Sweet Potato French Toast

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My husband wanted to have a Good Friday bunch after church.  He wanted bacon, eggs and french toast.  Often, when we have something like that, I'd just eat what I can and not worry about the rest but this time I decided I wanted to try and make some french toast that I can eat.  It was a nice surprise!  I want to play around a bit and see if I can get the egg mixture to stick to the sweet potato a bit better but for now, this was good.

If you are eating AIP, you need to know that this isn't compliant as it has eggs and almond milk.  But once you successfully re-introduce those things, this is something you can try! 

All I did was slice the sweet potato and toast it in the toaster.  I found that the thinner slice was better than the thicker slice.  I toasted it two or three times ... til it was browned.  

Then I made the 'batter" just like normal french toast.  I used an egg, some almond milk, homemade vanilla extract, and a bit of cinnamon.  Dip the toasted sweet potato slices into the batter and then cook in an already heated fry pan.

I topped the toast with a bit of pure maple syrup and fresh raspberries.

And we had scrambled eggs (I just do eggs with nothing added) and some AIP compliant bacon.

A delicious Good Friday brunch! 

Maple Breakfast Sausage in the Thermomix (AIP)

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I had some pork mince to use up and I wanted something simple and tasty to do with it.  
over on Savory Lotus that sounded good.

As much as possible, I try to use my Thermomix and so I decided to do the beginning steps in that ...

Also, I didn't bother peeling the apple, I used more onion, more herbs and I used smoked garlic ...


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Here's my list of ingredients:


500g pork mince


1 small red onion
2 cloves smoked garlic (or regular would be fine too)
1 apple, cored and quartered
a handful of fresh herbs (I used parsley, oregano, chives, thyme)
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground sage
(oil for cooking but I did ours on the BBQ so didn't need any oil) 


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Here's how I did it (in the Thermomix):

Put the onion, and garlic in the Thermomix.
Chop on speed 5 for 5-7 seconds. 
Scrape ingredients to bottom of bowl.
Add apple.
Chop on speed 5 for 3-5 seconds.
Add 5-10g of olive oil.
Sautee on Varoma temperature, 5 minutes, speed .

Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, add pork, maple syrup, herbs and ground sage.  Mix well.  Once the Thermomix mixture has cooled to the touch, add to the pork and mix well.

Shape into patties of your desired size.

If cooking on BBQ ... heat it up (we have a gas BBQ and I make sure it is up to at least 200 Celsius).  Once it's heated, put the patties on the hot BBQ and shut the lid.  Set timer for 3 minutes.  Rotate patties (don't flip them yet, just rotate them so that the like 90 degrees) shut the lid. Set timer for 3 minutes.  Now flip the patties. Shut the lid. Set timer for 3 minutes.  Rotate patties again. Shut the lids.  Set timer for 3 minutes. The patties should now be ready.  Just cut one in half and make sure it's cooked through. 

I served with:
fresh spinach
chopped avocado
sautéed onions, zucchini and mushrooms

Parsley and Garlic Prawn Salad

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This is such a quick, easy and yummy dinner.  And perfectly compliant if you are doing AIP.

I fill a bowl with chopped iceberg lettuce, chopped cucumber, and chopped avocado.
I sprinkle that with garlic powder.  (You could dress it if you want to.)

Once that is ready, I cook up the prawns.

My fish shop has these amazing prawns that are already peeled and have garlic and parsley added.
I use those but you can use anything you like.

So, I cook up the prawns and then pop them on the top of the salad.

Done.

Minty Green Juice

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I recently had a DELICIOUS juice at a local organic cafe. 
Even though I LOVED the juice, and have wanted to have another one, I haven't gone back.
Why not? Because I didn't want to pay another $10 for a juice!
Especially when I have a juicer at home! 

So ... the other day I found a beautiful fresh pineapple and decided this morning 
that I would have a go at making a juice that was at least similar! 

It was EVEN MORE DELICIOUS that the one I had bought! 

