Six Salads Perfect For Spring Lunches

Sometimes I make myself a little sick by eating too much cookie dough, or buttercream, or ice cream, or…anyway, you know how it goes. Luckily I am also just as in love with big green leafy things, nutty grains, and fresh food straight from the earth, or the farmer’s market. Now that spring has come barrelling in here with an explosion of green from the earth and skies so blue they make your heart ache when you are trapped inside an office, it’s time to break out some of my favourite lunch box salads!

Here, in no particular order, are six of my favourite spring-perfect gluten free and vegetarian salads! Green is always in fashion darlings 😉Six Salads for Spring | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Number One: Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad. Big, green, fresh and full of all of my favourite flavours. Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Two: Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Mustard Dressing. Crispy, crunchy and sweet with a mustard and yoghurt dressing. Fill me up!Apple Celery Walnut Salad 1Number Three: Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad. Hearty quinoa salad with a generous dose of exotic spice and sweet roasted pumpkin. Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Four: Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts – you can’t go wrong.Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Five: Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs. This is a great dinner salad: nutty brown rice pairs with fresh seasonal vegetables and protein-rich drippy soft-boiled eggs.Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Six: Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad. Sweet, plump fresh berries paired with salty grilled haloumi in a hearty quinoa based salad. My new favourite and it practically sings of spring!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

There you have my six picks for a healthy, gluten free, vegetarian spring lunch. Make your colleagues jealous and pack a big luscious green lunch today!

Tell me, dear readers, what’s your favourite salad combination? Or what’s something weird that you love in salad? Mine: I loved tinned, vinegary beetroot and sometimes I sneak a few pieces onto the side of my salad no matter what else is in the bowl!

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan

Indulge in a healthy retreat to the tropics with my latest gluten free granola recipe. Filled with plump dried apricots, crunchy quinoa flakes, toasted coconut, and roasted cashews this is a little taste of the islands that will make your breakfast into an escape to a faraway locale.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have found the secret to enjoying Monday mornings. Three little things that make the start of the working week a pleasurable experience rather than something akin to ripping a bandaid off a blistered foot. Firstly: set your alarm for ten minutes before you actually need to get up. That way you can hit snooze and not feel guilty about it. I am loving having those extra ten minutes to snuggle under the covers with Chris and I wake up feeling happy and loved. Secondly: make it easy to get out the door. Make your lunch, pack your bag and iron your clothes (or if you are like me, don’t iron your clothes) on Sunday afternoon so that on Monday morning you just need to roll out of bed, shower, and get out into the world! Thirdly, and most pertinent for today: have a delicious breakfast to look forward to when you do manage to get out of bed. Enter: Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis crunchy, coconut-infused, quinoa flake granola had me bouncing out of bed this morning with a smile on my face. I knew that once I fought the traffic and made it to my desk that I had a superb, healthy breakfast waiting to fuel me through the morning. Plump, sweet dried apricots and chunks of roasted cashews are in generous supply and contrast with strands of toasted coconut, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This mixture is coated in a touch of richly sweet golden syrup, mild olive oil, and coconut and vanilla extracts before spending some time getting golden and crispy in the oven. The result: light, crunchy mouthfuls of crispy quinoa flakes soaked in tropical coconut flavouring with a hint of sweetness from the chewy apricots and golden syrup counteracted by buttery roasted cashews and strands of toasted coconut.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuinoa flakes are a great alternative for people who cannot tolerate oats. I have to say, the tiny crunchy flakes are just as delicious as the traditional oats usually found in granola. This is my new favourite breakfast formula! I love my granola served over thick Greek or natural yoghurt, or eaten in sneaky handfuls after I get home from the gym at night. It makes a great car tip snack too! So jump on board the granola train and make your Monday mornings shine!

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cashews
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together quinoa flakes, cashews, sesame seeds, salt, and cardamom until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, golden syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. In the last ten minutes of cookies (about 20 minutes into the cooking time) stir in shredded coconut.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven, stir in dried apricots and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Have a Healthy Holiday

You can have a healthy holiday season! I love to indulge over Christmas – there is just so much good stuff to try! But I also love knowing that my New Year’s Day isn’t going to be filled with regret and too-tight skinny jeans. This holiday season I am striving for balance. Balancing cookies with smoothies; nights on the couch with hot yoga or massive walking sessions with my sister; and long ‘to do’ lists with periods of stillness.

