Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sweet Protein Muffins

Just like the Savoury Version , these are probably not something I’d serve to guests you are trying to impress with your gourmet prowess but in terms of ‘fuel’ for your day or a snack on the run, they hit the spot. You can do these in the oven (preheat to 160C) in muffin tins or I also chucked some mix into a ramekin and popped it in the microwave just to see how it would turn out. The microwave version was pretty good and FAST but if you have the time, the oven ones did taste a bit better and got the delicious crunchy “muffin-top” that I love about muffins! This only makes about 1/2 dozen.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup LSA- you can use flaxseed meal if you have it
1/2 cup protein powder- flavourless, no added sugar- I used a plain whey protein isolate
2 eggs
1 tbs Mixed Spice
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
3 tbs milk- I used almond milk
If you want them sweet you can add a tbs of honey or some stevia to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients except the goji and raspberries into a bowl and mix well. Once all combined add the berries. Spoon into cupcake moulds (if baking) or ramekins. I made this batch in the microwave in a ramekin. The microwave one was pretty good- cooked for about 1 minute on high, you might need an extra 30 seconds depending on your microwave. If using your oven, cook on about 160C for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. These can be a little dry if you overcook them because the protein powder sucks up a lot of the liquid.

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Savoury Protein Muffins

These are probably not something I’d serve to guests you are trying to impress with your gourmet prowess but in terms of ‘fuel’ for your day or a snack on the run, they hit the spot. You can do these in the oven (preheat to 160C) in muffin tins or I also chucked some mix into a ramekin and popped it in the microwave just to see how it would turn out. The microwave version was pretty good and FAST but if you have the time, the oven ones did taste a bit better and got the delicious crunchy “muffin-top” that I love about muffins! This only makes about 1/2 dozen.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup LSA- you can use flaxseed meal if you have it
1/2 cup protein powder- flavourless, no added sugar- I used a plain whey protein isolate
2 eggs
1 tbs Mixed herbs- I used MAMMOTH KITCHEN Meat Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 grated zucchini
3 tbs milk- I used almond milk

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Spoon into cupcake moulds or ramekins. I made 6 in the oven and 1 in the microwave in a ramekin. The microwave one was pretty good- cooked for about 1 minute on high. If using your oven, cook on about 160C for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. These can be a little dry if you overcook them because the protein powder sucks up a lot of the liquid. I served my oven ones with some kale pesto I had in the fridge.

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This is what the microwave one looked like

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Loves of my Life- A random rant about Family & Food

My 2 great loves are Family and Food.

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I love it even more when they are happening together, which is usually the case. Food brings us together, we eat loads of it and FAST, it’s the quick or the hungry at meal time with my family, we take Darwin’s Theory “survival of the fittest” very seriously. We drink wine and we laugh! We are a family of eaters, most likely this stems from the fact that my mum, this tiny little woman, is a “feeder”. I am fairly certain that there is a big Italian mamma trapped inside her little body whose life mission it is to feed those around her. She is a great cook. Seriously, look at the size of her, isn’t she cute?

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So she feeds us, all 5 kids, plus dad, plus partners, friends and generally a few randoms. It is how she shows love. We are not a big family of huggers and kissers so mum shows us all how much she loves us by feeding us. She obviously loves us alot, even when you don’t want it, she tries to feed you.

I come from a long line of “feeders”, my mum, her mum and probably her mum’s mum! I have noticed that I now do this as well, if people around me are upset or hurting, I am not the “therapist” friend, I cook for them, eat with them, feed them. It is my way of showing how much I care, without inflicting my bad advice or tough love chat on them :) Trav is my favorite person to cook for, probably because he thinks everything I make is delicious, even if it isn’t :)

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Astro, our Great Dane, is also pretty easy to please on the food front, as long as he doesn’t have to hunt it himself, he’s chuffed. He has “hunted” his meals off the kitchen bench or dining table a few times… The trials of having a dog with a head the right height to swipe thawing chicken breast off the bench in one foul swoop. But generally, World’s laziest dog :) Look how smart he looks…

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I love birthdays, not because of the cake, though I do LOVE cake, and chocolate, and ice cream…. I digress, but because it means we all get together to eat. We tend to celebrate every meaningful event with food, sometimes there are kitchen disasters, generally when we have given mum the night off cooking, and sometimes there is awesome kitchen success. Regardless, we all eat it anyway, we are not that fussy.

Food makes me happy, my family makes me happy. There is not much else I need in life except family and a great kitchen ;) What are your great loves?

