Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Healthy Eating. Show all posts

Friday, 20 April 2012

Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

slow cooker crock pot sausage casserole


I have made mention of my new gadget before - my 5-in-1 Multi Cooker  and it's ideal for this slow cooker sausage casserole recipe. (And for more sensational recipes using a pressure cooker, just go here - it's a really great Pressure Cooker Recipe site!)

I have been making this sausage casserole on and off for years - it's ideal for using up leftover barbecue sausages and leftover veggies. Or of course you can make it all from fresh, from scratch.

Either way, it is so simple - and a great way to introduce little kids to the idea of casserole or stew...

All of these measurements are adaptable to whatever you have - it's that kind of chuck it all in together and it'll work recipes...

Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole

Ingredients:

500g (1lb) sausages, chopped into chunks. (Please note that I use standard Australian BBQ sausages which are links in casings. But common sense suggests that any sausage in casings would work just fine...)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced roughly

2 carrots, sliced
1 cup of cold water
¼ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup barbecue sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
35g (approx 1.5oz) packet French onion soup mix


Method:

~ Brown the sausages in the olive oil, and then add the onions and carrots
~ Add to your slow cooker
~ Combine the water, all the sauces, and the French onion soup mix in a measuring jug and whisk together
~ Pour over the sausages and veggies
~ Set to slow cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on slow.

Serve with mash and steamed green veggies or corn.

Enjoy!

What's your stand by easy dinner that you always fall back on?



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(And thanks to Brad from Kitchenware Direct for the chance to try the 5-in-1 Multi Cooker)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I promise...


This time two years ago, we were finally walking wheel-chairing away from a very long stay in hospital with my gorgeous son, Charlie.

He had been in traction with a broken femur, flat on his back, in traction, in the Adelaide Women and Children's Hospital, for weeks and weeks. It was horrible. Truly - I wouldn't wish such an experience on anyone. The whole period was, without a doubt, vile.

Charlie finally got out of his horizontal position and was in a wheelchair and a full hip spica - a plaster cast set around his entire body, to maintain a rigid healing position for his leg and hip.

One of the first things Charlie was desperate to do once he was in his wheel chair was get some fresh air. So our first "date" away from the ward was to the hospital Play Deck.

The before shot of the Women and Children's Play Deck - nice, but needs improvement!

It was enticing at the time - fresh air and autumn sunshine on his face - I remember seeing him close his eyes and smile in relief and literally suck up mouthfuls of fresh air. His wheelchair had loads of streamers attached to it and they blew and fluttered in the breeze like a paper rainbow. I cried.

So when I was approached by Meadowlea, with regard to their Plant Seed Promise, I was thrilled to find out that they have made a commitment to build new gardens throughout major hospitals throughout Australia, including the Adelaide Women and Children's.

The first garden is already opened and established -

Sophie Falkiner and  Karen Kingham, at St Georges, NSW
As you'd imagine, I am careful about the fats I use in my diet and also in the food that I cook and serve to the rest of the family.

I am aware of the nutritional differences between margarine and butter. But I'll be honest, I have always opted for butter on the basis that I eat so little of this kind of spread, that it makes no difference.

But then of course I realised I have to be more aware of what the kids are eating. And that by switching from butter to a spread like MeadowLea, I can save the kids 7.5kg of saturated animal fat a year. (Yes, you read that right. Just toast and sandwiches saves 2.5kg of saturated fat per person...)

I was also a little cautious - would the kids even like a spread like MeadowLea after eating butter their whole lives? Only one way to find out - I bought some MeadowLea and tried it on them for a week. And you know what? No one noticed the difference at all...apart from the fact that Lexie found it easier to spread on her toast...

I can't quite believe that after a lifetime of eating butter, I have made the switch this easily!


MeadowLea have developed the Plant Seed Promise - which is based of families committing to switch to MeadowLea - the more families that switch, the more gardens will get built.

For recipe ideas, go here.
For more details on MeadlowLea and the Plant Seed Promise, go here.

Butter or margarine?  Is it worth switching, do you think?

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Disclaimer - sponsored by the lovely folk at Naked Communications.  But, I would have blogged about it regardless - I am appreciative of the information and particularly impressed by the way MeadowLea have approached this initiative. So I am doing it for the love of the blog, for the love of good sense, and because hospital gardens are a topic close to my heart...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Breakfast for dinner?

