Finished in a flash, this vegetable egg fried rice is so fuss free it’s an absolute life saver. If you know you’re going to be pressed for time, cook the rice on a Sunday afternoon and keep cold in the fridge. All you need to do is fry up the veggies, crack open an egg and pour a glass of wine!
The Mediterranean Diet prescribes plenty of fish and less meat. This baby kingklip recipe is gluten free, sugar free, super low carb and super high in nutrition.
It also tastes divine, especially made with baby kingklip, takes only 30 minutes to make and it’s so very easy!
Browsing around my local Food Lover’s Market for fish, I wanted something other than Hake. I noticed that 500g Hake fillets were R70 and 500g Kingklip portions were R140. Then I spotted the Baby Kingklip at R89 for 800 grams and thought this was quite a good deal. Something different and for a great price relative to their fully grown kin.
Anyway, on to the recipe!
Yes it is the best ever Macaroni & Cheese
Being a recipe by Nigella Lawson, you just know it’s going to be something you can’t get enough of! She proclaimed it to be the best ever Macaroni and Cheese and you know what? She really was telling the truth!
Furthermore, you might expect a ton of cheese and unhealthy ingredients but there’s only half a cup of cheddar and a third of a cup of feta. I used wholewheat macaroni to add some extra fibre to the mix. Plus hidden sweet potato for the kids! It’s a very sneaky and absolutely amazing trick.
This is our Meat Free Monday dish, not quite vegan but vegetarian. For any other day I think it would also be great with some added crispy bacon bits.
Find the original recipe by Nigella here.
Broccoli, Bacon, Cheese & Chicken Bake
This recipe looked fantastic when I found it, but was even better than expected! An instant family favourite, the boys loved it, yes, even though it was mainly broccoli. That’s always a measure of a successful dinner… the broccoli and chicken baking together result in such tasty juices at the bottom of the dish. If you were to add rice to the mix (not necessary at all) you would have a lovely broth to go with it.
Blanch the broccoli before baking to enhance the colour and flavour.
Wholegrain Calamari Wraps with Saffron Chutney Chilli
I have come to absolutely adore Pauli’s Food Company’s sauces and marinated veggies, not only because they’re the perfect companion to any dish ever but also because they have such a great attitude towards food and they’re pretty great people too! No preservatives, additives, colourants and just simply delicious, good food made with love and the freshest ingredients.
Check out their website for stockists.
These calamari wraps are absolutely amazing with Pauli’s Saffron Chutney Chilli. Add some optional humus or plain cream cheese.
Now that we’re drinking more water and have the blood flowing through the body smoothly, one of the basics is in place. The next step is to consider the food. Here’s your guide to cooking and eating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals.
Obviously there are a multitude of different diets out there, many of which make some sense and many of which just don’t.
My personal opinion with regards to healthy eating is the same as with most things, life’s too short to be worried about a complicated diet that involves a million rules, counting of any kind (I count enough in my business) or not having wine! I feel it’s best to keep it simple and delicious, again treating your body with love and not punishment.
I also mentioned my food philosophy in a post from last year, which essentially echoes the philosophy of Jamie Oliver.
The philosophy of eating
The main thing is that food shouldn’t be made to be an enemy. The latest research that aimed to determine which was the most evil between carbohydrates and fat may surprise you in its outcome. You can read the article here. What it boils down to (and while I’m at it, don’t boil your veggies) is that neither actually makes much difference!
What does matter is the quantity (amount of calories) and quality of the food you’re eating! You don’t have to go counting every calorie but eat sensible portions and make healthy choices. One thing that must be avoided though, is sugar.
Why avoid sugar?
I always want to know the why’s. Aside from weight loss, here’s a quick list of reasons to avoid sugar from MindBodyGreen.com
- Directly linked to higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression
- causes inflammation which in turn
- negatively impacts the immune system
- increases blood pressure
- adversely affects mental function
- Speeds up ageing and can cause acne
- Blood Sugar spikes and crashes, affecting energy levels
- Increases risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
How to avoid sugar
Cooking your meals from scratch using fresh ingredients means that you avoid eating processed foods, premade sauces and meals that contain high amounts of sugar (and sodium).
Ditch the sweets for fresh fruits and berries, nuts and look for snack or treat recipes you can make with eg. raw honey, nut butters and dark chocolate. There are soooooo many different options for healthier choices.
Dump the fizzy colddrinks and fruit juices and instead, drink water*, unsweetened rooibos or herbal teas etc.
Don’t choose low fat products as they generally contain added sugar to make up for the taste.
After all this, what are the healthiest food and diet choices?
Firstly, crash diets and fads are so old hat. The only way to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle is with a sustainable eating plan, balance and moderation and yes, some exercise. You don’t need a gym, walking is also great and there are various fantastic workout apps including all different kinds of exercise.