Let’s all have a happy, healthy holiday this Christmas 2014 and get 2015 off to a nourished start!

smoothie ingredients

Keep it healthy when you can: FOOD! Glorious FOOD! It is everywhere at this time of year, and you just know that I love me cookies of all kinds, candy canes, whipped cream on pretty much everything, and big scoops of ice cream to help beat the heat. From the office to the shopping centre to parties and everywhere in between this time of year is all about the food. I am okay with that. When I can though I keep it super healthy: yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, big salads for lunch and dinners when we are at home, and minimal snacking. That way when I do indulge I can enjoy it and know that I am going to be back on track at the next meal.

Make it about something other than food: I know what I just said above, but sometimes all the FOOD gets to me and I need to remember that there are so many other things to enjoy about this season: time with family, visiting people’s Christmas displays, more time for reading, seeing friends – there are so many other things to focus on other than the food. Put in some quality time with the ones you love and leave the cookies alone for a while if you need to.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Let yourself indulge: When you do indulge, absolve yourself of guilt. Don’t even let it in the door. The best way to ruin a Christmas get together with friends and family is to worry about how many calories you are going to eat, and how you are going to burn them off. Trust me – I’ve been there, and worrying about food is the best way to trigger a binge and suck all the fun out of the indulgence of the season. Take a deep breath. Let yourself enjoy the yummy things your friends and family have created to enjoy with you. Eat your favourites, try something new and delicious, and rest assured that you can indulge without getting off the rails.

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Get a Quick Fix: I love long walks on the beach while I’m away, but I also need to work up a bigger sweat sometimes in between cookie, wine, or cheese consumption. HIIT is the perfect answer for holiday workouts that really deliver results. For an at-home workout I write down a list of 10 exercises – a  mix of weighted exercises (like squats with shoulder press) and cardio (skipping or step-ups onto a sturdy chair) and then run through it for 15 minutes without stopping. Rest for a minute and repeat. 30 minutes later I am sweaty and happy!

Try something new! I love trying out new types of exercise with my sister. We are both totally uncoordinated and willing to laugh at ourselves (and each other) so working up a sweat becomes a laughing session as well – it must burn some extra calories! We just finished up a free trial of some gym classes and this summer we are going to work on our balance with some hot yoga classes. Hilarity shall ensue. Find a friend, find a class that you haven’t tried and work up a seasonal sweat! You’ll be ahead of the game when the new year comes around – and you might have just found an exercise buddy to keep you motivated well after January 31st.

walks with storm and Jess

Check yourself before you wreck yourself: I am the queen of stress, the empress of loading myself down with way too many things to accomplish. I have learned (with a lot of help from Chris) that I need to check in with myself and ask myself whether all the things on my ‘to do’ list are necessary. Will people be disappointed because I only baked cupcakes and didn’t get time to do the cookies? Or am I better off making the cupcakes and enjoying myself, and leaving time to watch ‘West Wing’ with Chris? I’m learning that I cannot do it all, and that’s okay. So take a red pen to that ‘To Do’ list and cross out the overload.

Take some time to breathe: Further to my point above – take some time out of the shopping, baking, wrapping, visiting – and just spend some time on yourself! Find the quiet corner of a cafe, order a seasonal beverage and let yourself get lost in a book; schedule a massage and let the therapist work out the seasonal tension from your body; line up your favourite snacks along the side of the couch, make yourself a cup of tea, pop in a Christmas movie, and settle in for the slow down; pop in your headphones, turn up the Mariah Christmas album (you have it, everyone does) and walk until you have zoned out. Just find an activity that makes you feel nourished inside, away from the hustle and bustle and unnecessary pressure.

Pool day

Take time to enjoy the moment: The most important part of the season is family and friends. Stop, look around, and realise how many hearts touch yours and how many people you have to be grateful for in your life. Be in the moment with those loved ones, and carry that gratitude in your heart all year long.

Okay folks, these are my tips for a healthy Thoroughly Nourished Life holiday season! What are your tips for staying healthy and happy over the festive season?

