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.

 

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A new recipe book to look forward to: Live below the line

24 Jul

I recently was emailed by live below the line, who annually run a week long event which challenges participants to live on $2.25 a day for food to raise money for charities which are fighting to end poverty in this lifetime . The event is well worth participating in, because even if you don’t raise any money in support of those charities you do go through a mind-opening process of re-evaluation of the world. They are currently compiling recipes from former participants on this challenge and I just wanted to let the world know about it. If you have any recipes you can submit them on their facebook page.

The recipe book will be an excellent resource for those who want to take this challenge, and also those who are currently having trouble providing meals for their families. The cheap meals and recipes are a good starting point for those families who have little in the grocery budget each week.

Another good, free, resource for families who are worried about how they will provide for their families this season is this website: http://breakfasteaters.org.nz/ – there you’ll find a lot of recipes for breakfasts and brunches, all of which are low cost.

Egg people

23 Jul

image

I made this for Koha the other day. She was delighted. I simply placed the cookie cutter on the frying pan and cracked the egg and poured it in. I used a knife to gently remove the cookie cutter before serving.

I can’t cook – healthy snacks

22 Jul
Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables make great snacks (Photo credit: nutrilover)

If you aren’t able to cook for whatever reason, that’s no reason to forgo healthy meals. These snacks and lunch box ideas are all easy and require minimal or no preparation.
Prepared by the Earth
Mother nature can be so kind, as she’s already prepared the following snacks for us ready to eat. All we need to go is buy them from the supermarket, or pull them off the tree or out of the ground.
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Carrots (or baby carrots for extra cuteness)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
Minimal Preparation at Home 
  • Sandwiches
  • Wraps
  • Salads
  • Baked potatoes
  • Porridge
  • Eggs
  • Barley

Store Bought Snacks

  • Baby food pouches of porridge or organic veges or fruit (really easy to eat for adults too)
  • Cheese
  • Marinated mussels
  • Smoked chicken
  • Smoked eel
  • Sushi
  • Sandwiches, wraps, salads
  • Deli meats

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.

Grilled Capsicums

14 Jul
grilled capsicum

grilled capsicum

I love barbecued vegetables. All you do, is chop ’em up & toss ’em on a hot plate or pan. Capsicums are particularly nice this way as it brings out their sweetness. I would serve this as a side dish with a main meal, or as a snack by itself.

Live Below the Line Challenge

13 Jul

My husband and I did this challenge last year. It was hard, but mind opening. If you’re interested, check out the video above. We will probably do this again this year (Koha will not participate as this is not safe for children). Either way, we will put up some recipes soon that would work with this challenge for those that are following it.

Some ideas for low cost meals:

  • Perfect hard-boiled eggs without a timer: at 22 cents an egg (New Zealand, 2012, 30 pack of eggs for $6.50), eggs are one of the cheapest and most nutritious meals you can have on a strict budget.
  • Oatmeal: At just over 10 cents a serve (New Zealand, 2012, 25 serves in 750 gram pack of quick oats for $2.39), a bowl of oats is a very cheap meal option.

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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Brain power super foods that keep you sharp

11 Jul
The brain

The brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are certain foods that support the brain and its development better than other food options. By incorporating these into our diet I can do well at university and Koha can do well at creche.

Brain super foods are those which either enhance mental clarity, boost memory power, or increase alertness. Common brain super foods include:

To further support your mind, it is also important you ensure you eat enough food. The brain burns through calories quite quickly, especially when tasked with difficult problems. You need to eat regularly throughout the day to ensure your brain functions at a high level all day.

It is also important you sleep, especially when you are learning new things. When you learn something new you are more likely to remember it if (1) it interests you, (2) you repeat it later on in the day, for example by using a new word in a sentence or by explaining the concept to someone else, and (3) you sleep and allow your mind to convert it into a stronger memory while you sleep.

Quick and easy omelettes

10 Jul
omelette

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 🙂