Back to food!
The Mediterranean Diet is my guideline of choice for several reasons. It’s widely known as the world’s healthiest diet mainly because it largely reduces risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer. Let’s be honest, if your heart has stopped working it won’t really matter what your body looks like.
It also wards off chronic disease, promotes brain health, aids weight loss and slows ageing… what more could you possibly want?!
The key aspects of the Mediterranean Diet are:
- plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits
- fish and white meat, with red meat in moderation
- whole grains along with nuts, beans, lentils and seeds
- olive oil for the win!
- lots of herbs and spices for wonderful flavour without excess salt
- limit dairy to hard cheeses and plain yoghurt
- a glass of red wine daily (again, moderation applies)
Stay away from the cakes, sweets and processed foods. Stick to produce as close as possible to it’s natural form. Choose whole grain over white.
Give yourself a treat now and then! Don’t be mean to yourself for having a block or two of that choccie, it’s not going to crush the scale tomorrow morning… a small treat once a week is fine.
What appeals most to me about the Mediterranean Diet is that it’s the closest to the way we eat as a family in any case, therefore I don’t have to make different meals for different people.
If I don’t feel like having pasta for example, I simply don’t dish the pasta portion and happily have the delicious protein and veggies or salad. It’s uncomplicated, easy to cook, incredibly tasty, GOOD food!
Change your mind – change your life
Food is a friend. You don’t need to make it your enemy. Approach food with positive energy, cook with love, feel the joy of sharing healthy, nutritious meals with your family and caring for your body in the most loving way. You will be surprised at how much this changes your relationship with food as well as your body!
Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps
The perfect weekday meal for hot summer evenings when you just can’t bring yourself to eating anything that has been near a stove.
These tuna lettuce wraps are healthy, refreshing and substantial enough to fill even the hungriest of tummies! Gluten free option with lettuce as a wrap only, or add some fibre with a wholegrain tortilla wrap. It’s juicy, crispy, tasty and ready in a flash!
Click on the image for the recipe card.
Inspiration from everywhere
Has Summer forgotten about us? Wherever you go lately, people are discussing how strange the weather has been. Of course we won’t complain about the rain, we just wish we could send some of ours down to Cape Town to alleviate the drought… which reminds me of the campaigns I’ve seen all over Social Media, making travellers aware of the restrictions in place. If you are heading to Cape Town this December, one of the campaigns you can follow on Twitter is #waterwisetourismCT with very helpful tips and updates for conscious water usage.
The inspiration for this particular week’s meals therefore came from everywhere but the weather! My eldest son came back from a holiday with his father on Monday and got to choose dinner… and so it became Pizza Monday! In my opinion, any week that starts with pizza can only be a great week!
The Meal Planner
Download your meal planner here and click on the recipe name below for the printable recipe card.
Tuesday’s recipe came from the lovely people at Pauli’s Food Co. I often rave about their sauces but this is the first time that I decided to try one of their recipes. There are so many delicious ideas on their blog as well and I was fortunate enough to be given quite a few of their recipe cards on my last visit to them. This Pauli’s Tomali Marinaded Chicken Pieces was one of them.
My Low Carb Cottage Pie has somewhat celebrity status in our house. It’s completely flop proof (I promise) and I have a few different variations of the same recipe. I have done a vegan cottage pie using lentils and sweet potato, of course there’s the regular potato mash version which is the perfect comfort food and when looking for some low carb inspiration I just added a little twist and topped it with sweet potato mash instead.
Thursday’s dinner popped into my mind as I was walking through the isles of the grocery shop, listening to a very chirpy rendition of Jingle Bells.
This Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta includes some spinach to add some healthy greenery to your gut. I used Ina Paarman’s Red Pepper Pesto and this is a dish you can literally serve up in 15 minutes!
There are so many options for pasta now and you can find just about anything to suit your dietary preference. Use some wholewheat pasta, gluten free pasta or even butternut spaghetti to change it up.
I shall call this one Fridge Friday, as the inspiration really came from the fridge. I had cooked some beetroot that was waiting to be roasted, had some carrots and hey presto! Kassler Chops & Roast Carrot, Beetroot and Lentil Salad
On the day, I ended up using Canellini beans instead of lentils, which were still tasty but I would have preferred lentils I think.
Over the next few weeks I will be trying out some “Festive” recipes. To help me with some inspiration for those, let me know what makes a festive recipe for you? Is it something that takes hours to cook like a turkey with all the sides? Is it summery and light (if you’re in a Summer Christmas zone like us, of course)?
Drop me a little note in the comments below or give me a shout on any of my social media! Love hearing from you as always!