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Chicken Sung Choi Bao

Sung Choi Bao is a classic Chinese starter that I love because it is so simple and delicious and super easy for a gluten and grain free meal. This recipe is my own paleo interpretation and has the added magic of my toasted spiced brazil nuts. They are like ‘sloppy-joes’ or sandwich wraps but with more nourishing deliciousness. In fact this recipe has become a weekly staple in my kitchen and is a great crowd pleaser for parties. It really is absolutely scrumptious. The best thing about eating Sung Choi Bao though is getting to use your hands! You can serve it as a starter already assembled but my favourite way to eat it is as a main meal with bowls of each layer on the table for everyone to assemble. Because let’s be honest, there really is something quite seductive about eating with your hands, don’t you think?

IMG_3412

Recipe

Serves 4-5 for a main course

Ingredients

750 g Chicken mince

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. of coconut oil for frying

1 carrot, finely diced

1 cob of corn, kernels removed (replace with 3/4 cup of green peas to make it Paleo) and blanched

4 shallots, finely sliced

2 handfuls of green beans, ends removed, blanched and chopped into small pieces.

a dash of fish sauce

1 cup of brazil nuts, chopped into small pieces

1/4 tsp. chilli powder

1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice powder

large pinch of Celtic sea salt

2 limes or lemons, 1 juiced and the other cut into wedges to serve ( lime is best but lemon will be work too)

iceberg or cos lettuce, leaves washed and removed.

Method

1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large frying pan and add the shallots. Fry on medium heat until soft then add chicken mince. Turn heat up and stir fry until chicken is cooked and going brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or until they are cooked through. Add fish sauce and stir fry for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and finish with juice of 1/2 lime/lemon. Add more lime/lemon to taste if needed. Scoop mince into a serving dish.

2. Heat remaining oil in small frying pan. Add nuts and fry on medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring so they brown easily. Add chilli and five spice and stir to coat the nuts. Add salt and continue to cook until brown. Remove from heat and place in a small serving bowl.

3. Place lettuce leaves on a platter. Bring mince, nuts and lettuce to the table and tell everyone to get their hands in and make some! The way you eat it is scoop a small amount of the mince into a lettuce leaf and top with nuts. You can squeeze some extra lime/lemon on too if you like. Then just wrap it up in the lettuce and enjoy!

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Economically Organic

With the rising cost of living it can be quite a financial commitment to buy everything organic. I am passionate to eat organic whenever I can, however I need to be realistic about how much I should actually spend on my food. Researching this online and chatting to some of the providores at Orange Grove Organic Food Markets I have discovered that there are some foods which are more important to eat organic than others. I have found I can save some money by buying organic options for foods that are more likely to absorb pesticides and then the rest I can buy standard options at a lower cost.
There is also a wholesale organic market in Sydney called ‘Back to Eden’, which a friend of mine has told me is much cheaper. 
Here’s some of the information I found on pesticides in foods that might help you make decisions on this too.

The Environmental Work Group in USA
http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Dirty Dozen
Buy these organic

Clean 15
Lowest in Pesticide
 


1
Apple
Apples
2
Celery
Celery
3
Strawberries
Strawberries
4
Peaches
Peaches
5
Spinach
Spinach
6
Nectarines
Nectarines
– imported
7
Grapes
Grapes – imported
8
Red Pepper
Sweet bell peppers
9
Potatoe
Potatoes
10
Blueberries
Blueberries
– domestic
11
Lettuce
Lettuce
12
Kale
Kale/collard greens

 


Onions
Onions
2
Sweet Corn
Sweet Corn
3
Pineapple
Pineapples
4
Avocado
Avocado
5
Asparagus
Asparagus
6
Peas
Sweet peas
7
Mango
Mangoes
8
Eggplant
Eggplant
9
Cantelope
Cantaloupe
– domestic
10
Kiwi
Kiwi
11
Cabbage
Cabbage
12
Watermelon
Watermelon
13
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
14
Grapefruit
Grapefruit
15
Mushrooms
Mushrooms

