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A back-to-work meal plan

  
Well, by now I have survived my first week back at work.  And of course, because it’s the new year, I had grand plans to bring lunch, eat well, save money, all the rest of it.

For the first week at least, I think I did ok.  I had a couple of quiet days at home before I had to go back to work, and I used them to prepare some food and get all set for the week.  I also managed to make a big batch of lamb tagine to freeze for when I’m feeling lazy later on.

I also received a couple of recipe books for Christmas, so I wanted to try them out.

If you’re following this meal plan, the main things you need to do on the weekend are make the quinoa salad (recipe to follow next week) and the zucchini bites – they’ll both keep all week without any problem.  If you feel up to it, put on a pot of chicken stock for the soup as well.

Back-to-work meal plan

Breakfast

Smoothies, plus toast and muesli.

Lunch

Tess: quinoa salad and papaya salsa.  Lachie: Salami and cheese sandwiches

Snacks

Tess: zucchini bites. Lachie: zucchini bites and pistachio couscous.

Dinner

Saturday – Lamb, pumpkin and chickpea tagine

  • I love this recipe, and it’s great for freezing.  Yoghurt and extra nuts are great additions to up the fat content.  I made a couple of extra batches of the couscous as well and put them aside for later in the week.

Sunday  – Pistachio crusted tuna with papaya salsa and broccoli

  • This was a recipe from one of the cookbooks I received, and it was amazing.  I only made half the tuna because there were only two of us, but I made a full batch of the salsa and had the rest of it through the week. (I also saved some of the ground pistachios and mixed them with the leftover couscous and some feta)

Monday – Honey soy chicken

Tuesday – Prawn stir-fry with edamame, asparagus and spinach

Wednesday – Chicken enchiladas

  • This is one of the first recipes I posted on CF Kitchen, and it’s a really great one for loading up the calories.

Thursday – Leek and white bean soup

  • This is another recipe from a cookbook I got at Christmas.  I made a side salad (mostly for me), and cheesy croutons (for Lachie) to go with it.

We went out on Friday.  We deserved it.

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A CF-Kitchen smoothie

Welcome back!

Since my last blog post (almost a year ago), I’ve had quite an eventful year.  We had a hospitalisation, I went travelling around Europe for six weeks, and (the biggest news of all) … Lachie and I got engaged.

With all of this happening, I let the blog slip by the wayside a bit.  But now that it’s the new year, I’ve decided to relaunch.  And with an upcoming wedding (not until the end of the year), I have even more incentive than before to keep Lachie healthy, and to look my best for the wedding.

So with that in mind, here are my smoothie recipes.  I make one of these smoothies most mornings (it’s about the only way I can actually make myself eat breakfast), pour out half the mixture for myself, and then mix through a few spoonfuls of protein powder for Lachie’s smoothie.  We have hospital-grade Sustagen, but just use the recommended amount of whatever protein powder you prefer.

It’s quick, easy, portable, and gives us both some fibre and probiotics to help with digestion as well.  My Thermomix has built in scales which makes it really easy, but if your blender doesn’t have that you can pre-measure everything.

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Berry Smoothie

  • 200g frozen mixed berries (I use half raspberries and half blueberries)
  • 50g rolled oats
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g milk
  • 3 scoops of Sustagen

Mix all ingredients except the Sustagen in a blender for about 3 minutes (use Speed 7 on the Thermomix), or until smooth.  Pour out half the mixture then add Sustagen.  Mix for another minute and then pour the remaining mixture into a separate glass.

Mango spinach

  • 200g frozen mango
  • 50g baby spinach (optional, but you won’t be able to taste it at all).
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 200g milk
  • 40g shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients except the coconut in a blender for about 3 minutes (use Speed 7 on the Thermomix), or until smooth.  Pour out half the mixture then add coconut.  Mix for another minute and then pour the remaining mixture into a separate glass. (You can add a bit of coconut into the non-CF smoothie as well if you like.)

What’s your go-to breakfast?  And for the people with CF, what do you do to make supplements taste better?

 

 

 

Thai beef salad

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Here’s another light, easy salad for those lazy summer days. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe for the coriander and chilli dressing, but changed all the vegetables in the salad (taking out the red onions because I don’t like them very much, throwing in various things that I wanted to use up, adding some mixed lettuce and bean sprouts for the vitamins). The dressing was totally overwhelming when I tasted it straight, but very good in the salad.

The next timeI made it, I tried to add some extra fat into the recipe by mixing coconut milk powder into the dressing.  It was so good I practically drank it. I’d also recommend the coconut milk version for anyone who doesn’t like too much chilli.

