Tuesday, September 11

Superwoman salad - Tuna, Avocado & Cannellini Bean

After a few months of eating terribly and being stuck in a bit of a recipe rut, I am finally back on track with a whole host of new meal ideas and super excited to try them all out! I am embarking on a 12 week challenge to get super fit and super healthy - hence this incredible Superwoman salad! Packed with a gizillion nutrients and minerals this salad is a perfect fit fanatic meal. Cannelini beans are low in fat, high in Fibre, low GI and contain twice as much Iron as Beef! A massive source of energy and detoxifying enzymes, as well as assisting the body to lose fat. Do you need any more reasons to introduce these super beans into your diet asap?! Tuna also promotes detoxification and are a well known mood enhancer, as well as providing your body with essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado's are full of Vitamin E and help your body to absorb all the other wonderful nutrients from this meal. This meal took me about 5 minutes to prepare and I have plenty left over for lunch tomorrow! Enjoy!
In a bowl mix together....
1 can of Canelini beans, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls Baby Spinach
1 200g can Tuna
1 Avocado, diced
100g Feta, diced

Squeeze the juice of half lemon and mix with 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a dash of Balsamic Vinegar. I also added 1 Teaspoon of Sundried Tomato Pesto, but the dressing is still great without it!
Pour dressing over salad and add a sprinkle of mixed seeds. 

Eat on a regular basis and watch yourself transform into Superwoman!

Love. x

Monday, August 6

No Pasta Vege Lasagna!

I've been meaning to try out this dish for some time now! A flatmate of mine made something similar and since then I have been formulating a recipe in my head and so this is a combination of her recipe and one of my Mum's yummy Canneloni recipes. Its a cheap and easy dish that makes a good 4-6 servings and looks great served as well! I have been loving spinach lately and have just planted some in the garden so hopefully they'll come along nicely and we can have fresh spinach to try out a whole host of delicious recipes! The ingredients for this Lasagna can be added to if you want to try a bit more flavour although I found that the ingredients I used complemented each other well. I would love to try it with Eggplant and Courgettes once they're in season! I used Cottage Cheese in my lasagne but if you are a no-go on dairy then you could mix the Hummus in instead. 

In a bowl mix together
-1 bag Baby Spinach
-1 pot of Cottage Cheese (or Hummus)
-1 can Crushed Tomatoes (Save a little in Can for later)
- Sprinkle Mixed Herbs
- 3 crushed Garlic Cloves

Seperately, slice 1/2 pumpkin into 0.5cm slices. I always put my whole pumpkin into the Microwave first for around 10 minutes - it makes it so much easier to chop! 

Layer 1/3 of the Spinach mix into a deep lasagna dish, top with sliced Pumpkin until completely covered. Spoon a dollop of Hummus on top of Pumpkin and spread to cover. Repeat this step so that you have 3 layers. 

The Hummus layer should be sitting on the top. Add around 1/2 Cup Water to your almost empty can of Tomatoes then pour over your Lasagna. 

Bake at 180c for 40minutes. Let cool before dishing up. 

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7

10 ways with chickpeas..

There is one food item that features heavily on my weekly shopping list.. It is by far the most versatile food I have ever met. And yes I have met Potato & Egg. Chickpeas are Number 1 on my list. I usually buy 4-6 cans in my big groceries and often have to go back for more! My favourite way to have them is baked as an everyday healthy snack. Chickpeas are naturally low in fat, high in dietary fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals so make the most of them! Here are a few of my favourite ways to have them.. 


1. Baked in the oven for 15minutes with a dash of Olive Oil, Tamari and Paprika. My absolute favourite snack!


2. Throw a can in the blender with a handful of olives, sundried tomatoes, sprinke of mixed herbs,, 1/2 cup of any flour and 1 tsp Baking Powder. Knead into a loaf and bake for 15minutes. Amazing Gluten Free Focaccia Bread! 


3. Throw them in a bowl with some freshly chopped Mint, Coriander, Parsley and Lemon Juice. Eat just like this or add some Feta and Baby Spinach for a complete salad. 

4. In a pot cook a teaspoon each of Garlic, Ginger and Chilli. Add 1 can Chickpeas and 2 cups stock. Cook until water is evaporated and stir through fresh Coriander.

5. Stirfry a can of chickpeas with a can of crushed tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon cumin, and 1/2 can coconut milk. Add any vegetables you prefer and serve on brown rice. 

6. Blend with 1 Tablespoon each of Tahini and Lemon Juice, Clove of Garlic and dash of Cumin. Easy Hummus!

7. Stirfry 1 chopped Leek in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups of Vegetable stock, 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce and Lemon Juice. Pour in a can of chicpeas and 1 grated Carrot. One of my favourite soups!

8. Have them for lunch mixed with a can of Tuna and Baby Spinach leaves. 

9. Add a can of Chickpeas to your Roasts - Yum!

10. Bake on a low heat, around 150 celsius for 30 - 45 minutes. The chickpeas will go hard and crispy and you can store them for longer than soft chickpeas. Try adding any flavouring you can think of! Salt & Vinegar? BBQ? Experiment and find your favourite! 

   

Almond Butter Goodness!

