Nutritious Memories

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Pear, grape rocket salad with wholegrain honey mustard vinaigrette

I have been on a roll on posting food blog recipes. That may be due to the 6 six drafts that I still have to go and I still need to post about my day trip and holiday in Canberra so stay tuned to next weeks post. But for now, let us talk about FOOD!! ūüôā

Sometimes looks can be very deceiving. This was especially the case when I saw this as a side dish for lunch with the kids. Despite this weird looking salad, it is always recommended by Lena to try every food that is presented during lunch so that the children will also be encouraged to try meals with vegetables. So I really encouraged the kids ‚ÄúJust try ONE bite and you‚Äôll never see it the same again‚ÄĚ I told them. I know I did ūüôā

I Just love the look of this salad :)

You should have seen their expressions on their faces ‚ÄúWE WANT MORE!!!!!! All of their plates were completely empty. The salad of imagination was a complete success once again ūüôā and made washing a whole lot easier ūüôā

Go to the Austrlian Pears Facebook page

For many years, I never used to eat pears. However, I fell in love with this dish as soon as I took my first bite. Now I use pears in various types of foods from oat bran topping for brekkie to even on pizzas (thanks to the free book I received from Woolworths). The good news is that pears are still in season in Melbourne. So I like to buy my pears at my local fruit store since they are cheap and fresh from the farms in Melbourne.

This recipe is slightly modified from the original recipe. I have added walnuts and used wholegrain mustard combined with honey to make honey mustard dressing. Overall this salad has a sweet and savoury taste to it and this paring goes incredibly well with my home country dish Jollof rice (which I should post the recipe soon) or I like to eat a LARGE bowl of this salad.

For the recipe, please check out my second blog: Pear, grape rocket salad with wholegrain honey mustard vinaigrette 


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Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with Raspberries and Lavender cream

One way how I love to reward myself (after organizing 1,000 papers of data for my¬†research study),¬†is to make a homemade delicious dessert. Last week, I went to the Ashcombe Lavender garden maze with the Deakin Toastmaster members. While being surrounded by fresh scent of lavender, I remembered Fiona’s recipe in the second season of Master Chef and I knew I had to make her dessert as my reward.

Before I even took a bite out of this lovely treat, I just loved the lovely fragrance of the lavender when it is combined with the cream and dark chocolate Ganache. While I was eating the tart, I envisioned myself having high tea with delectable treats in a fancy and elegant café chatting with friends. (~ah, how I love to daydream :)). During these special moments, I always like to remind myself that a healthy diet with (exercise of course) can also include an occasional treat which makes eating healthy not so rigid and more enjoyable.

doc 1012

Stressed is just desserts spelled backwards – Unknown quote.

For the recipe, please check out my second blog: Dark chocolate Ganache


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Nutrition promotion @ home

This week, I was down with the flu which kept me at home this week. Nonetheless, this did not stop me from having nutrition promotion at home.

So far, I have been trying a new ¬†vegetable that I haven’t been using very much which were:

  • Brussel¬†sprout– Roasted Brussel sprouts with garlic and rosemary
  • Butternut pumpkin– Roasted vegetables
  • Cauliflower– Beef curry with mixed vegetables.
  • Dutch¬†Carrots – Roasted dutch carrots with horse radish dip

Dutch carrots

The results were a major hit, NO LEFTOVERS for every meal.

I was happy to hear from my dad that his health has improved when he went to Dr. Boltin (family Doctor). He also mentioned that he has much more energy than usual and has learnt a few recipes that he has been making by himself and has expanded his food choice  and still enjoys a nice hot chocolate muffin :).

One thing that I have been noticing is that when its my turn to prepare lunch or dinner is that ¬†almost at least one person asks me what am I making. What I didn’t¬†realize¬†is that when I explain a bout a certain food, my family becomes more interested in that food and they become more keen in how they can also apply these principles in making their foods. Yesterday my ¬†younger brother (Bunmi) helped me make beef curry. He learnt how the vegetables are cut, and when to add each recipe to the curry. To my¬†surprise¬†ate all ¬†4 vegetables ( for a teenager,¬†that is what you call a miracle).¬† Maybe he enjoyed the conversation while preparing lunch, or the fact that this curry had beef this time around, who knows.

corn

When it comes to food preparation, but I love it, it gives me a chance to work, catch up on conversations with my family. For me personally, that’s what makes food prep in the kitchen even better. At the end of the day, I try to incorporate a new fruit, vegetable or food in my diet¬†which ¬†is another part of enjoying ¬†optimal nutrition and more importantly,¬†enjoying¬†what you eat :).

