The anti-inflammatory — superfood powerhouse — benefits of turmeric tea can now be turned into wine! This has to be one of my proudest health hacks to date. If there’s anything I love more than mixing health & pleasure, I can’t think of what it is. When I started making healthy (low carb) alcoholic ciders, I was enamoured by the world of holistic health possibilities I’d coupled with fun fun fun! You too can make a sparkling alcoholic turmeric drink, from fresh turmeric tea, and reap all of the incredible health benefits of turmeric and the gut healthy probiotics of natural wine (with none of the chemicals responsible for hangovers — WIN).
I came up with this recipe when, after suggesting we make plantbased cabbage rolls, a very helpful friend soaked enough beans for me to feed 20 people. I’d normally make a brown rice & bean mixture for the cabbage roll filling, but we had so many beans—I cut out the rice, added a little oats for binding, and experimented with a nearly all-bean recipe.
The outcome was delicious! To say the least. But I still had a full meal’s worth of bean & oat mixture! So I took the recipe one step further and made vegan meatballs by shaping then sautéing the mixture. They were even better than the cabbage rolls…! Crispy on the outside, soft & warm on the inside—the were delectable.
Vegan Meatballs Recipe:
I never really measure anything. Even when baking bread (it’s turned out not-so-well on occasion). I watched too much Urban Peasant when I was a kid. He just threw everything together by measurements of fistfuls & pinches. So I’m going to say, go by taste with this one.
Cooked beans (I used pinto)
Oats (just enough to soak up the moisture)
Sesame oil (optional)
Braggs (or soy sauce)
Chilli paste or sauce of your choice (I used Indonesian sambal olek)
- Cook the beans in salted boiling water. I actually kind of over-cooked them to the point where they were splitting. I feel that this added to the softness of my dough, but undercooking will add to the binding capacity of the end product.
Tip: for vegan meatballs you can simmer in a sauce, try undercooking the beans & preparing the batter in a blender before adding the oats. You will probably be better off not chilling the beans before.
2. Strain & chill the beans a bit under some cold running water. You’ll want them a bit warm still so you can smash them up a bit. Add all of your chopped up stuff along with a bit of oats to bind the mixture together and work it with your hands (just like meat meatballs). Break up some of the beans to make it a sort of half bean half mush blend.
3. Form into balls and drop into a pan with quite a thick splatter of hot oil lining it. Turn gently until browned all around.
Tip: one of the most overlooked aspects in vegan cooking is making up for the fat loss when cutting out 100% of animal fat from the meal. Don’t be shy with frying food, or drizzling good oils onto cooked food (you can safely do this with any oil—even oil you keep in the fridge will be fine on hot food—you just can’t cook the ones that degenerate with heat). Vegans love french fries for a reason (and it’s not just because that’s all we can eat on most menus) when you cut out meat and dairy there is a whole whack of fat you lose from your diet. Making sure these factors are substituted in vegan cooking is a sure way to make the diet satisfying for you longterm, but also for your friends & family who you’d love to enjoy your food too.
They can be eaten on sandwiches, with potatoes or rice, or served on their own—they go great with ketchup for the kids (think shepherd’s pie feel) or mix some chilli sauce into the red stuff for more mature tastes. You can absolutely eat them with pasta, just drizzle tomato sauce on top of them or even shape them into patties for burgers. I love bringing snacks like these camping, because they’re good hot or cold.
Hope you enjoy your gluten-free, high protein, homemade vegan meatballs as much as I did! Peace & so much LL.
Eureka! They said a pure sourdough baguette couldn’t be done, but sometimes that’s the best impetus for me to make something happen.
I’ll be honest with you, it was reading George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) that made me seriously question my grain-free life choices. The way he writes bread (usually with butter, honey or cheese) really illustrates it in a true light: it’s a staple, a tradition. Food is culture & bread is a hub to the western wheel.
“In a heartbeat, a thousand voices took up the chant. King Joffrey and King Robb and King Stannis were forgotten, and King Bread ruled alone. “Bread.” they clamored. “Bread, Bread!”‘
But I wanted to eat bread in some way that was healthy. I’d had troubles digesting wheat and wasn’t a fan of the carbohydrate load behind bread. It seemed somewhat impossible to get easily digestible, low carbohydrate bread that was healthy. But as I mentioned, sometimes impossibility is the best impetus to revelation.
Behold: sourdough! I learned very quickly that this staple wasn’t traditionally bad for us—we are now preparing it in a way that not only robs it of nutrients, but alters its digestibility. The outcome of cutting traditional corners in bread-baking are the negative affects we collectively attribute to bread itself. It’s not bread’s fault, it’s our love of convenience & our disregard for tradition that birthed this folly. Sourdough white bread is heaps better for you than a whole grain yeasted loaf, and it’s equivalent to whole grain quinoa on the glycemic index. The fermentation process unlocks nutrients in the grain, like sprouting can, and makes them bioavailable to you when you digest. Plus, the probiotics in the fermented loaf are excellent for your body, like yoghurt.