And it was so easy to make. 
If you have a juicer, give it a go! 

I don't really have measurements.  
But here's what I did, in the best way I can explain it.

I used two apples.  I think they were pink ladies.
I used three huge handfuls of fresh baby spinach leaves. 
I grabbed a big handful of mint out of our garden
and I cut up that pineapple and used part of that as well.  

I'd say I used equal parts pineapple and apple ... but maybe a bit more pineapple if anything.

I put it all through the juicer and that's it! 

A little trick I learned when I did a stint helping out in a cafe ... 
put the leafy things between more bulky items (like the apples and pineapple). 
It seems to help them as they go through the juicing process.  

** 

What's your favourite things to run through the juicer?
Let me know in the comments!
Or over on my socials!
Beans Blog Instagram
Beans Blog Facebook
or
My AIP Table Instagram
My AIP Table Facebook

The HS story --- why I choose to eat AIP


I originally posted this over on my personal blog Simple Beauty
back at the beginning of the month.  I thought I'd share it here as well since I
am going to start sharing AIP recipes and everyone might not know
what that is or why anyone would eat that way.  Here's the
reason why I do ...

**

I've been wanting to write this post for the better part of a year but haven't found the courage.

 You know that quote that says :
"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Be Kind. Always."

 That quote has resonated with me since the first time I heard it ...
because I believe it to be completely true.

 Everyone has a battle. (and so many of them secret.)

 I'm about to share mine with you.

 Let me give you a short introduction to the video below,
an introduction in how it pertains to me.

 I have Hidradenitis Suppurativa. (HS)

  I didn't know it was called that until a few years ago ...
 I always just called it "my bumps" ... and only to my husband
because he was the only other person who knew the
extent of it (again, until a few years ago).  He was ... and is still ... the only
other person apart from doctors who have ever seen it in it's entirety.

 Unlike Jackson, who shares so bravely in the Ted Talk below,
my HS has always been able to be covered up by my clothes.

 I remember getting my first 'bump" when I was about thirteen.
They haven't stopped since.  I will be forty-five this year.

 "Bumps" isn't the best word to describe what
this disease does to your body, but I like it better than boils.
However, boils are what they are.

 Jackson gives a good description in the video.

 Watch the video and then ...
if you're still with me ...
I'll share a bit about the last year ... and the journey I have been on.
The journey to healing from HS.





My story is different to Jacksons.
I was a healthy kid.  A healthy teen.  I'm a healthy adult.


 BUT ...
when I was thirteen, I started getting "bumps" in my groin.
They were painful and embarrassing and I didn't tell ANYONE!
This was before the internet so I didn't have google to help me out with answers.

 As the years progressed, so did the "bumps", they moved into my armpits
and other places where there is skin to skin contact.   There didn't
seem to be any discernible pattern.  They just came and went.
Sometimes I'd have one.  Sometimes I'd have many.

 Sometimes when you have more than one, they tunnel together under
your skin ... this is stage three and I have only ever had that happen once or twice.
I think I have mostly lived with the disease in stages one and two.

 They varied in size.
 Jackson talks in the video about
getting ones that are baseball sized.
I can imagine, but have not experienced,
the pain he has suffered with ones that size,
mine have only ever progressed to the size of a golf ball
 but I've literally passed out from the pain of having someone
 or something bump into (or from sitting on) one of those!

 They don't heal with any sort of regularity.
Some stay for a long time - months.
Some for a short time - weeks.
Some just disappear. 
 Some burst.

 All of them have left scars that do not heal.

 I never went to the doctor specifically for my HS.
I had an emergency room "trauma" as a three year old that left me
 quite frightened of doctors and hospitals for many many years.
But if I had to go to the doctor for something else, they
 would usually catch sight of a scar or a boil and I'd
 ask them if they knew what it was.

 I was relieved when I asked and was told that it
 was NOT some sort of STD which had always been my fear!
 I figured I had caught something from a toilet seat!!

