Sain et Délicieux Toasts Français (aka Healthy & Delicious French Toast)

Bonjour!

Parlez-vous français ?

Okay, I’ll stop pretending I know French now 😉 because honestly, I’m a born and bred English speaker and I hardly know beyond the basics of most languages. However, I do have some very exciting news to share that will change that dramatically – in fact, it is changing my whole life dramatically!

One week ago, I booked a one way flight to London. I leave on a plane in 6 months time to go backpacking around the world for as long as I want and can. I have made no other plans and I am going by myself. I may seem calm when I write these sentences so plainly, but words cannot describe the excitement, exhilaration, freedom and anticipation I feel at doing something so amazing in my life!! It’s something I have always wanted to do and I had a big chat to myself several months ago and decided that next year was my year to do it.

And so on that note, I urge ALL of you to give yourself what you want most in life. I don’t want to preach and tell you how to live your life, but think about this: you have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do – act accordingly.

For me, this really hit home. I almost decided not to go ahead with it because I felt like I should start working next year (since I finish uni this year) and start setting myself up for life. But the key word was should in that sentence. I almost chose to do it because I felt like it it was what I should do. But it’s not what I want to do. I want to live a life doing the things I love and for me, travel brings me happiness. Another saying I found that really helped me make this decision was “don’t be afraid to give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted in life.” And so at 22 years of age, I will be getting on that plane and living the life I want. I will be living in incredible places, spending my days doing amazing things and meeting people I would have never met if I had decided to stay at home and work. I have the rest of my life to work and settle down, but right now I am care-free and young and I intend to live it up as much as I can! I know that this will be something I can look back on as an old lady and reminisce about it as the best time of my life. Not sitting there regretting the choices I didn’t make.

20130831-111308.jpg

Anyway, enough about me and my ramblings! I’m just so excited to be going that I can’t help it! 🙂

Today I decided to treat myself to a scrumptious breakfast. I’m currently 1/3 of the way through my end-of-year-very-exhausting-and-full-on prac for my teaching degree and I’ve hardly had any time for myself. My every thought and action revolves around this prac at the moment and I know that if I keep going this way I will become very run down, exhausted and start to resent it. So I took some time out this Saturday morning to have some ‘me time’ – this time is incredibly important so that I can reset myself, get in a better head space and generally just de-stress. My morning involved no alarm clock (although I still woke up early because of that body clock of mine!), lying in bed after I woke up for as long as I wanted, going for a run along the river and then coming back home and making myself a cup of chai tea and a yummy brekkie!

I watched a movie last night and one of the meals they ate during it was French Toast and I got hit with a massive craving for it! But of course, I needed to make it healthy 🙂 normal french toast is covered in sugar and made with white bread, so it is very simple to make clean and healthy.

20130831-110727.jpg

French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (no preservatives or added sugar – 100% wholemeal flour!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup of Lite/Skim Milk (or soy/almond etc)
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

Method

  1. Whisk egg, milk, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl.
  2. Place bread in mixture and coat on both sides (don’t soak the bread until it’s soggy – it just needs to be coated)
  3. Place bread in a non stick frying pan on medium-low heat (this heat allows the bread to be cooked without burning the outside)
  4. Cook until bread is firm and golden brown, flipping the bread over to ensure it cooks evenly.
  5. Serve while warm with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top!

I ate mine with fresh fruit and greek yogurt – Strawberries are so cheap in Perth at the moment (3 large punnets for $3!) so I had fresh strawberries, banana and I even had a side of fresh mango too – we are very fortunate to have a mango tree in our backyard and the windy weather last night dropped several on the ground. Yum, yum and yum!

20130831-110924.jpg

You can of course vary your toppings – you may want to drizzle honey or maple syrup on top. I’m just sweet enough already that I didn’t feel the need 😉

20130831-111021.jpg

Bon appétit !

Advertisements

Mediterranean Frittata

As I mentioned earlier, I’m looking after my parents house for a few weeks so that I can look after the numerous items that need taking care of including our dog, Caddie, and the four chickens that my parents also own. I love that my parents have chickens because nothing beats fresh, free range eggs! Here’s a photo from a year or so ago showing the mansion that they live in, designed and hand built by my dad! They really do live a luxurious life, no wonder their eggs are so yummy!

