Monthly Archives: April 2012

Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

Sweet and chewy gluten-free brownies made with black beans (but you’d never know it from the taste!) I love this recipe because black beans are very high in fiber, folate, protein, and antioxidants, along with numerous other vitamins and minerals. They are extremely rich source of the trace mineral molybdenum. Molybdenum serves the useful purpose of breaking down and detoxifying sulfites found in wine and numerous preservatives! Raw cacao has more than 4 times the antioxidants found in green tea and more magnesium than any other whole food!

Ingredients:
1can of rinsed and drained black beans
3 eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup agave syrup (or 1/2 cup fresh dates soaked in 1/2 cup hot water if you are trying to cut back your sugar intake)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees. In a food processor bowl or blender, combine the black beans, eggs, coconut oil, cocoa powder and agave (or dates with their soaking water). Pulse or blend until smooth (or as smooth as possible).
2. Line an loaf tin with baking paper. Pour the batter into the greased dish. Sprinkle nuts (if using) over the top and use a spatula to push them down into the batter just a little (but not too much; they will sink some while the brownies bake).
3. Bake at 170 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until brownies are set in the middle. Watch the edges for excess browning if you’re not sure they’re done. Serve as they are or with some fresh or frozen berries. Eat them warm or cold and store in fridge, though I think they would freeze pretty well too for school lunches!

** If you do not have a loaf tin and are going to use something bigger- like a square cake tin, you probably want to make a double batch. You will probably end up with thin, biscuit-like brownies otherwise 🙂

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Fast Prawns

Prawns are lean, healthy and delicious. They are a great source of protein and Vitamin A as well as omega 3’s and are very low in fat. This recipe is fast and furious and can be chucked together in a few minutes.

1/2 kg green prawns- peeled and deveined
1- 2 capsicum, sliced (red, green or yellow)
4 shallots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2cm square ginger, chopped finely or grated
4 big hand fulls of baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon curry powder (or more to taste)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and capsicums and cook until the veggies become tender. Add the prawns and the spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the prawns curls up and are no longer opaque in the middle. Add the coconut milk and spices, mix well and serve! Serves 3-4. Delicious, fast, no fuss. Serve on a cauliflower mash or a fresh salad.

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Tomato & Cashew Soup with Chicken

All the good things about tomatoes- The antioxidant properties of lycopene may protect our immune cells from destructive free radicals, molecules that can harm cells and damage DNA. Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, which, like lycopene, is linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Most of the vitamin C is concentrated in the jelly-like substance that encases the seeds. Tomatoes are also high in salicylates, which have an anti-clotting effect on the blood, and may be partially responsible for tomatoes’ protective effect against heart disease. A new Australian study found that adequate intake of lycopene and vitamin A helped reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Tomatoes contain vitamin K, which plays a key role in clotting blood and maintaining strong bones. The Vitamin A in tomatoes helps maintain healthy skin, hair, mucous membrances, bones and teeth.

2 tins chopped tomatoes in juice
8 ripe fresh tomatoes chopped in half and roasted
1 leek, sliced
1 onion, chopped
500ml of stock (Vege/chicken)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 carrots diced
1 cup raw cashews- cashews give a great creamy texture to this soup
2 chicken breasts, grilled and pulled apart

Sauté onions, carrot, leek, garlic and tomato paste in a big saucepan until onions are transparent. Add tins of tomatoes and 2 tins of water plus the stock. Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer and add roasted tomatoes, cashews, honey. Simmer over very low heat for at least an hour but the longer the better. Blend with stick mixer until smooth and then top with shredded chicken.

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Pumpkin & Roast Tomato Soup

You can make this in your slow cooker or a big pot. It is perfect for those cold winter lunches, or rainy evenings. It freezes really well so I normally make a big batch and then freeze the leftover in a few single serve containers for lunches or dinners later on.

Pumpkin is incredibly rich in vital anti-oxidants and vitamins. This humble backyard vegetable is very low in calories yet a good source of vitamin A, flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants like leutin, xanthins and carotenes. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant Lycopene which, together with carotenoids, it has the ability to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful oxygen free radicals. Studies have shown that lycopene prevents skin damage from ultra-violet (UV) rays and offers protection from skin cancer. They are also a great source of vitamins A, C and potassium.

1/2 pumpkin- peeled, chopped into chunks (I used Kent but whatever you like is fine)
1 sweet potato- washed, skin on, chopped into chunks
6-8 ripe tomatoes, halved
1 L Vege stock for recipe click here
1 onion- chopped roughly
1 tin canellini beans -drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 180 degrees, place tomatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for about 20-30 mins. Add pumpkin, sweet potato, onion and stock to slow cooker or pot. Stock should just cover the veges, if it doesn’t, top it up with water. Add roasted tomatoes. If slow cookering (is that a word??) just leave it do it’s thing for the day or overnight, if cooking on the stove, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hrs, stirring occasionally. Once soup has cooked, remove from heat, add drained canellini beans and purée with stick blender until smooth. Serve.

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Spiced Nuts

Nuts are a great snack (not a meal- don’t eat the entire lot in one go!) and are easy to pack in a ziplock bag in your bag, car or desk drawer in case of an emergency…. By emergency I mean the 3 o’clock munchies where you’re searching for the nearest chocolate bar or bag of chips or are on the verge of a “hangry” meltdown- a term invented by Trav to describe the hunger x anger that occurs when I need food ASAP. Nuts are rich in energy, protein, packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids.

