Jazzing Up Your Veggies (Part 2)

Jazzing Up Your Veggies (Part 2)

It’s been a while since I wrote my article ‘Jazzing Up Your Veggies’ which has some great tips for getting creative with ordinary vegetables to make them more appealing and delicious.  You can check it out here  – seriously that sea salt and cinnamon roasted sweet potato is just so yummy!

I often post photos of my food on my facebook page or my Instagram feed  and you guys are always eager to know how I prepare my veggies so I thought I’d share a few more of our family’s favourites here:

1.  The Super Greens Stir-fry

This is my current favourite accompaniment – delicious with barbequed salmon, grass-fed scotch fillet, chicken thighs, lamb cutlets or even aside a succulent roast chook.  The coconut oil and/or butter or ghee make it really tasty (and filling).  The trick is to get the leeks nice and brown before adding the rest of the greens.

All you need to do is heat up a good dollop of coconut oil and/or ghee or grass-fed butter in a large pan.  Add a handful of chopped leek (I usually use about 5cms (or 2 inches)) and cook until nicely browned.  When it’s ready add some chopped asparagus, broccoli, zucchini and beans (or whatever veggies you like) and stir until well coated and cooked to your liking. Add a good sprinkle of good quality sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and serve immediately with your choice of protein.

2.  Zoodles (pasta free zucchini noodles)

If you love your spaghetti but are trying to avoid pasta and starchy carbohydrates, these are just the best thing ever!

What you will need:

  • 2-3 zucchinis/courgettes per person
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • A vegetable spiraliser (or you can use a vegetable peeler for a ‘fettucine effect’ if you don’t have a spiraliser)

How to pull it together:

Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiraliser (see note below).  Place noodles in a colander, sprinkle liberally with good quality sea salt, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.  Toss and let sit for about 30 minutes.  You will find a lot of liquid leaves the noodles which means that they will shrink down quite a bit.

You can heat them up before serving, or have them raw – they are delicious both ways!

NOTE:  I have tried many spiralisers to make vegetable ‘noodles’ and the GEFU Spiral Slicer Spiral Fix is by far the easiest and most effective I’ve used.

If you like the idea of Zucchini noodles and want more inspiration I have used Zucchini noodles previously with the delicious Dina’s Tomato Sauce here, my Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles here and we absolutely love our zucchini noodle ‘spaghetti bolognese’ here!

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3.  Slow Cooked Tomatoes

These are the best!  So easy to pull together and pack a huge punch of flavour to any meal or salad.   Again, this is a perfect accompaniment to a barbeque, but is also delicious for breakfast with eggs and sauteed spinach and mushrooms.

Lay out some small tomatoes (I used baby roma tomatoes on the vine here but cherry tomatoes, or halved tomatoes also works well).  Drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle some torn basil leaves, sea salt and cracked pepper and cook in a moderate oven for a good 30 – 45 minutes or until well cooked to your liking.

 

 

4.  Cauliflower Rice

This is seriously so easy it doesn’t even really qualify as a recipe!  If you have a thermomix, simply pop half a head of cauliflower into the mixing bowl and chop in reverse speed 5 for about 5 seconds.  If you are using a food processor, put the roughly chopped cauliflower into the bowl and pulse until it reaches a texture you like.  Cauliflower rice is brilliant with curries, stir fries, as fried ‘rice’.  A perfect substitute for rice for those looking to avoid grains or starchy carbs.

Feel free to play around with your seasoning, a bit of lemon juice, sea salt and cracked pepper or some spices such as chilli, cumin, paprika or even cinnamon are all delicious!

I love to throw some lemon zest, a squeeze of the juice and some green shallots (spring onion) into the machine with the cauliflower for a lemon zesty ‘rice’.

9k=-15.  Zesty Salsa

I love a tasty little salsa.  This one is delicious served with my healthy nachoschilli mince or with my gluten free chicken schnitzel or a barbequed piece of fish or steak.  It is zesty and tasty and takes no time to prepare!

Don’t be restricted what I’ve used here – you can use what you’ve got in the fridge, some organic corn kernels or rinsed baby salted capers would be nice here too.  The idea is to create a fresh and zesty mix of flavours to jazz up your meal!

