Thursday, 29 November 2012

Simple Mango Smoothie

For the last two months or so, I’ve been starting to enjoy having smoothies with my breakfasts occasionally. They’re a quick combination of yummy fruit, lots of protein, nuts and even more nuts in the milk. I might also like them because of the fact that we have glasses that make them look kinda cafe-style. I have a few little mini stories about my two-month progression of smoothie-making and I thought that I could just collect them all and include them all here. So excuse the random jumping around here.

My favourite smoothie fruit is mango. I tried a banana smoothie once, but it was too.. gaggy for me. I think I’ll have more bananas in their whole form before I move onto having bananas in any mashed, mushed or squishy form. I’ve also tried pumpkin and that would have to be my second favourite. And orange just doesn’t work at all; it’s all watery and stuff and that doesn’t go well with the powder. I don’t think I’ve experimented with any other fruits... Does anyone have any ideas for other fruits/vegetables I could try?

It’s a little against my ideals, but I got myself a big bucket of protein powder a while ago and I’ve been popping a tablespoon of it into my smoothies. When I first got it, I couldn’t find a scoop so I assumed it didn’t have one, but I eventually dug down to it and when I found it, it was GIGANTIC! It would have to be at least two tablespoons! How does someone fit all that powder into a smoothie that is supposed to be runny and slurpable? That wasn’t going to happen. Also, the powder I’ve got is unflavoured so it’s not the most... amazing taste in the world. But after having a tablespoon of it nearly daily, I’ve gotten used to it and sometimes I kinda crave a smoothie just for the (overwhelming) taste of the powder. It’s kinda weird. I guess it’s like how I initially detested tahini and now I love it.

I entered a healthy chicken nugget competition some time ago and surprisingly I came a runner up! :D I was so excited that the people who were running it actually tried to make my funny nuggets that I think I was more excited about that than my actual prizes. One of prizes I got was a sample of super greens and reds so I tried it in my smoothie this morning instead of my protein powder and it smelled a bit spirulina-y before I tipped the little sachet in but it tasted great! Well, it didn’t exactly taste like anything; for once, I could taste the mango instead of any powder. It was a nice change from the protein powder, with all the organic vegetables, fruits and superfoods. I can’t say that I can feel any more energy or more vitalised or anything but it's got to be good for you.

I think it’s been two weeks now that I’ve improved the whole smoothie-making experience for myself. I used to own (actually, we still have it) a little tiny blender with a teeny baby 250ml cup thing to put the content in, and while I can actually control how much fruit I need to make a smoothie the right size (or else I’d make a batch for a small community), the stuff at the top wouldn’t be as blended as the stuff at the bottom so I came to liking the idea of a chunky smoothie. A couple of weeks ago, like I said, I upped the ante and I got a big 1.5L blender. I could not be more excited; I could finally have smooth smoothies! So of course now my smoothies are far too big to fit into one glass.

I think that covers all my little stories for now! I don’t even know how I have such a variety of things to talk about when it comes to smoothies, because I barely stray from this super-short ingredient list and I’ve barely had my share of smoothie time. So here’s the recipe to the one-and-only simple smoothie!

Simple Mango Smoothie

Serves 1

flesh from 1 big mango cheek plus all you can get off the stone
1 tbsp nut butter (I have almond, walnut or peanut butter)
1 tbsp protein powder
non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
a couple of soaked almonds (optional)

Pop the first four ingredients in the blender in the order provided (I find it easiest this way, so that the nut butter or the powder doesn’t get caught up in the blade and do funny things) and when pouring the milk in, pour in about enough to cover three quarters of the content in there or enough to make it runny instead of a puree kind of thing. Pour into a pretty glass and sometimes I like to drop in a few soaked almonds :)


Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Knitted Babies Up for Sale!

Hey guys! So the other day, I was knitting at school at lunch time, as I always do, and I got a random request to make a unicorn for one of my friends. I'm used to the whole ordering-of-a-knitted-product thing so I guess it wasn't too random... But tonight I finished him and I think he's adorable!

She wanted a white unicorn with a light purple mane and a yellow horn so a white unicorn with light purple and yellow is what I made. But I wanted to make something stand out on him, something that wasn't so obvious like the horn... So I gave him teeny tiny legs! Aren't they cute? And yes, he does have legs, see?

I almost gave him a mouth, but I wasn't really quite sure how I should do it, and I think he already looked quite cute. And this way, you can make up whether he's happy or sad. He's almost so adorable I don't know how I'm going to give him away!

While I was sorting through my thousands of balls of wool trying to find the perfect purple and yellow to use, I came across some of the things I'd made earlier this year that didn't exactly get as much love as some others. You see, I made a batch of these little round people and some of them sold, but some of them didn't. I also found a few other little knitted creatures that didn't get to find a new home.

