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Besides dinners, lunches are super important in our little family. I guess it's just the way I was raised. But during working days we don't get to have lunch all together. Lia and I have lunch at home while J. has his lunch at work. So we tried to get organized the night before and start preparing and packing J's. lunch for the next day. 

I know that sometimes can be challenging to keep organized with lunches and dinners during the week, especially when raising little ones. That's why I put together these healthy and budget friendly recipes for you. All recipes are vegetarian but very versatile, so feel free to add or substitute with any type of protein of your choice.

Super 'Delicious Healthy Lunches' are not only convenient and easy on your pocket but they also taste good! Say goodbye to snacks or other not-so-healthy foods, they're highly processed and have non nutritional value. You can keep your body nourished by preparing and packing your own on-the-go lunchesYou will feel satisfied and in control of sugar cravings.


Lastly, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to check out the 'aldentegourmet' new YouTube Channel. And watch our last video!

4 EASY HEALTHY DELICIOUS LUNCH RECIPES TO GO 


#1 RAW VIETNAMESE VEGETARIAN SANDWICH

This sandwich is incredibly delicious, full of fresh and crunchy raw vibrant colorful vegetables, fast, budget friendly and tremendously satisfying. This is one of our favorites when it comes to lunches on-the-go. I call it 'The Super Vegetarian Roll'. It's a humble food but the flavor combination is simply superb! Finally, this sandwich is completely vegetarian but if you want to add some protein to it, you can add some grilled chicken or tofu


Click here to get the recipe





#2 RADISH + RED QUINOA POTATO SALAD

This salad is packed full of goodness, amazingly delicious and very satisfying. All the ingredients in this salad work very well together and you can either make this 'Red Quinoa & Potato Salad' as a lunch to go or have it for dinner. You can also substitute the red quinoa for white quinoa or brown rice.





#3 PASTA BOWL with BROCCOLI PESTO BOOST

This is also a very quick and versatile lunch. It's only takes minutes to put together this simple but rich dish.The addition of 'Broccoli Pesto' not only elevates the flavor of the pasta but also it's a great way to add more greens into your everyday cooking. Broccoli it's filled with amazing nutritional value, so it will definitely give you that extra boost of energy at lunch time.


Click here to get the recipe




#3 RAW BEETROOT + EGG SALAD

Here's it is another favorite; 'Raw Beetroot & Egg Salad'. Also quick to prepare, budget friendly and satisfying! You can also substitute raw beetroots for cooked beetroots, either way it's delicious. You can also add some nuts or seeds if you'd like some extra crunchiness or some slices of mozzarella cheese or goat cheese


Click here to get this recipe

4 Easy Healthy Lunch Recipes To Go

refined sugar-free, healthier, cake, easy recipe, healthy recipes

Hello friends, so yes, I’m finally back here. Sitting down and sharing with you another blog post. The reason behind my absence is simply a lack of time, running a family and a broken computer. But I enjoy this little virtual space of mine and can honestly say that is becoming more than just a creative outlet for me. This just makes me happy and has been giving me the opportunity of meeting people from all over the world not only online but offline as well. Simply because we have one thing in common; 'we love food'. And for that I’m grateful. So I’ll be coming back here to share and connect with you as often as I can.

While planning the food styling and photoshoot for this carrot cake, which by the way is one of my favorite cake recipes, I’ve also got the idea of making a short video about it. That you can watch on my new Youtube Channel. I’m not an expert on making videos, so I apologized in advance. I made this video mainly because I wanted to show you how simple it is to make a healthy-delicious cake, without using a lot of ingredients and spending a lot of time in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this recipe and like our little family movie carrot cake.

I mostly use gluten-free raising flour for this recipe but you can also use regular raising flour if you are all right with it. You can also add walnuts or pecans to the batter preparation if you'd like, they give a wonderful nutty flavor to this carrot cake and even a better crunchy texture. I like serving this with some coconut cream on top. But regular cream, plain yogurt or greek yogurt also works great.  