Next weeks new foods:

  • Parsnip – Pasta¬†
  • Green beans- Stir fry or roasted
  • Witlof – ??

Question


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Minestrone Soup!

What woke me up at 6:00am on a Sunday morning was the sound of the rain drops falling on our tinned roof, producing that exact frequency and precise pitch, which was comforting and soothing to my ears drums. I glanced across my window watching the dark grey clouds dominate the sky,while wrapped in a warm cosy blanket, which made me even more drowsy.

“Five minutes just, five minutes pleaseeeeee” I repeated to myself before getting out of bed. Funny thing how that five minutes¬†always¬†turns into 1 hour. Well thank goodness it was¬†Sunday.

Every step along the dark hallway was the like stepping on ice, even though I was wearing socks, my feet were so cold that I felt a¬†tingling¬†sensation all around my feet. It was like electrical currents passing through my ankles all the way to the tip of my toes. I was looking for Ugg shoes. I don’t usually wear them, but once I¬†slipped¬†my two feet into these shoes of paradise , there was no¬†turing¬†back. Taking these shoes off was no longer an option.

You know what else is comforting when its cold and raining outside? SOUP!!!!!

Both my friends Ashley and Ashley (yep it’s two people), and I have an¬†obsession¬†for soup. Getting canned soup from the supermarket is¬†convenient¬†and quick when you on the run. However, you¬†absolutely¬†cannot compare the quality of the¬†flavour¬†homemade¬†soup with canned soup. There is something sentimental about making you own soup at home giving it that extra¬†burst¬†of unique flavours, driving the winter blues away, that is whether you eating enjoying soup in¬†solitude¬†or with a group of family¬†and¬†friends. After all, I love¬†watching¬†how each food¬†ingredient is combined to prepare the finial dish.

Bitter cold days/nights definitely calls for liquid nourishment, and this soup recipe is just what the doctor ordered! It is also a great way adding different vegetables in your diet as you will obtain fibre and a whole range of other important nutrients to keep your body healthy.

You can experiment with different vegetables and different seasonings, then you will have a warm homemade soup that literally will give you peace of mind ( which kept my taste buds happy :)).

And how could I forgot the tea. ( My current obsession at the moment is green tea jasmine). Happy Sunday!!!!

I’d like to dedicate this post to both of my soup buddies Ashley and Ashley (or should I say ash^2 ¬†^-^, let’s have soup together soon.

This recipe was adapted from the following website. http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/12013/minestrone+soup in this recipie, I used beef strips instead of bacon and the four canned bean mix instead of  kidney beans as well as adding cauliflower and zucchini .The website includes more information on how to freeze, thaw and re-heat the soup. However, being in a family of 7, this soup will most likely be consumed in a matter of minutes.


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Quiet Saturday

There are days where I feel like going out to the city with all of its¬†splendour, shops and cafe’s. Everywhere you turn to you will either see people or¬†vehicles in every direction (well that depends where you are in the city).

But, it was really nice to relax at home (for once) after a busy and demanding week at uni testing participants. To also remind myself that¬†“This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it”¬†Psalm 118:24:

Today my sister and I both had the same idea, that is to adopt a healthy diet. We wanted to make a lunch that was practicable, and enjoyable for the both of us to prepare since we both acknowledged that our eating habits over the past few weeks has been a complete travesty. So we decided to make an eggplant lasagna for our lunch.  Personally what I loved about this dish is the classic paring of tomato and basil which brings overall flavor, along with the melted cheese on top.

Eating lunch¬†on a quiet¬†Saturday, and sipping green tea with Jasmine. Good times ūüôā


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Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

On  hot summer days do you feel like:

A) Your appetite has decreased

B) Your appetite has increased

C) Both fluctuate from time to time.

D) None of the above


I was thinking of walking to the supermarket, despite the blazing heat ( Well it wasn’t as hot as I imagined). My sister decided to tag along and take advantage of the cool breeze, and to go for some exercise. It was sure nice to have company, and share a ¬†conversation, as we slowly made our way to the supermarket.

I was planning to make a light meal that was cool, refreshing. More importantly. I wanted a meal that did not require much¬†preparation/ cooking time, as I really didn’t feel like making a meal which required more than 15 minutes.

One thing I love about the supermarket I go to is that there is always a sale.

¬†Luckily¬†it was Quinoa, the prime¬†ingredient¬†of today’s recipe.

Quinoa (KEEN-WAH)  is an edible grain, native to the South Americans. There is a lot of sources which talk about how Quinoa can be added to a balanced nutritious meal. Here are a few pointers.

