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The BIG salad!

What is a big salad? Why does it have to be big? How do l make a big salad? Do l need a big bowl? What would l put in a big salad? Will l be able to eat it all?

So many questions to address before we even start. 

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Fresh and colourful

Eating a wholefoods based diet is supported by food planning. For me this requires the preparation of a BIG salad usually twice a week. This enables me to have a fresh salad on hand at all times. Eating raw foods is wonderful for your overall health, supports satiety and digestion.

I usually base my salads on a green such as spinach or cabbage (either red or green). From there l just add my favourite ingredients. Some times it is more green than others, and then when l use beetroot as one example there is a colour explosion.

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Red cabbage and beetroot add to the colour in this salad.

Fresh herbs from the garden can add a lovely element to the salad. I like to use flat leaf parsley and sometimes mint. Some of my favourite vegetables are daikon, celery, carrot, fennel and capsicum. Try to use seasonal vegetables and the freshest ones possible so the salad keeps well.

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Almost a coleslaw

I have a really big bowl that l use to mix my salads. As the volume goes down after a day or so l transfer it to a smaller bowl or container. Sometimes l drain off the extra liquid at this step. The salad can be served at any meal and is so handy to have in the fridge.

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These colourful salads are enticing to the taste buds.

I often add nuts and seeds to the salads. Usually l choose walnuts, flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds. I dress the salad with a mix of cold pressed olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon/lime juice, sea salt and black pepper. I mix it in a small glass and blend it with a hand mixer before adding it to the salad.

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The chewing required to eat these salads starts the digestive process.

Mostly the salads keep really well. After a few days if l have some leftover and l want a new salad l use the remainder in an omelette. It is a very economical way to meal prep. I also mostly use my food processor to make the salads but if it is greens based l will sometimes cut and grate the vegetables the old fashioned way. I find the cabbage is sliced beautifully in the food processor and it is so quick.

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Enjoy your salad as part of a balanced meal.

Experiment with your salads. How big the salad is will depend on the size of your family. I encourage you to eat as much salad as you can as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Buy seasonal and organic vegetables where possible and spend some time thinking about the ingredients that will work well together. It can take time to get used to eating salads. Chewing is important and the dressing can really make a difference to the flavour.

Eat well, Live well and Be well. 

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Vegetable Spaghetti lasagna

An incredible combination of flavours work together to create a sumptuous healthy dish that is sure to become a family favourite. Vegetable spaghetti slices are used in this recipe which is free of grains (gluten), dairy and nightshades. The filling combines grass fed beef, vegetables and bone broth and the topping has a gorgeous coconut flavour.

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A touch of rocket adds colour and texture.

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Purchase a vegetable spaghetti. Just one is needed to make a large lasagna.

The vegetable spaghetti is extremely versatile and it is often baked then used as a vegetable noodle but it can also be used in cooking just like a sweet potato or pumpkin which this recipe demonstrates. It slices very easily with a serrated or clean edge knife and provides a great base for flavoursome ingredients as it doesn’t have a strong flavour itself.

Start with fresh ingredients:

One whole vegetable spaghetti (if unavailable substitute with pumpkin or sweet potato)

1 kg grass fed beef mince (buy the best you can)

1 large onion (any variety-chopped)

2 cups of beef bone broth (ideally home made)

8 brussel sprouts (chopped)

1 handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (chopped)

Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Extra Virgin Olive oil to fry the beef mince

Pumpkin seeds for the top layer

Topping: (use your judgement here and add more or less depending on how you like it).

1 tablespoon coconut flour

2 tablespoons shredded coconut

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Method:

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Peel the vegetable spaghetti

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Thinly slice the vegetable and remove the seeds with a spoon.Keep aside while preparing the filling.

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Brown the mince and onion in a large saucepan with the olive oil. When nicely browned using just a medium to low heat add the chopped brussel sprouts, parsley and seasoning. Finally add the stock and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Using a largish rectangular baking dish start layering the lasagna. The first layer is the meat filling.

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Next add a layer of vegetable spaghetti and repeat this three times.

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The final layer of meat mixture.

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Ensure the top layer looks nice with the vegetable spaghetti rings overlapping. Drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds across the layer.

Bake in a 180 degree celcius oven until you can see the juices bubbling and the top layer is starting to brown. At this point remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle on the flour and shredded coconut. Add small blobs of coconut oil over the top which will melt and create a gorgeous flavour.

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When you have added the extra ingredients to the top layer return the dish to the oven for about ten more minutes.

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Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving.

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This is a very economical dish that will last several nights if you are feeding a few people. It can be frozen into individual serves and can be plated up with a nice salad or colourful vegetables.

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Served here with a colourful salad.

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Sweet Potato Rosti

A Sweet and delicious meal option that can be served hot or cold. Make them the feature of the meal, a side dish or a snack. Easy to make and a meat free, tasty and versatile Rosti that is gluten, dairy and sugar free.