20130814-140926.jpg

However, the problem I’ve recently been experiencing is that there is only one of me here and four chickens. Each chicken lays one egg a day. This would not normally be a problem if a full household lived here. But one person eating maximum two eggs a day (if that!) is resulting in a surplus of eggs. 4 eggs laid – 2 being eaten = 2 extra eggs per day = several dozen eggs in the fridge.

So, what to do with all these eggs? A friends mum the other day suggested a frittata! Excellent idea. Frittatas are also great because you can put basically whatever you want in them and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal! Great for using up vegetables and also great for leftovers to take as an easy lunch to work/school/uni etc. So based on what I had in the fridge, I made myself a Mediterranean inspired frittata for lunch! But like I said, you can put anything in these things!

20130814-135201.jpg

Mediterranean Frittata
Serves 8

Ingredients
8 eggs
2 tbsp lite milk
Spinach (I used frozen spinach I found in the freezer coz its easier to stir in)
Eggplant (fresh from the vege patch my parents have!)
Black olives
Mushroom
Garlic
Tomato
Red capsicum
Parmesan cheese (I just used up what I had left which was literally less than the size of my thumb)
Oregano (or other herbs of your choice)
Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Chop the eggplant and mushroom into slices and fry off with some EVOO to cook it a little bit before going in the oven. I cooked these in a clove of garlic.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, herbs and pepper.
  4. Chop up all the other vegetables and mix ALL the veges in the egg mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into a greased glass dish.
  6. Cook in the oven for anywhere between 20 – 50 minutes, or until there is no liquid left. Mine took about 40 minutes.
  7. Let it sit for 5 or so minutes and serve!

20130814-135006.jpg

Perfect as a side to meal if you cut it into 8 portions, otherwise you could also eat it as meal! I had mine with a salad and it tasted perfecto! You can freeze the other portions and reheat later when you’re short on time for a meal. Easy peasy!

I’ll leave you with a picture of Caddie, the day she decided to break into the chook pen to get the scraps and she let all the chickens out.. How can you get angry at that face?? xo

20130814-141340.jpg

Girls Night Part III: Warm Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Last but not least, a warm vege packed dip that I served in a wholemeal Vienna loaf. My friend Amanda made this when I was in Sydney so I asked for the recipe coz it was super yummy! I changed it a wee bit coz the original had mayo in it but I substituted it for Greek yogurt instead 🙂 it’s got a fair bit of cheese in it but as long as it doesn’t have any preservatives or additives I’m okay with that – its a dip that would serve about 15 people so for a party or entertaining its fine!

20130721-102947.jpg

Warm Cheesy Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients
400gm can of artichokes in water
250 – 300 gm frozen spinach (thawed)
1/4 cup spring onion (I just used one spring onion), chopped
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light sour cream
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (don’t buy the pre shredded stuff – they add preservatives to it to keep it like that!)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (again, buy a block and grate it yourself!) – the amount of cheese is up to you depending on how cheesy you like it 🙂
1 wholemeal cob loaf (or Vienna loaf in my case coz they didn’t have wholemeal cob)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. In a food processor, chop up the artichokes, garlic, spring onion and spinach
  3. Combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl
  4. Place in an oven proof dish (I sprayed mine with olive oil just to be safe) and bake for 20-25 mins until hot and cheese is melted.
  5. Cut a whole in the middle of the bread and rip up the bread into bite size pieces – place the bits around the loaf and put in the oven for the last 5 minutes so make the bread crispy and warm.
  6. Spoon the dip into the middle of the bread and serve immediately!

To make it gluten free, obviously serve it with gluten free bread or in a separate bowl with crackers, carrot sticks and so on!

20130721-103026.jpg

Delicious! Here’s a photo of me looking super proud as I serve it up hehe 😉

20130721-103133.jpg

Now I’m off to enjoy my last day of freedom with 2 of my best friends and goddaughter in Freo! I start my teaching prac on Monday for the whole of term 3! So hopefully ill be posting some more but it will be a pretty full on 8 weeks so see how I go! Wish me luck 🙂

Bircher Muesli

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long between posts! I went to Sydney a few weeks ago (has it already been two weeks?? Time flies..) and the day after I got back I went into a two week prac for my teaching degree so I’ve been very busy preparing lessons and school work (not to mention working on assignments that were due at the same time)! My first real taste of teaching life since I started so all of that definitely became a priority during the week which meant all my creativity and spare time has gone into that! However, today is the last of this prac (I’m a bit sad actually, I’ve really come to love my class) so last night while I made muffins for the staff room I also put together my breakfast for this morning.

