Saturday, April 7, 2012

The great good Friday challenge.

It's been awhile, but I'm back. With so much to share. It might take me awhile to find the time to fill you in on everything, but bare with me, we'll get there!

I just wanted to share quickly a challenge that I gave myself this Good Friday just gone. As we slip deeper and deeper into a recession I find myself becoming more and more aware of every dollar. I don't want to spend in excess and I don't want to waste anything!

After reading this article about saving money on your food shopping, I decided to set myself a challenge. We had invited our friends over for dinner and I asked myself - could I put on a good, tasty dinner using only what was left in my cupboard? Since our 'shopping day' was the next day, it was especially hard, but with a little help from google I started to plan my Vegetarian Good Friday Feast.

On the menu was: zucchini risotto balls, lentil and quinoa sausage rolls, roquette and red onion salad, broccoli pasta, quinoa salad and fig and walnut puffs with ice cream.

Here are a few of the recipes I used, and of course, some select pictures.

Zucchini Risotto Balls

I cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine
clove garlic, chopped
1 white onion, chopped.
Parmesan cheese
2 cups chicken stocks (and more if needed)

Fry garlic and onion in pot with olive oil. add rice and stir thoroughly. When the rice is nicely coated with mixture turn up the heat and add wine. let this reach a boil and then turn right down. add shredded zucchini and i cup of stock. stir continuously adding stock in small doses until the rice is cooked. When ready stir through parsley and Parmesan. When mixture is cold roll into balls and roll through bread crumbs. Bake in hot oven until golden.

TOP TIP: Did you know the hard part of your Parmesan cheese block can be chopped up small and thrown into your risotto a few minutes before it finishes. This adds lovely little cheesy bites with real texture and doesn't waste a thing!

Lentil & Quinoa Sausage Rolls

I cup red lentils
1 and 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of cooked Quinoa (follow pack instructions)
1 carrot, chopped into tiny cubes
1 zucchini, shredded
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbs tomato sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
4 sheets of puff pastry

Fry carrot and zucchini in a pan with butter. Bring lentils to the boil and cook until water has mostly gone. Throw lentil mix, carrot and zucchini mix, cooked quinoa, sauces and bread crumbs into a bowl and mix. Cut sheets of puff pasty in half. Fill middle with some mix and roll into a sausage roll. Cut roll into standard sausage roll sizes (10cms) cook in heated over until lovely and golden.

Broccoli Pasta

2 cups of penne pasta
cup of chopped broccoli
olive oil
quality dried Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta and broccoli until cooked. drain. add a dash of olive oil to coat and some Parmesan cheese to taste. done. yum. yum.

Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa salad
half a cup of cranberries
half a cup walnuts
quarter cup red onion
handful of chia seeds
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Add quinoa to water in pot. bring to a boil, then simmer and cover. Let all the water absorb and it's done. Take it off the heat and let it rest/go cold. In a bowl combine, walnuts, cranberries, red onion and chia seeds. Add cold quinoa. Half an hour before serving add garlic, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir through and then put back in the fridge.

Fig & Walnut Puffs

My mum gave me a bag of her beautiful figs. I have NEVER cooked with figs. So i googled. And with the pastry I had left over, made these little parcels of love!

20 ripe figs
3 sheets puff pastry
some sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
4 tbs honey

Using a mug or cup, cut out pastry rounds and place in a well oiled muffin tin. Sprinkle a little sugar in each. Cut the stalk off the figs and slice into approx four pieces. Layer 3-4 pieces in each pastry basket. Warm walnuts and honey in the microwave. Top figs with walnuts. sprinkle a little more sugar over each. cook in warm over until golden. serve with ice-cream.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Still doing it

Just wanted to quickly update that my mile a day challenge in feb is still well and truly happening. I walk every day without fail and even attempted some running at the farm last week! It's not always easy - sometimes I have to walk after the kids are in bed or first thing in the morning before they wake up ( killer) and I've even taken to bringing them with me in the pram! At work I walk every lunch break around the streets of richmond or too and from the train station - I find a way to make it happen!!! And with some calorie guidance from fitnesspal app I have managed to lose two kilos!!! Could not be happier!

Monday, January 23, 2012

And so it begins...

Committed. That's me. While I could have been sitting on the verandah of my mother-in-laws beautiful farm, drinking wine and watching the wind whip the trees, I was instead taking up the mile a day challenge. Maggie came with me. I think she likes this new health kick :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's all about me.

I can't even believe I am about to write these words. My fingers are all numbing over, and they aren't even the part of me that will benefit the most from what I am about to admit to the internet.

I have just committed to a mile a day challenge, hosted by the lovely JewelChic. I was leaving random comments on her facebook page, jealous quips about how lucky she is to lead the life she leads (makes jewellery, travels the world, is uber positive) when it dawned on me. 'Em, that can be you'. You don't have to sit back and watch someone else do it. You can actually get up and do it yourself. Not be the next jewelchic, but you know, start working on me.

So I said I would begin by running 1 mile a day over the month of Feb. Not too mean a feat really. But it's less about the mileage and more about smileage. I want to start feeling good about how I look (two babies, post baby weight, snacking all day, drinking red wine etc etc) and I also want to improve how I feel. I spoke recently about my pre menstrual troubles and I feel that there are so many things I could be doing better that I just let slide. Exercise is one of them. It realise good endorphins, right? And if I feel like I'm getting some time for me, perhaps I may feel less trapped that all my time is devoted to the kids.

In conjunction with this new challenge, I am heading to a yoga class on Monday night. It's a free one, and I wanna check out the centre, so no major commitment just yet. But my lovely husband has said he will pay for a full course should I like it. Ben is a big meditation fan and wants me to feel the benefits.

With my new job I also have three days where I can really think about what I'm eating. I am very good with my meals, snack only on fruit, and really look forward to dinner when I get home at the end of the day.

These are small changes, I know, but changes none the less. And I'm proud of even giving it a go. I will document some of my challenge moments here. Share the odd healthy recipe when I come across it, and boost my triumphs as they are realised. Wish me luck people!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Whirl of Christmas.

Christmas. Over. So fast. So tiring. So much fun. Here are a few photos from the many that we took over the last few weeks. We've been up to so much here in Melbourne.

I made homemade muesli for all the important women in my life. Mum, sisters, mother-in-law. It was very well recieved and they seemed to like it. Will post the recipe as soon as I get uno momento.

Santa brought Tom a trolley to pull around. Annie loved it.

Santa (my father) made this dolls house for Annie. We found all the beautiful wooden furniture in a store called Early Learning Centre. She's had her head in it ever since.

We finally got Tom's seat attached to my bike. On Christmas Eve we all took a little bike ride before dinner. It was so lovely and as you can see Tom LOVED it.

Christmas Eve dinner was just me, my wonderful husband, our delightful kids who I love so much it hurts and this meal I made. Fennel and salt rubbed pork with broccolini, kipfler potatoes and a red currant glaze. Oh, and the most unforgettable pinot noir that I have ever tasted and have since forgotten the name of.