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Moroccan Roast Chicken

Rich and warm spices make this Moroccan roast chicken dish an instant favourite. The savoury spices and the sweet flavour from the oranges makes it an absolutely heartwarming Friday night family dinner. Easy and quick – try it out yourself!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper + ½ teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 teaspoons canola oilScreenshot 2020-01-24 at 11.36.18
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 orange, unpeeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb garlic, unpeeled and cut in half horizontally
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 400-450g sweet potatoes, unpeeled
  • Spray n Cook

Method

  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Rub 1 teaspoon of oil over the whole chicken and season well with the spices, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the chicken (breast side up) in a roasting dish, along with the orange wedges, garlic and onion. Using a wooden spoon smash the oranges, garlic and onion slightly. Place the dish in a preheated oven at 180 degrees. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken and roast the other side for 15 minutes. Turn again and roast for 30 minutes, then turn once more and roast for a further 20 minutes. Add the potatoes during the last period of cooking time. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.
  4. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1cm thick slices. Spray with cooking spray and spread on a baking tray. Roast the sweet potatoes for about 30 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.
  5. Plate up.

Don’t forget to add your favourite green vegetable to accompany the chicken and sweet potatoes. I chose to add steamed green beans.

Delicious and nutritious! ENJOY!

Shani

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All About Oats

When I think of a hearty healthy breakfast, a bowl of steaming hot oats is the first thing that comes to my mind. They are a soluble fibre rich carbohydrate that is higher in protein, vitamins and minerals and have been found to aid weight loss, stabilise blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. Oats are also gluten free (check for the certification), which make them a great choice for those with celiac disease or an intolerance. There are several types of oats available in the shops. Each type of oats differs in their nutrient profile due to the different processing methods they undergo when harvested.

To understand the difference between the three type of oats, it is important to note how these grains are farmed. All oats start out with hulls on the outside. Hulls are the tough outer shell that protects the seed of the oat plant. Here is a quick explanation of each type so that you can decide which one makes the most sense for your diet and lifestyle.

  1. Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats are most closely related to the actual oat grain that is harvested and is the most ‘unprocessed.’ To make steel cut oats, the oats with their hulls are chopped into pieces with large steel blades. Therefore, they are the most coarse and chewy with a very nutty flavour. However, because they are the most coarse, they take longer to prepare with an average cooking time of 15-30 minutes. If you would like to reduce the cooking time, you can soak steel cut oats beforehand in water.

2. Rolled Oats

This second type of oats has gone through a steaming and flattening process, meaning that they have been partially cooked. The flavour is a lot milder than steel cut oats and the texture softer. Consequently, the cooking time is significantly reduced to only about 2-5 minutes preparation time.

3. Quick Oats

As the name suggests, the third type of oats are the quickest to prepare, within only a few minutes! These oats are also partially cooked as they too undergo a steaming process and are rolled even thinner than rolled oats. The flavour is quite mild and very soft in texture. You may find quick oats packaged on their own in shops. However, it is also not uncommon to find these types of oats packaged in individual sachets premixed with milk powder, sugar and other types of flavourings.

So, which one is the best?

Steel cut oats are the least processed of the three and they contain the most fibre as well as have the lowest glycemic index (meaning the body digests and absorbs them more slowly, leading to a slower rise in blood sugar levels). However, it is important not to discount rolled and quick oats. The most important thing is to choose an oatmeal that fits best with your lifestyle and your personal taste preferences in mind! However, no matter what type of oat you choose, its always best to choose plain, unsweetened oats!

Click on this link to find one of my favourite recipes, a quick breakfast option: OATS OH SO EASY!

Shani

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Keep Healthy This December

With the year swiftly drawing to a close, we pause each December to reflect on and enjoy time with family and friends. The focus of celebrating the December festivities often centres around food, lots of food. Who can resist the urge to overeat? Pre-Christmas drinks, Christmas parties, work functions….Tables piled high with braai meat, cooler boxes with wine and beer, and calorie laden desserts even tempt those with strong will-power. We aren’t likely to leave the dinner table hungry, and most of us will be left feeling stuffed and uncomfortable.

