Recipe

Sunday brunch egg cups

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Today, I just want to share a quick recipe that coincidentally I made for Sunday brunch. Although I have to say its good enough to make any day of the week, even make a batch as part of your food prep ritual and eat over several days. These are super portable and easy to stuff into a food container and throw into your bag for a good dose of protein, vegetables and even a bit of carbs (depending if you like carbs or not). The only equipment you need is a muffin tin (or several) and an oven. Depending on what you use as ingredients these are very Keto and Paleo friendly.

I will put this as a recipe for 6 cups (approximately), but feel free to make more as desired. Let's get egg cupping. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs beaten
  • 6 slices of turkey or chicken ham (usually lower in fat than the pork variety)
  • 1 handful of spinach chopped
  • 1 quarter of red capsicum chopped
  • 8 cherry tomatoes sliced 
  • 1 baked potato cut into cubes (substitute sweet potato or leave out if you want lower carbs)
  • fresh basil chiffonade
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a bit of grated cheese (I used parmesan)
  • olive oil

Method:

  1. grease muffin tin with a bit of olive oil
  2. press ham slices into cups to act as the shell
  3. put the potato on the bottom
  4. layer a bit of spinach, capsicum and cherry tomato in the cup. It should be about 3/4's full
  5. beat the eggs with basil, salt and pepper and pour into each cup until full, but try not to overflow (it's nearly impossible anyway so don't worry about it if you do)
  6. top with a pinch of cheese
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. But watch these little things carefully. Burnt egg tastes horrible.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool (I burnt my mouth on the first one) pop out of the tins and enjoy!

Pretty simple huh? Cooking healthy food doesn't have to be super complicated, in fact, you will see that it gets easier the more you do it. If you got a comment or want to shout out click on the buttons below.

I am a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer. It is my mission to help people eat better, move better and feel awesome. If you want to find out if I can help you (hint: I can) then get a free consult by clicking on the big button below.

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Kale, pea and shrimp pasta

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Ready for another recipe? I know I am. Pasta sometimes gets a bad rap because it is high in carbs, and especially refined carbs if you eat plain white pasta. I absolutely love pasta, and to avoid too many refined carbs, I switched to wholemeal, buckwheat or other whole grain types. This keeps my fibre intake high and I still get to enjoy something I love. I will say it takes some time to get used to eating whole grain pasta, but it is well worth the effort. When shopping, look out for these healthier alternatives.

This recipe is a good post workout meal. I use carb cycling in my own eating habits, which means I always eat the highest portion of my daily carbohydrate intake right after intense exercise. Its a great strategy to deliver nutrients to your body, right when they need them, especially for carbs. When you exercise you deplete your glucose (glycogen) reserves, and eating carbs post workout kickstarts your recovery so you can work out heavy again. Even if you normally are trying to stick to a low carb diet, post exercise is NOT the time to do this. Use other days and times to restrict your carb intake. Give your body what it needs.

This recipe can be made in about 15 minutes, making it perfect for those rush times, especially after the gym and starving. Alternatively, prepare in advance and keep in a food container to bring with you. As always, keep a well stocked fridge and you should have no problem getting this together. I like to set aside Sunday as my meal planning day, but really it's up to you. I also cook pasta in bulk and freeze individual portions, so that I can whip up a batch of pasta super quick. Always remember planning is the key to your nutrition success. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 shrimp peeled (I used frozen)
  • 10-12 sweet pea pods chopped
  • 1 clenched fist of Kale
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 500 ml organic pasta sauce  
  • 3 cupped hands whole grain pasta cooked el dente or less
  • fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • parmesan cheese

Note about measurements: You may notice I use some rather unusual measurements (cupped hand, clenched fist, etc), this is because it is often far easier and more sustainable to use these hand sized measurements to help you control your portion size. I will create an article on that soon.

Method:

  1. in a large pan, add a bit of olive oil and saute the shrimp until pink, remove and set aside. 
  2. add garlic and pea pods and saute until the garlic begins to brown
  3. add kale and continue to stir
  4. add pasta sauce and heat until hot stirring occasionally
  5. add pre-cooked pasta and shrimp, tossing to combine
  6. season as desired with salt and pepper (think more pepper and less salt)
  7. when heated through transfer to serving bowl
  8. garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh torn basil leaves and dig in

See? Super easy and nutritious. Stay tuned for more great recipes. Like, follow or subscribe.

