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  • Before the kids go Trick or Treating, fill them up!

     Butternut squash and apple soup is full of beta carotene, vitamins C and B6 and magnesium and is warming before heading out. Make a spider's web by putting a swirl of cream on it and pulling a sharp knife from the centre through the cream to the edges of the bowl.

    Ingredients - 1 onion, chopped, 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced. 3 eating apples cored and chopped, a knob of butter, a handful of mixed herbs, about 800ml of water and  a swirl of cream

    Soften the onion in the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Add in the butternut squash, apples, herbs and the water and simmer on the hob for 20 minutes until the squash is soft. Blend and serve and add your cobweb.

     

     

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    Raw cacao is a more powerful antioxidant than blueberries. It is a rich source of iron which is important for red blood cells, and high in magnesium which is great for your heart and for muscle and nerve function. It is a mood elevator so makes us feel great.Cacao nibs have a chocolatey taste though not as sweet as processed chocolate which makes them versatile for adding into a variety of foods from chilli con carne to smoothies to breakfast cereals.

    Try this simple gluten free breakfast muesli for a great start to the day.

    Mix together 200g buckwheat flakes, 150g coconut flakes, 150g chopped walnuts and 100g cacao nibs. Store in an airtight container and eat for breakfast with natural yoghurt.

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    Fed up with porridge? Granola can be a quick and delicious alternative in the morning, especially if served with a good quality probiotic natural yoghurt. You will get plenty of protein from the nuts and seeds in the granola to keep you going all morning and a healthy dose of good bacteria from the yoghurt. My family's favourite is quick and easy to make and is great for breakfast or  a snack.

     

     

     

    200g rolled oats

    200g mixed nuts, whizzed in a blender if you have fussy eaters

    50g mixed seeds

    6tbsp olive oil

    100g dates, simmered in 1" of water and blended

    Mix all the ingredients together and put on a baking tray in the oven for 15 minutes at 160 degees C. Reduce to 90 degrees C and cook for another 30 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container (though it won't last long). Use whatever nuts and seeds you have - all combinations are delicious. 

     

     

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    Apples are a fantastic source of nutrition and they are everywhere at the moment. If you haven't your own tree, get Irish ones from a farmers' market. I am constantly amazed that supermarkets stock apples from every corner of the globe but so few, even at this time of year, from Ireland.

    My favourite recipe for using up the apples is a great cake for the lunch box. The sweetness in the cake comes from apples and sultanas so there is no added refined sugar. You can add in 2 tbsp of honey if you prefer it sweeter, but I think it works just as well without.

    Apple Cake

     

    375g self raising flour

    2tsp mixed spice

    300g eating apples, chopped small, grated or whizzed in a food processor

    250g sultanas

    150g milk

    2tbsp honey (optional)

    1 egg

    Oven temp - 160 degrees C

    Put the flour, mixed spice and butter into a food mixer until the flour is rubbed into the butter and it resembles breadcrumbs (you can also do this by hand). Mix all the other ingredients together and add to the flour mixture. Pour into a greased 20cm cake tin and bake for 1 hour.

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