New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie

My sister and I have a tradition that we like to call ‘Fat Saturday’. It’s kind of like Fat Tuesday, but it happens every week rather than once a year. The premise is this: after eating nearly completely cleanly all week (hey, a girl needs ice cream after an interval run session, ok?), Saturdays are for relaxing a little and eating a greater quantity of ‘treat foods’ than we normally would through the week.

Banana Smoothie | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The trick to relaxing here, and not completely blowing out my balanced nourished life, is to getting back on track on Sunday morning with a delicious but healthy breakfast. It’s not about deprivation, or punishment, just a lighter form of nourishment. This week I was craving a banana smoothie. Something that tasted like the ice cream based ones that my Dad makes on a Sunday afternoon when the mood strikes, but in line with a skinnier start to a Sunday (oh that sounds catchy ‘Skinny Sunday’ after ‘Fat Saturday’ – what do you think Jess?).

This smoothie is thickened with a frozen banana, just like my other smoothies, only here the banana really is the star. After a quick blend with almond milk, honey, chia seeds and oats this New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie is a power breakfast that won’t weigh you down, but gives you enough energy to power through a hard morning at work, or a hard Sunday morning shopping session. Precede the smoothie with a walk and follow it up with a fresh salad for lunch and a healthy dinner and your week will be off to a healthy start. Bonus: this smoothie is easy enough to make before you leave for work in the morning: simply dump, blend, pour into a container, and go! I have made mine the night before and it lasts well too.

Banana Smoothie | Thoroughly Nourished Life

New Old Fashioned Banana Smoothie

Wheat free. Makes One. 

I used Freedom Foods Quick Oats in this recipe. They are guaranteed wheat free, which works for my belly. If you are a coeliac, please consult your doctor for advice on whether oats are appropriate for you, or simply leave the oats out. If you do not require this smoothie to be gluten free, you can use traditional rolled oats in this recipe for the same flavour.

I keep a store of overripe bananas that have been sliced and frozen in my freezer so that I can make a smoothie whenever the mood strikes.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sliced frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon oats (see headnote)
  • 1 teaspoon local honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 heaped tablespoon non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup ice

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into blender.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Pour into a large chilled glass and enjoy your healthy breakfast.

Okay dear reader confess: do you have a ‘cheat day’? How do you get back on track after an indulgence? Any favourite treat foods? I’m addicted to peanut m&ms and freckle chocolates – once I open the packet I just can’t stop!

Garden Vegetable Risotto

Very rarely do I give myself the chance to just stare into space anymore. Once upon a time I was a Walter Mitty style champion of adventures in the ether. I need to bring that mind-wandering time back into my life: for stress relief, and for creativity to flow.

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Risotto is a dish that forces you into a slow down; it encourages a mental hiatus. You are bound to the stove for the better part of half an hour tending to the tide of rice and liquid.

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Risotto is active meditation.
You peel and measure. Heat and stir. Add liquid and wait for the magic of absorption and stir and stir and stare out the window while the grains swell and soften.
Shower in your vegetables and herbs and watch them surrender their juices and flavour to the dish.
Just let your mind wander into the night while the cheese binds everything together and then gather at the table and share your imaginings with the one you love.

And the thing you will love about this risotto is that it is easy, and it uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. It’s creamy without being heavy thanks to the creamed corn, which also means that it is lower in fat than traditional risotto. This risotto will save you time after a busy day because even with the grating and chopping it only takes about 40 minutes from start to finish. Enough time to make a cup of tea and let your mind wander.

Garden Vegetable Risotto

Gluten free. Vegetarian, vegan without the cheese.
Serves 4 satisfactorily. Chris’s suggestion: pair with sausages or chicken for an omnivorous meal. A salad would round this out nicely.

Cheddar is what we had on hand, but you can definitely use Parmesan or Pecorino if you have it available.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 400 gram tin creamed corn
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 sage leaves finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar, and extra to serve
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Warm stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent.
  3. Add arborio rice and stir until grains are shiny and coated in olive oil.
  4. Add warmed stock one ladle at a time, stirring well between each addition and ensuring that each ladleful is absorbed before adding the next.
  5. When all liquid has been added and mostly absorbed, add creamed corn, grated carrot and zucchini, and peas. Stir well to combine.
  6. Add fresh herbs and simmer for 5 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
  7. Just before serving stir in cheese and season to taste.
  8. Serve with extra cheese.

