For the last year or so, I have been looking at ways of reducing our meat intake. The main reason behind this decision is the fact that most of the available meats in the markets are full of hormones and antibiotics. You can of course buy free range and organic produce but not all supermarkets have them and unfortunately I don’t always have the time or the opportunity to go to specific shops for specific products so if I can’t buy free range/organic produce, I don’t buy it.
Summer is truly over and we have been thrown back into the school routine as if we had never left it.
As seasons change so do the recipes in my house. We start eating more stews, more root vegetables and more hot dishes and salads get relegated to the side of the plate. I’d love to live in a country where we could eat salads as a main course all year-round but I live in Ireland, and it just ain’t happening. (as my kids say “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”)
One of our favorite salads is Caesar Salad. We are not very strict on what is in the salad. Anything goes really: leaves of any sort, croutons, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, chicken, bacon… anything. As long as it is smothered in that delicious dressing, is a go. I don’t know if it’s the saltines from the cheese and anchovies, or the tanginess of the lemon, but it is just delicious, isn’t it?
But let’s be honest, Caesar Salad dressing is quite fattening and so full of calories. So in order to keep having it, even in winter, but without still adding to the calorie count, I decided to make a healthier option.
- 3/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt.
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard.
- 1 large garlic clove
Blend all the ingredients well and put them in a nice dressing bottle. It should last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.
As Chaotic Monkey is allergic to mustard (among 20 thousand other things…), I did not include mustard in my dressing. What I did was add a bit more lemon, some more anchovies and more cheese until I was happy with the flavor.
I can now smother those leaves with a totally clear conscience!! 😉 And it is not just for salads, it’s also amazing in wraps and sandwiches! At least according to my kids.
Don’t you hate when you open a package of feta, use a little bit, put the rest on a container and next time you take it out is to put it in the bin because it has gone off? It used to happen a bit too often in my house to the point when I stopped buying feta cheese. But feta cheese is amazing in so many things that we missed it terribly so I had to come up with a different solution.
Marinating the feta will not only make the cheese last longer, but it will also infuse with amazing flavors that will in time improve your salads, frittatas… anything where the cheese goes.
No more waste – just delicious food
200 grs feta cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leave
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
Carefully cut the cheese into cubes.
Put feta in a jar with a top and add the rest of the ingredients to the jar.
Pour enough olive oil to cover cubes of cheese.
Let marinate in refrigerator for 2 weeks for an amazing taste but if you can’t wait, overnight will do.
You could also use sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, thyme or capers for the marinade. Chop and change. It will never be boring.
Serve it topping your favorite salads or simply on fresh bread. Simple and delicious, what real food should be.
Have you got a favorite recipe for your feta?
Don’t be shy. Share!
This week’s smoothie for my personal challenge of Losing Weight with Smoothies is (drums roll for dramatic effect…) a Spinach & Kiwi Smoothie!!!
I am already in my second week of my personal challenge for February and I am delighted to say that I have lost 1.5 kg last week (3,30 lbs), 50% more of what I was planning, so feeling pretty good about myself, I have to say. And all thanks to smoothies! who would have thought?
I have to admit that the first week was easier than anticipated. In all honesty, I was worried that I would get bored with effectively having the same lunch every day but I didn’t. The kale & pineapple smoothie kept me full until dinner and I didn’t even feel like snacking between meals. I think that also knowing that in every smoothie I was getting plenty of nutrients, vitamins and all sort of goodness helped me stay strong until dinner.
The dinners were had with my family. The same dinner as everyone so no extra work. On Tuesday I even shared a brownie with Mr B after dinner! And I still have managed to lose weight, so I am truly delighted and very much fired up for the second week!
As predicted, the weekend was the most difficult time to fit the smoothie into my diet but with a bit of thinking ahead I made it work. It’s all about being prepared. I have been making the smoothie in the morning and I take it with me if I am going out so there is no chance of being tempted while out shopping, or if you feeling hungry earlier than usual – there smoothie is right there with me
This week smoothie is another nutritional delight full of vitamin C, iron, folic acid and calcium, and also delicious, because there is not point in drinking something super healthy if it tastes yucky, right?
WEEK 2 : SPINACH & KIWI SMOOTHIE
100 ml of coconut milk
1 kiwi fruit
2 cups spinach
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
1 to 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
The cucumber and the kiwi make this smoothie so fresh!
The original recipe of this smoothie does not include chia seeds or the protein powder so feel free to leave out. I like adding chia seeds to any smoothies as they are high in omega 3 and healthy, and the protein powder bulks it up and helps me stay full until dinner.
I am so ready for this week’s challenge. What about you?
I have been wanting to lose some weight for a while. I usually start the week full of good intentions but, as it happens, the week rarely goes according to plan and on average the diet goes out the window by Thursday. Now, I have never nor I will ever be a person enslaved to diets or food plans. Life is too short for that. But I would like to shed some weight so…
I decided that the best way for me to stick to some sort of plan is to set myself a public challenge so there is so backing down. Name and shame, people, it’s the only way forward for me…
My goal is to lose 4 kg in a month (or 8.81 pounds). I believe that 1 kg a week is an achievable target and it can be managed with healthy diet and without starvation, which is very important in family life and to guarantee the survival of the rest of the family, if you know what I mean… As smoothies are easy to make, quick, versatile and delicious,(see previous recipes here, here and here) I decided I would go with green smoothies for this challenge.
