winter fruit + watercress salad

mains, recipes, salads

As we enter the new year there is a lot of talk/goals/resolutions around healthy eating, detoxing, eating ‘clean’ and getting back on the wagon.

I am not a resolution maker, I do not like short-term detoxes and I do not believe you are on or off a wagon. I think every day is a new day. Every day we can make choices about how to fuel or not fuel or bodies and guilt belongs nowhere near our dinner tables. Amen?

Sometimes making a choice that you will feel good about just needs to be the easy choice. Quick. Healthy. Seasonal. Simple. This recipe will surely jazz up your winter with each sweet + flavour bursting bite.

Serves [1-2 mains] or [3–4  sides] / Prep time: 10 minutes

Salad Ingredients 

1 bunch watercress
1 large or 2 small apples
1 cup pomegranate seeds
handful of hazelnuts, or nut of your choice

Dressing Ingredients 

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup high-quality olive or walnut oil
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

 

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Instructions: 

  1. Cut apple into quarters and core. Slice thinly into bite-sized pieces
  2. Trim and compost the thick stems from the watercress, carefully wash leaves and thinner upper stems well in cold water, then gently pat or spin dry.
  3. Mix together oil, vinegar, mustard and sweetener in a small jar, and shake to mix.
  4. Divide greens onto 3 or 4 plates, and top with equal amounts of sliced apple.
  5. Drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat (or more if desired), and sprinkle with pomegranate and seeds.

 

What are some of your favourite healthy winter fruits or salad go-tos? Happy new year and have a delicious week!

x

 

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paleo pumpkin bars

breakfast, holidays, snacks, treats

They started off as a weekend treat. Then a quick breakfast option and onto an after-gym snack. They are pretty much just always around these days.

This pumpkin bar recipe from the Detoxinista has been a weekly staple for us this season. Canned pumpkin is hard to come by in this city but we had some generous visitors come through Edinburgh and they brought us canned pumpkin from the States… they know me too well!

They are moist. Pumpkiny. Warm. Comforting. And the closest thing I got to pumpkin pie, that is GF, DF, and refined sugar-free this year. They have been the perfect alternative and great with a morning cup of joe.

I have successfully reintroduced a couple of key spices here after following the AIP. If you have yet to incorporate nutmeg and clove into your diet, look at the link here for a vegan and AIP-friendly recipe for pumpkin bars from Cook It Up Paleo.

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Paleo Pumpkin Bars

Makes 12 bars

Ingredients:

15 oz. pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Coconut oil, for greasing the pan

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C
  2. Grease a 9×9 baking tray well with coconut oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.
  4. Transfer batter to the greased baking tray, smooth the top.
  5. Bake at for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is firm.
  6. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.
  7. Share with your people, enjoy!

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Notes

  • Coconut flour is a unique GF flour to use in baking. This recipe relies on using coconut flour and a substitution is not as straight forward as you might think. If you would like to use a different flour substitute look here for an almond flour recipe from Elana’s Pantry.
  • These bars will store well in the fridge for a few days (if they last that long!)
  • Try a pumpkin pie spice blend for ease and perfect ratios.

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What healthy treats do you or your families make every year? The past few years my mom makes delicious crust-less pies for the holidays. Instead of a traditional pie crust, she makes the most delicious base of ground nuts, coconut oil and agave nectar or maple syrup. See a similar recipe here

I can attest that this recipe is a delicious addition while you are putting up your Christmas decorations. I hope you are having a lovely start to your December and Advent season.

Have a delicious week, x!

 

 

 

 

harvest salad with roasted winter squash

dressing, mains, salads

I am always on Team Salad. Warm months. Snowy months. Year-round.

Sometimes when we transition from summer to fall, we need a warm hug and that is what this harvest bowl is all about- sweet and savoury – warm and crunchy – light yet satiating and full of seasonal goodness.

This harvest bowl is ridiculously healthy as it is  loaded with four kinds of fiber-rich and nutrient dense vegetables.  The maple-balsamic dressing adds a sweet kick and so dang good. I am wanting to put it on everything right now.

This time of year is the height of gourd (such a funny word) and root vegetable season. I find these vegetables to be incredibly warm, comforting and that they satisfy my hunger in these darker winter months. Why not enjoy the best of what the season has to offer? This harvest bowl brings so many great autumn flavours together.