So I've decided to sell my little babies online! Well, almost. I'll post individual photos of all the little munchkins up soon but for now, here's a few of them:

From left to right, there's my little beaded hippie, my super cheery red man (the red men are part of a series, I made a few of them) and my little chicken.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pumpkin Lasagna? Challenge Accepted.

This afternoon, I asked my friend what I should make for dinner and the response I got (and wasn't expecting) was 'lasagna'. Outside, I said no. Inside, I proclaimed CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! and started brainstorming ideas for veggie-filled lasagnas without pasta. What could I include? Zucchini? Carrot? Tomato? But when my brain turned to 'pumpkin', I had ideas like crazy and knew that that would be what would be made.

The pumpkin was my second challenge. I got it last week and had neglected it because, well, I'd have to cut it up. But today I got home and carved that pumpkin up. He must've been seeking revenge for not being touched for a week, because he was soo hard to get a knife through! Every slice was like an opportunity to lose a finger, a toe or worse. But thankfully all the anger and frustration was all contained in his thick skin so he was a little looser on the inside.

I'd had a really fancy idea for this lasagna and I wanted to make a white creamy sauce only because I knew we had some cauliflower, but when I explained my idea to mum she just whipped up a batch of flour-butter-milk white sauce. Sigh. I wasn't going to try to explain my cauliflower sauce idea tonight so I just let it be. Mums always know how to cook food best, so I let her do it and decided that I'd make my super paleo idea another day.

This is also a bit of an unrecipe in terms of types of food to include. Yes, put pumpkin, but use whatever type you have that's been neglected in the fridge, and I had butternut. Use whatever sort of mince-y, cut-up meat you can get your hands on (I used half roast chicken breast, half pork mince because that was what was available). And feel free to include any other veggies that tickle your fancy in the mix!

Pumpkin 'Lasagna'

Serves 4

350g pumpkin
500g meat of some form that isn't a solid piece of muscle
clove of garlic, minced or chopped finely
some massive handfuls of spinach
2 tbs whole wheat plain flour
1 tbs butter
oil for spraying

Cut the pumpkin up so that you've got slices of pumpkin and not chunks of it, so it's about 5mm thick and as long and wide as possible (mine is about 10cm-15cm long and 5cm wide).
Steam the pumpkin for 10 minutes or until it's cooked a little and isn't going to fall apart when you pick it up.
Meanwhile, cook the meat if it's not already, with the garlic.
While that is all cooking, fry the flour and butter in a small saucepan and whisk until cooked, and add milk while whisking until the sauce reaches the consistency of a thick custard. Add salt if preferred.
Assemble the lasagna: To do this, cover the bottom of a deep pre-lined (oil or baking paper) baking dish with some pumpkin slices until you can't see 97% of the bottom.
Next, grab some spinach leaves and lay them onto the pumpkin.
Then grab the meat and layer it on top until all the spinach is covered by the meat. You might want to squish the layers down a little for this.
Pour some of the sauce on top and make sure it's all spread out and covering everything.
Repeat the assembly order until everything is used up.
Lightly spray the top of the whole thing with a touch of oil so it doesn't burn (I forgot to do this).
Pop the whole lot in a preheated-at-180-degrees oven on fan forced and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the sauce is all cooked inside.
Slice with a sharp spatula-type thing and serve.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Camp - for friends only

So I've gone another day not posting again. At least I realise it! I was only on camp for three days so I could've posted yesterday buuut... I was too caught up in knitting and dehydrating almonds. By the way, when they say that dehydrating nuts takes a while, they actually mean that it takes a while. How did I think I could spend 24 hours obsessing over the oven? I think it would be a lot more enjoyable if I could smell the almonds or if I focused when I first soaked them. I may have forgotten about vinegar-to-water ratios and now whenever I open the oven it smells like vinegar... Another oopsie. But I'm learning. I added some rosemary to counter the smell but it still hasn't gone away!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Shannon's Date in a Blankie

On Wednesday, we're going on camp for three days, two nights for school (I'm perfectly fine with the whole 'camping' thing, I'm just panicking a little over the food choices there) so tomorrow I'll be running around like crazy making sure everything is ready so I decided to post tonight to make up for it. I really hope I survive it, and get enough sleep! They said that lights out is 11pm so I think I'm going to be a little dead by the time I come back. Anyway, onto the recipe.

