Summer Loving and Healthy Lunches

Summer is just about here! And to celebrate the warmer weather, I like to take full advantage of the beautiful surrounds of St Francis Bay.  The Cape St Francis beach is one of my favourite places to spend time, the sand always forms magical patterns and creates a fairytale atmosphere.

sand patternsshadows

lighthouse from the beach

To celebrate the summer, I thought I would share one of my favourite easy and healthy lunch time dishes.

Spinach, Feta & Mushroom Quesadilla

1 whole wheat tortilla wrap
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach which has been blanched in boiling water
4 button mushrooms, sliced and cooked in a little olive oil and garlic.
30g Danish feta, crumbled
seasoning
¼ tsp nutmeg
chopped dill

Mix the spinach, feta, mushrooms, nutmeg and dill together.  Season to your liking.

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat.
Place 1 tortilla onto the pan.
When warm, flip it over.
Sprinkle about half the Cheddar cheese evenly over the one side of the tortilla.
Top with the spinach mixture.
Add a little more cheese, fold over in half and press down lightly.
Cook until the bottom gets a little colour, flip over and let the other side also colour.
Slide onto a cutting board, using a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife, cut into 4.
Serve with a little side salad of your choice.

spinach feta and mushroom

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad

With the cooler weather settling in we are all heading towards comfort food…I can hear you say “but salad is not comfort food???” Well, this one is filled with comfort goodies, and perfect as a side for a cool evening braai. This is also a great vegetarian meal with substance.

This is very versatile, you can add or take out flavours you do not like, just remember to balance the flavours.  I used my Froggit salad dressing, but you could use any light dressing. Or make your own, I would love to know what works for you!

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad
served 15 – 20

2kg cubed butternut
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
honey
seasoning
olive oil
1 tbsp garlic butter
250g sliced white mushrooms
Seeds from 2 pomegranates
100g crumbed feta
200g baby spinach
1 packet rocket & watercress salad mix (from Woolworths)
100g cherry tomatoes
100g sugar snap peas
3 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
Froggit Pomegranate dressing

Pomegranate Dressing

Preheat the oven to 200°C

In a large roasting pan, place the butternut, garlic, olive oil, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, seasoning and honey.  Mix until the butternut is well coated and roast for 45 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool down completely.
Fry the sliced mushrooms in garlic butter, season and set aside to cool

Once the butternut & mushrooms are cooled down completely, mix together, you can now build the salad.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and mix with the butternut & mushrooms.
Layer the salad now, at the bottom of the bowl put some baby spinach, rocket & watercress, a few pomegranate seeds a few sugar snap peas, the feta, pumpkin seeds, repeat layering.

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad

 

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins

Breakfast, to me at least, is such a hassle.  Not for the reasons you are thinking, for me it is not about time or creativity, or how long will it keep me full for…for me it’s about deciding what I want to eat that morning.  Every morning is a challenge.

Do I want to be traditional and have eggs?
Do I want to pretend to myself that I am healthy and have a smoothie / juice?
Do I want to be boring and have toast?
Should I just have cereal, if I do, do I really want milk, should I use yogurt?

…all these questions go through my mind…and often I will just roll over and close my eyes, giving it a skip and have a cup of tea.  But now, I am on a healthy eating operation.  I will eat breakfast, I will exercise, I will make the right food choices and while doing all this…I will not be boring with my food.

Which brought me to today’s recipe

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins
serves 2

2 cups fresh broccoli, steamed and roughly chopped
40g mozzarella
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp water
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200°C
Spray 2 ramekins with Cook n Spray

Whisk eggs and egg whites together, add cheese and seasoning and balsamic vinegar, leave some cheese out to put on top to form a nice cheese crust when baking.

Place steamed broccoli into ramekins, pour in whisked egg mixture and bake for 25 – 30 minutes

I prepped everything and popped it into the oven while I got ready for work, by the time I was dressed I had breakfast ready and waiting.

Use whatever vegetables you feel like, and experiment with the herbs, use flavors that you enjoy and your mind wont go close to the

skinny broccoli and mozzarella muffins

The nutritional value of this recipe was created with Recipe Nutrition Calculator on MyFitnessPal.