Breakfast for dinner - an idea way to use my new Scan Pans from Kitchenware Direct!

 


I had a clear out of my freezer the other day - it's a large and capacious thing, my stand up freezer. There are things lurking at the back, that whilst I am sure are food safe, have been in there a little too long.

And on investigating, it seems that 16 loaves of bread is a little excessive.

And bacon? We don't actually eat bacon all that often - so I am not sure what I was doing hoarding over 3kg of best short back?

As a result, we had a huge cooked "breakfast" for dinner the other night. The kids loved it for it's novelty - they are partial to bacon and eggs, I realise. So a fry up is a thing I must indulge in a little more often!

The first thing I realised as I was cooking the eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and toast - the timing is crucial.

Scan Pans from Kitchenware Direct
How I love a cooked mushroom - even better in a Scan Pan from Kitchenware Direct!


And the second vital element to a good cooked brekky? Decent pans!



The lovely husband and I had soldiered on with the same cheap and nasty pans we bought back in 1998. They were rubbish. So a few months ago, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in some Scan Pans.

Initially I was reticent - could any saucepan or frypan be that good? Was I being wooed by the marketing that is Masterchef, who seemed to have Scan Pans on product placement and ads every two minutes?

Let's face it, $899 for three pans is a frightening large amount of money.

But I also need to acknowledge that I am more that happy to pay for quality kitchenware products if they do they job brilliantly and if they last.

Then Kitchenware Direct had a deal on their scan pan range that was too good to resist - half price Scan Pans. So as a birthday present to myself last year, I bit the bullet and purchased the Scanpan IQ 3 piece Set with Frypan and Saucepans.

I'll be totally honest here - I did not dare tell the lovely husband about the price. That said, in just a few weeks after I bough the pans, he was declaring himself in love with them. I have never really heard him was lyrical over cookware before, but he is seriously impressed. We have not used any other pans since. (Which reminds me - my pot cupboard really needs a sort out! I can turf the old crappy pans now!)

Cooking is a pleasure for me, mostly. But it can feel like a chore. And I realise I am enjoying cooking more, now that I have decent equipment - the quality makes all the difference. And that I scored the Scan Pans for half price makes the purchase a sweet one.

Do you ever have breakfast for dinner?

Do you think quality kitchen ware makes all the difference?

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I purchased the Scan Pans all by myself, from Kitchenware Direct. They didn't send me any freebies.This post is entirely my own opinion.

Kitchenware Direct, are, however, most generously sponsoring me to attend the Digital Parents Conference in on Friday March 30th. That they support the Australian blogging community like this makes me loyal...Brad Russell from Kitcheware Direct is also an expert on all things SEO - I have tailored this post to make it SEO friendly, and it now ranks really highly!



Digital Parents

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Week Two Diet Road Test Result...and a meal plan...



Here we go for week number three on the Tony Ferguson Weight Management Plan.

When I tell you it's really easy and convenient, you have to believe me, it is.

I have been to and fro the hospital a lot, as well as studying, alongside all the usual driving around in circles with the kids. The humdrum of life. NOT having to think about food is easy.

That said, I have been really enjoying the planning, the shopping for, the cooking of, and the eating of fresh whole foods for the evening meal.

I shopped at the start of the week off a meal plan. When we get home (late), I get the kids to have their baths and showers, whilst I put some chilled music on, get my apron on, and cook.

The chopping and the preparing is therapy.

The meals I have picked from the Tony Ferguson cookbooks are from scratch, but are all quick and easy. Perfect.

Monday - Asian Beef Stew
Tuesday - Turkey Keema Curry
Wednesday - Chicken Schnitzel
Thursday - Mini Meatloaves
Friday - Thai Fishcake Salad
Saturday - Eggplant Lasagna
Sunday - Corned Beef with "Mash"

Notatoes - Fauxtatoes - a substitute for mash, made from cauliflower - perfect for low carb recipes!



Ingredients

  • 1 Medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 75g low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chives, chopped

Method

  1. Steam cauliflower until soft and very tender.
  2. Place in a blender or food processor with the ricotta cheese, garlic and salt and pepper.
  3. Process until really smooth.
  4. Garnish with chopped chives and cracked pepper.
Use as a replacement for mashed potatoes either as a side dish or this is really good as a topping on cottage pie...Olivia and Charlie and Lexie didn't notice the difference at all.....

