Roasted veggie wrap with Herb Yogurt and #MeatfreeMonday

I say this often – and you will hear it often as a result:  I am convinced I am an undercover vegetarian.  My knee-jerk reaction, especially when it comes to planning my lunches – is to go for a meatfree option.  It may be that I feel that my lunches must be ‘lighter’ than dinners – or maybe it has got to do with the fact that Hubby isn’t too keen on vegetarian meals?  So although I don’t really need an excuse to do ‘Meatless/Meatfree Monday’ I do try to make it a ‘thing’.  Making the conscious effort to, at least for one day a week, try to have a vegetarian meal or two.

If you are keen to read a little bit more about this initiative:  https://www.meatfreemondays.com/

As a rule I also tend to overindulge over the weekends – yes, major facepalm, I should be over that by now!  It eases my conscience to know that, by going veggie for a meal or two I can at least TRY to rectify the ‘damage’.  (In that case I am a couple of hundred vegetarian meals behind!  LOL!).  Ag whatever, it is what it is, every little bit counts.

This is really such a simple meal, it doesn’t actually justify a full ‘recipe blogpost’, but here goes:

2 cups of roasted veggies – you can make up your own selection.  I used butternut, peppers, red onion and asparagus.  Place in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with some olive oil and coarsely ground salt (I used Woolies Garlic Salt).  Oven roast at 180C for about 30 minutes, until the veggies start to char a bit.

In the meantime, prepare the yogurt dressing:  175ml yogurt, mixed with a good sprinkling (about a teaspoon full) mixed herb seasoning.  This time around I used Woolies Za’ataar Blend.  This versatile blend contains roasted sesame seeds, Oregano, Sumac, Thyme – I added a few chili flakes as well.  Leave to ‘infuse’ for a bit – usually I use all my yogurt or mayonnaise dressings overnight.

Cool veggies slightly and serve on a wrap (I used the Weigh-Less ones, it is more the size of a soft taco, but it works well), and drizzle with yogurt dressing.

WL Breakdown – 2 CC, 2 Veg, 1 Fat, 1 Milk

 

 

 

Advertisements

Mushroom Hummus and Lunchtime Vibes

Chickpeas are one of my favourite ‘go to’ meals – especially for lunch, when you don’t have the chance – or time- to spend a lot of time preparing your meal.

I got into the habit of making my lunch either very early in the morning (not everyone is keen to plod around in the kitchen at 4.00 like I am!), or while making dinner – you’re in the kitchen anyway, why don’t you just multi-task while you’re at it.

I do believe that it is important to set time aside to prepare and plan your meals, especially if you’re trying to follow a healthy eating regime. If you don’t have a lot of discipline, like me, it is very easy to just get takeaways, or grab something at the shops during your lunchtime – and those options aren’t necessarily the healthier ones?

Another reason why I prefer to have my lunch ready-to-munch to moment lunchtime comes around is that it give you time to actually enjoy your meal. No rushing around, battling the lunchtime crowd at supermarket tills or drive-through franchises – you can just relax and enjoy every bite – while conversing and catching up will colleagues and friends at work, possibly even catching some rays and fresh air while taking a break from your desk.

Okay, that was a long story that actually didn’t have a lot to do with this recipe – just felt like chatting a bit 🙂

I love making my own hummus. Firstly, it is really not complicated at all, and I’ve learnt a few tricks and shortcuts along the way that makes it a little more affordable – and healthy – that the store-brought version. I also put my own spin on it, sometimes add some veggies to jazz it up a bit, adding veggies etc as well. Like this Roasted Butternut Hummus: https://tastehealthyum.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/roasted-butternut-hummus/ and the slight twist on it with the “Mexican” Butternut Hummus https://tastehealthyum.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/mexican-butternut-hummus/

I very seldom use the traditional tahini paste in my hummus – mainly because it is quite pricey.  When I was a group leader for well-known slimming club a while ago (yes, I was actually thin ONCE), I was on a mission to create meals and recipes that will be easy to prepare – and also wouldn’t break the bank.  Tahini paste retails at about R100 for 400g – it will take you quite far, but I can understand that not everyone is keen to spend it on a product, if they are not sure that they will use it often enough – or if they even will like the taste, for that matter.  So I replaced it with sesame oil.  Yes, granted, sesame oil is also quite pricey (we buy ours for a fraction of the normal retail price at China Town in Cyrildene), but the very concentrated flavour takes you quite far, so you don’t use a lot of it at all.

