Welcome Spring

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  Mark Twain

and 5 reasons why you should eat more sprouts

A change of season is a great time to pause, review, and to appraise your state of health. Use this opportunity to identify neglect, weak areas that need special care, and to calibrate your basic health habits

This is a great time to reward health landmarks with an adventure, new equipment, a spa visit, fun activity, or classes to learn a new skill. It is also time to reset personal health goals and challenges.

Roasted Vegetable Tart
1 roll puff pastry, defrosted
1 large egg, beaten
1 c ricotta cheese
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 packet cherry tomato, halved
1 pinch salt and milled pepper
150 grams basil pesto
baby arugula

Preheat oven to 200°C. Trim off edges of pastry, this will help it rise better. Use a butter knife to gently score a 2cm border into pastry. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Place pastry on a greased baking tray. Lightly brush scored pastry border with egg. Roughly spread ricotta onto pastry (excluding border). Toss asparagus, tomatoes and seasoning together in a bowl. Scatter on top of ricotta. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve drizzled with pesto and topped with baby arugula.

Spinach Mushroom Soup
2 T butter
1/4 c chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 c peeled, diced potatoes
3 c tightly packed fresh, tender spinach leaves
1⁄2 t dried oregano
A pinch of baking soda, optional
10 large button mushrooms
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the butter. Add onions, and sauté on medium heat till translucent.  Add the garlic cloves and cook 30 seconds or till the garlic is fragrant. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown a little, about 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer till the potato cubes are cooked. Add washed spinach leaves, oregano and salt to the pot. Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional. Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted. Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup till smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a regular blender and carefully puree. If the soup is too thick, add 1⁄2 cup water and blend again. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. Serves three.  recipe from Veggie Belly

Bistro Dinner Salad 
This is a perfect light and quick, yet refined meal. The mustard tarragon vinaigrette complements the slightly bitter salad greens, while the pear adds a hint of sweetness.

3 T finely chopped walnuts
4 large eggs      
2 bacon slices (uncooked)
8 c gourmet salad greens 
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese 
1 Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced 
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t dried tarragon
1/2 t Dijon mustard
4 (1-inch-thick) slices of baguette, toasted

Place nuts in a small skillet; cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently. Remove from heat; set aside. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp; cool slightly. Remove bacon from the pan, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings. Crumble bacon. Prepare poached eggs in egg poacher. Combine walnuts, bacon, greens, blue cheese, and pear in a large bowl. Combine 1 teaspoon reserved drippings, vinegar, oil, tarragon, and mustard in small bowl; stir with a whisk. Drizzle over greens mixture; toss gently. Arrange 2 cups salad mixture on each of 4 serving plates, top each serving with 1 egg and 1 toast slice.


Vinaigrette generally consists of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar whisked into an emulsion. Salt and pepper are often added. Herbs and shallots are added, especially when it is used as a sauce for cooked vegetables, beans and  grains. Sometimes mustard is used as an emulsifier. A vinaigrette can be composed from a selection of different oils, vinegars and citrus juice. Try a different, super nutritious oil: walnut oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, grapeseed oil or Udo's oil.

Citrus Vinaigrette
zest of one Meyer lemon
zest of one orange
juice of one Meyer Lemon, about 2 T
Juice of one orange, about 1/2 c
2 t white wine vinegar
1 T honey
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In an 8 ounce jar (or larger) zest and juice the lemon and orange. I use my hands instead of a hand-held juicer because I think the pulp adds a nice element to the dressing. Add the remaining ingredients. Screw on the lid and shake to combine.  Taste the dressing and adjust as needed.  The amount of juice in the orange and lemon will vary.  You will likely need to balance the flavors by adjusting the salt, oil or vinegar.

Spicy Mediterranean Vinaigrette
1/2 t black mustard seeds
1/4 t ground coriander
1/8 t ground cumin
1/2 c carrot juice
2 T golden raisins
2 T red wine vinegar
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 T low fat plain yogurt
1 t honey
1 1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/4 t salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 c olive oil
Yield: 3/4 c

Heat mustard seeds, coriander and cumin in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add carrot juice and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Place raisins in a blender and add the hot juice. Let stand for 5 minutes to plump the raisins. Then add vinegar, cilantro, yogurt, honey, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper and blend until combined. Pour in oil and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Crudités with Green Goddess Dressing and Dip
1 c olive oil
1/3 c unpasturized apple cider vinegar
several dashes sesame oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t fresh grated ginger
2 T cilantro
1 t ground, dry pan roasted cumin seeds
pinch cayenne pepper
sea or Himalayan salt
1 avocado

Blend all of the ingredients together. Serve with fresh vegetables or salad.