This has got to be one of my favourite cant-live-without foods at the moment. I have mine every morning spread on my favourite Venerdi Ancient Grain Toast with sliced Banana on top or mixed in with my Oats & Apple. It makes breakfast just a little bit more exciting and adds a powerful health kick to your meal. Loaded with Vitamin E and Manganese, Almonds are a great antioxidant and help prevent heart disease, cancer and skin problems. Almonds are also fantastic for satisfying hunger and prevent over- eating. They also contain more nutrients than any other nut. Its no wonder they are so popular! They happen to be the only ingredient in this simple but time consuming recipe/. But trust me, a little bit of patience brings great rewards!

Place 200grams of Almonds in a Food Processor for about 20 minutes.
Blend on high, scraping down the sides when necessary. (Which is about once a minute during the grainy process - hence the patience!)
Your Almonds will first become chopped in to small grainy pieces. This part seems to last forever and you may start thinking that its not going to work...

But stay strong! Keep this going for about 10minutes and suddenly the pieces will start clumping together. This is because the natural ioils from the Almonds have been released. After clumping around for a bit in the processor the lumps will start breaking up again and will start becoming runny. Depending on how nutty/smooth you want your nut butter, this is when you can start taking yours out. I leave mine in for another 3 minutes or so until a silky liquid starts forming on top.
Transfer your nut butter to a jar and seal. I store mine in the fridge, but if you are using it within the week then the pantry is fine! Next week I am planning on creating some type of Almond & Carob Cups... Yum! I'll keep you posted - Enjoy! xx



Friday, June 8

Quinoa Sushi Rolls.. x

 A few weeks ago we had a shared lunch for one of our class break-ups so I had to think of something amazingly healthy but tasty enough, and not to 'out there' so that everyone would try it. I'd heard someone mention Quinoa Sushi on a blog so decided to give it a go and they turned out fantastic! I actually found the rolls much easier to make than with normal rice and the sushi had a lovely nutty flavour to it. They are also a lot lighter than rice sushi so you might find yourself eating hoards of them!

  1. Cook Quinoa in a pot with 1:2 ratio of water. Add 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar or powdered Sushi Mix per cup Quinoa once cooked and allow to cool. 
  2. Chop up ingredients to put in sushi - my favourites are smoked salmon or smoked chicken & avocado, or egg, pineapple and carrot or tofu, cucumber and capsicum!
  3. Lay out Nori sheet on sushi mat. Spread Quinoa mix evenly over Nori leaving a 2 centimetre gap at one end. Lay ingredients in a thin line down the centre and use the mat to roll Nori over ingredients, tightly packing them in as you go. Roll towards the 2 centimetre gap and use a pastry brush to sweep a little water on the edge. Stick roll together and place in fridge to cool. 
  4. Once chilled, slice Sushi with a hot knife and place on a platter with Tamari, Wasabi and Ginger. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 6

Chickpea & Cashew Tagine.. Middle Eastern Goodness!

This is a recipe I whipped up one evening thinking it wasn't going to be anything special, just another chickpea casserole... but what a delicious surprise! The Cashews & Brown Rice in this recipe really add to the nuttiness of the Tagine, bringing out the flavour of the cashews and complimenting the cinnamon spice. Its a cheap and easy meal to throw together but is rather impressive! I found it didn't taste quite as good the next day - the Cashews had gone soft and didn't have as strong a flavour. So make it fresh, serve it to guests and enjoy a delicious, guilt-free meal!

2 Cans Chickpeas
150g Baby Spinach
1 Onion
2 Cans Chopped Tomatoes
1 Courgette
1 T Lemon Juice
1 T Cinnamon
1 T Coriander
1 Cup Cashews

Heat Olive Oil in a large pan. Add chopped Vegetables and drained & rinsed Chickpeas. Saute for 3 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Sprinkle Cinnamon through vegetables and pour in cans of Chopped Tomatoes. Stir 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice through and add Coriander and Cashews. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve on a bed of Brown Rice... Simple!

Monday, June 4

Appletini anyone...?

So as part of my detox I have given up all caffeine so my beloved morning coffee is out. :( But! Never fear.. I have been introduced to these incredibly tasty breakfast latte's. So I have replaced one obsession with another but at least this one has a bucket load of nutrients in it! Brazil Nuts are a bit pricey but I only use 3 a day so it doesn't actually work out too bad. We have a Magic Bullet blender which is great for making these but an ordinary blender would work fine too. Why so much goodness you ask...?

  • Brazil Nuts are full of Selenium making them a complete protein, which means they contain all the essential amino acids for optimum growth and energy! 
  • Sunflower Seeds contain a high amount of Vitamin E which neutralizes free radicals, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. They also help to prevent asthma, heart attacks, strokes and arthritis.
  • Pure Apple Juice helps reduce cholesterol levels and contains high amounts of Potassium and antioxidants. They also assist in cleansing the liver, kidneys and intestines, eliminating harmful toxins and improving digestion.  
  • Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels, cures yeast infections, proliferates certain cancer cells, prevents blood clots, boosts cognitive function and memory and is great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. Wow!
So if that wasn't enough convincing, try one and see how tasty they are!
Blend together 1 Cup Pure Organic Apple Juice, 3 Brazil Nuts and 1 Tablespoon Sunflower Seeds. Pour into a glass (Martini Glass not essential but it sure makes you feel special!) and serve with sprinkled Cinnamon on top. 