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Creamy Spinach and Chicken ‘Pasta’

Since I recieved my Veggie Twister from Mammoth Kitchen (you can get yours HERE) and the weather has become colder, I have a new love, zucchini “pasta”. It is kinda like having that delicious, warming, comforting bowl of pasta….. Only made of something much more nutritious than the same ingredients that go into kindergarten grade glue and play-doh. Do you want that sitting in your guts?

This is full of spinachy goodness and the Zucchini is low calorie and a great source of fibre. It is rich in vitamin A, flavonoid and poly-phenolic antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species from the body that play a role in aging and various disease process.

1 cup coconut cream
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 chicken breasts, diced
3 handfuls baby spinach or rocket, blitzed in the food processor until they are like a paste
4 Zucchini (that was enough for 2 piggy’s), made into pasta with your veggie twister or mandolin.
1tsp coconut oil

Heat the oil in a frypan, add garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the chicken and cook until it is sealed. Add tomatoes and coconut cream and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and add the spinach purée. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until sauce starts to reduce and thicken slightly. Add the zucchini and gently toss through the sauce for a few minutes until it is just cooked. Don’t over-cook it or it will turn to mush. You are now ready to eat.

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Tomato and Kale ‘Compote’

I’m not really sure “compote” is the right word for this but I am going to run with it anyway. This side dish came about as I was experimenting with ways to hide kale from Travis, or at least make it so delicious (like the Creamed Kale recipe that he loves) that he’d eat it anyway. He hasn’t tried it yet so I am not yet sure on the success but I thought it was delicious!

Kale contains some very powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals. One cup of kale contains nearly 20% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating. It is an awesome veggie to aid our bodies in the detoxification process and contains lads of vitamins A, K and C.

1 bunch kale, stalks chopped finely and leaves chopped roughly
3 lge cloves garlic, crushed
1 long red chilli, chopped finely
3cm chunk ginger, grated
3cm chunk turmeric, grated (optional, I added it because I had it in the fridge)
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 cup green tea
3 eshallots, chopped finely
1 tbs coconut oil

Heat the oil in a frypan, add garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli and cook for a few minutes, add the kale stalks and eshallots and cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and green tea and simmer until liquid reduces by half. Add the kale leaves and cook for about 5 minutes until all is tender. I had mine with a spoon of Salsa Verde on top and some grilled barramundi.

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Chocolate Protein Fudge

I love fudge, it is sweet and delicious and chewy…. This fudge isn’t the ‘would-you-like-Diabetes-with-that’ sweetness of regular fudge but it is much higher in protein, low sugar, full of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals! The flavours can be altered depending on how you feel. Today I was feeling “gingery”… Is that a word? It is now. Ginger is an awesome anti-inflammatory- especially for those with arthritis, great for gastrointestinal upsets (especially motion sickness and morning sickness), and has many immune-boosting properties.

1/2 avocado
1/4 cup raw cacao
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
1 heaped tbs nut butter (I used ABC)
1 cup plain protein powder (unflavored, unsweetened) – you can use almond or flaxseed meal instead I you like
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (optional, but I love ginger)
1 tbs agave or maple syrup (OPTIONAL- leave this out if you want a sugar-free option or you can add some Stevia to taste or a couple of fresh dates)

Add avocado, ginger, cacao, agave and coconut oil to a small food processor and blend until smooth? Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix really well for about 5 minutes until everything is combined. It should have the consistency of unset fudge. It will be quite sticky. Pour into a small tray/container lined with baking paper and use more baking paper on top to press it down. Pop in the fridge, or if you are really impatient like me, the freezer, until it sets. Cut into squares and store in the fridge or freezer.

You can make some variations by adding some raspberries to the mix at the end or some shredded coconut or chopped nuts. You could add some finely chopped fresh chilli and make chilli chocolate fudge? Or some peppermint essence and have mint-Choc fudge! What about 1/2 a mashed banana and have Choc-Banana Fudge! Coffee? Or hazlenuts and make Nutella-Fudge. Ahhh so many options to explore! I have gotta go, more fudge to make!

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To Salt or Not To Salt, that is the Question?

Salt is something that everyone has an opinion on. I personally don’t use it very often at all but I am not judging you if you love the stuff. If I do use it, I use Himalayan pink crystal salt to ensure that I am getting the most nutrients. Trav has some interesting facts on common salt in his blog about nutrition, you can read it HERE.

Common table salt is composed of 97.5% sodium chloride and 2.5% chemicals like iodine and absorbents. So, excellent for cleaning wounds, not so great for ingesting. White table salt is devoid of the full spectrum of minerals and other nutrients that protect and enhance your health. The table and cooking salt found in most homes, restaurants, and all processed foods, is empty of any nutritional value. It is lacking in the precious trace minerals that make salt good for us. After processing, salt is basically sodium chloride, an unnatural chemical type of salt that our body actually sees as a foreign toxic invader! When we ingest this type of salt, our body cannot dispose of it in a natural, healthy way. This can lead to inflammation of the tissues, water retention and high blood pressure over time.

