Tag Archives: healthy eating

Thai Lime and Coconut Salmon Parcels with Lemongrass Infused Rice

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IMG_4541Planning a “dinner for two” but stuck for ideas and can’t bare the thought of spending the whole evening slaving away in the kitchen? Why not try this amazing little dinner and dessert combo that is packed full of flavour, easy on the eye and sure to please even the toughest of critics. Despite looking like something you would see served up at a fine dining restaurant, both of these recipes are very simple and easy to prepare, leaving you plenty of time to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself.

Thai Lime and Coconut Salmon Parcels with Lemongrass Infused Rice

 What you need…

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 fresh lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, finely diced
  • small bunch coriander, choppedIMG_4519
  • 1 tsp green curry paste
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
  • ½ Chinese wombok, finely sliced
  • 1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • ½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Steamed greens to serve

What to do…

Pre-heat fan forced oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Next place 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add a pinch of salt, the lemongrass and the rice. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a tight lid and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, spread two large pieces of alfoil down on a clean working surface and then place a piece of baking paper over the top. Divide the wombok amongst the sheets of paper and then top each with a salmon fillet. Next start layering the salmon fillets with the fresh lime slices followed by the shallots, garlic, coriander, chilli and kaffir lime leaves.

Add the coconut milk, fish sauce and curry paste to a bowl and stir well to combine. Fold up the sides of each of the salmon parcels and then pour the coconut mixture over the fillets. Wrap each parcel up like a big present.

Place in the oven and cook for approximately 15-20minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon fillets. To test, open one of the packets, insert a fork into the centre of the fillet and gently pull back. If the inside flesh is opaque the fish is cooked. If not, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until cooked to your liking.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and serve with some steamed greens and the lemongrass infused rice sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Choc Coconut Dipped Strawberries with Pistachio Crumb

What you need…

  • 1 punnet fresh strawberries, rinsed and drained IMG_4557
  • 200g dark cooking chocolate
  • 200ml coconut milk or cream
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp almond meal

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan forced. To make the crumb, mix the pistachios, almond meal and coconut together and spread over a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spray lightly with oil and place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes or until the edges of the mixture just start to brown slightly. Remove the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, use a double boiler or microwave to melt the chocolate and coconut cream, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Transfer the chocolate to a bowl and assemble on a platter with the beautiful fresh strawberries and the pistachio crumb.

Enjoy!

A

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Pesto Chicken Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

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Trying to cut down on carbohydrates but just can’t seem to give up those delicious big bowls of steaming pasta? Well, now you don’t have to, thanks to this simple culinary creation transforming the humble old zucchini into a nice pile of nutritious noodles!  Gluten free, “paleo-friendly” and packed full of flavour, this meal is a winner all round!

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto Chicken and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4 people

What you need:Image1_Ingredients

–        4 medium zucchinis

–        500g chicken breast, fat trimmed

–        250g tub cherry tomatoes

–        1 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted

–        2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

–        Extra virgin olive oil

 

For the pesto:

–        2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

–        2 cloves garlic, peeledImage2_pesto

–        ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

–        2 tbsp water

–        1/4 cup pine nuts

–        1/4 walnuts

–        juice of 1 lemon

–        salt and pepper

 

What to do:

To make the pesto, simply place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined. Check the balance of flavours and add extra seasoning or lemon juice or olive oil as required. Cover and set aside.

NOTE: Although your regular basil pesto is usually just made on pine nuts or cashews, I also added some walnuts into mine to add some extra heart healthy omega 3 fats without compromising on flavour! I also left out the parmesan cheese to cut down on saturated fats and calories, and I can promise you, you wont even notice the difference! 😉

chickenPre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Next take a large baking dish, line with baking paper and fill with the chicken breasts and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle over the sliced garlic and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and cover with alfoil.

Place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the alfoil and cook for another 5 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the tomatoes are soft and are starting to blister. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into thin slices.

