healthy recipe

healthy recipe

Our Bala Brook cook, Christine, recently recommended Davina’s Sugar-Free in a Hurry recipe book.  Christine is an avid foodie and is always trying new recipes.  Upon this recommendation I’ve bought this book and I’m enjoying making the recipes which are super simple with easily accessible ingredients.  Even if you are not following a sugar-free diet this book gives a wide selection of healthy meal options.  This weekend  I made this butternut squash & couscous salad.  Really quick and simple plus any leftovers can be used for packed lunches.  I served this as a side dish to oven roasted fish.

Serves 4
Prep: 15 mins / Cooking: 30 mins


1 butternut squash
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
200g barley couscous
200ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
small handful of mint leaves, chopped
30g pumpkin seeds
2 tsp chilli sauce (sriracha is good)
150g plain yogurt
salt & black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ Fan 180C/Gas 6.  Top and tail the butternut squash and cut it in half. [Tip Leave the skin on to save time] Remove the seeds, then cut the squash into long wedges and put them in a roasting tin with the onion.  Drizzle with some of the oil, scatter over the cinnamon and paprika and season well.  Roast for 30 minutes or until the squash and onion wedges are tender and slightly charred, turning the squash halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, put the couscous in a heatproof bowl and pour over enough of the hot stock to just cover it.  Add the rest of the oil and the lemon zest.  Cover the bowl and set the couscous aside for 5 minutes or until it has absorbed the stock.  Fluff it up with a fork and then stir in the lemon juice and half the chopped mint.
  3. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan over a low heat for about 2 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden.
  4. Tip the couscous on to a serving dish and top with the roasted squash and onion.  Mix the chilli sauce with the yogurt in a small jug, then pour this over the salad.  Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the chopped mint and serve.

Davinia’s book includes Light Meal & Soups, Speedy Salads, Easy Suppers, Weekend Specials, Guilt-free Snacks.  Plus a 5 week meal plan for a guide to eating less sugar and eating wholesome home-cooked food.

Recipe credit: Davina McCall

This is a super simple nutritious recipe that you can adapt dependant on the ingredients available to you.  I like to add a variety of beans such as butter beans and kidney beans.  So much taste for so little effort!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced
2 yellow peppers, seeded and sliced
2 red onions, sliced
2 medium courgettes, cut into chunks
4 tbsp olive oil
500g cooked butter beans
400g cherry tomatoes
Balsamic vinegar
200g feta cheese, roughly cubed
A handful of pine nuts (optional)
Rocket salad or mixed baby leaf salad to serve
Salt & black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas mark 4.
  2. Put all the prepared vegetables into a large roasting tin, add the olive oil and gently toss the vegetables to coat.
  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are nearly tender, then give them a gentle stir and add the butter beans, whole cherry tomatoes, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, feta cheese, pine nuts and some seasoning.
  4. Return the vegetables to the oven for about 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with the salad leaves on top.

Easy to make nourishing slice that’s perfect for lunch, picnics or with salad.  Serve hot or cold.  Make in bulk for freezing and reheating for any meal! Experiment with the flavours and add your own additional ingredients.


1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp dried rosemary
450g courgette, grated (approximately 2 cups)
250g sweet potato, peeled and grated (approximately 1 cup)
1 cup (150g) almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt and cracked black pepper
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 packet of feta, crumbled
Cherry tomatoes to top

Extra Optional Ingredients
1½ cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup baby spinach
1 teaspoon chilli flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. Grease and line baking dish (20cm x 30cm).
  3. If you have a food processor you can whip up this recipe super quick by using your grater blade and grate sweet potato, courgette, onion and garlic.
  4. Mix courgette, sweet potato, almond meal, rosemary, feta cheese, baking powder and salt and pepper ingredients together in a large bowl.
  5. Make well in the mixture, add eggs and mix well.
  6. Spread evenly in baking tin, or whatever dish you have.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes.
  7. Bake 40-50 minutes. This will depend on your dish you used, the slice is cooked once you insert a skewer and it comes out clean.

Recipe credit: Food Matters TV

This recipe is not only delicious and decadent but it’s also good for you and super simple! It only takes five minutes to prepare and you only need five ingredients!

