Best Ever Healthy Banana Bread

Wholemeal spelt banana bread

Healthy Banana Bread

This is such an easy loaf to make and is perfect for a new year treat that won’t send your sugar levels soaring. I used my husband and children to do the ‘taste test-drive’ on this. They are huge fans of my usual butter & sugar laden version, so this recipe needed their approval. Their opinions are easily swayed so I decided not to tell them them I had changed the recipe. It got the thumbs up from all with an added quip from my other half about how light it was. Perfect, there is now no going back to my usual recipe unless of course my cholesterol levels drop dangerously low!! Fat chance of that happening…..

It is very straight forward to make, uses maple syrup to sweeten instead of sugar and wholemeal spelt instead of white flour. It will make a great addition to our healthy lunch box tomorrow for the start of the new school term.

Ingredients:

3 medium ripe bananas (the riper the better!!)

2  organic eggs beaten

4 tablespoons of melted coconut oil or you could use a good quality cold pressed oil such as vegetable (neutral taste) or olive (more savoury flavour).

6 tablespoons of maple syrup (runny honey will also do)

250g Wholemeal Spelt Flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

60ml of water

A good pinch of salt.

 

Method:

Preheat your over to 165degrees celsius or 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Grease an line a 9 x 5 ” loaf tin.

In a large bowl, add the spelt flour and baking soda.

In a separate pot melt the coconut oil. Once melted turn off the heat and add the maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Now pour in the water and mix.

In a separate bowl add the beaten egg. Mash up the bananas until they are almost liquid. Add theses to the egg and mix well together.

The next step is to add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold the mixture carefully until everything is just combined and has formed a batter. There is no need to over mix this mixture.

Now pour into your tin, lightly dust with cinnamon  and place in the middle of the oven for 55 mins. Leave it to cool for a while in the tin before turning out.

This banana bread is wonderfully moist and should keep for up to 3 days in a bread bin, 3 days or so longer if kept in the fridge. It freezes well and should keep for up to 3 months.

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea! 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wholemeal Spelt Raspberry & Lemon Scones 

FullSizeRender (1)Spelt is my ‘go-to’ flour for baking. It is wholesome, lower in gluten than regular flour and wholemeal spelt has a delicious nutty texture that works so well with cookies and scones. If you want a delicious, nutritious scone that is free from sugar (I use honey, cinnamon and vanilla to sweeten) then you will love this incredibly quick recipe.

Ingredients:

500g wholemeal spelt

2 tsp baking powder

85g butter cut into small cubes

200g raspberries ( fresh or frozen)

Zest of 1 small lemon

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp honey

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup of milk

A handful of jumbo oats

Method:

Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit) and grease and dust a large baking tray  with flour.

Combine the flour, baking powder and butter and rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. You can also stick it into your food processor and allow it to do the work for you just ensure you give it a good stir when your transfer it from your processor to the bowl. Now add the lemon zest and the raspberries and mix well. Frozen raspberries do not need to be defrosted fully just add and mix through. I prefer frozen fruit as the mixture is quite wet and the frozen fruit can make it easier to manage.

In a separate bowl add the milk, honey, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla extract and whisk together.

Making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, combine the liquid mixture until it comes together and shape into a circle.  Now sprinkle the oats onto a board and press the scone mixture on top of the oats. Now turn onto the other side and cut into 8 equal sized triangles. Place on the baking tray and place in the middle of the oven.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the scones are a gorgeous golden colour.

Cool and enjoy with butter and raspberry jam.

 

 

 

 

No trick just treat: Sugar free, fat free ‘barn brack’ for Halloween

I make this great ‘Irish Barnbrack‘ otherwise known as my Mother’s healthy Halloween fruit cake. Barnbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake made at Halloween however I rarely wait for Halloween on this one. I make it all year round. It’s free of sugar and butter and instead uses lots of dried fruit and a trick or two to give you a scrumptious healthy fruit cake that isn’t just for Halloween.

Healthy Halloween

No Trick Just Treat Healthy Halloween Brack

It is my Mother’s recipe. My Mother is the original ‘Green Bee’. By that I mean she appears to be a respectable middle class housewife but she is in fact an Eco minded hippie to her core….but she doesn’t know it. She always cooks from scratch and passed those skills on to me. Why eat something from a jar or a packet when you can make a more delicious version yourself for a fraction of the cost?? Well, the answer is because invariably convenience food is just that, it’s very convenient and saves time but there is a price to pay. Taste and nutritional value are lost. My mother thought, ‘then I must find the simplest and quickest ways to cook as time costs money’!
When I was a small child she was making her own muesli. In Dublin in the 1970’s, muesli eaters were a rare enough breed so to be making your own was so akin to being just plain odd. My Mother didn’t shout about it but quietly made large vats of the stuff which we (the kids) occasionally ate when the cornflakes or Weetabix were running low. All meals and desserts were made from scratch apart from the occasional Angel Delight . Tissue and wrapping paper was ironed and re-used. Vegetables and herbs were grown in the garden and we never took the car if we could walk or cycle. To be fair, my Mum couldn’t drive so the car was only driven when my Dad came home from work. My Parent’s are a product of the 2nd world war where rationing was part of every day life. Factory farming hadn’t reared it’s ugly head and to cap it all Ireland in the 1950’s was gripped by a deep and dark depression. Even those who had money had a different approach to consumption. Never throw something away that can be fixed or re-used and if you want rid of something re-home it instead of sending it to landfill. I am a great fan of websites that are dedicated to this; Jumbletown. is my favourite one and there are also plenty of Facebook pages that offer a similar service.

