Just sneaking in with some Christmas ideas today. What a last minute Larry, I know. One minute it was November, and the next minute it is December 22nd. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’m not complaining as I absolutely LOVE Christmas! Yep, I am one of those people that dress in festive get-up, play constant Christmas music, and become over emotional and sentimental at TV commercials. Last year my husband made me a Christmas mixed tape, and it is just my favourite thing! That, and the annual screening of the movie Love Actually which is playing tonight – is it not the best Christmas movie? I have a lump in my throat just thinking about it. But I digress, on to some food.
These recipes are easy and pretty quick to make, which is welcomed at this crazy time of year. I will start with the lentil salad.
Lentils are packed with protein, fibre, and B vitamins – in particular folate. They are a fabulous addition to a day of Christmas eating as they provide a sustaining energy source that keeps blood sugar stable. Not only that, but lentils are the easiest and quickest of the legumes to prepare, and are often the best tolerated digestively. Winning!
This salad had the added omega 3 goodness of walnuts, antioxidant punch of goji berries, the nutritent richness of sprouts, and a kicking dressing.
Festive Lentil & Goji Salad
2 cups Du Puy lentils
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 – 1 cup goij berries
1/3 cup olives – chopped, or capers
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 -2 cups Rocquet or another leafy green
1 cup walnuts
1 cup sprouts
Pop the goji berries in a small bowl, cover with water and set aside. This is to rehydrate the goji berries so that they will be soft and plump. You can even leave them overnight in the fridge if you like. If you prefer chewy gojis, omit this step.
Rinse and drain lentils, then add to a saucepan and cover with about 10cm water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes. They should still have a slight firmness to them, not mushy, so keep tasting them along the way.
While the lentils are cooking, add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl or jar and mix well.
Once they are ready, drain, run under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Add the dressing, onion, and olives. Drain the water off the gojis and add them too. Gently toss though any added extras and enjoy!
Choc-Ginger Molasses Biscuits
This recipe was inspired by one of Heidi Swanson’s creations. It is full of delicious things and so falls into the ‘treat’ category, rather than ‘clean eating’ per se, but if you can’t indulge at Christmas, then when can you? I have used two kinds of ginger – grated and fresh for maximum punch. You can swap around the sugar to your liking. For a softer biscuit, use coconut sugar, but for a more crunchy finish, go for the golden caster sugar.
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour (or wholemeal flour, or white spelt)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs ground ginger
150g good quality dark chocolate
100g coconut sugar, golden caster sugar, or rapadura sugar
1/2 cup, or 115g unsalted butter, roughly cubed
1/4 cup organic black strap molasses
1 1/2 tbs grated fresh ginger
1 egg, whisked
Place the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt in a bowl and mix to combine.
Take a knife and chop up the chocolate into small pieces, or shavings, and set aside.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat and add the molasses and the sugar of your choice, stirring to blend. Once it is coolish, not hot, add the egg and stir.
Pour this mix into the dry ingredients, add the chocolate and fresh ginger, and stir gently to combine. Place into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up a little.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 Celsius (350F), and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Once firm, spoon out 1/2 tablespoon sized scoops of mixture and roll into a ball. Place on the tray with a good inch in between each. Pop into the oven for 8-10 minutes. You will know they are cooked as they will be darker in colour, the bottom will be firm, and they will smell delicious. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. This recipe should make 50-60 small biscuits.
So there you have it. I wish everyone a fabulous Christmas and a wonderful new year full of health and happiness.