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How do you meditate dear reader? Do you cook? Run? Sit quietly? Me, I run and cook, and dance in the kitchen while singing pop tunes.

Peach and Banana Smoothie

There are exciting things happening in my offline life at the moment. Well, maybe, hopefully, exciting things happening, and I can’t wait to share them with you when things are a little more official. Today though, I have an excitingly delicious recipe to share with you – and it’s super healthy too! During the week I rush out the door after a run and shower and eat my breakfast at work while answering the first emails of the day. It’s always the same routine – banana, almond milk, and gluten free cereal, or maybe banana and yoghurt. It’s not world shaking.

On the weekends, when I get a little more time for breakfast, I like to put some serious thought into what I start my eating day with. There is power in the first choice you make in the morning. Eating should never be a chore, but rather a well-considered thrice daily pleasure.

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This weekend I started contemplating Saturday’s breakfast on Friday night. I wanted something light, summery and fresh to celebrate the weekend’s beautiful weather and fill me up. I wanted something healthy and filling, but I was not willing to compromised taste and pleasure either. A smoothie was in order.

Summery peaches, and ever present bananas are mixed with fat-free yoghurt, honey and vanilla in a smoothie almost too thick to suck up through a straw. It’s rich in protein, calcium, and B Vitamins; low in fat, naturally gluten free and vegetarian. It’s also like eating ice cream for breakfast – ice cream that you don’t have to feel guilty about (not that I make a practice of feeling guilty about ice cream). The other exciting part about this smoothie is that it was super easy to make – watch out week day breakfasts you are about to get a makeover!

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Peach and Banana Smoothie (gluten free, healthy)

Serves 1 very hungry person, or 2 slightly less hungry people.

This makes a really large smoothie, so feel free to divide it among two people (or be greedy like me and glare at anyone who asks for a taste). You might also want to add a little more milk to make thin it out. I keep a few frozen bananas in my freezer at all times. When they reach the just overripe stage I peel, chop, bag and freeze them so they are ready for banana bread making or smoothies!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana (peeled, chopped and frozen)
  • 1 medium yellow flesh peach, chopped, pit discarded
  • 140g fat free plain Greek style yoghurt (I used Chobani)
  • ¼ cup low fat milk (you could use dairy, almond, or soy here) (increase to ½ cup for thinner consistency)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend on high until completely combined.
  3. If the smoothie is too thick add extra ¼ cup of milk and pulse to combine.
  4. Pour into a large glass, add straw, and enjoy!

Tell me dear reader, do your weekend breakfast choices differ from your weekday choices? Any favourite breakfast foods?

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Welcome to 2014, and a Winner is Announced!

Welcome to the new year friends! I hope you all found a way to mark the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. Chris and I were welcomed into the home of friends where we played board games, ate delicious food, and toasted the change of years with a bottle of champagne I had been saving for just an occasion. I was grateful that in the midnight of 2014 I was surrounded by people who warm my heart and our cheers and laughter were shared around the table and echoed out into the night.

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Before I post the final gratitude list of 2014 (come back tomorrow) I would like to announce the winner of the first Thoroughly Nourished Life competition! Just so you know, Chris helped me with a random number generator so there is no selection bias here. With great thanks to Paul’s Warehouse I would like to announce that the winner of the $30 voucher is Lauren! Lauren left a sweet message about her healthy holiday plans:

My family has always been pretty active and in the past it was not unusual for us to gear up in lycra and complete a 50km cycle before Christmas breakfast. These days we are a bit more mellow. This could be because we are all a little older (and therefore more sensible) or it could be the magic ingredient that is the ocean. Our Christmases used to be spent in the city, but in recent years, we’ve packed up and headed to the coast. The reassuringly constant ebb and flow of the tides is like a metaphor for life – work and rest, give and receive, exercise and sleep, eat and digest. Things tend to find their own equilibrium if you let them. When you are in tune with your body, you will know what it wants and more often than not, it demands balance. Being beside the ocean puts life into perspective, helps me to be in tune with my body, and to ultimately find balance and peace.