 

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This salad is simple. While the squash is baking, simply sauté your seeds or nuts to crunchy perfection and blend up the super simple dressing. After the squash is roasted, assemble the salad and get ready for the flavor disco!

Harvest Salad with Roasted Winter Squash

Serves 4 small / 2 mains

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • ground sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

 Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C
  2. Cut the acorn squash into quarters and the butternut squash in half (longways) scoop out seeds and press the flesh a few times with a fork.
  3. Cut the acorn squash into 1/2 inch slices and dice the butternut squash into bite size chunks.
  4. Drizzle the squash with the oil and rub it around to coat, being sure to fully coat.
  5. Lay squash on a baking tray, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 35-45 minutes. * Test readiness by outer crispy edges and easy to pierce flesh. Be sure to occasionally stir the tray to prevent burning.
  6. Set aside to cool
  7. In a small food processor, blend all dressing ingredients until smooth and combined.
  8. Combine all the salad ingredients,  in a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  9. Share with your people and enjoy! notes below 

 

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Notes

  • Toppings: For a festive addition, use pomegranate, baked apples, or stewed cranberries.
  • Top with any nut or seed of your choice for a little extra crunch. Feeling like a creamy or tangy option? A soft cheese like goat or feta should do the trick!
  • Rubbing the raw kale with olive oil for a few minutes leaves it tender and takes away the bitterness (also easier to digest, read more here from Nutrition Stripped)
  • The dressing can be prepared ahead of time and will keep up to 3 days

 

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As always, I would love to hear if you try the recipe!  What are your favorite ways to use winter vegetables this time of year?

 

Have a delicious week!

x

 

roasted beet + blackberry salad with balsamic dressing

appetizer, dressing, mains, salads

 

I have a wildly delicious food spectrum this time of year.

My favourite thing to eat is a big, warm, bowl of comfort food from the slow cooker. My second favourite, on the other end of the spectrum, is a huge fall harvest salad.

Harvest salads are full of foods that are sweet and earthy, like beets, mushrooms, varieties of squash, pumpkin and root vegetables… If you are not a beet fan, I think that this salad could possibly change your mind. Roasting beets brings out their stunning colour and a natural sweetness that is hard to resist.

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What I love about this recipe is the mix of earthy beetroot with sweet blackberries – a flavour pairing that is gorgeous, not just visually (look at those deep gemlike colours!) but also in the way they balance each other. There is a lot of room for texture pairing here as well. A crunchy seed or nut with the softness of crumbled cheese or the soft roasted beets tastes right on.

But really, the fusion of blackberry and the balsamic dressing is truly where the tastebud disco takes place.  This dressing is so easy and we always keep a jar of it handy.

As I become more passionate about eating seasonally, we save money and it makes meal planning easier because I know what produce to expect at the store, and they’re usually on sale (one of the beautiful things about buying seasonal/local is that the item is usually in surplus!)

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ROASTED BEET + BLACKBERRY SALAD WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING

Ingredients

Serves 2 Main or 4 sides | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes

For the salad:

  • 6 cups of fresh greens (your pick, I had kale and spinach on hand)
  • 2 shredded fennel (watch this YouTube clip)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted beets (approx 4 large)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled cheese (if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, or toasted seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions

1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 425°F /220 °C. With a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets and chop them into small pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. In an oven safe dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast them in their packet for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow the beets to cool.

2. While the beets are cooking prepare the fennel. I found this YouTube video most helpful because this was the first time I cooked fennel. Be sure you put the ‘furry stuff’, aka dill, to the side, you can garnish your salad with it.

3. The dressing is super easy.  In a small jar, or other glass container, whisk all the ingredients together. Tighten lid + shake the dressing together.

4.The presentation and assembly of your salad- my favorite part. Divide the greens between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with half the beets, half the blueberries, half the fennel, half the cheese (if you are going for it), and top with half the crunchy seeds or nut. Drizzle the salad with the dressing or serve on the side.

5. Enjoy the tastebud disco!

As always, I hope you have a delicious week. Let me know if you try the salad and what your favourite fall recipes are! x

 

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garlic+ herb turkey sausage

breakfast, recipes, sides

I love breakfast and I am such a crank if I skip it or do not get enough to eat in the morning.