  • It is gluten-free and wheat free making it safe for those who have a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance or coeliac disease, as quinoa can almost be substituted for any other grain.
  • ¬†It is a good¬†source¬†of fiber and has a low-GI, which is important in regulating blood sugar levels stable.

For more information: http://www.cropsforthefuture.org/publication/Species-brochure/Species%20brochure-Quinoa%20Chenopodium%20quinoa.pdf

For those who have tried quinoa often describe both the texture and flavour as a fluffy, creamy with a slight nutty al dente¬†texture,¬†“which makes it an excellent alternative to rice or couscous”.

The Mediterranean Quinoa salad is a fun and vibrant way of whipping a salad , which encapsulates the traditional Mediterranean flavours, making a lovely and unique salad.

What I enjoyed about this recipe was that I was completely satisfied (not full) after having the salad and a mini chicken schnitzel, which¬†didn’t¬†leave that uncomfortable heavy feeling when you have eaten a lot of food.

There is a good amount of fibre (from the vegetables and Quinoa ) and protein ( from the feta and Quinoa). This combination is suggested to help you feel fuller and control satiety levels, which people who are trying to lose weight may find useful.

After having a bite of this yummy salad, I already knew that the salad as well Quinoa was going to be a part of my staple diet. Cooking with Quinoa offers a lot of exciting and delicious possibilities, which can be adapted into a healthy balanced diet. I Suggest looking for recipes and guides in how you can you can benefit from this nutrient dense food (Refer to some link below this post resource section).

After having a nice light dish, I was still able to go for another brisk walk and to enjoy watching the setting of the sun.


To find this recipe check Sarah’s Blog:¬†http://theflyingonion.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/must-have-been-something-i-ate-book-giveaway/

Resources:


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Going Green: The Basics of making a salad

Greens and dark green leafy vegetables can be used in sandwiches, salads, as a side dish or even as a main meal. Despite their versatility, some people may have a somewhat aversion to the greens, or may find it challenging to incorporate these greeny leafy vegetables in their meals. Most answers that I usually hear are:

1. ¬†I have the SAME tossed salad¬†every time, so I don’t see the need to have it all the time.

2. I prefer food with more exotic flavors.

3. I’m not too sure how to prepare a salad that looks and tastes¬†delicious.


Firstly I’d like to say that I have¬†experienced all of the three¬†categories that I mentioned above . However I also would like to point out that there are some alternatives ¬†and ideas that you maybe overlooking, which may help make a salad a bit more¬†interesting¬†to eat. ¬†First I am going to start with an analogy. ¬†Cracking an egg and eating it raw does not sound too¬†pleasant or tasty (Well¬†at least in my case). Instead the egg can undergo different cooking procedures and with the right¬†ingredients¬†to make ¬†scrambled eggs, poached eggs, french toast, or even omelette stuffed with your choice, which overall results in a fabulous meal. If you get this concept I’d like to use to this method with green leafy vegetables. A bowl of lettuce, with tomatoes and cucumber, really does not really sound pleasing to many people. People are aware and know that they are nutritious, but something still seems to be missing ¬†. What I am trying to illustrate is that adding other¬†ingredients¬†(which I will discuss in this post) does helps make a difference. Before moving on ¬†I would like to¬†briefly¬†discuss the common types of leafy green, where to find them, and¬†their¬†nutritional¬†values.

Types of Leafy Greens

Cos & Baby cos hearts

Cos lettuce have long green leaves, which consists of a of a white rib, which runs along the center of the lettuce.  Cos lettuce leaves has a crisp and crunchy texture, along with a subtle sweet flavour.  As for Baby cos lettuce, they have a delicate flavor. These are generally available all year round. Cos lettuce is a suitable  leafy green to use in Caesars salads.

Iceberg

This is the most common and popular variety of lettuce, that most people would have comes across. Used in pretty everything from sandwiches to coleslaw.

Baby Spinach

Are soft tender in texture. They have a clean and mild flavor. They are perfect in sandwiches, salads, soups and pastas.

See: Different type of leafy greens for different types of  green leafy vegetables.

Nutritional Profile

Although the nutrition may differ in each leafy greens, generally they provide a good source of Vitamin B groups riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and B6 , C, E and K. As for minerals leafy greens are a good source of  folate, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium and are also rich in antioxidants such as Beta- Carotene.

The iron in leafy greens is a non-heme iron from. The absorption of this form of iron is not as¬†efficient¬†as heme iron (which can found in meat,¬†poultry¬†and fish). To overcome this, drinking fruit juices rich in vitamin C does help increase the¬†absorption¬†of iron by converting ¬†the non- heme iron into¬†heme iron from, which can be readily absorbed thought the small intestine. This turns out be great (especially¬†if you enjoy juice). But why not use it as an¬†opportunity¬†to add another serving of¬†vegetables,¬†as vegetables are also rich in vitamin C. ¬†You’ll also¬†receive a bonus of adding more antioxidants and¬†nutrients¬†that are so good for you.