And weight loss wise? I am pleased to report that I lost...only 0.7kg this week, but I am still very happy.

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Thursday, 19 January 2012

I have a plan...


One of the plans I have committed to this year (one of many, I should add. I suspect I am being a little ambitious!) is to meal plan properly.

Last year was my year of "online grocery shopping" which I am still truly in lust with. I've been faithful to it.

I want to add to the satisfaction of online shopping by meal planning properly in the first place, so that my groceries are a little more organised and so that my food dollar goes further and so that we all, as a family, try more new dishes.

That snap you see up top there? That's Olivia, at the Australian War Memorial this summer where she came upon the Allied Works Council Cooking Guide - from the 1940's - a guide to feeding Australian forces with economy and flavour...

I read the guide with Olivia - perched on a an old bench in the discovery zone of the museum. It was a delight to read and I was transported back to a time when homemade was the only way and everything from scratch with no preservatives was the norm.

Whilst I won't be serving up chops for breakfast, the book really reminded me of how very satisfying it is to cook and eat from weekly plan. How sensible it is to create meals that in turn create additional meals for the following week. It is an economy of time and energy as well as produce.

The guide reminded me of how my Granny used to cook. Plain fare, fresh food and plenty of it. My Mother taught me too, to cook with flair. My aim is to combine the two - via a meal plan....which I probably share via my blog.

I have not started yet - but I do have a idea to scribble down meal ideas of the back of envelope. I have spent time previously being inspired by this post too.

Tell me, do you menu plan? How? What works? If not, why not? Tell me all!

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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chicken

Today I have the lovely Tatum guest posing for me. We met, just recently, in real life, and it was a delightful pleasure, as is Tatum's blog and her recipes...

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Hiya :)  I am Tatum, I blog at From Somewhere in My Imagination and I am very excited to be guest posting for Lucy.  I am a busy person, wife and mum of four.  I'm a mining engineer, crafter, sister, daughter, blogger, friend and domestic goddess (well in the kitchen at least) to name just a few of the roles that make up who I am.



I grew up with some distorted views on my own body image that I have slowly, but surely (mostly) gotten over as I've gotten older.  These days it just seems odd to me that I saw myself as 'needing to loose weight' when I weighed around 10kg less than I do right now.  I sit comfortably within a healthy BMI range and these days my key indicators are how I feel and look in the mirror, not how much I weigh.
I love to exercise, for the most part I love to run but finding time can be tricky.  I also love food.  Last year I completed a round of Michelle Bridges' 12WBT, what I learnt from that program will stay with me for life.  What it boils down to, Calories in & Calories burnt = weight loss, no rocket science needed!

Ever since, when I am feeling the need to trim a bit out of my diet I aim to cut my own meals back to around the 300-350 calorie mark.  Today I am sharing one of those with you.

Over the years I have heard quite alot about quinoa, often hearing it referred to as a 'superfood'.  As much as I love food I can be a bit reluctant to try new things, in case they taste awful!

I recently (finally) tried quinoa for the first time and am a total convert!  It is expensive compared to other grains (I'm talking $6-$7 for 500g at the supermarket...look in the health food section) but a little goes a long way.

After cooking up my first batch I quickly had ideas for plenty of other ways to use it.  I'll definitely be using it as a substitute for rice in dishes like pilaf and sushi and it's also a great replacement for cous cous.  I don't think my family would notice if I served it with curry instead of rice and I'm pretty sure I could get away with replacing it as the side to stir fry.

For my first experiment I 'replaced' the cracked wheat you would normally use in tabbouleh and incorporated chicken to make an 'all in one' warm salad.

Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chicken - Serves 4 -  320 calories/serve

  Quinoa2

Ingredients

150g (raw weight) quinoa
300g Chicken Breast, preferably free range
50g Low Fat greek yoghurt
1 tsp Sumac
1 punnet Cherry tomatoes, halved
 2 lebanese cucumbers, peeled and cut into batons
1 large, wholemeal pita bread, toasted in hot oven for about 7 minutes until golden brown.
Leaves from 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, washed well.
Juice of 1 lemon

Method

Mix together the yoghurt and sumac, use to coat the chicken breast and set aside while you get started on the quinoa and chop the tomatoes and cucumber.
Cook the quinoa in water according to the instructions on the packet.  Be careful not to overcook it because it will get a bit mushy.
Drain the quinoa and leave it to cool.
Heat a grill plate or the barbecue and cook the chicken breast.  Leave aside to rest.
Wash the parsley well and pick the leaves from the bunch.
Toast the pita bread in a hot oven until golden brown and crispy.
In a large serving bowl mix together the tomatoes, cucumber and quinoa.
Add the chicken, parsley and lemon juice.  Finish with the broken up pita bread and season to taste with freshly cracked pepper.
Serve to the table, divide into serving bowls and dig in.

Quinoa-salad1

Hope you give the keen-wah a go and enjoy it as much as we did!
I post recipes regular (both low cal and regular ones) so if you'd to see more you might like to "Like" my facebook page here or follow me on twitter, where I talk all kinds of nonsense!

Tatum xx

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The "greedy" child...

Today's guest post is from an anonymous poster. She approached me a few weeks ago with a draft. It resonated so much with me: I knew I could not refuse.

I suspect her words, and her experiences and her fears will resonate with many of you. I would like to thank her for her honesty. She asks a lot of questions in her post, so if any of you have wise words to share on this complex issue, I would love it if could comment and share.



When I was four and at Kinder I remember having a check up where my mum asked the nurse about my weight. The nurse said something along the lines that I was fine and would grow out of it. I look at photos of myself at that age and although I wasn't slender, I certainly wasn't fat. My next memory of my weight issue is about four years later when my dad took me for a walk and discussed my weight with me. He said that I was a lot prettier than my best friend, but that she was slim and if I was slim I would be even prettier than I already was. Over the next 10 years, my mum ignored my weight while my dad obsessed over it, varying his approach from taking me to the gym with him at 6am before school, family early morning exercise sessions at home, criticising me, telling me not to eat certain things, bribing and embarrassing me. I actually feel guilty describing my dad in this way, because it sounds so harsh and he is a great dad and I know he had my best interests at heart but oh my goodness, I really think his tactic "shaped" my life!


My weight went up and down, up and down over the years, and still is. I know that now, at 30-something, this is something completely within my control and is not my parents fault. But, as a mum of two, I don't want to relive the mistakes my parents made and I am really struggling with how to raise my kids with a healthy attitude to food and exercise. For the last few months I've been slowly and healthily losing weight and my oldest has been watching me exercise and joining in. At the age of three, he is extremely active and although solid, he is definitely slim and has no weight issues at all.

However, he does have a funny relationship with "naughty" food already and I'm scared that I've "done this" to him! When we go to a party, he will dive in the junk food and if he sees me approaching, he'll grab a handful of something and run away! While this is slightly amusing, I have to be honest that it's a bit terrifying too for me. I did a lot of my eating in secret, and was sneaky about it and I don't want my kids to have the same problems I had. My three year old can now also open his bedroom door on his own and twice this week he has gone to the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning and helped himself to food - chocolate, lollies and biscuits. I too used to do this in the middle of the night. A lot. Part of me thinks I should throw out all of the "naughty" food, but the other part thinks maybe I'm already depriving him of too much and that is what's making him greedy?

My friend has a theory with her kids: she doesn't want them to be greedy, so she lets them eat whatever they want, whenever they want, including chips and chocolate most days. This doesn't sit right with me. Although they certainly don't gorge themselves at any opportunity? I cook most of my kids meals and although they are healthy, they are not extreme. Pasta, meat, veggies, cheese, yogurt, eggs, oven baked home made "chips" and most of their snacks are either fruit or wholemeal vegetable baked "treats" but I also do bake sweet things for them occasionally too. The only reason the items my son took from the pantry were even there was because they were for baking or things friends had brought over: it's not food he's ever allowed to just eat freely at home.

I love food and I love cooking and baking and my three year old loves food too. We never eat take away fast food and the food he eats 90% of the time is very healthy. I know I can easily stop the baking of sweet things and have no treats in the house, but I don't know if that's the right to do either? I have really been trying to model and teach moderation, but after this week's early morning pantry raid, I feel like I've failed and am a bit unsure of where to go from here.