One of my biggest challenges since going Auto-Immune Protocol [AIP] in February of this year are breakfasts. Egg-free breakfasts can be difficult in the paleo world and many store bought sausages are heavily processed, full of sugar and usually not gluten free.

Thankfully, there are loads of amazing AIP cookbooks and resources out there, so finding all kinds of breakfast inspiration is easy as toast (well, not toast, but you know what I mean).

This recipe for turkey sausage is easy to make in bulk, can be frozen and are quick to reheat in the morning. I usually eat them along with a big bowl of sautéed breakfast greens,- kale, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato hash, whatever is on hand- and a side of some delicious, heaping scoop of fermented food like sauerkraut or kimchi. At lunch, they are perfect on top of salad or between two thin slices of roasted sweet potato with avocado mash, whoa!

Makes 16, 1 oz. patties or 8, 2 oz. patties 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (approx 500g) ground lean turkey breast
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbs lime juice
  • 1-2 tbs mixed dry herbs (or something similar)
  • coconut oil (optional, for cooking)

 

Directions

It is this easy.

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until it reaches an even consistency
  2. Knead with hands or wooden spoon
  3. Heat skillet to medium heat
  4. Mold 1-2 oz (smaller than a golf ball) patties with hands and place in skillet
  5. Turn every 5 minutes, until both sides are brownish/goldish and fully cooked, the middle should no longer be pink
  6.  Repeat until the mix is done

Notes

– I did not add any oil to my pan to cook these. I found that adding a little water to the pan (because they are lean, not a lot of fat to cook in) when they were sticking did the trick. But if you prefer oil, just add bit of coconut oil to the pan before adding patties.

-The mixed herbs + fresh garlic add a burst of flavour but feel free to experiment.

-You can also play with the patty size to pre-ration how much you want to be eating.  When I batch-cook, I make them on the small side so that I can be flexible about portions and use them with other meals for a couple of days.

 

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I would love to hear what your delicious and quick go-to breakfast items are. As always, have a delicious day!

x

menu plan monday

breakfast, food, mains, recipes, salads

It has been awhile since I created a Meal Plan Monday post! 

I guess there are few reasons – while Ryan is away, I am only cooking for one,  and I have been doing a lot more experiential cooking with the things I have on hand or finding random inspiration on a Wednesday night via Pinterest. I am also getting through items in our freezer + pantry and picking up seasonal produce on my walks home from work. Although the actual planning process has been a little unpredictable, I have still been putting together delicious, healthy and affordable AIP meals.

This week will be slowing down a bit, which helps with planning and returning to my well-planned grocery shop haul. The plan… is to plan when I can, not stress when I can’t, and to be reminded of why I love to cook. Having any kind of chronic illness related to diet and nutrition has the potential of causing added stress in the kitchen. But this healing journey through AIP has truly made it more enjoyable.

BREAKFAST

Does anyone else feel like you might be breaking the law if you opt for vegetables for breakfast? It definitely feels like some rule is being broken if you get out of the sweet-baked-smoothie, egg-box, doesn’t it? Growing up, I would watch my granddad eat green peppers, tomatoes, sauerkraut and rye bread every morning. I though he was crazy and reached for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Veggies are a great way to start the day. I have been experimenting with this and I actually feel fuller longer, and I have noticed that my body handles a warm savoury breakfast much better than a sweet or cold breakfast. Don’t know why but if anyone does… enlighten me! Although I do love a good pancake or creamy fruit smoothie bowl, I have enjoyed this new routine. For the recipes below, I will be adding shredded chicken or homemade turkey sausage,egg yolks and a heaping cup of probiotic-full sauerkraut (thanks Grandpa) to really maximise my first meal of the day with nutrient density.

AIP Veggie Hash

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AIP Spring Vegetable Breakfast Soup

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Fennel, Apple + Pomegranate Salad

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LUNCH + DINNERS

Interesting side note… this week I read that a third of office workers eat exactly the same lunch, every day, for an average of four and a half years! Whoa! I am definitely guilty of weeks like this, but I am learning that it is so SO important for our gut-health to provide variety and not rely too heavily on the same foods over and over. I typically bring huge amounts of dark leafy greens and lettuce and to put together a massive salad at work. The toppings depend on what I have on hand, but it’s usually shredded chicken, cucumbers, beets, avocados, celery, shredded carrot, … really any vegetable. If I have leftovers from dinner, I dollop that on top of my salad. These selections feature a recipes that would be easy to batch-cook for dinners at the beginning of the week and top up my lunch bowls.

