20 pantry items to kickstart a healthy 2017

If I could force everyone to have 2 New Year’s Resolutions they would be to drastically reduce high-fructose foods & to start purchasing pantry staples from bulk stores, using their own jars.

My top 20 pantry items to kickstart your healthy 2017 are:

1. Nuts – a quick, easy snack high in protein & fat to fill you up & ward off sugar cravings

2. Buckwheat – a versatile ingredient delicious in a home made muesli, great soaked overnight in stewed berries & coconut yoghurt for a gluten-free vegan bircher. I buy a big jar from Naked Foods.

3. almond meal – muffins, cookies, crumble topping, muesli. Such a versatile gluten-free ingredient

4. Coconut oil – cook with it, use it in a vegan chocolate or slather it all over your body or through your hair. You can buy an organic coconut oil in Aldi or Woolworths for less than $7 a jar.

5. Olive oil – cook with it, use in dressings or in a low-fructose cake.

6. A variety of spices including zaatar, cumin, chilli, sumac, curry powder, cinnamon, Ovvio Organic turmeric – spices pimp any dish & make them way more interesting.

7. peanut butter – one of my all time favourite Asian dressings combines PB, tamari & freshly squeezed lime. An easy toast topper. Buy organic only (even Coles & Woolworths have their own organic PB) & check nothing is added like oils or sugar.

8. Tahini – delicious in a dressing with freshly squeeezed lemon & turmeric. Also adds a delicious element to home made chocolate. Mayver’s hulled tahini is the best.

9. Tamari – adds flavour to any dish, it’s a gluten-free version of soy sauce, made with whole soy beans & no added sugar. I buy Pureharvest brand Tamari.

10. cacao – no brainer here – to make all kinds of sweet treats. Cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cacao. You can even buy it in stores like Aldi now.

11. rice malt syrup – my favourite sweetener. It’s low-fructose & derived from rice. It is a lot less sweet than honey so as you lose your sweet tooth it gives sweet treats just enough sweetness, especially in chocolate . I love Pureharvest which can be found in Coles & Woolworths.

12. quinoa – it’s been round a few years & I always have a store of it, great to bulk up salads or to serve as a gluten-free alternative to pasta

13. sesame seeds – they add flavour & texture to any dish, & are especially good in Asian dishes like a noodle salad. I also sneak them into my vegan chocolate often.

14. pepitas – enjoy them raw, sprinkle them over a black rice salad, lightly roast them with some tamari & chilli for an irresistible snack

15. sunflower seeds – have them raw as a snack, lightly roast them, sprinkle them over salads.

16. Herbal tea – I always choose organic teas as tea is a crop heavily sprayed in pesticides. Have a few varieties – I love Clipper organic peppermint, Spiral organic Genmai Cha, & usually a flavoured white tea or a herbal combination – currently it’s Pukka Night Time & Revitalise.

17. Organic coffee – I make myself a black organic filter Coffee most mornings. No wasteful coffee cups  & you can have your caffeine hit before walking out the door. We all win!

18. Chia seeds – at about 20% protein, chia seeds are great to pimp the nutritional value of a smoothie. You can also use chia seeds in place if an egg.

19. organic Miso soup – I love the Spiral Foods brand organic Miso – a quick, easy snack with 0.14g sugar & 0.92g fat per serve.

20. Tuna – It’s worth checking out this Greenpeace Tuna Sustainability Guide before buying. Hands down, Fish 4 Ever is the most sustainable brand, which you can buy in About Life.

Quinoa & pumpkin salad | GF VEGAN

To me, these elements make the perfect meal for me: sweet (sweet potato, pumpkin), fresh (herbs or green veg), spice (normally fresh chilli or flakes), salty (olives, feta, capers, Himalayan pink salt).

Generally speaking I enjoy high fat meals, with minimal processed foods in my diet.

1/2 cup white quinoa (when uncooked)
1 baby pumpkin, skin on
Olives, handful (I like Kalamta & pitted are much less work!)
1/2 cup Basil
1 tbspn Thyme
Olive oil, to taste
Himalayan pink salt (optional), to taste
Chilli (optional), to taste

METHOD
1. Slice the pumpkin & put in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil @ 180-200 degrees celsius. Set the timer for 45 minutes
2. Cook the quinoa to packet instructions. I think the absorption method is easiest.
3. Toss the quinoa with pumpkin, tear fresh basil & sprinkle thyme.
4. The dressing is optional – use your desired combination of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, chilli & Himalayan pink salt, to your personal taste.

