Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cooking up a storm!

Well hello!!! I am sorry I've been a bit absent, thanks to all the people who have sent me messages to check on me. :) I have had an extremely busy couple of weeks but hoping things settle down a bit now. My weight has fluctuated a bit over the past few weeks. I put on some weight as I started to include bread and sugar back into my diet, have had a few ups and downs due to big nights out and other assorted celebrations, but have stabilised and seem to be maintaining quite easily, albeit about 1.5 kg up from where I was. My plan is to have a few weeks of diet and then a few weeks of maintaining, so we'll see how that goes. I find that as soon as I start eating carbs or other non-cohen foods I have a great deal of trouble stopping. It's like it kicks in a mother load of cravings which makes not eating everything in sight very difficult. So I'm focusing at the moment on not creating that carb vacuum (that makes me want to make up for it later) by focusing on balance rather than denial.

I have been cooking up a storm over the past 2 weeks and even took a cooking class last weekend! There were 4 x 45 minute classes on Vietnamese, African, Lebanese and Indian food and my my, it was fabulous. I didn't learn as much as I was hoping but I did pick up a few little tricks here and there. I don't have any photos (other than the spice photo above) as it was total chaos! Fun and messy.

I've had a few requests for more recipes, so here are two yummy things I've made recently....

Thai Turkey Salad

This is an old staple recipe of mine that I normally make with chicken, but had turkey on hand and it was just as fabulous. It came from a fabulous friend of mine who I can give most of the credit to for teaching me to cook. She got the recipe from her boyfriend. I think he got it from his work...

- 250 g bean shoots
- 1 bunch coriander
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1 long red chili
- 2 spring onions or 1/4 red onion
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 500g chicken/turkey mince

Wash and cut up all the salad ingredients. I usually find that one long red chili, de-seeded, is plenty hot enough for me. My friend would probably use about 4 of the little hot buggers, but I am a wimp when it comes to chili (as my student husband would attest). Cook the mince on high heat and continually break it up. I give a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper as I cook it. Once cooked, stir all together, pour over fish sauce and lemon juice and serve! Serves 4. Also fabulous on a bed of steamed basmati rice... which helps it to go further also if you have more people to serve.

Organic Basil Beef Burger

You really can make burgers with whatever meat and whatever ingredients but my basil plant was getting huge so I went and got some organic beef mince...

- 1 kg mince
- 1 bunch basil
- sprinkle of chili flakes
- sprinkle of garlic powder
- sprinkle of salt and pepper

Combine ingredients and then separate into 125 g balls and freeze in snack size snap-lock bags. Defrost when ready to cook, form into a patty and grill! I made 8 patties and then used the leftover mix to make a bit of a spaghetti bolognese, to which I added fresh tomato and zucchini and cooked off immediately. YUM!

The burger looks huge but I actually made it with a dinner roll so it is the perfect size. As for the pasta, it's actually Slim Pasta, made entirely from vegetables, as mentioned in my last post.

Enjoy! x

My all time best lucky find I ever found in the whole of today!

OK, so probably only my family will get the Red Dwarf reference, but I think you get my drift. I have hit jackpot! Twice. YAY!

On my quest for balance over the past month or so I have found 2 fabulous things that have made things much easier. The first is...... *queue drumroll*....

SLIM PASTA!!!! Made from a vegetable, it looks like pasta, it tastes like pasta, it even smells like... well, it doesn't actually... but it's got no calories, carbs or basically anything else except for fibre. Get it inta ya. Now. :) Some health food stores sell it but I got mine at Woolworths! Click here for more info on Slim Pasta.

My next all time best lucky find is the Lindemans Early Harvest wine range. I've tried a low joule champagne before, Yellowglen Jewel, and I thought it was awful. The Lindemans Early Harvest Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is particularly lovely, as is the Sparkling. Especially the Sem Sav Blanc, I literally had no idea it was low calorie or low alcohol. I have tried the Shiraz too - it tasted yummy, exactly how I wanted it to taste and yet almost slightly watered down. It was a 2010 so I wasn't expecting too much depth but I would say overall that it was lovely, just not rich. The sparkling was a little weaker too I guess, but I didn't notice with the Sem Sav Blanc. Calorie wise, you can pretty much have 3 glasses for the calories of 2 normal glasses. Which I think is just fabulous! There is also another range of low calorie/alcohol wines that have teamed up with Weight Watchers (the points are written on the bottle!), the McWilliams Balance range. I'm yet to try them, but I'll let you know.

Enjoy! x

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sexy Muesli & Sumptuous Soup

Yum.... I love food. Perhaps a little too much, but then that's probably obvious given the general topic of my blog. ;)

First recipe is for sugar-free (and just general 'junk-free') muesli. I used organic stuff where I could and used unstabilised oats, meaning they haven't been heat treated and are much better for you. I prefer toasted muesli but apparently when you heat nuts and seeds past 160 degrees celcius they lose most of their great properties, so I heated it to 150 degrees celcius. ;) Yum.

Mel's Sexy Toasted Muesli
- 1 and 1/2 cups unstabilised organic rolled oats (Woolworths Macro brand)
- 1/2 cup oatbran
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/3 cup raw macadamias
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup dried goji berries
- 1 tablespoon Black Label Queen's Vanilla Concentrate
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- olive oil spray

Mix all of the dry ingredients together except for the berries, oat bran and coconut. Drizzle Vanilla concentrate over mixture and stir it all together with a spoon. Add the oatbran and then lay out in an oven tray. Give a good spray of olive oil and pop in a 150 degree oven for 30 mins. I stirred it every 10 minutes and gave another spray of oil (see photo). Once cool, mix in the berries and the coconut. Voila! I served mine with natural yoghurt (as shown above). 1/3 cup serve is about 45 g - the usual serving size for muesli. You can substitue whichever seeds/nuts/fruit you prefer. :)

Salwa's Sumptous Soup
- whatever vegies you have in the fridge. In my case it was (roughly):
   - 1.5 carrots
   - 1.5 zucchinis
   - 6 stalks celery
   - 'a dirty big onion' (as my Nana used to say)
   - 2 spring onions
   - 1/8 of a cabbage
   - 1 head brocolli (and stalk - the best bit IMO)
   - 1/3 tomato
   - 4 mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- garlic powder
- vegetable stock cube (took me ages to find sugar free stock cubes but I finally found one!)
- 1.5 L water
- 1 cup red lentils
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- salt to taste

Sautee onion off a bit with coconut oil and a good sprinkle of garlic and salt and then start adding the veggies in as you chop them! I kept a cup of water handy and added a bit when my chopping was too slow for the cooking. I didn't peel anything and was throwing in whatever I had, celery leaves and all. You really can throw in whatever you have in the fridge, it's a great recipe for using up the veggies you have on hand before they get manky. I really only guessed the water amount but once I had added all the ingredients, I topped up with water and added a bit extra to take into account the lentils. I didn't add the salt or cumin until I'd blended the soup. I like to do that bit by taste. This is a very filling, healthy and delicious soup! It freezes well too. :) This recipe was inspired by a beautiful lady named Salwa, who i met through my brother.

Enjoy! xxx