I wish you a blessed and joyful Easter season. And despite all the sad events happening in our world. Our world still beautiful and whatever we do, whatever thought cut across our mind, let it be a good, happy thought, and an even better action. 

Click play to watch the recipe video! 


SIMPLE HEALTHIER CARROT CAKE

200 grams/ 7 onces Self-Raising Flour (I use gluten-free raising flour)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
Lemon zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. or to taste ground Cinnamon
1 tsp. or to taste ground Nutmeg 
1 C. or to taste Coconut Sugar or honey
2 large Eggs or 3 small
1 1/2 C. Sunflower oil
A little water 
2 large Carrots, grated (about 1 1/2 C.)

Preparation:

Preheat oven at 180 C/ 356 F. Greased a cake pan and set aside.

-In a bowl mix sugar, oil and eggs. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking soda. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Start mixing, add a little water (about 1/4 cup) and keep mixing. Add lemon zest and grated carrot.

-Pour batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake for 35' - 45'. Or until it feels firm and toothpick comes out clean. When ready remove from oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. 

-Serve with a cream or by it self. Enjoy.

Simple Healthier Carrot Cake


My oven doesn’t behave so well. Sometimes it would work perfectly but other times simply not good at all. I enjoy baking. I’m not obsessed with it but I certainly do a decent amount of baking work in my oven. I like having a slice of this cake or this banana bread, from time to time and if any of these two aren’t available, well you can always find some granola in my cupboard.

It feels nice having a bowl of granola in the morning with some milk or yogurt for breakfast. Or after a light lunch, afternoon snack or as a healthy treat after dinner while the home is quite and you have that extra time for yourself to relax.

I often make a batch of granola at home during the weekends or whenever we need a refill. I have to admit, I’m completely fond of it. Granola is not something I was raised with. In fact ‘granola’ doesn’t exist from where I come from. Is not in our list of culinary delights, but sometimes I think it should be. Whether it is its simplicity, its crunchiness or its delicious taste, it got me!

But there’s something particular about homemade granola. And this is quality and cleanliness. I’ve tried different brands of store-bought granola and I have to say that I still choose to make my own granola at home instead of buying it. It might taste good but the addition of sugar, oil and other tricky additives in it is not something that I appreciate in ingredients with a high nutritional value such as oats, nuts, and seeds (which contain lots of fiber, iron, vitamins, healthy fats and other goodies). The nutrition simply is not there anymore.

By choosing to make your own food, you allow yourself to know what’s inside the food you eat! And that, without a doubt, can make all the difference in the world to your body and your health.

You can combine and add as many different grains, seeds, and spices as you like when making granola. You can even make oat-free granola if you have a certain reaction to oats by just using seeds, nuts, and quinoa flakes. You can use a natural sweetener (instead of using processed sugar with zero nutritional value) like organic brown rice syrup, organic maple syrup, honey, dates sugar or coconut sugar.


And if you’re like me or better said; if you have an unpredictable not-so-well-behaved oven like mine, or simply want to simplify the cooking process when making your own granola, just use your stovetop instead! Using the stovetop to make granola somehow feels ten times easier and faster, and to be honest it tastes as delicious as oven-baked granola. Gather the ingredients, get a pan, cook the granola and enjoy. 

Healthy Food is not complicated and it can be super budget friendly as well when you take a few minutes of your time to prepare it. Yes, a few minutes of your time, a little effort = healthy happy food for you and your bodyIt’s the simple things, right?

I hope you’re starting this year with lots of good food and good health! 🍃xx

You can also have a look at my other granola recipes: Simple Vegan Granola, or this Almond Salty Caramel Granola, or make this Carrot Sweet Granola Bread using granola or make this Berries and Coconut Crumble Granola.


