Diet and nutrition, Uncategorized

Chopped Salads… 

I try my very hardest to eat healthy and cleanly as much as I can, of course it’s more difficult when you are out or busy but on the whole we eat a good healthy diet… this is a difficult thing to do when you have a large family of picky eaters.  Getting my two youngest children to eat well is a challenge, I believe in never forcing them to eat, but I do try and encourage them to try something, sometimes they love it, like Florrie with fresh peas at the farm when we were picking them,  she took one taste and loved them, but when I was spiralizing the carrots she asked to taste them and hated them straight away, the face she pulled was quite funny.  I have discovered recently that their best meal of the day is breakfast, they love fresh eggs fried with coconut oil every morning, and now we get freshly laid eggs from our neighbor next door, they are delicious, they love strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and watermelon, they love smoothies and homemade pancakes, Jamie Oliver’s one cup recipe, so simple and quick, they will eat these until the cows come home, they are also delicious when you swap the flour out for a gluten free flour too. I try most days to make breakfast their most important meal of the day as they eat really well, then I feel there  is not so much pressure for the rest of the day as I know they have eaten one good meal that day.


Lunch is another meal I kind of miss with,  it’s usually just me I’m making lunch for, my babies are happy to graze after a large breakfast, I kind of always fail for myself.  I make fresh salads for Paul and Mabel, but I always forget myself… I’ve come up with a new plan, Salad lunch prep for the week, I will make enough basic salad for a week, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and scallions,  a tip I have just learnt is to line your containers with kitchen roll paper to absorb the moisture, then daily using leftovers from dinner change each salad up daily, today we will be having a lemon rosemary roasted chicken, I’m having shrimp, with a kale Cesar salad and tortilla wraps, so I’ll shred some chicken, or add shrimp and add it to the salad and bake a couple of wraps to crisp them up to add to the salad… I’m hoping this will keep me on track instead of snacking with my children.  

I have recently discovered I absolutely love chopped salad, we have had it before a few years ago, recipes from Jamie Oliver again, but I really hadn’t thought about chopping every salad we have until I visited a new salad place that has just opened in a local town, in Chopt you pick your salad then they ask if you want it chopped up, Kale Cesar salad with tofu totally chopped up and it was totally delicious.  I thought I’d try it out on my family… huge success, they prefer their salad ingredients chopped up, but as you can imagine chopping 8 salads is very time consuming, each person likes certain things in their salads, so I’ve been tossing salad ingredients into separate bowls then emptying the bowls onto a board and finely chopping them… until last night when I came up with the genius idea of the food processor, you can start with the harder veggies like carrot and broccoli, pulse them a couple of times then add the rest of the salad ingredients, it worked perfectly, and it was a lot quicker, you just have to clean up the food processor bowl and blade, but not too bad.  So my chopped salads have been a huge success, my family are enjoying them so much they are saying they do not need the carbs along with their protein just the salad it’s so filling… My only problem now is how much Salad veggies I am getting through, but at least everyone is eating their greens, well except for one extremely picky eater, who likes everything as plain as it can be.


I’ll leave you on a sweet note… I was visiting friends for lunch yesterday, I usually take desert with us, but I’ve been in search for healthier sweet treats, some I’ve made have been ok, but just not quite right, yesterday I came across this recipe for Lemon coconut muffins, they were healthier because the sugar was very low, and could easily be swapped out for honey, or some other healthy substitute, they contained coconut oil and yogurt, I think they would even be good with gluten free flour instead of all purpose flour… they were a huge success both at lunch and at home, but be warned if you try these at home, the batter is extremely thick, she does say that on the recipe, but I was surprised at just how thick it was, I added a little more coconut milk just to loosen it a little… but despite that they will definitely be something I will be making again and again.