So, here goes:

2.5ml sesame oil

200g chopped brown mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

150g chickpeas (tinned – drained)

A pinch of salt and white pepper

Fry the mushrooms in the sesame oil – you can add a bit of stock or water if it sticks to be pan.  When soft, stir in the garlic and fry for a minute or two – making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend with a stick blender.  I prefer my hummus a little chunky, so I don’t blend it too much.

And that is it!  I had mine on a few Provitas, with some fresh vine tomatoes on the side – delicious and healthy 🙂

WL Breakdown – 2 Prot, 1/2 Fat, veggies

Buddha Bowl with Roasted Butternut, Chickpeas and Curry Yogurt

Oh my goodness! I am setting a dangerous precedent here! Three recipes in three days? 😉 I guess I am just really feeling inspired – and especially because we’re having quite a few dinners out this week, I MUST make an effort to make sure that the rest of my meals are relatively healthy. And it actually feels good to spend some time in the kitchen – lately it has become my Hubby’s territory! Not that I complain too much 🙂

To throw this dish together requires almost no cooking – except the bulgar wheat of course. I made a large batch (read – enough to feed an army), so I will freeze it in individual portions, so that it is easy to whip out and defrost when needed. I usually do the same with most grains and pulses. A true lifesaver on most days!  Oh yes, and I oven-roasted the butternut!  Nearly forgot about that!  But it is really relatively effortless.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C, arrange butternut chunks on a prepared baking sheet, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and roast until golden brown and soft (but not mushy!).

So it feels weird to post a recipe for a salad bowl, or Buddha Bowl, as it is often called. I found this interesting post on Yuppiechef’s website – about mindful eating, etc.  I think you will enjoy it!  https://www.yuppiechef.com/spatula/what-is-a-buddha-bowl-and-how-to-truly-appreciate-your-food/

Quite cool huh?  Often I just quickly finish my meal while either sitting at my desk or in front of the TV.  Definitely not mindful!  But I am working on it 🙂

So, I get distracted – as usual!  I am actually supposed to focus on sharing what I had for lunch yesterday.  Focus Roelia!

So, it is really just a few ingredients thrown together.

I started by layering the bowl with some chopped cos lettuce.  So you will start ‘packing’ the bowl by visualizing it being divided in quarters, or fifths, or however many ingredients you’ve got to add.

The various sections consisted of:

  • Roasted butternut
  • Chickpeas, mixed with some freshly chopped spring onion
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Bulgar Wheat (you can mix it with some fresh coriander)
  • Cucumber strips (I have a nifty ‘zoodle maker’ that I got from Clicks a good couple of years ago – works great, and it always looks quite pretty and impressive)

The quantity used depends on the size of your bowl, as well as your portion allocations, if you are following a more structured eating plan.

Dress with curry yogurt dressing – 1/2 cup of yogurt, with 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder stirred in, a small pinch of salt, as well as a good sprinkling of turmeric, to give it the beautiful yellow colour!  I make this dressing fresh every time I use it, and leave it to stand for a few hours, so that the colour and flavours can infuse a bit.

And that is it! Looks pretty hey?  🙂   Let me know what you think!

For WL portions:  90g cooked bulgar wheat (1 CC), 75g chickpeas (1 Prot), 125ml yogurt (1/2 – 1 portion Milk), the rest- just veggies 🙂

Tabbouleh!

We’re going out for dinner and drinks tonight, so I wanted to make 100% sure that my meals for the rest of the day will be a little bit more ‘controlled’.

This is such a classic dish – no need to mess with it!  Just added a few minor tweaks (sundried tomatoes and olives)!

