Grapefruit Spinach Couscous Salad with Toasted Groundnuts

I've been really embracing the (short!) UK summer by indulging on a variety of healthy, delicious salads for lunch! Before I continue, just look at the gorgeous colors in this salad.
The best thing about summer salads is that they take less than ten minutes to throw together, most require no cooking (or the slightest bit!), they are healthy, and best of all, absolutely yummy.

For me, in a salad, variety of texture is as important as great flavor, which is why I always try to incorporate a soft/creamy ingredient, a fresh/crisp ingredient, a crunch ingredient and everything on top of that is add bonus! Just image creamy couscous with freshly chopped spinach, juicy bursts of grapefruit, topped with freshly toasted groundnuts and all tied together with a squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of salt. Yup. It's as simple as that. If you can make couscous, you can make this salad. And everyone can make couscous, so everyone can make this salad, and eat it too!

The brightness and citrus-y flavor of the grapefruit is absolutely wonderful and truly brings out the summer in this salad. Your tastebuds will tingle and your body will thank you. So go make this salad, and thank me!
Serves 1 as a light lunch
1/2 cup couscous, cooked
1/2 a grapefruit (red, pink or white would all be delicious)
1/2 cup chopped baby spinach leaves
2-3 tbsp toasted ground nuts
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more/less to taste
pinch of salt, to taste

This is the most shameful list of instructions ever. Toss together the ingredients for the salad, and enjoy!


Soft Coconut Almond Chocolate Squares (Using Leftover Almond Pulp!)

I'm think I'm obsessed. Nope. I KNOW I'm obsessed.... with this almond milk. I came back from uni craving it. And so my wonderful mom made it for me. And now I can't stop drinking it. It's definitely a problem. I swear it tastes like liquid marzipan (in other words, heaven). I've been drinking it by the glass, pouring it on homemade granola and fantasizing about it for the rest of the day.

Anyways, every time we make almond milk, we're left with quite a sizeable amount of the date/almond pulp which is filled with goodness and deliciousness. I've tried substituting it in several recipes, but this one seems to handle the wetness of the almond pulp best. Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be customized to your choice of flavors - dried fruits, nuts, orange or lemon zest etc.

One thing to note is that these bars get their texture from the dessicated coconut and oats, so if you decide to substitute either or both, I would ensure to replace it with something that will give these bars a "bite". The coffee adds caramel-like undertones and the flavor is very subtle, so don't be alarmed if you're not a coffee fan as you won't taste it much, or equally, it's completely fine to omit the coffee if you're really worried about the flavor or if you simply don't have any lying around.

Apart from the oats and coconut, these bars are rather soft and have only a slight grittiness from the almond pulp/meal. Don't expect crunchy sugar cookie type bars, nor are they like a chewy blondie. What they are is yummy, healthy goodies, perfect paired with a hot cup of tea/coffee/milk. What they also are is fuss free and simple to make, like most of my recipes!

1 cup wet almond pulp, leftover from making homemade almond milk (if you don't have wet almond pulp, replace this with 1 cup almond meal and 1-2 tbsp almond/any milk)
1 cup baby oats
1/2 cup dry almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
5 tbsp unrefined sugar
2 eggs
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2-3 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
few drops almond extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 175 C.
Line a square baking pan with baking paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the dry almond flour, baby oats, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla and almond extracts.
Pour the wet into the dry and mix gently until well combined. Add in the wet almond pulp and mix again.
Add the coffee granules and desiccated coconut and mix once again. Lastly, gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Lightly press the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until top and edges and lightly browned and crusty and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool and cut into squares. Store in the fridge. These taste wonderful cold!


Summertime Fruity Sweet & Spice-y Green Salad!

Yes. I'm still alive. I do realize it's been unapologetically long since I last posted... I've been crazy busy these past two weeks (having way too much fun!) and was caught up in exam frenzy for the two months before that. But it's all over - in the blink of an eye, my first year of college is done and I'm back home for the next three and a half months. For now, however, that only means one thing: it's SUMMERTIME!

Summer means tank tops, shorts, flip flops, bikinis, popsicles, cold drinks, sunglasses, fruit salads, cold dinners, BBQs and an endless list of more such wonderful things. Here in the UK, we've been getting some pretty amazing weather for the country that's seen to have gray skies and rain all the time. These past few days have been filled with lots and lots blue skies, actual summer weather, and beautiful sunshine. I couldn't wish for better weather.

I've been eating some amazing food these past two weeks after exams ended, but couldn't help but feel that something was missing - a gorgeous green salad was the answer.

Several different flavor combinations inspired this outstanding final product - citrus fruit, spiced nuts, sweet honey, tangy lemon, crisp leaves, juicy carrot, chewy cranberries. If that isn't tempting you yet, let me reiterate: THIS IS A SUPER DUPER DELICIOUS SALAD that deserves to be made and eaten... now. Did I mention it was packed with superfoods and lots of great vitamins. It bursts with freshness and I want to hear no excuse for not making/eating this, as it's summertime and one of the most delicious additions to your "bikini body diet"!

It is wonderful as a light, yet filling lunch; an accompaniment to any BBQ (though I can't promise it won't steal the show!); or as a side to any main dish for dinner. Long story short: it's wonderful. Imagine fresh, crisp, green leaves dressed in a honey/lemon/mustard dressing, topped with bright orange grated carrot, slices of fresh grapefruit and orange, dark red dried cranberries, and the star of the show: sweet & spicy candied pecans. If you aren't imagining lots of colors and delicious flavors, you're definitely losing out right now!

Go make this salad. Then eat it. Then realize you can eat it everyday because it's healthier than healthy. Then squeal with happiness because it's so yummy!

Serves 1 for lunch or 2-3 as a side salad
For the salad:
2 cups mixed salad leaves
1/2 grapefruit (white, pink or red), sliced into segments
1 juicing orange, sliced into segments
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 carrot, grated (not finely)
spiced nuts, recipe below
dressing, recipe below

For the dressing:
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 tsp wholegrain mustard
pinch of salt

For the spiced nuts:
2 tbsp chopped nuts of choice (I used pecans, but feel free to use walnuts, almonds etc)
1/3 tsp brown sugar
2 drops honey
1/4 tsp cumin powder
pinch of red chilli powder

For the spiced nuts, toss the nuts with the other ingredients and toast on a pan over low heat or in the toaster oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool and crunch up. They will smell absolutely amazing, so refrain yourself for gobbling them up before you even make the salad! Or just make more.

Mix together the ingredients for the dressing.

Toss together all the ingredients for the salad and relish the goodness!