How do you regulate what your kids eat? Do you think you can make them greedy by depriving them of treats? If we restrict "sometimes" foods and junk foods, does that send them into a binge mentality early? Or do we let them eat whatever they want and hope for the best?



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Monday, 14 November 2011

Bottom of the Box Biscuits (Breakfast Biscuits!)

Bottom of the Box Biscuits (Breakfast Biscuits!)

I aspire to be an organised and efficient Mummy. Sometimes I am just rubbish though. And I read blogs and mess about on Pinterest whislt I should be feeding my children breakfast before school. And so this biscuit is brilliant - it's a mobile breakfast! I made a batch yesterday morning - perfect for dolong out all week...)




1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
3 tablespoons orange juice ( I used the juice and pulp of one whole orange)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour (or wholemeal)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups of cereal (Sultana Bran, Buds, Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles, Just Right – whatever you have…all the leftover bits from the bottom of the cereal boxes…)

Preheat oven to 200`c.
Cream together sugar and butter.
Beat in egg, orange juice, and vanilla.
Sift in the flour and the baking powder, stir well to combine
Stir in your cereals to combine
Drop onto ungreased baking tray and bake at 200`c for about 10 minutes
Allow to cool a little and then transfer to cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container and dish them out for breakfast if you are running around late....or for morning tea. Or for lunchbox treats...

Last week I was lucky enough to attend another brunch with Kelloggs and Brand Meets Blog. I was given all sorts of boxes of cereal to try. Hence I had to find a recipe to use up all of our old faves! I ♥ Kelloggs, I really do. They are a class act. It was a wonderful opportunity to stretch my marketing and Mum brain, and sensational to get together with a charismatic bunch of Adelaide and Perth bloggers. They did not ask me to write any of this. I just like to.

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

I want to be a granny!

Today I have a treat for you - a guest post from the very lovely Seana.  Seana Smith is a Scottish-born, Sydney-dwelling mother of four children and author of three books. She blogs at her author website: http://www.seanasmith.com/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Seana.Smith.Author
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Seana_Smith
I met Seana at the AMB Conference last March. Her warmth and her enthusiasm is utterly infectious. She is as wise as she is fun.

I know you will welcome her, and her thoughts may very well resonate!

I Am A Motivated Mother! Finally!

Something has changed for me and my body this year. What is it?

Was it reading the wise words of other bloggy inspiring mums, like Lucy? Was it that my children are all a bit older, two at school and two at preschool three days a week? Was it the C25K running program I heard so much about and then finally did?

Yes, all of the above.

But the bigger thing, I think, is that I now have a very motivating phrase stuck firmly in my mind. When I think about me, my body and my health, it pops up straight away.

I want to be a granny!

I think I’d be a good granny and I’d like to have the chance to give it a bash.

Imagine being a granny, looking after one or two children at a time. You concentrate on them completely, you take them away on holidays, they have sleepover adventures at your house.

Then they go home.

I won’t confuse myself by doing the math, but since I had my children aged 33, 36 and 42, I need to live for a long time.

Grannies are important

Bringing up our children in Australia, my husband and I have missed all of the joys and benefits of grandparents close by. As lots of us do.

Visits are wonderful but it’s not the same. This absence is the greatest grief of my life. But here is home.

I’d like my children to have family around to help them as they bring up their children.

And I’d love my grandchildren to have a granny to be a lovely part of their lives.

So, you see I need to be a granny for my kids and grandkids and for myself too.

So I better keep healthy and active.

I’d like to model myself on my paternal grandparents. In their 70s, Gran was still wearing hotpants (with legs better than mine have ever been) and Papa was taking us cycling and youth hostelling all over Scotland.


Seana with Gran and Papa on a visit to a castle in 1974


They were fit and healthy and they both lived to a ripe old age.

So… eat less and eat better, exercise more and exercise better… be active during the day… sleep well at night.

It’s simple, we all know these things.

That doesn’t make it easy though.

I needed to write this today, as I had such a busy and demanding week last week. I went out a lot, hosted a huge party, drank and ate far too much, felt stressed and knocked back a couple of wines a night to de-stress

(I’m an idiot, wine is such a short term de-stress and I feel dreadful now.)

So I am fixing that vision of me as a granny in my mind and will be at the gym early in the morning.