For way too long bulgar wheat has been treated like the ugly stepsister of the more ‘fashionable’ quinoa and couscous.  Like couscous, it is partially cooked – so to prepare it really takes about 10 minute max.  It is also mainly used in Middle-Eastern cuisine, and is also equally versatile, we just need to experiment with it a little more!  It is great for controlling blood sugar levels (low GI) and is low in calories and fat – while being rich in protein, iron and fiber.  Have you tried bulgar wheat before?  If so, do you have a favourite recipe?

  • 180g cooked bulgar wheat (I got mine from Checkers, with easy to follow instructions on the packaging)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley and mint (each) – next time I will actually add a little more!
  • 3 finely chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 10g green olives, pitted and chopped
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • White pepper and salt to taste
  • 5ml olive oil, drizzled over
  • 80g finely cubed cucumber

Mix it all together – as easy as that 🙂

DSC_0099-01-01

Apologies, this isn’t the best photo!  I really need to get my phone’s camera sorted out.  Sigh.

WL breakdown:  serves 1 –  2 Fat, 2 CC, 1 Veg

 

 

 

Beef Larb Lettuce Cups and catching up….

Yes, I know I have been neglecting this blog so much, it is actually ridiculous!  I guess it is also because I’ve been neglecting myself so much.  The past 18 months or so have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.  A lot went wrong in my life, but I must also admit – a lot started to fall into place.  A steep learning curve indeed!

I was also recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, and a Vitamin D deficiency, so apart from the crazy weight gain, my body is just really crying for help.  Sigh.  How much longer will I be able to ignore her?  I simply can’t anymore.  It is time to pick myself up on my bootstraps, done my big ass big girl panties – and yes, they are huge, if you really have to know!  😉  For too long I have allowed people and circumstances to bully me, for too long have I bullied myself. Time for the madness to stop.

And the only way to do it, is to take it one day, one meal at a time.  Yes, the social life challenges will still be there – I must just learn to manage it a little better.  And I believe the lifestyle changes start with trying to get the basics right.  Don’t you agree?  So here we go again, taking small steps in the right direction – it is the only way to do it.

So. you probably only wanted the recipe of my yummy lunch – like what the blog has been about since forever – just a straight forward recipe post with no frills or fuss – instead of listening to my ‘issues’!  LOL!  But it is my blog, you will just have to deal with it – and with me!  😉

Here goes!

Larb is a traditional Thai recipe, usually made with chicken or pork mince.  I used beef mince instead.  This recipe serves 1.

120g lean mince

5ml olive oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic and ginger paste

1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes (you can omit it if you don’t like spicy food).

A sprinkling of Robertson’s Exotic Thai spice

White pepper

A dash of fish sauce

50g cooked pasta rice (orzo)

Finely sliced red onion, cucumber strips, chopped spring onion and cos lettuce leaves to serve

Heat olive oil and add ginger and garlic paste – fry for a few seconds for flavour to develop.  Add lean mince and fry at a medium to high heat until browned (be careful not to burn the garlic though, it will taste bitter!).  You can add a dash of water if the mixture becomes too dry.  Add the rest of the ingredients (except the fresh veggies) and fry together for about a minute.

Let it cool slightly and serve in lettuce leaves, topped with red onion and cucumber strips

Beef Larb

WL breakdown -serves 1, 2 Protein, 1 Carb, 1 Fat, 1/2 Veggies

“Mexican” Butternut Hummus

 

Okay, I know – hummus isn’t Mexican! But I wanted to make a hummus that is just a little more spicy than the norm.

I have made Butternut Hummus before – see “Roasted Butternut Hummus” posted on Life is Too Short to Eat Lettuce and it being butternut season and me simply loving butternut (see all my Butternut Recipes), I thought I’ll whip up another batch!

So, here goes

150g cooked, mashed butternut

1 tin of chickpeas, drained

5ml sesame oil (my shortcut instead of tahini)

1 tablespoon jalapeno slices (more or less according to your taste)

A squirt of lime juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed chillies

Salt and Pepper to taste

Blend it all together with a stick blender and voila!