AIP Turmeric Chicken Salad

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Cucumber, Carrot + Avocado Salad

Carrot Mash

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Mayo-free Chicken Salad

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Roasted Beet, Pear + Walnut Salad

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Roasted Spring Vegetables 

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Sweet Potato Picnic Salad

sweet potato aip recipe

Wha-la. Here is to a week of nutrient-dense and low stress cooking! 

I am really interested in seasonal eating and buy as much local/seasonal produce + meat/seafood as we can. There is a great website, Eat the Seasons, where you can look up what is in season every week of the year. The recipes that I will be trying out this week include many ‘July’ produce items – which keeps the diet varied, but also means you save a bit a money, invest in the local economy and eat fresh food. Win!

I would love to know how you prepare for the week and what meal planning tips you have. 

Have a delicious Monday.

x

warm turmeric roasted beet + sweet pea salad

mains, recipes, salads, sides

Salad is my favourite food and this time of year I am constantly tossing them together. There are so many creative and delicious ways to dress up leafy greens! They top my list because they are quick, nutrient-dense, budget-friendly and the toppings are endless. This recipe combines the anti-inflammatory spice of turmeric with warm roasted beetroot and sweet spring garden peas. Simply drizzle with a bit of balsamic and you are good to go.

Ingredients

3 red beets, roots and stems removed
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric + ginger powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh spring onion
3/4 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas, thawed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C

2. Wrap red beets loosely in foil. Place in a roasting pan; roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until just tender. Cool completely. Peel beets, and cut into quarters; sprinkle with garlic salt and tumeric powder, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil + vinegars stirring constantly with a whisk. Add beets; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with tumeric, ginger powder + garlic salt.

4. Prepare bowl(s) with lettuce mix and top with chopped celery, peas and marinated beets.

5. Share with your people, or enjoy solo. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Looking to add some protein? This salad will be fantastic with roast chicken or grilled salmon
  • If you tolerate dairy, some goat cheese would be the perfect compliment to the sweet beets and peas.
  • Add a little extra crunch with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • This recipe inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to look through. Next time I make this, I will definitely be adding heaps of avocado.

 

Have a delicious week and let me know, what are your go-to spring inspired salads?

x

 

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green coconut smoothie

breakfast, dessert, food, recipes, snacks

I think we can agree fruits and vegetables are good for you. But do you struggle to get all of your greens in for the day?

Maybe you are ready to mix up your morning routine. Want to feel like Superwoman (or man…) from all the greens you consume before your 9am start at work? Raise your hand if you want brighter skin, happy bowels and a slimmer waist?! Give green smoothies a go- they are super healthy, easy to make, and they just might turn you into a morning person.

This smoothie recipe uses fresh fruits and dark, leafy greens. Green smoothies are defined by their use of leafy greens like spinach, kale (most nutrition value per calorie out of any plant!), chard, collards, and even dandelion greens (so good for detoxing) to get tons of vitamins and minerals and give your body the plant-based nutrients it craves.

5 REASONS TO LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES

  1. Easy way to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet every single day. If you struggle with salads and eating green, you might find this doable.
  2. Natural weight loss can be an additional side effect of enjoying these in place of a typical breakfast. Be sure to include healthy fats and protein to make it a more complete and balanced meal.
  3. The immune-boosting benefits of green smoothies are a good preventative measure to keep the flu bugs away. And a simple way to boost your immune system when you are feeling under the weather.
  4. Green smoothies provide natural energy. I have cut back on my caffeine intake as a result because I feel a pep in my step and they help to keep the morning slump at bay.
  5. Quick, easy to make, and portable (if it even lasts long enough to make it out the door) and delicious! It is the best ‘fast food’ for the morning especially if you prep ahead.

