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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.


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.

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.

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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Koha’s Lunch: Steak, Peas, Hard-boiled egg, Banana, Mandarin

29 Jul

Koha’s Lunch

Koha’s lunch – leftover steak pieces and peas (she doesn’t mind them cold but can always ask at creche for them to be heated up if she wants them hot), a hard-boiled egg, a mandarin, and a banana. Lately Koha has been enjoying peeling things like mandarins and eggs, and she even peels my eggs for me when we eat them together. That’s why the egg and mandarin are not peeled for her, perhaps with another child you might peel those for them to make it easier for them to nibble during the day.


Pearl Barley

17 Jul
pearl barley

What to look for in the shop, usually near the soup – pearl barley

We’ve only recently started eating pearl barley as a low GI carb with loads of fiber. It’s cheap, it’s nutritious, and you can use it in loads of different meals. I like it because it is quite chewy and has more of its own flavour than rice does. It seems to work quite well as a rice substitute in stir-fries and as a side, for days when rice feels too boring. I like to cook it in vegetable stock, which I find gives the barley a really yummy flavour.

Pearl barley is also very cheap – another option for anyone doing the Live Below the Line challenge, or anyone who wants to save money.

pearl barley cooking in stock

pearl barley cooking in stock

To find pearl barley in the supermarket, look near the soups. That’s where I found my bag of barley, after first hunting around the supermarket’s bulk food section and rice section and feeling disappointed when I couldn’t find any.

Greek Yoghurt Bowl

11 Jul
Greek yoghurt bowl

Greek yoghurt bowl

We had this as a treat today: Greek yoghurt, with frozen blueberries and sliced bananas. It’s simple and delicious. I like adding frozen berries because the berries make the yoghurt cold and thick, which makes me think of ice cream. I like how Greek yoghurt is slightly sour, but if you aren’t a big fan you can counter-act the sourness with some honey, maple syrup, or sprinkled stevia. Mmm… Delicious…

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Quick and easy omelettes

10 Jul

omelette mid cooking, eggs with onion

Yesterday we had omelettes for lunch. Omelettes are super easy and super cheap. Eggs are a good source of fats and protein and scientists claim eggs are one of the best super foods, and we should be eating at least one a day. This is an easy method for incorporating that egg.

Our simple method for making omelettes is to heat a frying pan to medium heat, add some canola oil to the pan, beat the eggs, and then pour the eggs onto the pan. When the omelette cooks, we fold it in half, then flip it once, and then remove it from the heat and serve it up. This simple technique works almost every time, and is so easy. All you need are eggs.

To build your perfect signature dish:

– Decrease fat by adding egg whites, rather than whole eggs. The yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg, but if you are on a diet you might not want so many calories and egg white omelettes still taste nice (especially with onion or vegetables inside the omelette) but have less fat and less calories. Alternatively, you might have one whole egg and 4 egg whites to increase the total protein of your omelette without adding many calories.

– Add flavour before you cook it by throwing in some flavour with the beaten eggs. Suggestions include: onion, salsa, spice mixes, tabasco sauce, salt or pepper.

– Add a topping before folding the omelette, like cheese, tomatoes, spinach, other vegetables, smoked chicken, ham, turkey bacon, or minced meat.

What to do if your omelette breaks apart:

If you have an omelette fail, never fear. They taste just as good even when they look ugly 🙂

Perfect hard-boiled eggs without a timer

10 Jul
A dozen boiled eggs with lion marks visible in...

A dozen boiled eggs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I regularly make hard-boiled eggs because they are so cheap and easy, and a great source of portable protein. Koha loves it when I add them to her lunch box (she won’t even let me peel them as that’s part of her fun), and my husband regularly grabs them for quick snacks.

This is my never fail method, passed down from my mother, for how to make perfect hard-boiled eggs every time, on any stove, without a timer.

Step one:

Get some eggs, put them in a pot, cover them in cold water, and toss in a pinch of salt. The salt prevents the eggs from cracking while boiling.

Step two:

Put on the stove top and turn the heat on high.

Step three:

Wait for the water to boil.

Step four:

As soon as the water is boiling (as in properly bubbling away furiously, not just starting to simmer a little), take the pot off the element.

Step five:

Go dance, or put a load of laundry in the washing machine, or make a coffee. Basically ignore the pot of eggs.

Step six:

When the water has cooled back down to a temperature you would be comfortable sticking a baby into (ie room temperature or a little bit warmer but not hot), drain the water from the pot.

Step seven:

Run cold water over the eggs. This prevents them from getting blue yolks as it stops the cooking process before it goes too far.

Step eight:

Eat, or put the eggs in the fridge or lunch box. Eggs in the fridge last maybe about 3 or 4 days.