Love and good health... 
Crystal Jane.x

Friday, June 1

Mediterranean Rice Muffins!

Enoying a relaxing Friday night at home by myself.. absolute bliss after a hectic week! Excited (and a little apprehensive) about my first non-drinking weekend! So as always I return to my happy place - cooking! I was in the mood for baking but most cakes, muffins and breads are a definite no-go! So we created these amazing Mediterranean Rice Muffins! I had some leftover Brown Rice so decided to give it a go! You can add absolutely anything to these muffins! This recipe is for a savoury muffin but feel free to experiment with alternatives like banana or blueberry, I'm sure they would be absolutely delish!

All you need is:
2-3 cups Cooked Brown Rice
3 Eggs
Any leftover ingredients that you can find!
I added...
1/4 Butternut Pumpkin
1 Large Portobello Mushroom
1/2 Jar Roasted Capsicums
1/2 Red Onion
10 Olives
1 Tablespoon Sunflower Seeds
Parsley, Chilli, Salt & Pepper.

Mix it all up and spoon mixture into muffin trays. I like to use baking paper by cutting small squares with a diagonal slit so that they mould into the pan and don't get stuck when you pull them out!



Now these babies are ready to roast! Put them in the oven on Bake at 180oC for about 30 minutes. You wont the tops to be nice and crispy - it's the best part!


Remove from the oven and let cool. These are just as tasty hot or cold so save them for lunch boxes or instant snacks!

Sundried Tomatoes, Pinenuts, Pesto, Courgette or Spinach would also work well in these muffins.
Have fun with it and enjoy!xx



Sunday, May 27

Detoxing Menu Plan!


Well here it is... the long awaited and highly anticipated Week 3 menu plan! You all must have been starving waiting for this one.. haha. This week I am starting an exciting 6-week Detox! I've been a bit slack with my eating lately as I started working a lot lot more hours and the colder weather made me want to binge in a big, bad way!! So I am feeling seriously crappy and can't believe how different I actually feel and look! My energy levels, skin, hair and bloating have taken a massive downwards turn so a 6-week detox is just what we need! This is a fairly strict eating plan. I will be eating only whole foods and no wheat, gluten, dairy, meat or processed foods. I'm also being brave and cutting out all alcohol and coffee for the detox, starting Bikram Yoga and creating ultimate Zen life. Woohoo!! Cant wait to start and cant wait to see how I feel at the end of it! It would be amazing if anyone wants to join me on this journey so please keep me posted and challenge yourself! xx


Week 3 - Detox Time!



Thursday, May 24

Sharing is caring... Introducing 'Creative Kai'

My friend Shoney has just started a food blog 'Creative Kai'. She currently works at an amazing restaurant 'Nourish Bistro' in Banff, Canada. Check out their website - their dishes are to die for! So Shoney has heaps of awesome inspiration and this blog features some of the fantastic meals that she cooks. This is her first post Thai Lentil & Potato Cakes... Personally I cant wait to try it! Give it a go and let me know what you think... x

Creative Kai: Thai lentil and potato cakes: This dish came about as I had a lot of mashed potatoes that needed to be used, a bag of lentils, and a fridge full of fresh veges....

Monday, May 21

O is for Oats

Cant bare getting out of bed in the morning for fear of freezing in mid-air? Staying an extra 10 minutes in the shower to let your bones thaw out? So many layers of clothes that you look like an Eskimo with just two eyes peering out of your coat? Yup, its Winter again! This explains why I am suddenly craving good old Rolled Oats (Porridge) for breakfast. However.. in the good old days I would dose my Oats up with Brown Sugar and Creamy Milk, or fruity Yoghurt, sometimes even Cream! This year I've ditched the Dairy and Sugar and come up with a couple of incredibly tasty toppings. Hope you enjoy them as much as me!

Rolled Oats with Apple, Almond and Cinnamon
      -Stew diced Apple in 1cm Water in a saucepan
       -Once soft stir into cooked Oats and sprinkle with Almond pieces and Cinnamon

Blueberry and Honey Oats
      -Half cook oats then remove from microwave. Stir in frozen or dried Blueberries
      -Cook Oats for remainder of time and stir Manuka Honey through while warm

Banana Berry Oats
       -Defrost Berries by placing in microwave for 30seconds
       -Stir sliced Banana and Berries through cooked Oats

Sultana and Cardamom Spiced Oats  
       -Cook oats with Cardamom and a dash of Vanilla Essence
       -Stir through Sultanas and serve with a dash of Almond Milk
 
Happy Winter Feasting! Have you got any favourite Oats recipes?

Perfect Pumpkin Soup

A nice and easy one for you all.. everybody loves pumpkin soup and it's just so simple to make! I love making this one for lunches and freezing portions. Pumpkin soup freezes much better than my vege soups so its a favourite for stocking up!

1/2 Pumpkin, diced - Top Tip - Microwave pumpkin for 10minutes before attempting to chop! 
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
200mL Coconut Cream
1 Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Grated Ginger
1 Teaspoon Chilli
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Cumin
Fresh Coriander to serve

Heat Olive Oil in a large pot.
Stirfry Onion in Garlic, Ginger and Chilli

Add diced Pumpkin and saute for 3 minutes
Pour in 3 Cups Vegetable Stock, Cumin and Nutmeg.
Simmer for 20minutes or until Pumpkin is tender.