Next place a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, use either a peeler, julienne peeler or mandolin to prepare your zucchini noodles. For wide fettuccini style “pasta” use a standard vegetable peeler. Spaghetti-like noodles can be achieved using a julienne peeler or mandolin.

Whichever you choose, cut the ends off the zucchinis and start peeling lengthways. When you boiling noodlesapproach the seeds, turn the zucchini and continue slicing. Discard the middle section with the seeds, as they will prevent the noodles from holding together. Once you have finished, pop the noodles into the boiling water to blanch for 1 minute and then drain.

To serve, divide the noodles into pasta bowls and top with the sliced chicken breast, cherry tomatoes and pesto.

Garnish with the toasted pinenuts and some fresh sprigs of basil. You could also add a sprinkling of good quality parmesan cheese for a slightly more authentic Italian experience.

 

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New Years Resolution # 1: Getting a Handle on Sugar Cravings!

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Sugar cravings.. just about everyone gets them at some point or another, but what can you do to Mixed-lollies_Lge-01override them? For some it is a daily battle to overcome that 3pm sugar craving slump and if this is you, here a few simple suggestions on how you can take control and stop the cravings for good!

1) Make sure you eat every 2-3 hours

Though it may be easy to get distracted at work and before you know it, its 3pm and you still haven’t had lunch, this is a serious recipe for disaster! Going long periods of time without eating causes significant drops in your blood sugar levels, often leading to intense sugar cravings. This is because glucose or sugar (which is what carbohydrates are broken down into in your gut) is your body’s primary energy source. So, when energy levels become too low, your body starts to crave sugary foods as these are easily broken down and released into your blood stream to be used as energy, providing a super quick energy fix. The problem is, the energy release from sugary foods is short lived and you often end up feeling sluggish  and craving even more sugar before you know it! Moral of the story?… eat regularly to prevent your blood sugar levels dropping too low and the sugar cravings from creeping in!

2)    Always keep a packet of minty chewing gum on hand

Popping in a piece of gum after a meal not only keeps your breath minty fresh but it also serves as a great distraction from sweet foods and it also helps to cleanse the palate, making sugary foods seem less appealing.

3) Opt for herbal or black tea between meals

Virtually calorie free and oh-so soothing herbal or black teas are the perfect distraction after meals to prevent those sugar cravings from creeping in! Herbal teas like peppermint are especially effective at curbing the cravings as they help to refresh the palate in much the same way as chewing gum!

4) Curb the cravings with healthier, more nourishing alternatives.

Instead of feeding your cravings with sugar, which will only cause you to crave MORE sugar, try opting for more satisfying, protein –rich snacks like nuts, a slice of cheese or celery sticks with peanut butter. Or, if you absolutely feel you need something sweet, opt for a couple of squares of extra dark chocolate. The richness of dark chocolate should prevent you from eating as much and it is also far less sweet than normal milk chocolate, which may help to prevent a total sugar blow out!

5) Ride it out

Though it may sometimes feel like sugar cravings are going to last a life time and the only answer is to give in, I can promise you those feelings will pass! In fact, studies show most cravings last a maximum of 20 minutes. So, why not try distracting yourself with something non-food related for a few minutes and you might just find those cravings might just pass faster than you think!

Happy New Year!

A

Easy Peasy Zucchini Slice

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slicePacked full of flavour, essential nutrients and good quality protein, this slice is a winner all round! This slice is super quick and easy to whip up and makes the perfect simple mid week dinner or convenient lunchbox option! Though it does contain a few less healthy ingredients (uhmmm bacon) the amount used is minimal and is really only in there for flavour, so not too much too worry about there! This slice is also perfect for all you carb conscious people out there! Recipe as follows…

What you need…

  • 2 large zucchinis, grated
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 slices short cut bacon, diced (or you can use ham for a slightly healthier version!)
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal SR flour (or gluten free self raising flour for a gluten free version)
  • 3/4 cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 extra large eggs

What to do…

Preheat oven to 170°C.  Grease and line a non-stick baking tray.

