Monday, April 14, 2014

Is 10+ a day impossible?

You may or may not have heard that a new study has come out, which recommends that to prevent a range of health problems, we should eat 10 fruits and vegetables a day. Considering that this is double New Zealand current campaign for 5+ a day, it seems a little bit shocking....

.... but then I got thinking. I tend to try and focus on getting a good range of fruit and vegetables into my day, so is eating 10 of them as impossible as it seemed. I decided to do a wee bit of an experiment, that is in no way scientific, but interesting all the same. Trying to eat the food that I normally would in a day, I thought I would see just how many servings of fruits and vegetables I actually do eat.


Some sort of fruit is a given for me at breakfast, I feel quite lost if I don't get some in to my meal. On my test day, my breakfast consisted of muesli, greek yoghurt and berries. There was a decent amount of berries, so I guessed that to be around 1 serving fruit.


Lunchtime was one of Dad's delicious homemade bread rolls. This was filled with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and carrot. I would say around 1.5 servings of vegetables. I also had a pear which is another serving of fruit.


Snack time was a couple of bliss balls and a date scone. The bliss balls were made with dried dates so would have been around 1 serving of fruit.


Dinner that night so happened to be Jamie Oliver's six vegetable ragu. This would have been around 3 servings of vegetables.

So all up that works out to be 3 servings of fruit and 4.5 servings of vegetables, making 7.5 servings in all.

Hmm so maybe I don't get in quite as much as I thought or hoped I did. I'm pretty good on the fruit front but I think that I could get a few more vegetables into my lunch and snacks. I am going to start trying to get this figure up to 10 servings, so look out for another post in a couple of weeks with an update of how this is going.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chicken and Mango Salad


Aaaaaaaaaargh!! I'm getting so busy! Along with my oh so crazy workload for honours and working part-time so that I can actually enjoy life a little bit, I have to now also start applying for jobs. Unfortunately each one seems to take half an hour to complete, with some pretty difficult questions to answer (i.e. Describe a time when you had to take a leadership role <-- 5="" air="" am="" any="" at="" breaks.="" can="" employer="" for="" fresh="" future="" getting="" good="" i="" learning="" least="" like="" management="" minute="" oh="" or="" out="" p="" pinterest="" skills="" some="" stress="" taking="" tell="" that="" ugh="" well="" what="">
Ok rant over. You probably don't want to hear all about my problems, you want to hear about some delicious food don't you?

This recipe definitely delivers!! I wish I could take full credit for the dressing, however, I did adapt it from this recipe. Even if you don't make this salad you must make this dressing (that is an order). Before my crazy-ness spills over even more I'm just going to give you the recipe.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
1 small, crispy lettuce, shredded
1.5 cups shredded chicken (smoked is nice)
1 whole mango, skin removed and diced <--- a="" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvLdPjpELyU">This video may help with this
2 Tbsp Sesame seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
4 Tbsp chopped cashews
Handful crispy noodles (optional, maybe exclude if you are avoiding processed foods but they are just so darn tasty)

Dressing
2 Tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil

Turn oven to 180 degrees.

Begin by adding all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Whisk with a fork thoroughly until the dressing has thickened a little and looks kind of creamy.

Place the lettuce on a platter or in a bowl and our over around 2 Tbsp dressing. Layer on the mango, followed by the chicken. Pour over another 2-3 Tbsp dressing.

Place the cashews, sesame seeds and shredded coconut on a tray. Toast until they are beginning to go golden and fragrant (around 5 minutes). Don't burn! Sprinkle the toasted mixture over the top of the salad with the crispy noodles if using.

Serve immediately

OR

If you want to wait to serve it, hold of the dressing until just before.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Caramel and Salted Walnut Tarts


Phew! After a few really busy weeks at uni things are calming down just a tad. What I find quite interesting is that this week would still be a really busy week under my old standards, but I suppose it is all relative and I actually feel quite relaxed. What made things better is that I finally got a chance to get into the kitchen this weekend and make something exciting.

Today's post isn't quite so healthy, but because it is still made with completely 'real' ingredients I definitely think that they have a place on this blog. Besides, they were just far too delicious not to share. I have actually had a request to make them again this weekend. I know that salted caramel is a bit of a trend at the moment, so i thought that I would play around with those flavours. However, I thought that rather instead of salting the caramel, I would instead use the walnuts for this purpose. The result was delicious!!