Ingredients

For dressing

  • 2 fresh red thai chillies, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 bunch fresh coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder

For salad

  • Canola oil spray
  • 400g been rump steak
  • 100g mixed lettuce leaves
  • 2 large handfuls bean sprouts
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 a red capsicum, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lebanese cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup thai basil leaves
  1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients except the dressing in a blender and process until smooth. It will be necessary to stop every ten or twenty seconds to scrape down the sides.
  2. To make the coconut dressing, combine about half the chilli paste with the coconut milk powder, and stir until the coconut has dissolved. Add 1tbsp of boiling water to make into a runny dressing.
  3. Spray the canola onto a hot frypan, and fry the beef for three minutes on each side or until well done.  Remove and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing finely.
  4. To serve, toss the beef with all other salad ingredients in a large bowl. Divide between bowls and serve with the two dressings in different bowls.

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Barbecue salmon and vegetables

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On summer weekends, I love to cook dinner on our little Weber on the balcony. It means I’m out in the sun and the fresh air, there’s almost no washing up afterwards, and it just feels special (or at least novel). And of course, that char-grilled flavour everything gets can’t be beaten. This is something I love to make when I’m not sure I’ve been getting enough greens lately, and want to make sure I’m eating something healthy.

The first time I made this, I’d bought some zucchini and asparagus, and then added the spring onions from the bottom of the vegetable crisper. I’d never barbecued spring onions before, but a former housemate had told me it was a Spanish specialty, so I was keen to try it. I served the whole lot on a bed of peppery rocket fresh from my garden, and drizzled with some lemon-flavoured olive oil.

The olive oil is added last, so you can vary how much goes on each plate (there’s really no such thing as ‘too much’ olive oil in this dish). If you want to increase the fat content further, top the vegetables with some feta. Yummy.

Ingredients

  • 2 150g salmon fillets, skin on.
  • 2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 5mm thick slices lengthwise
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 6 spring onions, outermost layer removed
  • 2 handfuls rocket
  • Good quality olive oil for drizzling
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat up a barbecue  until temperature inside the hood is over 150C.
  2. Spread the zucchini, asparagus and spring onions over the grill. Replace the cover and leave for 5 minutes.
  3. Flip the vegetables over and place the salmon on the grill skin-side down. Replace the cover and leave for three minutes.
  4. Flip the fish and leave for a further three minutes. If necessary, turn the vegetables again. After three minutes, remove everything from the heat.
  5. To serve, divide the rocket between two plates. Arrange the zucchini, asparagus and spring onions over the two plates and place the salmon on top. Season with salt, pepper and lemon. Drizzle with olive oil.

 

Nut milk

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Recently, L was on a medication that interacted with calcium, and this meant he couldn’t have milk in the morning. Most commercially available non-dairy milks are calcium fortified, for obvious reasons, so they were out as well. Since L loves to have tea in the morning, I decided to try to find the best nut milk for him while he’s on this medication.

The three nut milks I tried were almond milk, cashew milk and hazelnut milk. All of them were made using the same method (outlined below).

Despite the popularity of almond milk, I would actually recommend either cashew milk or hazelnut milk, depending on what you’re after.

Hazelnut milk had a distinctive (in a good way) nutty flavour, and was the best when it was drunk on its own. In tea it was very enjoyable, although the flavour was quite different to regular milk. Hazelnuts also have a considerably higher fat content than almonds or cashews, which is good for CF-ers.

If you want something that closely matches milk, you should use cashes. Cashew milk was the most milk-like once it was added to tea, but not very good on its own. The cashew seems to break up into smaller pieces when blended, which gives it more body but can also make it a little gritty.

Over to you, readers. Have you made your own non-dairy milks? Do you have a favourite that I should try?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of the nuts of your choice (raw, unsalted)
  • 2 cups of water
  1. Soak the nuts in water overnight or for up to 48 hours.
  2. Drain the nuts and rinse well. They should be slightly squishy to touch.
  3. In a blender, combine 1 cup of nuts and 2 cups of water. Blend until nuts are ground into a fine meal.
  4. Strain out the nut meal using a fine sieve or cheesecloth.
  5. If you plan to drink the milk on its own, sweeten to taste with a small amount of honey. If you will be using it in tea or coffee, don’t sweeten until it is added to tea or coffee.

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NB: Some recipes for almond milk say to remove the skins. I tried both and thought that leaving the skins on gave the milk slightly more body, but didn’t make a significant difference. I would recommend leaving the skins on and saving yourself some trouble.

Don’t throw the nut meal away. I will share some recipes for using it up on Wednesday and Friday.