Chia Seed Almond Pudding

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Chia seed pudding is one of my favorite go-to breakfasts these days. It wasn’t until recently I learned about the benefits of these tiny little black & white seeds. Turns out they are perfect to use in just about anything — baked goods, smoothies, sprinkled on top of yogurt, cereal, fruit & salads. But what’s even more exciting: they have the ability to absorb 10 times their weight in liquid. And that’s when the magic happens…

Ever since I saw it on A Beautiful Mess, I wanted to try it. It’s an amazingly simple recipe that can be thrown together the night before to make breakfast time a breeze – a must whenever you’re rushing out the door in the morning! Made with almond or soy milk, this delicious pudding is more like having a creamy dessert to start your day. But who has a problem with that, right?

Ingredients:
1 cup (240ml) almond (or coconut) milk
½ cup (40g) chia seeds
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
pinch of cinnamon

Directions:
Mix the chia seeds, (warm) almond milk, honey & vanilla. Give it a good stir, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Top with your favorite fruit or chopped nuts (I love pomegranate seeds, goji berries & roasted almonds).

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The Post-Holiday Cleanse

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While I love a good juice cleanse now & then, most of the time my schedule doesn’t allow for sticking to any strict detox plans. But I’ve discovered that ‘detoxing’ doesn’t necessarily mean drinking only juice for 3 to 5 days straight. Instead, when my body needs a reboot, I turn to three recipes for breakfast, lunch & dinner. This is not a full detox – it’s just a way to eat a little bit cleaner and more mindfully, while giving the wine bottle some time off.

Get ready for your 2015 glow…

BREAKFAST: DETOX JUICE
Fruits & vegetables are high in fiber and packed with nutrients. They help to detox by flushing out toxins and replacing them with vitamins and minerals. I found this detox juice recipe and I love it because it gets your body back on track first thing in the morning. The beet will cleanse your liver and purify your blood, while the cilantro helps detox metals from your body. And as if that isn’t enough, it also has ginger to aid digestion and settle your stomach, mile to detoxify and alkalize, and carrots to balance your hormones.

Ingredients:
1 medium beet quartered
½ bunch of cilantro
½ peeled lime
4 (1×1 inch) pieces of ginger
1 ½ peeled navel oranges
4 medium carrots

Makes 1 12 ounce juice.

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LUNCH: ALKALIZING SPINACH SALAD
Spinach is reported to be the most alkalizing food there is, which means it balances the pH levels of your body and gives you more energy. Spinach is a powerful antioxidant and packed with some of the richest vitamins and nutrients. This colorful veggie salad helps your body to continue to detox throughout the day. Taking a break from meat, dairy & other animal products speeds up digestion and is a natural detox for your body. You can’t go wrong eating up as much of this healthy spinach salad at lunch.

Ingredients:
SALAD
2 cups raw spinach leaves
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup raw red bell pepper, sliced
½ avocado
5 slices raw cucumber

VINAIGRETTE
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon, juiced
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 cloves of raw garlic, minced

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DINNER: CLEANSING VEGGIE SOUP
There’s no better way to end a day of detoxing than with a warm bowl of soup. Broccoli soup is known for its cleansing properties, and this recipe in particular will help to hydrate your body and flush it with fiber. Broccoli can detoxify your body naturally, ridding it off toxins. This vegetable is rich in calcium, iron & magnesium, boasts substantial amounts of vitamin A, and contains more vitamin C than an orange! Plus, it’s delicious!

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
½ yellow onion, roughly diced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2/3 pound)
2 ½ cups water
¼ tsp each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup arugula (or watercress)
½ lemon

What are your detoxifying tips?

Kiwifruit Salsa & Chips

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Kiwifruit, also known as Chinese gooseberries, were first marketed to Europe by New Zealanders, who call themselves “kiwis” after the native bird of New Zealand. Although we are used to eating them in the summer, the season for kiwifruit is actually in the fall and winter. When the first kiwi boat arrives in Europe at the beginning of spring, it’s early-season for kiwifruit in New-Zealand.

I love to use kiwifruit on the sweet side (like yoghurt, tarts or sangria), but I never thought of using them on the savory side. This salsa recipe is deliciously sweet & sour — fresh kiwifruit, buttery avocado with a hint of pomegranate, minimal seasoning and a touch of jalapeño for some kick.

KIWIFRUIT SALSA

Ingredients:
3-4 ripe Zespri® kiwifruit, peeled & chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
1 tbsp chopped fresh or pickled jalapeño chili peppers (no seeds)
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Directions:
Place the kiwifruit, pomegranate seeds, avocado, onion and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Start with just a little bit of chopped jalapeño, gently fold in, and sprinkle in more to your desired level of spiciness. Add cilantro, salt & pepper to taste.

TORTILLA CHIPS

Ingredients:
12 corn tortillas
2 cups canola oil

Makes 96 chips.