Now, off to indoctrinate my kids; “You’ll love having babies. kids, and mummy will help you with them. I’ll be the granny and you’ll be the parents.’

My little daughter has been known to reply: “When I’m the mummy and you’re the granny, I’m not going to be a mean mother like you are.”

Let’s hope we’ll live to see whether that is the case, dearest daughter!


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Thank you Seana!



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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

How to eat...


I weighed in yesterday, for the first time in forever. I lost 0.6kg in a week.

Last week was a remarkably good and low calorie week for me. Plenty of exercise and some long steep walks.

Despite being really busy, I managed to get a number of early nights in too.

And I drank a lot of water.

All good. I was left, at the end of the week, feeling very healthy, like my body was really working to it's optimum capacity. I felt nicely tired, but not lethargic.

So, I kind of think I should just repeat the way that I ate this week. And blogging about it serves two purposes - it reminds me to just keep doing what works. And of course,  it may help someone else along the way...

Breakfast - a piece of fruit and a coffee the minute I get up. Plus one or other of the following:

Muesli bar
Bowl of cereal with skim milk
Wholemeal toast spread with low fat cream cheese
Protein shake

Approx 350 calories


Lunch - sandwich made with two slices of grainy seeded bread. Burgen or similar. My fillings range from tuna mayo, leg ham and low fat cheese, lean beef and mustard, hard-boiled egg and mayo, shredded chicken. I always use low fat cream cheese as the spread instead of butter, and always add lettuce and salad to the sandwich .

Plus, a low fat yoghurt or a piece of fruit.

Approx 400 calories

Dinner - Lean protein, such as chicken, beef or fish. Grilled or baked. Salad or veggies. Small serve (about half a cup) of carbs such as rice, pasta or potato, or one slice of seedy bread. One Lindt Lndor Ball.

Approx 450 calories




Snacks - any of these 100 calorie snack ideas...

The total colories of all this totally normal food comes in at around 1500, if you include a couple of coffees and all the salad and a pile of veggies.

Last week, this simple approach was really effective for me. It was easy to implement, and didn't leave me feeling deprived at any point. it was easy to prepare, easy to shop for, and didn;t break the bank. It was the way I would like to be able to eat every day.

Would this kind of eating plan work for you? 

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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Freeze ahead marinated chicken...


I am out of the house a lot next month and I'm trying to get organised and plan ahead, so that I'm organised enough to maintain my healthy eating. (If I'm time poor or feeling stressed and busy, often I run the risk of slipping up in terms of what I eat...and I am guessing I am not alone here?!)

So, my plan for today is to stack the freezer a little, with healthy meals. Lasagne has been made already, as has a big batch of chilli con carne, as well as some tuna mornay.

My preference though, moving into warmer weather, tends to be for more grilled lean meats. Which are quick and easy to cook for all of us, if we get home late.

So I realise I might  as well buy chicken breasts in bulk, and then marinade them in bulk, and then put bags of marinading chicken into the freezer. Then, on the days I know I am going to need a quick and simple healthy meal, I can just take a bag of pre-marinaded chicken out of the freezer, and it'll be instantly ready to cook at dinner time...



I generally marinade boneless, skinless chicken breasts - trimmed of all the fat and icky bits. Sometimes I find breast meat a bit bland, and so often they need a little marinade to add some decent flavour. We eat chicken breast a lot - it's lean and low in calories and fat, hence mixing it up a little with different marinades is ideal.

Traditionally marinades combine an acid, like lemon juice, yogurt, or vinegar, with some oil and flavoring ingredients like salt, pepper, herbs, fruits, and mustard. I do use a small amount of oil in a marinade - it helps the texture of the meat and it means that if you grill the chicken on a BBQ or cast iron griddle, the meat doesn't stick and shred apart. Plus this gives the marinade more flavour.

Freezing the marinaded chicken means that the chicken doesn't go mushy (which it tends to do if you leave meat marinading just in the fridge for too long.)
I use fresh herbs in marinades as much as possible - either from the garden or from the veggie section at the supermarket. Dried herbs will do though - be generous!
I mix the marinades in a heavy duty zip lock bag, then add the trimmed chicken breast, and then squish it all around a bit, and then throw it into the freezer, labelled.