Now you’re probably thinking “but why Bircher museli? It’s so cold in the mornings and Bircher is such a summer breakfast!” And you would be correct – porridge would definitely be more comforting to eat when it’s currently three degrees and still dark outside. But there is a story behind it all which has made me perfect this recipe over the past two weeks and put it as a must have recipe for this summer! (Which will be here before I know it if this year continues to fly by like it has, yikes!).

The story is that when I stayed with my close friend Amanda in Sydney recently, on a beautiful Sunday morning she took me down to her local area of Cronulla to show me the best bits. First pit stop was infamous Grind Coffee which I do have to agree, lived up to the hype – I’m not a huge coffee drinker but that latte was pretty darn good! We then walked with our coffees down to the beach area and stumbled across an awesome breakfast bar which has no tables, just one bar that overlooks the beach. We decided to try the Bircher after seeing someone walking by with it and OH my goodness – it was heaven. Literally, the best Bircher muesli I’ve ever had. I don’t know what made it so good (I relaxed my clean eating a bit since I was on holiday and its hard to eat completely clean when you eat out) but I made sure I savoured every mouthful. The view was amazing since Sydney decided to give me some amazing weather while I was there and I was so content with life at that moment in time, sitting with one of my best friends and chatting about the good things in life.

20130705-073106.jpg

So, there’s my pretty simple story as to why I’m eating cold Bircher on a freezing cold morning, but I finally perfected my clean eating Bircher and maybe if I close my eyes I can imagine I’m back on Cronulla beach with the sun shining on my face… Hehe. It’s obviously not the same as that marvellous creation at Barefoot on the Beach cafe but I think it’s pretty good if I do say so myself and it will be my staple during the warmer months!

20130705-073155.jpg

I used a pre made muesli mix (but its the Woolworths Macro Organics Raw Muesli with Coconut so there’s no nasties to be found – check your ingredients before you buy as so many of the pre made mixes add sugar and preservatives) but you can make your own using oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruits etc. It was just quicker and cheaper for me to grab this one. Some examples of what to include are almonds, walnuts, sultanas, sunflower kernels and coconut but there is no way it’s limited to this – be creative!

Bircher Muesli

Preparation time: 5 minutes.
Cooking time: leave in the fridge overnight

Ingredients
– 1/4 cup Macro Raw Muesli with Coconut
– 1 tbsp black chia seeds
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/8 cup low fat milk/milk alternative
– 1/4 cup chobani Greek yogurt
– 1/4 of a grated green apple

Method

  1. Mix together the muesli, cinnamon and chia seeds in a bowl
  2. Add the milk, yogurt and apple.
  3. Stir together to mix it well.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and put in the fridge over night.

20130705-073821.jpg

Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, half a cup of thawed berries (I warmed mine up!) and the other 1/4 of the apple. Or any other topping you’d like including banana, pear, nuts and so on.

It’s that simple (another reason why it’s such a good recipe – super quick breakfast in the morning with hardly any prep time!).

20130705-073905.jpg

I do have another hectic couple of weeks coming up, but I do hope to post some more yummy and creative clean eating dishes for you all! Thanks for your patience and have a great weekend (woohoo it’s Friday!)

xo

The “I’ve Got a Whole Bunch of Vegetables to Use and No Time” Curry

As I’ve mentioned previously (only every post for the past two weeks) I’m currently studying for a buttload of exams (two done, three to go!) so time is not my friend at the moment. Times like these it’s tempting for people to just grab takeaway or resort to packet food, so I am here to show you that a simple, easy and delicious dinner can be whipped up in the time it would take for the pizza delivery guy to get to your house!

Best thing about tonight’s meal also was that I have heeeeaps of leftovers that I can pop in the freezer which means I have several meals ready for me to go when I really cannot be bothered to cook (it happens sometimes). Another great thing about this meal is that you can throw in as many vegetables and extras as you like, which is handy if you’re like me and had a bunch of vegetables that needed to be used pronto. So, the recipe is pretty much add/subtract what you like and adjust the quantities of the curry sauce as per taste preference.

