Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Naturally Nourishing Buckwheat Porridge

This morning I headed down to the kitchen but just could not decide what to have for breakfast. What I could decide was that I needed something warm and nourishing on this chilly morning. Luckily I spotted a packet of buckwheat porridge hidden in the corner of the pantry and immediately knew it would hit the spot.

Buckwheat porridge is a great alternative for those gluten intolerant people who can’t eat oats, or for anyone who just wants to try something different. You can buy it from the healthfood store or make it from scratch using buckwheat kernels.  This morning I was too hungry to make it from scratch so I used the packeted version.

I placed 1 cup of water on the stove and brought it to the boil. Once boiling I added 1/3 cup of buckwheat, turned down the heat and covered it letting it cook for about 10 minutes or until all the water had dissolved and there were little pock marks at the top of the buckwheat. Once the water had dissolved I added 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and some almond milk to add more of a creamy texture. I stirred until the milk had dissolved and I had the not too runny porridge that I prefer.

In my bowl I also added a tablespoon of LSA meal for extra protein and fibre, a sprinkle of cinnamon, some sliced banana and honey.  There you have it a highly nutritious, gluten free porridge that will definitely warm up your insides.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Quirky Quinoa Sushi

This is simply an alternative to the usual sushi made with rice. Instead I decided to try making it with quinoa due to the many wonderful health benefits it contains. I didn’t use any sugar or rice vinegar which made it healthier but also less sticky so cutting the roll had to be done with extra gentleness. You can always add the rice vinegar and sugar if you wish.

What you will need:

ANYTHING YOU WISH! The great thing about sushi is you really can use anything and make any variety of rolls you like. I made mine with cucumber, carrot, capsicum, avocado, egg and some tuna dip that I already had in the fridge from yesterday’s lunch.

First thing you will need to do is cook the quinoa. Place 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups of water in a saucepan and cook like rice for about 20 minutes. Don’t let it get to dry as you want it a bit mushy so its sticks to the seaweed. Once it is ready transfer it to a bowl to cool.

You will need to cut up the veggies of your choice finely which you can prepare while your quinoa is cooking.

I also added an omelette to my rolls which tastes great, adds some extra  protein and looks pretty too with the waves of different colours. To make the omelette I simply beat 2 eggs with a pinch of salt. I then fried it in a large fry pan so it was nice and thin. Cook for a minute then flip so it is dry on both sides. I then took it off the heat and cut it into a square shape.

I then put a piece of seaweed onto the sushi mat, lay then omelette on top and covered with quinoa, once it had cooled down. I put a fairly thin layer of quinoa and patted it down so it was flat. Make sure the qunioa goes right to the edges so you can stick the edge down when rolling. I then added then veggies in the centre and put down a layer of the tuna dip (which was just canned tuna, bit of mayonnaise and salt). Finishing off by drizzling a bit of sesame oil over the veggies as I just love the flavour!

 Then you are ready to roll. Roll the bottom of the seaweed up over the filling and press down. Then continue rolling so it looks like a log.

 Once it is in the shape of a roll you can cut it into piece and serve!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Fabulous Frittata

This frittata is wonderful for a cold winters night and leftovers can be taken to work for lunch. It is also a great vegetarian option!

1 zucchini
100g frozen peas
8 eggs
4 tbsp milk (of your choice, I used rice milk)
½ cup grated hard goats cheese
Sea salt and pepper
400g cooked sweet potato cut into slices
200g Swiss brown mushrooms
1 clove garlic
Cook sweet potato then zucchini in a steamer until soft but not mushy.  Boil peas in water for 5 minutes or until no longer frozen.
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Beat eggs with milk, cheese, salt and pepper
Pour egg mixture into frittata  dish. Decorate with the vegetables. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until it is no longer runny.
In a frypan, fry the garlic until soft, then add mushrooms. Sautee these until soft aswell.
Once the frittata is ready top with mushrooms and serve. You can also add some slices of buffalo mozzarella on to the hot frittata and allow to melt to make it extra delicious!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Berrylicous Breakfast Smoothie!

If you are on the run in the morning or don’t have time for a proper sit down breakfast this smoothie is packed with goodness, quick and easy to make and will keep you full and energised until you have your next meal.
The smoothie has a great combination of fibre, protein, essential fatty acids vitamins and minerals and antioxidants to make sure your body is smiling.

The fruit, LSA meal and chia seeds all provide fibre which is sooo important for your body’s functioning. Not only is fibre necessary for healthy digestion, it helps your liver excrete excess hormones and cholesterol. It also helps keep you full for longer and maintains your blood sugar levels so you wont be tempted to snack on junk food during the morning hours.