I certainly felt the importance of relaxing and listening to my body while Chris and I were up the coast over Christmas and that balance is something I hope to carry with me into 2014.
Congratulations Lauren and thank you to everyone who entered! I hope that 2014 will take us on many exciting journeys together as we strive for a thoroughly nourished life.

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Happy Healthy Holidays – and a Giveaway!

This morning I popped my earphones in, stretched a cranky calf muscle, and eased into my long run for the week. Playing away in my ears was a mix of Christmas classics (who doesn’t love ‘All I Want for Christmas?’) and I was feeling the spirit of the holidays with every mile that passed.

This evening I will be putting my feet up, doing some Christmas sweet making with my sister, and cuddling a cup of spiced hot chocolate while we watch ‘The Muppets Christmas Carol’ together for the thousandth time.

run christmas

My focus over the holidays is finding a healthy balance between nourishing my body with exercise, and nourishing my soul with seasonal treats.

Finding a healthy balance between exercise and healthy eating is important the whole year round, but at this time of year it can be a challenge.

My top tips for having a happy, healthy holiday are:

  • Schedule some time for yourself to be active and commit to it. This is a great way to relax and deal with the stress of the season.
  • Keep plenty of fresh, seasonal fruit on hand so that you have healthy snacks to reach for to balance out the Christmas cookies.
  • Let yourself indulge a little. Pick your favourite Christmas treat, serve yourself a small amount, and allow yourself to enjoy it. Be present while you are eating and savour the spirit of the season.
  • Make physical activity festive. Are there Christmas lights in your neighbourhood? Put your walking shoes on and take the kids for a look around after dinner (bonus: sleepy kids!).
  • Find an exercise partner. My sister and I are planning on taking a walk early on Christmas morning so that we can have some time together before we go off to our respective partner’s family Christmas celebrations.
  • Choose a fun run that takes place in the New Year and train for it over Christmas (this is my trick: Cadbury Half Marathon 2014 here I come!)

This year Paul’s Warehouse has given me a $30 discount voucher to give to one Thoroughly Nourished Life reader to help them find their healthy balance over the holiday season.

Paul’s sell a wide range of running shoes and clothing, and their prices are pretty competitive too – I know where I will be stocking up on my running gear for 2014!

To enter, all you need to do is tell me (in the comment section below) how you find a healthy balance in the holiday season. I’m open to any tips! How do you stay active? How do you keep your kids active? How do you balance out the sweet treats and the healthy eats?

The competition will close on the 30th of December so that one lucky reader will be able to reward and motivate themselves with some active gear to keep them running into 2014.

Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad (gluten free, vegetarian)

Let’s talk about potatoes. I am a picky potato consumer. My mother is Danish and my father Tasmanian (i.e. two of the biggest potato-based cuisines on earth), so as a youngster there were a lot of potato-related dinner time issues. Luckily I have matured and come to realise that it is not that I don’t like potatoes, just that I am particular about the type of potato and how it’s carbohydrate laden beauty is prepared in a dish.

My rules aren’t complex: I like potatoes that have flavour: Kipflers, Dutch Creams, ‘New Potatoes’, and Royal Blue are among my favourites.

I am not a fan of boiled potatoes at all. I love buttery, piled high on the plate mashed potatoes and crispy-skinned roast potatoes. Potato salad and I used to have a loving relationship, but now the thought of mayonnaise coated potatoes makes my stomach turn.

See – not a potato hater, just a picky potato consumer.

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This warm potato ‘salad’ is more like a potato sauté.  The potatoes are first cooked until just firm, but not crunchy, then they join a host of other vegetables and the final flourish is provided by fresh basil, crunchy pine nuts, and a coating of crumbled feta.

I piled my plate high with this salad for dinner and Chris paired his with some grilled lamb chops. By the way, this man has a secret talent for food styling – just check out his artfully arranged lamb chops.