20130605-191831.jpg

The curry is based on a recipe my mum gave me, originating from Tanzania where she has spent a lot of time, effort and money helping those who need it over there! You can visit this website for The School Of St Jude to see where a lot of her effort goes into, it’s very inspiring stuff! I remember when she was on a trip there, the main source of food she ate was veges and beans and at the time I wouldn’t go near that stuff (again, was a bit of a fussy eater in my younger years!) and so she would laugh and say the meals were “Hayley’s Worst Nightmare”. However, here I am now making huge batches of the stuff all on my own accord! Who would have known hey E 😉

The title of the curry will constantly change but tonight’s curry was:

Chicken, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry
Serves: probably get about 4-6 servings out of mine
Time: 10 minutes prep, 25 minutes cooking

Ingredients

  • One can of Macro Organic Diced Tomatoes (No Salt Added)
  • One can of Macro Organic Chickpeas (can use Kidney Beans or any other type)
  • One sweet potato
  • One skinless chicken breast (remove to make vegetarian – I just had to use up this chicken before it went off)
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Red capsicum
  • Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Red onion (I used about a quarter of one) [brown onion would be better but there’s none in my house!]
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil (about 2 teaspoons for cooking)
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp ground chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • About a cup of water (will change depending on how much veges you put in – need enough to cover them)
  • Half a lemon

Method

    1. Dice chicken and brown in a frying pan (don’t cook it all the way through, but get the basics done)
    2. Drain and rinse chickpeas in a strainer (to remove the excess salt)
    3. Chop vegetables into whatever size pieces suits your fancy (the smaller, the faster they cook)
    4. Dice the red onion and finely chop garlic (or use one of those handy garlic presses)
    5. Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook onion and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes
    6. Added tinned tomatoes, tumeric, chilli and cumin and stir through. Taste and adjust the spices as needed.
    7. Add the rest of the vegetables into the saucepan and add as much water as needed to cover them.
    8. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Leave to simmer for around 20 minutes (I think it was) or until vegetables are cooked. Stir through every now and then. Taste the sauce as well and adjust spices as needed.
    9. Squeeze lemon juice into the sauce pan and stir through.
    10. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

20130605-192024.jpg

This isn’t your traditional thick sauced curry but I like it all the same. Good flavours and healthy as! Can’t go wrong. And like I said, now you’ll have tonnes of leftovers so you have no excuse for grabbing takeaway coz you’re too tired. Win win!

Until next time xo

P.S – sorry the photos aren’t that amazing but the lighting in our kitchen isn’t the best, plus it’s not one of those foods that looks like a million bucks 😉

Crustless Vegetable Quiche & Raw Pad Thai

This week I’m staying at my parents house in Mandurah so I can study for exams without distractions (nice town but there isn’t much to do… Hence why I come here to study) so I decided to be a lovely daughter and cook dinner tonight! Apologies if my writing is all over the place – a whole day of study has sapped my creativity (evidence: just had to google whether ‘sapped’ is a word or if I just made it up…)

20130531-170642.jpg

Anyway, found this recipe for ‘Italian Crustless Quiche’ on cleaneatingmag.com.au and I just added more vegetables! Made this dish a couple weeks ago with some close friends of mine and it was that good that I decided to make it again 🙂

Crustless Vegetable Quiche
Makes 6 large (dinner portion) servings or 12 smaller (side) servings

Ingredient

  • 2 cups eggplant, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped into cubes
  • 1 cup red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 – 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (for frying pan)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn in pieces
  • Or any assortment of mixed herbs
  • 3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees (200 fan forced).
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, onion and garlic in oil for 10 minutes (or until soft and browned). Take off the heat.
  3. In a medium-size bowl, whisk eggs, milk, black pepper, thyme and oregano (or the herbs that you have).
  4. Add egg mixture, basil and mozzarella and spinach leaves to vegetable mixture. Gently stir until eggs and mozzarella are evenly distributed among vegetables.
  5. Mist a round or square glass pan with cooking spray (I didn’t do this and it was fine – easy to clean). Pour in egg-vegetable mixture. Place in oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to set quiche.
  7. 20130531-170400.jpg

While this is cooking my amazing Mum made her ‘infamous’ (it’s infamous now coz she’s made it twice) Raw Pad Thai to have as well. The recipe (from here) says it’s best to leave it in the fridge for a day but it still tasted amazing being made half an hour before consumption.