Mash pumpkin until it forms a thick puree. Transfer to blender and process until smooth.

Stir Coconut Cream through the soup and sprinkle Coriander on top to serve!






Super salads...

Well its been a while since I've updated my blog and I feel a bit like a neglectful mother so in the next couple fo hours/days you are gonna be seeing a whole lotta lovin' and action! I have heaps of recipes to post so hopefully I can get most up here pretty quickly! This first one is from about a month ago. My greatest friend and I treated ourselves out to lunch on a beautiful autumn day. We found a great little cafe with lots of fresh and seasonal produce and, being the responsible and healthy people we are, we each chose a delicious salad. We were so impressed with what came out that I had to steal the recipe just for you guys! So here we have two fantastic, delicious, restaurant quality salads for you to indulge in. Enjoy!

Manuka Smoked Salmon, Cherry Tomato, Avocado and Pinenut Salad.

-100 grams Manuka Smoked Salmon roughly diced
-Handful Cherry Tomatoes roasted for 15minutes
-1 Avocado, diced
-Cos Lettuce
-Pinenuts
Mix all ingredients together in a large salad bowl.

Whisk 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and 1 Teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar together and drizzle over salad before serving



Salt & Pepper Squid with Sundried Tomatoes & Rocket in a Chilli Lime Dressing


1 Squid Tube sliced thinly into rings
          -Coat with whisked egg then dip into almond flour, coarse black pepper and salt mix
          -Fry in a shallow pan with 1-2cm of Olive Oil
Sundried Tomatoes
1 Avocado, diced
Rocket leaves
Pancetta - grilled till crispy
Mix all ingredients in a large salad bowl

Whisk together
     - 1/3 cup Olive Oil
     - 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
     - 1 Teaspoon Chilli
Drizzle over salad before serving

Both salads are impressive, although the Squid salad is a little more work. Let me know if you get a chance to make either, I'd love to hear how they went!

xx




Monday, April 23

Delicious Dal Tadka!

Literally had nothing to eat for breakfast this morning.. I've been away for the weekend and haven't had a chance to buy any food. Thankfully I was not to starve as my lovely flatmate Soph bought me a packet of Yellow Split Peas last week. Might not sound so exciting to you. but trust me this girl knows how to make my day! So with an empty stomach but full of anticipation I set out to make some delicious Traditional Indian Dal Tadka for Breakfast. Next week I plan on trying Pho, a traditional Vietnamese breakfast. I must admit I wasn't overly eager to have something so un-breakfasty for breakfast, but once the smells of coriander and ginger wafted through the kitchen I was dying to eat it! There's not much to this recipe. I added some sliced Courgette as that was the only other food I had left over, and it tasted fine but went a little to soft. Perhaps it would work better to stir some veges through near the end rather than at the beginning? I don't know that this recipe is for everyone - my partner is not a fan - but I love it and I think it would make a great accompaniment to any Indian meal!

In a large pot stirfry 2 Cloves Garlic and 2 tsp Grated Ginger in a little Olive Oil. Saute 1 Chopped Onion and cook until brown. Pour in 1 Cup Yellow Split Peas and 2 Cups Vegetable Stock. Add an extra 1/2 Cup Water. Simmer for 40minutes or until Water has gone and Peas are soft. Stir in cooked Vegetables of your choice if you prefer and 1 Tablespoon of Freshly Chopped Coriander. Enjoy!

Perfect Prawn Masala

This recipe can be made with any meat, I love prawns but chicken, fish or beef would also work well! I made this before a friend and I went on a road trip so that we wouldn't be tempted to buy terrible foods from fast food places. We actually ended up scoffin' it down after a night out and far too much beer... but hey, its better than McDonald's! Point of story - always have something in your fridge for when you get drunk and hungry!

Btw - this recipe has dairy, a small amount of yoghurt. This can be replaced with soy yoghurt or perhaps coconut milk?

1. Turn oven on to Bake at 180c.

2. Marinate 400gms of Prawns in
    2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
    1 tsp Paprika
    1 tsp Lemon Juice
    1 tsp Cumin
    1 tsp Coriander
    1/2 tsp Turmeric
    Set aside for 15 minutes.



3. In a deep pan heat Olive Oil and add 5 Cardamom Pods. Crush to let the seeds out.
    Add 2 Cloves Crushed Garlic and 2 teaspoons Grated Ginger followed by 1 Chopped Onion and your
    favourite vegetables, thinly sliced.
    Slowly stir in 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala and pour in 1 Cup  
    Crushed Tomatoes and 1/2 Cup Water.

5. Stir Prawns and Marinade into the sauce with a Tablespoon
    of Fenugreek Leaves and 1 Tablespoon of fresh Coriander. Simmer
    for 10minutes.

Its a long recipe but it comes together really well and can be kept for up to 3 days or frozen. Curries always taste better the next day so make sure you save some for lunch!



Friday, April 20

If you like Pina Colada...

So you're having late night cravings? Missing dessert? Seriously considering running down to the nearest dairy and buying a ridiculous amount of chocolate?  