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Hot Kipfler Potato, Capsicum, and Basil Salad

If you cannot find Kipflers, or already have some other potatoes hanging around the house, you can substitute another kind of potato. Preferably a potato that hold up well and doesn’t turn to mush when cooked – try Coliban, Desiree, or ‘New’ Potatoes.

Serves 2-3. Easily multiplied.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium kipfler potatoes (about 750 gram total)
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 1 cup button mushrooms
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Large handful basil leaves, torn
  • 75 grams Greek fetta, crumbled
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Scrub potatoes very well to remove all the dirt. This is important as we are leaving the skin on. Slice potatoes into rounds about 1.5-2 cm thick. Place in a large microwave-safe container. Add about 2cm of water in the bottom. Cook for 10 minutes on ‘High’ in the microwave stirring halfway.
  2. If potatoes are still a little crunchy in the middle microwave for a further 2 minutes. Once cooked drain very well and reserve until needed.
  3. While your potatoes are cooking prepare capsicum by slicing in half, removing core and seeds, and halving again and thinly slicing. Quarter button mushrooms, and thinly slice the onion. Peel and crush garlic.
  4. In a large fry pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium heat. Add capsicum, mushroom, garlic, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent and the capsicum has softened.
  5. Add potatoes, remaining oil, and pine nuts and cook until potatoes are starting to crisp, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle basil leaves and crumbled feta on top and serve.
  7. This is delicious re-heated the second day as well.

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This dinner is perfect if you are busily preparing for the end of the working/school year and just want something healthy, simple, and delicious for dinner. Naturally gluten free, vegetarian, vegan (if you leave out the feta), and hearty enough for the omnivorous there is something for the whole family to like.

 Tell me dear reader, are you a potato lover? 

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

Halloween is less than a week away, so let’s talk about what scares us…

I’ll go first. I am scared of birds – all birds: chickens, magpies, budgies, anything with wings has me ducking (no pun intended) for cover. I am scared that one day my cat is going to realise that we are all scared of his awesome power and use it to take over the world. I am scared of spooky movies, that weird Kraft cheese that comes in a jar (how….why…), the chemicals in bug spray, taking the rubbish out to the bin in the dark, and crawling into bed alone. I am scared of snakes and lizards and things that crawl.  I am scared of life passing me by too quickly without me remembering to seize each day and put my mark on it somehow. I am scared of missing out on adventures, leaving some corner of the earth unexplored, of losing my love of letting go and getting gone.

DSC00984There is nothing scary about these pancakes though – apart from how healthy they are! I was inspired by a post I saved a little while ago by Top with Cinnamon, but in honour of the approaching spooky season I decided to give them a little pumpkin and spice treatment. These aren’t sturdy pancakes (like these), but rather delicate and light – a breakfast (or dinner – no judgement) that won’t weigh you down. Subtly spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and although they contain banana they don’t taste like it. These Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes are a breakfast that nourishes that part of your soul that needs pancakes (I can’t be the only person who has this part) and nourishes your body without filling it up with excess sugar. Pancakes you can feel good about!

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Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes for One (gluten free)

This recipe was adapted from ‘2 Ingredient Healthy Pancakes‘ by Top with Cinnamon. 

Makes about 8 small pancakes (~3-inches across). Serves One. Choose your favourite toppings; I used berry jam and some sliced strawberries and topped the stack with some Greek yoghurt.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkle of cardamom
  • Toppings of choice ( see above)

Method

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg whites, puréed pumpkin, banana, and vanilla essence until well combined.
  2. Sprinkle over buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom and beat with a whisk until thick and fully incorporated.
  3. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and spray lightly with cooking oil.
  4. Spoon a small amount (I used about 2 tablespoons) of mixture onto the pan. Bubbles will rise to the top as the pancake cooks. Once most of these have popped (about one minute), flip over and cook for thirty seconds to one minute. Use a thin spatula as the pancakes are very delicate.
  5. Remove to a plate, keep covered until the rest of the batter is cooked.
  6. Pile up on a plate and top with your favourite pancake accessories. Perhaps try some honey, Greek yoghurt and berries, or for a weekend breakfast perhaps ice cream and maple syrup.

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So dear reader, tell me, what are you afraid of? Or, better yet, have I tempted you into making pancakes for breakfast this weekend?