 I was told all sorts of incorrect things.
 One doctor said it was acne and it would clear up when my zits went away.
It didn't.   The most common mis-diagnosis was swollen lymph nodes
 and/or ingrown hairs.  They told me I could have them surgically
 removed if they bothered me too much.
With my love of all things medical I always said "no thanks!"

 I learned how to care for the boils myself.
  Hot compresses, epsom salt baths, bandages,
 various ointments, these were my best friends.

 I learned how to care for open wounds too
 because when something the size of a golf ball bursts,
 it creates a similar size hole in your skin.

 I was always on the lookout to see
 if I could see evidence of it on anyone else!
 I never did.

 I always kept my ears open to see
 if anyone ever talked about similar symptoms.
They never did.

 Years and years and years (like 25 years!)
 went by and then one night, I was up late by myself.
There wasn't much on TV and I was half watching a show
 called "World's Most Embarrassing Bodies" and I saw it!!  I knew that the
 person they were showing had what I had!  I grabbed a pen and wrote
 down Hidradenitis Suppurativa.  And then, I started googling!
 What I discovered what that there was no cure.

 I stopped googling.

 I had managed all of these years.

 I'd be fine.

 A couple of years later, just after I turned 40,
 I went to have a routine check up with a new doctor.
 She was the first doctor to ever say to me
 "I think you have Hidradenitis Suppurativa."

 I couldn't believe it!

 After all these years, finally, I had a proper diagnosis.
 She recommended that I see a specialist.
 I think it was a dermatology specialist and so I went on the waiting list.
  It took two years to get that appointment!

 In the mean time, I decided to start researching for myself.
 I knew there was no cure, but I wondered if there was anything 'radical'
 out there ... anything that I would feel comfortable trying.

 I don't remember the time line or all the details
 and they would be boring anyway but
 I discovered that HS was an
 autoimmune disease.

 (although there is still some debate about that ... some refer to it as an autoinflammatory disease)

 In any case, some people had found remission from HS
 by following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).
 I wanted to be one of them!!

 Mid April 2017, I stopped eating all grains (including corn), seeds,
spices that come from seeds, nuts, gluten, sugar, soy, dairy,
 and nightshade vegetables. (nightshades are tomatoes,
 peppers, potatoes, goji berries, eggplants)

 I eat meat, fish, vegetables (apart from nightshades), & fruit.
 I eat as much nutrient dense and gut healing food as I possibly can!

 But AIP isn't just about food.

 I started to pay attention to how much sleep I was getting.
I aim for eight hours a night.  I don't always get it but I
 find that I get much closer if I'm aiming for it.

 I pay attention to my stress levels.
 I intentionally do things to lower them before they get high.
 I started walking on the beach as many mornings
  as I can.  I don't make it every morning but
 the few mornings a week that I get my toes in the sand,
 my face in the sun, my ears filling with the sound of the sea,
 my eyes filling with the beauty of the sky do me
 so much good.

 It relaxes me even to write about it!

 I make sure I exercise.
 I walk.  I do pilates.
 I swim a couple times a week.

 And do you know what happened?

 Nothing for the first few months.

 But I joined some AIP and HS support groups on facebook.
 I asked questions.  I listened.  I tweaked what I was doing.

 And after about three or four months, I started to see changes.

 Small changes but oh my goodness ... changes!!

 My "bumps" started to react differently.

 They didn't get as big.

 They didn't stick around as long. 

And as the months continue on, I continue to see more changes.

 Eventually the "bumps" stopped bursting!
 They all just started to disappear on their own.

 And then, this month,
 I realised that I haven't had a new one!
 This is incredible!
 It's beyond what I ever thought possible.

 I have started to add foods back in and see how my body reacts.
 This is probably the trickiest part of the whole thing.
 But ... I'm encouraged!

 I'm encouraged that this disease can be managed.
 People ask me if it's hard to have such a restricted diet.

