Revamped: Sugar-free Tomato and Apple Chutney

Originally posted on 2 January 2015, I revamped this recipe a bit – added a few better/extra photos! Sugar-free Tomato and Apple Chutney

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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

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 🙂

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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

 

 

 

Asparagus, couscous and feta salad

Especially for #WellnessWednesday!

Trying my best to get into this healthy living thing again!  Sigh… undoing the ‘damage’ of the past year is taking much longer than I thought.  And yes, patience is apparently a virtue.  And yes, apparantly you need to have more than just 1 healthy meal once in a while. #Denial #TheStuggleIsReal

Lunches are normally okay, and then I fall off the wagon a bit in the evening.  Is that what they call ‘balance’?  I tried, okay!  🙂  #OneMealAtATime  Will not give up!  🙂

entire-kitchen

I ALWAYS go for quick and easy – prepared a batch of couscous Monday morning – a little too much, it was in fact enough for 3/4 people, so we may have another couscous salad for lunch tomorrow 😉

Anyway!  Here we go – no ‘real’ instructions needed, salads are easy like that 🙂

Serves 1

90g couscous prepared + 40g crumbed fat free feta

90g (or a bit more – don’t let asparagus go to waste, it is expensive enough as it is!) steamed fresh asparagus

100g mixed variety tomatoes (love the beautiful colours of these ones I got from Woolies)

Lettuce to serve

Salt and Pepper

You can of course just mix everything together, but I like the look of a ‘layered’ salad – first lettuce, then tomatoes, then couscous and feta mix, and top with steamed asparagus. Season to taste – I just drizzled it with a bit of garlic-infused olive oil.

And voila!

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Couscous Chickpea Salad with Herby Yogurt Dressing

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Serves 1

 

90g couscous (prepared)

1/2 tin chickpeas (drained)

50g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 Granny Smith apple, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Lettuce to serve

Dressing:  120g plain, fatfree yogurt.  1/2 handful chopped fresh mint and coriander

 

Mix the couscous, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and apple together and season.  Serve on lettuce leaves and drizzle with dressing!

 

How easy is that?? 🙂

#MeatlessMonday

 

Halloween Stuffed Peppers

How cute is this!  Just HAD to make something for Halloween!  🙂

I got the idea from a photo I saw on the internet, so it is by no means original!  LOL!  I did make up my own ‘stuffing’ though!

Serves 2

1 yellow pepper per person

 

Stuffing

10ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

Crushed garlic and herb

A sprinkling Woolies Puttanesca seasoning

A handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt and Pepper to taste

50g cooked spaghetti

About 50g cooked butternut, mashed and seasoned

  1. Fry onions in olive oil until opaque.  Add chopped cherry tomatoes and seasoning, lower heat and cook until tomatoes are soft.  Stir in cooked spaghetti and keep aside.
  2. Cut tops off the peppers and clear the pips and other ‘flesh’.  Use a pairing knife to cut ‘jack o lantern style’ eyes and mouth.  Use your own initiative. dsc_1304
  3. Boil in water for about 5 minutes and carefully remove (hot!) and drain and leave aside to cool a bit
  4. Mix mashed butternut and all the other ingredients and carefully stuff the peppers.
  5. Place carefully on an ovenplate – I put the peppers in the corners so that it ‘stands’ on its own without topping over – put the pepper tops back on and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 180C
  6. Carefully remove and serve!

    1 serving = 1.5 veg, 1/2 CC, 1 Fat

Moroccan Apricot Couscous Salad

I really love Moroccan-style flavours – cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon!   And the best is – there is a fabulous ‘short-cut’ available – Woolies’ Moroccan Rub!  I use it so often, that I always buy 2 containers at a time!  Very versatile and convenient 🙂 And it works great with lamb, chicken and veggies.

Here’s a quick and healthy salad to make the most of those flavours:

 

Serves 1

 

80g cooked couscous

75g chickpeas (tinned/cooked)

A big handful of fresh rocket

30g soft dried apricots, chopped

10g toasted almond slivers

 

Dressing

100g plain fatfree yogurt

1/2 tsp Woolworths Moroccan Rub (if you don’t have this – you can make up your own morrocan blend -this recipe is great http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/moroccan-spice-blend-109356)

 

Mix couscous and chickpeas and place on bed of rocket, lightly stir through yogurt dressing.  Season to taste. Sprinkle chopped apricot bits and toasted almonds over it.

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2 CC, 1 Prot, 1 Fat, 1 Fruit, 1/2 Veg, 1/2 Milk

Inspired by Buzzfeed Recipe

Mexican Corn & Samp Salad (with Citrus Dressing)

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Okay, this was VERY experimental!  I haven’t even HEARD of a samp salad before 🙂 But inspiration hit (while looking for a new ‘carb’ option to try) and this is what transpired.

Dressing: (leave to infuse a bit).  By the way, this salad can be made in advance, just add the tomatoes and salt just before serving otherwise it becomes soggy.

Okay, where was I…  yes, the dressing (mix it all together):

1oml olive oil

2 TBSP freshly squeezed orange juice

2 TBS lemon juice

2 TBS White Wine Vinegar

1/4 tsp fresh garlic

A dash of cayenne pepper

A dash of ground cumin

Then,

Mix together (or pack in layers if preferred):

200g corn kernels (I used frozen corn, covered with boiling water and left to stand for 10 minutes, no need to cook)

140g cooked samp (I cooked this in advance, because it does take a while to cook – and then left to cool)

200g red kidney beans (tinned and drained)

100g chopped tomato

50g chopped onion

100g chopped mixed peppers (I used green and red)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Pour dressing over, and voila!  I actually wanted to add some fresh coriander as well, but realised I was all out.  Next time 🙂

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WL Breakdown, serves 2 (LARGE portions), 1 Serve = 2 CC, 1 Prot, 1.5 Veg, 1 Fat

 

 

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin & Herb Pasta with Feta Crumble

The title of this dish is slightly deceiving because it contains NO cream!  But the pasta sauce has got a lovely ‘creamy’ texture indeed!

100g chopped onions – 1 Veg

10ml olive oil – 2 Fat

1/2 tsp garlic and herb paste

1/2 tsp mixed herbs

400g cooked pumpkin chunks (I bought a prepared pack and just popped it in the microwave for 4 minutes –  are per the instructions) – 4 Veg

10oml prepared chicken stock (or veggie stock)

Salt and pepper to taste

60g crumbed feta mixed with a sprinkling of dried sage and parsley – 2 Prot

Pasta serving according to your formula/daily allowance

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Fry onions in olive oil until soft.  Stir in garlic and herb paste and herbs and fry for a minute or so.  Add pumpkin chunks and chicken stock and cook until pumpkin is soft.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Liquidise if preferred or just mash with a fork.

Stir cooked pasta in (I used linguine) and simmer for a few minutes.

Dish up and serve with a crumbed feta mix.

Serves 2