carrots

Simple foods: Summer Rolls

 

        I don't think you're ever going to see complicated recipes on The French Glow. I like to share simple foods because not everyone is able to cook for hours, especially me as I am still learning about cooking and how not to ruin every meal I try to make haha! But also because I want to show that eating healthy isn't complicated if you don't want it to be.

        Summer rolls are my favorite at the moment, perfect for the summer as it's fresh and simple to make, eat and digest. I like mixes of flavors so that's why I love sushi rolls/sandwiches/vegan burgers/currys... Because you can have lots of different flavors in just one bite. What I also like with summer rolls is that it looks rather beautiful, and to me, the pleasure of the eyes reinforces the pleasure of the taste!

 

 

Recipe

This isn't MY personal recipe (I didn't invent it) but it's the one I love to make :)

For the Dipping sauce

 

  • 1-2 table spoons of peanut butter (chose one that has only peanuts as ingredients!)
  • Warm water (depending how you want the consistency to be)
  • Lime juice (optional)
  • Sriracha (depending how spicy you like it)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 table spoon soy sauce

For the summer Rolls

To make about 4 summer rolls

  • Rice paper (usually found in the Asian section of your supermarket)
  • 4-8 big lettuce leafs
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 medium carrots
  • Rice noodles (optional)
  • Tofu
  • Mint

And you can add mango and avocado which I didn't add today but that I love to use!

 

        Cut the cucumber and carrots (and mango and avocado) in thin long slices. Cut the tofu in thin slices and cook on a pan with a little bit of olive oil while you cook the noodles. When the tofu and noodles are ready, start making the rolls with 1 or 2 lettuce leafs for each roll and a bit of everything else you prepared (make sure not to put too much noodles to be able to test everything), add fresh mint and roll! You can cut them like I did as I find it easier to eat. For the dressing, simply mix everything slowly until it has the right consistency. Et voilà. It's really quick and simple to make!

 

 

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Macro bowls

One of my favorite healthy restaurants in NYC is Souen East Village, and if I don't order one of their soups, I always take their macro plate. At first I wasn't really thinking about what "macro" meant except that it was healthy, and that I loved it. But after seeing so many beautiful pictures of "macro bowls" on Instagram I wanted to know more about it.

So, what's a macro bowl ? It's simply the name that you put on a perfect balanced meal : a combination of grains, different vegetables (cooked and/or raw), a protein source (that can be tofu, beans, ...), a small source of healthy fats and often you'll add a fermented food to your plate for the health or your digestion. So why do you call it a "macro" bowl ? Simply because with this healthy combination you will get all the macronutrients that your body needs (carbohydrates, proteins and fats).

I put together 2 different examples of macro bowls.

Smoked tofu noodle bowl

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Preparation time : less than 5mn. Cooking time : 20mn.

For the dressing :

  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbspoon lemon juice

For the bowl :

  • 100g (weighted raw) buckwheat noodles
  • 3 carrots
  • 6 green asparagus
  • Green beans (added after the picture)
  • A small amount of sauerkraut
  • `1/2 sheet of seaweed
  • 100g smoked tofu

I steamed the vegetables, boiled the noodles and grilled the tofu in a non stick pan with no added oil. Then I simply put all the ingredients together in a bowl and added the tahini dressing. Very very very simple. I used to say I was a bad cook because I was too lazy to prepare healthy food, and I associated healthy eating with boring or hard to prepare meals. I realize now that it is so much more easy, simple and yummy than I thought !

Here you have the grains from the noodles, the proteins from the tofu (I don't really eat tofu often to be honest, but I love the smoked taste of this one once in a while), and the healthy fats from the dressing. I was wondering if the sauerkraut (which is the fermented ingredient) would taste weird in association with the rest of the bowl, since I always associated it with the super heavy sausage meal, but it goes really well with the smoked tofu !

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Curried lentil bowl

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Preparation time : 10mn. Cooking time : 45mn.