Note: The caramel is more of a caramel custard so they are best kept in the fridge.

Ingredients
400g sweet, shortcrust pastry (made with butter is best!)

300ml cream
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp cornflour

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp coconut oil (butter will also work)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin (Depending on the size of your tin the recipe may make more or less than 12). Roll out the shortcrust pastry to around 5mm thick. Using a class cookie cutter (I used one the same size as the muffin tin hole to make them a small tart size), cut out circles. Gently press into the muffin tins and prick. Bake blind for 10 minutes or until cooked through.*Leave to cool.

*To bake blind, cover pastry in baking paper and use rice or beans to weight it down. These instructions may help.

While leaving bases to cool make the filling. Place the cream, brown sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Over a low heat, gently heat together until the brown sugar has dissolved. Increase to a medium heat and continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Whisk the eggs yolks and cornflour with a little milk together. Add to the cream mixture, stirring quickly so the egg doesn't scramble. Continue to cook over a medium heat until the mixture is thick.

For the walnuts toast them in a 180 degree C. oven for around 5 minutes (they should start to smell walnut-y). Place the hot walnuts in a bowl with the honey and coconut oil and mix to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt.

To assemble: Spoon the caramel mixture into the pastry cases and top with walnuts. Leave to cool before serving.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What I ate Wednesday- Trying to keep my energy levels up





Hello everyone!! Sorry that I have been a bit slack on the posting the last few weeks!! Things have been super super busy with my honours course. I actually suspect that they may be trying to scare some of us away with the course load. Unfortunately this has meant apart from my basic day-to-day meals, I haven't really had a chance to get into the kitchen to dvelop any exciting recipes for you (Don't panic! I have something special planned to make in the weekend.)

Instead, I thought that I would join in with the What I Ate Wednesday crowd over at Peas and Crayons (If you follow me on Instagram (@libbysfood) you will notice some posts with #WIAW). My focus with this week's WIAW is to try to show you the sorts of foods that I eat when I am trying to keep my energy levels up.

I seemed to wake up particularly tired this morning so I started gently with some lemon juice in warm water while I prepped my other food for the day. ONce I got going I had a wholemeal toasted pita pocket with  a peanut butter/coconut oil/honey sauce (just those three things warmed together), banana, chopped dates and pistachios. I normally don't have coffee in the morning but today I felt like I needed it. I made it with lots of milk to up my protein a bit and also because the pita on its own wasn't going to hold me through.


Breakfast seemed to provide some good sustenance to get me through teaching a tutorial and some pretty effective study. On my way to class I snacked on a homemade protein bar and some brown rice crackers. I am in love with these protein bars but now I can't remember which website I got the recipe off. Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! 


I got a little bit carried away with eating lunch and forgot to photograph it (it was a roast veggie and cous cous salad by the way) and it did include this yummy avocado with lemon juice and cumin seeds.

My afternoon was fantastic as in class we had a talk from a managing director of a winery and we got to have a small glass of top of the line Savingnon Blanc each. It was delicious!!

I had a lot(!) of stress energy that evening so I went with hungry male to do some sprint training to try and work it out a little. It did the trick nicely and I also wanted to sprint home as I was coming home to yummy lasagne with salad. 

And then I finished my day off with a peppermint tea and a piece of dark toblerone.

As you can see from my day, when I'm felling pretty tired and low I try to up my healthy fats as it seems to give me a boost. Things like avocado and nuts are perfect for this!

Anyway, hopefully I will get on to my delicious baking project this week and be able to share it with you next week.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Better than Powerade- Homemade Electrolyte Drink



I did intend on posting this recipe about a week ago, but between my sister's wedding and beginning my honours course classes I got a tad busy. 

Being a tad busy is something that I am pretty sure I am just going to have to get over this year. After 2 days back at uni I have a list of about 10 things to do including 2 assignment due in about 2 weeks time. I also have to begin all of my prep to write my dissertation now. Hungry Male, if you are reading this I advise you to find some sort of project or hobby for the year as you may be abandoned for the library quite often.

I will try to keep creating recipes for you and posting them, but it may be a case of me sharing more what I am eating at the moment than recipes themselves and be prepared for busy periods when it may be a matter of weeks between posts.