So the plan is: substitute my daily lunch for super healthy, protein filled and delicious smoothie that will fill me with plenty of nutrients and enough energy to keep me going until dinner where I will be able to enjoy it with my family.
I am thinking that Monday to Friday will be easy enough to follow the plan and drink the smoothies at lunchtime. However, I’d imagine the weekend will be harder. I will be enlisting Mr B and friends to support me and to help me stay strong through the challenge.
If you want to join me, I will be posting one smoothie recipe a week and I will keep you updated during the week by twitter and Facebook with a more in-depth report (I know you like those ones) every Monday this month. I will not, however, be posting my before and after weight. Nope. Too embarrassed.
WEEK 1: KALE & PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
2 cups of chopped kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any other milk you prefer)
1 banana (frozen if you want)
1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2 slices of pineapple
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
1 to 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (not in the photo)
Blitz and enjoy. It is delicious. 2 pieces of fruit, 1 serving of vegetables, omega 3, calcium and good source of vitamin B6, fiber, calcium,potassium and vitamin E. And, I know you are wondering, the taste of kale is not at all dominant in it, but it works so well with the rest of the ingredients.
Well, are you coming to the green side with me? Come on! It’s only a month! and it’s the shortest month!
I love to hear your comments so please feel free to comment below and share the post with your friends to help us create a community.
Much appreciated. Thank you!
We are great fans of caramelized onion in our house. We always have a jar of it at home to have with cheese, meat, in soups, pizzas, sandwiches.. it is delicious with anything.
I find something very therapeutically about slowly cooking the onions, the process, the smells… very relaxing and homely.
Onions are naturally sweet and that sweetness gets released by slowly cooking the onions over an extended period of time. The natural sugars in the onions caramelize and they make the most delicious and wholesome flavor.
How? Easy. You will need:
4 onions – I prefer to use red onions as they are sweeter but you can use white onions if you’d prefer.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar.
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Peel and chop the onions in thin slices and add them to the oil. Stir the onions making sure that every single slice gets covered in oil. Leave the onions to saute on a low-medium heat (every hob is different- just make sure that the onions are not going to burn, it’s about slow cooking). Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
After 10 minutes or so, season them with salt, make sure they are not burning, and leave them on the hob for another 10 minutes. Don’t forget to stir occasionally.
After another 10 minutes, add the tablespoon of sugar and make sure that it gets to all the corners of the pan. If the onions are a bit too dry and they are sticking to the pan, add a little bit of water. Cook for further 10-15 minutes keeping an eye on it to make sure they don’t burn.
When the onions are all brown and sticky, transfer them into an air tight container and keep in the fridge once cooled.
Try adding them to your normal hummus recipe or add them to your steak and let me know your thoughts, I think I can already read them!
Our summer holidays were very relaxed. They were filled with ice-creams and not too healthy treats. So now that we are back to school, routine and time-tables, we are also going back to healthy eating and trying to get back into shape (especially me…).
This dessert is one of my kid’s favorites – they call it “my secret recipe”, which is funny because it is not a recipe, there is no cooking, it’s more like an assembly job.
To make this lovely dessert for 2 monkeys, you will need:
– Natural Greek organic yogurt
– 10 strawberries
– 2 handfuls of pistachios
1 – Serve 3 tablespoons of yogurt (or as much as you want) in each bowl and add a layer of honey on top.
2 – Then, chop the strawberries and layer them on top.
3 – Peel and crush the pistachios and scatter them on top of the strawberries.
Add a child to the mix and see it been inhaled in seconds.
Of course this dessert is not only for kids. Adults are allowed to have it too! Only if they are good 😉
Happy Friday lovely people!
Before I left Ireland, I was trying to make sure that there was enough food for Mr B, who won’t be joining us until the beginning of August. I left the freezer full and I made sure that he had enough fresh fruit and vegetables to last him for few days (I know, I am adorable….)
While trying to clear out the kitchen of food that would not be used in the following week, I realized that there were 3 punnets of cherry tomatoes, my favorite food. Although Mr B likes tomatoes, I knew there was no way he would eat them all before they went off so I decided to oven-dry them in order to make them last.
Oven-dried tomatoes are very easy to make, a great solution to make those extra tomatoes last and sooooooo sweet…. Just delicious!
Place the cherry tomatoes in an oven tray, season them with salt and pepper and spray them with some olive oil and place them in a pre-heated oven at 120 degrees Celsius (250 Fahrenheit).
Leave them in the oven for 2 and half hours shaking them a little bit half way though.
You can use these tomatoes straight away for salads or sandwiches or you could just store them in a jar with olive oil and eat them as you please. that is if you can wait…
There is no need to throw anything out. Join me in the #NofoodWaste Challenge