Cook this: quick & healthy – everything-but-the-kitchen-sink omelette

This isn’t so much a “recipe” as your friendly Monday morning reminder that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive, complicated, or time consuming. By Monday morning, most of us have probably enjoyed a bit of weekend indulgence (I know I did, after attending a gorgeous wedding with amazing food!), and we’d like to get back to eating something a bit healthier and lighter. But the thought of eating a boring salad sends most of us back to the heavier food we’d indulged in to start off with; it’s a vicious cycle.

This is one of my go-to recipes when…
a) I’m craving something healthy and lots of veggies but I don’t want a salad
b) I’ve got leftover veggies and rice that are at the end of their lifespan in the fridge and want to use them up rather than wasting them (and more money on more food)
c) I’ve got other delicious odds and ends in the fridge or pantry that I want to use but can’t think of another dish to tie them all together
d) I can’t really be bothered working too hard to get a healthy meal on the table

Eggs are also a pretty great source of protein, and it’s not a bad idea to give your gut a break from digesting meat all the time. With my food intolerances, beans and legumes are sadly off the table for me now, so eggs are the perfect back up option (they’re also pretty cheap compared to meat). Aaaaand if you double to recipe, you’ve got dinner for 2 and leftovers for lunch!

Ingredients:
– 2 large eggs
– cooking spray oil
– salt & pepper & your favourite dried herbs
– whatever else you want to throw in! I used (for this omelette) a cup of (cooked) brown rice, leftover roast red capsicum and zucchini, a few cherry tomatoes, a handful of baby spinach leaves and a few Kalamata olives. I’ve also used everything from leftover roast vegetables, antipasto mixes and cheese left behind from weekend platters, even leftover stir fried vegetables and noodles in an Asian style omelette!

Method:
1. Preheat your grill to high and leave it waiting.

2. Whisk the eggs together, season with a little salt, pepper and dried (or fresh, if you have them) herbs, and stir in everything else you want in there.

3. Heat a large, non-stick fry pan over medium heat and spray with cooking oil, making sure to coat it well (otherwise you’ll leave half the omelette behind in the pan).

4. Pour in the omelette mix, and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until you start to see the egg getting whiter rather than translucent. At that point, you can flip it, but I prefer putting it under the grill to slowing cook through from the top and forming a nice golden crust. This is also a good time to sprinkle some cheese on top, if you’re that way inclined.

5. Once cooked through, let it cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan, slicing up and serving – a little sauce on top is always a good touch, and we use everything from mayonnaise to mustard to hoi sin sauce to chili paste; anything goes!

Advertisements

Cook this: Orange & zucchini “muesli bars” (lactose, gluten & sugar free)

Remember how I said the other day that I wanted to try using puffed quinoa a bit more? I have a giant bag of the stuff at home now and have been experimenting with other ways of using it. Enter these muesli bars. But first, let’s backtrack a few steps..

I’m a snacker. I like to eat in dribs and drabs throughout the day, and I’ll snack on whatever is handy and convenient. If that’s a jar of cookies, I’ll have a cookie. If I come across chocolate before I notice carrot sticks, I’m having some chocolate. So, it’s in my best interests to have healthy snacks laying about the house instead. Many years ago, before fructose decided it wasn’t my friend, I used to make apple and honey “muesli bars” to snack on – the ones you buy are FULL of sugar, so I preferred to make my own healthier ones. It’s been a while since I’ve made muesli bars, though, so I had an idea to make some more – but without any butter, oil, eggs or sugar. Simple stuff.

I also wanted to create a snack that would fill me up and give me energy, and not be completely unhealthy. Something I could nibble on to tie me over between getting home from work and dinner time. Or post-morning workout before I get to work and eat breaky properly. I used the baked oats theory, and here’s what I came up with…

Ingredients:
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1 heaped scoop protein powder (I like vanilla, but chocolate would work well, too)
– 1 cup milk (soy, almond, regular, whatever)
– zest & juice of 1 large orange
– 1 large zucchini (or 2 small ones)
– 1 cup puffed quinoa
– ½ cup sunflower seeds

Method:
1. Combine the oats, protein powder, milk, orange zest and juice in a tub, place the lid on and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight).

2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, line a medium-sized baking tin with non-stick baking paper, and grate the zucchini into a bowl. Squeeze out any excess liquid.

3. Combine the zucchini with the rested oats, puffed quinoa and seeds in a large mixing bowl, and mix until totally combined and there are no dry “lumps” in the mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into the tin and smooth out with a spoon or spatula.

5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

6. Cool in tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Slice up your “muesli bars” and store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.

Cook this: cacao, puffed quinoa & pistachio granola

I have the most ridiculous accumulation of cookbooks at home, and at one point had started to hoard magazines, as well.

