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:
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!
I discussed some healthy snack options for our kids (here) a few weeks ago, but I thought it would be helpful to talk about some food ideas for us too! If you want to lose weight the worst thing you can do is stop eating. Our bodies need to be constantly fuelled to keep our metabolism going. A healthy day of eating would ideally involve lemon water upon waking followed by a hearty breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack and dinner. Don’t forget to keep drinking water – at least 2-3 litres a day – often your body mistakes thirst for hunger making you eat more …
I often get asked what Andrew and I eat so I thought I’d give you a brief overview. It seems like a lot of food but keep portion sizes small. Also keep in mind that we exercise almost every day so we need to replenish our bodies. It’s long but I thought it was important to get the full day in.
Starting your day with a big glass of filtered water with a squeeze of lemon in it is such a great way to flush out and detox your body. I must admit until I recently started drinking my lemon water I was sceptical. However I have definitely noticed higher energy levels since I have been doing this.
Breakfast is SO important. If you tell your body (by not eating when you wake up in the morning) that it needs to go into famine mode you will start the day feeling sluggish and tired as your metabolism slows right down leaving the path open for unhealthy food choices during the day as you try to eat some energy back. Much better to start with a hearty and healthy breakfast to get your energy levels going from the beginning of your day. You will feel satisfied which will make you less tempted to make unhealthy choices.
I’ve already given you some delicious suggestions for breakfast e.g. a toasted mountain bread wrap (see here), quinoa porridge (see here), or healthy pancakes (see here). Another great breakfast is an omelette (with 2 eggs plus 2 egg whites) or poached eggs with mushrooms, tomato, avocado and spinach.
You don’t have to make a big deal about breakfast though. A good quality muesli (preferably without dried fruit) topped with some greek yogurt and berries, or some rye or spelt toast with avocado, hummus or a healthy nut butter (check out your health food section in the supermarket) are also tasty and easy options.
Mid Morning and Mid afternoon Snacks
These snacks are great! Always try to incorporate protein in your snacks to help satisfy you for longer.
Here are my favourite snacks (note that they all contain some form of protein):
- 2 Brown rice cakes with avocado and cottage cheese or hummus and avocado. (choose the rice cakes that contain puffed brown rice only. NOT the flavoured ones that are full of artificial junk.
- A couple of hard boiled eggs.
- Some greek yoghurt and berries (fruit best consumed in the morning because of its sugar content)
- A good quality protein bar – I love the protein bars from 180 nutrition as they are made only from superfoods rather than artificial junk.
- Protein shake – again I try to avoid the protein powders that have chemicals in them. 180 nutrition has a great protein powder but I love the sunwarrior one – have 2 scoops of chocolate with a banana, a tablespoon of macca powder (another superfood) and water. (Sometimes I have this shake for breakfast)
- An apple and 10 almonds
- 100 grams of chicken or turkey breast or smoked salmon
- Carrot sticks and hummus
- A small tin of flavoured tuna (again make sure you choose the naturally flavoured ones – i.e. the chilli, lemon and cracked pepper and zesty vinegrette are all healthy options)
Here are some suggestions of things I like to eat for lunch:
- Chicken or tuna and salad
- Mountain bread wraps either my toasted chicken wrap (here) or tuna and salad
- My yummy chicken quinoa recipe (here)
- Tuna with ½ cup brown rice or quinoa and spinach, lemon and chilli
- Homemade soup
We try not to eat starchy carbohydrates for dinner most nights of the week – e.g. pasta, potatoes, rice etc. Once in a while we allow ourselves a treat such as my healthy lamb pizza (here) but most of the time dinner is protein and vegetables – think delicious marinades for your meat and big healthy salads, stir fries, soups, bakes. I have already shared some yummy dinners such as my spicy lamb mince (here), salmon with haloumi and lentil salad (here), and the delicious piri piri roast lamb (here). I have so many more yummy recipes to come – so stay tuned!!!
If you got through all of that – well done!!! Feel free to comment or ask any questions – I love hearing from you!