Mimi’s Lamb, Lentil and Tahini Salad

Mimi’s Lamb, Lentil and Tahini Salad

My friend Robyn runs a cooking demonstration/catering business called Mimi’s Kitchen – you can find her here.  She has many delicious recipes in her repertoire but this tasty salad is truly sensational.  I made it the first time for hubby a little while ago and he said it was one of the best things he’s ever eaten!  If you don’t want to use yoghurt you can whisk up some hummus with lemon juice and a bit of tahini for a dairy free dressing.

Lamb, Lentil and Tahini Salad

What you will need:

400g lamb (either lamb steaks, loin or back straps)

1 leek, halved and finely sliced

250g sliced mushrooms

2 zucchini, halved and cut into crescents

1 bunch asparagus (chopped into 2 cm pieces)

1 tin lentils, drained and rinsed well

sumac

salt and pepepr

olive oil

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 cup greek yoghurt

Juice of a lemon

Large handful of mixed leaves (spinach, rocket work well)

How to pull it together:

1.  Generously sprinkle sumac, salt and pepper on both sides of the lamb.

2.  In a large pan, heat some olive oil and garlic, then add the leek and fry until translucent and starting to brown.  Add the zucchini, asparagus and mushrooms and continue to fry until they soften (about 10 minutes).

3.  In a separate pan (or on the bbq – this is my preferred option) cook the lamb for a few minutes on either side until cooked through, but tender.  Set aside and slice into thin pieces.  (try not to eat it all at this stage – it is very yummy!)

4.  Meanwhile, whisk the tahini yoghurt and lemon juice in a small bowl with some sumac, salt and pepper.

5.  On a platter/in a largebowl place the mixed leaves, followed by the vegetables.  Add the lentils, then the lamb.  Drizzle the dressing over the top and serve.

 

lambveggiesMmmm cooking up the veggies …

Enjoy – and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby and instagram @theshrinkinghubby!

XX

The Skinny on Fat

I have just returned from a 3-day juice fast/detox in beautiful (but very rainy) Byron Bay with my good friend Janet Kalmin who is equally as passionate about health as I am.  We  had a lot of time to read and learn while we were away, and we have returned from our trip invigorated, cleansed and very motivated to make positive changes to our diet.  In particular we read the works of some of the leading voices in food and health at the moment – David Gillespie (Sweet Poison, Big Fat Lies, and Toxic Oil) and Sarah Wilson (I Quit Sugar).  Janet has kindly offered to guest blog on The Shrinking Hubby this week.  What she has to say about the fats we consume is not only interesting and thought provoking, but really (urgently) important for our future health.  The large and very powerful manufacturers who control our food industry are not concerned about future risks of health, as long as their products don’t instantly kill us – it simply doesn’t make business sense to them.  This is going to have extremely worrying consequences for our future generation.

I hope that you get a lot out of Janet’s article, and above all that it gives you some power to make informed decisions about the kind of food you are feeding yourselves and your families.  Because if we can get the message out that there are foods swamping our supermarkets that are making us very sick as a population, then hopefully our population won’t buy these foods and then the manufacturers will not have the incentive to market them to us (and our kids)!

Finally I just wanted to bring to your attention the fact that Jessie Reimers (you can follow her facebook page ‘Get A Fresh Start’ here) is currently petitioning the Heart Foundation to stop endorsing unhealthy margarines and immediately review the ‘tick of approval’ program.  I highly recommend that you check out what the petition is all about and sign it here. Please also take the time to share it with your friends – it is a very important crusade for the benefit of all of our health. 

The Skinny on Fat

by Janet Kalmin

It seems a small revolution is happening in the world of fats, and with the help of the internet, vital research previously ignored is being brought to light.

There is a dawning of a new age in how we see fat, particularly the much maligned saturated stuff; butter, lard, cream, animal fat of any sort plus some other gems like coconut oil.  Some are calling the war against saturated fat the biggest health myth of the century and you should know about it!

We are so conditioned into thinking that saturated fats cause heart disease and raise our cholesterol that even I find myself feeling some guilt when I add another slather of butter. But according to pioneering nutritionists Mary Enig and Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation in the US, this is exactly what I should be doing if I want to raise my good cholesterol and protect my body from oxidation and other nasty repercussions of too little saturated fat and too much polyunsaturated fat. It’s the latter that raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol.

They say animal fat is “not deadly, but is necessary for our bodies to initiate, suppress, or resolve inflammation as needed. These are all vital processes that allow us to respond appropriately to our environment. My children have always enjoyed butter, animal fat, whole milk, coconut oil, just as our pre-war ancestors did. They are heart disease free.