(serves 2-4 as a side dish)

What you will need:

  • 1 Avocado diced
  • 1 cucumber peeled and diced
  • A handful of button mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 red capsicum diced
  • 1 green chilli (seeded) finely chopped
  • 1 roma tomato or a few cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 red onion finely chopped
  • About a 1/4 cup of fresh Coriander leaves (cilantro)

For the dressing:

  • The juice of 1-2 limes (depending on your taste)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

How to Pull It All Together:

Shake or whisk all the dressing ingredents together.  Combine the chopped up veggies into a bowl.  Gently toss the veggies with the dressing and serve!

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I hope that some of these ideas inspire you!  I have a few more up my sleeve for the third installment of Jazzing Up Your Veggies – Shrinking Hubby style! Stay tuned!  And don’t forget to like me on FacebookInstagram or Pinterest for more ideas to create healthy meals for you and your family!

Enjoy XX

The Shrinking Hubby’s Healthy Chocolate Custard (GF, DF, RSF)

The Shrinking Hubby’s Healthy Chocolate Custard (GF, DF, RSF)

It’s really really really (did I say REALLY) difficult to fit into a modern world when your kids have gluten and dairy intolerances.  I mean it’s not like they have an Anaphylactic episode if they eat dairy or gluten so it’s not easy justifying your motives to the children and others when we are not at home.  People look at you as if you are a bit crazy when you try to explain it.  I’m not surprised that many parents are reluctant to try altering their kids diet to fight things such as Eczema or behavioural issues, or they do try but end up giving up.  When I see how much my kids benefit from avoiding processed foods and food containing gluten and dairy I am inspired to keep going.  I hope that by sharing what I learn along the way inspires you guys to feed your kids healthier too.

This is our current go-to treat for the kids.  I stumbled upon a similar recipe while looking for dairy free options to send to school with my kids (i.e. in place of yoghurt) and changed it to suit us.  They loved it.  (I love it – it is delicious – it tastes just like a chocolate yogo  but without all the nasties – yum!)

I make it in my Thermomix – it takes 7 minutes and cooks itself, but it is also really quick and easy on the stove.  (Both methods are included below)

You may wish to make double as there won’t be much left over!  (this provides for a small can of ‘Ayam’ brand coconut milk and is enough to give my 3 kids some with fruit for dessert and makes 2 small portions to take to school)

I hope you enjoy 🙂

The Shrinking Hubby’s Dairy Free Healthy Chocolate Custard

(GF, DF, RSF)

Ingredients

  • 270g Full Fat Coconut Milk (or 1 cup)
  • 40g Water (or 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Free Range Egg
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Sugar (or Rapadura Sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tablespoon Arrowroot (Tapioca Flour) (or gluten free Corn Starch)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Cacao Powder

Directions

If using a Thermomix:

Place all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and cook for 6-7 minutes, 90 degrees, speed 4

If not using a thermomix:

Mix the arrowroot flour (or cornflour) and water together. Add to a saucepan with the other ingredients and whisk briskly over a medium heat for a few minutes until custard thickens to your liking. It will thicken quickly as it heats up and will continue to thicken as it cools

Note

For a vanilla custard, you can omit the cacao. Both versions are divine! Serves 4 but recipe is easily doubled. It is delicious served with berries for dessert or even breakfast!

This keeps well for a few days in the fridge too – so if there are any leftovers the kids can take to school in little containers.

 

Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, nut and refined sugar free)

Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, nut and refined sugar free)

Today’s guest post has been written by my friend and cooking mentor, Robyn Goldin.  Robyn is amazing in the kitchen and her beautiful boys’ voracious and varied appetites is a credit to her clever cooking and creativity.

Last week I made Robyn’s Double Chocolate Muffins and they were wolfed down by my entire family!  Absolutely delicious, they are gluten-free, nut free (so perfect for school lunches), and refined sugar free.  I made mine with coconut milk rather than yoghurt so they were dairy free too.

They are rich but make a popular treat – I hope you enjoy!

  Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins

written by Robyn Goldin of Mimi’s Kitchen

I am delighted to have been asked to guest-blog on The Shrinking Hubby this week and share one of my kids’ favourite recipes!

I thought I would start by telling you a little bit about myself.  I am not a chef or a nutritionist, I call myself a ‘professional eater’ who loves to cook. For as long as I can remember I have loved food. Most of my memories are centred around food as it was an integral part of my childhood. My parents are both excellent cooks and I grew up eating wonderful, interesting food.

I only started cooking at the age of 23 when I got married and I didn’t really have much of an idea about what I was doing. But I was once told that if you can read you can cook, and so I set about following recipes from the pictures that took my fancy! I vowed not to be scared to try something new and so my love of cooking began.

