Friday, February 22, 2013

{Food Diaries : Part Two}

Here are some other ideas I've played around with and are having great results!

Asian Beef and Vegetable Soup with Soba Noodles.
1. To make soup, use a stock that suits your requirements (I used a veggie one I had on hand). Simmer with some finely chopped carrot, the stalks (thick solid part) of some bok choy, fine zucchini & yellow squash ribbons (I used a mandolin but you could peel with veg peeler and then slice thin), an onion diced, a few cloves of garlic chopped. Add 1 tsp of curry powder and simmer until veggies are soft.
2. Stir fry broccoli florets in sesame oil & sesame seeds.
3. Sear off some beef in some garlic (and S&P) and let rest with fresh coriander torn on top (you could also use other meat or seafood if preferred).
4. Prepare some Soba noodles to packet directions. Sprinkle with coriander also.
5. Serve in separate dishes and then you can 'build your soup' as your taste desires. Great for family dinner if there are different tastes/ requirements.

Dairy Free Spanish Omelette
1. Whisk 2 or 3 eggs and add some S&P. Place in a well oiled and hot pan.
2. Place some chopped onion, capsicum, tomato and goats cheese on one half.
3. Fold the omelette over and slide onto your plate.
4. Top with fresh herbs and/ or rocket, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cracked pepper.

Lauren x

{Food Diaries : Beef Bolognese with Quinoa Pasta & Eggplant 'Garlic Bread'}

So, as per a previous post, some of you will know I am now on a limited 'anti-candida' diet for a long term digestive issue. If you know me personally or have been reading this blog for any length of time you'll know I love to be in the kitchen baking, cooking and usually to share around.

The last week or so has been very interesting as I am getting used to eating restricted food. No yeast, no gluten, no white rice, no caffeine, no cows milk or soy dairy, no corn, pumpkin, potato or sweet potato, no sugar (even natural substitutes like honey and fruit...yes NO FRUIT!).
I am actually feeling great because of it. I've started toning up, skins clearing up and I feel 'cleaner' if you know what I mean.

It has been making me very creative for sure, and whilst I'm still on a massive learning curve,
here are some of the staple ingredients I am living on:
- water
- herbal teas (peppermint, rooibos, chamomile)
- meat & fish (no smoked or deli meats ie smoked salmon / ham)
- green veggies (esp broccoli, spinach, asparagus)
- garlic & onions
- herbs and spices especially cinnamon (these are unrestricted!!!)
- eggs (shout out to my 6 Isa browns here - thanks girls)
- natural yoghurt with live cultures

Here are some of my recent attempts at playing with my new 'pantry'.
Idea Number One:

Beef Bolognese with Quinoa Pasta and Eggplant 'Garlic Bread'

1. Simply stir fry onion, garlic and fresh tomatoes with some olive oil and S&P.
2. Once softened, cook meat in the chunky 'sauce' and stir through some pure tomato paste. 3. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and basil from the garden.
4. Serve on quinoa pasta. This is easily found in health food isle of supermarkets.
5. Optional Extra : Cut some thin egg plant slices and fry until crispy with fresh and finely chopped garlic and Olive Oil. YUM!

Lauren x

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{Mini Desserts & Hot Choc Bar}

I don't have great photos, but I did some catering for a women's event last night. The brief was desserts, your choice! My creative brain went into overload!
Here's what I came up with. Firstly a Hot chocolate Bar:

I filled jars with
- hot chocolate powder
- marshmallows
- white, milk and dark choc chips
- crushed butterscotch and peppermints
(not pictured) I also included a can of whipped cream and vanilla malt syrup.
Logistics: as this was for a crowd, I had to think about heating milk safely and easily. I heated the milk behind the dessert table in my slow cookers on the warm setting so it was gentle. Then at serving time I decanted it into a jug on the table.
Linking the hot chocolate to the desserts, I filled a giant glass jar with choc chip cookies.
The dessert table had 4 'dishes'
1. A Chocolate Mud cake with buttercream ruffle icing. SO cute!

2. Individual Homemade Lemon Curd Pavlovas
3. Individual Vanilla Blueberry Cheesecakes
4. Raspberry Jelly & Choc Mousse Cups
I might post the recipes for some of these soon, so stay tuned!

Lauren x

{Am I getting closer to my answer? Maybe?}

Some of you have read here before about my long battle with health. I know people suffer through much worse. I am NOT trivializing that at all!
BUT 17 years of doctors, specialists, therapies, tests and the occasional hospital visit for good measure - all ending with dead ends gets to a person.

My problem is with extreme bloating / stomach cramps and has gotten worse over the time. I have recently now put my maternity jeans and yoga pants on full wardrobe rotation. And when your youngest kid is 3.5 yrs old it just sucks!

I saw a naturopath, and after a blood test turned out that I am positive for candidiasis. We all have yeast in our gut, but this condition is an overgrowth of this.

I am now testing a strict diet that aims to 'starve the beast' as its known.
The tough part isn't giving up the processed food and refined sugars. That comes fairly naturally (pun not intended lol). It's the fruits and 'sweet vegetables' like pumpkin, sweet potato, potato and carrots that are proving hard to give up.

Its nice to have some 'maybe' good news to share. I dont know if this is the answer, however, in the meantime I am making herbal tea, lemon water, lean meat and veggies my friends.

However, if you pop in for a cuppa, don't worry, I won't serve you a broccoli ;)

Lauren x

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

{The Tasting Plate Concept}

Making a healthy lifestyle change can be difficult to maintain. One thing that I have learned is that when trying to cut down on sugars and bad fats, you may need to challenge what traditionally may be eaten at a certain meal time.
For many, breakfast must come out of a box or pop out of a toaster and loaded with buttery & sugary condiments. Many of us also view morning tea snacks as a coffee and a highly processed cupcake that we call a "muffin" to make us feel better or a pastry type treat.

One way that I have found keeps it interesting in our house, is introducing the tasting plate idea into a few meals.

I have often served a breakfast plate with a little yoghurt, half a banana and a slice of whole wheat Vegemite toast. I find that my boys love eating a 'tasting plate', as it is inherently is full if variety.

Today for morning tea/ brunch. I made up two plates with a glass of sparkling lime water. One each for me and my youngest son.
On it I had:
Carrot sticks, pear slices, a fig, small handful of cashews, 2 dates and a small container of natural yoghurt with apple purée and cinnamon.
Mr Cheeky (3yrs) ate everything I did, except for the cashews - but he did try them. I don't have to worry of he doesn't like one component as the whole thing is healthy and it's about trying different things and building good eating habits.
I also find that when you eat this way, you enjoy it more and savor each part. Maybe the Japanese are onto something with their bento style meals ;)

Q: Have you or your kids ever eaten 'tasting plate/ bento style'?

Lauren x


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