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Apple, cinnamon and oatmeal power shake

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I love shakes. I really do. From a nutrition standpoint, they help you get the energy and nutrients you need to function at your best. However, it is important to remember these aren't free calories, meaning you must consider the calories in your overall energy balance. If you are like me, you often struggle to eat 3 meals a day, and using a shake helps to get the calories and nutrients needed for optimal performance. The trick to a really good shake is to use as much whole food as possible, so don't rely on supplements too much. Of course protein powder is a must, but go sparingly on other processed supplements (an exception here is powdered greens). 

 I use shakes primarily for two purposes pre workout energy or post workout recovery. But not both at the same time. So if I have a solid food meal a couple of hours before a workout, I would drink a shake post workout to aid recovery. Or if I know I will need an energy boost to power through a workout later in the day, I would consume a shake about 1 hour before starting. Ideally, you want to deliver nutrients when your body is going to need them the most.

This shake is definitely meant to be consumed around the workout period. It is high in carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. Just perfect for what your body needs around intense exercise. 

To make this, all you really need is a good blender. In fact, consider buying a good blender as a investment in your health. Once you have that, you will find making shakes a breeze. Look out for more great shake ideas. The sky is the limit. 

 

Apple, cinnamon and oatmeal power shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 small apple cut into chunks
  • 1 cupped hand of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cupped hand of cooked steel cut oats
  • 1 1/2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 palm of greek yougurt
  • 2 tbsp LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond)
  • 200ml water

Method:

  1. Add all ingredients to your blender
  2. blend until well mixed
  3. drink now or put into a blender bottle for later

*Around 600 calories

 

Do you want help with your nutrition? I am a certified nutrition coach. Get in touch with me for a FREE consult.

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Rustic Lasagne: Just a little bit better

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Time for another recipe. To be honest, I have been ignoring my blog lately as I have been very busy fitting study time into my already hectic schedule. The good news is I passed all my exams and I'm ready to kick this off again! Finally being certified and all the learning that comes with it, has really changed my perspective on my health journey. 

For example, I used to spend a lot of time worrying about "good" foods, versus "bad" foods. For me, it was always black and white. What I have learned, and what I want to pass onto you, is that food exists on a continuum of healthy-ness. It isn't always, or really meant to be, polarised. I also learned that food itself is really more important than just a macro nutrient breakdown (I know this is surprising, but when you begin to obsess about your calorie intake it happens). When you get into calorie counting and restriction, It really sucks all the joy out of eating. AND I hate that. Fortunately, there is a better way. Calorie control, along with nutrient dense foods, and a new way of eating have changed all that. These are subjects for future posts. Stay tuned. 

So today, I want to kick of a series of posts, called "a little bit better," where I take some of my favourite foods, and transform them into healthier alternatives  by making them more nutrient dense, but no less tasty. I added more vegetables and beans to up the nutrient value.  I find this inspiring, and I hope you do too. Let's go.

Rustic Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Lean ground beef
  • 4 or 5 carrots shredded
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 capsicums cut into strips
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can cannelli beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups mozzarella cheese
  • no cook whole wheat lasagne noodles
  • olive oil as needed

Filling Method:

  1. Saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent
  2. Add lean ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and continue to saute until the meat is browned
  3. Add stock and reduce by 2/3
  4. Add pasta sauce, tomato paste, carrots, celery, canelli beans, basil, oregano and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Assemble the lasagne in a pan ( I prefer glass)

Assembly order:

  1. Use olive oil to coat pan to prevent sticking
  2. First layer is sauce, noodles, sauce, capsicums, mozzarella cheese, noodles
  3. Subsequent layers are sauce, capsicum, cheese and noodles
  4. Continue until you either run out of ingredients or pan. Make sure the last layer is sauce with enough mozzarella cheese to cover
  5. Bake for 30-45 minutes at at 180 degrees C,  until the top is nicely browed

Note: Feel free to substitute different vegetables for more phytonutrients, and add cottage cheese to the layers for extra protein.

See how easy that was? If you have any questions or comments feel free to hit me up. 

I am a certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. If you want help kickstarting your own health journey, get in touch for a free consultation.

 

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Millet tabboleh

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Time for another recipe. The secret to eating well is to prepare in advance, so I always like to cook a big batch healthy carb/protein mix on a Sunday and eat it for the next few days. What's even better is I can calculate the amount of calories per ingredient during prep and have an accurate estimation for my calorie count. It's a win win. 

If you think weighing and measuring every ingredient is a pain, just remember chef's do this too for every dish they create at a restaurant, but they do it to estimate cost, while we will do it to help us lose weight. The first few times you do this it will take a bit to get used to, but the effort is worth it if you are serious about your weight loss goals.  If you write the recipe down, the next time you make it, you will already know how many calories are in the dish. so I think this is win win win! All you need are some measuring cups, measuring spoons and a kitchen scale.