In the spirit of all things traditional give this recipe a go. It couldn’t be easier and how pleased will my Mother be!?!

Healthy Halloween Barn Brack


Healthy Halloween

Coin revealed

Healthy Halloween

Wrapped and ready

Healthy Halloween Brack   

Ingredients:
12 oz Dried fruit (califiornian raisins, cranberries, dried figs,
sultatnans are my favourite mix but it’s your choice)                   
1 Mug of Tea in which the fruit is steeped overnight (soak in a herbal fruit tea for added flavour)
8 ozs of sifted Self Raising Flour (wholemeal also works well with 1 teaspoon of baking powder)
1 Egg, lightly beaten with a fork
2 teaspoons mixed spice plus 1 teaspoon of n/meg or cinnamon
Method:
Soak the dried fruit in the tea overnight (8 hours)
Place in a mixing bowl and add the sifted flour, spices, egg and mix well
Fill the loaf tin with the mixture and add 3 good sized coins (a Euro or 2 Euro coin are perfect) wrapped well in greaeproof paper and hide within the mixture. This is a great Halloween Tradition and makes eating Brack even more exciting!
Place in the middle of the oven.
Cook for 1 hour at 180 degrees in a greased 10″ x 5′ Loaf tin.
Gently remove from the tin and allow to cool fully before slicing.

Prawn & vegetable Ramen: A meal of a soup

October has arrived and despite our brief Indian Summer the temperatures are slowly dropping. I’m keen to move my away from our Summer fodder and start moving towards something more on the ‘hearty’ side but I need to gently coax the children to join me on a healthy comfort eating odyssey. If we go straight to stews I’ll lose them so I need a go-between that will spike their curiosity & get them excited about our new Autumn dishes.

So, my first solution to this problem is Ramen. The younger two aren’t very adventurous so the reality of eating soggy noodles needs to be presented  carefully.  For them, I hold back on the miso soup when I’m serving but for the rest of us it really is a steamy, delicious bowl of heaven. It’s more than a soup and substantial enough for an evening meal but the greatest thing about this dish is that it is very quick to prepare and is extremely nutritious.

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What you really need to know (& do) to conserve water.

This morning I noticed that even my other half is embracing my water bucket approach to showering and without being nagged, I may add. So terribly proud!!!

I’m all about the little things that make big changes especially in matters of the environment but sitting smugly back on my laurels would be a massive ‘fail’.

Water conservation is complex and employing a bucket to catch water from the shower and NOT watering the lawn is really not close to doing enough…….although it is a good place to start.

So where can you go from here? Continue reading

South Indian style spicy vegetable curry

Vegetable curry

South Indian Style Spicy Vegeatable Curry

This is my own recipe and is intended to be an easy and nutritious vegan meal inspired by my holiday in India many years ago. It is not trying to be an authentic Indian curry but it is delicious none the less and it’s healthy.   Continue reading

Puy Lentils With Chargrilled Peppers And Feta

Everyday is a meat-free day for me but the rest of my family range from ‘ardent Carnivore’ to ‘picky eater’. I am perpetually on the lookout for a ‘one dish fits all’ recipe so that dinner is less complicated for me. This is one of those dishes. I do have to put my hand up and tell you that my ‘picky eater’ has not succumbed to trying this delicious dish yet but he will……eventually…..and when he does he is in for a treat.

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Healthy Breakfast Granola Recipe

I’ve been slack.
Super Slack with a capital S this month with regards to writing and posting. I’m not going to apologise.
As someone very kindly pointed out today, Life happens and until I get myself sorted here is something to be getting on……..

IMG_7192

Good Granola costs an arm and a leg but here is a simple recipe that is quick and costs surprisingly little even when you use very fine ingredients. It cuts back on packaging so is not only simple and quick to make but is eco-friendly too. I make enough in one go to last me a week and it takes minutes.
For Christmas this year, everyone nearest and dearest to me got a jar.  It is made without sugar and uses the ‘oil du jour’, coconut oil. It is my favourite healthy breakfast.