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BBQ salmon & quinoa

How good is BBQ salmon? Somehow it doesn’t taste as rich to me when BBQd. Pair it with a really simple quinoa salad & you’ve got an easy dinner for 1.

WHAT YOU NEED FOR 2 (it is a meal that keeps well for lunch the next day)
2 skinless, boneless salmon fillets (please peeps, do yourself a favour & buy wild rather than farmed*)
2/3 cup (when uncooked) quinoa – I used tri-colour but whatever floats your boat.
1 lemon – zest the whole thing (thanks Microplane for making this easy!), then juice it.
Sh*tload of parsley – I think this equates to approx 2/3 cup in metric
2 cups lettuce – the darker, the more nutrient rich.
Optional: we happened to have some slow-roasted baby tomatoes in the fridge which I added – really not essential….& in fact I’m not even sure the sweetness was necessary.

METHOD
1. Boil a pot of water – check how much water to put in on the quinoa pack
2. Turn the BBQ on
3. Depending on your multi-tasking skills, you can chop the parsley now (otherwise leave until quinoa is cooling)
4. BBQ the salmon to your desired
5. Quinoa tends to take about 12-15 minutes. Once done, I let it cool for 5 minutes then stir through chopped parsley, lemon zest, juice of lemon & olive oil
PLATE UP, THEN EAT UP!

*you know something can’t be good when a cancer patient has been told to exclude farmed salmon from their diet. From my understanding, part of it is the carcinogenic soy they are fed but please, I’m not a professional, & would love to hear your feedback on this

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quinoa, pumpkin, capsicum, parsley salad

I just made this salad up with what ingredients I had at home…..This was enough for 2 people (or in my case for me only for lunch & dinner!)

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup quinoa (I used tricoloured but any type is fine)
1 medium red capsicum/pepper
1 cup pumpkin
1 large Dutch (purple) carrot
1 cup parsley
1/2 tbspn sunflower seeds
1/2 tbspn parmesan

METHOD
1. Roast the capsicum: 180 degrees Celsius. Most people just wrap in foil w olive oil but I don’t like foil touching my food (weirdo?!) so I lay a piece of foil in a baking tin, then lay a piece of baking paper on top, throw the capsicum in & then squeeze up so it’s wrapped like an untidy present. Cook for 45 mins.
2. Cut the pumpkin into small cubes, line a tray w baking paper & cook for 45 mins @ 180 degrees Celsius.
3. While capsicum & pumpkin are in the oven, cook your quinoa. I did 1/2 cup quinoa + 1.5 cups water, simmered for 15 mins then take off the stove & put straight in a bowl so it stops cooking.
4. If you’ve still got some time to kill w veg in the oven, chop the parsley & peel & slice the Dutch carrot
5. Stir parsley into quinoa. It will almost look like tabbouleh.
6. When pumpkin cooked, take out of oven & throw straight into the bowl
7. Capsicum can cool a bit then be sliced into strips & thrown into the bowl.
8. Throw in the sliced purple carrot
9. Grate some parmesan over the top – (the saltiness is needed as capsicum & pumpkin are so sweet.)
10. Scatter some sunflower seeds on top for a great crunchy texture

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Quinoa & Chickpea fritters

Fritters are one of the easiest meals to prepare & are a great way to get veggies into kids! It is also a meal you can prepare very quickly

INGREDIENTS
1 tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed really well
2 eggs
1/3 cup quinoa, cooked
1 carrot, grated
1/2 zucchini, grated
1/2 cup broccoli, steamed for 2 minutes
2 tbspns flour of choice (gluten-free / wholemeal)

OPTIONAL ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped

PREP
1. Cook quinoa. Drain any excess liquid & allow to cool
2. Steam broccoli for 2 minutes then drain immediately & allow to cool
3. Grate zucchini & carrot, then put in a mixing bowl.
4. Throw chickpeas, eggs & cooled broccoli in food processor – blend but don’t purée.
5. Pour lumpy mixture into bowl w carrot & zucchini, then stir.
6. Tip in quinoa & stir again.
7. Slowly pour in flour & mix gently.

COOKING
1. Heat up a pan w oil of your choice (coconut / olive)
2. Spoon in fritters, flip once & drain on paper towel

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