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins calories

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel

I saw a post on Facebook a few weeks ago which asked…what is healthy eating…there were so many different answers, and all great ones…then I stood back and thought to myself, what is healthy to me…and I remind myself of my motto for healthy eating…choose right

I chose right when I made this healthy alternative to a deep-fried chicken schnitzel.  This is an easy, healthy and quick light dinner for the beautiful summer evenings we have been experiencing…let’s hope it lasts (touch wood)

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel
Makes 2

2 chicken breasts, about 130g each
135g bread crumbs
3 tbsp biltong powder
zest of one orange
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
seasoning
2 eggs
1/8 cup water
1 cup flour
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Butterfly the chicken breasts.  See end of post for tips

In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, biltong powder, orange zest, thyme and seasoning

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and water together (this is the egg wash)

Place the chicken breast in the flour, then into the egg wash, then into the bread crumb mixture.  Make sure the chicken breast is well coated in the flour and egg to ensure the bread crumbs stick to the chicken breast.

Place on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, place in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes, until cooked and has a good gold colour to it.

Serve with sides of choice, I enjoyed this with rosemary and garlic baby potatoes and a Greek salad.

** Store the left over bread crumbs in an air tight container for next time.

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast
Lay the boneless & skinless chicken breast on the surface of your cutting board.  You can remove the tenderloin or work around it.  With the edge of your knife parallel to the cutting board, begin cutting down the length of the side of the breast. Carefully slice the breast in half, almost to the other edge. Open the chicken breast like a book.  If you have ticker parts of the breast, repeat the process until you have a nice thin chicken breast.

A Healthier take on Chocolate Milk

September 27th celebrates National Chocolate Milk Day, and who does not like chocolate milk.  But we do worry about the calorie intake, but how about a guilt free glass of chocolate milk.

Don’t you sometimes feel like something nice, but because you are so busy watching your calorie intake, or sugar or fat…or or or…well now you can relax.  You can enjoy this without any extra stress to your eating plan. All ingredients are diabetic friendly.

My healthy Decaf Soy Chocolate Milk

Makes 2 drinks

4 tbsp Soy Milk Powder
1 tbsp Decaf instant coffee
2 tbsp Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate
1 sachet Canderal Yellow (optional)
2 cups ice
2 cups cold water

Place the soy milk powder, instant coffee, hot chocolate and sweetener into a blender.  Pour in the 2 cups water and blend, add ice.  Blend until ice is broken up enough to resemble crushed ice.

Pour into a glass, and enjoy an eating plan approved glass of chocolate milk!  This drink is a mere 120 calories, so allow yourself a little spoil on your diet!  This will be a great cooler when the weather finally warms up!

Again, keep in mind, balance is the key, and just because it’s low in calories, doesn’t mean you can have 3 portions.  All in moderation!

Enjoy!

Back to Basics – Pasta Dough…keeping it simple

My pasta machine has to be one of the best gifts I have ever received! It sits proudly on my counter, always ready to be used.  Often when we have people over, they play with the handle, or spend a few moments inspecting it, and it brings such a warm smile to my face.  It is a great conversational pieces.

Nothing beats homemade pasta, the love you feel when I make it overflows when you eat it.  To me, that is pure happiness! I understand the convenience of store bought, I get how much easier dried pasta is, but the whole process from start to finish just brings such satisfaction to me.

Basic Pasta Dough

500g stone ground flour
5 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1tbsp olive oil

I knead my dough by hand, you are welcome to place all ingredients into a Kitchenaid with the dough hook attachment until all the ingredients form a ball, continue to mix for 5 – 7 minutes.  I love the therapeutic process of kneading dough.

Mix the flour & salt, place on your work surface and make a well. Break the eggs into the middle of the well with the olive oil, slowly, using your fingers, mix the eggs, gently bringing in a little flour at a time.  Bring all together and knead until you have a smooth ball.  This will take you about 10 minutes, don’t stress of your dough is not coming together.  Just add a little more oil, but not to much.  Practice makes perfect!

Let rest for at least an hour, bring to room temperature before you start rolling it out.