(use organic ingredients where possible)
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup almond butter (you can also use unsalted crunchy peanut butter)
2 cups raw cacao
1 cup dates (pitted)
3 tablespoons of honey
1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt

1. Soak your dates in hot water for about 20 minutes to make them soft and sticky.

2. Carefully melt your coconut oil on very low heat.

3. Place all your ingredients, except the almond butter, in your high speed blender and blend until soft and well combined.

4. Add the almond butter at the end to keep the crunch.

5. Spread evenly in a tin or container.

6. Place in the fridge for about one hour.


A simple fun recipe for Sweet & Salty Popcorn snack.  As you are making it yourself you can choose the quality of the ingredients so that you know exactly what goes into the snack.  Choose real butter, organic coconut oil, raw honey (full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), organic popcorn kernels and sea salt.

Serves 2 – 4 people


1/2 cup popcorn kernels
4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey (preferably raw)
1 tbsp (or more) butter, to taste
1/8 – 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste


To make popcorn, you’ll need a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Heat the pan with a little coconut oil, then add some corn kernels, cover and heat. The kernels will swell and start to ‘pop’, bursting out of their skins. Once the popping sound dies out, remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the lid.

Use a heavy-based pan to make popcorn so that the kernels in contact with the surface of the pan don’t burn during cooking. Fill the pan only one-quarter full of corn kernels and never more than one-third full, as the kernels expand in volume considerably when they burst and need room to fully ‘pop’.

Meanwhile, melt the honey and butter (or coconut oil) together on the stove in a small pan over low- to- medium-low heat.

When the popcorn is done, pour the butter/oil and honey mixture over the popcorn and toss to coat.
Sprinkle the popcorn with sea salt and toss to coat it evenly.

This treat is sticky and delicious. Popcorn takes best when freshly made so eat as soon as possible!

I baked some yummy energy bars for the refreshments after last Saturday’s Yoga Nidra workshop.  Yes I surprised myself (!) and my students with my baking skills and they proved very popular.  These bars are packed with goodness.  Chia seeds are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre.  Health benefits of adding chia seeds to your diet include boosting energy, stablising blood sugar levels, adding digestion and lowering cholesterol.

As promised here is the recipe:

Makes 9 bars

Oil, to grease
5 heaped tbsp condensed milk
1 heaped tbsp crunchy peanut butter
15g milled chia seeds
110g porridge oats
15g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
30g soft, pitted dates, chopped
30g soft apricots, chopped
30g raisins

Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark 1.  Grease an 18 x 20cm baking tray.

Gently warm the condensed milk in a saucepan.  Stir in the peanut butter, then all the other ingredients and spoon into the baking tray.  Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, until golden, and leave to cool in the tray.

Now the challenge is what to bake for the next workshop!




Every day, I sprinkle Chia seeds onto my breakfast.  I also use them in baking, blended into smoothies and in tasty desserts.  These tiny seeds are jam packed with nutritional value and are extremely easy to add to your diet.

Chia, or Salvia hispanica L, is a member of the mint family from Mexico and South America. The Aztecs relied on chia as a staple food and revered it enough to use for religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes.

Rich in omega-3s, high in fibre, protein, magnesium and much more, it is no surprise that chia seeds are known as “the ultimate super food”.

  • Chia is gluten free
  • It is super high in dietary fibre, making it great for digestion and healing digestion issues.
  • It contains 20% Omega 3 ALA, making it a super food for the brain and heart. Chia has eight times more Omega 3 than salmon!
  • It boasts 20% protein
  • It is high in antioxidants
  • Chia contains five times more calcium than milk
  • Chia contains seven times more vitamin C than oranges
  • It contains three times more iron than spinach
  • It contains twice the potassium content of banana
  • It is food for healthy skin, hair and nails
  • It has a positive impact balancing blood glucose levels
  • Chia makes a great egg replacement. Just combine with water to form a gel, and add it to recipes that call for egg.

Here are a few simple ways to use chia seeds:

Blend into smoothies
Add a desert spoon of seeds to any smoothie and as the seeds have a “neutral” taste they mix well with any flavour combination.

Sprinkle onto breakfast cereals and yoghurt
This is my daily favourite and a great way to add nutrients to your first meal of the day.

Add to any baking recipe
Chia seeds can be easily added to any bread or baking recipe including gluten free recipes.  Adding chia seeds increases the nutritional density of the recipe whilst reducing the glycemic index due to the gelatinous outer coating found on chia seeds.  Check out this Oat, Nut and Chia Seed Energy Bar recipe.

