Let’s face it, if you’re eating clean, are gluten free, dairy free or vegan, the thought of Christmas and all the food and drink it involves, it can seem like quite a complex time when you want to join in and enjoy all the season has to offer but also still avoiding all the food that you don’t usually eat.
Well, why should we miss out? There’s always alternative ingredients and recipe adaptations which mean we can still enjoy all of the food, and God forbid, serve it to visiting friends and family who I bet won’t even notice the difference.
So, sit back and take a look at my ten best recipe suggestions covering everything from mince pies, to cranberry sauce and stuffing. I’ve trawled the internet so you don’t have to.
Also remember, don’t like a particular ingredient? Fine, change it for an alternative you like (or have), after all these are just suggestions, there’s a million ways to skin a cat!
I’m really excited about this recipe… five ingredients and five minutes to make, then with a bit of patience (and willpower), you have some delicious chocolate fudge to devour which is healthy, tastes fabulous and requires no baking!
8 Medjool dates (stones removed)
2 tbsps of coca powder
1 tbsp of coconut oil
4 tbsp of water
Toast the quinoa in a pan for a minute until it turns golden brown.
Put the quinoa into a blender and blitz until you get a flour-like consistency (I left mine a bit rough as I wanted some crunch). You can buy quinoa flour if you prefer.
Add the quinoa and other ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the ingredients come together to form a dough.
Press the mixture into a cling film lined plastic tub.
Put in the freezer for approximately 3 hours to set.
Finding a healthy recipe which doesn’t contain truck loads of corn flour, arrowroot or tomato ketchup is near on in possible so I decided to try inventing my own sauce as essentially sweet and sour is basic and as it says on the tin – sweet components mixed with sour components.
I was worried my sauce wouldn’t be thick enough without the aid of an thickening agent and did consider using chia seeds, however, it reduced down well so left them out. Maybe next time I’ll experiment with them.
Sweet and Sour Sauce ingredients:
25g coconut sugar (can use honey, agave or rice syrup)
25g white wine vinegar
75g tomato purée
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1 tbsp of GF soy sauce
Sweet and Sour Sauce cooking method:
Addall the ingredients in a pan, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes.
If the mixture looks too thick for a pouring sauce add some cold water to thin out and continue to simmer.
Raw tiger prawns
3 sping onions
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves
200g fresh pineapple cubed
Once you’ve made the sweet and sour sauce set it to one side while you prepare the prawns and vegetables.
Heat the coconut oil in a wok adding the crushed garlic cloves and raw prawns. Cook until pink.
Next add all the veg (chopped) except for the pineapple, and fry off. Once soft add the pineapple and sweet and sour sauce and cook for a further two minutes.
I’d like to big-up my complex cooking skills but the truth is when you take away the time needed to allow the salmon to marinade this meal takes about 10 minutes to prep. I can also promise it’s probably the best 10 minute meal prep you’ll ever do as the flavour is intense and rich and feels like a real treat meal.
Match box size piece of fresh ginger (roughly chopped)
1 tbsp of onion salt
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tbsp of rice syrup, honey or agave
100ml of GF soy sauce.
Put all the ingredients into a microwaveable dish and microwave for two minutes.
Add the salmon fillets (chicken or tofu), and coat thoroughly.
Leave to marinate for a minimum of two hours – four to five is ideal for an intense flavour.
Take the salmon out of the marinade and in a 180c pre-heated oven place the salmon fillets on a baking tray and cook for 15-20 minutes depending on how well done you like it. Half way through the cooking time brush more marinade on and continue cooking.
While the salmon is cooking place the remaining marinade into a saucepan and simmer until it has reduced and thickened.
Serve with stir fry vegetables, noodles, rice or quinoa – my favourite is “courgetti” – courgette spaghetti created using a spiralizer.
Having healthy snacks to hand is a must when you’re gluten or dairy free or following an eating plan such as paleo, otherwise you leave yourself open to risk if you need to eat on the go, making bad food choices through desperation from either limited choice or extreme hunger.
I’ve now got pretty good at packing a ‘goodie’ box in my bag normally consisting some of the foods listed below. Tupperware is my best friend.
My top 10 is made of snacks that are an alternative to the standard apple or banana and are rated on the following criteria:
Easy to make
Easy to source
Taste and flavour.
Biltong is the perfect high protein snack, I love everything about it – flavour, texture and am really glad it’s now readily available. Just pay attention to the ingredients as cheaper brands add sugar and MSG sometimes. When in London I always visit The Savanna (South African shop) www.thesavanna.co.uk and buy it fresh. Alternatively I like the Men’s Health Beef Jerky which is available in all supermarkets priced between £2/3.00. It’s not a cheap snack so I buy it as a treat now and then. Also be aware some brands can be loaded with chilli and blow your head off!
2. Dried Mango
Dried mango is the perfect on the go snack which is sold nearly everywhere, even coffee shops like Costa. Don’t eat too much though as it does contain fruit sugar and can cause gas in some people.
3. Oat cakes
Oat cakes are so versatile as they can be a sweet or savoury snack depending on your topping choice. My favourite combinations are oat cakes with homemade jam, honey or nut butter.
4. Celery with almond butter
Probably the easiest and quickest. Celery + almond butter smothered over it – bosh! Not very transportable but great if you’re at home.
5. Fresh blueberries and strawberries
Not much of a sell needed here. Blueberries are a superfood packed full of nutrients and like strawberries can be purchased everywhere. Downside is the cost, however, my rule with strawberries is always by British and organic, there’s nothing worse than a juicy looking strawberry having zero flavour.
6. Homemade protein balls
Protein balls are really easy to make (require no cooking) and can be eaten on the fly. If you look on the Internet there are hundreds of recipes but the general rule is to combine a nut butter with something sticky like dried dates, apricots or ripe banana. You can then add pretty much anything, more nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, cocoa nibs or coconut. I’ve heard of people taking them on long runs to use as a power boost to replace energy gels but as yet can’t work out how they transport them without them getting squashed all over their clothes!!! If you know, do tell me.
Beetroot is one of the newer superfoods which is packed full of vitamins, helps athletic performance and stamina, and is reported to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
8. Toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Toasting them is not to be underestimated… Seeds are great eaten raw but they lack flavour, however, toast them in a pan for about a minute and they transform beyond belief. The taste is a mixture of intense nut and popcorn. Great sprinkled on salad too.
9. Raw chocolate squares
My chocolate squares taste amazing and the danger is you can over eat these beauties, however a word of caution… exercise restraint as the high oil content can give you a tummy upset. Another downside is they don’t travel well as they melt very quickly so need to be refrigerated at all times.
Eggs in any form are a fabulous protein boost, however, a boiled egg makes an excellent snack. Easy to prepare and they travel well. Only downside is the smell so be in a well ventilated room otherwise fellow human beings near by won’t thank you.
I created this recipe after adapting an American recipe which used cup-measurements. After I invested some time researching how to convert U.S. cups to our (UK) measurement system, and added in some new ingredients, it was all systems go!!
85g coconut milk
240g coconut oil
1 heaped teaspoon of organic cocoa powder
Half a teaspoon of salt
30g crushed walnuts
30g chopped dried apricots.
Mix the coconut milk and coconut oil together with a hand whisk until completely blended together.
Add salt, cocoa powder and honey to the blended coconut oil and milk and mix again.
Finally add the dried fruit and nuts.
Pour the mixture into a cling-film lined flat dish (I used a 9 inch square one), and put in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.