Make sure you pasta is well floured before you put it through the pasta machine, you don’t want it sticking to the machine.

Bring water to a rapid boil, salt and toss the pasta in.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, remove from water and add to desired sauce.

You can try my pasta al vodka, or keep it simple, toss with a little olive oil, chilli, fresh parsley and parmasaan, or toss with a pesto you have in your fridge with a little crumbed Danish feta.  Go wild!

Enjoy!

Now the whole debate of salt and oil in the water when you cook your pasta.  My opinion…salt the water as it starts to boil, do not use oil, the only reason your pasta sticks together is if the pot is to small and you toss in too much pasta.

Healthy Dinner…Ostrich Sausage with roasted Baby Potatoes and Vegetables

One of the first healthy diabetic recipes is so easy, so easy that I feel guilty even blogging it as a recipe, so instead, I shall just make it a healthy meal post. This will take an hour and a half, with so little mess & fuss, and the best part is it can be a dinner, a lunch, or even better make enough for dinner the one night and lunch the next day.  Eating healthy shouldn’t be a hassle!

When you are eating healthy, there are a few basic principles you should follow, the story of too much of a good thing in indeed true, and can be bad for you.  So let’s look at a few basic ideas of eating healthy!

Let’s start off with the biggest mistake we make, and I am just as guilty of this one.  Eating breakfast!
You need to start your day off with your body filled with nutrients to give you energy and all round put you in a great mood.

Eat 6 small portions a day, instead of 2 huge portions because we are hungry.  Which is the next point…

Portion control.  The rough idea behind a portion is +- 100g animal protein & 1 cup vegetables, 1 starch portion per meal (for a female – males should eat double the portions). You need to include 1 teaspoon fats /oils – this is much more involved and you should improve your knowledge by researching further.

Which brings on the next point…balance.  You need to balance the nutrients in your body to enable your body to function properly, to boost energy, to improve your mental capability.

But having said that…just eating right is not enough, make sure you get your exercise in, just eating right might allow for weight loss, however, the moment you have a cheat moment, which let’s face it, happens a fair amount, you will gain weight at a rapid pace.

Make meals tastier by using fresh herbs and spices.

Please note that I am not a dietician, so for a proper balanced eating plan, I encourage you to make an appointment, I can only give suggestions and guidelines.

So today’s healthy meal – Ostrich Sausage with baby potatoes & vegetables

Lets break it down slightly.  Ostrich is very healthy, venison is always a healthier option as it is much more lean than red meats and poultry.  Ostrich has 40% less fat than red meat, low in cholesterol, but yet still rich in iron and protein.  100g’s of ostrich has only 387kj, and often you will hear it referred to as the “healthy red meat”

Baby potatoes – these are low GI. Low glycemic index carbohydrate choices will help you lose body fat easier.  Apart from being good for you, in my opinion they are so much tastier than your normal large potatoes.

Vegetable…I used what I could find in my fridge and freezer, feel free to just mix and match! Use what you have laying around, or your local supermarket has already packed stir fry, or other vegetables, which is great and consists of an arrangement of vegetables which makes eating them not a boring saga.  But feel free to use whatever you really enjoy.

Serves 4

1 packet ostrich sausage (+- 500g)
400g baby potatoes
500g Vegetables of choice
Himalayan Salt (diabetic choice food)
Pepper
Cook n Spray (diabetic choice food)
Mixed fresh herbs of choice
Herb & Pesto Spice Mix (optional)
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 200°C

Spay a baking tray with cook n spray.  Cut the baby potatoes in half, place in baking tray, spray with cook n spray again, season & mix in herbs.

Place in oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove from oven and place the ostrich sausage ontop of the potatoes, place back into oven for another 20 minutes.

Heat a pan, add stir fry vegetables and dry fry, add balsamic vinegar, mixed herbs.

Remove sausage & potatoes from oven, the juices from the sausage will flavour the potatoes, you will have a mixture of crispy roast potatoes and really soft potatoes, the different textures will round this dish off perfectly

Enjoy!!

Make healthy choices, know your foods and what your body likes and doesn’t like.  Don’t eat just for the sake of eating, enjoy eating!