Date and Apple Muffins with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Cooking some muffins for a fundraiser, I decided I wanted to make something yummy (for the soul) but still relatively healthy. Apples and dates in the fridge: perfect combination! I made use of the wonderful Jude Blereau’s guide to making muffins and adapted it to my ingredients, finishing them with a creamy lemon icing and candied lemon peel.
Apple and Date Muffins
Makes 9-12
Ingredients
2 cups all purpose wheat flour
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 gm unsalted butter – melted
1/2 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup yogurt
2 apples diced into 1cm pieces
1-2 cups of dried dates diced and soaked in 2 tablespoons of water
Juice and zest of 1 lemon,
1 tub Cream Cheese
1 cup Icing Sugar
*candied lemon peel
dates for decorating
Method
1. Pre heat oven to 180c (or 165c for fan forced) and line 6 hole muffin tins.
2.Combine flour, baking powder and sugar and whisk to combine. Then add the fruits and mix together.
3. Combine butter, milk, egg and yogurt and whisk to combine.
4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
5. Pour mixture into lined muffin tin and bake for 30 – 40 min or until golden.
6. Meanwhile beat the cream cheese with the zest and 3/4 of the icing sugar and lemon juice. Add more of the juice and icing sugar to taste if needed.
7. when muffins are cooked cool on a wire rack
8. Top cooled muffins with icing, half a date and piece of candied lemon peel.
*Candied Lemon Peel
I made my own. I don’t know if it was the correct way but it appeared to work.
All I did was dissolve 2 handfuls of sugar in a frying pan with about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Reduced it slightly and then put thin slices of lemon peel into the sugar, cooking it until it slightly caramelised and candied the lemon.
 

Back on the Wagon

So, I haven’t posted for a while but I’m back. It’s been over 1 month and in this time I have diverted back to cooked foods,  then not so healthy choices then embarked on a 40 day revolution at my Yoga studio, which I am still in the middle of and has brought me back to wholesome choices. This combined with my own research on food and awareness of their effects on my body and emotions has led me down a different path…Hence, the reason I have changed the name of this blog: from ‘Raw Tales’ to ‘The Wholesome Choice’. I did this because in my brief raw food experimenting I felt it did not serve my nutritional/physiological needs. I have also come across traditional Chinese philosophies which support the need for cooked foods and/or a mix of raw and cooked (depending on the needs of the individual). So, I do not feel ‘raw food’ was the path for me. Since following these philosophies my digestion has improved greatly and I feel much more in-tuned with my body. So I will still explore raw dishes but will combine it with other whole food choices. This is the path I will be exploring, researching and sharing…

In light of this I want to share the little I have learnt about traditional Chinese medicine. This is taken from Baron Baptise’s book: ’40 Days to Personal Revoloution’ (2004). Baptise explains that the aim of this philosophy is to ensure our bodies are in balance. This is achieved by becoming aware of our ‘body ecology’: what our personal bodies are like and thus what they will need to be nourished and balanced. He says traditional Chinese medicine believe there are hot and cold patterns in the body, which can become out of balance in this modern world.

Identifying if you have excess of heat or cold in your body is the first step to decide what foods will benefit your body. A person with an excess of heat will generally prefer cold weather, cold drinks, will sweat easily and have difficulty sleeping. They may have loud voices, be prone to skin breakouts and may be irritable and/or have a bad temper. A person with an excess of cold will generally prefer hot weather, drink hot or warm drinks, does not sweat easily and curls up while sleeping. They may have soft voices and pale skin and are generally quite and reserved in nature.*

The other pattern Baptise explains is deficient/excessive body patterns. These are cycles our bodies go through throughout the year. When we are in the building phase we are ‘deficient’ and may feel weak, run-down, thin, fragile, fell we are lacking something. Conversely in the cleansing cycle we may have ‘excess’ in our bodies, such as being over weight, having excess of toxins, and feeling sluggish, foggy and/or overburdened.

So which one are you?
I have excess of cold at the moment and am in the cleansing stage, so changing to heating foods combined with  cleansing foods has really benefited me (a list of these foods are below).