A good portion of protein is a must in every meal but especially breakfast! That is why it is important to incorporate the protein powder and the LSA (this is a mixture of ground linseed, almond and sunflower seeds and can be purchased from your health food store). Protein is important for energy, tissue repair, mental functioning, to balance blood sugar and keep you full. Protein is needed for almost every process going on in your body.
The essential fatty acids found in the chia seeds and linseeds are an added bonus of nutrition in the smoothie. They will help reduce inflammation in your body, keep your hair and skin healthy and help with your mental functioning.

The coconut oil needs a whole page to itself to go through all its health benefits. I like it in my smoothie because it adds a delicious coconuty flavour. Just to mention of few of its health benefits is helps with weight loss, is anti fungal, provides your body with energy and helps mental functioning.
1.       1 banana
2.       Handful Berries (frozen or fresh)
3.       Scoop of a good quality protein powder
4.       2 tablespoons LSA meal
5.       1 tablespoon chia seeds
6.       2 teaspoons coconut oil
7.       Teaspoon cinnamon powder
8.       Milk of your choice (I use almond)

Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy while relaxing at home or on your way to work!

Winter Warmers

I can definitely tell that winter has well and truly arrived as I sit at home rugged up in my warm woolen poncho that my wonderful boyfriend so kindly brought me from his trip to Turkey. The sky is grey, the air is crisp and I can see the trees rustling in the wind through my window. I get caught up in the beauty of the season until a trumpet like sound coming from the other room brings me back to reality. Yes for the 100th time today my brother is blowing his nose (so hard I’m surprised it hasn’t fallen off!).
Although there is sometimes nothing nicer than being all rugged up at home with a cup of hot chocolate while the winter weather goes on outside or than watching the leaves turn the magical red, orange and yellow that they do during autumn  getting ready to be shed for the winter months, this autumn/winter time is also the time when people are most prone to getting sick.
As much as we might like to stay indoors and avoid the cold, rain and howling wind it is definitely not a possibility in these busy times and we must brave the weather and continue on with our daily lives. Not only do we not have time to stay indoors but we most certainly do not have time to get sick!
That is why I thought it was important to share my favorite immune boosting tips to stay strong during the winter months (and all year round too).


This is the tea recipe I use when I feel like I am getting sick. The great thing about tea is that it will help you stay hydrated counteracting the drying effect of the heating and will also help flush out any toxins.
To hot water or tea of your choice (preferably caffeine free as caffeine is dehydrating) I add 2 slices of fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon on Manuka honey. 
The ginger promotes circulation and is anti-inflammatory, the lemon juice is high in vitamin C to boost your immune system and helps digestion and the honey is antimicrobial so will help fight any nasties in your system as well as soothing a sore throat.
It that simple! And because its all fresh foods you can have as many cups as you like with no side effects. I find having 4 cups of this a day on the first day I start to feel sick knocks it on the head so I’m all better by the next day.

Garlic is known to kill anything it comes in contact with so it’s great for killing of any bugs, fungus, parasites, viruses or bacteria. However, eating too much of it will also kill off your social life!
Studies have shown that eating a clove of garlic a day has the potential to strengthen your immune system and prevent you from getting sick in the winter months.
Garlic’s properties are strongest when eaten raw so ways to incorporate it into you diet include throwing it into your cooking at the end so all its volatile oils don’t get cooked out, chopping it up and adding it to salads or salad dressings or adding it to dips such as hummus.
A tip for not getting those horrible garlic smelling hands is to wash your hands using cold water and soap instead of warm water. The warm water actually opens the pores in your hands allowing the garlic smell to permeate inside so it is harder to wash away.

Vitamin C
Eating lots of fruit and veggies high in Vitamin C can also help boost your immune system so it can fight off infections.
Now how do you know which fruits and veg are high in vitamin C? It’s easy its the red, orange and yellow ones just like the colours of the autumn leaves. So make sure to be eating plenty of these colours such as capsicum, pumpkin, beetroot, sweet potato, red onions, chillies, oranges and berries. Although not in these colours kiwi fruit and feijoa are also exceptionally high in vitamin C.

Warm nourishing foods
During these cold months your body craves warmth. The best way to stay warm is from the inside out! When you eat cold foods your body is required to use energy to warm it up as it enters your digestive tract. To conserve energy so that your body can stay strong eat mainly warm foods.  Winter is the best time to for delicious stews, soups, casseroles and curries. You can make these in bulk and freeze in individual portions so you don’t have to worry about cooking at the end of a busy day.
Adding spices to your dishes have many medicinal benefits (see Herbs and Spices for your tastebuds and tummys). I will be adding some great winter recipes to this blog soon!

Chicken soup is known as the Jewish penicillin as it has been used for centuries to help fight infections. It contains many vitamins and minerals and is fantastic for when you are feeling unwell. Simply boiling a whole chicken in water with plenty of vegies can create a delicious and nutritious soup perfect for these cold winter days!

Herbs and supplements
There are of course many herbs and supplements you can take to help boost your immune system but I prefer opting for food as medicine as a first port of call.