Last year, our Canadian friend, Shannon, stayed with us for a few weeks before going back home to Calgary (I sooo want to go there!) and before she left, she shared a recipe (well, it's more like an unrecipe) that she and her friends love back home. And when she made a batch of these for us, it's no wonder you can't eat just one! 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

How to Lose (x)kg

I am in no way shape or form a certified health practitioner, nutritionist or someone who's been studying for years on end to learn how to tell people what to eat or do, so don't take this all to heart. I was just asked by one of my mum's friends (she's mine too) on how to lose that last little bit of weight, so I decided to come up with an extremely loose and flexible sort of guide.

Around this time, everyone indulges on the Christmas feasts and the NYE drinks, so it might be a good idea to keep your weight in check and watch what you eat so you can feel a little less guilty come December 25 and 31.

A Sort of Guide to Losing the Last Kilos

I'd like to make this three sections:
- food
- exercise
- mind
and since I was asked to make a food plan, I won't delve into the exercise area too much.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Thai Chilli Coconut Roast

What do you do when you want beachy, summery flavours and a comforting wintery meal? You combine them of course! Last night it was a little colder than usual but I felt like a bit of chilli and coconut so I came up with a bit of a concoction:

Coconut oil
Chilli flakes
Cayenne pepper
Desiccated coconut
Thai seasoning

And mixed my chicken breast into it. If I wasn't being so lazy, I would've made more and mixed the veggies in it, but the coconut oil was in the fridge so I had to scrape it out instead of scooping it out. I need a small jar of it to keep in the cupboard for easier use. If you don't have coconut oil, feel free to use a light oil or some olive oil (my veggies got a dash of EVOO - extra virgin olive oil). It shouldn't make too much of a difference.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

My Rant about Dairy

Ok, I knew this day was coming where I wouldn't be able to keep to my posting promise. Oops! This'll probably happen more often when there's more Christmas parties...

The other day, I was about to have a rant about how you shouldn't eat/drink dairy when I didn't exactly have the words to actually say anything. I knew it's not good for you because of the hormones and that the dairy industry is absolutely foul in terms of animal rights and safety, but I didn't know the exact facts. So I did a little more research on it and found the stuff I had on the tip of my tongue, and I also found out a bit more that I didn't know.

Basically, cavemen didn't drink milk, so neither should we - to an extent. I'll get to the topic of cavemen at some point here.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Bracelets for Weight Loss (or any longish-term goals)

Since about April or May this year, I've had a bracelet around my wrist.

No one but mum has known what it's for, and no one really asked me. I usually don't like wearing things on my wrists apart from my watch so I've been surprised that no one has asked me why I kept a dirty little ugly-coloured braid on my wrist. The only questioning I've had about it was from one of my teachers who was out hunting for detentions to give to people when she saw my bracelet.

"What's that?" pointing to my bracelet.
"A bracelet..."
"Can you take it off?"
"Why not?"
"Because I can't."

Physically, by that stage, it was easily able to be removed from my wrist. But mentally? This bracelet was more about looks. Actually, if it was all about looks, it would have been long gone.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Baba Ghanoush

I can't say I'm impressed. However, I also can't say that I've had baba ghanoush before, so I have nothing to compare this to. I'm still not impressed.

I really wish I put in the effort to use the barbecue to cook the eggplant.
I wish I roasted the garlic.
I wish I had some spices, or at least the knowledge of which spices, to add to this dish.
I wish I added some salt.
I wish I had some salty pita bread in the house.
I wish baba ghanoush could be made with the eggplant still piping hot from the oven/barbecue to keep all the delicious smell in.

So obviously my baba ghanoush lacked a bit of flavour. But I can always add a bit of flavour later, right? Next time I have it (I'm thinking with eggs in the morning), I'll add a ton of flavour to it - I'm thinking salt, olive oil, cayenne - but if I make it again, I'll definitely smokey up the eggplant. Some smoke would make a difference I reckon!

More Recipes Coming Up!

Ok, so I might have been procrastinating and not putting anything up for the last few days... I mean weeks...

It's just that so much has been happening since my birthday. Last week we were going out every night, and we had a few exams on too, and basically I had other things to focus on than writing about the stuff I was focusing on.

I've also progressed a lot more in terms of health in the weeks I haven't been here. I've upped my calories and upped my workouts, and for me, increasing calories is kinda hard so I've had to be a bit inventive. I hope to post a smoothie recipe up soon! Speaking of smoothies, I've gotten myself a protein powder just to help with the weight gain a bit. It's 100% unflavoured raw sprouted rice protein, so if you can imagine that, you can imagine why I can only really have it in smoothies! It's just too... funny-tasting to be used anywhere else. I make sure I have some of it every day, so I'm slowly getting used to it.

These past few days I've been cooking a lot more as well (at the moment I've got an eggplant in the oven) so I've got some more recipes to post! None of them are my own but I've tweaked recipes a bit. I tend to tweak a lot of recipes...