4 cups raw nuts- any you like, I used mixed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbs honey (optional)
1 tbs smokey paprika
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
2 egg whites

Preheat your oven to about 140 C and line a tray with baking paper. In a big mixing bowl gently whisk egg whites and spices together. Add nuts and stir them around so they are coated in the mix. Pour onto the tray and pop into the oven for about 20-25mins. Check them halfway and give them a bit of a shake about, keep an eye on them because they have a tendency to go from nicely toasted to completely charred in a few unwatched minutes. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container. I keep mine in the fridge to keep them nice and crunchy.

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Vegetable Stock

This stock is super easy (especially if you use the slow cooker), has no added cr@p and is not 50% salt, like so much on the supermarket shelves. It also freezes really well so make a big batch and chuck it in the freezer until the next time you need it. You can add whatever else is looking a bit sad in your Vege crisper at the end of the week to the stock too- I chucked in a head of broccoli and the stalk and 1/4 cauliflower with the stalk all chopped up too.

Ingredients

3 dried bay leaves
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped finely
2 ribs celery, chopped finely
punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 handfuls button mushrooms, sliced
2 L cold water

In a pot, cook off onion, celery, carrot and garlic until it has all started to soften and onion is translucent. If you are using the pot to make your stock, add everything else now, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for about an 2 hours. If you are using the slow cooker, add this mix to the slow cooker with all other ingredients, turn it on and walk away. (I put mine on before bed and had amazing stock in the morning). Once it has finished cooking, pour through a sieve to strain out all the chunks and it’s good to go.

Prawn stuffed Squid Tubes with Carrot and Cauliflower purée

I have just noticed that I am slightly obsessed with puree’s….. I think it is because it’s a great way to jam a heap of veges in one dish that is super quick and easy and packs a massive nutritional punch…. Or perhaps I just love the texture of baby food… Either way. They are awesome.

This is so quick and easy and it looks impressive enough to serve at a dinner party. Just get your hands on some great fresh seafood and you are good to go. If you end up with leftover kaffir lime leaves that usually sit in your fridge until they go dry and crusty and you toss them, how about popping them in a zip lock bag in the freezer? They will keep really well for about 6 months and you can just pull them out and use them as you need them.

1/2kg green prawns
2 large squid tubes
1 red chilli
3 kaffir lime leaves
Juice 1 lime
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tbsp fresh garlic
1/2 head cauliflower
3 carrots
1 tin canellini beans, drained and rinsed (optional)

Steam carrot and cauliflower until soft and blend in food processor with canellini beans until smooth, you can add Pepper and a few tablespoons of skim, oat, almond or soy milk if required to blend to smooth.
Take prawns, chilli, lime juice, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and process in food processor until combined. Stuff in squid tubes and use toothpick to seal both ends of tube. For best results cook on BBQ grill plate until cooked but can be cooked in frypan. Serve with some fresh baby spinach.

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Cajun Chicken with Cauliflower And Broccoli purée

Cajun Spice Mix
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons white pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground rock salt

Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree

1 head broccoli
1 head cauliflower
1 avocado
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk (whole, skim, oat, almond)

Steam broccoli and cauliflower until soft, add to food processor with milk, avocado and salt and pepper and whizz until smooth. Done! I topped mine with some leftover salsa verde. Recipe here

Cajun chicken

Cajun spice mix
1 cup almond meal
Chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Add almond meal and Cajun spices to a bowl and mix well. Toss chicken in the mix until coated and pop on some baking paper on a tray in the oven for 20-30 mins depending on the size of the breasts. Test by inserting a skewer in sharp knife in the middle of the breast, if the juices run clear, it is cooked. I served mine with some baby spinach and cauliflower and broccoli puree.

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Salsa Verde

This is a great thing to make when you have bought way more herbs than you need. It keeps well in a jar for a few weeks and is a great accompaniment for fish, chicken, veges or tossed through a salad. Use whatever herbs you have, mint and parsley work well together and so does coriander and basil. I just happened to have loads of parsley and basil this time.

Flaxseed oil is rich in omega fatty acids and is thought to help reduce the risk of cancer, aid in the growth of healthy hair and nails, promote healthy skin, reduce menopause symptoms and play a role in burning body fat. You can use olive oil if you don’t have flaxseed.

Bunch basil- ends trimmed but stalks can be used
Bunch parsley- ends trimmed but use the stalks
Juice 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 long red chilli- including seeds
1/4 flaxseed oil
2 tsp capers
1/4 cup green tea (if extra liquid is needed)

Whizz it all in the food processor, not the green tea yet, until it has a similar consistency to pesto but a bit runnier. If it is too dry you can add some of the green tea now and give it another blitz

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Thai Chicken and Green Goodness

This is delicious, easy and filling. It contains loads of veges all cleverly disguised as Green Goodness. All the delicious Thai flavours are also packed with great nutritional benefits. I know the avocado might seem weird but it gives the purée an awesome texture.

1 red chilli, chopped finely (deseed it if you don’t like it too hot)
1 stick lemongrass, bruised and chopped finely
2-3 cloves garlic- crushed
3 chicken breasts, sliced
Juice 1/2 lime
1 tin coconut milk
1 tsp tamarind paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head broccoli (including stalk)
2 carrots
1 avocado
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup rocket
1/2 cup milk (whole, skim, oat or almond milk)
1 tsp turmeric (amazing anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties)

Steam broccoli and carrot until soft and add to food processor with avocado, spinach and rocket, turmeric and milk and process until smooth. This is your Green Goodness component.
In a frypan, add chilli, garlic and lemongrass and stir fry for a few minutes, add chicken and brown both sides. Add tamarind and coconut milk and stir to combine, simmer on a med heat until chicken is cooked, add lime juice and pinch salt and cook for few more minutes. Serve on top of Green Goodness.

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