Category Archives: Healthy

September In A Nutshell

[clockwise from top-left] Palomino Espresso, Gelato Messina, garlic & pernod prawns at The Morrison, homemade Nutella ice-cream

September. The busiest month of my year, after the Christmas period. September plays host to Father’s Day, Paul’s birthday, Paul’s three siblings’ birthdays, lunch dates, dinner dates… I could go on.

For a homebody who relishes the feline-lifestyle of lazing around at home in my trackies at least one day of the weekend, September is busy, yet always fun – minus the part where I didn’t blog, at all, in September.

[clockwise from top-left] Cheeseburger with Japanese topping at Milk Bar by Cafe Ish | Sometimes I crave a Choc Berry Protein Smoothie | Zucchini Pizza from Agape Organic Food Truck at Better Homes & Gardens Live

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Filed under Beef, Cake, Cooks & Chefs, Dessert, Eggs, Healthy, Jamie Oliver, Recipes

Oxfam’s ‘Stop Hunger, Start Growing’ Appeal

Last June I contributed a pineapple-based recipe, my Pineapple Crumble, to Oxfam’s Stop Hunger online cookbook. The campaign helped raise awareness of their work helping communities in Mozambique grow drought-tolerant pineapples, as well as raising funds through their supporter’s generous donations.

This year’s Stop Hunger Appeal is ‘Stop Hunger, Start Growing’. Focusing on Oxfam’s work in Sri Lanka, they are supporting women to to start home gardening businesses. With the tools and knowledge, families in Sri Lanka have the means to grow food to feed themselves, as well as selling surplus to earn an income.

Stop Hunger, Start Cooking

The ‘Stop Hunger, Start Cooking’ cookbook theme is ‘Fresh From The Garden’, and features 38 fresh recipes from top chefs, food bloggers, and Oxfam supporters.

After thinking through many recipe ideas, I decided that you can’t get much fresher than a salad. The salad recipe I contributed is a jazzed-up version of what I eat most days for lunch, with quinoa, fresh veggies and fresh herbs. The chicken is coated in a delicious, fragrant mix of fennel and cumin seeds, and the whole salad is finished with a lemon dressing. It’s healthy, fresh, full of flavour, and best of all, quite easy to make – I promise.

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Filed under Chicken, Easy, Healthy, Quick, Recipes, Salad

My New BFFs: Quinoa and Brown Rice

In my experience, food memories can have such a lasting impact that a negative first tasting can put a food on my black list forever. For example, I cannot stand the mere smell of Black Sambuca, thanks to an awful experience with the hideous drink at my Year 12 formal after-party. I still loathe liquorice to this day.

Less traumatising, but still an unpleasant memory, was the first time I cooked quinoa. A couple of years ago my friends Amanda and Nat were constantly raving about quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, like Joaquin [Phoenix] backwards). I eventually caved in to peer pressure and tried it myself. It was awful. It smelt like dirt, had an unusual texture, and seemed like an all-round lousy substitute for my usual buttery couscous.

Another unpleasant memory is the time, not long after moving out of home, in which I tried to cook plain white rice. One of my beloved pink saucepans was destroyed by a thick black coating of burnt rice. After a few more unsuccessful gluggy rice-cooking attempts I permanently delegated the cooking of rice to Paul.

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Filed under Easy, Healthy, Recipes, Salad, Vegetarian

Baked Sweet Potato Chips (and The Diet Update)

The Diet Update

It has been over 4 weeks since I publicly announced my weight loss goal, and it is going well! I find it interesting that despite my resistance to the quit sugar movement I haven’t actually missed added sugar. I do miss milk, but I can deal with that because so far I have lost 5kg! My fat pants that had become tight are now sitting looser on my hips!

During week 1 I found the diet easier than I had anticipated, and I said no to offers of chocolate without a second thought. One of the biggest changes I noticed were my energy levels. Over the first few days, the detoxing resulted in uncharacteristically high levels of energy, especially after dinner.

 My pre-diet pre-dinner hunger was unreasonable

Pre-diet I would have arrived home from work ravenous, mindlessly snacking before cooking dinner. While I cooked I would have enjoyed a glass of wine, followed by another when eating dinner. Mmm relaxing grape juice. After this I would have been exhausted and sluggish. There would be a bit of arguing debating about whose turn it was to wash the dishes, resulting in a stalemate, then a quick shower and crashing in bed. Repeat.

Post-diet I found my hunger manageable when I arrived home, and my glass became chilled water with lemon slices while I cooked. Mmm quenched thirst. Dinner was light and full of fresh flavours, crisp vegetables and fragrant herbs. A bizarre burst of energy then followed, resulting in me washing the dishes without a whinge. I felt positive and alert, and I wasn’t weighed down by sugar or alcohol. This was new, and I liked it.

Bursts of energy after 9pm on a weeknight are, however, unwelcome and inappropriate, so I was relieved when my body adjusted after a few days and my energy returned to daylight bursts.

Cool, so you had bonus energy…

The reason for my long-winded example of the energy I had is to show the effect the new diet of no sugar, butter/oil, or wheat (or alcohol) had on my body. A small whiny voice inside me may be sulking in defiance, but I feel great without those foods as part of every meal, every day.

The next couple of weeks were hectic. Life was full of potentially diet-cancelling events, such as moving house, Easter, and several of our family and friends’ birthday events. But outside of my ‘cheat meals’ the diet continued.

Last week was the hardest yet. I had a few slip-ups (a bit of chocolate here, milk in my tea) which tasted great at the time, but made me feel dejected afterwards. If I craved something not on the plan, my well-meaning friends and my traitorous inner voice would say things like “you’re only human!”, “but it’s only 1 piece of chocolate, look how much you’ve lost already”, “go on, it’s just a splash of milk”, “I’ve brought you some homemade chocolates!”, and I did give in a few times.

The problem is that when I start having a little bit of chocolate here and there it easily becomes a daily habit. When I’ve reached my goal these things will be back in moderation, and I LOOK FORWARD TO THAT DAY, but not yet.

After some Amanda-style tough love, I reaffirmed to myself that I wasn’t going to slide back into old unhealthy, unbalanced, and unhappy daily habits because of those slip-ups. We’re pushing on!

The chocolate can wait until after my friend’s wedding in Bali (2 weeks to go!), and after I’ve reached my weight loss goal.

I did say I would blog some healthy, simple recipes, so here is the first one…

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

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Filed under Easy, Healthy, Recipes, Vegetarian

SlimPasta

Warning! This post contains phrases such as “low carb” and “low calorie”… ;)

With most of my previous posts being quite, um, indulgent and dessert-focused, you could say that I’m not usually one for… self-imposed diet restrictions.

Take pasta for example. That carb-laden delight is usually one of the first foods to go when people want to lose weight. I love pasta. One of my favourite and easiest dinners is to cook a quick, fresh sauce, stirred through a bowl of linguine, with shavings of parmesan. Oh my. It’s delicious, and one of my ultimate comfort foods.

But the reality is, pasta is something I only eat less than once a week. I love it, but I feel uncomfortably full and sluggish afterwards, and eating a bowl of pasta for dinner probably isn’t the best food option if one wants to lose a few kilos.

Sad.

With all that in mind, when WordStorm PR offered to send me samples of the new SlimPasta product (with no obligations to post about it by the way) I was intrigued by the claim of “94% less calories than white wheat pasta” and said yes please!

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Filed under Beef, Easy, Healthy, Pasta, Quick, Recipes, Sauce, Vegetarian