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5 Green Bee Simple Home Remedies for Sinusitis

Finding natural remedies for Sinusitis took me several years but the answer was, if you’ll pardon the pun, under my nose all along. I began getting Sinus infections in my early twenties. The first time I got it was probably the worst I have ever had. It came over me quite quickly and I had no idea what was going on. I had an excruciating pain in my forehead directly above my eyes. It got so intense that all I could do was take pain killers and get into bed and imagine the worst.

I was home from Dublin for the weekend and thankfully my lovely Mum was there to look after me. She called our family Doctor who made a now all to rare house call. He knew straight away what it was and filled out a prescription for me. Phew! It wasn’t a brain tumour just a Sinus infection. Within a day of taking the antibiotic the symptoms began to disappear and by the end of the course I was good as new. The next time I got that tingling feeling and pressure above my eyes I knew what was coming so I acted quickly before the pain incapacitated me. Straight to my GP I went and a prescription was duly written. But, I wasn’t so comfortable with this so I also began to research other ways of managing my health and diet to see if there was another solution. My GP seemed unsure about the importance of food but I discovered that there are lots of food triggers for a sinus infection. For me (and I can only speak from my own experience) I only ever got it after I had a cold. If I continued drinking red wine and eating cheese during my cold I would, without doubt, develop a sinus infection. The lifestyle change came gradually. I begrudgingly waved bye bye to Pinot Noir and cut back hugely on my cheese intake but when I became pregnant a few years later the antibiotic was no longer the quick fix I could resort to.  So, I took to the books and found another way. I needed a natural remedy and a home remedy became the quickest option and this is how I discovered the overnight success.

My ‘hardcore’ quick fix is what I like to call my overnight success. If, like me, you aren’t a fan of raw onions, you may struggle with this remedy but it works and quickly. I have to be in a very bad way to put this one into practice but hey, if you like raw onions this is the one for you.

The Raw Onion Sinus fix/Overnight Success recipe.

photo 1

 You will need

I onion and a piece of muslin or thin cotton, large enough to comfortably tie around your neck

Method

Chop the onion into thin slices of an inch or longer. Open out your square of material and place the raw onions in the centre. Fold the material in half keeping the onions in the centre to form a triangle. Now roll the material so that it can be worn around the neck like a neckerchief with the onions neatly wrapped in the middle. Now bear with me……..wrap the ‘onion’ kerchief around your neck and go to sleep for the night. In the morning you will notice two things. Firstly, you, your pillow, bed linen and room all smell of raw onions. Secondly and most importantly, all sinus pain will be gone. Voila. No costly trip to your Doctor or the pharmacy and of course no need for an antibiotic.

Every time I have endured this treatment it has worked for me. I have also worn it during the day/evening and not worn it to bed with similar success. In terms of other remedies I find them to be slower leading to results but they do work and generally I do them in combination with each other.

Steaming with Peppermint and eucalyptus 

Green Bee natural remedies

This is a pretty tried and tested method and if done regularly at the start of a head cold works wonders.

I fill a stainless steel bowl with just boiled water and I add a few drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oil for immediate and longer relief. Place your head over the bowl and cover your entire head and bowl with a towel to trap the steam and inhale for a few minutes. Do this as often as is required but certainly three times a day.

 Apple Cider Vinegar

image Believe the hype. Apple cider vinegar is brilliant. It has lots of benefits apparently which aid well-being but for me it’s my go-to aid for sinusitis. It helps thin mucus and 1 tablespoon taken in a glass of warm water three times a day works. I take it for up to a week but by many accounts apple cider vinegar can be taken every day for a variety of other benefits as part of an alkaline diet or to aid with weight  loss.

Hot Lemon drink

Mimageix the juice of 1 lemon with an inch of thinly sliced fresh ginger with a spoonful of honey and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup and top up with hit water. Drink straight away.

My final sinus remedy is primarily a great tasting soup. I refer to it as my Sinus Soup which is decidedly unappetising but Spicy Vegetable Soup will work just as well.

It’s vegetable broth that takes very little time to prepare.

Ingredients

1 good sized onion thinly sliced, 1 stick of celery chopped, 2 cloves of garlic sliced or crushed, 1 large potato cut into bite size chunks, 1 courgette or Zucchini diced, 1/2 red pepper cut into bite size chunks, 2 carrots sliced, a good handful of shredded Savoy cabbage, 4 roughly chopped mushrooms. 1.5 litres of stock. 1 level teaspoon of Tumeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a good grind of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs and 1 inch of thinly sliced fresh ginger.

Method

Fry the onion, celery, Savoy cabbage, mushrooms and garlic with a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot. Once the ingredients have softened add the herbs and spices and make sure all of the vegetables fully coated. Add the potatoes and carrots and add the stick. Simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes or until all of the undereducated are cooked.

Serve steaming hot.