Try sprouting with chia seeds
Perhaps something a little different but you can sprout and add to salads.

Make a ‘Chia Fresca”
Mix whole chia seeds with water or fruit juice to make a ‘Chia Fresca’ which translates as ‘fresh chia’.

A tasty (and healthy) Chia dessert
Per serving infuse ½ cup of almond milk with 1 teaspoon honey, vanilla extract and add 3 teaspoons of chia seeds.  Allow the chia seeds to expand, ideally overnight. This pudding is great eaten with fresh seasonal fruit making a tasty, healthy pudding!

Here’s my recipe for super quick, tasty and healthy granola. Many of the shop bought granola is high in sugar, contains unhealthy fats and oils, and may contain unnecessary ingredients. The benefit of making your own is that you can mix up the flavours and experiment with ingredients.

Whole oats are full of good-for-you fibre, high in protein, and contain vitamins and minerals like iron and magnesium. Buy 100% pure whole rolled oats as “instant” or “quick cooking” will be highly processed.

Add nuts and seeds for flavour, texture, extra nutrients and added healthy protein. You can add unsweetened dried fruit and maybe added less sweetener if you are adding fruits to keep the sugar content down.

This recipe makes about three cups of granola – ½ cup is typically a serving. Serve it as cereal with milk (try it with unsweetened almond milk), unsweetened Greek yogurt and with fresh seasonal fruit. I like to add a sprinkling of chia seeds to add protein and nutrients. Plus chia seeds are very filling so will prevent mid-morning cravings!

Healthy Homemade Granola Recipe

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
Serves 4-6

Use raw, organic ingredients whenever possible. These measurements are flexible; don’t worry too much about being exact.


2 cups raw, whole rolled oats
½ cup raw nuts, chopped
¼ cup raw seeds (sunflower or pumpkin seeds are great)
½ cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional)
2-3 tablespoons raw honey
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
½ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
1 large pinch fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and use your clean hands to mix well and to coat.  The coconut oil might be liquid or solid depending on the temperature of the room you are in (it has a melting point of about 75ºF.) Your hands will warm it up and melt it into the mixture if it’s solid, just be sure to mix it all through the other ingredients so there aren’t any chunks of oil left. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted.  Cool before serving or storing. This granola can be kept in an airtight glass container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

Why not get creative and add your own combo of healthy ingredients.  Here are a few ingredient ideas to get you started:

Maple Syrup
Cashew Nuts

The list goes on…. Enjoy creating your own flavour combinations!

Here’s another recipe from our Bala Brook Aloha Yoga Retreat 2014.  Christine is a dedicated foodie and gets her inspiration from many sources including professional chefs.  This recipe is one of Jamie Oliver’s.

Minutes to prepare: 20
Minutes to cook:  30
Number of servings: 4

12 oz chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
1 medium potato, peeled
6 leek, finely, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely, sliced
freshly ground pepper
850 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 handful parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil


  1. Rinse the soaked chickpeas, cover with water, and cook with the potato until tender.
  2. Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully and slice finely.
  3. Warm a thick-bottomed pan, and add the tablespoon of oil and the knob of butter. Add the leeks and garhc to the pan, and sweat gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Purée half the soup in a food processor and leave the other half chunky this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture.
  6. Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste to round off the flavours.


We are all BIG fans of our Aloha Yoga Retreat cook, Christine.  She creates our retreat menus, sources local ingredients and lovingly prepares our retreat meals.  Her food gives us inspiration and fresh ideas for dishes to make at home.

By popular request here is one of her lunchtime dishes.  A tasty salad which is vegan and gluten-free.  You can swap the cashews and cashew butter for peanuts and peanut butter.

And yes Christine will be with us for the Bala Brook 2015 Aloha Yoga Retreat!

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups finely cut purple cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper (capsicum), diced
2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
½ cup cashews (or peanuts)

¼ cup cashew butter (or peanut/almond butter)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
3 tbsp tamari (light soy sauce)
2 tbsp agave (or maple syrup)
2 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp crushed red chili pepper (or 1 tsp Sriracha sauce)


  1. Place the quinoa along with 2 cups salted water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to the lowest heat setting. Simmer until water is completely absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together.
  3. Add the quinoa to the dressing and mix well to combine.
  4. Add the veggies, onions, cilantro and cashews.

Original source for this recipe:
Author: Angela @
Image credit
Adapted from