Makes me Smile, Food that Grows

27 Nov

These are some photos of our garden. Koha and her cousin and Nanny planted some fruit a while ago and they are just starting to grow food. This makes me smile. I think we’ll be enjoying these this summer!

blueberry plant

blueberry plant

strawberries

strawberries

passionfruit

passionfruit (the bags are to keep birds away)

 

 

Barley Salad with Corn, Capsicum, and Baby Spinach

27 Nov
Barley Salad

Barley Salad

Pearl barley for lunch once again! This time with corn, capsicum, and baby spinach, with lemon juice drizzled over the top. Yum! The pearl barley and corn were cooked in the rice cooker, and then other ingredients were added. This salad is super easy and fast and a great way to add a serving of whole grains into the day.

Cauliflower Mash

26 Nov
lamb chops with cauliflower mash and green salad

lamb chops with cauliflower mash and green salad

This recipe is amazzzing. It is a great substitute for mashed potatoes, and tastes even better than mashed potatoes! It’s super low in calories, it’s clean, it’s paleo, it’s low in carbs, it’s high in fibre, it’s basically a dieter’s dream side dish❤

For extra flavour, you might add some chopped up herbs such as parsley or spring onion, or you could add butter or olive oil, or salt and pepper, or even garlic. Mmm.. garlic butter mashed cauliflower… Yummo!

Now for the recipe:

You will need:

  • Cauliflower
  • Water – enough to cover the cauliflower in the pot
  • Large pot
  • Mashing stick, or hand blender (the hand blender would be best as it would make the cauliflower extra creamy). If desperate, a fork should also work.

You will:

1: Boil the cauliflower in water, until the cauliflower is soft

Step1

Step1

2: Drain the water

Step 2

Step 2

3: Mash the cauliflower

Step 3

Step 3

4: Serve, adding optional flavourings (see suggestions above). I served mine with marinated lamb chops and a garden salad.

Health Benefits:

As a cruciferous vege, cauliflower has a tonne of healthy properties. It’s high in Vitamin C and contains a range of B vitamins. It’s also high in fibre, which is awesome because that aids healthy digestion. Cauliflower is very low in calories. By replacing standard mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, you’ll shave about three quarters of the calories off your side dish, without compromising flavour or volume.

Healthified Sausages and Tomato Sauce

26 Nov
Sausages with tomato and green salad

Sausages with tomato and green salad

Something about sausages just reminds me of summer. Maybe it’s because sausages are a barbecue staple. Maybe it’s because they’re easy and no one feels like doing much cooking during the warmer months. I’m not sure.

Sausages with tomato sauce are delicious, but they’re not that good for you. Sausages can be quite high in salt and fat, and commercial tomato sauce is super high in sugar. The back of the bottle listing the sugar content is quite ridiculous. Commercial tomato sauce is basically jam (jelly) made with tomatoes and watered down a little bit.

If you are craving sausages and tomato sauce, my first suggestion to you, is to use gluten free sausages. Although a bit more expensive, gluten free sausages don’t have quite as much added material and so are a little bit healthier than normal sausages. If you’re an extra smart shopper, you could probably also find sausages that had no added salts or preservatives and that are made from organic meat. Sausages themselves can be quite healthy, it’s usually the added ingredients that make them unhealthy.

My second suggestion is to replace the commercial tomato sauce with either homemade tomato sauce, or chopped up tomatoes. For the pictured meal here, I served my sausages with fresh sliced tomatoes and salad greens. It was simple, yet tasty. The tomatoes had all the flavour and sweetness I needed. Tomatoes are also easy to prepare – all you need to do is chop them up.

If you prefer sauce, there are plenty of recipes online for tomato sauce, and by manipulating the ingredients you can cut out a lot of the sugar content. If you’re in a hurry, another alternative is to just use a can of diced tomatoes as your sauce, or try salsa.

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Sunday Meals Husband Cooks: Mussels, Salad, Gourmet Potatoes

26 Nov
Mussels and salad

Mussels and salad

This is Sunday night dinner, courtesy my husband. Lately he’s been steaming mussels on weekends and we eat them with large servings of salad.

These mussels were steamed on the stove and were served with lemon juice and garlic. My husband loves garlic on mussels, but I personally prefer lemon juice and pepper. He experimented by using both lemon juice and garlic on this meal. Our salad was simple, with cut tomatoes and apples over mixed lettuce greens. We also had gourmet potatoes with cracked sea salt and a little bit of butter. It was delicious and so healthy. Mussels are a great source of iron and protein and are low in fat. They’re also very very very cheap, and it cost less than $4 for all of us.

When purchasing mussels, be sure to look at the shell and go for mussels that are closed and unbroken. They should also be kept in sea water at the store, and eaten soon after they’ve been bought. We tend to eat ours the same day, which is why mussels are a weekend thing for our family.

