Juicing Up A Storm!

Juicing Up A Storm!

OK, so you’ve probably noticed if you have been following me on facebook or instagram (@theshrinkinghubby) that I have turned into a bit of a juice-o-ho-lic!  And since I have started daily juicing (it’s been over 5 weeks at the time of writing) and raving about how fantastic it has been making me feel (inside and out), I have had so many people asking me to write about juicing – i.e. how to get started and most importantly what to juice, so this post is dedicated to all of you!

So I hear you ask why juice?

Firstly, we all know (and if you didn’t you do now!) that we are supposed to be eating (AT LEAST) 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit per day.  (That’s about 5 cups of raw veggies).  I am generally quite good at getting that into my day to day diet – but then again I’ve been eating this way for a really long time so I am used to throwing extra veggies into each meal (yes even breakfast!).  I just want to clarify that I do not juice to try and get my daily quota into one glass per day, my daily juice is a supplement to my daily fruit and veg intake.  Having said that, if you know you are getting all that fruit and veg into your daily juice, you know that you are already well on the road to consuming an adequate amount of fresh produce.

It is also worth mentioning at this point however that no matter how wonderfully full of good stuff a juice is, you are still consuming calories, so if you are thinking of adding a daily juice to your diet perhaps you could consider replacing a snack or reducing a meal size to counter-balance this (or increasing your exercise).

There is some criticism about how juicing deprives your body of the essential fibre of fruit and vegetables, however as I said above, if you are eating your 2 and 5 serves a day, and treating a juice as a supplement to this, you are just giving your body a bonus of essential nutrients, and trust me, it will thank you for it!

The reason that juicing makes you feel so fantastic is that by juicing you are giving your body the nutrients without making it work to extract them from the produce.  This is why you will feel an almost immediate energy kick after drinking a juice, as your body can get to work delivering all those wonderful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants throughout your body – in my opinion simply incomparable to a vitamin supplement.

Also, if you look at the volume of produce that goes into a glass of juice, you can understand that it simply wouldn’t be possible to consume that quantity by eating or blending in a smoothie – plus what you are getting in your glass is the highest concentration of nutritients.  Don’t get me wrong – smoothies are a great meal option and can be a nutritonally complete meal too – however that is for another blog post …

You couldn't possibly eat all of this daily!

You couldn’t possibly eat all of this daily!

What to put into your juice?

I always like to start with a base of green apple, lemon and kale (the leaves not the stalks).  Then you can get creative with your other veggies.  I like to use (and I mix and match according to whatever I have on hand) carrots, beetroot, broccoli, parsley, ginger (careful as juiced ginger can get a little spicy), cucumber, celery, spinach, zucchini etc etc.  It’s good to mix and match as different fruits and veggies have different nutrients

If you can get your hands on it – juiced turmeric root is a great all round anti bacterial and immunity buster.

My favourite combo - green apple, kale, lemon, parsley, ginger and cucumber - so refreshing!

My favourite combo – green apple, kale, lemon, parsley, ginger and cucumber – so refreshing!

Some tips:

  1. Always juice the leafy greens which don’t hold as much liquid (e.g. kale, spinach, broccoli, ginger) before the juicier fruits/veggies (e.g. apple, lemon, cucumber).  That way the juicier produce will flush out the nutrients of the less juicy produce through your juicer.  Kale in particular will not create much juice, but you will see from the dark green colour that it is highly nutritious and full of chlorophyll which is a great detoxifier, blood cleanser and energy converter.  You don’t want to leave all of that dark green goodness in your machine!
  2. Keep your juicer handy – if you keep it on the top shelf out of view I promise you will be less likely to be motivated to use it.  Most people I speak to have a juicer but never use it because it is tucked away somewhere inconveniently.  My juicer sits on the kitchen bench and washing it up has become as routine as brushing my teeth.
  3. Plan ahead – have some glass jars washed, sterilised and ready to use. (A run through the dishwasher will sterilise your jars – then just make sure they dry before you use them.  Jars are a great way to store and cart your juice around (and you’re more likely to drink a juice if you have thrown one into your bag that morning!)
  4. Make in bulk – I usually juice about 4-5 jars at a time.  It’s not ideal to drink it after a couple of days, but it’s better than nothing!
  5. If you can – always try and use organic ingredients.  Give your body the full benefit of pesticide free produce – it doesn’t need to deal with the chemicals when you are trying to detoxify!
  6. If you feel like you are are fighting a cold, add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to your glass of juice and mix it well, or for an extra metabolism kick in the morning a pinch of cayenne pepper is extremely invigorating (but not for the faint hearted!!!).