I am also pretty sure that I am going to be needing this recipe a lot this year! Last Saturday I unfortunately woke up with what we know at Otago as "Fresher Flu". Basically it was a head cold with a bit of a nasty cough, but with a busy week ahead preparing for the wedding I wanted rid of it quickly! After looking at a few didn't recipes for homemade electrolyte drinks I develoepd this one to my tastes. While I definitely have a sweet tooth, I tend to quite dislike things like drinks that I think have waaaaaay more sugar added to them than is necessary. Electrolyte drinks such as powerade and gatorade fall into that category. I much prefer this homemade version as it is packed full of Vitamin C and it is very easy to adjust it to your tastes.

Ingredients
2 large lemons
2 organges
1/2- 1 tsp fine salt
2-4 tsp honey (I went with 2)
1 cup coconut water (or if not available, 1 cup cold water)
1 litre cold water

Squeeze the lemons and oranges and pour into a jug. Add the salt and honey and stir until they have both dissolved a bit.

Add the coconut water and cold water and give everything a really good stir until well combined.

Best served chilled

Friday, February 14, 2014

Watermelon Feta and Avocado Salad


It's one week today until my sister's wedding!! I have had another dress fitting for my bridesmaid's dress and am getting pretty excited now. Unfortunately over night I seem to have come down with a bit of a cold, although better now than next week. So right now I am nursing my cold while watching Pride and Prejudice. I also made myself some homemade electrolyte drink that is all natural and full of Vitamin C. Once I have perfected the mix I might post a recipe up later in the week.

It is also just over a week until uni starts and I get properly stuck into my honours year. I am predicting that I am going to be pretty busy this year, so proper nutrition, exercise and sleep is going to be more important than ever. My goals are lots of water, lots and lots of greens, not too much sugar and in bed by 10.30pm at the latest (but we will see how this goes). The gym at uni is also free for students so I may as well start making the most of it for stress relief.

On to this week's recipe. This was one of those shot in the dark type concotions. I pulled a whole heap of stuff out of the vegetable drawer in the hope of getting some inspiration for a salad and this recipe came to mind. It makes a really refreshing summer salad, with saltiness from the feta and a little sweetness from the dressing. I will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients
3-4 large handfuls mixed salad leaves
1 cup watermelon, chopped
50g feta cheese, roughly chopped or crumbled
1/2 avocado, cubed

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
Pinch sea salt

In a small bowl of jug whisk the dressing ingredients: Balsamic, olive oil, honey and salt.

On a platter or in a salad bowl, layer half of the salad leaves, watermelon, feta and avocado and pour over half of the dressing. Continue to layer the rest of the salad ingredients and pour over the rest of the dressing.

Serve immediately

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentines Treat- Raw Double Layer Freezer Brownie


Valentine's Day is just around the corner so I thought that I would get somewhat into the spirit by creating a special treat to give to any loved one. Valentine's Day isn't really anything for Hungry Male and I. Every year I tend to get quite jealous when I see all of the girls carrying around their over-priced flowers, but then Hungry Male points out that he would much rather just spoil me randomly throughout the year and there doesn't need to be a special day for it.


My logical side fully understands this reasoning.


My not so logical side is still waiting for flowers :)



Even though I don't really 'do' Valentine's I still thought that it was a great opportunity to come up with a sweet treat, because really, Valentine's is about sweet not savoury. This particular treat is full of goodness, with lots of fruit and nuts and no refined sugar.

Ingredients
1 cup dates, chopped
1 avocado, removed from skin
1 cup mixed nuts (I used a combination of raw peanuts and almonds)
1 Tbsp real maple syrup or honey

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 2+ hours in cold water

In a food processor, add the dates, avocado, nuts and maple syrup. Whiz in the processor until well broken up and clumping together. Press the mixture firmly into a metal slice tin using your hands.

Wipe out the food processor. Drain the cashews and add to the food processor with 2 Tbsp water. Whiz for around 30 seconds, thens crape down the sides and repeat until the mixture has turned creamy. Spread over the top of the date mixture.

Place in the freezer for 2 hours. If you want heart shaped bites, use a heart shaped cutter, pressing firmly down. If not cut into small squares. Store in the freezer.



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