The best defence for respecting tradition I’ve ever heard was that we no longer remember why we started doing things a certain way!
Baking sourdough is… a bit more involved than a yeasted loaf. One of the challenges is texture. A fermented loaf changes texture as it breaks down; it becomes more liquid and softer. The easiest way to bake a cultured bread is in a contained vessel, like the crock pot used in my amazing recipe here. Not only does a vessel contain a loaf regardless of texture, a softer more liquid loaf is easier to get a rise out of. The challenges to making a free-form loaf, like the artisanal style loaves and baguettes (both baked on a stone) are: a. Getting the dough at a perfect moment of fermented-but-still-able-to-hold-shape & b. Getting it to rise while being firmer in texture.
Baguette crumb (the inside yums of the loaf) are notoriously full of big air bubbles—they need a looser freedom to rise. And they are baked on a stone—without any walls to hold them in. So they are especially hard to make 100% pure sourdough. I was told to add yeast to them. That’s the silver bullet. Apparently that is how they are made at every sourdough bakery in France—even those committed to sourdough levain use a bit of yeast. I’m stubborn. I’d just found my magic formula for healthy bread and I wasn’t straying course without a fight. I found another silver bullet, and it was the most unsuspecting one I could imagine: gluten.
I’ve literally spent I-don’t-know-how-many years avoiding gluten—now I’m suddenly adding it to my recipes?! Haha. Yes! I am. I add a tiny bit (less than any recipe I’ve seen) because I’m still averse to it (change is hard) and I found a crispy crunchy crust gets a little harder with more gluten. But just a teaspoon or two in a batch of 4 batons is enough to keep a nice firm bind allowing the dough to stretch out without collapsing—letting big air bubbles form—adding springy texture to the crumb while being little enough to still get a super crunchy crust. I’ve also taken to fridge fermentation now. Although it takes a bit longer, you get a better ferment in the cooler temperature. I appreciate a very sour loaf. It’s healthier, not to mention damn tasty. Plus, the dough keeps longer so I can make a week’s worth of bread in one batch and it will keep getting better as it ages in the fridge.
Here is my recipe (makes 4 batons):
200g Organic Wholewheat Flour
500g Organic White Flour
400g Very Warm Water
1/2 – 1Tb Gluten
Sea Salt (a Tb or 2)
- Combine your starter with almost hot H2O.
- Add Flours and loosely mix. Let sit for 30 minutes (this lets the flour absorb the water before the salt comes to lap it up).
- Add salt. Play with it a bit (aka knead). Let sit an hour covered in a bowl (a tea towel works fine).
- Play with it again. Just work the dough in your hands, the bacteria like air. Let sit for another hour.
- Play with it one more time before laying a piece of clingfilm (saran wrap: my teen years in the UK sometimes show) directly over the dough. So, push it down to touch the dough and tuck it in like a wee fermenting baby.
- Let sit for 24hrs. You can use after 12-16 easily, but I like a really sour loaf so I tend toward at least 24hrs.
- Your dough will have doubled. Slice it in half, put half back in the fridge.
- Halve your half again and shape into loaves.
- Place your loaves in a little baby bread basket made from a well floured tea towel. Pic below. (Keep this tea towel for this purpose. I save mine in a glass container with the plastic wrap to reuse as well!) You want them to come up to room temperature before putting in the oven. It could take 1 to 2 hrs.
- Heat up oven to highest temp possible (500+). I use a stone, if you do not have one, flour up a baking tray. Put a pan in the bottom rack of the oven for steaming.
- Slit batons (or don’t, one time I rolled a baby loaf onto its top in the oven so the slits were on the bottom and it came out with the most beautiful explosion down the centre), put in the oven quickly and pour water into the hot pan creating a super steamy environment for your BBs. Close the door and watch the magic through the window… you should be getting an awesome oven spring (that’s the jump of joy the bread makes while baking)!
- They should be done around the 25 minute mark!
- Cool on a rack. In my house, that’s the toaster oven rack thing.
The rest of the recipe will get better with time in the fridge. But I wouldn’t leave them longer than a week! Super easy to have fresh sourdough baguette always. Note: the longer your dough ferments the less oven spring you’ll get (the amount it rises in the oven) so baguettes made later in the week will have to start in larger segments to get them the same size. They will also be a bit softer as they’ve broken down so much, but they’ll taste wonderful. Note: a super active culture is how I got the big bubbles in the pic with the avocado breakfast. A starter that has been fed even a Tb of flour with its equivalent in water around 4 times in 2-4 days before using will produce the most active culture. Otherwise, a culture fed 6hrs before using will be active enough to produce the bubbles in main header pic. It’s totally up to you and the time you have! For a more traditional loaf style, and adding flavour to sourdough loaves, you can check out my article here. I made an amazing turmeric, sage & black pepper loaf.