If you want to see how juicing can turn lives around I highly recommend watching Joe Cross’s documentary ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’, in which he documents his own journey from ill health to good health by undertaking a 60 day juice fast (yep juice only for 60 days).  The results were astounding and he continues to travel around the world showing people the benefits of regular juicing and juice fasting and the impact he makes on so many people is really astounding.  I’m not saying that we should all give up food for 60 days, however this documentary provides a really good insight into the nutritional benefits of juicing (and eating enough fruit and vegetables.)

Another combo - this one kale, green apple, ginger, parsley, carrot, celery and beetroot - happy juicing!

Another combo – this one kale, green apple, ginger, parsley, carrot, celery and beetroot – happy juicing!

I hope that this had been a good introduction to the world of juicing.  I am sure that there will be more to come on this site as I read and learn and experiment and taste more!  There is so much to read and learn but the best advice I can give you is to give it a go.  Dust off your juicer and try a daily juice for a week or so (buy a juice from a juice bar if you aren’t ready to invest in a juicer).  I promise that it will make you feel radiant and amazing!

Enjoy

XX

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

Baked Barramundi with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Herbs

Baked Barramundi with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Herbs

For those of you who follow me on Facebook you might have seen the delicious dinner I whipped up on Monday night – baked barramundi on a bed of zucchini with cherry tomatoes on the vine, black olives and herbs.  It was so easy to prepare – it only took about 5 minutes – but it was vibrant, colourful and very impressive.  I was inspired by a recipe in Tessa Kiros’ beautiful cookbook ‘Limoncello and Linen Water’.

If you don’t like barramundi you could use an alternative white fish (think cod, snapper, flathead etc) or if you don’t like fish then it would be delicious with chicken!  Next time I am going to try this with salmon …

I served it with blanched asparagus, but a mixed green salad would be just as delicious, and if you really can’t be bothered you can relax because the zucchini and the tomatoes mean that this dish really is a one-pot-wonder!

Baked Barramundi with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives and Herbs

This made enough for the 2 of us (we did have a lot of tomatoes) but if you wanted to double it for 4 people and again for 8 etc it would work just as well.

What you will need:

Olive oil

2 small zucchinis – thinly sliced lengthways and tossed with some sea salt and cracked black pepper

2 barramundi fillets (or fish of your choice, or chicken)

200 g (7 ounces) cherry tomatoes (on the vine).  (This was actually a lot of tomatoes for 2 people – keep in mind if you are not mad on tomatoes ..)

1 heaped tablespoon chopped parsley

6 basil leaves – torn

1/2 cup of white wine or chicken stock.  (I used stock here but I think that white wine would be even more delicious)

A couple of handful of black olives (I used the pitted kalamata olives from the deli at Woolworths – they were perfect!)

Zest & juice of one lemon

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

How to pull it together:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

In a baking dish (which I lined with baking paper), drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and lay out the zucchini.  Season the fish on both sides with a little salt and pepper andlay it over the zucchini.  Top with the tomatoes and herbs.  Pour the wine or stock around the fish and toss in the olives.  Finish with the zest of the lemon and a squeeze of lemon juice.

barramundipre-cookedBake in the oven for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted to your liking and the fish is nice and brown.

And enjoy!!!