The Basics of making a salad

If you feel like you don’t have the cooking skills or knowledge do not worry. Almost all salads preparations are suitable for even those who are beginners in the kitchen. Here are a few suggestions, which will help you enable to create a delicious salad.

1.Visit your local¬†supermarket/ fruit or vegetable shop/ farmer’s market.

They usually have small brochures with description of leafy greens and how to use them. If in doubt the people work in the fresh food section would be more than happy to assist.

2. Try adding fruit to salad

Strawberries, grapes, and nectarines are good choices, especially mangoes .This can be your chance to¬†experiment¬†since mangoes are in season now. A mango salad mixed with leafy greens, baby spinach leaves, cucumber along with a light lime dressing is quite¬†refreshing¬†and¬†delicious. (I’ll post a link for a few recipes under the resources section).

3. Try adding nuts 

Most people would¬†probably¬†say ¬†that they are a bit high in fat (stay clear from the fats!!!). Yes that true nuts are quite energy dense. However the types of fats found in nuts are¬†considered¬†to be the ¬†healthy fats, which I have mentioned in a previous post 101 on dietary fats¬†. ¬†Many studies show that consuming nuts a few times a week helps reduce the risk of¬†cardiovascular¬†disease, but here’s the important point, portion control is crucial, the Heart Foundation suggests a ¬†small handful (around¬†30 grams) of nuts. Nuts are also a great source of¬†protein¬†(suitable for¬†vegetarians), fiber, minerals and also have antioxidants (Yes I know I’m always talking about the antioxidants, but you’ll get more benefits if you get antixodiants from various kinds of foods).

Try making your own dressing.

It’s very easy and¬†interesting¬†to make and is¬†convenient,¬†as you are in control of how much dressing you want to make. This is where exotic and unique¬†flavors¬†comes into play, as different¬†cuisines (from the¬†Mediterranean¬†to¬†Asians¬†salads)¬†have different ways creating ¬†dressing and¬†vinaigrette’s. Ever since I learned how to make different types of¬†vinaigrette’s¬†I can’t go back to the ones in the stores. It’s not that there all bad. Sometimes I think some dressings are a bit salty or overpowering. I believe it’s a manner of personal preference, just make sure if you do choose to buy ones in the stores watch for the sodium, especially the ones that are labeled fat-free. ( I’ll post a link that shows how to make a salad dressing, by my¬†favorite¬†nutritionist Nutrition Diva!!!!).

5. Consider adding some herbs.

Fresh herbs smell great and are like the finishing¬†touches in many meals. Dietitian¬†Karen Inges suggests that adding some herbs is an excellent way of boosting daily antioxidant intake and also aids in building the body’s¬†defenses.

6. consider adding another serving of vegetables . Even mushrooms are perfect alternatives, or eggs.

Preparation and Storage

When buying salad greens in the store, try to look for crisp leaves, that have no traces of  discoloration, slime, or wilting. Always wash salad greens before using them to remove unwanted materials. Try to use them within a day or two in order to get the full flavor and freshness.

Hopefully when you feel comfortable in making salad try to incorporate this in most of your meals.¬†I¬†challenge¬†you to try a new leafy green vegetable to make a salad, ¬†instead of ¬†buying pre-packaged salad, try going for the self- serve¬†. The prices usually ranges $15.00 -18.99 kg, however ¬†I usually get enough for 2 cups for 1 meal and it ranges from $.50 to $1.50. I find this cheaper and a great way of mixing other leafy greens. Don’t forget that 1 cup of leafy greens counts as 1 serving of vegetable intake.

Resources

http://www.woolworths.com.au/wps/wcm/connect/website/woolworths/Search+Results/ (Types of leafy greens)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15ueE89dbXM (How to Make the Perfect Salad Dressing )

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/21250/lettuce+avocado+and+mango+salad (Mango Salad)

http://suburbantomato.com/2011/05/lettuce-sing/ ( Kitchen gardening Blog ).

http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/factsheets/Food-Health-and-Nutrition/2UE-salad-greens-growing-tips-and-recipes/6017 ( Recipes: Dressing and Vinaigrette).

http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/basic_green_vinaigrette_dressing/ ( Recipes: Dressing and Vinaigrette).

http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au/articles/2005/april/edible-garden-salad-greens ( How to start a small garden).