Passion 4 Juice winners

passion 4 juice

A couple of weeks ago, I ran a contest to win a copy of the Passion 4 Juice recipe book. Here are the eight winners and their winning juice and smoothie combinations…

Sylvia from Happiness is Homemade: (for summer) 10 frozen strawberries, 2-3 sliced bananas and 1 can of 7up; (for winter) 5 dates, 1 banana, 100 ml of almond milk, 1 tsp of hot chocolate powder

Janie from The Hedge Combers: who likes green smoothies and her “oddest one to date” used fresh stinging nettles in lieu of spinach

Choclette from The Chocolate Log Blog: who a suggests her ingredients for a banana, avocado and chocolate pudding would also be a great combination for a smoothie

Bintu from Recipes from a Pantry: who is rather partial to a spinach and peach smoothie

Rachma Bush: who likes like a beetroot, apple and fennel juice

Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi: whose favourite smoothie combination is spirulina and banana – she says “it’s a kiwi favourite and much nicer than it sounds!”

Dannii from Hungry Healthy Happy: who loves anything anything with spinach in it – “it gives me a proper boost in the morning,” she says

Nazima from Franglais Kitchenfor winter she likes a Chai spiced smoothie – she made one with almond milk, banana, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and ginger, and if you’re feeling indulgent a bit of vanilla ice cream!

Thank you to everyone who took part in the competition. Winners – please email me or direct message me on Twitter with your addresses, and a Passion 4 Juice recipe book will be winging its way to you very soon. Enjoy!

Fig and honey smoothie

fig and honey smoothie

Since making the Cheeky Monkey smoothie, we’ve been experimenting with all kinds of fresh juices and smoothies at Chez Bangers. This one is currently one of our favourites.

I wasn’t sure my children would like the idea of a smoothie made from dried figs, so I told them it was a honey smoothie. They gulped it down in seconds and demanded another. They also asked whether there was chocolate in it. I guess that’s partly due to the colour, but the fig does give it a lovely richness which isn’t all that dissimilar to a chocolate smoothie.

So if you’re trying to encourage your children to consume a little extra fruit and fibre, this smoothie could be a good way to go…

fig and honey smoothie

Fig and honey smoothie

Serves 2

50g dried figs, roughly chopped
250ml milk
1 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp runny honey

Place the figs in a glass and cover with milk, around 50ml. Leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or even better overnight, to allow the figs to become all plump and squidgy.

Simply pour the figs, along with the milk in which they have been soaking, together with the rest of the milk, oats and honey into a liquidiser and blend well until smooth.

fig and honey smoothie

As my fig and honey smoothie is a great way to sneak some extra goodies into your children’s diets (and your own while you’re at it), I’m entering it into January’s Family Foodies challenge, where the theme is Hidden Goodies.

family-foodies

The cheeky monkey smoothie

cheeky monkey smoothie

A delicious smoothie packed full of goodness – plus your chance to win one of eight Passion 4 Juice recipe books

If one of your New Year resolutions was to take a healthier approach to food, then starting the day with a delicious juice or smoothie is surely one of the easiest way to pack in a whole heap of goodies. For the last couple of weeks, this is what I’ve been doing and I feel fantastic. I’m gradually working my way through the Passion 4 Juice recipe book, created by my good friend Trish Tucker-May, which features some brilliant recipes for juices and smoothies made from both fruit and vegetables.

Together with her husband Joe and two young sons, Trish spends half the year in the UK taking their mobile juice bar from one festival to another, and then the other half of the year she does the same but back in her homeland of Australia. Now doesn’t that sound like an amazing way to live? Before she headed off to warmer climes down under, she gave me some of her fabulous recipe books to give away to readers of Bangers & Mash. I’ll tell you how you can get hold of a copy at the end of the post, but first over to Trish to tell you a bit more about why she loves juicing…

“I feel really lucky as we leave the UK and head Down Under for the summer of festival fun. Spending six months in the UK and six months in Australia, keeping people healthy at festivals, is an unusual but rewarding way to live my passion. But it seems right to me as I get to go home and see family and friends. Also escaping the UK winter has its benefits!

“I have been juicing and making smoothies for 30 years now and I love introducing people to new taste sensations. Here are some other great reasons to make juices and smoothies every day:

  • Best way to fulfil daily recommended fruits and vegetables
  • Rapid intake and assimilation of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, enzymes and antioxidants in the body
  • Very cleansing/detoxifying – assists in the removal of toxins
  • Weight loss
  • Very alkalizing – diseases thrive in acidic conditions
  • Clears the mind and balances moods and blood sugars
  • Improves your complexion
  • Increased energy
  • Improves your hair, skin and nails
  • Improves your overall health.