CLEAN STOVETOP GRANOLA RECIPE

2 C. Oats (you can also substitute for quinoa flakes)
1/2 C. Raw Buckwheat Groats (no toasted buckwheat / kasha)
1 C. Shredded Coconut or Coconut flakes
1/4 C. Sesame Seeds
Nuts of your choice, optional
6-7 Dates, chopped
Pinch of Himalayan Salt, optional
Olive oil or Coconut oil
Organic Rice Syrup or to taste 

Preparation:

In a bowl combine all dry ingredients and set aside. Then heat a pan on a medium high-heat, add olive oil or coconut oil. When oil is starting to get hot add all dry ingredients previously prepared. 

Cook for a few minutes until they start to get brown and you can smell they're toasted. 

When ready, add Himalayan salt and rice syrup or natural sweetener of your choice. (At this step you can also add spices of your choice like; cinnamon). Once cool store into a jar glass/airtight container. The granola will keep well for up to 2 weeks (as long as you keep it in a airtight container).

10 Minute Clean Stovetop Granola for a Healthy You


Christmas is almost upon us again. I can help but feel excited, hopeful, nostalgic and grateful that a new year is about to begin. And that is incredible! The holiday season is such a special time, a new opportunity in life to start over, to work toward our dreams and let our light shine. I was recently reminded by Jane Taylor words on ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’... how beautiful the creations of this world are- even the stars in the sky are made for us. We’re not alone in life.


Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are! Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. 


When the blazing sun is gone, when he nothing shines upon, then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. 


Then the traveler in the dark Thanks you for your tiny spark, how could he see where to go, If you did not twinkle so? 


In the dark blue sky you keep, Often through my curtains peep for you never shut your eye, till the sun is in the sky. 


As your bright and tiny spark Lights the traveler in the dark, though I know not what you are, Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


- Jane Taylor.
                                                                  

Happy Holidays!  🎄🎅🎇 
Big hugs to every one of you! Eat well, be happy and merry!

XX



DESSERT IN A JAR: 
STRAWBERRY + MASCARPONE (GLUTEN-FREE) (REFINED SUGAR-FREE)

Mixed Berries, frozen or fresh, to make berry jam
Mascarpone Cheese, softened (you can also use cream cheese)
Gingernut Biscuits, gluten free if possible
Honey, to taste
Some Fresh Strawberries, or any berries of your choice to garnish

Preparation:

+ Choose favorite jar. Clean and set aside.

+ In a saucepan add mixed berries, a bit of water. Cook for a few minutes until berries start to soften. Add honey to taste when ready. You just made homemade berry jam! Turn off and set aside. Let it cool.

+ Place gingernuts biscuits in a plastic bag (or food processor) and crush with a rolling pin until crumbled. Set aside.

+ In a bowl add mascarpone cheese and cut fresh strawberries into slices. Set aside.

Easy-Peasy Assembling Dessert Jars:

+ Take the jar. Place 2-3 Tbsp. crumbled gingernut biscuits, then add berry jam (about 2 Tbsp) and  mascarpone cheese. Repeat the process, starting with the gingernut biscuits. Add sliced strawberries on top and refrigerate until ready to eat. 

Dessert in a Jar + (Strawberry and Mascarpone)


Earlier this week the beautiful part of New Zealand’s south island suffered the terrible impact of a 7.8 earthquake. Many people have lost their homes and a few have lost their loved ones. And many others have to be evacuated. It’s hard to see the suffering so many people it’s going through after this tragedy.

We live in the north island, so we didn’t get to experience any of this but having to watch the news and see those peoples, families, and parents with young children (many of those children the same age as Lia) trying to comfort them while living in temporary shelters is just heart-breaking. I see those moms and dads, and I can only imagine how vulnerable they must feel, having to be limited in so many ways. When all we want as parents is the best for our children.