Raw Pad Thai

Serves: 2-3 

Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts or radish sprouts (spicy) (optional)
  • ½ cup crushed peanuts (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro (optional)
Sauce
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup almond butter (or cashew butter, or a blend of both)
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • ¼ cup tamari (select a wheat free version for gluten-free diets)
  • 2 tbsp agave (or maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger root, grated
Method
  1. Use a spiralizer (or mandolin or vegetable peeler) to create noodles from the carrot and zucchini. Place them in a large mixing bowl and top with the other vegetables.
  2. Whisk sauce ingredients in a bowl. The sauce will be thick, but will thin out after it’s mixed with the vegetables.
  3. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and toss.
  4. 20130531-170522.jpg

Voila – delicious and nutritious dinner is made! Even Dad said he liked it 😉 and there’s heaps of leftovers too. Bonus!

And that’s it from me – I’m out! Brain is officially mush. Need to go off and recharge before another full day of study tomorrow… xo

Winter Roast Veges & Warm Quinoa, Avocado & Feta Salad

Although it’s technically not winter yet, the temperature drop recently has made me feel like it is (10 degrees at night is cold right? Maybe its just the tiles in my room making me feel like I’m in an igloo…)

And a cold “winter” night to me says roasted vegetables! The smell of rosemary wafting through the kitchen is a comforting one – it just always reminds me of home. My parents always cook up a mean roast but I don’t think they would have ever thought they’d see the day when I would make a big batch of roast veges for myself (to say that I was a ‘fussy eater’ when I was younger is a slight understatement… sorry guys! :P)

I decided to whip up a quick quinoa salad too as a side – easy to make and just adds something else to the meal since I’m not roasting any meat. Both meals take minimal preparation and will make heaps of leftovers!

When I started preparing my veges I realised that I didn’t have any rosemary in the house – I ummed and ahhed for a while but made the decision to run down to the IGA and grab some and it was definitely a good call. Garlic and rosemary go together like peas and corn (except I don’t like peas so that’s never been a combo that works for me ;)). I took the scenic route to make it worthwhile and got treated to a pretty view of Perth across the Swan River (sorry iPhone quality).

IMG_1407

Winter Roast Vegetables

Prep: 10 mins (or 20mins if you need to run down to the IGA like me!)
Cooking: 45 – 60 mins

Ingredients (not limited to these – add in veges to your hearts content!)

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Carrot
  • Red onion
  • Cup mushrooms
  • Eggplant (not a traditional roast vege but I needed to use it so in it went!)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • Mixed herbs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

  1. Turn oven on to 190 degrees.
  2. Cut up all the veges (except the mushrooms-keep those separate) into pieces (doesn’t matter what size or shape, although thinner/smaller cook quicker) and place in a mixing bowl. Cut up garlic into smallish pieces (or keep them whole).
  3. Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon or so of mixed herbs and several springs of rosemary in the bowl.
  4. Mix together so that all the pieces are coated with the oil and herbs.
  5. Place all vegetables on a wire rack that is sitting on top of a baking tray wrapped with aluminium foil. Spread the veges out so they have some breathing space and place in the oven.
  6. Cook for anywhere between 45 mins to an hour. They should be easily pierced with a fork when they’re ready. Keep checking on them at 20 minute intervals, turning the veges if they need it. Place the whole cup mushrooms in the tray at the first 20 minute mark.

20130525-215259.jpg

Warm Quinoa, Avocado & Feta Salad

Prep: 5 mins
Cooking: 15 – 20 mins
Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (makes about 1 cup cooked quinoa)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 small shallot (thinly sliced)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Low fat Feta cheese
  • Walnuts (cut into smaller pieces)
  • Red capsicum
  • Green capsicum
  • Dried parsley flakes

Method

  1. Cook quinoa as per instructions (I did mine on the stove top: rinse quinoa in a sieve before adding to a saucepan, add 1 cup of water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 – 15 mins or until the liquid is absorbed. Keep an eye on it and stir occasionally).
  2. Mash the avocado in a bowl before adding to the quinoa and mix together. Leave to cool slightly.
  3. Place in a bowl and add other ingredients (you be the judge of how much of each you want! I’ve never been one for exact quantities for this kind of thing – although remember to get the right portion size of the cheese!)

20130525-215417.jpg

And dinner is served! Definitely a happy and satisfied tummy tonight 🙂 which I will need to get me through the study I’m planning on powering through! Exam time makes for such exciting Saturday nights… #unistudentlife

20130525-215903.jpg

Enjoy! xo