This recipe is made with millet, another grain that fits nicely in The Good Carb Diet. Here are the nutritional stats for 1 cup of cooked millet (174 grams):

  • Calories: 207
  • Protein: 6.1 grams
  • Carbs: 41.2 grams
  • Fat: 3.9 grams
  • Fiber: 2.3 grams
  • Manganese: 24% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 19% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 17% of the RDI

Let's see how this works with today's recipe. We will make one batch which yields around 5-6 cups total.

Millet Tabboleh

For the Millet:

  • 1 cup millet
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable stock or water

Method: Add millet and stock to saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Yield is about 3 cups or a total of 621 calories.

For the Mise en Place:

  • 1 medium green capsicum -  24 calories
  • spring onion - 50 grams - 16 calories
  • chopped celery - 120 grams - 17 calories
  • chopped parsley - 60 grams - 21 calories
  • diced cherry tomatoes - 150 grams - 27 calories

For the dressing:

  • juice of one lemon - 12 calories
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil - 477 calories
  • salt and pepper to taste - don't count this but be easy on the salt

To prepare toss all ingredients together in a large bowl with the dressing. Allow to marinate for 20-30 minutes before eating.

So now we can see that this recipe contains 1215 calories in total. Now if we split this into 5 portions we would get 243 calories per serving.

Next up is to go ahead and put the portions in individual containers and keep in the fridge. That way you can just grab and go. Remember the biggest secret to eating healthy is to prepare in advance so that it is convenient when you need it,

Got a comment or some feedback? I would love to hear from you.

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Homemade vegetable stock

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Did you ever wonder why food that you cook at home tastes different from restaurant food? If you put aside working 80 hour weeks and a culinary education, the difference lies in the ingredients they use. And there is no more important ingredient used in professional kitchens than stock. Beef stock, chicken stock, demi-glace, vegetable stock it doesn't matter, when you want your food to stand out you need to control the most basic of ingredients. And making stock is easy, if a bit time consuming.  Now you might think that hey, I can buy stock from the supermarket and you would be right, but never so wrong. Store bought stocks are full of salt, MSG, and other nasty preservatives, so when you make your own you get the control. Time to get off the couch and make your own, and trust me your food (and your health) will thank you.

The basic method of making stocks is easy, you simply take whatever ingredients you want to use and boil them in water until all the flavour is removed and then reduce the stock until it becomes so flavourful that your eyes roll back in your head. As many vitamins are water soluble, your stock will also be healthy and very low calorie, about 12 calories per cup.  Now you do need to make stock in a rather large portion, so having access to a freezer is a must. Once your stock is cooled and measured out freeze it so you have it when you need it. I like to keep several homemade stocks in my freezer so I have it when I need it. You can use stocks for flavouring complex carbs, braising meat, making sauces or making soups. Ready to get started? This is a simple recipe for a basic vegetable stock. You will need a large, heavy bottomed stock pot to make this properly.

Homemade vegetable stock

Step 1: Make the Mirepoix

  • 3 medium sized unions cut into chunks
  • 6 carrots cut into pieces (washed only do not peel
  • 6 stocks of celery cut into pieces
  • Olive oil

Add olive oil to stock pot and turn heat on maximum. sauté onions,carrots and celery until they begin to caramelise. 

Step 2: The mise en place

  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 3 potatoes washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cabbage chopped
  • 1 packet peas with shells
  • any other vegetable you desire such as broccoli, leeks, parsnips, etc
  • 10 cups of water 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Step 3: Cook the broth

  1. Add the water to the stock pot with the mirepoix and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan 
  2. Add all the cut vegetables to the pot with the olive oil
  3. Season the broth with rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf or two (you can use any herbs here such as herbs de provence), a little salt and ground pepper
  4. Reduce heat and simmer the broth for at least 2 hours stirring occasionally
  5. After all the flavour is extracted from the veggies, turn off the heat and allow to cool (this takes a while) and then strain out the broth through a fine mesh sieve.
  6. measure out portions and put in freezer bags

Making stock takes a lot of time, so make sure you leave yourself a day to do it. I like to start off Sunday mornings and then have to whole day for the stock to cool before I bag it. I really can't impress on you enough the difference real stock makes to your cooking. And when you prep it in advance it is so easy to pop some out of the freezer and get cooking!

Got a comment or want to get in touch? Drop me a line, I am happy to hear from you.