But despite how sad and deep some events can touch one’s life, we always can hold on to hope. Everything is getting better bit by bit, helicopter crews from New Zealand and from different parts of the world flying back and forth between the islands night and day to provide residents and also visitors with water, medical supplies, food and other necessities. And countless people have joined forces from all over the country to help the cause and many others have volunteered to make breakfast and lunch for hundreds of people affected by the quake.This movement of love and kindness can only inspire too many of us to do better and make a difference in this world, simply because we are all part of this beautiful earth.

Embrace your family. Embrace your children. Hug them tight.
And remind them how much you love them.

Embrace gratitude. 
Because life is a continuous cycle of unexpected events.

Embrace appreciation and never let go to the people that comfort you 
and constantly cheers you up.And let them know how much you care for them.


Thank you so much to Anabel from the beautiful La Vitrine Verte, who kindly wrote me an email to know if my family and I were affected by the quake. Thank you lovely for your kindhearted words.


Real-Life can only remind us that there’s always hope, no matter how rough and challenging it gets, there will always be hope. Don’t let go. Embrace every minute of life because it’s precious.

In the meantime, I leave you with this healthy Apple + Ginger Tea recipe ☕. I’m not going to talk much about it, other than telling you that this is a beautiful-comforting tea that can settle your stomach in the most delicate way. You can drink this tea hot or cold and also add some fresh lemon juice to it if you’d like. We like using red apple to make this tea since we like using its fresh, natural sweetness to enhance its flavor, but you can also use green apple.

I've also been invited to talk about the 'Benefits of Fermented Vegetables' over Amalia's lovely blog and you can have a look here.

Take care, friends.


APPLE + GINGER TEA (REFINED SUGAR-FREE) (GLUTEN-FREE)

Serves 2 large cups.
You can serve this tea hot or cold.

1 Apple, washed and cored and thinly sliced. 
1/4 tsp. fresh ginger, grated (or add more if'd like)
1 Start Anise, or to taste
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon power
1.5 Lt Clean Water
Honey to sweeten the tea.

Preparation:
In a saucepan add apple slices, add fresh ginger, start anise and cinnamon. Combine with clean water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 15' or until apples become soft and water is completely infused with flavor. Add sweetener and mix well until dissolved . 

To serve: In your favorite serving cup, add slices of apples first, (you can also add the start anise if you'd like) then pour the apple tea and enjoy. Any tea leftovers can be saved in the fridge.

If serving cold; let it cold completely and add ice cubes. 


Apple + Ginger Tea (Refined Sugar-Free) (Gluten-Free)


I could eat Gremolata all day long and pour it over every piece of toasted bread and vegetable. It doesn’t matter how much I tried to stay away from it; gremolata always makes its way to the kitchen. 

I was pretty much brought up with garlic and parsley. So, yes I can say that I'm familiar with these two ingredients. It was also a staple at grandma’s home. Every food would be garnish with garlic and sprinkle with lots and lots of parsley. Grandma would say that food taste better with garlic and chopped fresh herbs. And my Dad would make chimichurri sauce uncountable times to go over milanesas; ‘schnitzels.' There’s not much I can do to let the habit died, really! The ingredient list for the gremolata is by far one of the shortest but it taste and wholesomeness is great on its own.

This sauce will go well with raw vegetables, salads, toasted bread and hummus (any variation of hummus you’d like), over a sandwich with any possible filling you can imagine (omnivores welcome), tacos, and needless to say…that this goes beautifully with roasted vegetables

Love connecting with you, #hashtag @aldentegourmet_ on Instagram and say Hi!



ROASTED PUMPKIN WITH GREMOLATA

Pumpkin, Roasted any kind you'd like. 

Gremolata:

1/2 C. Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp. Olive oil
Zest of 1 Medium Lemon
Salt to taste
I also like adding 1 Tbsp.of fresh Lemon juice to mine, but this is optional.
And if want to add some extra kick you can add some Chilli flakes as well.