 My answer:

 Sure, it can be a little bit difficult sometimes.
 Difficult to not eat my favourite foods.
 Or to feel like "that person"
 with all the weird dietary restrictions.

 But not as difficult as living with boils the size of golf balls
 or open wounds that take months to close.
 Not as difficult as being in chronic pain for more than
 thirty years and a diagnosis of "no cure".

 Not as difficult as not having an end in sight. 

And all because of a choice.
A choice that is all mine. 

And making that choice each time I decide if I will or won't eat something


  ... that is easy.



Minty Melon, Fig and Prosciutto Salad

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Hello!  I've been AWOL from The Beans Blog for some time.  Well, I use it all the time for recipes but I've haven't been posting as I've been busy trying to figure out what foods I can eat and trying a whole bunch of new recipes. I may share more details of my story later but for now I'll just mention that I've been eating according to the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) since April of 2017 and I have seen incredible improvements in my health.  AIP is an elimination diet (and lifestyle) where you focus on eating very nutrient dense foods while eliminating foods that have been found to trigger auto immune disease.  Once your specific symptoms subside, you start to re-introduce foods and watch for symptoms to return. I have done a few re-introductions but have decided to go back to the beginning (well, almost ... I'm keeping eggs!) for another month or two ... or three ... and then I'll start re-introductions again but much slower and much more documented.  In the meantime, I feel like I've got enough of a handle on what I'm eating that I can begin sharing some recipes. 

I got the inspiration for this recipe from Heather Christo's blog.  I changed it up just a little bit though to suit my family's tastes and to make it AIP compliant. 

I didn't worry too much about measurements ... I just kinda threw everything together.  You can use more or less of any of the ingredients listed. 

Ingredients:
Prosciutto (make sure the ingredients are just pork and salt if you are strict AIP) I use this one
Rockmelon - I used half of one, cut into thin wedges
Figs - I used three, chopped
Fresh mint leaves, chopped
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Spring onions - I used four, chopped
Balsamic Vinegar (for AIP, I use Coconut Balsamic Vinegar ... this is the one I use)

Method:
Fry Prosciutto til crispy and set aside.  In same fry pan, add a bit of olive oil to prosciutto fat (if needed) and fry til starting to brown.  Set aside. 

Arrange fruit  on a platter or in a large bowl.  Top with spring onions and fresh herbs.  

Chop crispy prosciutto and add to fruit and herb arrangement.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.

Delicious!

I served this last night with eye fillet steaks that my husband grilled on the BBQ, sautéed zucchini slices sprinkled with garlic powder, sautéed mushrooms covered in fresh thyme and garlic chives, and onions ... again sautéed. We are big fans of the humble sauté. :) 

Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Thaw 3 Cornish Game Hens.  Mine were still a little frozen the morning I wanted to get them started, so I submerged them in cold water for one hour, dumped the water and refilled pot to submerge them again in cold water for one additional hour.  They were completely thawed after that, but you can continue to dump and refill the cold water every hour until yours are thawed. 

Remove hens from packaging and rinse well, inside and out.  Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. 

In a small dish, mix:
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1/4 to 1 tablespoon white or black pepper (depending on how much you like pepper)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 to 3 tablespoons dry parsley

Rub skin of hens with olive oil, just enough to lightly coat.  Sprinkle spice mixture into the cavity and rub into the outside of the hens.  Set the hens aside.  You can let them marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours to intensify the flavors.  I only had mine in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. 

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 450 degrees. 

In baking dish spread:
- 5 to 6 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into large slices
- 5 to 6 celery stalks, including leaves and cut into large chunks
- 5 or more stalks of fresh rosemary (I used all that was in the small box I got at the store and I think it was more like 7 or 8)

Place the hens on top of the veggies and tie the legs together with kitchen string or tin foil.  Cut small cubes of butter and stick four (or more depending on your preference) under the skin in various places of each hen. 