While this may not be the healthiest meal of your day, it tastes amazing and will satisfy all you sweet tooth's out there! And I am all about quick and simple recipes so here you go... 

Chop 1 pineapple into small quarters. Use fresh pineapple as canned pineapple has too much added sugar and doesn't taste quite the same. Place in a blender and add 1 can of Coconut Cream. Blend for a good 30 seconds. Transfer to an ice cream container and freeze overnight. 
In the morning get up and scoop the frozen mix back into the blender and blend for another 30 seconds. 
Freeze again and by dinner time you will have an incredibly delicious Pineapple & Coconut Sorbet that taste just like a Frozen Pina Colada! (I might be adding Bacardi next time!) 
You should have a whole ice cream container full so it will last you a while. Watch out for the brain freeze and eat sparingly - it's super sweet!


Tuesday, April 17

My favourite winter soup...

So I've been a bit naughty lately. I haven't been as organised as usual (I blame holidays) and have been buying lunches from cafes and sushi bars. While its all been fairly decent stuff, it certainly isn't the kind of goodness I know I should be eating. So tonight I made a big delicious pot full of soul warming, taste-bud tingling, nutrient filled winter vegetable soup. By far my most favourite and tastiest soup recipe. In case I haven't said so already.
So what are we waiting for - get in the kitchen and start cooking!

Heat a dash of Olive Oil in a large pot.
Add 1 Leek
2 Sticks Celery
1 Grated Carrot
1 Onion
Saute until soft.

Pour in 3 Cups Chicken or Vege Stock
a sprinkle of Turmeric
1 handful Chopped Parsley
Dash of Soy Sauce
Rind of 1 lemon and a small squeeze of lemon juice

Finally throw in a can of Chickpeas and simmer for half an hour.
Add another cup of stock if necessary (I prefer mine a little thinner).

I generally freeze 1 cup portions and take them out each morning for work, uni or an easy dinner!
Hope you all love it as much as I do!xx

Monday, April 16

Pizza Cravings in L.A...

So my three gorgeous flatmates and I decided to do shared dinners during the week, which is a fabulous idea as we not only save a huge chunk of cash, but also get to try lots of new and different foods and cooking styles that we might not use ourselves! We all enjoy good food and sharing our cooking so it's quite exciting to look forward to everyone's delicious feasts each week! However.... every single one of 'the flatties' has a food allergy/preference/dislike so it has presented a whole new challenge for us all!

Man of the house eat's almost everything and is an amazing cook, but does not eat fish. He works as a fishing guide (Ironic?). He knows a lot about food and cooks everything to perfection providing fabulous tips and feedback on all our meals. I love listening to his knowledge and advice almost as much as I enjoy eating his meals!

Soph is vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy free, however, she does eat fish and seafood. She uses a lot of vegetables, beans and legumes when she is cooking. Fantastic for fresh, healthy and tasty dinners! Our pizza night was prepared by Soph, which just goes to show that you can still have amazing and tasty food without any of the 'bad stuff'!

B is gluten-free and dairy free, and loves 'meat and veg' dinners. She prefers not to eat seafood or food that is too spicy (unlike the rest of us who love spices and hot food!). B's meals are homely, comforting goodness. Casseroles, bangers and mash and tasty soups give us all our weekly dose of a traditional home-cooked meal.

I eat absolutely anything however, I prefer to eat 'clean'. So no flour, processed foods, refined sugar and limited dairy. This works in pretty well considering the others allergies. I enjoy meat occasionally, love love love seafood and believe that the more spice the better! I relish the opportunity to cook for all my flatmates each week and usually have my shopping list written days in advance. I wish I had the luxury of cooking fabulous dinner parties every night but, for my budget, once a week is perfect!

Tonight Soph made us the most delicious pizzas, and for all of you having pizza and grease cravings out there I thought I better share the recipe! Its probably as healthy a pizza as your gonna get so grab some friends, hire some movies and chuck on your trackies. It is officially pizza time. xx

To feed 4...

3 Gluten Free Corn Tortilla









Spread on some hummous or pesto (homemade is best!)
Add any fresh ingredients you like -
mushroom
capsicum
pineapple
sundried tomato
kalamata olives
cherry tomatoes
caramelised onion
courgette
roasted pumpkin
spinach
artichoke
capers
roasted eggplant

Sprinkle on some flavour -
pine nuts
toasted sesame seeds
slivered almonds
herbs - basil, oregano, rosemary..
chilli

Drizzle on some oil and bake on 180c until crispy round the edges!
Slice it up and enjoy the guilt-free goodness!! xx

Thursday, April 12

Ole Chole!

This week is poor student week so all of my recipes are made from simple ingredients and are mostly vegetarian. This is another quick and easy recipe for you, and absolutely yummy and authentic tasting Indian. You may have noticed I used two different languages for this recipe.. I served my Indian Chole up with some baked Corn Tortilla. Culture combination cos I cant afford Pappadoms, and had leftover Tortilla from Tuesdays Falafel Wrap. Genius. So the key to this recipe is really the mixture of spices. There is a hundred different variations for Chole out there but here is mine... 
2 Cloves Garlic
1/2 t Ginger
1 Chilli - Fry in large pot with 1 T Oil
Add
1 chopped Onion
1 t Coriander  
1 t Cumin
1/2 t Turmeric
2 t Garam Masala
Fry until Onion is cooked through - don't freak if the spices are sticking to the pot, its just the flavour brewing!
Add 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes and 1 Can Chickpeas
Simmer for 15minutes
Stir through a dash of Coconut Cream and serve (with Baked Tortilla Chips if you wanna be all international!)

