Monday 18 August 2014

Sunshine in a bowl: Sweet and sticky stir fry

This morning greeted me with blue skies and streams of strong light darting across the backyard outside my window. The wind swirled around through the trees overhead and despite the cold, I crept out to the garden in my bare feet to sit in the grass. I could still hear the bin collector trucks in the distance. Early morning bird song mingled through all the sounds streaming around me and I tried to sit calmly and not worry about the day ahead. I closed my eyes and let the morning sun dapple on my skin and closed eyes. At the beginning of the month and all through May, June and July, I tried to do this most mornings. That warming, comforting sun on my skin, the calm of the beginning of the day, the fresh air, that important alone time first thing in the morning before everything became hectic as the day kicked off. With the change in weather, this hasn't been as easy. Despite the cool winds, I got out there with a blanket and sat, listening.

Veggie love. They looked so cozy and happy, I just had to carve little, sleepy smiley loved up faces on them.

Often when I go veggie shopping, I find that I'm attracted to colors in foods that I was really lacking. I later read up about this and it turns out our body sends signals to our senses to encourage us to consume things that we need. If we need to relax, fragrances like lavender and rosemary become the sweetest we've smelt. If we need to rest, soothing herbs like meadowsweet and lemon verbena become irresistible. When we need sunshine vitamins like Vitamin D (the sun energy), we crave being outside more and increased contact with the outdoors. Orange and yellow fruit and vegetables remind us of the sun, its energy and vitality. These sunshine foods are also packed with Vitamin A, especially carotenoids which help prevent free radicals and contain anti-oxidants which build up your body's immune system. When our bodies feel healthier it can greatly affect your mood and the increased physical help can really improve your mental or emotional state.

This sweet and sticky stir fry is inspired by this morning's sunshine and the sunshine colors I so clearly needed this week when I went veggie shopping on Saturday. Ginger and garlic fuse to warm up your tummy and infuse the honey and soy sauce with Asian flavors. The carrots, courgette and peppers all have different textures, tastes and colors, which makes this a tasty treat. If my sprouts were ready, I definitely would have put a pile of purple radish sprouts on top for a colorful and spicy kick.

Make this super quick stir fry, savor the colors and the clean taste and then go out and sit in the sunshine. Even for ten minutes on your lunch break. It will surprise you just how good you'll feel.

Same as yesterday's recipe: Serves 2 OR
for Me, Myself and I portions, serves me for dinner and lunch

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 big chunk of ginger, sliced into thin strips
2 Tbs sesame oil

1 carrot
1 small yellow courgette (zucchini)
1 orange bell pepper

1 portion thin rice noodles (available in supermarkets and Asian shops)

1 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs honey

3/4 Tbs sunflower and pumpkin seed mix
1 large bunch of fresh mint, shredded

The key to a good stir fry is organization. Prep before and have everything ready to throw together

Put a pot of water on with boiling water. Once it is boiling, place your noodles in and boil for 4/5 minutes. Strain and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare all your veg. Peel carrot and slice into thin strips. Top and tail the courgette and slice in half length-ways. Cut the pepper in half and pull out the seeds then slice into thin strips. Heat a wok and fry garlic and ginger. Add carrots and toss quickly for 1 minute, then add in courgette and pepper and stir fry for a further 1/2 mins. Pour honey and soy sauce over veg. Toss strained noodles through the sauce.

Serve with seeds and shredded mint. For an extra taste, fry the seed mix in a separate frying pan until browned. Remove from the heat and pour over a dash of soy sauce. You'll get salty, sticky seeds that taste just yummy.

Enjoy! X

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