Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods | seasonal

Eight tips to keep your health this festive season

The kids are on holidays. There are countless parties and family gatherings at which you ‘need’ to be. Presents to buy. Shopping to do. And holidays to sort out. Then there’s all that food.

You get the picture.

So, here are our 8 top tips to keep your health (and sanity) in check as you fast approach Christmas.

1. Do not skip meals

Take the time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner made with nutritious wholefoods as much as possible. You will give yourself a better chance of eating less processed foods, and making smart decisions when your body and mind are nourished.

2. Hydrate

About 70% of your body is made up of water. It moisturises you from the inside out. So, drink enough water, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in water. Your brain and skin will thank you for it. Especially if you have one too many (see tip below) at this time of year.

3. Go easy on the alcohol

Consider having your first drink after you’ve eaten something solid. Then alternating your drinks with water. Sparkling water can make you feel as if you’re still having something special. This way you can enjoy the festivities without having a tipple too many – or end up with embarrassing moments!

4. Keep physically active

Unfortunately, exercise easily falls by the wayside at times of busyness and stress. Keep your commitment to exercise – consider it as keeping an appointment with a good friend or boss! Schedule it into your diary. Exercise is a natural antidepressant. So, when you feel great, you make much better choices. 

5. Get enough sleep  

We understand it’s party time, and the occasional late night can be quite fun – but not when it becomes a day-to-day affair. If you regularly skimp on sleep, you won’t be in the right frame of mind to make even the simplest of decisions – what to eat, what present to buy, etc. So back yourself with getting enough sleep most nights.

6. Don’t overcommit or feel obligated

Plan and select only those events that reasonably fit into your schedule. As you commit, schedule them into your diary. Keep stock of what you agreed to by checking with your calendar daily so that you are not overcommitting. You will have a ‘gut feeling’ as to how many events per week are too much for you. Also, when you can, only say yes to those that get you excited. To RSVP with a no, there is no need to explain. Simply say you’re unable to attend.

7. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Whether you’re cooking the Christmas feast, doing the shopping, sending out cards. Lists help, and so does delegating. Even though you may love to do it all, it may be wise to enlist some helpers. The same applies for buying presents – write a list for whom you’re going buy a gift, and what it’ll be before you head to the shops. You will save yourself a lot of time and energy – and enjoy this time of year even more. 

8. Focus on the fun, not food

When you have an engaging conversation – or are dancing! – at a party you more likely to forget about the food because you’re having fun. We tend to look for food at a party when we’re bored, unsure or nervous. If you’re an introvert, finda kindred spirit and get chatting. Or, if you’re at home, and the fridge or pantry is calling you with its Christmas goodies, busy yourself with other fun stuff – such as wrapping presents, writing thoughtful cards, calling loved ones, sorting out photos – or even pumping up the music to dance! (Yes, did you notice that we like to dance?)

We hope you like our 'sage' advice. Got any of your own to share?

The Apples & Sage team xx

 

Our 'Apples and Sage' Stuffing Recipe

It’s only 22 days to Christmas. And since Christmas is all about family and feasts – well, for the adults anyway – do you know what’s on your menu?

When it comes to cooking your Christmas feast, whether you’re traditional or unconventional, our apples and sage stuffing – which is also gluten and dairy free – is sure to please all.

 

Stuff it into a turkey or chook, roll it into a pork loin or mix it into minced meat to make your burger patties (hello BBQ Christmas!). Or, for vegetarian meals, use it in a gratin and as a stuffing for baked capsicums. You can also sprinkle it over a veggie lasagna or quiche before cooking in the oven.

As you can see, there are a myriad of options for our delicious stuffing. Isn’t the name fitting too? We thought as much as well.

Here’s to getting deliciously stuffed this Christmas.

Apples and Sage stuffing recipe

  • 2 apples (Granny Smith or Golden), cored and diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1 onion, diced (optional, or 2 tbsp spring onion)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 cup Gluten Free breadcrumbs (we like to use GF Precinct or Naturis buckwheat bread, which we lightly toast and allow to cool before processing into breadcrumbs)
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 tbsp Himalayan salt 

 

Combine all ingredients. And work your delicious magic.