Enjoy!xx

Wednesday, April 11

Popcorn!

Have recently discovered my love of making popcorn the real home made way. I think my brother was a little bit shocked to find out that popcorn didn't always come in a microwave paper bag. The fun of being able to add your own flavours and watching it pop before your eyes definitely outweighs the uncertainty of when its ready and whether or not its burning on the bottom. My favourite 'Tex-mex' popcorn is made by adding a teaspoon crushed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon chilli to a decent amount of olive oil and a scoop butter. Once these have melted and started sizzling I add the popcorn kernels, a dash of paprika and a bigger dash of cumin. Then a little bit of patience.... 
The trick is to constantly keep the pot moving as the popcorn pops.  
Once the pops are about 3-4 seconds apart its time to take off the lid and quickly pour the popcorn into a bowl. I add a little more of the spices here, but adjust to your own tastes!

Sounds easy enough but this recipe definitely took me longer to perfect than any others! Best of luck and enjoy. xx 

Bangin' Broccoli Soup

I've made this soup twice already this week, i's so full of flavour and broccoli is super cheap at the moment! This is easily a $5 or less meal that feeds 2-4 people. So if your'e a poor student like myself then read on!
The first time I made it I used Kumara (sweet potato) and the second time I used mushrooms. I prefered the mushrooms but feel free t be imaginative and use your own variations! Try cauliflower, leek, chickpeas, potato...

In a large pot fry 1 Onion and 2 cloves Garlic till soft. Add 5 large chopped Portabello Mushrooms and cook until soft. Slowly cover with 500mLs Vegetable Stock. Throw in one large chopped Broccoli and 1 tablespoon Basil. Simmer until broccoli is soft. Transfer to blender and pulse until creamy and smooth. Serve with Grainy Gluten Free Toast and a sprinkling of Celery Salt.

If using Kumara or other vegetables that prefer boiling then add at the same time as stock.



Incredibly easy! If you're cooking for one then freeze smaller portions and save for lunches. xx

Tuesday, April 10

Empty Cupboard Granola

So I'm staying at my Mums house for a few days and woke up this morning too find an empty cupboard. I have been eating terribly bad for the last few days ( I blame Easter) and I was craving some nutritional goodness. Unfortunately it was not gonna be easy working with this fridge...


Thankfully with a bit of inspiration from Lexie's Kitchen and The Spunky Coconut I managed to conjure up this delicious Nutty and Fruity Granola Recipe! Its cooking at the moment and smells delicious, should be fresh out of the oven by the time I finish this post!
After scouraging through the pantry I found a bunch of ingredients mixed them together and baked them in the oven for about 15minutes on 180c. Here is what I used but feel free to be imaginative!
1 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
2 Tablespoons of Real Nut Butter
1/2 Cup Coconut
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Apple (sliced and boiled in a pot with 2cm water for 10mins, then added whole lot to dry mix )

Lay mixture out onto a baking tray with baking paper underneath.
Stir after about 10 minutes and cook for a further 5- 10 mins until toasty looking but not burnt!

Serve with fresh coconut and a dash of almond milk! Yummest!



Monday, April 9

Asian Quinoa Stirfry

Sunday nights.. usually this is my night off cooking and I indulge in takeaway Indian or Thai. However this week I was a good girl and cooked up this yummy stir fry. I'm not gonna say it was a as good as my usual Paneer Masala, but it was bloody good. All I did was put 1/2 cup Quinoa with 1 cup Water to boil in a pot, put my favourite vegetables in a pan - I used Green Beans, Courgette, Carrot, Capsicum, Brocolli, Red Onion, Mushroom and Bok Choy, and added this delicious Asian Sauce...
Mix together
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Chilli
1/2 Cup Cashews
1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds

Mix together the Quinoa, Veges and Sauce and sprinkle some fresh Mung Beans on top - Delicious!

Chocolate Heaven.. gluten free, dairy free and no added sugar.. Bliss!

So we had a friends birthday lunch at my house the other day and I was determined to put on a tasty, healthy gluten free lunch. Of course every birthday party has to have a cake so I nipped this one off one of my favourite blogs.. Lexie's Kitchen. This was my first attempt at gluten free baking so I was dubious, but the pictures on her blog just look so damn amazing that I had to give it a go! The ingredients are unusual, but incredibly easy to put together. The worst thing about birthday cakes is that its near impossible to have a sneaky taste before everyone else gets to try it.. but thankfully this cake turned out to be one of the best gluten free cakes I have ever tried! It is extremely rich and dense so only small serves are necessary, which is good because the cake comes out quite petite and doesn't rise much. If you want it a bit bigger I would recommend doubling the recipe. I used a tube pan for my cake and filled the hole up with mixed berries. It would have been great with strawberries but they were out of season. The surface wasn't very smooth so I sprinkled some pure cocoa on top. You could also use gluten free icing sugar. Creamy icing might be a bit too much but that's just my opinion, otherwise fresh cream would work a treat if you are able to eat dairy! Well here it is kids, let me know how it works for you or if you have any exciting variations! 