However the food industry sponsored Heart Foundation continues to strongly urge us to replace saturated fat with omega 6 options (polyunsaturated) through the media, our GPs and little friendly reminders on margarine lids. Funny, that.

Just a few years ago I thought I knew it all, all about fats anyway. The much espoused Mediterranean diet told us to cook and cover everything in EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and so I did. And don’t get me wrong, that was great, mono-unsaturated omega 3s and all that jazz. Problem was, almost everything from the shops contained anything but olive oil. From cook-in sauces and curry pastes to take-away you can almost guarantee a polyunsaturated fat has been used. They are lurking, weirdly, in things like an Up and Go, marketed as a great start to the day! And they are not just polyunsaturated. Canola oil needs so much processing to rid it of its foul taste and odour that it becomes a trans-fat – generally now agreed to be the worst possible scenario for fat.

Polyunsaturated fats are known as vegetable oils, which is laughable as no vegetable is processed for its oil, it’s just sounds good. David Gallespie more accurately calls them ‘seed oils’. Seed oils are nasty stuff according to some enlightening new and old research. Canola and Cottonseed oil are by-products of industrial waste! They are cheap and easy to make in large quantities. They just make perfect business sense.

 

These are everyday foods that contain seed oils:

  • peanut butter
  • boxed cereals
  • crackers
  • packaged breads
  • salad oils
  • mayonnaise
  • dressings
  • marinades
  • margarine
  • other fake fats like shortening and artificial “butter” products

Cotton-seed oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil….

These fellas are lurking in your daily diet whether you like it or not.

Bread, sauces, chips, take away, almost anything that comes in a jar of oil like olives, antipasti, snack foods, and the list goes on.

But what does it do you?

Seed oils are highly- processed polyunsaturates full of omega 6s. And there lies the problem.

Our bodies are designed to be 1:1 Omega 6 and Omega 3. Get this ratio wrong and you are asking for trouble. Apparently we are not getting enough of the 3 and WAY too much of the 6s.

And you can see why when you look at everything that contains ‘vegetable’ (aka seed) oil.

Some recent research (and more importantly some older research that seems to be constantly ignored by mainstream health ‘authorities’) is telling us that these oils are doing all sorts of damage including floating around while our bodies try and absorb them into our cells. Google the link between skin cancer and vegetable oil, it will turn your stomach.

Problem is we are animal fat! Yes that’s right; you know the saturated stuff that we have been warned will kill us. But if you think about it simply, how can we process fat into our cells if that is not the fat our cells are made of? Sometimes you don’t need a Bio-Chemical PhD to understand basic logic. And that’s the whole point. David Gillespie says it like this “… the reality is our body can’t tell the difference between them [polyunsaturated and saturated fats]. We use fats for energy and importantly, to construct our cells. The end result of a diet high in polyunsaturated fats is that our cell membranes are constructed of polyunsaturated fat.  This is a problem because it is much more volatile, much more likely to oxidise. Out of control oxidation ultimately leads to the kind of mutations in the DNA of the cell nucleus that leads to cancer. “

The Weston A. Price Foundation sheds some light on the recent history of fats:

“[It’s] the mid-1980s and the food industry has a problem. In collusion with the American Heart Association, numerous government agencies and departments of nutrition at major universities, the industry had been promoting polyunsaturated oils as a heart-healthy alternative to “artery-clogging” saturated fats. Unfortunately, it had become increasingly clear that polyunsaturated oils…cause numerous health problems, including and especially cancer.  Check out westonprice.org and go crazy!

Join me in banning these foods from your family’s diet and go back to the good stuff. The Weston A. Price Foundation found women with lower saturated fat and higher polyunsaturated had far more wrinkles. That’s the deal breaker is it not? Wait and see, it will all come to light in ten years and you can sit back smugly and say with me:

“I told you so!”

Something Sweet – Super Healthy Chocolate Balls

Something Sweet – Super Healthy Chocolate Balls

Here is an incredibly easy recipe for chocolate balls which are a great alternative to a sugary treat when that sweet craving hits.  They are full of superfoods and very rich so you won’t want to over indulge, yet they really do the trick.  I find they get me through that post lunch/afternoon slump perfectly or as a treat to have with a cup of tea after dinner.