Minted Peas Salad
1 1⁄2 c cooked, chilled petite peas 
1 c sugar snap peas, trimmed 
1/4 c finely chopped fresh mint

Orange-Dijon Vinaigrette
1 T olive oil
1 T orange juice
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, vinegar and mustard. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss well. Serve.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
1 c quinoa, cooked
1 can lentils (19 oz), rinsed and drained
2 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 c black olives
1 t salt
2 T fresh mint, minced
2 T fresh dill, minced
1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
1/3 c green onion, minced
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1 stalk of celery, minced
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
1 tomato, diced
1/2 c chopped walnuts or toasted almonds or sunflower seeds
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in large bowl, adding lemon juice and olive oil last. Add salt to taste.


Try growing your own sprouts. All you need are some seeds, a large, clean jar and some netted fabric secured with a band. Soak seeds that have been thoroughly rinsed for the first 24 hours in clean cool water, draining and refreshing the water several times. Store in the dark. Then rinse twice a day with fresh clean water, drain thoroughly, and set in sunlight. Your sprouts will be ready to eat in a week. 

All viable seeds can be sprouted, but some sprouts should not be eaten raw. The most common food sprouts include:

  • Pulses (pea family): alfalfa, fenugreek, mung bean, lentil, pea, chickpea, soybean

  • Cereals: oat, wheat, maize (corn), rice, barley, rye, kamut and then quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat (these last three are used as cereal even if botanically they are not)

  • Oilseeds: sesame, sunflower, almond, hazelnut, linseed, peanut

  • Vegetables and herbs: broccoli, carrot, spinach, cabbage, celery, fennel, onion, parsley, radish, turnip, leek, watercress, mustard, rocket (arugula), lemon grass, lettuce, clover, milk thistle. Although whole oats can be sprouted, oat groats sold in food stores, which are de-hulled and require steaming or roasting to prevent rancidity, will not sprout. Whole oats may have an indigestible hull which makes them difficult or even unfit for human consumption.

All the sprouts of the solanaceae family (tomato, potato, paprika, aubergine or eggplant) and rhubarb cannot be eaten as sprouts, either cooked or raw, as they can be poisonous. Some sprouts can be cooked to remove the toxin, while others cannot.

With all seeds, care should be taken that they are intended for sprouting or human consumption rather than sowing. Seeds intended for sowing may be treated with chemical dressings.

Note: Processing for sterilization and refinement results in the destruction of the living germ in seeds. These seeds cannot be sprouted. Recently, I tried sprouting organic sunflower seeds purchased from Vita Health (they are sprouted in their natural, in-the-hull state and are my favourite) but they had been heat-treated and could not be sprouted! Quinoa in its natural state is very easy to sprout but when polished, or pre-cleaned of its saponin coating (becoming whiter), loses its power to germinate.

Sprouting creates a living food that has more nutritional potency. 


Huge amounts of enzymes: Experts estimate that sprouts can have up to 100 times more enzyme levels than raw fruits and vegetables. Enzyme supports your body to better use vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat.

Improved protein source: When sprouted, the protein profile of beans, nut and seeds changes, improving the levels of certain amino acids.

Increased fiber: Sprouts contain much more fiber than their unsprouted counterparts. Fiber is very important for health, as it helps to flush systemic toxins, lower cholesterol levels, and help in fat digestion.

Better vitamin content: Some vitamins dramatically increase during the sprouting process. Sprouts usually have high levels of vitamin A, B-complex, C and E. With only a few days of sprouting, some food can increase their vitamin level by up to 20 times!

Improved mineral absorption: During the sprouting process, minerals bind to proteins making them more usable in the body, especially calcium and magnesium.

Still hungry for more?


First Robin

How are you treating life?

