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!
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’.
5. Zesty Salsa
I love a tasty little salsa. This one is delicious served with my healthy nachos, chilli 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!
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 Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more ideas to create healthy meals for you and your family!
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)
- 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
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
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.
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
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
Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, refined sugar and nut free)
Today’s guest-post is written by a friend of mine Mandy Sacher of Wholesome Child, who is a qualified nutritionist specialising in children’s health.
As a busy mother of 3 young children (8, 5 and 4 years old) who are very fussy eaters, I struggle to come up with healthy and varied options at mealtimes that actually get enjoyed. As Mandy explains in her article below, Salmon is a wonderful super food that can really benefit the health of our children. She has shares some great tips on how to include more salmon into your family’s diet. You will also find below my recipe for The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon and Noodles our go-to favourite salmon recipe – one of the few dinners that gets demolished every time. I hope you enjoy this post!
How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Brain Boosting Salmon
By Mandy Sacher of Wholesome Child
Salmon is a super brain boosting food for babies and children. It is rich in omega-3-fatty acids (DHA and EPA) which are essential for developing brains. These types of oils are found in breast milk and are always added to infant and follow-on-formulas. Recent studies show that children whose diets are rich in these essential fatty acids achieve better results at school – especially in the areas of reading and memory performance. Evidence has also shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behaviour/learning disabilities are more likely to have diets which are low in omega-3’s and would benefit from increasing their DHA levels.
Not only are these essential oils important for brain health, they are also crucial for healthy eye development and strong immune systems as they ward off inflammatory childhood diseases. One of the best ways to ensure they are getting enough of these fatty acids in their diets is to bump up their salmon intake. However, when choosing salmon – especially for babies and small children – it is important to take note of where it comes from and how it is fed. Many farmed salmon are fed pellets which contain genetically-modified grains and fats such as soy, corn and canola oil. Synthetic dyes may also be added to their feed to give their flesh that attractive pink colour and there is a widespread use of antibiotics and other chemicals which are not found in high quality premium grade salmon such as wild salmon or organic salmon.
Most parents reading this article are thinking “I am aware of the health benefits of salmon but how do I get my children to eat more of it?” Here are Wholesome Child’s Top 10 ways to get kids to eat more salmon. Many of these recipes are perfect for healthy lunchbox meals.
- The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon with Noodles (see below or click here for recipe)
- Coconut crumbed salmon nuggets with dipping sauces such as home-made tomato sauce, tzatziki or beetroot hummus.
- Spelt pasta spirals with creamy salmon and cheese sauce (great for winter, if your school does not heat food up send in a thermos).
- Tasty salmon hamburger patties served on a sourdough spelt bun or in a wrap.
- Savoury salmon and veggie mini- muffins.
- Home-made cooked salmon sushi rolls.
- Goat cheese, pumpkin and salmon mini-quiches
- Rice paper rolls with cooked salmon and buckwheat soba noodles.
- Salmon sandwich: layer sandwich with flaked salmon, crème fraiche, Dijon mustard and sweet potato puree
- Salmon Shepherd pies are a great alternative to meat.
- Salmon lasagne with plenty of vegetables.
So which is the best salmon for kids? Many parents who are concerned about mercury levels, taste (compliance – getting their kids to eat it) prefer organic salmon to commercially farmed salmon and wild salmon.
Organic Norwegian Salmon is reared in the ocean in their natural habitat and there are 50% less salmon per habitat than non-organic salmon. They are free to eat natural occurring food sources within the ocean that flow into their estuaries and they are reared on 100% organic feed, which is fit for human consumption (100% sustainable). There are no pesticides, no chemicals, no synthetic dyes and no nitrates. It’s really important when recommending fish for pregnant women, infants and children that we know exactly what the mercury, dioxin and PCB levels are and where our salmon come from.
About The Author:
Mandy Sacher is a paediatric nutritionist and health writer, who sources quality products for her clients. She has had over 15 years of experience in the health industry and is the founder of Wholesome Child – helping parents to feed their children RIGHT from the start!
Mandy stocks the best quality organic salmon and is located in Rose Bay, Rozelle and delivers to St Ives on Tuesday.
You can find out more about Mandy at her website www.wholesomechild.com.au, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wholesome-Organic-Salmon or you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon With Noodles
What you will need:
- 1-2 fillets organic salmon
- 1/3 cup of good quality brown rice miso paste (found from organic health food shops or whole food shops)
- 1 packet Vietnamese Rice Pad Thai Noodles (or you can use buckwheat or soba noodles – adjust cooking time according to instructions.)
- A couple handfuls green beans (topped and tailed)
How to pull it together:
- Bring a medium-sized saucepan to the boil.
- Add the miso paste and using a whisk mix together well.
- Add the rice noodles (which generally take around 8 minutes to cook or if using different noodles adjust cooking time accordingly). Cook for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, add the salmon fillet/s to the miso and noodles. Cook for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes add the beans and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Dish out into bowls, ensure to add a couple of ladlefuls of nutritious miso broth to the mixture and serve.
Notes: For a more grown up version – this is delicious drizzled with some tamari, a little sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. You could also add some chilli oil for a kick.
I’ve talked about the lovely ladies from The Monday Morning Cooking Club before when I shared their delicious tomato and eggplant bake (AKA Bubba’s Eggplant) from their first cookbook here and their delicious recipe for their Shallot Ginger and Sesame crusted salmon here. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of their recently published sequel called ‘The Feast Goes On’. This beautiful book has plenty more stunning recipes inside that I cannot wait to try.
I love that each recipe has been handpicked from hundreds submitted – so you know that if it makes it into the cookbook it is going to be worth making! Not all the recipes are clean, but there are several that are and I am looking forward to getting to know this book as much as I enjoyed the first. You can check out the Monday Morning Cooking Club’s webpage here and follow them on Facebook here.
This recipe was the first one I made from the new book and it was a real crowd pleaser. I have altered it to include tomatoes and lemon, which gives the dish a much different flavour, but I loved the changes and I hope you do too! (You can double it quite easily if you need to feed a larger group or if (like me) you want to freeze some for another night when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook)
Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers
(adapted from The Feast Goes On, Monday Morning Cooking Club)
What you will need:
- 1 chicken jointed (I ask my butcher to cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces for me)
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) salted baby capers (well rinsed and drained)
- 75 grams (½ cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 1 lemon sliced into rounds about ½ cm/¼ inch
- 350 grams (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes
- 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 250 mls (1 cup) white wine (or chicken stock if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme (or lemon thyme and/or fresh oregano work well too)
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to bring it together:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (400 Fahrenheit).
Line a large roasting dish with some baking paper. Lay out the chicken and scatter the capers, olives, garlic and tomatoes on top. Pour the wine (or stock) and olive oil over the chicken, lay the lemon wedges across the top and scatter the herbs. Season generously with pepper.
Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. If the chicken is not browned enough, turn the oven to the hottest setting for the last 5 minutes.
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!
makes about 15-18 cookies
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)
Pre heat your oven to 180ÅãC/350ÅãF.
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.
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.
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.
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