All ready for the oven
Place prepared baking dish into oven for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt some butter (stir in a little garlic powder  and seasoning salt if so desired).  After the hens have cooked for 15 minutes, baste with the butter.  Cook for a total of 60 minutes, basting with butter or olive oil (or pan drippings if there are enough) every 15 minutes. 

The skin was so crispy and the meat was very flavorful

After 60 minutes, check to make sure hens are thoroughly cooked and let them rest for 15 minutes before serving. 

I cut each hen in half, so this recipe served 6.  I did not serve the veggies except I gave some of the carrots to the baby, who enjoyed them!  A few of the remaining veggies went into omelets for my husband's weekday breakfasts and the rest (minus the sprigs of rosemary) of the veggies and pan drippings got mixed into the dog bowl for a tasty treat (the dog was very happy!). 


Basic Biscuits and Gravy

I've never really been a fan of biscuits and gravy - a combination of a texture thing and my dislike of sausage.  When I discovered the men in my family LOVE biscuits and gravy, I set out to find a recipe that I liked too.  The biscuit part was easy because I have a great recipe already.  I found a gravy recipe that looked easy and after a few trials, I have tweaked it to where I love it almost as much as the boys do!

Basic Biscuits
Preheat oven to 425.

In a bowl add:
-2 cups flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt

The original recipe says (that my mom always used when I was young) calls for sifting the dry ingredients.  After seeing a recommendation in a cookie recipe, I have started using a whisk to mix the dry ingredients rather than sifting them. 

Using a pastry cutter (or a fork in a pinch), cut in 1/4 cup shortening to dry ingredients.  Make sure the shortening is thoroughly incorporated into the dry ingredients.  You shouldn't see any big clumps of shortening. 

TIP: to make measuring easier, fill a 2 cup liquid measuring cup with  water and spoon in shortening.  Once the water level rises to 2 1/4 cups, carefully pour out the water and dump the shortening into the dry ingredients.

All at once, add 3/4 cup milk.  I stir with a wooden spoon and turn the dough out onto a floured pastry sheet before all of the flour mixture is fully incorporated.  Dust your hands with a little flour and gently kneed the dough 20 to 25 times (this will get the rest of the flour mixture combined).  Roll or pat dough to desired thickness (I usually aim for about 1/2 inch or a little thicker).  Use a biscuit cutter or fun cookie cutter (or a drinking glass in a pinch) and place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (times vary depending on ovens and altitude...they are done when the bottoms are a light golden color).  Serve! 

Recipe makes 10 to 20 biscuits depending on how thin you roll your dough and how big your cutter is.  I like leftovers so when it's just the four of us I usually make a double batch.  A triple batch is enough when it's the 6 of us.  When it's the 9 of us, I make biscuits till I'm blue in the face ;-)


What's better than biscuits?  Star-shaped biscuits!

Gravy
Brown one pound of your favorite sausage.  I don't like most sausages because they are too spicy for me (yes I'm a wimp!), but I discovered that the maple flavored sausage is very mild and the maple flavor adds a wonderful element to the gravy. 

Once the sausage is completely browned (no more pink), stir in 1/3 cup flour.  Stir until all of the flour is completely absorbed by the sausage grease (you're making a roux, which will be the thickening agent for your gravy).  I let the sausage/flour mixture cook for a minute or two after the grease is absorbed so that it browns the flour just a little (a little cooking tip I learned back in high school from a wonderful chef).  Slowly stir in 3 to 4 cups of milk using a whisk.  I usually add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time and thoroughly whisk it in so that it doesn't clump.  The sausage will get a little caught in the whisk, but don't worry, it will come back out!  The amount of milk you use depends on how far you want to stretch the gravy.  More milk means more gravy but less meat in each serving. 

After all of the milk is mixed in, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of seasoning salt (to taste) and 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of white or black pepper.  I am not a fan of pepper so I use a small amount of white pepper, which is milder than black pepper.  But if you love pepper, add until the gravy is delicious to you!