Forty Shades Greener

Green Food 
& some Irish-themed healthy recipes


All About Chlorophyll
Grow Your Own Wheatgrass - Make Your Own Wheatgrass Juice Concentrate

Please visit:
Hearty Irish Comfort Food With Poetry and Stories

Green Hummus
3 1/2 c of canned garbanzo beans (about 2 15 oz cans)
2 c of spinach, loosely packed
1 c of arugula, loosely packed
1/4 c of cilantro
1/4 c diced green onion
1 clove of garlic
1 c of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

First, peel the skin off the garbanzo beans by squeezing the garbanzo bean between your fingers. Peeling the skin results in a smoother hummus. Combine the spinach, arugula, cilantro, green onion, and garlic in a food processor and blend. With the food processor on, stream the olive oil in and add the garbanzo beans. Season to taste and top with olive oil. Arrange a vegetable platter with anything that inspires you.   Honestly Yum

Miso Broccoli & Quinoa Salad
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T white miso
2 T rice vinegar
2 c cooked quinoa
3 c steamed broccoli florets, roughly chopped
2 c baby arugula
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 t salt

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso, and rice vinegar. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, broccoli, arugula, and sunflower seeds. Add the dressing and the salt. Toss gently until combined. EA. Stewart from The Little Book of Thin by Lauren Slayton

A Week Of Green Smoothies

Here is what you’ll need for a full week of green smoothies:

12 c spinach
4 c kale
5 stalks celery
3 oz avocado
5 bananas
3 oranges
2 apples
4 c frozen fruit

Water and ice

Green vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, electrolytes, and fibre. They are a wise choice for healthy bones, skin, nervous system, immune system, and digestive health. The BlendTec Blog                                

Donegal Oatcakes
1½ c stone-ground oatmeal
1½ c whole wheat flour, 
+ more for dusting
3 T unsalted butter, 
cubed and chilled
½ t sea salt
¾ c boiling water

Pulse oatmeal, flour, butter, and salt in a food processor until pea-size crumbles form. Add water; pulse until dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet. Press a sheet of parchment paper over dough and using a rolling pin, roll dough into a ½" thick square; cover with a kitchen towel and let sit 1 hour, to dry slightly. 

Heat oven to 250°F. Using a 3" round cutter, cut out cakes; gather and reuse scraps. Transfer cakes to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until golden and slightly crisp, 1 hour and 15 minutes. The more slowly it cooks, the better the flavor will be. Let cool slightly; serve with butter and jam, if you like. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Saveur

Mushroom Barley Soup
2 T olive oil 
1 pound mushrooms, sliced 
4 c carrots, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, sliced 
2 sprigs fresh thyme 
sea salt and black pepper 
6 c vegetable broth 
3/4 c pearl barley 
1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, thyme, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and barley. Simmer, partially covered, until the barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Top with the chopped flat-leaf parsley before serving. Real Simple

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Moroccan Shepards Pie With Sweet Potato & Lentils
For the filling:
1 lb grass-fed ground lamb or beef (omit for vegan)
3 c cooked chickpeas (or 2 15 oz. cans drained) (optional for meat version)
1 T olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 t ea. saltcumin, cinnamon, chili powder,
 1 t honey (optional)
2 c chopped plum tomatoes (about ¾ 28 oz can, drained)
½ c stock (vegetable, chicken or beef) + salt to taste
½ c currants or raisins
½ bunch cilantro, stems removed, chopped

For the mash:
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chucks
1 T olive oil
1 t ea.  cumingarlic powder, salt
2 T nut milk (more if needed)

For the filling:
Brown the ground meat in a large skillet over medium high heat. Remove meat from skillet and set aside. Add olive oil to the pan along with the onions, garlic, ginger, spices and salt and cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion is softened. Return the meat to the pan (if using) along with the honey, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes more. Add chickpeas (if using), currants, and chopped cilantro, stir and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the mash:
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain well and add the olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, salt and milk. With a hand blender (or potato masher), blend until they reach a creamy consistency.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill a 13 in x 9 in casserole dish with the filling and spread the mash on top. Bake for 40 minutes until the topping is beginning to brown. Garnish with extra chopped cilantro, if desired.  Our Four Forks

Melon With Lime, Feta, and Mint Salad
1 medium melon (or 1 small watermelon), a bit smaller than your head
1/4 small red onion, sliced very thinly
8-12 large mint leaves, slivered, + some small ones for garnish
juice of 1 large or 2 small limes, to taste
1 T super-good olive oil
flaky salt (such as Malden) and black pepper
3/4 c Goat feta cheese, in large crumbles