Some tasty marinading ideas that work well are:

Lemon and Herb - The juice and zest of fresh lemons, Olive oil, fresh thyme and oregano, and black pepper
Teriyaki - The juice and zest of fresh oranges, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce
Chinese - White vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, ground five-spice, garlic, soy sauce, and ground pimento
Mexican - The juice and zest of fresh limes, canola oil, garlic, chilli, and Cajun seasoning
BBQ - White vinegar, vegetable oil, brown sugar, tomato ketchup, mustard, salt and paprika
Greek - Greek yogurt, olive oil, diced onion, garlic, oregano cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper, parsley
Indian - natural yogurt, vegetable oil, tandoori curry paste, tomato puree
Satay - sweet chilli sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger.

Would this work for you?

And if anyone has any other time saving healthy meal ideas, let me know?


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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Eat chocolate and still lose weight...(Lindt Chocolate Giveaway)


When I first started to lose weight, it became apparent that, in order to shed kilos, I would indeed have to relent, and give all the beautifully indulgent foods I loved. Including chocolate.

And of course, as soon as I told myself that I was "not allowed" chocolate, I felt like running to the shop and buying kilos of the stuff. The idea of deprivation is not a good one - it usually enhances cravings. The moment we are "not allowed" something, we want it all the more.

So right from the start of my weight loss journey, I have always always factored in some chocolate into my eating plan. You can eat chocolate and lose weight. Truly. How lovely and reassuring is that?!

My lovely husband made an interesting observation in relation to chocolate eating habits. If we eat cheap chocolate of a lesser quality, the tendency is to scoff a bucket load of the stuff, get toothache, and STILL not feel satisfied.

But, if we eat lovely high quality chocolate, I can eat just a small amount, and it tastes and feels sensational. I am totally happy and satisfied. All chocolate is not equal! (This is all to do with the percentage of cocoa solids that's in chocolate - the more cocoa solids in a chocolate, the more it hits the spot. Good quality chocolate has less sugar and less milk solids - so again, it hits the spot.)

As a result, I happily buy my "shoppers treat" once a week, which is Lindt Lindor Balls...



These keep me satisfied all week.

And of course, at Easter we have the Lindt Gold Bunnies. The kids ALWAYS eat these first. Always. Why? Because the are the nicest kind of chocolate.

So, I was very happy to find out that Lindt are introducing a new chocolate, especially for Christmas. The Lindt Teddy Bear - adorable, divine good quality chocolate, as cute as, utterly edible! Perfect!



He stands at about 7cm tall, and he is 100g worth of gorgeous Lindt choccy. Wrapped in gold foil with the signature little red collar (with a heart pendant this season, instead of a bell...) he is adorable. (He costs $5.49)

The Lindt Teddy Bear is  available exclusively to Target stores across Australia, and Target are also running free in-store Lindt chocolate sampling. (Yes, you read that right - you can pop along to you local Target and sample free Lindt chocolate.)

Target are also offering exclusive an in-store promotion where you can get a free limited edition Lindt Teddy Bear USB - it's as cute as, and for once it might be a USB that doesn't get lost...

I don't buy a lot of chocolate, for me or the kids. I would rather buy a small and delicious amount of Lindt in comparison to a whole pile of the cheap stuff.

But instead of a small and delicious amount, I have a huge and delectable prize pack of Lindt chocolate to give away. The pack (valued at over $50 of chocolate) includes, of course, the Lindt Teddy Bear, in all his forms, as well as one of the Lindt Teddy Bear USB.


 
All you need to do to in with a chance of recieving this lovely treat is:
 
- Make sure you're following my blog
- Leave me a comment telling me why you'd like to win the Lindt prize pack
- Open to Australian residents only
- Giveaway closes Tuesday 8th November
- Winner chosen by Random.Org
 
For more opportuities to win this decadent prize pack, and to find out where the Lindt sampling sessions are where you live -  the following bloggers are also running Lindt giveaways over the next little while -
Fat Mum Slim, Seven Cherubs, Everything is Edible and Superparents.

If you are in South Australia, the Lindt sampling events are being held at the following Target Stores:
 
Edwardstown, Saturday 3rd Dec 11am- 2pm
Fulham Gardens, Sat 3rd Dec 11am - 2pm
Adelaide City - Thurs 8th Dec 5pm - 8pm
Unley - Sat 10th Dec - 11am - 2pm
Marion - Sat 10th Dec - 11am - 2pm

For more details on Lindt, the Teddy Bears and on the Target exclusives, please see more here
 
Good luck!
 
