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

 

 

 

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 🙂

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

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!

Mushroom Burger – made with…. mushrooms!

First post of 2017!  Yippeee-ka-yaayyy!  Here’s to a much healthier year!

After the overload of meat the past month or so – my body is actually CRAVING veggies!  And as you all know – I do believe I am an undercover vegetarian!  😉  So, our last ‘braai for lunch during the week’ before we go back to work.

Here goes!  VERY experimental!  LOL!

2 medium onions

1 green pepper, cored

4 tsp olive oil

125g mushrooms

100g breadcrumbs

2 eggs

Salt and Pepper

Liberal sprinkling of Garlic and Herb Seasoning

 

Finely chop the onions, green pepper – I used the food processor, quick and easy!  Fry in olive oil until cooked through.  Add mushrooms, chopped (also short cut – food processor!)  Fry for a few minutes for mushrooms to cook through.  Remove from heat and cool until easy to handle.

Add the rest of the ingredients – and form hamburger patties – I got 4 out of this batch.  Okay, here’s the tricky part, the consistency was slightly mushy, so I was afraid that it will all fall apart on the grill!  Grilled it on foil first, but then I changed my mind and popped it in the over to oven-bake.  So I KNOW that it works well if baked in the oven! 🙂

dsc_2646

Looks yum, not so?  And it was!

WL – serves 4, 1 serving = 1 CC (actually a bit less), 2 veg, 1 fat, 1 Prot

Thai Chickpea Curry

If it is Thursday night it must be ‘vegetarian’ night!  🙂  Super healthy, quick and easy – curry for 1 coming up!

 

50g finely chopped onion

5ml peanut oil

1/2 teaspoon ginger and garlic paste

100g chopped red pepper

5ml Thai 7 Spice (Cape Herb & Spice)

a generous sprinkling of Robertsons Exotic Thai Season

75g chickpeas (tinned/cooked)

200ml fat free milk + a few drops coconut essence (saving calories, instead of using coconut milk)

Salt to taste

 

Fry onions in peanut oil until soft, add ginger and garlic paste.  Fry for another minute or two.  Add red pepper, spices and chickpeas.  Add some water if needed – simmer for a few minutes until red pepper is soft.  Add ‘coconut’ milk, season to taste and simmer for about 5 minutes.

And done!

Serve with some basmati or brown rice.  And fresh coriander (that I forgot this time around!)

(Not the best pic, I know!)

Thai Chickpea Curry

1 Prot, 1.5 Veg, 1 Fat

Corn and Mussel Chowder

I hang my head in shame – no post in 3 months… crazy!  But I think most people feel like me – this year is simply going too fast.  May, June and July simply seems like a blur!  Phew…  Anyway, time to get back on track!  Here we go 🙂

This soup is super tasty and super easy to prepare!

Corn and Mussel Chowder

150g chopped onion

10ml olive oil (lemon infused – or add a good squirt of lemon juice)

1 chopped chilli (can be omitted)

500ml chicken stock

400g frozen corn (pour boiling water over and leave to stand for a few minutes)

400g potato (cubed)

400g mussel meat

Salt and Pepper to taste

Fresh coriander or parsley to serve

 

Fry chopped onions in olive oil until soft.  Add potato cubes and chicken stock and simmer until soft.  Add 1/2 of corn and liquidise soup with handblender.  Add rest of corn and mussel meat, season.  Simmer on medium heat for about 5 minutes (mussel meat cooks quickly)

Serve with fresh coriander or parsley.

 

Serves 4.

1 Serving = 1 Prot, 2 CC, 1/2 Fat, 1/2 Veg

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato Soup with Risoni

A lovely filling and tasty soup!  🙂  I added the risoni (pasta rice or orzo) to add a little more ‘body’ to the soup – you can have some chunky bread or toast with it, but it actually isn’t necessary, it is filling enough as is 🙂

10 ml olive oil

800g cherry/baby tomatoes

1 onion, quartered

Fresh thyme

400ml chicken stock (if vegetarian – use veggie stock)

200g cooked risoni (tip: cook in only for about 8 minutes, it tends to get soggy quite quickly!)

1/2 tsp Garlic and Herb Spice (I use Robertson’s Masterblends)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

To serve:  low fat feta (about 30g per person if serving 2, 15g if serving 4 ‘starter’ portions)  and fresh parsley

Place tomatoes, onions and thyme sprigs on a baking sheet (with foil and non-stick cooking spray) and a drizzle of olive oil.  Roast in a pre-heated oven at 180C for about 30 minutes (until tomatoes start to blister)

wp-1463629581780.jpg

Transfer to a pot (medium sized, stove top), and remove some of the thyme sprigs (it can get a little ‘tough’.  Add stock, spice mix, salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes.  You can add more stock if you find it too thick.  Liquidise (I used a stickblender – liquidise the soup in the pot).  Stir in cooked pasta rice.  Simmer for another couple of minutes to make sure the pasta rice is the same temperature than the soup.  Dish up and serve with feta and fresh parsley (I actually wanted to use fresh basil, but we were all out!  The parsley was yummy as well.   And how ‘Italian’ does it look?  :):)

20160518_184637.jpg

Tip:  Hubby added blue cheese instead of low fat feta and said it worked well!  Also, if you prefer a more ‘meaty’ meal – serve with some fried bacon bits.

20160518_184656.jpg

Makes 2 large portions (that’s how we had it!) – or 4 ‘starter’ portions.

If serving 4:  1 CC, 1/2 Protein, 2 Veg, 1/2 fat