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Served here with a pan fried egg and a colourful salad.

Ingredients:

Two medium sized orange sweet potato coursely grated

6 free range or organic eggs (700g)

Pink rock salt/Celtic Sea sat and Ground Black pepper to taste

One small onion (any variety or spring onions)-diced

A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (add other herbs if you have them)-chopped

1 generous tablespoon Coconut Flour

Method:

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Mix all ingredients in a bowl

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Place spoonfuls into a medium heated pan using a healthy oil (olive oil or coconut oil) and gently fry.

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Gently turn over and fry the second side.

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The Rosti hold together well and can be picked up without falling apart.

2015-08-10 19.27.24I have a new podcast and would love you to listen and leave a review on iTunes. Just search The Wellness Buzz Podcast. I hope you enjoy it!

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Rustic Sunflower Seed Pizza

Sunflower seeds make a tasty, firm and filling base for this gluten and dairy free pizza. Enjoy a classic favourite with a twist which is a nice sometimes choice to brighten up your meal options when you are eating a restricted diet. 

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A hearty meal.

Ingredients:

2 cups of raw activated sunflower seeds

2 free range eggs

1/2 cup of coconut flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

Herbs (add your favourite herbs for an extra tasty base).

Method:

Place all ingredients in the food processor (chopping blade) and process until the sunflower seeds are broken down to resemble an almond meal type consistency (rustic look).

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The processed mixture

This mix will make three pizzas. The base is very filling and quite dry so it needs a generous layer of moist toppings. Divide the mix into three and roll each pile into a ball.

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Use a rolling pin and your hands to gently roll the mix out. Make the edges neat with the back of a spoon. Ensure the base is well compressed.

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Pre-bake the base in a 180 degree celsius oven until the edges are turning golden. Let cool.

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Place your toppings on the base. I used a lovely spicy mince that was cooked, a large beaten egg and fresh rosemary. You can add more toppings than this as the base can hold them well.

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The cooked pizza.

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Top with rocket and enjoy.

This pizza was very nice cold the next day. It is extremely filling so you don’t need a huge serve. I would add a moist salad to it as well that has a dressing plus avocado as an example.

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Rolled Chicken Breast

A delicious herb and nut filling compliments the tenderness of the chicken breast to form the base of the meal. Served hot or cold, each rolled chicken breast serves three people if you have a portion as in the pictures below which highlights the importance of balancing the meal out with an abundance of healthy raw and cooked vegetables.

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Serve cold with salad or vegetables.

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Served hot out of the pan with honey and sesame pumpkin, steamed brussel sprouts and baked swede chips.

You can use as many chicken breasts as you like but l buy the free-range breasts in a pack of two. Give them a good wash with filtered water and pat dry.

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Place the chicken breast in between two pieces of cling wrap. Put a tea towel under the chopping board in preparation for the flattening of the chicken as this will make the noise less and stop the board moving on the bench.

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Flatten the chicken so that it is a nice shape by gently pounding it with a wooden rolling pin.

Make the filling by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor, or alternatively cut and chop them by hand and mix in a bowl. Change any of the ingredients if you don’t like the flavour combination or add in some more spices. The ingredients below don’t have to be exact as long as there are a good mix of flavours.

Ingredients for the filling:

4 brussel sprouts

2 spring onion green tops

1/2 cup raw activated walnuts

1/4 cup raw activated pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Pink rock salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1/2 cup fresh parsley and mint (or any other herbs you have)

A few leaves of silverbeet (use spinach, kale or bok choy as an alternative)

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A food processor is convenient here but not essential.

Spread the filling on top of the chicken breasts.

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The free range chicken breasts flattened and topped with the filling.

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Roll the breast around the filling

Use kitchen string to gently hold the breast in place. Tie the string at each end and push in any filling that has come out. Gently lift onto a lined baking tray and drizzle with your favourite oil, pink rock salt and black pepper.

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The rolled and tied chicken breast drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, pink rock salt and black pepper.

Cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook until the chicken is golden and then take the foil off and let it brown or place under the grill ensuring it doesn’t dry out.

Another option is to pan fry the rolled chicken which will give a more golden appearance.

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Cook on a very low heat with the lid on.

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Both the oven and fry pan methods work well.

Carefully cut the string along the length of the chicken and remove. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving.

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Golden and delicious

There are so many fillings that would be delicious with this recipe. I am going to try a pumpkin or sweet potato filling next, but the combinations are really endless.

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Have one for dinner and the second one cold the next day. A great way to add variety to the same dish and the flavours are quite different between the warm and cold versions.

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If rolling the chicken is a challenge just slice the breast down the middle and stuff with the filling. This filling in this meal was just silverbeet, spring onion green tops, coconut oil, walnuts and seasoning.

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bulk wholefoods

 

Raw Peppermint and Chia Seed Slice.