The term “sea salt” is essentially meaningless. White processed salt can still be called “sea salt” even though it is devoid of full-spectrum sea minerals. The way to tell if your salt is really full-spectrum salt is to look at the color. If it’s pure white, it’s not full-spectrum. White salt is just like white sugar: It’s missing the key supporting minerals and nutrients your body needs.

Full-spectrum salt always has a non-white color. Celtic Sea Salt, for example (which is really good salt) has a brownish sandy color. Pink Himalayan salt is a sort of sandy rose color. All the truly natural full-spectrum salts are sandy or brownish in color.

Himalayan Pink Salt has a rich mineral content that includes over 84 minerals and trace elements such as: calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. This salt is recognized for its beautiful pink color, high mineral content, and its therapeutic properties. Regular consumption of Himalayan Pink Salt provides essential minerals, trace elements, balances electrolytes, supports proper nutrient absorption, eliminates toxins, balances the body’s pH, normalizes blood pressure, and increases circulation and conductivity. It can also assist with relief from arthritis, skin rashes, psoriasis, herpes, and flu and fever symptoms.

So, if you are going to use salt, at least try and go for something that has some sort of nutritional value as well as adding flavour to your food. Rant end. Over and out :)

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Savoury Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet potato is a rich source of flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are essential for optimal health. The zucchini you cannot even taste in here so it’s great if you need to hide it from a certain “someone”….. Perhaps I should try this with Kale and see if Trav notices :) These savoury muffins are a great brekkie-on-the-go, snack during the day or would be pretty good with a nice hot soup too! You can add some grated carrot instead of the zucchini too, or as well as just to jam lots of veges in!

1 cup almond meal
½ quinoa flour (omit and use an extra 1/2 cup almond meal if Paleo)
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup sage, chopped, keep a dozen leaves aside whole for decorating.
2 cups sweet potato purée (can use pumpkin if you prefer)
1 zucchini, grated
¼ cup coconut oil or olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a pan cook the garlic and onion until the onion is translucent.

Mix all the dry ingredients till well combined. Chop the sage into small pieces and throw it into the dry mixture. Add the puree, zucchini, garlic & onion mix, oil and vinegar and stir well. Do not over mix the dough.

Scoop it into the muffin tray and bake in a preheated oven at 160C. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or till the toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Breakfast Bars

Another great snack when you’re on the run or if you need brekkie-on-the-go. Packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and beneficial omega fatty acids, this is a great start to the day. Like a muesli bar, but without all the added rubbish.

1/2 cup quinoa flakes or amaranth (if you want to go Paleo- omit this and add an extra 1/2 cup almond meal or coconut flour)
1 cup almond meal
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts
1 cup mixed seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin, but buckwheat, poppyseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds and linseeds are great too)
1/2 cup dried fruit OPTIONAL (dates, apricots, cranberries, goji berries)
3 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs nut butter
1/4 cup honey (leave this out if you want a sugar-free bar)
1 tbs cinnamon
2 egg whites (sub this for some extra nut butter and coconut oil if vegan)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl then, melt the coconut oil and nut butter together, add all the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. It should be wet enough that you can roll it into a ball without it crumbling everywhere. Press into a baking paper lined baking dish and bake on 160C for 20-30 mins until browned on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice into bars. If you want a crispier bar you can pop the sliced bars back into the oven for about 10 mins on 180C. Store bars in the fridge or freezer.

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Chia Yoghurt Cups with Granola

This is a really easy brekkie-on-the-go recipe or a great snack. Both the yoghurt and the granola can be made in bigger batches and kept in the fridge until you need it. Coconut milk yoghurt is a great option for dairy-free people and it is seriously delicious!!

Yoghurt-
1 cup coconut milk yoghurt (you can use natural yoghurt or plain Greek instead)
1 tbs chia seeds

Granola-
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tbs flaxseeds
1 cup chopped nuts (I used brazil, almond, cashews and pistachio)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 pumpkin seeds
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup honey (OPTIONAL- leave this out if you are wanting low sugar)
1 cup oats (OPTIONAL- leave this out for Paleo or gluten-free options)
Berries to serve

Mix yoghurt and chia seeds together and put aside in the fridge. In a bowl place all the granola ingredients and mix well. Pour into a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake on 160C for about 20 mins or until crunchy. Remove and allow to cool.

In a bowl or cup spoon the yoghurt mix, top with berries and sprinkle with granola. Store leftover granola in a container in the fridge.

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