Category Archives: Nat’s Kitchen

Carrot tops to the rescue!

Hey there Team!
I hope that you are all doing well, and have something nice planned for the weekend. There are so many fresh vegetables around at this time of the year. One of my favorites is carrots.

Here is a question: When you buy fresh carrots, what do you do with the green tops?
Do you just cut them off and throw them away? I used to do that for years, until I found out that you can actually eat them. Carrot greens are really nutritious, and good for you,  just like the actual carrot itself, so do take advantage and eat the greens as well. Also, eating these greens creates less waste. What’s not to like?

You can eat them raw, but unless they are super fresh it’s maybe not the best way to do it. You could add them to a green smoothie of course, or use it for a home made pesto. The one version I tend to use the most is just to slightly cook them with other veggies. Just like I would if I was using spinach or kale.

You could also put them in a soup or stir-fry them in a pan. The stems can be a bit chewier so you might want to cut them up quite fine, and put the fine leafy tips in at the very end as they cook very fast. Just try it out and see what you like the best!

Quick tip! Cut the very top off the carrot off, with the greens still attached to it. Then put the ends in a bit of water and place in the fridge. This way the carrot tops stay fresh for another couple of days. Then you can choose the most convenient day for you to cook with them.

A little while ago I was attending a lecture on nutrition in Amsterdam. The speaker told us how one of his best friends, who works in agriculture, said that whenever they want to “clean” soil that had been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, they would plant carrots as they were really good at absorbing all of that. For that reason, even though carrots are not on the top of the dirty dozen list,  he told us to never buy non-organic carrots. It’s just not worth the gamble.

Growing carrots with kids is a great way for them to take an interest in vegetables and cooking. Don’t have a garden – no problem. Just get a larger pot and plant some carrot seeds in there. Easy! You don’t always need a lot of space for something to grow.

If you have never used carrot greens before, I do hope that this post have inspired you to try it out. Get that extra boost of Vitamin A and enjoy those extra greens on your plate!

Have an amazing weekend rescuing those carrot tops!
😉

 

 


Photo by Nathalie Visser
Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash

A Nutritionally Complete Creamy Oatmeal Recipe

Hey Team!
How is everyone doing? A lot of people tend to be looking for healthy recipe options in January, after the over indulgences in December. This oatmeal recipe is one of my absolute favorites. The taste is great and it fills you right up. It has all of the good stuff, none of the bad, and it is also easy to adjust to fit your personal taste.

No milk of any kind is required for this recipe. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you get the gluten free oats. I call this recipe “nutrionally complete” because it has a great mixture of healthy carbs, protein, fats and fiber.

Creamy Oatmeal - Dairy Free (for 1 person)
1 ripe banana (or apple, berries)
1- 1.5 dL Oats (pre-soaked is good but not a must, use small flakes or large)
3 dL water (adjust-soaked or not, and how you like it)
pinch of sea-salt
1.5 Tablespoon chia seed
2 large Tablespoons hemp seed
1 Tablespoon Nutbutter (almond, hazelnut,...)

Method:
Mash the banana with a fork, add the oats, chia-seed, sea-salt and water.
Bring it to a boil while stirring, then lower heat and stir occasionally.
After a few minutes when the consistency is good (if you find it too thick you can always add more water), turn off the heat.
Add the hemp seed and nut butter and mix it in.
If you want to make it fancy, cut up some fruit and put on top, and/or sprinkle with a few nuts. Add cinnamon – it’s a natural anti-oxidant, which will support your immune system.
Ready to serve!

Some things to think about:
Oats
are high in fiber, phytochemicals and nutritional value. It is also believed that oats can lower cholesterol, help diabetics with weight management, and  has anti-cancerous effects[1,2]. Great reasons for including more oats into your diet if you ask me!

If you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, then start out with a small amount of oats and chia seeds. (In that case adjust the amount of water accordingly.) When you quickly add a lot more fiber to your diet, you might get some extra gas and bloating in the beginning. That is because your gut is not used to it. But with time, you will increase the number of good bacteria that loves fiber. This is a really good thing for your health. So, slowly increase the amount over time, and it should be no problem.

If your liver is a bit sluggish, or you have a stagnant lymph system, you want to go easy on the nutbutter and extra nuts. That’s because fat is being transported by the lymph system, and if it’s sluggish, adding more fat to the system, even when it’s good fats, is probably not the best idea.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Have fun experimenting with it until you find the version that you like the most.

Enjoy your creamy oatmeal this weekend!
🙂


[1]Nutritional advantages of oats:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/

[2] Oats and diabetes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037534/

More reading on oats:
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/oats/

Cashew Milk in Three, Two, One – Done!

Cashew milk is a a great substitute for normal milk. Whether you are trying to be dairy free for a while or are just looking for things to mix it up, cashew milk is a great start. It is so easy to make yourself that you really cannot go wrong. Full of nutrition and good fats, it’s  a great addition to a healthy diet. A lot of the ready made “lactose-free” milks out there still contain a lot of extra stuff that you do not want, like refined sugar, food coloring, and different preservatives. Why not get rid of all that junk by doing it yourself? Trust me – it really is super easy!

 

Method:
Soak 130g raw organic cashews (2.3dl/ 1 cup) in cold water over night.
– The next morning –
Rinse the cashews and drain
Put them in a mixer* together with:
1 L water
a tiny bit of sea-salt
1 teaspoon maple syrup/ honey
Mix it on high for about a minute…and
Done!