Serve and enjoy!!

This recipe serves 4.  I double it for 6. 
YUM!

Easy Glazed Boneless Pork Chops


Jumping into the week right after a trip is CRAZY.  I managed to have clothes clean, but no menu or grocery shopping was done!  My husband graciously offered to pick up some protein to go with potatoes and veggies I already had in the house, and I went in search of an easy, yummy recipe to use with the boneless pork chops he brought home.  Modified the one I found and it was a HIT!

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1 tsp cayenne powder (depending on how spicy you like things...I used 1/4 and it was JUST right for me and the babies)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp of salt (or less if you're watching your salt intake)
1/4 tsp white pepper (or more if you like pepper more than I do)
6 boneless pork chops

- Preheat oven to 350.

- In a shallow bowl or pan combine brown sugar, cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.

- Dredge pork in seasoning mixture (patting it in for good measure).  Don't dry the pork before doing this, the moisture from the meat helps the seasoning stick.

- Heat approximately 3T olive oil in a large skillet and add the pork when the oil is heated.  Brown the pork on each side (approximately 5 minutes per side).

- If you have an oven-safe skillet you can just stick it in the oven after the pork is brown on both sides.  If you don't, lightly spray a cookie sheet and transfer the pork to the sheet after they are brown.  (I did this and poured some of the yummy oil/sugary juice from the skillet over the pork before I stuck it in the oven)

- Bake for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chops).  If you have a meat thermometer the pork should be at 145F (or you can just wing it like I did).

-Serve!

I cut the leftovers up and used it in a stir fry the next night - YUM!

Crock Pot Moroccan Chicken

Tried out a new crock pot recipe last week and OH MY YUM!  And easy!  Win Win!

I like to have dinner ready on football game nights, which is sometimes three nights a week!  In the rush of getting home post-game, getting showers done, homework checked, and boys headed to bed, I forgot to take a picture...but I got one of my yummy leftovers!


Here's the original recipe along with my modifications

Ingredients:
2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes drained and cut into 1-inch cubes (I used a can of chopped tomatoes, juice and all)
2 large bell peppers, chopped (I used green because they were cheapest)
1 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins (the bites with raisins were VERY yummy, but there weren't many, so I think I will increase this a lot the next time I make this recipe)
2 T tomato paste (I just used the whole little can)
2 T water
1 T ground cumin
2 t ground cinnamon
2 t paprika
1/2 t salt
1.25 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used a whole family package of thighs and put them in whole and shredded them with my handy shredder scissors after it was cooked)
3 T creamy peanut butter or other nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter...forgot to put in until after I had served first helpings...everyone agreed that it was way yummier with the peanut butter)


Directions:
In your crock pot, stir together all ingredients.  Cover and cook on low 8 hours or 3 to 4 hours on high.

Stir in nut butter of your choice and serve over rice, quinoa, or couscous.  (I think this would be amazing with couscous, but the ease of the rice cooker won this week)

Tropical Slaw



Tropical Slaw          

          
I had some cabbage to use up, and was tired of regular slaw. I found a recipe similar to this, left out what I didn’t like, and voilà! Both Larry and I loved this!

3 cups shredded cabbage (1/3 – ½ a head)
1 can (20 oz) pineapple tidbits
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges
½ - 1 cup flaked coconut
1 6-8 oz carton piña colada or pineapple yogurt
½ cup chopped walnuts

Drain pineapple and oranges. (Won’t use the liquid, so feel free to use in other dishes if you care to.)  In medium bowl combine cabbage, pineapple, oranges, and coconut. Add yogurt and toss to coat. Top with walnuts. Refrigerate until serving.