Enjoy,

The Apples and Sage Team xx

PS: A very important note – Still need to get your turkey for Christmas? One without hormones and chemicals? Then you better be quick. Call us on 9836 6132 or drop in by 14 Dec to place your order. You'll have to make your own stuffing, though. But we've armed you with a recipe, plus we sell the ingredients too – even the apples and sage!

PPS: Hams are also available in store, or they can be ordered by 14 Dec as well.

Watermelon granita

Big and juicy, watermelons make for a messy treat. Yet, it’s a treat worth its size – despite watermelon juices running down your chin. 

Why? Because watermelon packs a mighty nutritious punch. Think nutrients such as lycopene (a powerful antioxidant), and vitamins A (for your eyes), B6 (for your nerve and immune health) and C (to boost your immune system). 

And being made up of a whopping 92% of water, watermelons are super cooling and cleansing too. Just what you need for the long summer days. 

Here’s a delicious watermelon granita recipe that is sure to keep the kids (and adults) happy and cool this summer.

Watermelon granita recipe

 

Adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion.

  • flesh from 1 x 500 g piece watermelon
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • torn mint leaves for serving (optional)

 

Roughly chop watermelon flesh and puree in a blender or food processor – you need 1½ cups of puree.

In a bowl, mix the puree with the lime juice and maple syrup. Then pour into a shallow tray and freeze.

To serve, scrape the granita with a metal spoon or fork, and piled loosely into chilled glasses with mint leaves scattered on top. (Or you can pulse the granita quickly in a food processor, before spooning into an airtight container and freezing until needed. The trick is not to delay serving for too long as the granita will become a slushy mess – or too icy when you go to refreeze).

Tip: Don’t know what to do with the leftover watermelon rind? Well, don’t toss ‘em out. There are plenty of things you can do, from pickling them to making chutneys and salads. Once you're done making the granita, why not try this watermelon rind, carrot and pineapple slaw recipe from the Watermelon Board, and reduce your food waste at the same time?

[Photo source: Flickr]

5 reasons to eat glorious stone fruit

There are only 18 sleeps to summer, and you know what that means, right?

Yep, summer’s treasure trove of fruits is upon us.

Summer’s fruits are the season’s way of telling us that we need a quick source of energy and hydration to get through its long, hot days. And stone fruits get our pick!

The mighty stone fruit family includes peaches, cherries, nectarines, apricots and plums. And we think they’re all delicious, but that’s not the only reason to eat them.

Here are 5 body-loving reasons to get some stone fruits into you this summer:

1. Keeps you regular

With the soft skin and flesh, stone fruits are full of fibre. Fibre helps you to cleanse your insides by encouraging healthy bowel movement. It also keeps you feeling full for longer, and, for this reason, has shown to benefit diabetes (see below) and control weight.

2. Protects your eyesight

The vibrant yellow-fleshed nectarines and peaches, and especially apricots are rich in beta-carotene — an important antioxidant and the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A can help to protect your eyesight. It’s also required for healthy skin and mucus membranes, and for night vision.

3. Reduces inflammation & boosts the immune system

Stone fruits are full of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants. Antioxidants have been shown to prevent oxygen damage to fats, which helps to reduce chronic inflammation and protect against many modern lifestyle diseases. Also high in the antioxidant Vitamin C, stone fruits also give a boost to your immune system.

4. Promotes nerve and muscle health

Bananas are not the only fruit with high levels of potassium. Stone fruit contain high amounts of this mineral too, which is essential nerve and muscle health. Potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, irritability and increased blood pressure.

5. Fights-off obesity-related diabetes

Research has shown that peaches, plums and nectarines have bioactive compounds that can potentially fight-off obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To us, this makes sense, since these fragrant and juicy fruits are full of fibre and antioxidants.

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Now that you know how healthy stone fruits are, why don’t you enjoy them while they’re in season?

You can grill them, bake them, poach them — or eat them messily over the sink with the juice running down your chin and arm. They’re also great in cakes, flans and muffins too.

Just remember to go organic, as stone fruit are known for retaining pesticide residue.

So come in store and get your favourite stone fruit for a delicious, peachy summer! 

[photo credit: http://bit.ly/1wcPvXc]