This is the most amazing raw Paleo treat and my first adventure into the world of peppermint. Imagine the combination of a chunky base, a smooth creamy peppermint flavoured middle and a rich layer of chocolate on top. The combination is decadent yet completely gluten and dairy free. 

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Completely delicious and made from all natural ingredients

A food processor is required for this recipe and if you are super organised you will have soaked you cashews for a few hours in cool water. If not, don’t worry as it just makes the middle section creamier. There are three layers so start at the bottom and just work your way up.

First of all find a suitable pan or baking dish. It can’t be too large or the bottom layer will be very thin. Be guided by how much of the bottom mix you had. I used a smallish square tin and it was perfect. The middle layer is quite high so if you want a smaller middle layer just halve the recipe. Line the tin with baking paper so there is a generous amount above the tin and this is important as when you pour the chocolate layer on top it is very liquid and needs to be held in place.

Bottom Layer

Place into the food processor:

1 cup of raw activated almonds (or similar)

1/2 cup of shredded coconut

2 tablespoons coconut oil (l didn’t melt mine but you could gently do this).

8 medjool dates deseeded.

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Ready to be processed

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Pulse until an even texture is achieved

Place this mix into your pan and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Make sure the layer is even.

Middle Layer

Into the food processor add:

1 tablespoon black chia seeds

250g raw cashews (soaked or not. It will still work out either way)

1 good sized avocado (skin and seed removed)

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

1 1/2 ml peppermint oil for a medium flavour or 2 ml for a strong flavour.

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Just real ingredients. I didn’t melt my coconut oil but you could.

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Use peppermint oil made for cooking and not essential oil. This is very important. 

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Mix well until creamy!

Place on top of the bottom layer and spread out evenly.

Top Layer

Into the food processor place:

2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup

2 tablespoons of raw cacao

2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Pinch of sea salt

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Give it a quick mix. Its a bit messy.

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Pour onto the top of the other layers. This is where having enough baking paper is important.

Place into the freezer for several hours. Overnight is best as it is quite thick.

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Getting it out of the tin was a challenge so using a tin with a bit of give worked well as l could move the edges a bit to loosen. I think a ceramic dish would work better though.

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Slice into small pieces and serve some and freeze the rest. It makes an enormous number of portions and great to keep in the freezer as a go to snack. 

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Imagine serving this to your friends or family. They will think you are so clever.

The three layers work together so well and eating a treat that is made of all natural and whole foods is such a joy.

You can follow me daily on Instagram at holistic_paleo or on Facebook at Primal Living Melbourne or Holistic Wellness For Life. 

Sweet potato slice

Combine the gorgeous flavour of sweet potato with warming spices and you have a delicious slice that is a taste sensation, especially if you eat it warm. Who would have thought that sweet potato would be so delicious in baked goods!

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A beautiful slice to share with your friends.

Ingredients:

1 medium sized sweet potato peeled, steamed, mashed and cooled (about 2 cups when mashed)

1 dessert spoon of granulated stevia or the equivalent of pure stevia.

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I used this product and used just two tiny scoops as there are two teaspoons in one dessert spoon

1/2 a cup of organic honey

¼ cup organic coconut oil

2 free range eggs (beaten)

1 cup of coconut flour (squash the lumps)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon all spice

½ teaspoon organic vanilla essence

2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free).

Method:

Pre-heat a fan forced oven to approximately 160 degrees celsius or a bit higher depending on your oven. Grease a slice tray with organic coconut oil. I used a glass dish and that worked well. Line the base with baking paper. Gently mix all of the ingredients together with a spatula ensuring everything is evenly distributed.

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Add the sweet potato after you have mixed the rest of the ingredients.

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Mixing all of the ingredients before adding the sweet potato.

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Smooth the top of the mix with the spatula.

Place in the oven and cook until golden on top and just coming away from the edge of the baking dish.

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Let it cool in the dish and then use a knife to cut around the edge.

Place the cooling rack on top of the slice and with a t-towel so you don’t burn your hands flip the cooling rack and slice tray up-side down so that the slice is out of the dish and on the tray. You can then use a second cooling rack to turn the slice over to the right side.

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Looking and smelling delicious.

When the slice has cooled cut into small pieces and display on a nice plate.

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I transferred it from the cooling rack to a chopping board to slice.

You can wrap each piece individually with cling wrap and place in the freezer and then pop into your lunch box. This would be delicious as a dessert and eaten warm is really mouth watering. I have even eaten this slice straight from the freezer as it is also delicious frozen with a completely different texture.

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A challenge to have just one piece.

You can follow me daily on Instagram at Holistic_Paleo as l share all of my meals and some other interesting pictures. I also have two Facebook sites called Holistic Wellness For Life and Primal Living Melbourne. 

If you have enjoyed this post please share it with a friend. Thankyou Carolyn