“Why not kick-start each day with a taste sensation that will revitalise, inspire and rejuvenate you? With our on-the-move lifestyles and chaotic schedules, it is difficult to find the time to prepare and consume a meal that has sufficient energy and nutrients to sustain a balanced and healthy way of life. Quick and wholesome refreshments, rich in vital nutrients, are in high demand. This is the kind of daily boost we need.

“If it’s a tangy wake-up call, a smooth pacifier or a zesty jump-start you’re after, your personalised fresh pressed juice will do the trick.

“In the Passion 4 Juice book,  I have collected some of our bestselling recipes, plus some of my favourite juices and smoothies from around the world. This handy little book is in a wipe clean format, so it doesn’t matter if it gets splashed with juice. Keep it next to your juicer or blender and have a bit of fun trying some of my favourites.”

As I mentioned, I’m enjoying working my way through the Passion 4 Juice book. My favourite juice concoctions so far have been The Morning After featuring ginger, carrots and pineapple and Buzz Juice with apples, celery and beetroot.

And the whole family loved this gorgeous smoothie recipe from Trish called The Cheeky Monkey, made with almond milk, banana, raw cacao, dates and spices. We served ours cold over ice, but Trish recommends this served warm as a lovely winter warmer. We also left out the chilli from the children’s helping.

cheeky monkey smoothie

The Cheeky Monkey Smoothie

1 banana
1 cup of freshly made almond milk
a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and chilli – the stronger for me the better
1 heaped tbsp raw cacao
1 tbsp peanut butter
3 dates

Blend all the ingredients in a liquidiser, and then warm in a pan on the stove top – don’t overheat but give it just a bit of warmth so it stays raw and delicious. This should warm you up on the coldest of winter days.

Win the Passion 4 Juice recipe book

All you have to do to win one of eight Passion 4 Juice recipe books is leave me a comment below, providing your ideas for new smoothie or fresh juice combinations. Trish will select her eight favourites to receive a prize.

The closing date for entries is Sunday 2 February 2014 and please note that books can only be shipped to UK addresses.

I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

Strawberry and honey super smoothies

Strawberry super smoothie

We slurp our way through a fair few smoothies in our house. They’re the perfect way to use up ripe bananas, especially when it’s way too hot to consider baking banana bread, and they are a brilliantly healthy start to the day. Although saying that, quite often our smoothies are rather indulgent, especially when my husband makes them with lots of vanilla ice cream.

This strawberry and honey super smoothie is of the healthy variety. It features a couple of spoonfuls of rolled oats, making it extra thick and creamy and perfect for a fuel-filled breakfast.

And of course they’re ridiculously easy to make, which is essential first thing in the morning.

strawberry super smoothie

Strawberry and honey super smoothies

2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
400g strawberries, hulled and chopped
4 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp rolled oats
1 pint ice cold milk

Simply pop all the ingredients into your food blender and whizz until smooth and frothy. That’s it.

Serve alongside your bowl of cereal or dippy eggs and soldiers for a top brekkie.

strawberry super smoothie

Because these super smoothies are so easy to rustle up and contain this month’s trio of ingredients (honey, oats and berries), I’m entering them into the Recipes for Life challenge, which I also happen to be hosting.

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July is the penultimate month for Recipes for Life. Each month we challenge food bloggers to create tasty, healthy and easy-to-make dishes using three key ingredients.

I’m running the challenge on behalf of a brilliant charity called SWALLOW, which supports adults with learning difficulties. Their cookery club will have a go at making the recipes themselves and the best ones will be included in a new cookbook later in the year.

Perhaps you’d like to get involved in the challenge? Find out more here.

 

Fruit smoothies, lemon cupcakes and sunny bank holiday antics

What a difference the sunshine makes. For the first time I can remember in a very long time, we got to enjoy fine weather on a bank holiday weekend. We spent as much time as we could outdoors and it felt like we were on a mini holiday. The whole of nature seemed to have jumped into action with the trees, hedgerows and fields bursting into spring flower.

For our breakfasts we’ve been enjoying homemade fruit smoothies. My husband Jason concocted indulgent blueberry smoothies with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles on top…

BlueberrySmoothieCollage

… while I got the children making slightly healthier smoothies with mango, passion fruit and apple, along with some special edition mango and passion fruit flavoured Actimel we were kindly sent to try out. A deliciously fruity start to the day.

ActimelSmoothieCollage

On Saturday my parents came to stay. They arrived just in time for lunch and we tucked into spring lamb that had been slow roasting in the Aga all morning, served with homegrown purple sprouting broccoli and an Ottonlenghi-inspired aubergine and courgette risotto (a recipe I’m going to be making again and again), all washed down with a light, sunshiny rosé.