Good to let it stand for a few hours for the flavours to develop.

Obviously I’m craving HEAT because I added few jalapeno slices when serving!

Pumpkin and Apple Soup

I am a big supporter of cooking using season ingredients! And at the moment, what is more seasonal than soup, pumpkin and apple??

I must admit, the last time I posted on that blog is a good couple of months ago, simply because

1) I am really lazy,

2) I have a very short attention span,

3)  I haven’t been eating very healthy recently

Okay, on most days, but then I fall off the wagon over the weekend and at functions – which spoils all my efforts.

Damn you wine.

But I commit to keep trying!  🙂

I will post this recipe on there as well – as soon as I remember the login details!  *facepalm*

Anyway!  Moving on swiftly!!

 

Ovenroast at 180C for 45 minutes on a baking tray lined with foil, prepped with non-stick spray:

3 medium apples – cut into wedges.  I didn’t peel it because I normally liquidise my soup, not a fan of chunky bits in my soup 😛

500g pumpkin – cut into chunks

1 large onion – peeled and sliced

A generous glug of olive oil

A good sprinkling of salt – at the Fire and Feast Festival I bought some smoked sea salt, amazeballs!

Transfer to a larger saucepan/pot – adding 2 cups of chicken stock (or veggie stock for vegetarian option!), a sprinkling of chili flakes and cinnamon, some white pepper and garlic salt.

Simmer for about 20 minutes – and voila!

Liquidise with stick blender thingy and serve with fresh wholewheat rolls.

I served it with toasted coconut flakes (thank you Woolies!)

The ideal meal to have on #MeatlessMonday!

Overnight Oats with Chia Seeds – 3 variations

Okay, so after falling off the ‘healthy eating’ wagon for a good couple of months, I haved decided to pull myself up by my bootstraps AGAIN!  And again realising that planning and prep is EVERYTHING.  Otherwise it is so easy to eat all kinds of nonsense.

Yes, here I go again with my overnight oats!  🙂

I did it slightly different this time around – made a batch without adding any fruit, etc – simply because I didn’t know by how much the chia seeds will expand.  So I made an ‘oats mix’ batch and then divided it into 3 portions – and added fresh fruit and nuts on the day 🙂  So it works great if you don’t have time to prep breakfast every day.

So, here is the ‘basic’ mix:

90g raw oats

175ml fat free plain yogurt

250ml fat free milk

15ml chia seeds

Mix it all together and leave overnight in the fridge.  If the mixture is too stiff, add a bit of milk the next day.

 

Day 1:  added freshly pureed pear and almonds (yes, crappy photo/filter) – ‘pear’ doesn’t photograph well!

20-february-2017-pear-and-almond-overnight-oats

Day 2:   With Blueberries – simply added a handful of blackberries – easy peasy 🙂

overnight-oats-day-2

Day 3:  Layered with caramelised nectarines (sprinkled with a liiiiitle bit of brown sugar and honey), and topped with a bit of nuts and honey.  Can’t get any easier!

overnight-oats-day-3

 

Pea and Herb Spread for Meatless Monday!

Here’s another #MeatlessMonday recipe!  I am always looking for vegetarian options (no, I am not a vegetarian, but really enjoy veggie meals).  And to find some that doesn’t have spinach and aubergine and celery in (bleh!) can be challenging.  But we manage quite well on most days!  I really try to make an effort on Meatless Monday, for health reasons and purely out of habit!

So, here goes:

280g peas (I used frozen peas, and just poured some boiling water on, and leave to stand for a bit – then it retains the beautiful, fresh green colour!)

2 tbs plain fat free yogurt

A big handful of fresh herbs – used basil, thyme, rosemary and sage

75g chopped cucumber

A bit of fresh garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Mixed everything together with a handblender (or food processor)

Served on crackers (RyVita), topped with 60g of fat free feta.

Quick and easy!

20-february-2017-pea-and-herb-spread