When I realised how out of control it was getting, I decided to consolidate all of my favourite recipes from my magazines into smaller collections; I went out and bought a few large spiral notebooks and went through my magazines, cutting out the recipes I actually liked and thought I’d cook. I stuck them into the notebooks, and they now sit in a nice, neat little pile on my bookshelf.


I go through them every few weeks to find inspiration and ideas I’d forgotten I’d collected, and found some new breaky inspiration in one of my books last week; a Donna Hay granola recipe, using puffed quinoa, which I’ve been wanting to try adding to my breakfast oats for a while now.

I made a few changes to suit my tastes and pantry supplies, and ended up with an incredible mix, and the perfect way to enjoy a chocolatey breakfast without the extra sugar and calories – happy!

 

Ingredients: (makes 1 large jar)
– 1/4 cup cacao powder
– 1 tbsp brown sugar
– 6 tbsp water
– 2 cups puffed quinoa
– 2 cups rolled oats
– 100g pistachios, roughly chopped
– 1/4 cup chia seeds
– 1/2 cup cacao nibs
– 1 cup shredded coconut

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. Heat the cacao (or cocoa) powder, sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, gently mixing until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat to cool a little.

3. While that cools, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to coat and combine.

5. Spread the mixture over the oven tray, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, mixing it around every 5 minutes or so to ensure it cooks evenly.

6. Cool completed on the tray, and store in an airtight jar or container 2 – 3 weeks.

Treat yoself breakfast: overnight coconut pandan oat & matcha chia parfait

So, last Saturday night was Oktoberfest. The man cave was transformed into a beer hall. Several batches of pretzels were baked. Several more batches of pretzels cookies, too. And schnitzels, potato salad, gravy… There was a lot to do, and while Friday night was reserved for the bulk of it, but there was still plenty left to do Saturday morning before everyone arrived.

With all that coming and my inability to work on an empty stomach, I knew I was gonna need a decent breakfast. It had been a pretty long, challenging, sleepless week, so by Friday night I was mentally and physically exhausted. With a big day ahead, I wanted to treat myself to something a little nicer than my regular overnight oats to start the day.

My usual overnight oats consists of oats, chia seeds, protein powder, almond milk and yoghurt thrown into a tub, shaken violently, and topped with whatever is in the pantry – coconut flakes, pepitas, goji berries, chocolate chips, anything goes. I also found this absolutely unreal pandan kaya custard type stuff at ARC Asian Grocers at the Preston Market that I’m loving with my morning oats at the moment. I thought I’d try to add that in with the shredded coconut (because matcha and coconut are delicious together) and seperate the chia and oats for something a bit different – takes a bit of effort, but the different layers makes it look and taste great! Actually, that’s not entirely truthful – it doesn’t take much effort at all…

For one serve:

Chia layer:
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– ½ tsp matcha powder
– 5 tbsp milk (again, I use almond milk, but coconut milk would be perfect as well)

Combine all of the ingredients in a jar or plastic tub and shake well to combine. Set it aside for 10 minutes, going back to give it a quick stir every few minutes.

 

Oat layer:
– 1 heaped tbsp plain yoghurt
– ½ cup milk (I use almond)
– heaped ⅓ cup oats
– 1 scoop (approx 8-10g) protein powder of your choice – I really love the Amazonia vanilla for this!
– 1 tbsp shredded coconut
– 2 tbsp pandan custard

Put the yoghurt, milk and protein powder in a jar or plastic tub and shake until well combined. Add in the oats and coconut and shake again, the set aside.

Once the chia pudding has set and gelled a little, the oats should have soaked up a bit of the milk; stir the pandan custard through the oats.

To assemble, just spoon half the oats into a glass or jar, followed by half the chia, the rest of the oats and the rest of the chia on top. That simple!

Cook this: coconut chia matcha pancakes 

While I’m a big matcha fan, husband hasn’t always been so receptive to it; why have green tea for dessert when you can have chocolate? So, Tokyo was a lot of fun for me in that I got to indulge my matcha sweet tooth, a lot. I ate matcha ice cream crepes, matcha cookies and cakes (a whole lot of which I took home with me), matcha chocolates; I even bought myself a little jar of matcha at one of the markets I visited to take home with me and experiment with. Husband’s curiosity got the better of him, and he tried a white chocolate matcha cookie; he was instantly hooked. So, I thought I’d try my hand at some coconut matcha pancakes (adapted from my buttermilk pancake recipe) for breakfast club yesterday morning…

Ingredients (makes 8 pancakes):
– 1⅓ cups self raising flour
– 2 tbsp castor sugar
¼ cup coconut (flakes, shredded, whatever)
– 2 tsp matcha powder
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 40g butter, melted
– 1 large egg, lightly whisked
– 1 cup coconut cream
½ cup milk (I used almond, but you can use anything)
– butter or spray oil for cooking

Putting them together:
1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, coconut, matcha and chia) in a large tub – with the lid on, shake it well to combine (it’s just less messy than mixing it in a bowl if you’re anything like me first thing in the morning – lacking coordination and control, flour just goes everywhere).