Store the cashew milk in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Shake it up before using. With the Vitamixer I don’t feel the need to strain the milk, but of course you could if you want an absolute sediment free cashew milk. In that case pour the mixture through a very fine mesh strainer, or use a nut bag for this particular purpose.

You can play around with the amount of water to cashews until you find a texture that you really like. The less amount of water you use, the creamier your milk will be. Use it as substitute for any recipe that calls for milk or in your coffee. It’s a great addition to that cold brewed coffee we talked about last week. The type of maple syrup or honey you use can also greatly vary the taste, which can be really fun depending  on what you want to use it for. Just try it out!

Extra tip: If you forgot to put the cashews in water the night before, you can make a short cut and save yourself. Boil some water and cover the cashews with it. Within 20 minutes you can follow the recipe as if you had soaked them over night. Why not always do this? For one, when you are heating things up you will loose some of the nut’s nutrition and raw qualities. It also seems to spoil quicker, and I find the taste better when using cold water.

Enjoy experimenting in the kitchen! 😉


*You will need a strong mixer for the best result. I use the Vitamix

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Nathalie Visser

Cold Brewed Coffee in Nat’s Kitchen

Cold Brewed Coffee is definitely a thing in the States, and it is slowly making its way into Europe. I even saw some in the local supermarket the other day. But, hang on – are we even supposed to drink more coffee?

Well, when it comes to coffee, two things are for sure. Number one: it is one of the most heavily sprayed produce on the market (pesticide, herbicide, fungicide) so always choose organic.
Number two: It is a stimulant. This means that it will put your nervous system into sympathetic mode aka “fight and flight”, which puts you on high alert and gets you ready to run away from that potential bear. Sometimes this is a good thing, and just what you are after. But, if you are constantly hitting that stimulant button throughout the day, it is going to exhaust your nervous system.  Further  down the line this could  lead to sleeping problems and becoming “burned out”. So, the moral of the story is this, choose your moments of organic coffee drinking with care, “less is more”, and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Now that we have that out of the way, what is up with cold brewed coffee? I first heard of it about 1 year ago, and thought it sounded absurd. Cold coffee – yuk! On my latest trip to New York City I got the chance to try a couple of different ones though, and the taste was a very pleasant surprise. There might actually be something to this cold brewed craze after all! As it is very easy to make yourself, I decided to try a couple of different methods at home. Rather than using hot water for a short period of time, you use cold water for a very long period of time.

During summer time this is really the perfect coffee to drink, I think. The bonus of steeping the coffee grounds in cold water, rather than hot, is that it makes the coffee a lot less acidic, and more smooth to the taste. Less acidity should also make it easier on the teeth and stomach. A lot of people also notice a difference regarding their stomach when switching to organic coffee, so give it a go if you haven’t already.

Nat’s Cold Brewed Coffee:
Ideally start this process in the early evening, that way you have great cold brewed coffee for the morning. It takes about 12-16 hours. There are many ways to make a cold brew, this is one method that I find super easy and tasty.

Tools You Need:
1 glass Jar (holding at least 500ml)
500ml of water
a fine mesh strainer/coffee filter
40gram Coffee beans
coffee grinder (or get the beans ground at the store)

Method:
Grind 40g of organic coffee beans
on the most coarse setting (largest grind). This is a very important step. If you use coffee that is finely ground, your coffee will become acidic and not taste good due to the long extraction time.
Pour the ground beans into the glass jar.
Pour the 500ml of water into the jar and stir with a spoon for a second or two.
-Optional Extra step- After an hour or two, stir the mix again.
Put a lid on the jar and put in the fridge for about 12-16h.
– Have yourself a great evening –
After the 12-16 hours, (Good morning!) use a fine mesh strainer to strain the coffee grounds. (I prefer a fine mesh stainless steal strainer for tea, that way there is no extra waste, or potential contaminants from the coffee filter.)

What you are left with is an awesome cold brewed coffee concentrate. So for your cup of coffee, you want to add some water. I typically will go 50/50 but this is obviously a taste preference. Or, you could add a splash of cashew milk to make it a real treat! Cashew milk is a great substitute for dairy, and it’s so easy to make. But, more on that for next week.

Remember to drink responsibly and have a great weekend!
😉

 


Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
Photo by Nathalie Visser

Quick Tip – Asparagus

We are still lucky enough to be in the season where we have fresh asparagus. I really like this vegetable! Not only does it make any dish a little extra fancy, but it also packs an amazing punch nutrient wise. Asparagus is also very easy to prepare, so what’s not to like?!

Quick Tip!

Cut off about 1 cm (1/2" for my metrically challenged friends) when you get home from shopping. Put the Asparagus in water, just as if they were flowers. No matter what shape they were in when you bought them, they will recover really well, and they will also last longer.

This way you could cook them a few days after buying them, and they will just be as fresh as if you had just gotten them that day.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) have great nutritional value and especially contains a lot of Vitamin K. For these reasons it is often recommended in Detox programs. As with most vegetables, it is also high in fiber which helps with good digestion.

One of the ways I like to eat Asparagus is like this: Slice them up in fine pieces, throw them in a medium to hot pan with a bit of apple cider vinegar, together with some onion and mushrooms. Cover with a lid until the right tenderness is achieved. Add a bit of olive oil, some fresh ground pepper and you’re done!

 

 

Enjoy your bouquet of fresh asparagus!
😉

 

 


Photo by Nathalie Visser
https://draxe.com/asparagus-nutrition/
https://www.styleoga.it/en/detox-with-asparagus/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas, MD