Cooking became my passion, and I started Mimi’s Kitchen in 2012 after many requests to share my recipes.  I have the pleasure of sharing my love for cooking with many people through cooking classes (both adults and children) and catering for small occasions.

Most importantly, I am a mum (or Mimi as they call me) to 3 very busy and hungry boys. Sometimes if feels like my sole purpose in life is to feed them and I have made it a bit of a mission of mine to ensure they learn to eat a wide variety of foods. Recently I have been interested in introducing them to foods that are lower in  refined sugar and as wholesome as possible, in the hope that the higher the quality of what they consume,  not only is it healthier but it will keep them fuller for longer.

I try to include my boys in as much of the preparation as I can and they all really enjoy watching the process and eating the spoils.  I find that the more involved they are, the more likely they are to try something new.

I made these Double Chocolate Muffins the other day. I find the minute you tell kids there is chocolate in it, they will eat it without hesitation! Little do they know there is so much other goodness in these muffins for them. My kids loved them and they even tasted great the next day as their texture changed and became quite fudgey.

I hope you all have a go at trying these muffins. Let me know what you think. You can find me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/cookinmimiskitchen or Instagram @mimiskitchen_ or my blog www.mimiskitchen.org

Happy cooking

Robyn

[gmc_recipe 1459]

 

Mimi's Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, refined sugar and nut free)

Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, refined sugar and nut free)

 

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten-free Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten-free Chewy Choc-Chip Cookies

Well I put the question to a vote on my facebook page and it was a resounding plea for the recipe for my gluten-free, chewy choc-chip cookies  – so here you go!

Enjoy XX

makes about 15-18 cookies

INGREDIENTS

3 cups (350g) almond meal

50g coconut oil

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 organic free-range eggs

. cup (85g) medjool dates, pitted

. cup best quality dark choc chips

(or chopped organic dark chocolate)

PREPARATION

Pre heat your oven to 180ÅãC/350ÅãF.

REGULAR METHOD

Blitz all ingredients except for choc chips in a food processor until well combined.

Using a wooden spoon stir the choc chips through the mixture until spread evenly.

THERMOMIX METHOD

Place the almond meal, coconut oil, bicarb, vanilla, eggs and dates into the mixing bowl and blitz speed 7-10 for 40 seconds or until well blended. Add the choc chips and mix reverse, speed 5 for about 15 seconds until well combined.

TO ASSEMBLE

Using wet hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture into balls, place on lined baking tray and flatten with your palm. Ensure they are spread out as they will get bigger while cooking. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, allow to cool (if they last that long!) and enjoy.

Note

To make these cookies refined-sugar free you can use a good quality sugar free chocolate. I like the brand that is sweetened with stevia.

You can use 50g (2oz) butter instead of the coconut oil if you don’t need to keep this dairy free.

GF RSF DF TH

 

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes (And How To Find A Little More Time In Your Day)

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes (And How To Find A Little More Time In Your Day)

We all know that being a Mum is not easy !  I put a few feelers out there amongst some of the mums I know and on my Facebook page to ask what they find hardest about motherhood, and resoundingly the biggest challenge for most busy mums is definitely lack of time.  At whatever stage you are with your parenting – be it babies and toddlers or school-aged kids, life seems to get busier and busier as time goes on.  What often happens unfortunately, is that we tend to put ourselves last in the pecking order.  In honour of Mothers Day in Australia next weekend and for all the busy mums out there, I thought I would share some of my favourite tips for making some more time in your day.  I hope that you manage to spend some of this extra time on yourselves!  I am also sharing a new yummy pancake recipe so that your loved ones (or even you!) can spoil yourself with a delicious, healthy and comforting breakfast next Sunday.  They are Thermomix friendly but you could use a food processor or blender just as easily.  Don’t you think they would be yummy to have in bed with a cup of tea and the Sunday papers next weekend?  Hint .. hint ..!