Cozi App – Recommended

22 Nov

Hi everyone,

Here’s a recommendation from our family to yours: try cozi. It’s awesome and fantastic for family organisation and meal planning. The features include: shared and synced family calender, meal planning software, shared grocery list, shared lists and family journal. It’s a great app because it saves so much time and money! And it’s totally free! When you use it on your computer, you can plan your week’s menu and then automatically add all the ingredients to the shopping list – which all the adults in your family can see from their cell phones and edit on the go. It’s so easy and saves that dreaded question… “What’s for dinner?”

Here’s the link, check it out: http://www.cozi.com/family-calendar.htm

If you pay more you are able to see what’s for dinner from your cell phone. To get around having to pay for that service, I created a family member called “Dinner” and once a week while planning meals from the home computer I’ll add a daily event to each day under that person with the night’s menu. Because family members can each view one another’s calenders from their phones, everyone is able to see that today “Dinner” is doing, aka, is, “coconut chicken with rice”.

If you use the flylady.net housework system, you can also use cozi to keep up with her daily missions.

Summer Barley Salad with Avocado, Apple, Baby Spinach, Capsicums and Cucumber

22 Nov Oh yeah! Barley Salad!
Oh yeah! Barley Salad!

Oh yeah! Barley Salad!

For lunch today we had a lovely barley salad. First, we cooked the pearl barley in the rice cooker in the exact same way you’d cook rice. Then we added the barley to baby spinach, chopped and peeled apples, chopped avocado slices, orange capsicum, and sliced cucumber. We chose those veges based on what we had to hand, and it would have tasted just as nice with other veges too. We mixed the whole thing up and drizzled some fresh lemon juice over it (we picked the lemons out of the garden, mmm so good). This salad was hearty but fresh and light. A great summer meal.

Koha loved it, including the spinach. Baby spinach is so good because it doesn’t have the bitter taste that spinach sometimes has, so it tastes more bland like lettuce, which makes it a lot easier to feed to those who are a little more picky.

If you are planning a summer barley salad, I’d recommend this one. Alternatively, it would be really tasty to have lettuce or spinach, with tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and feta cheese with a balsamic dressing.

Lavender Cookies

22 Nov lavender biscuits
lavender biscuits

lavender biscuits

Today we were playing outside in the garden, inspecting all the different flowers. Koha was very interested in which flowers were edible. The rule at our house is that no plants are edible, unless you ask Mumma and she says it is edible, but you must always check, even when you’re sure you’ve eaten it before.

One plant that Koha discovered could be edible, was lavender. She was very keen to have a taste of this plant, but it needed to be prepared in a certain kind of way – either as a tea or in some baking. She asked so politely whether she could make some lavender cookies, so, we made some!

These treats are not healthy, but they are delicious. And sometimes its better to explore and try new foods, especially ones that grow outside, then it is to worry too much.

lavender biscuit mix

simply mix the chopped lavender flower into the batter

We picked some lavender, and took it inside. Inside, we made up some cookie dough, using a standard Edmond’s basic biscuit recipe, and then added the chopped up lavender flowers (no stems or leaves). The recipe was quick and easy and it only took 12 minutes to bake in the oven. The cookies were large and the flavour of the lavender was just perfect. We ate two each, with tall glasses of cold milk. It was such a treat, and so exciting to eat something from the garden.

By the way, if you live in New Zealand, you should own an Edmond’s Recipe Book. It’s full of basic and easy recipes and is great for those who are just starting out with baking and cooking. A lot of the recipes are easily modified to fit your diet goals too – for example with this recipe you could modify it by replacing the flour with a healthier flour, and replacing the sugar with a substitute, and substituting half the butter with applesauce. We didn’t do that today, though.

Lavendar flower

Lavendar flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Koha’s Breakfast – Sprinkles Make The World Better

12 Aug
Koha loves sprinkles :)

Koha loves sprinkles🙂

We often have porridge in the morning for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious. It’s also easy to customise and make seem new every day. For this breakfast I put some sprinkles on top of the oats. Koha was so excited by it🙂

Sprinkles on Oatmeal

Sprinkles on Oatmeal

 

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Easy snack from the supermarket: Porridge pouches

29 Jul
Baby Food Porridge Pouch

Baby Food Porridge Pouch

I sometimes buy these baby food porridge pouches when they’re on special at the supermarket. My favourite ones to buy are actually the organic ones (not the one in the photograph, which was just the one on special at the time) because the organic ones seem to have the best ingredients. These are really convenient as snacks or small meals and Koha loves having them in her lunch box to ‘sip’ on. They are also pretty yummy and nice for adults too🙂

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