Preparation:

Method #1
Put all ingredients into a jar, cover with lid and shake vigorously. Use it right away or store in the fridge until ready to use.

Method #2
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, use it right away or store in the fridge until ready to use.

Pour the gremolata over the roasted pumpkin, serve with salad or brown rice and some toasted bread on the side. If you want to incorporate some protein, you can add legumes like lentils or chickpeas they go great with roasted pumpkin. For an omnivore version, add some fish, chicken breast or roasted lamb.

Roasted Pumpkin with Gremolata (Enhance the Flavor of Meals with Wholesome Sauces) (Vegetarian)


A few ripe bananas and a raining afternoon were all I needed to make my way into the kitchen and start mixing ingredients. That once again would end up in the form of a delicious banana bread! I made banana bread many times, always using this basic banana bread gluten-free recipe that I’d share in this post on 2009. It was one of my first posts actually, and it has also gained a lot of popularity over time since the day I published it. I think this is because it’s simplicity regarding preparation and how delicious it tastes considering it is a gluten-free version of banana bread.

Baking is something that I enjoy. But prefer spending as less time as possible into blending and mixing. Believe me; I don’t do too well when it comes to a baking recipe with a longish list of ingredients. It becomes confusing to me. Maybe it’s just because I’m too anxious when it comes to baking. Ooh…those fragrant fresh baking goodies… coming out of the oven… I can hardly wait!


So, yes I like keeping baking recipes easy to handle. Few ingredients, easy preparation but delicious taste, and this recipe; Banana + Cinnamon Bread it’s no exception. It’s easy to put together, delicious, it only requires a few ingredients and is also healthy and nutritious. Besides being naturally sweetened (refined sugar-free), in this banana bread recipe, I’m also using Spelt flour which contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. One slice of this banana + cinnamon bread and you’ll be singing all day long! Ok, that was a bit exaggerated. Maybe just for a few hours, though but I’m sure you’ll be singing after the very first bite.


You can also add chopped walnuts or raisins to the preparation if you’d like. Serve it with some cinnamon sugar on top, and it’s Christmas, my friends! To make a healthier cinnamon sugar, I combine coconut sugar with ground cinnamon. That’s all. Even Lia can’t resist it, yes; that’s her in the last picture trying to get the slice of banana bread with her little hands.


Happy Weekend!

BANANA + CINNAMON BREAD (VEGETARIAN) (REFINED SUGAR-FREE)


2 C. Spelt flour
1 tsp. Cinnamon powder, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 C. + 1 Tbsp. Honey, or to taste
2 eggs or 3 small
2 Tbsp Sunflower oil
1/2 C. Almond milk or milk of your choice
1 C. ripe/bruised bananas, mashed (2 big or 2-3 medium)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease loaf pan and set aside. In a medium bowl sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then add the oil, milk, egg, honey, mashed bananas and cinnamon. 

Mix well until all ingredients are combined. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hr or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake is just firm. When ready let it cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!



Banana + Cinnamon Bread! (Let's Celebrate the New Season with This Indulgent and Healthy Bread)


I talk a lot about foods without refined sugar and how foods have the ability to give your body treatment that can boost your health inside and out. And yes, I believe that wholesome foods can do that for you because since the moment I’ve decided to stop eating sugar and all sorts of processed foods, my whole body have experienced a range of health benefits. Of course, this is my personal experience,  and I share it with you because I want you to know that there’s another way, a better, healthiest and indulgent way to prepare and eat food. The natural way is the way we all supposed to eat, is the way people used to eat from the beginning of time. And that somehow stops. The process of manipulation and processing of natural foods started and suddenly natural foods and healthy eating were transformed into something that could only put our body and health in question.

Replacing bad eating habits with good eating habits is not a complicated thing, though. It’s challenging at first, yes, but this is simply because ‘most of us’ are not used to eating food in its less or purest state of wholesomeness. Most of the food we’ve been eating since we were little children always have been highly processed and loaded with refined sugar. So most of us neither have the ability or knowledge to the kind of foods we’ve been putting in our mouths.