Ingredients :

  • 50g (weighted raw) quinoa
  • 50g (weighted raw) your choice of rice
  • About 50g uncooked lentils
  • A medium piece of pumpkin
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 2-3 florets of broccoli (added after the picture)
  • 2-3 tomatoes
  • 1 tea spoon of oil
  • 1 shallot (or garlic if you prefer)
  • 1cm of freshly chopped ginger
  • 1 pinch of paprika
  • 1 pinch of cumin
  • 1 pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch of chili (optional)
  • Fresh coriander (as much as you want !!)

I pre-heat the oven at 200°C (390°F). Then I start with the lentil curry because it needs to cook a little while : I put the oil, the ginger and the shallot in a pan and cook it for about 1-2mn. I add all the spices and stir, after that I add the tomatoes. After I stir again a little bit more, I add about 1 cup of water, the broccoli florets and the lentils. I lower the heat and let it cook for a little bit, stiring from time to time. I cook the pumpkin in the oven for about 35-40mn (it's important to check the texture often because the cooking time depends on how thick it is). I sometimes microwave for 3-5mn the pumpkins/sweet potatoes before putting them in the oven to reduce the cooking time by half. I also cook the quinoa and the rice and simply put everything in my bowl, adding the spinach and the avocado. Et voilà ! I also added loads or coriander after the picture !

 

This is my idea of a perfect dinner simply because it makes me satisfied while nourishing my body with only good things. Some diets recommend to lower your intake of carbohydrates, or even remove them all together, while it's recommended to have your carbohydrates giving you the largest amount of your energy. I believe that instead of cutting out your carbs or any category of food, it's healthier to learn how to eat a balanced diet made from mostly unprocessed foods.

Juices VS Smoothies

About 2 years ago I was kind of obsessed with juices and wanted to start almost all my days with a great vitamin-energy packed juice. Today, I am more into smoothies than juices and I only drink once in a while. Why is that ? Well, during that time I read and educated myself more about food in general, especially about fibers and sugar absorption. Both juicing and blending have their pros and cons, but I saw that smoothies were more adapted to what I like and want. Here are the main differences between them :

Smoothies

Blending pulverizes the whole fruits and vegetables into a smoothie.

  • You keep the fibers which help keeping your digestive system healthy.
  • It makes the sugar absorption slower and more even.
  • It still makes the digestion and absorption of nutrients quicker than entire fruits or vegetables since the fiber is broken apart.
  • It keeps you full longer than a juice.
  • Some nutrients may be harder to absorb and stay in the fibers.
  • For the same amount of fruits and veggies, a smoothie will have a bigger volume so you tend to have fewer servings of fruits/veggies in a smoothie and fewer nutrients.

Juices

Juicing removes the pulp/fibers and keeps the nutrients and the water.

  • Removing the fibers makes it a lot faster to digest and helps absorbing all the nutrients.
  • You can juice a big quantity of vegetables and have all the nutrients from them in only one juice and therefore absorb all the vitamins that you would have not eaten otherwise.
  • It gives some rest to the digestive system.
  • The sugar from fruits is absorbed also very quickly since the fibers are removed.
  • If you juice mostly fruits it can give you unstable sugar levels and all the side effects that come with it such as mood/energy swings.
  • You can get hungry again faster.

 

In both cases it's important to drink it quickly after it's made because the vitamins will disappear quickly. It's also important to use the right appliances to make them : if you want to make juices, it's better to use a juice extractor than a centrifugal juicer that will make vitamins disappear because of the heat. In the end, it's up to you. It's more about educating yourself about what you eat and know what food can be better for what reason. I think juices are great if you do green juices with a lot of veggies (so not too much sugar), if you need a big vitamin boost or a deep detox and rest your body/digestive system with a cleanse (but I'm not so much into juice cleanses, since they can be restrictive, it all depends on how it is done and for how long). Also simply if you prefer juices to smoothies, life is short so drink what you love ! I'm personally more into smoothies now because they are more filling while still packing many nutrients. Also because I can add healthy fats such as flaxseeds, nuts or avocado, and protein powders or plant based milks, which you can't juice.

