For many of us February is one of the most welcomed months, especially after such a long January! It's a month of delicious winter vegetables such as sweet potatoes, swede and parsnips - all packed full of goodness! It's also a month of delightful fruit - oranges and clementines continue on through after Christmas time, I for one am very happy about it.
During February I'm planning on cooking up quite the storm in the kitchen with simple, quick meals which can be made in 10-15 mins flat created with just four or five ingredients along with a small bit of preperation. I wish we had rhubarb here in Barcelona I adore a steaming bowl of rhubarb crumble. As I long for rhubarb crumble, an alternative I'll be enjoying is an apple crumble inspired breakfast. Poached apple topped with toasted oats, seeds and crushed walnuts drizzled with a little olive oil and baked for a few minutes. I'll finish it off with a spoon of runny honey as the cherry on top before tucking in by the fire with a cup of chamomile tea. If you're gluten sensitive be sure to check the oats are gluten free. Many oats have traces of gluten due to either being mixed with flour to thicken or having been grown and harvested in a field with wheat.
Rice pudding will be on my breakfast menu too, brown rice cooked slowly with a spoon of almond butter and chopped apple (ow how I wish I had rhubarb). Cook with more water than usual, without straining, top with nuts and a generous helping of agave syrup. My doctor got me onto eating rice with the water it was cooked in years ago when I was ill - the water the rice is boiled in has all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the rice, which are fantastic for a sensitive or poorly tummy. Brown rice is packed full of fibre which reduces high cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels under control. It slowly releases sugar which makes it a fab breakfast food! Rich in naturally occurring oils brown rice also has high levels of manganese which helps our nervous and reproductive systems.
Baked sweet potatoes topped with roasted broccoli, peppers with a dressing of lemon juice and agave syrup will brighten my main meals as well as a brown rice risotto incorporating roasted veggies such as carrots, parsnips and kale. If you haven't tried roasting broccoli or kale, please do! Chop it up and drizzle with olive oil, pop in the oven on 180'c for about 15 mins and enjoy it will be your new obsession! I think a seasonal soup will be in order, carrots, parsnips and swede sounds delicious. Adding a stick or two of celery creates that kick along with plenty of pepper and sea salt of course (Top tip, if you snap your celery in half, you can pull the stringy bits out of it). Roasting veggies keeps in lots of wholesome goodness which, if boiled, would be lost! Sweet potatoes boast great levels of Vitamin A as well as vitamin C, manganese, copper and B vitamins.
For snacks I'm going to be filling up on fruit - clementines and oranges along with a handful of nuts, probably walnuts and almonds. Whilst not really in season, there are plenty readily available in the shops. When you can, try to get fresh nuts still in their cases. The flavour is totally different and they have more nutrients too, however if you can't easily find them - a packet of raw, unsalted shelled nuts are better than none! Beware that fruit is full of natural sugars, whilst it is much healthier than processed sugar, too much can damage your pearly whites. Keep in mind when drinking fruit juice that the amount of sugar is sky high compared to having a piece of fruit instead, try to keep fruit juice drinking to a minimum or make smoothies with veggies thrown in to bulk it out. Carrots are a great addition to an orange smoothie, with much less sugar.
I'd love to know what you'll be enjoying this month. What dishes are making your mouth water?
I'll be making these monthly seasonal fruit and veg lists a regular occurance on the blog. If you'd like to receive a notification by email when each one goes up at the beginning of the month, you can sign up here.
Wishing you a February full of all the yummy food, be kind to your body, be mindful of what you eat and enjoy all of the goodness. Try not to restrict, instead make smart choices and be aware of all of the flavours and smells filling your plates.
Sending all the yumminess your way,