But if only we would have known about it a huge part of our eating habits would have been good, and no matter how hard other people would try to convince you to try no-so-healthy-food, you would always end up saying ‘no’ to all those foods, right?!

So, yes, all of us can do better and create the healthiest version of ourselves. No matter how long you have been on the road of ‘’I want to eat healthier but’’ you and your body deserve good nourishing foods, your well-being deserves the best so you can keep enjoying life for a long-long while.  Food is something that takes a huge part in our every day, is our fuel from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep.  And when you fill your body with ‘good fuel’ you’re body is going to function as its best for you. But if you fill up your body with ‘artificial fuel’ well your body is not going to behave as good as you hope, right?

Believe in yourself; believe that you can do it. Because you can do it! And while everyone else may think different of you, you know that good choices can always take you to a good port. I want you to be part of this eating healthy lifestyle, feel your best, enjoy wholesome food and know-how to use it as your asset. So you can pass the knowledge to your loved ones too.

Processed and artificial sugars are often hidden in many products, even in those that claim to promote good health if you eat/drink it up. Energy drinks are by far one of those products. The two main ingredients in store-bought energy drinks (besides some other bizarre and mysterious ingredients) are; sugar and caffeine, and while their promises to revive your body and mind by drinking it, they can only over-stimulate and give your body and mind an ‘artificial energy boost.’ Plus an array of harmful side effects such as; adding more toxins to your body, dehydration, tooth damage, and also triggers insulin. Somehow these energy drinks are not even close to giving you a healthy boost of energy.

Sugar and caffeine are not the sources of energy your body needs, but ''food''. Wholesome food that consists of ingredients full of nutrients and natural energy boosters. Such us this ''citrus and chia energy drink''. Chia seeds are an excellent source of energy to fuel your metabolism! In fact, Chia means ‘Strength’ in the Mayan language, and was also used as a medicine by Aztecs. It is believed that chia seeds were used by Mayan warriors and messengers to maintain energy and increase resistance during long voyages and battles.

Chia seeds are rich in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin c, calcium, potassium, iron, antioxidants, is completely plant-based, gluten-free, and it can also regulate blood sugar.
Plus citrus, in general, is also natural energy boosters (that can also help detoxify your body, good for your hair, clear skin, among other benefits). So yes, as you can see you can skip sugar and caffeine and get all the energy you need by simply using nutrient dense food that can keep you energize for hours!

Isn’t this homemade nutritious energy drink amazing? Seriously, with only four ingredients and less than five minutes, you can easily create your own energizing juice that also tastes incredibly delicious.


Wow. I have so much more that I want to tell you about how you can start implementing natural foods and how you can break free from processed foods and sugar. Then guess what? I created a practical free ''5 Step Guide to Quit Sugar''.

In this guide, you’ll find the five basic steps you need to follow to kick-off a healthy lifestyle free of refined sugar and processed foods. These are the exact steps I’ve followed when I decided to start my journey to wholesome foods. You can download and print this guide bellow, follow each step and you’ll be able to achieve a positive outcome.

For those of you subscribed to the blog, you don't have to worry because I'll send you the '5 Step Guide to Quit Sugar' straight to your inbox!



CITRUS + CHIA SEEDS ENERGY DRINK (VEGAN) (REFINED SUGAR-FREE)

Fresh Juice of 1 medium orange or grapefruit
Fresh Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 Semi-ripe banana
3/4 C. Coconut Water
1 tsp. Chia seeds

Preparation:
Add all ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend well. Until everything is blended. You may add more coconut water or clean water. And some ice cubes if you'd like. Enjoy and refresh yourself. You can also put it in a glass bottle and take it to go!  

Citrus Chia Energy Drink + ''Increasing Energy Levels Naturally Without Caffeine or Sugar''