For more Get-Healthy life hacks, I hope to see you in my FREE workshop starting April 1st. You can enrol here!
This kale salad should be called “Kale Cleopatra” because, while it is a relation of Caesar’s, it is far more badass.
It’s full of beneficial bacteria, fibre, vital—raw—nutrients, good carbs & tastes AMAZING.
I usually hate salad in the cold season. But not anymore! I don’t know about you, but I tend towards eating seasonally. It’s not something I do consciously, I’m just not usually into the delicate leafy greens all that much in winter. So, salad, as much as I adore the vital nutrients and flavours of raw veg, normally goes out the window in my diet for a good 6 months out of the year. Hearty greens like kale, however, are not only packed with nutrients, fibre & excellent for your digestive system—they’re actually a winter vegetable.
Zut alors! We’ve found a winter salad! I could eat this salad all day long, and would be a good move if I did! Not only does apple cider vinegar have beneficial bacteria that aids your digestive system, it also lowers blood sugar (which is the leading suspect in weight gain & essentially every other negative aspect of consuming carbohydrates), aids weight loss, helps you feel full (this salad is so satisfying), lowers cholesterol & it kills bad bacteria. One of the most challenging, and most dangerous, components of anti-bacterial efforts is the propensity to kill good bacteria as well as bad. This makes apple cider vinegar a somewhat magical weapon. (Level up!)
The homemade croutons are so chewy and crispy from being fried in butter, they make the salad seem really hearty. They’re ends from sourdough bread I make at home (you can find a recipe here). They’re also an excellent carbohydrate because the fermentation process of sourdough makes them low on the glycemic index (at least as low as quinoa—hard to believe, I know, but true). Again, you can find more info on that here.
Then we add the health industry’s darling: kale. It’s anti-inflammatory (this essentially means it prevents everything from muscle soreness to aging–ant-inflammatory is everything) plus it’s full of antioxidants which are as important. This isn’t to mention fibre, a bunch of vitamins, detoxifying properties… Kale is the industry’s darling for a reason. I love kale chips. I eat them … a lot. (I’ll post a recipe soon.) And I can find a million recipes to throw kale into: but all of them are cooked. Getting the raw, vital nutrients from kale (the “most nutrient dense food on the planet”), for me, is rare. There are some really yummy kale salads out there, but this one is woah. The tang from the apple cider, the soft chewy crispy croutons & the bite of the raw kale all come together to make a salad it’s hard to have one bowl of (but with all of the health benefits listed above, who cares, have two—have four)!
Kale Salad Cleopatra:
You can make your own favourite dressing and just sub out apple cider vinegar for the regular acid in the recipe, but always use a good oil. If you have a 3-6-9 or antioxidant blend in your fridge now is the time to use it (same goes for a flax oil, or any other you’ve bought for the benefits). I use olive oil because it’s healthy & it’s what’s on hand. I’m going to leave the amounts to you: I think your body will crave more of an ingredient when it needs it (I’ve been liking a really tart dressing lately and then I’ll opt for a fattier one at other times). I like to make a bunch in advance—you can just store it in a mason jar in the fridge for whenever (the vinegar and oil will both preserve & it keeps a very long time).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
– For a classic emulsification get your blender ready with everything in it save the pepper & oil. (You can always just do the shake in a jar.)
– Turn on the blender, take the plastic cap from the middle of the lid out and slowly add your oil.
– Grind the pepper directly into your emulsification or reserve it for topping the salad.
I like to use a cast iron pan because it actually infuses the food with iron. Really weird, but true. I also buy cultured butter because… I’m obsessed with culture. This is usually unsalted so the croutons will need salt if that’s the case. You can get fancy and add seasoning, but I find they soak up the dressing anyhow, so there’s plenty of flavour. For fat-reduced diets I would reduce the oil in the dressing to make up for the butter here. (But it’s all good fat anyhow, so use your sLund judgement.)
Sea Salt (if butter is unsalted)
– Sautée in a small pan to taste. They will need quite a bit of butter. Start with high heat & turn down.
– Turning occasionally to often in the pan as they get browner and browner.
Ok, this is going to sound a little weird, but trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I want you to wash the kale leaves, take their spines out and give them a rub down. Yes, I want you to massage your kale. Not only will this make the leaves softer and easier to digest, it will actually improve the flavour! Yes, this will take the bitterness out of the kale and produce a much sweeter, softer salad leaf.
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (optional)
– Wash, de-spine, massage in your fingers. You will see the leaves get brighter & brighter green. Rip into bite size pieces. (Ripping is important if you are storing prepared kale for easy meals—it will last longer than being cut with a knife.)
– Throw your super-relaxed kale, croutons & dressing into a bowl and toss. You can then top with ground black pepper, maybe a lemon wedge and parmesan if you desire!
Bon appetite! If you liked this recipe, sign up here to get more healthy insights from LaLee Lifestyle 🙂
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