut balls and my current favourite, raw bounty bites (recipe coming soon!). However, whilst these treats are packed with good nutrients and are a gazillion times better for you than any shop bought chocolate bar or cake, they do still contain sugar and saturated fats which should be consumed in moderation for a healthy balanced lifestyle. So, as much as I love a sweet treat (and I really do!), over the next few weeks I'm going to focus my culinary efforts on savoury dishes - salads in particular, because they rock - that will not only provide me with the flavour sensations I love, but that will nourish my body and mind, as I feel I really need it at the moment. As a mum of an 8 month old who is exclusively breastfed (and as any mum will relate to), I find myself low on energy more often that I'd like. Finding a balance of eating enough of the right kinds of foods, and finding time to prepare said food is damn hard! Then on top of that squeezing in a work out here and there feels close to impossible!
I've found it particularly hard to get my fitness back since having Jasper. I actually qualified as a yoga teacher in October 2014, just before I fell pregnant. I was super fit. Then I had what I thought was a miscarriage at just 7 weeks of the pregnancy, and it made me overly cautious of exercising, as you can imagine. But, Jasper is very much here (I was extremely lucky), and I'm now keen to get my pre baby fitness back.
Since having Jasper I have done some yoga at home which I've really enjoyed, and have been to a few Buggy Fit classes, but it hasn't been enough. It hasn't got the sweat on that I need to get fit again. But honestly, when the fuck am I meant to do it in amongst looking after Jasper, tidying the house, doing the washing, getting dinner ready, weaning Jasper onto solids (don't even get me started on how that's gong!) and doing a one year nutrition course with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition? And did I mention Jasper is still waking up to feed 2-3 times a night so I'm a little sleep deprived as well?!
Anyway, rant over, because I have FINALLY signed up to my local Movers & Shapers gym where they do half an hour high intensity classes. They're bloody tough, but they have classes every half and hour ALL day, I can take Jasper into the class with me (amazing right?!) and it's 10 minutes down the road so it's super convenient. Pre baby fitness here I come!
I have only been to two classes, but I'll keep you posted on how it goes. And in the meantime, I'm going to be feeding myself scrumptious, healthy, filling and nutritious salads to help me along the way. Fancy joining me for the journey?
I have to admit, I am a bit bonkers over salads. I genuinely believe that a salad is one of the best meals invented (not sure you can call a salad an invention but you know what I mean). You can have a salad hot or cold. You can have it as a snack, side dish or main course. You can have a vegan salad, a vegetarian salad or a full on meat feast salad. Salads are so diverse and so flexible that you can pretty much make anything into a salad by adding the ingredients YOU love.
And the best bit? Anyone can make a salad! If you follow a few simple rules (and I just happen to have written a post on my Top 10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Salad), I can guarantee your salad will taste deeeeelish.
Kale, Squash and Beetroot Salad
- 2 tbsp oil for roasting the veg
- 1 tsp oil for toasting the nuts and seeds
- 400g kale (my favourite kind at the moment is cavolo nero), sliced into 1 inch strips (or however you like them!)
- 1 butternut squash, chopped into even sized chunks
- 4-6 beetroots, chopped into the same sized chunks as the squash
- 200g broccoli, green peas or peas
- Salad dressing of choice (I used my maple vinaigrette)
- 100g pecans
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- Optional: Shredded roast chicken or diced bacon
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/ 180 degrees C fan oven
- Coat your beetroot in 1 tbsp oil and pop in the oven for 45 minutes
- After 15 minutes add your squash (coated in the other tbsp oil) to the tray of beetroot (i.e. for 30 mins), turning all the veg just once, 10-15 minutes before the end. They should be nice and golden where they've caramelised on the outside (yum). If they're not leave them in the oven another 5 or 10 mins.
- Just before your veg is cooked, steam the cavolo nero and your choice of greens for 3-5 minutes until cooked. If you're using curly kale I would add a little salt, but cavolo nero doesn't need it. Steaming is a great way to maintain as many nutrients as possible, but the less time they're steamed the better, and I love my veggies nice and crunchy!
- Pop your kale into a bowl, top with the roasted beetroot and squash, followed by your choice of greens and toasted pecans and pumpkin seeds (simply pan fry these in 1 tsp oil until the seeds have puffed up and the nuts are slightly brown, but not burnt!)
- If using chicken or bacon, it's quite nice to serve this in a separate dish so guests can add it to their own salad
- If using the maple vinaigrette it doesn't need much as it's quite sweet, but goes brilliantly with the earthy beetroot
This salad is so easy to make, is packed with nutrients, looks great (my husband always says how nice the beetroot looks next to the squash) and tastes bloody great. Winner.
Do let me know if you try it out, or if you switch out any of the ingredients. And most of all, enjoy!