Whatever your food choices, try to make them healthy with some of my top tips:

Choose white meat over red meat. Red meat contains more fat and calories – so try and limit it to twice a week. Think fish, chicken and turkey!
Exchange bread or starch servings for extra vegetables. Fill at least half your plate with veggies, and try skip the creamed ones (they’re loaded with calories!).
Use the one layer rule. I don’t like to pile foods on top of the original layer – squeeze them close together if you must, but not piled high!
• Enjoy the beautiful summer weather by spending the days outdoors. Go on leisurely walks, or enjoy a good family game of soccer or rugby in the garden.
Slow down! The food isn’t going anywhere. Put the fork down, and join in on some conversations while taking sips of water in between. This sets you up for better digestion and gives yourself time to recognize when you are feeling full.
• Take some time to consider your splurges. Scan the buffet or menu and make thoughtful choices.
WATER. Drink plenty of it. (Check out this article: Don’t Make Pour Decisions)

There is always a way to lighten the calorie load of any traditional recipe during the December holidays. Top your meal with a nice family walk, and you will be feeling ready to start 2020 on a healthy note!

Wherever you may be this December, have a good one!

Shani
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The Juice on Fruit Juice

From apple to passion fruit, orange to peach, supermarket shelves are brimming with fruit juices made with all natural flavours and exotic blends. 100% fruit juices have never been so enticing. On top of that, juicing has become a huge trend. Everyone from your gym instructor to your mom downs a glass of it daily. However, as with any dietary trend, it’s important to consider whether these products are truly healthful.

Squeezed from whole fruit, 100% fruit juices have no added sugars, additives or preservatives which makes them popular. They also contain important vitamins and minerals and beneficial phytonutrients at higher levels than fruit juice cocktails and juices with added sweeteners.

With the above mentioned benefits, however, fruit juices should not be used as a replacement for eating whole fruits. Whole fruits contain seeds, peels and fibre – meaning that they are richer in nutrients and also that the sugars are absorbed more slowly in the blood stream.

Moreover, if you’ve ever tried to squeeze an orange you will know that it takes several  to make one glass of juice. Which means if you drink it, you’re getting a very concentrated source of natural fruit sugars (fructose) without the fibre to slow down its absorption in the blood stream. Fibre is the parts of plants that your body does not digest. Just because your body does not absorb fibre, however, that does not mean it does not use it. Eating a high fibre diet has been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The other problem with fruit juices is that they have calories that don’t fill us up – drinking nutrients is less satisfying than eating or chewing them. Our bodies don’t recognize liquid calories as well as whole foods, making it easy to drink more than one glass.

On the topic of juicing, juice cleanses probably wont help you lose weight. While it may help you drop a few kilos in the short term, there’s not any scientific data to suggest that they help burn fat or lead to sustained weight loss over time. In terms of detoxing, well… thankfully we have a liver and some kidneys that do all the detoxing our bodies need.

100% fruit juices can be part of a healthy diet, but only if consumed in a small quantity. Drinking fruit juice can especially be a positive for people who struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if you are worried about the sugar content of juices, opting for green juice (juice that is made entirely or primarily from vegetables) is a smarter choice.  Be sure to check the nutrition label before buying juice to be sure the product contains 100% juice, with no added sugars.

The best drink in the world in my opinion? Water.

Shani

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Baked Apple Chips

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is around the corner! When I think of Rosh Hashanah, I think of all things sweet and round. While you could simply serve some sliced apples with honey and call your Rosh Hashanah a success, I like to get a little more creative with my recipes.

I don’t know why it took me so long to make, because this is probably the EASIEST recipe. Let me introduce you to homemade baked apple chips. All you have to do is core the apples, slice them thinly into rounds, toss in cinnamon and then bake. They do take a while in the oven, but let me tell you these apple chips are totally worth the wait! Pure apples. It doesn’t get much healthier than this. Long, low-heat baking dehydrates the apple slices so they become wonderfully crunchy once they cool. They are a healthy snack the whole family will love.

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Yes, you can buy them at the shops. But this version is cheaper and healthier. Store bought apple chips may not be as good for the waistline as you think as they may be made with oil and often contain added sugars as well.

An apple a day keep the doctor away, and for good reason. Apples are extremely rich in antioxidants and dietary fibre. Cinnamon too is a great source of fibre and a powerful antioxidant. Since ancient times this fragrant spice has been popular for its medicinal properties. Current research suggests that cinnamon may play a role in the management of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It may also enhance brain function and protect against Parkinson’s Disease.

There are a few tricks I use to make them extra crunchy and crispy. Firstly, slice your apples super thin. If they are too thick, they will turn out to be mushy – still delicious, but I quite like the crunch. Use a mandolin to make it easier. Another secret is to bake the apples at a super low temperature in the oven. If they aren’t as crunchy as you want you can increase the baking time. Once they are done baking, keep them inside the oven instead of removing them and letting them cool at room temperature. This well help the apple chips crunch up much quicker.

I tend to go for pink lady apples – they’re definitely the sweetest which means I don’t add any sugar to the cinnamon.