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Whittakers Dark Chocolate (I used 72% Dark Ghana - yum!)
Combine together and heat until chocolate is soft..
Place in blender. Add..
1/2 Cup Cooked Black Beans (Straight from a can or soaked over night)
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (Groulnd Almonds)
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons of REAL Honey or Agave
3 Tablespoons Pure Cocoa 
Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until combined. 
Add 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder. Blend until mixed through .
Poor into a greased and lined pan. 
Bake at 180c for 35minutes
.




Tuesday, March 27

Top 10 Reasons to Stop Eating Processed Foods - Part2!

6 - Get your taste buds back! After years of eating processed foods loaded with sugar, salt, chemicals, additives, preservatives etc.. your taste buds have become desensitized to all the unnatural stimulations and are no longer sensitive to all the amazing and natural flavours of whole foods. You have become accustomed and addicted to the artificial sweet and salty flavours that our bodies crave. Thankfully your taste buds only last around two weeks, so after this time you will start to notice the awesome natural saltiness and sweetness of the fresh fruit and vegetables that you should be eating!

7 - Sugar =  
*Agave
*Amazake
*Barley Malt
*Birch Syrup
*Blanco Directo
*Brown Rice Syrup
*Buttered Syrup
*Cane juice
*Caramel Coloring
*Caramelized Foods
*Carbitol
*Carob Powder
*Caster/Castor
*Corn Syrup
*Custard powder
*Date Paste
*Demerara
*Dextrin/Dextrose
*Diglycerides
*Disaccharides
*Diastatic Malt
*Diatase
*D -Tagalose
*Ethyl Maltol
*Evaporated Cane Juce
*Falernum
*Florida Crystals
*FOS
*Fruit Juice Concentrate
*Fructooligosaccharides
*Fructose
*Glucose
*Glycerine/Glycerides
*Glycol/Glycerol
*Golden Syrup
*Grenadine
*Gur
*Hexitol
*Hickory Syrup
*High Fructose Corn Syrup
*Honey
*Hydrolysed Starch
*Inversol
*Isomalt
*Jaggery
*Jallab
*Jiaogulan
*Jus de canne
*Karo Syrup
*Lactose
*Levulose
*Licorice Root
*Malitol
*Malt Dextrin
*Malted Barley
*Malt Syrup
*Maltodextrin
*Maltose
*Mannitol/Mannose
*Maple Syrup
*Marshmallow
*Misri
*Mizumi
*Molasses
*Monoglycerides
*Monosaccarides
*Muscovado
*Muscovy
*Nectars
*Neotame
*Orgeat
*Palm Syrup
*Panela
*Panocha
*Peckmez
*Pentose
*Pine Syrup
*Polydextrose
*Polyglycerides
*Poplar Syrup
*Raisin Paste
*Refiner's Syrup
*Resin
*Rice Syrup
*Rub Syrup
*Sacchaides
*Saccharose
*Sorbitol
*Sorghum
*Sucanat/Sucanet
*Sucrose
*Tequila Agave
*Treacle
*Trisaccharides
*Turbinado
*Yacon Syrup
*Xylitol
*Xylose
*Zuckerhutetc
*Zylose

That's 100 different names for sugar!! 

8 - It will save you time and money... So many people argue that they don't have the time or money to eat healthy. Firstly I spend the same, if not less, on my groceries each week as most people I know. Secondly, there are resources, recipes, tips and tools out there that will save you time and make it easier for you to eat well. Thirdly, think of all the time that you will gain on your extended life expectancy, money you will save on medical bills! Possibly the greatest benefit of all.

9 - It is comparable to taking drugs, smoking and alcoholism. 
In the film "Super Size Me" Morgan comments that after eating McDonald's he would feel good and happy but after a while he would become withdrawn and depressed. He would not feel better again until he had some more McDonald's. Ever felt like this before? It seems like an exaggeration, but have you ever tried to stop eating a certain type of food? After a few days you start craving it, you cant stop thinking about it, you get headaches, mood swings and tiredness that you feel will not go away unless you eat the food that you've removed. For me its Potato Chips, for you it might be chocolate, sugar, bread, baking. Luckily, just like any other drug, you can move past the harmful and addictive effects! 
  
10 - Your food will be made with love! My favourite reason. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking or eating a meal that is prepared from scratch, cooked out of passion and shared with friends.
I absolutely love sharing my cooking. I love demonstrating the simplicity and effectiveness of the food I eat. It isn't always amazing.. but it is always made with a passion for good whole foods, risk-taking and exciting tastes and flavours.

Malaysian Seafood Laksa

I have been keen to try this recipe for a while now, but its a bit more complicated than my usual week night dinner! I made it just for myself as I like to try more difficult recipes before I share with friends! Thank goodness I did because, in using dried chillies instead of fresh chillies for the first time, I accidentally added 4x too much! The heat was insane! I was crying and sweating and coughing but the flavour was so good that I had to persist! Cant wait to try this again, using the right amount of chillies this time. :)
The recipe below is of moderate intensity so adjust the amount of chilli according to taste - but trust me 15 chillies is far too much!!