In a large bowl combine the zucchini, carrot, onion, shallots, bacon, flour and cheese and mix together.

In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs add the oil before pouring into the mix of dry ingredients. Mix well to combine and season with a salt and pepper.

Finally pour the mixture into your lined baking dish. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden and set.  Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Enjoy!

A

Healthy Beef Burgers

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healthy burgersNow lets be honest…everyone (and i mean everyone) loves a good burger..especially for a lazy Sunday night feed! Usually however, one would associate a burger from your local takeaway joint with huge beef patties with melted cheese, onions and all the trimmings, followed by a smidge of regret whilst polishing off the last bite knowing that you probably just ate about a whole days worth of calories in one sitting!…and that’s without the side of chips!

Well for those of you who have been avoiding the burgers lately for such reasons this one is for you!! With burgers being the general consensus amongst my household for dinner last night I decided to see if i could convince the crew that healthy food can be just as tasty and just as satisfying as your favourite takeout burger joint! And I am pleased to say, the healthy homemade burgers I made for a hungry hoard of male housmeates last night definitely weren’t lacking flavour nor was there a scrap of food left on any of their plates…mission accomplished dont you think? Next time youve got a hankering for a greasy takeaway feed, do yourself a favour and give these burgers a crack!

What you need…

(This serves 4-5 people)

For the beef patties:

– 500g extra lean beef mince

– 1 brown onion, diced

– 2 cloves garlic

– 1 carrot, grated

– 1 tbsp BBQ sauce

– 2 tsp fresh or dried thyme

– 1 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp garam massala

For everything else:

– Loads of salad veggies  (eg. grated carrot, slices of cucumber, tomato, tinned beetroot, mixed leaves etc)

1 avocado, sliced

– 1 brown onion, sliced

–  balsamic vinegar

– 4 large field mushrooms

– thin slices of low fat cheddar cheese OR low fat tzatziki

– hot tomato relish

– 4 wholegrain burger buns

 

What to do…

For the burger patties, place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Roll the mixture tennis ball sized rissoles then set aside until ready to cook.

Place a non-stick fry pan over medium heat and add a tsp of olive oil before throwing in the onions. Sautee for 2-3 mins then add the balsamic vinegar. Sautee for another 2-3 mins or until soft.

Next take the stalk out of the mushies and add them face up to the same pan. Spray lightly with olive oil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Cook face up for 3 mins, before flipping over, rubbing lightly with olive oil and cooking for a further 3 mins or so. Remove from the heat and set aside with the onions. Cover with foil to keep them warm.

Once everything is prepared, place the non-stick fry pan back on the heat, add 2 tsp of oil and cook the beef patties for about 3 mins each side. (Note: you will need to squish the patties down to help them cook faster. Their cooking time will depend how thick your patties are).

And the final step of assembling I am going to leave up to you, as I think everyone has their own favourite  little burger concoction!

Good luck!

 

 

Words of Wisdom from Jamie Oliver (My Idol of the food and nutrition world!)

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Anyone who has children, are planning on having them or care enough about the health and well being of our society as a whole need to watch this! It’s Jamie Oliver’s passionate dissertation on childhood obesity in America and I feel it is my responsibility to help spread the word and hopefully help start a universal movement to tackle this ever growing problem! Although it is aimed at those in the US, everything he says is highly relevant to everyone in the western world, especially for us here in Australia where we are seeing the same problems as America on an epidemic scale! So if you have 15-20minutes to spare PLEASE WATCH!

 

Eating Healthy on a Budget!

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Ok, so we all know we should be eating plenty of wholegrains, fish, lean meat, vegetable oils, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables but for some of us filling up the trolley with all of these types of foods can be REALLY difficult! Why you ask? Yep you guessed it..the cost! Despite what many will say, eating healthily can be quite costly and if you have a tight budget already, many of these foods probably get replaced with slightly cheaper and most likely less healthy options. So, for those of you who perhaps fall into this category I have put together a few helpful hints to assist you in managing to eat a healthy balanced diet without breaking the budget! 