I generally make only fruit smoothies with my favorite fruits, because I always have fruits at home and I don't plan my meals well in advance, but sometimes I'll adapt the recipe depending on what I need : energy boost to start a long day or exercise, refreshing but light if I only want the good taste without the calories, anti-inflammatory or detox... I have here 4 different examples of smoothies that are great to try depending on what you need.

Green detox

I like this kind of green smoothie if I have a hungover, for example. It's detoxing, the very watery fruits are hydrating and it brings all the good nutrients. Pineapple and kiwi are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that are great for the immune system, which may be a little fragile after drinking alcohol.

  • 2 cups spinach (or your favorite leafy green)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 green apple
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
  • You could add 1/4 avocado to for the healthy fats and a smooth texture

It's funny because I found the taste quite good, not too sweet and a little acid, but without the taste of spinach. But I made my mom try it and she wasn't fond of it. I think it's also because my taste changed slightly since I started eating healthier : I crave less sugary taste except for fruits, for example. If it isn't your case, you can always add natural healthy sweeteners to your smoothies such as ripe bananas, dates, agave syrup, maple syrup... And remember not to force yourself to eat/drink something that you really don't like just because it is supposed to be healthy. There are healthy alternatives for everyone's taste !

RED refresh

I actually realize it looks like one smoothie I wrote about in the past. I think it's because I love raspberries so much and that I like to keep food simple. I also think organic berries should be often present in a healthy diet because of all the great nutrients they have. This one is really easy to digest as it only contains fruits and leafy greens (mixing fats and fruits can be hard to digest for some people), hydrating and good to cool down during summer. It's also full of antioxidants thanks to the berries.

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

Again, you may want to add more ingredients for a sweeter taste if you crave something more sugary while having the refreshing taste of berries. What I like in this smoothie is that it's super light so it's great as a little snack.

Vitamin C power

This one is a great concentrate of anti-inflammatory and vitamins, great if you're sick or if you want a little boost.

  • The juice of 4-5 carrots
  • 1 big orange (or 2 small)
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 1 small tea spoon of turmeric powder

The beta-carotene from the carrots is great when it comes to skin, but I also think the taste goes great with oranges. I chose to take only the juice from the carrots because they have a lot of fibers. And I don't think it's a vegetable that is good for smoothies. It's obviously better if you juice it yourself right before, if you can. The orange is loaded with vitamin C which gives the little energy boost we all need instead of taking supplements. The ginger and turmeric have great anti-inflammatory properties, actually turmeric is well known to be one of the best natural anti-inflammatory ingredients. Warning : it may taste weird for you at first because the ginger is really strong and the turmeric is a spice. I kind of like to try "weird taste" food, but if it's not your case you can try and adjust the taste taking out/adding ingredients. Start with a good orange-carrot juice/smoothie that many people love, and later you can try adding ginger and turmeric.

Healthy nutty energy

Good if you need energy for a longer time, if you want something that tastes less fruity and more sweet, to get some healthy fats for your skin, if you don't eat enough proteins or if you want to build more muscle.

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup plant based milk
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (or your choice of nut butter)
  • 1 tea spoon cocoa powder

I talked about the benefits of bananas here. The protein powder (I used Pulsin brown rice powder) isn't necessary if you don't want to build more muscle and if you eat a balanced diet, but for example there are days when I'll eat less food providing proteins because I feel like something else and it can be useful. I feel like it brings a little earthy taste that I kind of like. Almond butter is my favorite nut butter because I find it less thick. It's very important to choose a healthy nut butter : the less ingredients, the better. I chose one (french brand Jean Hervé because I am in France right now) with only complete almonds and it's perfect. Nut butter will give you healthy fats, and different important nutrients that you don't find in fruits, one of them is zinc that is a very important nutrient for a healthy skin, and also a little bit of proteins. I like the little spoon of cocoa powder because it makes the whole thing taste more like a dessert, but if you don't like this is optional. I find the taste super sweet like this without adding any other sweet ingredients because I always use very ripe bananas.