2. Tip the flour mix into a large mixing bowl, and add in the wet ingredients (melted butter, egg, coconut cream and milk), and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. If the batter seems a little dry, add a little more milk; if it’s too watery, add a little more flour.

3. Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium heat, add a little butter or spray with cooking oil, and drop your pancake batter on – I use a ⅓ measuring cup of batter per pancake.

4. Cook for a few minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden on top.

They come out a beautiful, dense pancake, but still somehow a little fluffy inside. I used a little coconut Chobani and blueberries on top, and it was a pretty delicious breakfast! I’m going to pass it off as healthy, too, because there’s a ton of “super food” business going on in these. The other big plus is that they’re really quick to throw together, which means they don’t have to just be a special occasion/weekend breakfast option. And judging from the happy husband and empty plate, I’m tipping they’ll be making more regular appearances on our breakfast table…

Cook this: quick & healthy – frozen fruit, yoghurt & coconut granola bark

Happy Sunday guys and dolls! I hope everyone’s had a great weekend, relaxing or action packed, whatever your preference! Personally, around this time on a Sunday, I’m usually winding down, hanging out on the couch or in the backyard with my other half and fur baby, enjoying a read through the posts from my favourite blogs.

One of my favourites, even though it’s not actually a blog, is the Beautiful Pictures of Healthy Food Tumblr – it’s one of the best collections of healthy food recipes I’ve come across! All that pops up on my WordPress reader are gorgeous, colourful pictures of delicious looking food, and a link to the original recipe source if I want to know more (usually I do, there are some really quick, easy, healthy ideas on there) – perfect for someone who, by Sunday afternoon, has the attention span of a goldfish!

image

I saw this this picture perfect pile of fruity frozen yoghurt clumps last weekend, and have been really looking forward to giving it a go; after doing the groceries on Friday night, I finally threw a batch together, and they came out brilliantly! Perfect little snack nuggets, especially coming into the warmer weather (any time now, Melbourne…), and particularly because we don’t really keep anything to snack on in our house… no loaves of bread, no bags of chips, no chocolate bars; old habits die hard when an ex-PT marries a PE teacher! It’s usually not a problem, until one of us reallllyyy needs a quick little nibble between getting home from work and dinner time, or before a gym session when we wake up hungry but don’t want to eat a big breakfast first.

These little guys are perfect – Greek yoghurt is low in lactose/fructose (yay for me) and high in protein, meaning it’ll fill you up for longer. Fruit is obviously your friend, and a healthier way of getting a sugar hit than a handful of lollies. And the little bit of toasted granola and coconut on top make it a little more substantial and delicious. And the best part? It doesn’t take long to throw together, it’ll keep in the freezer for quite some time, and you genuinely don’t have to feel guilty when you’re reaching for a piece to snack on. What’s not to love?!

image

I didn’t actually bother clicking through to the recipe link, because this seemed pretty straightforward, and I had my own ideas. This isn’t really a recipe so much as a few basic guidelines, because really, you can do whatever the hell you want with this!

You’ll need:
– 2 or 3 cups of fresh fruit (I used a punnet each of strawberries and blueberries)
– 500g tub of Greek yoghurt (I actually used a tub of Coconut Chobani + 400g plain Greek yoghurt, just to up the ante on the coconut flavour a bit more) – side note: if you want to make this lactose free, just use lactose free yoghurt!
– 1½ cups homemade coconut granola or any granola you want, really.

*** If you want to do the coconut granola from scratch, I used one heaped cup of oats mixed with 2 tbsp melted coconut oil, mixed them together to coat the oats, and spread the oats out on a lined oven tray. I baked that an oven at 180°C for about 15min, until the oats started to get a little golden (it’s a good idea to stir them around every now and then so they cook evenly), then took the tray out to cool completely. I also mixed some shredded coconut through the oats. I really like coconut, can you tell?

Once all that’s done, mix the fruit and yoghurt together in a large bowl.

Line a large oven or lamington tray with non-stick baking paper.

IMG_3059

Spread the yoghurt mixture over the tray, using a spoon to flatten it out.

Top with the cooled granola, and cover the tray with plastic wrap  (I was a bit cheeky and also threw some chocolate chips on top of the muesli after taking this photo, because why the hell not?!).

IMG_3060

Pop it in the freezer for a few hours, until it’s set (preferably overnight).

Chop it up into pieces, throw it into a plastic tub, and keep it in the freezer to raid at your leisure!