Uncategorized

Baking…

I love to bake, I love making sweet treats for my family… but with a new oven to deal with it’s been difficult getting those cakes to rise and stay risen, so finally yesterday I googled the reason that cakes keep sinking in the middle, one of the causes could be the oven is too hot, the cake cooks from the outside in, so the cake is cooked and browned outside but the middle is not so it sinks… makes perfect sense, so I’m thinking a little experimentation is in order. 

With three Birthdays this month I needed to enlist my little bakers help, the first one was  this weekend, so we set about a nice easy Victoria Sponge recipe from Mary Berry, an easy mix all ingredients go in, mix together then divide equally into two 8 inch baking tins, bake at 350f for 25 minutes… both cakes looked good in the oven they rose nicely then just before they were due to come out they both sank in the middle… REALLY, I couldn’t believe it.  I sent Blu out for more eggs and started again.

I decided to switch recipes, this time a Victoria sandwich recipe from Jamie Oliver, his cake was a little more in ingredient weight and dial up the heat on the oven to 375f… this time the butter and sugar were beat together then the eggs added one by one, finally a gentle mixing in of the dry ingredients… once again both cakes looked good in the oven but just as the timer went off both cakes sunk in the middle… REALLY again!


Time to get GOOGLE working for me… ‘why are my cakes sinking in the middle?’


I had to use one set of cakes and after I added strawberry buttercream, fresh chopped strawberries and grated chocolate it really didn’t look so bad… my little helpers did a fantastic job of adding ingredients, counting the eggs, mixing, chopping strawberries, making chocolate drizzled strawberries and most importantly eating all the strawberries before they had a chance of going in the cake, that was the best part of all of this… for now I see a lot of experimentation of cake temperatures in my new oven… Happy Baking 🎂

Uncategorized

Columbus Day weekend…

Columbus Day weekend… And what are we doing? Of course we are getting up early for a soccer game… Yay, my day I have no alarms set, my day I relax and chill out with coffee in bed… Not today though, we have to be up and out nice and early!

Dinner today is already cooked… Impressed? I am very impressed with myself… After watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman yesterday morning, I was inspired to make my drip beef over night in the slow cooker, then leave it to cool during the day in the fridge so the fat will rise and cool then I can take it all off and then just reheat the beef in it’s juices for warm crusty sandwiches served with caramelized onions and melted cheese…yum!

20131013-072725.jpg

The Pioneer Woman’s Drip Beef recipe.

I think I am definitely getting my mojo back, although I am very tired as I have been waking religiously at 4am every morning and then not being able to get back to sleep until my alarm is ready to go off at 6.15am, I am feeling more like my old self with the addition of a small, well rather large bump I am carrying around! I am menu planning again, and this week I actually completed a whole weeks worth of grocery shopping too, I have started putting together Florence’s Halloween costume, and have sorted through all our summer photos ready to post… My mojo is definitely re-appearing slowly!

This week’s project is making a headband to go with Florrie’s costume, I have it planned I just need the materials then I will post a tutorial and breakdown of the cost… Florence LOVES the Disney store and all things on the Disney Channel so of course this is the direction I headed when planning her costume… Unfortunately the costumes in the Disney store are stupid amounts of money, they are not even that nice in many cases so I am making my own, I bought the dress for less than half the cost of the costume and now I am making the headband, hopefully the whole outfit will have cost me less than $20… A Halloween Bargain!

Happy Columbus Day Sunday!

Uncategorized

Warm flat bread sandwiches

My new favorite healthy things this week are chia seeds, ultra healthy, gluten free, lots of fibre and so easy to add into everyday cooking and eating… Love them, $4.99 for a 150g bag from my favorite store Trader Joes! Probiotic yogurts… Loving them, and so are all of my children, $2.99 for 4 yogurts in stop and shop, but the real bargain is to be found in Costco, $8.99 for 24 yogurts, that’s double the amount of yogurts you would get in stop and shop for your money… It’s so great that I bought so many as I have discovered everyone eating my yogurts! I have also found that they are very tasty in smoothies too!