Directions:
In a shallow pan, heat oil to 360° F/180° C. Cut tortillas into even strips and gently place strips into oil, only a handful at a time. Watch carefully and flip, if necessary, until they’re just golden brown and crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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Alpronista Style

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It’s no secret, I absolutely love Alpro – hand on heart their yogurts are my absolute favorites. All their products are plant-based and dairy-free, so I do believe they can offer a healthy & lighter alternative to some of your everyday foods.

When I heard about their new Mild & Creamy topping combinations, I was super excited! I put together my favorite breakfast boost: Alpro Mild & Creamy Lime-Lemon, strawberry, white chocolate flakes, muesli and flax seeds. The toppings helped to balance out the citrusy freshness and compliment the yogurt beautifully. As it turns out, a match made in heaven!

When it comes to breakfast, I’m a bit on the lazy side. But this has helped me look forward to it – not only is it pleasing on the (morning) eye, it also tastes amazing and keeps me full until lunch time.

Curious? Have a look on the Alpro website or follow the #mildandcreamy campaign on Twitter. They’re also hosting a giveaway where you can win your favorite combination, so go have a peek there too!

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Four-ingredient Nutella Brownies

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Belgians all have some kind of chocolate love affair. So, it’s no surprise we’re huge Nutella fans. And I don’t even know where to begin about these amazingly delicious, yet ridiculously easy, little brownies. Some like juicy brownies, others prefer them more cakey — this recipe gives you the best of both worlds: crumbly on the outside, gooey on the inside, and all chocolate and nuts.

If you can spare just five minutes this week, you have to give them a try. You will be thankful you did — as will everyone else who eats them!

Ingredients:
1 cup (280g) of Nutella

2 eggs

1 cup (110g) of flour

1/4 cup (20g) of chopped walnuts

Makes about 12 regular-sized or 18-20 mini-sized brownies.

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Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd & Blueberries

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When I was little, I loved the ritual of Saturday morning pancakes. The sweet buttery smell filled our entire house. And still, when I when smell pancakes, I’m filled with childhood memories and warm fuzzy feelings. Although traditional pancakes are a classic favorite, I do appreciate a little bit more refined recipes like these lemon ricotta pancakes with lemon curd & raspberries (recipe here). These ricotta pancakes are fluffy, citrus-y and full of flavor. I replaced the raspberries with blueberries and as it turns out, blueberries & lemon are the perfect combination!

Ingredients:
¾ cup (85g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup (250g) ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2/3 cup (160 ml) milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Butter, for griddle
1 jar lemon curd
Fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar

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Jump for Juice: Jus Jus

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I absolutely love indulgent food, but I do know the importance of a well-balanced diet. After this past Holidays (that involved nearly two weeks of overly rich meals), I needed a little break from the heavy dishes and alcoholic drinks. That’s why I decided to do another juice cleanse and start the year healthy and balanced. I already did a three-day cleanse before, but given my rather busy schedule I chose to squeeze in a one-day cleanse for a quick boost.

Last October I came across JUS JUS, a brand new raw juice concept based in Antwerp and the first to offer organic cold-pressed raw juice in Belgium. This means that all greens and fruits are pressed at low temperature, extracting all natural fruit sugars, vitamins, trace minerals, enzymes and other vital elements. Most juices you buy in the supermarket are pasteurized and contain additives or preservatives. JUS JUS juices are true vitamin bombs and 100% certified organic. I contacted Didi Delgado, curious to try out one of the cleanses. Didi acquired the taste for fresh juices in New York — there are juice bars popping up every day in the city — and she decided to bring her passion to Belgium. Yay!

In the JUS JUS CLEANSE you basically replace all your meals, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks by 6 delicious organic, cold-pressed juices. Detoxing is a great way to release toxins, give your immune system a boost, lose that little extra weight before summer or just feel good about yourself. To make your body ready for the cleanse, it’s advised to slightly change your diet two-three days up front — decreasing your caffeine, sugar and meat intake and eating lighter meals.

The juices were delivered at my doorstep — what a luxury! — together with a user guide and ‘emergency only’ kit. The JUS JUS cleanse I followed was LEVEL 2: CLARITY. Every level consists of 6 juices of 500ml each that you’ll drink throughout the day with a minimum of 2 hours in between. I was charmed not only by the heavenly healthy juices – 1 bottle contains over 1,5 kilos of green veggies or fruits – but also by their incredibly catchy names (The Hulk, Pineapple Mojito or Almond Joy). And I loved how the bottles looked just too cool & colorful in my fridge.

Luckily, I didn’t have any severe headaches or nausea. I did feel a bit lightheaded and experienced a somewhat mild headache the first day. Of course, it was very helpful that all the juices were so tasty – GREENDAY and SKINNY G were my favorites. The result? I feel lighter, radiant and energetic.

Eager to try out this healthy lifestyle or just want to add some vitamins to your diet? Then check JUS JUS out for yourself!

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