Category Archives: fast food

Immune Boosting Japanese Soba Noodle Salad

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It’s hard to believe it’s still winter here in Sydney. The weather has been just amazing with sunny blue skies and temperatures of 24 degrees! There are, however, still lots of flus and viruses going around and some crazy cold winds and even hail are apparently coming tomorrow, so it’s not summer yet! Now with this cold weather coming I don’t want to get sick and when you are around young children like I am (I teach preschool children) you need to make sure your do as much as you can to keep your immune system up and running! If I want a smooth sailing to summer too I need to do just that.

 As you are probably aware (or should be!) food is the one of the first ways to affect our health and if we eat the fresh organic variety it can have a positive effect, supporting a strong immune system. It is from good quality, nutritious (preferably organic) food that we get all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for a strong constitution.  So yesterday, with this in mind, I made a dish that compliments this great warm weather but still gives an immune boosting punch! Read the rest of this entry

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Roasted Cauliflower

With winter well and truly here, baking has become my favourite method of cooking. I bought some beautiful cauliflower at the markets yesterday. Usually I would boil it quickly and drizzle with olive oil but why not bake it? Cauliflower bake is an all time winter favourite but I usually avoid it as the hero of the dish, the cauliflower and all its health benefits are usually lost drowning in white sauce and copious amounts of cheese. I thought I would make a slightly healthier version and one that lets us taste the lovely nutty flavours of the cauliflower.

This dish is cheap, quick, healthy and delicious. The perfect week night dinner.
I’ve kept some cheese in the recipe as I think it adds just a bit of the richness you need from food in winter.

Ingredients
1/2 cauliflower, florets removed and divided into small – medium sized pieces
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Teaspoon of chilli flakes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated mozzarella
Ground sea salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180 Cm (fan forced).
Pour water into a baking tray big enough to hold all the cauliflower
Place cauliflower in baking tray, season with salt and bake for 20 minutes, or until stalks feel slightly soft (al dente)
Add garlic and parsley, stirring to combine
Sprinkle over cheese
Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese melted and slightly browned
Remove from oven, season with salt and chilli eat straight away or leave to cool.

Serving suggestions
Serve hot with a piece of grilled fish or chicken.
Chop the cauliflower and toss through wholemeal or spelt spaghetti, sprinkle with lightly toasted chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan, extra chilli flakes and finely chopped parsley.
When cooled chop it up and add to salads.


 Cauliflower is a great cool climate vegetable to add to your winter menus. If cooked correctly it is not only delicious but has many health benefits too. From the same family as cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower has many nutrients associated with detoxifying the body and preventing cancer. It is also tipped to provide a good source of folate for pregnant women and a high fiber content also make it great for the digestive system. So really it has a health benefit for everyone!

Variation
Add 1/2 sweet potato diced at the beginning, and sprinkle toasted walnuts over it before serving, which makes this into a more substantial meal.  Cooking time may increase to 30 minutes at the start.

You can also remove the cheese and add 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, rubbing it into the cauliflower before baking. Serve this version with yoghurt.

Fast Food

Do you struggle to find the time or the desire to cook every night? I know I do. Eating out or ordering take away is becoming more and more common and I can see why. With the many and increasing demands on our time it is so much easier to ‘out source’ this extra ‘thing’ to do. Don’t get me wrong, eating out is great and is a favourite past time of mine and takeaway has its place too but do this every day/night and you may be getting less of the nutrients you need and more of the ones you don’t.

At the start of the year, with a new job that took up more of my time,  I got into a habit of ordering home delivery, buying takeaway or eating out. This went against my knowledge and belief in eating whole and nutritious food but I was just so time poor that I wanted something quick and easy that tasted good. Exhausted from work I didn’t want to spend my time cooking, let alone cleaning!

After a few months of this I noticed I often felt bloated, woke up at night extremly thirsty and my apetite seemed to be controled more by the highs and lows from sugar and ceffeine and addiction to salt than actual hunger. Realising how my diet had changed I decided I needed to get back to what I knew was right for my body. So how to do this? Of course I had to cut out the takeaway and reduce the dining out but I also needed to add more of the good stuff! I was still time poor so I needed a plan to ensure I ate as much whole and nutritious food as possible.

This is what I did:
1. Quick dinner options in the freezer: fish, soups, stews, frozen vegetables, wheet free bread.
– I will cook up a large portion of soup or stew on a day off and freeeze it.
2. Easy protein in fridge or freezer: Tinned tuna, silken tofu, tempe, smoked salmon, cheese, yoghurt, nuts.
3. Bring salad ingredients and protein options to work
4. Save leftovers from dinner for lunch or breakfast on the weekend
5. Excerise 4-6 times per week (and plan for this so it happens)
6. Buy my lunch only once a week. This may be a salad and chicken roll, tabouli and tuna or a home made lentil soup form the my local IGA.
7. I also cut out dessert as I found this bloated me

Soups and sandwiches are a quick and convenient way to get a variety of foods in one meal. I make stock on the weekends and freeze, so I always have some at hand.

SALMON AND AVOCADO SANDWICH
This is simple as you can get. Make it with your kids too and you have an activity for the weekend.
Ingredients
small handful of italian salad mix
1/2 avocado sliced
1/2 smoked fillet of salmon flaked
2 slices of your choice of wheet free bread (I like chia bread or wheet free quinoa bread)
Wholegrain mustard
lemon wedges

Method
Spread both slices of bread with mustard.
Place avocado on one side and mash down with a fork.
Top with more mustard if desired (I like mine strong).
Place salmon on top, a squeeze of lemon and top with salad leaves.
Top with last piece of bread, cut in half and enjoy.
Nom Nom!

Click here for a great recipe for gluten free bread from Teresa Cutter – The Healthy Chef

CHEAP AND EASY LENTIL SOUP
A staple in my freezer this is great for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients

1 brown onion, finely chopped

2 celery sticks, trimmed and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Swede, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ cup red lentils
2 x 400g can diced tomatoes
6-8 Cups of vegetable stock
4 tbsp ground cumin

For serving:

100g goat’s cheese or plain yoghurt
¼ chopped fresh chives
lemon
yoghurt

Method
Place all soup ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender, adding more stock if it becomes to thick.
Serve sprinkled with chives and goat’s cheese, a dollop of yoghurt or lemon juice and parsley.

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