December 18, 2011

red amber green

The flurry of end of term events have left my youngest children beyond tired, into the realms of hacking coughs and vomitting to be exact. So when their appetites are back, I am going to fall on some old foodie tricks to boost their immune systems and energy levels. These really aren't recipes at all, just combinations of ingredients for you to mix as your taste dictates. They are all dead simple and ridiculously good for you. We eat a lot of them around here and apart from the cratering at the end of term which is annoyingly a bit of a pattern of late, the kids hardly ever miss a day of school. Not sure if there is a link, but the shakes are a way of cramming a lot of easily digestible vitamins in a daily drink they really enjoy.


The monster shake. It sounds and looks repulsive but don't dismiss. It simply tastes of bananas and a hint of nuts. Best very cold. It is an absolute powerhouse of nutrients and particularly good for my veggie twelve year old because the nuts, seeds and spinach provide good slugs of iron and some protein.

Simply blend bananas, (fresh or frozen in chunks when going over - so useful!), frozen nuggets of pure chopped spinach available in big bags from the supermarket deep freezers, almond milk, ground nuts and seeds of your choice - my local healthfood shop sells bags of seed and nut powders so I often use those for ease. It really is a question of playing with amounts to see what you like, but for a big glassful I use one small banana, two or three spinach nuggets, a heaped tablespoon of ground nuts and seeds and enough almond milk to cover the ingredients and then a good splash more. Depends how thick you like your shake. Of course you can add your favourite extra ingredients like berries, honey, mango etc as your tastebuds and the seasons recommend. Frozen berries are a really useful and more affordable option I find, and I have been told the vitamin levels remain really high because they are quick frozen just a few hours from being picked, like peas. My two youngest genuinely love the taste of these shakes and have them almost every day. Thanks to Bridget for the recipe.


Chopped up butternut squash and sweet potatoes, salted and boiled until nearly soft and then drained, and plonked onto a oven dish pre-heated with some oil and chili in it, and cooked in a medium/hot oven until golden brown and scrumptious - about 20 minutes. Totally more-ish as a side veg or with crumbled feta and coriander as a winter salad.


Best 'til last. For a gigantic hit of Vitamin C, red peppers are the quite the thing apparantly. Fresh is probably best but in freezing december, nibbling on cold, fresh peppers doesn't cut it often around here. So try slicing finely about 5 or 6 of them and bung in a saute pan with olive oil and a hefty pinch of dried chili flakes plus a generous slug of balsamic vinager and about half a cup of dark brown sugar. On a gentle heat stir until the sugar has liquified and the peppers have softened right down to a delicious, slightly sticky mass. It might be even more amazing if you can be bothered to peel the peppers, but I never can and I promise the sweet, fiery yumminess of these peppers is amazing as a side veg with steak or chicken or fish and lovely cold too. My kids love fajitas and wraps, so I intend to sneak a few in those! I made this recipe up, but I'm sure there are a bajillion more exact ones out there if you want one I am sure.

So, that's my bit of delish healthy cooking amid the mincepies and mulled wine!


  1. That sounds wonderful...I bet that milkshake packs a punch too!
    Thank you for linking to the Making Winter bloghop.

  2. Hi Belinda,

    Your colourful dishes look good! Roasted peppers and pumpkins are one of my favourites too. I don't think they sell your monster shake over here....It does look nourishing.

    I hope your children will feel better soon. I had two sick girls at home last week as well :-(.

    Happy and healthy new week!

    Lieve groet, Madelief x

  3. Those peppers sound amazing. Not sure my Smalls will go for them but at least they are quite happy munching on raw ones. I'm going to make this tomorrow- I cocked up my food delivery and have lots sititng waiting in the fridge... Ax

  4. I've just resolved to 'eat, but not too much' between now and Christmas - these healthy recipes are just the thing. Thank you!

  5. Butternut squash and sweet potato soup is a big favourite here, so instead of blitzing I might leave the chunks and pop them in the oven instead..... Feta cheese and coriander on top sounds even better!
    Julie x

  6. I love how you still manage to fill your posts with a riot of colour even in winter!
    I like the combination of sweet potato with goats cheese, so will have to give the squash and feta a try... sounds heavenly.
    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.
    Abby xx

  7. Ooh, those shakes sound delicious. I've never mixed banana and spinach in mine, I must try it!

  8. Just found your blog. Sorry to hear your little ones aren't well but I'm sure with all that amazingly tasty food they wil be full of energy again soon. I love the combination of roast squash and feta. I've started to use it as a cold pasta salad.

  9. I just sent you an award Belinda,

    I hope that you will pass it along.

    Cheers and Happy Christmas,


  10. Thank goodness I have just eaten as I am drooling enough as it is! Thanks for the green idea, will give that a try as we always make fruit smoothies and a bit of veg and nuts will make a good change. I love to use sweet pots and squash in soup with a bit of cardamom. Hope the patients are on the mend.
    Katie x

  11. oh so tasty and so colourful! I love the idea of the winter salad of butternut squash, and I have one in the fridge and no plans for supper..... mmmmmm xxx