Foods That Are More Heating*
Foods That Are More Cooling*
Calorie rich foods
Dense meat: lamb, beef, turkey, chicken, Pork
Bread, rice and other grains
Nuts
Chilies
Ginger
Garlic
Onions
Peppers
Coffee
Cinnamon

Lighter foods e.g. salads
Less dense meat: white fish, shell fish, clams, crab
Soy products
Dairy
Cucumbers
Most beans
Peppermint
Bok choy
Kale
Celery
Green tea
Yoghurt
watermelon
Foods That Cleanse*
Foods That Build*
Small portions of any food
Water based veges and fruits
Carrots
Dandelion greens
Salads
Seaweeds
Fruit juice
Soups
Tomato sauce
Spices: ginger, cumin, cardamom, peppermint
Fish, Sardines
Larger portions food
Whole grains
Starchy foods
Milk products
Root veges
Soy milk
Whey
Pasta
Oatmeal
Oils
Dense meats: beef, lamb, pork

*Cooking methods also impact on the heat of foods. The more heat used to cook the more heat is added to the body.

COLD        >   WARM    >       HOT    >        HOTTER          >             VERY HOT
Raw       Poach   Steam     Boil          Bake         Saute                 Stir fry         Deep Fry

So this is what I am working with at the moment and its working a treat for me. I hope you can gain something from it too! Take what works for you and leave the rest. If you have any stories or comments please share!
I am enjoying cooking again too! I will share some of my creations and achievements with you soon! Happy Eating!

* Taken from Baptise: (2004): 40 days to personal revolution: A breakthrough program to radically change your body and awaken the sacred in your soul.

Only Real Food…

So I had a bit of a defining moment today… Being hungry on my way home and in a supermarket I decided to get a protein bar (yes I know! Not very raw or fresh of me). But anyway I thought I would look at the ingredients and found such a long list of ‘things’ I did not understand and/or recognise as food that I put it back on the shelf (where it belongs)! I thought how can something so processed be good for me?..
Instead I came home and made a scrumptious salad and miso soup and felt full, satisified and nourished. The recipe is below and photos will follow when I get an attachment for my camera.

Miso soup
Cut small pieces of wakame into a cup, add miso paste to taste and boiling water.

Salad
1/2 Ice berg lettuce (heart) shredded
1/2 onion finely slice
1 carrot finely slice
6-8 small broccoli floretts
6-8 small cauliflower floretts
1-2 tblsp desicated coconut
2 Nori sheets sliced into strips
2 tblsp Olive Oil
Dash soy sauce
1 Lemon juiced
I egg boiled sliced

Combine all the salad ingredients and coconut in a large salad bowl.
Pour over olive oil, lemon juice and Soy Sauce.
Mix well.
Scatter over nori and egg
Serve with miso soup

Serves 1 for main or 2 for entree.

Baby steps…

Oh dear, oh dear. It  started so well but then went so so bad…
 Lunch: raw/cooked fusion salad of buckwheat soba, uncooked silken tofu, raw zucchini, lettuce and soy sauce and lemon dressing.

Dinner: chocolate, mandarin, rocket salad and 2 toasted cheese and baked been sandwiches.

Lunch: Devine not Raw but on the path. Obviously dinner: not so Raw, but hey it hit the spot!

As you can see I’m taking it slow. Easing my way into the raw side to life.
 xx

It’s Time to Raw

I love raw foods. I love a sweet carrot, a juicy pear, a crunchy piece of cauliflower and I eat capsicums like apples. Oh and don’t get me started on avocados! Yes. I am a self confessed salad freak (or rabbit as my boyfriend endearingly calls me). So when I heard about this RAW FOOD MOVEMENT I thought this sounds like the movement for me! You may be thinking OK so what’s the big deal? This chick is just going to eat more of the food she loves… Well Yes and No. I also Love love love my meat. With my salads I have protein as well.  I also love pasta and ice cream as much as the rest of you. I just love food really! I think a true raw foodist eats only raw food. So this means goodbye to rice, pasta, meat, ice cream, eggs… you get the picture!

So why do that to yourself you ask? Well for me it is to find a healthier diet and “rediscover” food. The appeal of a RAW FOOD DIET is the prospect of finding NEW FOODS and NEW WAYS OF PREPARING THEM, while EATING HEALTHIER at the same time. So I am embarking on a journey of raw food discovery. Can I eat healthy and raw while still being pleasing to the palate? I guess trial will help me see…
 

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