To keep updated with The Shrinking Hubby and for more inspiration for your healthy eating, don’t forget to like me on Facebook by heading over to www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby.  Do you know anyone who loves cooking and eating healthy food, or who struggles with their weight or has a loved one who does?  Please refer them to my page – I love hearing stories of those who have been inspired by our journey.  Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to mean that you sacrifice wonderful food and good times!  For those who follow me on Facebook – if you didn’t see this posted earlier in the week, it may be because Facebook is restricting the number of people who are exposed to my posts on their news feeds.  To make sure you receive my posts it is a really simple process.   To keep receiving all my posts, hover your mouse on the “Like” button near my name (The Shrinking Hubby) on Facebook. In the drop-down menu select “Add to interest lists.” Then create an interest list.

Thank you again for your support – we continue to be overwhelmed by the positive response from so many of you!

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

XXX

Healthy Comfort Eating – Clean Nachos!

Healthy Comfort Eating – Clean Nachos!

Oh my goodness!  I made these clean nachos on Saturday night.  Hubby and I were having a lazy Saturday night in and we were feeling indulgent but although we felt like spoiling ourselves with a yummy dinner we didn’t want to order takeaway and feel awful in the morning.  They were seriously FANTASTIC!  Our new favourite ‘treat’ and I do use the word treat lightly because they are very clean so you really don’t need to feel bad about eating them – at – all!

The chilli recipe I have posted on an earlier blog post here but to save time and paper (because I know you’ll want to print this one off) I am going to write it all up again here.  If you don’t want to eat meat (and next time I am going to try them meat free) you can use the same spices etc and just increase the amount of beans and legumes for a vegetarian option.  I’ll definitely put the vegetarian version up here once I am happy with the recipe.

The components of the nachos are as follows:  The nachos ‘chips’, chilli con carne, salsa, guacamole and a handful of grated cheese.  I will set out how I organised each component below:

Here’s how I made them:

Nachos ‘Chips’

I cut a few sheets of mountain bread into corn chip sized triangles with some kitchen scissors, laid them out on a cookie tray lined with baking paper and sprayed with some olive oil and sprinkled with celtic sea salt and a little freshly ground pepper.  I baked in a hot oven (under the grill) for about 3 minutes.  I highly recommend watching them though as I burnt a few sheets going over just a few seconds!!!

Chilli Con Carne

(this makes more than enough for nachos for 2 plus extra for lunch the next day AND enough to freeze for another meal – the legumes really bulk it out)

You will need:

1 diced Onion

2 diced carrots

1 diced zucchini

2 diced sticks celery

500 grams organic lean beef mince

1/2 cup tomato paste

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin chickpeas (Drained and rinsed well)

1 tin red kidney beans  (Drained and rinsed well)

1 tin cannellini beans  (Drained and rinsed well)

1 tin lentils (Drained and rinsed well)

Spice mix

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Chilli flakes to taste

To make the chilli

1.Cook mince in a large pan until brown.  Drain.

2. In same pan fry up the onion and celery in some garlic infused olive oil (or olive oil and 1-2 crushed garlic cloves)

3. Add the chopped veggies and saute.

4. Add the mince and spices and cook until flavours come together.

5. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, beans and some salt (to taste) and simmer for 30 minutes with lid on.

Salsa

Again – this was plenty for the nachos plus leftovers for the next day – delicious in a toasted mountain bread wrap or as part of a salad or served with scrambled egg whites for breakfast – the options are endless!

Chop and combine the following – you can add/leave out ingredients depending on your tastes…

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

1/2 red onion (optional)

1 cup corn kernels

1 cucumber

1 red chilli (optional)

A handful of shredded fresh basil

juice of a lime

Celtic sea salt and cracked pepper

Guacamole

Mash up the following together well:

1/2 Avocado

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 tablespoons greek yogurt

Salt & Pepper

To put the nachos together:

Start with a layer of nachos chips, add some chilli mixture, top with salsa, then a dollop of guacamole and finish with a handful of cheese … And enjoy!

 

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