I added protein powder to the recipe below but that is entirely up to you.  Also you could jazz it up with some chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds etc) or chia seeds (for more fibre), maybe some peppermint extract instead of vanilla – really the options are endless.  This is a great base recipe to work with and I quite like them like this …

Chocolate Balls

What you will need:

3/4 cups water

1/2 cup chopped dates

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

1/2 cup raw cocoa powder

1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil

1/2 cup coconut butter

Optional:  1/4 cup – 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (I used Theresa Cutter’s all natural vanilla – pure whey protein sweetened with stevia – no artificial nasties)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

How to pull it together:

1.   Put the dates in the water and bring to the boil.  Remove from heat and soak for 30 minutes.  Blend dates in a food processor/blender until smooth.

3.  Warm the jars of coconut oil and butter until runny.  Measure out amount required and add to the date mixture.

4.  Add vanilla, salt and cacoa powder and mix to combine.

5.  If using, add the protein powder and mix well.

6.  The mixture will be really runny, you’ll need to chill in the fridge for a good 45 minutes – hour or until the consistency is fudgy (i.e. easy to roll).

6.  Roll mixture into balls and roll in the coconut and then I like to to put them in mini cupcake patties. (Don’t be frightened the rolling part gets quite messy – once they are in balls and in the fridge they harden up beautifully and make a great little snack)

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy!!!

Getting Creative With Your Salad

Getting Creative With Your Salad

Lunch doesn’t have to be boring, or a sandwich, or a soggy wrap, or leftovers.  You certainly don’t need to fork out obscene amounts of money at a gourmet cafe for a quick healthy salad.

I am going to share a few of my favourite pull together salad ingredients in the hope that it inspires you to get creative, plan ahead and enjoy amazing lunches wherever you are during the day!

Firstly I always have a bag of mixed greens in the fridge.  I love the baby salad and beetroot from woollies because before you have even done anything else you have a rainbow of vegetables to start with.

Here are some other yummy salad ingredients to think about adding – there is no end to the number of options – these are my current favourites but they do tend to change regularly!

pumpkincaulisalad

Roast pumpkin, cauliflower, broccoli and feta salad.

Some of these suggestions like the pumpkin or tomatoes I like to make in bulk and keep them in little containers in the fridge and I make a big batch of dressing for the week too.  Then pulling together a gourmet salad is incredibly quick and easy.

Some ideas for your salad:

Firstly, I always like to have a source of protein (apart from the nuts and cheese) such as chicken, leftover steak from the night before, tuna or tofu.  See below for some preparation tips:

  • Chicken: You can  steam/poach/grill/bbq/ or fry up some chicken breast in some coconut or olive oil.  Add some spices or a squeeze of lemon for some zesty flavour.  I have been steaming a few breasts at the beginning of the week and we have been using in salad, as snacks etc … great source of protein.  Choose free range or organic if you can …
  • Tofu:  I love to chop up a little bit of firm organic Tofu (make sure it is GM free) – say 75grams into little bite sized squares and cook it in some coconut oil until it goes brown and crispy – yum!  You can marinate it before cooking in a little tamari or lemon juice for added flavour …
  • Tinned tuna/salmon – always easy to take with you if you are on the go or at work.  If you are going to use the flavoured variety check the ingredients as some are cleaner (i.e. no nasties added) than others.  The lemon/pepper flavour, zesty vinaigrette or chilli ones are quite good.
  • Legumes – Some well rinsed organic chick peas, cannellini beans, kidney beans or lentils are great in a salad.

 

Here are some other yummy extras you can think about adding:

  • Chopped veggies – think capsicum, cucumber, mushrooms, tomatoes (if you aren’t using the roasted ones see below), snow peas, sprouts …
  • Steamed veggies – such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini …
  • Roast Pumpkin – chop up some pumpkin into cubes.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and chilli powder and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until cooked to your liking.  You don’t even need to spray with oil …
  • Roast Tomatoes – even the shrinking hubby (who professes to hate tomatoes) loves these!  I am loving the mini roma tomatoes at the moment. Slice them in half lengthways and toss in some olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.  We found a delicious basil infused olive oil which is great with the tomatoes.  Bake skin side down in a 200 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked to your  liking…
  • Nuts and/or seeds:  Think sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts – although these are great dry roasted or tossed in a little bit of coconut oil, they are just as nice sprinkled over a salad straight from the container and add lots of nutrients, protein, good fats and yummy crunch to your salad.  You can also buy seed mixes from grocers such as Harris farm or Thomas Dux for salads which are just as yummy …
  • Olives – black or green add so much zest to a salad!
  • Feta – those who have  been following me for a while must have realised I have a serious feta fettish!!  I just can’t get enough of the stuff although I (try to!) limit myself to just a little bit …
  • Avocado – Avocados are just so brilliant – they provide so many essential nutrients, good fats, great for skin, hair, mood and taste so amazing.  One of my favourite things!