AubergineRisottoCollage

To walk off lunch we took a leisurely stroll around the tranquil Bishop’s Palace Gardens in nearby Wells. I’m working at the moment in Wells so it makes a lovely change to visit the city as a tourist. The children loved dressing up as bishops (perhaps by the time they’re grown up the Church of England will actually allow women bishops?), climbing trees, playing Pooh Sticks with Grandad in the palace moat and trying to wake the sleeping willow dragon. I was rather taken with the community gardens – what a wonderful place to have an allotment.

WellsCollage

On Sunday we took Nana and Grandad for a walk across the fields behind our house, carefully skirting around the protective cows and their calves, to go and feed the two local nanny goats. One of the goats was so heavily pregnant she could barely walk; it made me wince to look at her. We also visited the field of sheep and their dainty lambs, whereupon Mia decided we should buy ourselves a pet sheep and lamb and keep them in the garden so that Daddy doesn’t have to mow the lawn anymore. Grandad tried to teach Mia to make duck noises by blowing on grass (unsuccessfully) and we foraged for wild garlic in the hedgerows (successfully).

SpringWalkCollage

On Sunday afternoon, possibly the warmest day of the year so far, I decided to do some baking. Crazy I know! I rustled up some zingy lemon mascarpone cupcakes and we decorated them with these pretty wafer butterflies from Dr Oetker. Perfect for an impromptu garden party underneath our apple tree that’s just beginning to bud – hopefully we’ll actually get apples this year. Jessie normally hates butter icing as it’s so rich, but loved this mascarpone topping because “It’s lovely and lemony!”LemonCupcakeCollage

And then on Bank Holiday Monday, along with seemingly half of Somerset, we climbed up Glastonbury Tor to enjoy what are arguably the finest views in the Westcountry. The girls had great fun pretending to be the tor monsters when we reached the top. We really should have taken a picnic with us, but instead found ourselves in the fabulous Hundred Monkeys bistro in Glastonbury afterwards for a well-earned late lunch of deliciously meaty burgers served in artisan bread rolls, local Somerset cider, ice cream coke floats and ever so tempting homemade cakes. If you’re ever in Glastonbury, I heartily recommend it. While we were waiting for our food, the children invented a new game of napkin dot-to-dot; I rather like our arty creations…

TorCollage

So that was how we spent our bank holiday. What did you get up to this weekend?

Disclosure: I was sent samples of the new limited edition Mango & Passionfruit Actimel to try out, along with fresh fruit and a smoothie maker. I also received samples of Dr Oetker’s Wafer Butterflies to see what I thought. No money exchanged hands and the views expressed here, as they are throughout my blog, are completely my own.

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I’m linking this post up with this week’s Kids in the Kitchen hosted by Look What Mom Found – it’s a great way to share ideas and recipes for involving this little ones in the kitchen.

Simple banana smoothie

Normally my children have pretty healthy appetites, so when they tell me they’re not hungry that’s a sure-fire sign they must be poorly.

Over the past couple of weeks both my girls have been a bit ill – and my husband too – and so I’ve turned to the good old smoothie to make sure I get some sustenance into them. Even when they’re feeling pretty grotty, they can generally manage a glass or two of smoothie.

Of course these smoothies are too good only to have when illness strikes and they’re a brilliant way to use up those over-ripe bananas. You can also add any soft fruit you happen to have in. We keep a bag of berries in the freezer and I like to chuck in a handful or two of those. But here’s the basic banana recipe.

Simple banana smoothie

Serves 4

3 or 4 bananas
4 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp runny honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 pints of cold milk

Chop the banana into a blender or smoothie maker and add the rest of the ingredients. Simply whizz up until smooth and serve to your patients.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothie

I adore smoothies. They’re so easy to make and, for me, they constitute the perfect breakfast on those days when I don’t really fancy eating all that much. They’re great for kids when they’re feeling poorly and off their food. And this particular super smoothie, with the addition of oats, is an ideal post-run drink to give me a much-needed energy boost when I’m absolutely exhausted.

Peanut butter and jelly (jam to us Brits) is the most wonderful combination. I think I could probably live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if I could get away with it. It also works really well in this super smoothie. With the oats and banana it makes for quite a substantial smoothie; pretty much a meal in a glass.

While I’d usually use milk and yoghurt in my smoothies, I’ve come up with this recipe for Blue Diamond using their unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk. It’s free of sugars and has less than half the calories of skimmed dairy milk and half the calories of soya milk, which makes it a great alternative for those wanting to avoid dairy and/or live a healthier lifestyle.

Peanut butter and jelly super smoothies

Makes two glasses

1 banana, peeled and roughly chopped
200g strawberries, hulled
60g rolled oats
3tbsp peanut butter
3tbsp strawberry jam
275ml Almond Breeze almond milk

Simply place all the ingredients in a liquidiser or smoothie maker and blend until smooth. Pour into two glasses and enjoy as a super healthy start to your day.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free sample of Almond Breeze so that I could develop a recipe for their competition.