Cut the melon in half from the stem end and scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice each half lengthwise into eighths. Use a paring knife to slice the flesh from the skin, and cut the slices into bite-sized chunks. In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and mint, tossing gently to combine. Drizzle over the olive oil, lime juice, flaky salt and pepper, toss to combine, and taste for balance and seasoning. Scatter the feta over the top, and serve immediately, garnished with small mint leaves. The Bojon Gourmet

Matcha Frappé
Green layer
1/3 c plant milk of choice
1/2 T green matcha powder
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
tiny pinch of high quality salt
1 heaping T raw honey (maple syrup / coconut sugar for vegans)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1.5 cup ice cubes, slightly crushed by hand or by using pulse on a blender

Add all ingredients listed above except the ice cubes to a blender and blend until completely smooth without any matcha lumps. Using an immersion blender works great too.

Milk Layer

1 cup coconut milk

Divide the green milk in the two glasses, add the slightly crushed ice, pour over the coconut milk and sprinkle some additional matcha powder and freshly grated nutmeg on top. Earthsprout


Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants that makes it possible for the plant to absorb energy from light, through the process of photosynthesis. 

Chlorophyll is the blood of plants, with a molecular structure similar to the haemoglobin molecule in human blood. 

Chlorophyll fights free radicals, is anti-bacterial, reduces inflammation, is anti-carcinogenic, improves oxygen supply (the brain uses 20% of the body's oxygen supply), and alleviates bad breath and body odor caused by bacteria. It also helps to detoxify the body, which can manifest in skin disorders and damage. Chlorophyll is beneficial for immune system, digestive, and respiratory health, and for the treatment of arthritis, gastric ulcers, liver detox, bowel health, addiction recovery, and for the prevention of kidney stones.

When you eat leafy greens and sea vegetables, you are consuming chlorophyll naturally. Chlorophyll helps acid-alkaline pH balance, replenishes red blood cells, and increases bone and dental health. Chlorophyll contains all 22  of the essential amino acids and is a complete protein, effective in reversing protein deficiency anaemia

Wheatgrass is one of the richest natural sources of vitamins A, D, E and K, and the complete B complex. Wheatgrass is also a natural source of Laetrile (Vitamin B-17). Wheatgrass is the richest source of chlorophyll in all the plant kingdom. Wheatgrass is a live enzyme superfood 

You can grow your own wheatgrass and make your own wheatgrass juice concentrate. 

Soak 500g of wheatgrass seeds in water for 8 hours. Prepare a 20 x 10 x 2 inch seed tray: add 1 1/2 inches of compost potting mix. 

Rinse and drain the seeds thoroughlySpread the seeds evenly over the compost mix. Cover the seeds with a light layer of soil. Your compost mix should be moist but not sitting in excess water. Keep the soil moist - the tray should be watered every day. You can cover the tray with a damp cloth to enhance favourable growing conditions.

After 3 days the wheatgrass should be a couple of inches in height. You can then remove the cover and place the tray in partial - indirect sunlight. The sunlight will enable the sprout to produce chlorophyll which will quickly transform the yellow wheatgrass sprouts to a vivid green colour.

You should harvest when the wheatgrass is about 7-8 inches in height. To harvest your wheatgrass, simply trim with a pair of scissors or a chef's knife. Happy Juicer

Wheatgrass Juice Concentrate: Blend fresh cut wheatgrass with water. Strain. Store in the refrigerator 1-2 days. Use fresh or pour into ice cube trays and freeze. I use the wheatgrass juice ice cubes in drinking water and even in my cat's drinking water occasionally; especially in the off seasons when there is no access to fresh grass outdoors.

Liquid chlorophyll concentrate can be added to water, juice, green tea, and for smoothies. It can be blended with fresh cucumber and mint. Make a refreshing green tea smoothie with almond milk, matcha green tea powder, avocado, chlorophyll, vanilla, and cardamonDrinking wheatgrass juice is like drinking liquid sunshine. 

Still Hungry For More?

Chlorophyll Botanical Vintage Printable
Golubka's Kitchen
The BlendTec Blog
Mojo Spa Style
Our Four Forks
Fat Free Vegan Kitchen