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Winner announced via email - Chantel

Monday, 31 October 2011

Roasted Pumpkin and Honey Soup


I was at a conference this weekend, and for supper we were served a beautifully light and delicious soup. Without bread or butter or croutons. It was all I ate on Saturday evening,  and it was SO satisfying and creamy. It felt incredibly comforting and decadent, but was so light and healthy and delicious.

Hence I am trying to replicate it, so that I can stash a batch in the fridge, for some very healthy light dinners for myself...


Roasted Pumpkin and Honey Soup

1 butternut pumpkin, cubed
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Spray oil
750 ml chicken stock
1 ½ tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

Creamed low fat cottage cheese to garnish
Snipped chives to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Coat cubed pumpkin with oil, garlic and place on roasting tray.
3. Scatter onion throughout pumpkin.
4. Cook pumpkin and onion for 40 minutes or until golden and caramelised.
5. Heat stock and add cooked pumpkin, onion, honey, mustard, pepper and salt.
6. Simmer gently for 20mins
7. Blend until soup has a smooth consistency, either with a stick blender or in a processor
8. Garnish with the creamed cottage cheese and snipped chives.


If you have any really healthy but deliciously decadent tasting soup recipes, share with me?

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Melt and Mix Smart Cookies...


These are lower fat than usual cookies. And they're a melt and mix method - heaps easier on the arm - no creaming of butter and sugar, so I didn't bother to even get my mixer out.

They're  packed full of low GI fibre and fruit, and use a lot less sugar than a standard cookie recipe.They're also low GI...so ideal for recess to keep energy levels high.

The recipe calls for no eggs, so it's an ideal biccie for kids school lunchboxes - my kids are (thankfully) not allergic to anything, but other children in their classes are, so I tend to be a little cautious...

I got the recipe off the back of a cereal box, and I've adapted it a little for ease. The kids love them, so they have become a very quick and easy Sunday afternoon baking job.

Melt and Mix Smart Cookies

2 cups Sultana Bran
1/4tsp bicarbonate soda
150g butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange or 2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:
  • Melt the butter.
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients in mixing bowl until well combined.
  • Combine the butter, orange juice and vanilla essence and then add to the dry ingredients.
  • Stir well to combine.
  • Take a tablespoon of mixture, roll into balls, and place onto non-stick baking sheets and press down lightly with a fork.
  • Bake at 160`c for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets before transferring to wire cooling tray.
  • Store in an airtight container.
Makes approximately 24.

This is a rare healthy cookie recipe that my kids actually like...
Tell me your best healthy lunch box treat? Link me to a recipe?

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Out of the glut rut...



I was in the supermarket the other day, and one of those sample ladies accosted me - with a locally made balsamic beetroot relish. It was sensational. Utterly delicious.

I was candid with her and told her I would not be buying any from her. She looked surprised - and I explained that we have a glut of beetroot ready to come out of our garden. (The lovely husband and his gluts are well known...)

Luckily we all, including the kids, love beetroot.

So this weekend I took yet another bucket of beetroot from the garden of my lovely husband, and tried to replicate the balsamic beetroot relish I tried in the supermarket.

Beetroot Relish

Ingredients

• 1.5kg fresh beetroot, top and tailed and peeled
• 3 brown onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
• 1 cup balsamic vinegar
•1cup white vinegar
• 80ml (1/3 cup) fresh orange juice
• 250g caster sugar
• 300g brown sugar
• ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon mixed spice

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Chop beetroot into quarters and place in a large baking dish, covered in foil.


3. Bake for an hour until beetroot is soft
4. Place onion, apple, vinegar, orange juice, sugar and spices in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves.



5. Process the cooked beetroot until roughly chopped – not a fine puree.
6. Add the beetroot to all other ingredients and simmer for an hour, until the mixture thickens slightly.




7. Spoon the hot relish into sterilised jars. Seal.



Enjoy on burgers, with cold meats, or in sandwiches. Or on a cracker with some goats cheese or Philadelphia...

Tell me, beetroot - do you love it or hate it?


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