Bacon topped Roasted Pumpkin and Cauliflower Soup

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This soup was so easy and delicious I have to write down how I made it so that I can make it again next winter! It all started because I didn't cook a meal I had planned which left me with half of a pumpkin and a head of cauliflower that really needed to be used.  I didn't really have a piece of meat or any potatoes to go with them so a roast was not on the table.  I didn't want to go to the shops ... you know, it was one of those days!  We all have them, right?! So, I scrounged around and this is what I came up with.

1/2 of a Kent pumpkin
1 head of cauliflower 
1 head of garlic
A couple of onions

I chopped the pumpkin and cauliflower, peeled and quartered the onions, and just peeled the garlic.  I put all of that in a large baking dish (lined with baking paper of course) and coasted with olive oil.  I roasted them in the oven on like 180C (350F) until the pumpkin was soft and the cauliflower was starting to brown. 

I put all of that into my blender, added a bit of chicken stock and blended it to a thick soup consistency. 

We love toppings on our soups too so while the veggies were roasting, I chopped up the following.

1 small onion
A couple cloves of garlic
A few rashers of bacon

I fried them all together ... starting with the bacon because it takes a bit longer ... then adding the garlic and onion and cooking til garlic is not longer bitter and onions are soft.

I served the soup in a bowl, sprinkled with the topping. 

I had intended to grab a few chives out of the garden as well to sprinkle on the top, but I forgot!  Oh well ... next time!

Garlic Prawns and Scallops - In the Thermomix

I had been craving prawns and decided to try Tenina's Garlic Prawn Recipe. I made that decision while I was at the shops but wasn't exactly sure what ingredients I had at home. I ended up having most of what I needed but had to improvise a little bit when I didn't have everything.  Also, Rory and I love scallops so I added those!  Here is my modified version.  PS ... this is done entirely in the Thermomix.


 


6 largish cloves of garlic
25g extra virgin olive oil
10 green prawns, shelled and deveined (I can buy them this way at my fish shop!
35g dry sherry
a pinch of pepper
35g cream
lemon juice, to garnish
a few branches of parsley, to garnish
 

Put garlic and olive oil into Thermomix bowl and chop 4 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of bowl and saute 5 min/Varoma/speed 1.  Add prawns and cook 5 min/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1 with MC off. Add scallops, sherry, pepper and cream and cook 2 min/Varoma/Reverse/speed 1 with MC off.  While this is happening, chop your parsley.  Stir through when cooking is finished.  I served this over a bed of rice, with a squeeze of lemon.


Fish Tacos - The Low Sodium Way

My cousin Liz (Jill, at the time) posted her fish taco recipe a few (like six!!) years ago.  It has been a favorite in our house ever since.  Rory wanted to have them the other night so I set about making them low sodium.  It wasn't difficult.  The high sodium portions are the tortillas and the mayo but I made both of those from scratch so no problem!

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I'll list the ingredients in bold in the actual recipe ... There's a few steps but they are easy and I'll put them in the order I recommend ...

Put rice in rice cooker (or cook on stovetop)  I do two cups of rice

In a bowl, mix ¼ cup lime juice, 1 TBLS water, 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp chili powder.  This is your marinade.  Cut flakey white fish (I do two fillets for our family of four) (and I use Snapper) into into taco-sized pieces, about 1 ½” x 2 ½” (thin pieces work best).  Add to marinade and let stand.

Mix ½ cup homemade mayo,  ¼ cup cream, 1 clove garlic, and pepper to taste. You can add 1-2 Serrano chilies, seeded too if you want, but I don't.  Liz blends all this in her blender but I don't mind it chunky so I just mix it with a spoon.  Pop it in the fridge until you are ready to serve. 

I made the dough for the tortillas in the Thermomix but you could mix it by hand.  370g flour, 180ml lukewarm water, 40g olive oil, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder.  Add to TM bowl, blitz speed 5 for 10 seconds.  Knead setting for 2 minutes.  Tip dough out, roll into big ball then divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll with rolling pin and set aside.  Fry in hot, dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  (Roll out a tiny one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash!)

In shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder and 1 tsp chili powder. Add water until a thick batter forms.