Planning Ahead:piggy bank

  • Write a shopping list – your shopping list should resemble the healthy eating pyramid, spending the most money on your eat most foods, a smaller proportion on your eat moderately foods and the smallest portion of your list (and food budget) should be made up of your eat in small amounts foods.
  • Always plan ahead and include some healthy snack options on your shopping list
  • Decide what meals you are going to prepare for the following week and write your shopping list to suit.
  • Use your local supermarkets’ weekly mail catalogue to make use of the specials when writing your shopping list.
  • If you are going to a party, try and eat at home before you go to decrease the temptation to tuck into party foods and other less healthy snacks throughout the night.
  • Pack your lunch for work/class the night before when possible, so that time isn’t an issue in the mornings.
  • Pick a day of the week to make your designated grocery shopping time each week, always take a shopping list and try to make this a weekly ritual!

Filling up the shopping trolley on a budget:Unknown

  • Prepare your shopping list BEFORE you go shopping and only buy what is written on the list.
  • Bulk buy non-perishable everyday items such as rice, pasta, flour, tinned tomatoes, tinned tuna, lentils/legumes, noodles, stock cubes, tinned vegetables etc.
  • Buy meat in bulk when it is on special and freeze in serve size portions.
  • Frozen vegetables are a great alternative to fresh when fresh produce is not in season or is too expensive
  • Look for specials/clearance items and do your grocery shopping as late as possible in the day to take advantage of the clearance specials at the end of the day
  • Always shop around and check your local butcher/green grocer as they may have specials or cheaper prices for some products than the larger supermarkets.
  • Don’t buy extra unneeded junk food items such as softdrink, chips and chocolate when grocery shopping even if they are on special!  (There is less temptation to eat these unhealthy food items if they are not in the house!!)
  • Choose the cheaper home-brand items where possible, (especially for staple food items like flour, milk, rice etc) as more often than not the only real difference is the price.

Saving time and money in the kitchen:

  • Prepare meals in bulk and freeze them in portion-sized containers – (they make a quick, healthy and cheap alternative to take-away when you have limited time!
  • Take left over’s to work/class etc rather than buying your lunch.
  • Bulk up your meat dishes with legumes, chic-peas and lentils – reduces costs and overall fat content whilst increasing recipe bulk.
  • Use up old vegetables in soups or to bulk up meat dishes, where freshness is not nearly so important.
  • Frozen/canned vegetables and fruit are a great way to prevent wastage due to their extended shelf life. Frozen vegetables/fruit in particular are usually just as nutritious as fresh produce and tend to be less expensive.
  •  Limit takeaways – despite popular belief they are actually usually more expensive than home cooked meals (especially when buying for more than one person) and lack the nutritional quality.
  • Include some form of protein to meals wherever possible (such as lean meat, tofu, tuna, legumes, low fat dairy, eggs or nuts), as they help to increase satiety and prevent unnecessary snacking throughout the day.
  • Store perishable foods like bread/crumpets/wraps etc in the freezer to prevent mould growth.
  • Use fruit that is starting to perish to make stewed fruit or a healthy smoothie for breakfast.

Some sites to check out for extra information on how to eat healthily on a budget and some great recipe ideas!

–       Food Cents Program: http://www.foodcentsprogram.com.au/

–       DAA Cheap and Cheerful Recipe List: http://daa.asn.au/for-the-public/smart-eating-for-you/recipes/browse/?course=0&cuisine=0&type=0&category=50&ingredient=0

–       Swap it Don’t Stop it Campaign Information: http://swapit.gov.au/ways-to-swap/swap-tips

OR BECOME A MEMBER OF A COMMUNITY KITCHEN NEAR YOU! Check out this site for more information:    http://www.communitykitchens.org.au/

Hope this is helpful!

A