 

Dressings:

And there are loads of options for dressings – try these – you may want to experiment with quantities as per your taste …

  • This is my current favourite dressing (makes enough for about 4 salads):  shake the following up in a jar: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 teaspoon organic maple syrup, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 tablespooon dijon mustard and some freshly ground cracked pepper.
  • Other great mixes are olive oil with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Try a dash of greek yoghurt with some pesto or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Or another alternative is some tahini with some lemon juice, water, salt and pepper.
Tofu cooked up in coconut oil with olives, chick peas, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, walnuts and my dijon/maple syrup dressing

Tofu cooked up in coconut oil with olives, chick peas, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, walnuts and my dijon/maple syrup dressing

So – hopefully that is enough to get you excited about what to have for lunch!  Feel free to comment below … and please if you have any suggestions of other great additions to salads please comment below or share on my facebook page www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby

Enjoy XX

Fresh Corn and Poached Chicken Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

Fresh Corn and Poached Chicken Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing

A friend of mine, Alison, has just started a new business called The Little Grocery Service.  The philosophy behind The Little Grocery Service is that once a week (on a Friday) she visits the markets and selects the best seasonal fruit and vegetables she can find (conventional and organic when she can).  She provides enough fruit and vegetables to feed a family with 2 or 3 children and in addition provides a bunch of beautiful flowers, a home-made jam or preserve (which she herself makes) and/or a baked good.

When in season she looks for interesting items to add to the regular selection and in order to help you get the best use from the produce from her box  and to encourage you to try new foods she also includes recipes and cooking tips.

Alison wanted me to try her service to see what I thought, so last Friday I arrived home to this beautiful sight:

box

Needless to say I was delighted!!!  At first I was a bit sceptical of the idea of somebody else choosing my weekly produce but I found that in addition to the usual staples that I would buy anyway there was an abundance of seasonal items that I now felt compelled (and happily so) to use.  The box contained so much stuff!  In addition to the fresh fruit and veggies which we are still happily working our way through, there was a jar of chilli sauce with garlic and ginger (that Alison herself made), a beautifully wrapped bunch of mixed herbs …  and as a special treat there was the added pleasure of putting a huge bunch of amazing dahlias into a vase and enjoying them all weekend!

It’s a great service and one that will encourage you and your family to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and encourage you to step outside of the comfort zone and try new things!

The recipe included in this week’s box was for a fresh corn salad with prawns, red onion and crème fraiche which inspired me to make this delicious chicken and corn salad below.  All of the fresh produce I used was provided in the box apart from the chicken, soba noodles, greek yoghurt and lemon (which I already had).  It made for a lazy Saturday morning cooking something a little bit different for lunch for hubby and I  (but so yummy we were fighting over the leftovers).

Poached Chicken and Corn Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

What you will need:

  • 2 cobs sweet corn, husks removed
  • 375g organic soba noodles (I actually only used 2/3 of the packet which is 375g)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 poached/steamed chicken breast chopped into chunks. (I usually poach a few chicken breasts a couple of times a week – it makes such an easy protein source for salads, sandwiches or even on its own as a mid morning/afternoon meal)
  • ¼ red onion finely sliced
  • 1 lebanese cucumber quartered and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons greek yoghurt
  • 3 shallots peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves shredded finely
  • 2 tablespoons coriander shredded finely
  • A couple of handfuls baby spinach

How to pull it together

Fill a saucepan with 1 ½ litres of water (I used filtered as I intended to use the water for stock later), add the corn and some salt and bring it to the boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the corn to cool in the liquid.  When cool, shave the kernels from the core using a sharp knife, and  place in a large bowl.  You can hold onto the water to make a stock (see note).

Cook the soba noodles in rapidly boiling water for 4 minutes.  Drain, then rinse well with cold water and drain again.

Add the onion, cucumber, yoghurt, chicken, spinach,  lemon juice, soba noodles, herbs, spring onion to a bowl and mix together thoroughly.  Season with sea salt and cracked pepper to taste.  I found this was perfect for 4 servings.

NOTE:  To make the veggie stock, add the corn cores back to the water and simmer for 10 minutes.  Now you have a delicious vegetarian stock to use in soups or purees.

If you are interested in speaking to Alison about her service you can either visit her website www.thelittlegroceryservice.com.au or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Little-Grocery-Service/383614048377833?fref=ts

Enjoy your salad!

XXX

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