A QUICK AND HEALTHY DINNER : FISH BOLOGNESE

A QUICK AND HEALTHY DINNER : FISH BOLOGNESE

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.

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HEALTHY CAESAR SALAD DRESSING

Summer is truly over and we have been thrown back into the school routine as if we had never left it.

a-ceasar-salad-of-sorts-organising-chaos-blog

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.

ingredients-for-healthy-caesar-dressing

Ingredients

  • 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

a-nice-bottle-of-healthy-caesar-salad-dressing

Blend all the ingredients well and put them in a nice dressing bottle. It should last in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.

a-lovely-salad-ceasar-of-sorts-delish
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.

Chaotic Itzi

OCB

MARINATED FETA CHEESE

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.

A jar of delicious marinated feta - OrganisingChaosBlog

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

Ingredients

200 grs feta cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leave
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
olive oil

Ingredients to marinate feta cheese - OrganisingChaosBlog

Directions

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.

Olive oil and feta cheese - yum, yum. - OrganisingChaosBlog

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.

Marinated feta cheese with bay leave - OrganisingChaosBlog

Have you got a favorite recipe for your feta?
Don’t be shy. Share!

Chaotic Itzi

OCB

HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCHES : SAUSAGE ROLLS & SALAD ON A STICK

Trying to come up with healthy and varied school lunches is a bit of pain, don’t you find? We are nearly half way through the school year and I am already bored with our usual ones (like this one and this one),and I am not even the one eating them!!

I don’t mind making the school lunches. It is trying to make them interesting while keeping them balanced and healthy that I find challenging.  The brain has to work and, most of the time, the brain does not like that!!!

I have recently introduced this new lunch into our school lunch menu and it is working out a treat.
Healthy School Lunches - Sausage Roll and Salad on a Stick @ OrgansiingChaosBlogI have to say that I have never been a big fan of sausage rolls, mainly because usually the sausages were very poor quality and the pastry was too heavy and fatty.  However, I recently found small sausage rolls made with 80% meat sausages (when it comes to sausages, always try to buy the ones with the highest percentage of meat in them for minimum fat and maximum flavor) so I gave them a go –  lovely!

You could also try to make your own sausage rolls. I have made them before using this recipe and they are surprisingly easy to make and so much juicier! You can make a big batch, freeze and take them out as needed.

HEALTHY SCHOOL LUNCHES : Sausage Rolls & Salad on a Stick

Healthy School Lunches - Sausage Roll and Salad on a Stick @ OrgansiingChaosBlogI tend to vary the ingredients on the salad.
Some of our favorite ingredients are : tomatoes, avocado, peppers, cucumber, olives, carrots, spinach leaves, cheese
Healthy School Lunches - Sausage Roll and Salad on a Stick @ OrgansiingChaosBlogI sometimes include a tiny little container with some tomato ketchup or relish to dip the sausage rolls into. They love it!

Do you find school lunches challenging? What is your favorite school lunch?
Share with us!

Chaotic Itzi

PS – If you like this post, please feel share it with your friends. Thanks!

LOSING WEIGHT WITH SMOOTHIES – WEEK 2 : SPINACH & KIWI

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?
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogI 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!
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogAs 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?
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogWEEK 2 : SPINACH & KIWI SMOOTHIE

100 ml of coconut milk
1/2 cucumber
1 banana
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!
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogThe 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?

Chaotic Itzi

LOSING WEIGHT WITH SMOOTHIES – WEEK 1: KALE & PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

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. Kale and pineapple smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlog

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.

My personal challenge - Week 1 @ OrganisingChaosBlog

GREEN FEBRUARY 
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)
Kale and pineapple smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogKKale and pineapple smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogBlitz 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!

Chaotic Itzi

RECIPE : CARAMELIZED ONION

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.
OrganisingChaos - Delicious Caramelized Onions
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.
Caramelized Onions / Step 1 - chop the onions and add them to the panHeat 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.
Caramelized Onions / Step 2 - slow cook your onionsAfter 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.
Caramelized Onions - Step 3 - Add the sugarAfter 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.
OrganisingChaos - Delicious Caramelized Onions
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!

Enjoy it!
Chaotic Itzi

RECIPE: ROSEMARY ROASTED ALMONDS

RECIPE: ROSEMARY ROASTED ALMONDS

We are big into nuts in my house: almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts… any kind of nut. All but peanuts as Mr Chaotic Monkeys is allergic to them. Almonds in particular are a staple in our snack bag, together with fruit and rice-cakes.

Almonds are an amazing food. They are high in vitamin E, high in healthy (monounsaturated) fats, magnesium, potassium and protein, which makes them the perfect healthy snack to have when you are feeling peckish.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Rosemary Roasted Almonds - a healthy snack
ROSEMARY ROASTED ALMONDS
2 cups of whole almonds
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
dash of ground pepper
OrganisingChaosBlog - Rosemary Roasted Almonds - a healthy snack
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl making sure they are all properly coated.
Put the nuts in a roasting tray in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes shaking them slightly half way. Take them out and let them cool.
The rosemary gives the almonds a delicious fragrance that together with the roasting brings the almonds to a whole different level.
OrganisingChaosBlog - Rosemary Roasted Almonds - a healthy snack
OrganisingChaosBlog - ROSEMARY ROASTED ALMONDS
The boys have always liked almonds, but now they LOVE them!
OrganisingChaosBlog - Rosemary Roasted Almonds - a healthy snack
The rosemary gives the almonds a delicious fragrance that together with the roasting brings the almonds to a whole different level.
What is your favorite snack?
Don’t be shy, share!
Chaotic Itzi

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