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This book peaked my interest in a morning smoothie ritual. Eat. Nourish. Glow by Amelia Freer- the Queen of all things delicious and healthy. Check out her entire archive of juice and smoothie recipes and how we can use food as medicine. Full of practical advice, I find myself empowered to make healthy decisions about the food I buy and kick unhealthy habits that can make me feel sluggish and exhausted. Amelia makes it easy.

This green coconut smoothie recipe is full of fresh greens and fruit; avocado +coconut that provide healthy fats; banana that creates a creamy, sweet base; coconut milk adds creaminess and complements the flavours from fresh produce.

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Ingredients

  • 8oz/230ml coconut milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 8oz water
  • 1 kiwi fruit or granny smith apple
  • ½ banana (preferably ripe and frozen pieces)
  • 3 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 2 celery sticks
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ground ginger
  • shredded unsweetened coconut

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Method

  1. Start with dairy-free milk and water, pour into blender.
  2. Add leafy greens, blend until smooth and leafy chunks are gone.
  3. Add remaining, diced fruit + veg, blend again until smooth.
  4. Pour into a large glass (or a mason jar, you hipster, you).
  5. Gulp, sip or pour into a bowl and add some delicious toppings (see below).

Notes

  • If your smoothie is too thick, add some extra liquid (water or dairy alternative) and blend for a few seconds to thin.
  • If your blender is struggling to make things smooth, try blending your greens and liquid together first, then add the fruit and blend a second time.
  • Enjoy getting creative with some nutritious toppings: a quality protein powder, dried coconut, fresh berries, cacao powder, cinnamon, maca powder, nuts, seeds or a spoonful of nut butter.

Use this helpful guide from simplegreensmoothies.com to get your creative juices flowing and try your own variation

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What are you favourite smoothie recipes? Looking for some additional smoothie or juicing inspiration? Here are my all time favourites:

  • Green Kitchen Stories  – an entire cookbook dedicated to smoothies. Yes, dreams do come true and the photography (if you’re into it) is top notch.
  • Minimalist Baker – lots of delicious smoothie bowl recipes. For those of us that prefer to shovel it in with a spoon and can’t be bothered with a straw.
  • Deliciously Ella  –  known for her nutritious and healing recipes, Ella has loads of quick smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes available for free on her website.

 

Enjoy! x

 

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citrus + pomegranate mint salad

breakfast, dessert, holidays, salads, treats

 

I don’t know about you, but when I like something I stick to it.

I can always count on my Oma to have full, juicy bowls of oranges and grapefruits around during Christmas and Easter. Maybe because she knows it is the perfect antidote to all the overindulgence of the holidays. I have fond memories of watching my Papa sit at the kitchen counter helping her to peel all of the membranes from every slice- he hated the white stuff, he was determined, and checked and re-check that every seed was out of the bowl.

This year as we celebrated Easter brunch with friends, I decided to keep the tradition going with a little twist – pomegranate and mint. Best served chilled, it is perfectly sweet and slightly tart, refreshing and very easy to put together.

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This salad is a showstopper, requires very little work and feels like a fancy salad despite it only being four ingredients. It is easy enough to make for yourself for breakfast but also to serve guests. This recipe is AIP (auto immune protocol) compliant, in season (yep, November till July) and packed with nutrients.

  • Grapefruit is extra good for you this time of year with plenty of immune-boosting Vitamin C to help fight off colds, lycopene for glowing skin, and free-radical fighting antioxidants. I eat a grapefruit every day because it is perfect for hitting the metabolism-reset button. Pow!
  • Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer. A glass of pure pomegranate juice has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, blueberries, and cranberries.
  • Mint is a great palate cleanser and promotes digestion. It also soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation.

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Ingredients

1 pomegranate

2 large navel oranges
2 pink grapefruits
Fresh mint 

Method

  • Place the pomegranate on a surface that won’t stain. Do not wear white. And follow this link for the easy way to remove pomegranate seeds. When finished, pick out any bits of the white membrane so all that remains in the bowl are seeds and juice.
  • For the oranges and grapefruits, cut a small slice off the top and bottom so the fruit can sit flat on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, work your way around the fruits to remove all peel. Carefully cut the segments cross-wise or cut around each segment.

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  • Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves over the sliced citrus
  • Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to share with your people
  • Slurping up the extra juice at the end is an extra treat

Enjoy! x

 

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