My last rave about all things healthy this week is almond milk, I bought it weeks ago and it has sat in my fridge waiting to be opened, now I’ve used it I love it, it’s so healthy, delicious and of course gluten free, for all those people trying to lessen the gluten we have in our lives, it’s definitely worth a try!

Now I have discussed before my interest in juicing, well I decided to go ahead with my new plan, so armed with my research I headed to Costco on Saturday and bought a Ninja blender, it said it was a complete juicer, so I thought I would give it a try, I stocked up on lots of fruit and veggies, not a lot of organics though, Costco really need to start stocking more organic produce, and came home ready to start juicing my way to a healthier lifestyle! Some might say a blender is a good way to juice but I was not so impressed, yes, you do drink all of the produce compared to juicing but the juice has the texture of apple sauce, which I did not like and I was also bloated from drinking/eating so many fruit and vegetables… Thankfully Costco has an excellent policy for returns, but for anyone that cannot afford a Vitamix blender, the Ninja is an excellent choice, it was a very powerful easy to clean alternative that has me wondering whether I should keep it… Anyway back to juicing, I love Costco’s return policy so I was disappointed they did not have any actual juicers in stock, so I headed straight to their website and yay, they had a choice of juicers, I read all the reviews and chose the one that got the best ones… So my produce is patiently waiting to be juiced in my refrigerator, hopefully I will be juicing away by the end of this week!

Recipe of the week

1 packet of tandoori naan bread (I used one from Costco)
1 jar of pesto
Thin slices of salami
Any salad items you would like (I used red onion finely sliced and diced, thin slices of tomato, pea shoots, pickled jalapeños and mixed olives… But your choice is endless)
On my flatbread I put crumbled feta cheese, but everyone else had pepper jack shredded

Place naan bread on your board, spread approximately 1 tablespoon of pesto onto the bread evenly. Then top with sliced salami and salad items, for mine I went for the Greek style, red onion, olives, tomato pea shoots and feta cheese, but you can just have anything you want! Heat in a 400f oven for 6 minutes… Top with spring mix leaves and serve!

I forgot to mention I added chia seeds for added nutrition, lightly sprinkled with the cheese… Yummy and so healthy!

20130422-081250.jpg

Uncategorized

Back to School night dinner recipe!

Where has this week gone too, one minute I was dreading waking up to my alarm, the next I’m sitting in bed contemplating doing my Friday grocery shopping… Today’s blog is just going to be a dinner recipe I threw, literally, in the slow cooker on Thursday night, the ingredients were just anything I had left in my refrigerator, and I needed a prepared dinner as I had Mabel’s back to school night.

My reason for blogging it is that Jordan said it was the best meal I had made for a while and I want to remember how to make it again, selfish I know, but a necessity when you have fussy eaters in your house!
So hear it is… Back to school night dinner:

Take whatever veggies you have in, I used organic chopped kale, green beans and thinly sliced red onion, place them in the bottom of your slow cooker, toss them with a couple of teaspoons of rosemary and thyme, season with salt a pepper and cover with whatever broth you have in your pantry, mine was chicken. Place chicken thighs over the top of the veggies then season with salt and pepper, place a couple of rashers of bacon (optional, I had some in my refrigerator) over the chicken for flavor, set slow cooker on low for 6 hours. When you have about an hour left of slow cooking make up a batch of biscuit dough, I used this link – http://blog.kitchenmage.com/2008/01/simple-flaky-bi.html and make into balls to place on top of chicken making light fluffy dumplings, let them cook for about an hour! At the end of the cooking time draw off the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker, place in a saute pan, skim any fat and add a little chicken boullion to the liquid, mix up about two tablespoons of cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water (this will depend on how much liquid is in your pan), bring the liquid to the boil and add the cornstarch, water mixture, constantly stir until the gravy thickens… Serve the chicken and veggies with whatever you fancy I made up a pot of quinoa then pour your delicious gravy over the top… For fun bake some of your dumpling mixture into star biscuits and serve on the side… Florence loved these!