Method

  1. Wash the apples.
  2. Remove the core of each apple. Using a mandolin or a slicer, cut the apples crosswise into thin slices.
  3. Toss the apple slices in cinnamon.
  4. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 120 degrees for 1 hour 30 minutes. Flip the apple slices at 45 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven off and keep the apple chips inside as the oven cools down.
  7. Store the apple chips at room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Screenshot 2019-09-27 at 07.33.40

You can eat them as a snack on their own, or why not add them as a topper to your salad? Next time, try them out with nutmeg too! Or include it in a trail mix with some nuts and seeds.

Healthy, cheap, easy and addictive! Besides for cutting the apples and flipping them once in the oven, it is pretty much a ‘hands off’ recipe. Recipes where I have to do as little work as possible are my favourite.

Here’s to a sweet New Year!

Shani

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My Delicious Apple and Pomegranate Salad

Today, in anticipation of the Jewish New Year, I’m sharing this fancy shmancy (not really) salad with an incredibly delicious dressing! I think it’s the pomegranate seeds that give this salad that ‘fancy’ feel… like little jewels. Both apples and pomegranates have symbolic significance during Rosh Hashana – so why not try feature them in this delectable and healthy salad?

The naturally sweet and savory combination of ingredients married together in this salad will make your taste buds smile. This salad is packed with nutrition rich ingredients bursting with flavour and irresistible textures. The best part is it all comes together in 15 minutes so that you can nourish your body and get back to cooking the rest of the dinner without any worries. For a well-rounded meal, I think it would even be great topped with some left over roast chicken.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 7 cups baby spinach leaves, washed
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 pink lady apples, washed, cored and sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup walnutsimage

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup xylitol
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: ground pepper

Method

  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach leaves, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Toss to mix well.
  3. Just before serving top with the apple slices and avocado.
  4. Top with the dressing and enjoy!

 

Here are some ways to change it up:

  • Mix your greens. Think butter lettuce, rocket and kale.
  • Try pistachios or cashew nuts instead of walnuts. And if you are feeling naughty, why not try home-made candied almonds.
  • If you are making fish for mains, consider topping the salad with some crumbled feta.
  • If you’d like to stay away from the vinegar in the dressing, swap it out for lemon juice.
  • Last but not least, consider some other toppings and ingredients: poppy seeds, chia seeds, beetroot and mint!

Trust me, all of the flavours and textures of the salad are out of this world! Once you take your first bite, you just get more enticed to devour the entire bowl. Best of all, it is loaded with dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. What a healthy way to start off the New Year!?

Wishing all of my Jewish readers, patients and friends a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Shani

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Brocc n Roll!

If you are trying to encourage the picky eaters in your life to eat their greens, then you’ll love this roasted broccoli side dish that’ll leave everyone coming back for more!

Broccoli is great for its anti-inflammatory properties. It provides us with numerous antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fibre – great for our cardiovascular system, protection from certain cancers and digestive support.

Did you know? One cup of broccoli has the same amount of vitamin C as an orange? Aside from vitamins A and C, broccoli is also an excellent source of iron and potassium. The more intense the colour the higher the nutritional value of the broccoli.

It protects our gut microbiota (the healthy bacteria in your gut) which is very important for people with digestive disorders. With this said however, most of my patients who come to me with digestive problems often can’t tolerate eating raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. It causes a lot of bloating and gas. In order to combat this and still get the nutritional boost broccoli has to offer, simply steam or cook it to make it more easily digestible!

One of my favourite ways to save time in the kitchen is roasting a sheet pan of veg (check out this recipe here: Rainbow Roasted Veg). But, I wanted to try something new last night… and this side of broccoli  was simply delicious and super easy to make! Packed full of flavour and crunch, it paired rather well with my roasted lemon and ginger chicken! Four steps? Seven ingredients? Seriously? What more could you ask for?

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of raw washed broccoli
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ lemon thinly slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Garnish options: pine nuts, almonds, fresh chillis, red pepper flakes

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your baking sheet with baking paper or use Spray n Cook.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients to coat the broccoli.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. About half way through stir everything around making sure the broccoli is cooked on both sides (you can sneak in a taste here to add more flavouring if you’d like – remember to go easy on the salt).
  4. Once the broccoli is crisp on the outside take out of the oven, add your garnish and serve immediately, or if you’re making it ahead of time allow it to cool before putting into an airtight container for storage in the refrigerator.

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Try it out, and let me know how it goes!

P.S. Don’t forget to make extra for lunch tomorrow!

Shani

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