Laksa Spice Paste
Blend or grind in a mortar & Pestle;
1 T Good Quality Curry Powder (I use Mrs Rogers Eco Pack Spice)
3 Chillies, or 1 t Chilli Powder
1 T Chopped Coriander Stalks
1 Stalk Spring Onion
Set to side for now.

The Seafood
Steam or boil Mussels
Chop Fish (any meaty white fish)
Place in bowl, add prawns

This is the seafood I used but you
can add any fish or meat you like!


Add 100 mLs Coconut Cream to a deep frying pan. Boil until thick and sticking on bottom of pan.
Add Curry Paste and 1 T Soy Sauce or Tamari
Mix in the seafood, chopped onion and capsicum.
Add 2 Cups of Chicken Stock and a dash of Fish Sauce.
Simmer for 5-10mins - until meat is cooked through.



Serve into bowls and add some Mung Bean Sprouts and Chopped Coriander. Yum!


Incredibly Luscious Mango, Avocado and Almond Crusted Calamari (phew, that's a mouthful!)d


Easily one of the yummiest salads I have ever tasted. And I've had a few. 3 easy steps - perfect summer salad for BBQ's, but fancy enough for a dinner party.

I made the dressing first so that the flavours would incorporate by the time I mixed it through the salad..
In a small bowl mix together - 1 T Olive Oil, 1 T Mirin/Sake/Rice Wine, 1 t Chilli, 1 T Tamari/Soy Sauce, Juice of 1 Lime and a handful of Chopped Mint. Chill in the fridge until later.

In a large salad bowl add chopped Mango, Avocado, Red Onion, Spinach Leaves and Cashews.


Coat Calamari in Egg and then Almond Flour. Fry in pan. Add to salad bowl and mix chilled dressing through.


The Mint gives this salad a vibrant and refreshing taste, and the contrasting textures of the cashews and avocado make this salad insanely perfect. If you aren't a fan of seafood then Grilled Chicken would work well too.

Hope you all love it as much as I did!


Wednesday, March 21

Universal Comfort Foods...

This week the weather here has been a bit atrocious. We have gone from gorgeous sunny days to heavy wind, rain, thunderstorms and power outages. Comfort foods are perfect in times like these. I love my hot spicy foods in both good and bad weather and could eat Mexican and Indian foods all week - last week I went through a whole pack of Cumin spice! But for the sake of experimenting and getting a bit of variety I have tried to put in some more universal flavours. We travel from the Mediterranean to France, with a little taste of Thailand, Morocco and Italy, then finish up with an Asian inspired stir-fry. This menu plan has a bunch of yummy warm (and still a bit spicy) comfort foods that will help keep you warm and provide a perfect excuse to stay inside and snuggle up. Enjoy! xx

Week 2 - Universal Comfort Foods

Tuesday, March 20

I came across a website...

This is heading a little bit off food as such but I believe that nutrition, particularly avoiding highly processed, packaged, posted foods is one of the easiest ways to start making positive changes to how you are treating and affecting your world. This little write up on this *website here* reminds me of a close friend who had a great paying job with a bazillion benefits. Unfortunately she felt as though her core values and beliefs were being compromised and eventually ended up leaving to pursue some dreams that were better suited to herself and the life she wanted to lead. Many of us may not have the financial ability to pursue our biggest dreams right now, or perhaps we need to do things first to get there. This article asks some questions that might help you to re-assess where you are right now and where you are heading. Is this really the best life that you think you are capable of leading? Are you being too lazy to consider your personal beliefs and values when it comes to your career? Perhaps, like the writer of the article, you think it's possible to separate your work life and your personal beliefs? Whatever your excuses are, I would like to challenge you to change one small thing in your life so that you are heading closer in the direction of where you want to be, where your beliefs, values and skills can be best used and appreciated. Even if this small thing is writing down your core values, establishing what your best assets and skills are and thinking about how you can use this in a positive way in your work life....  and as the beautiful Mahatma Gandhi said...

Spicy Stuffed Capsicums

 Ingredients....
-1 cup cooked Black Beans (soaked or canned then boiled)
-1 cup cooked Quinoa
-1 Capsicum halved lengthways
-Fresh vegetables - tomato, grated carrot, courgette, red onion
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Almond Flour
-Parmesan (if you can eat dairy)
-Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Chilli

Stirfry beans, quinoa and fresh vegetables in a little olive oil.


Add spices to your taste.


Fill halved capsicums with mixture.


Coat with almond flour and parmesan.


Bake for 10-15 minutes





Serve hot with a side of Guacamole or Tomato Salsa. xx

Friday, March 16

Another delicious breakfast smoothie!

This morning I felt like something a bit sweeter than the old green powder so I decided to make a new and exciting super smoothie. This smoothie contains both Chia seeds (just 28g of dried chia seeds contain 4g protein and 42% (11g) of our daily values of dietary fiber) and omega rich Flax Seeds ( which promotes healthy hair, nails and skin, as well as increasing brain and cardiovascular function!).


My yummy ingredients... 
4 strawberries (handpicked out of my frozen mixed berries)
Half a banana
1 Tablespoon of flax and chia seeds
1 Passionfruit (picked off my passionfruit vine!)
Half a glass of cold water...
Blend and serve! 


PS - Loving the gorgeous weather we are having here in Mount Maunganui! xx