Here are just some of my suggestions to increase some time for yourself during your busy day:

  1. Prioritise! Decide what really matters to you and organise yourself so that you can make time to fit those things in.
  2. Get up an hour earlier and factor some time for yourself– walk, run or even meditate.  If you find it hard to get motivated for morning exercise, make sure you have a plan so you know exactly what to do when your alarm goes off.  Set your clothes out the night before, fill up your drink bottle and put it next to your keys.  Download some music to make your walk/run more interesting.  Make a commitment by writing it in your diary or organise to meet up with a friend so you will be more motivated to go.
  3. Go to bed an hour earlier.  The best time to get your important sleep is before midnight and everything is so much better when you are well rested (plus if you have an early night it makes it easier to wake up the next morning!)
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask those close to you for help if you are struggling!  If you need a little time-out, your partner could watch the kids for so you can go for a walk or have a relaxing bath.
  5. Be clever in the kitchen – pack school lunches the night before, when you buy fruit chop it and pack it up straight away so it’s easy to grab in a hurry, freeze sandwiches in bulk, make more at dinner and freeze half/ or have for lunch the next day.  Do big cook ups on the weekend so you don’t have to worry about it during the week.  Cook batches of chicken, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, rice etc and keep on hand in the fridge so you can quickly pull together healthy meals.  There are some great gadgets out there that are designed to make your life easier in the kitchen.  The Thermomix (or thermo-type appliances) or a slow cooker can really save time.  Try my Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks, my Chicken and Eggplant Bake or Greek Inspired Shepherds Pie which are all easy to make double of and all freeze beautifully.

At the end of the day we should be grateful that our lives are so full – those little people might be hard work – but they are more precious than anything!  Happy Mothers Day!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes

– Serves 4 –

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminium free baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 organic free range eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • Organic butter or coconut oil for cooking
  • Fruit, yoghurt and/or organic maple syrup or honey to serve

How to pull it together:

Put all the ingredients in your Thermomix or food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds speed 9/10 until well blended and of a consistency you are happy with.  You may wish to experiment with the amount of water you use depending on how thick you like your batter.

Heat a large frying pan, add a dollop of butter (or coconut oil) and let it melt.  Spoon out the batter (I did 3 small pancakes at a time).  Watch carefully and when nicely browned, flip and cook the other side until ready.

Serve as you like – Some suggestions are:  fruit, organic maple syrup, raw honey, almond butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of greek yoghurt.

Enjoy X

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

This has got to be one of the healthiest recipes I have ever created!  It is SO full of exceptional nutrients and as a bonus wonderful flavours.  I love making this at least once a week.

I have been making this in my Thermomix – however I have included instructions if you don’t have a Thermomix below.

The vegetables I’ve listed below are the ones I usually use however feel free to use whatever you have on hand or prefer to use.  Think broccoli, silverbeet, cabbage.  The asparagus is a fantastic way to help out with bloating due to water retention.  I love including asparagus in this soup!

The Shrinking Hubby’s Hearty Vegetable Soup

What you will need:

  • A knob of ginger (as big as you dare – it can be quite spicy!)
  • A knob of fresh Turmeric
  • A red chilli (if you like it hot)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or 1-2 teaspoons good quality minced garlic)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 Zucchini
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • About a cup of diced pumpkin (or sweet potato)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1/4 head of cauliflower
  • 1-2 Tablespooons Thermomix Vegetable Stock or good quality vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
  • Olive Oil (or coconut oil)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper for serving

How to pull it together:

If using a Thermomix:

Place garlic, turmeric, ginger and chilli into the mixing bowl and mix speed 7 for about 5 seconds or until evenly chopped.  Scrape down bowl.  Peel and quarter a brown onion and add to the mixture.  Chop speed 5 for 3 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon good quality organic butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  (you can substitute ghee or coconut oil here too).  Cook 100 degrees, speed 2-3 for 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables.  Chop speed 7 for 5 seconds or until roughly evenly chopped.

Add about 300 grams of water (or enough to cover the vegetables) and the vegetable stock (or add about 300 grams pre-cooked vegetable or chicken or beef stock).

Cook for 20 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 1.  When cooked, blitz speed 10 for 1 minute.

Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and serve with a sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper.

Without a Thermomix

Blitz garlic, turmeric, ginger, chilli and onion in a food processor (or finely chop if you don’t have a processor).  Heat a large stock pot and add butter and olive oil (or ghee, or coconut oil if you prefer).  Add the garlic mixture to the pan, season with some sea salt (to stop it burning) and stir for a few minutes until softened and fragrant.

Add the chopped vegetables (whatever you are using) and toss until well combined. ( you could even blitz in your food processor if you wish before adding to the pan)

Cover with water or stock, bring to a boil and simmer 30- 40 minutes until well cooked.

Using either a hand held blender or your food processor, blend the soup until well pureed.

Season with sea salt and cracked pepper and serve with a sprinkling of Cayenne Pepper.

 

Enjoy!

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