When your rice is finished cooking, mix in the juice of one lime and a handful of fresh coriander.

You can decide whether to cook the fish or tortillas first.  I had help ... Rory cooked the fish while I cooked the tortillas.  If I had to do it on my own, I would have cooked the tortillas first.

Fry tortillas in a preheated (on medium low heat), dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it forms bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  I always make a tiny one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash.  Place tortilla's in a stack under a clean tea towel until ready to serve.

Grab your marinated fish.  Dredge each pieces in flour then coat liberally with batter and shallow fry (you can deep fry but I never do!) until golden. (It is okay if your fish does not get completely opaque, if your pieces are thin enough, the lime juice will have already cooked them) Drain on a paper towel.

To serve ... top tortilla with rice, fish and sauce.  I often sprinkle with extra coriander.  And Rory adds Sriracha to his.


Breakfast Burritos ~ The Low Sodium Way

One wouldn't think that it was very difficult to eliminate the majority of sodium from a diet, but I'm here to tell you that it's harder than it sounds!  My biggest difficulty has been bready things ... you just can't find them on the shelves without high levels of sodium.  That's no bueno for this girl!  I've been a bit slack what with Christmas and New Years and the kids being on holidays.  But now that those are all but finished, I'm getting back on track.  I'm going to be revamping our favorite recipes into Low Sodium versions.  Tonight's breakfast burritos were a perfect start!  I loved having a big win!  And though there was no bacon involved, the homemade 'sausage' was a very tasty and quite acceptable substitute. 

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I used a few kitchen gadgets to accomplish this but you could totally make these without those gadgets ... it just might take you a bit longer than it took me.  There are lots of components, none of them complicated ... and no real measurements, it depends on how many you are cooking for ... you'll work it out !

Potatoes:  Spiralize potatoes.  (You could also chop or chip or whatever!) Shallow fry in hot olive oil til crispy.  Set aside.

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Breakfast "Sausage": 
To 500g pork mince add 1&1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp crushed sage (I would have used fresh if I had it), 2 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp fresh rosemary (chopped), 1 TBLS brown sugar, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes.  Mix.  You could make these into patties but I just tipped the meat as it was into the hot pan that I had just cooked the potatoes in.

Eggs:
Scrambled. Do these at the end so that they are hot when you serve

Tomato Salsa: For this one I diced two tomatoes, 1/4 of a red onion (finely diced), 1 clove of freshly minced garlic, 2 handfuls of fresh coriander,  pepper and the juice of one lime. Mix.

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Flour Tortillas
: I made the dough in the Thermomix but you could mix it by hand.  370g flour, 180ml lukewarm water, 40g olive oil, 1 tsp sodium free baking powder.  Add to TM bowl, blitz speed 5 for 10 seconds.  Knead setting for 2 minutes.  Tip dough out, roll into big ball then divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll with rolling pin.  Fry in hot, dry (no oil) flying pan for 1-2 minutes or until it bubbles, then flip.  The second side never takes as long.  AND the first tortilla never works!  Note to self: make a small one to be 'first one' that goes in the trash!

Top the tortillas with whatever combo of the above ingredients you want ... we add Avocado and Sour Cream too. Fold it up and eat it ! So good !!




Pecan Pie Energy Balls

I got a Thermomix for Christmas. Having been diagnosed with high blood pressure last year, I have had to make a lot of dietary changes ... basically needing to make EVERYTHING (processed) from scratch. I kept thinking that a Thermomix would really help me do that! I was given the opportunity to borrow one from a friend for a few weeks to see they are really all that they are touted to be. They are ... and more! And now, one lives in my kitchen. I'm still learning how to use it to it's full capacity but I use it A LOT!

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One thing I've been wanting to make is energy balls and when I saw a few recipes for Pecan Pie flavoured ones, I HAD to try them.  (I didn't use any one recipe but a  combination of a few.) I've made these a few times since!!  They are amazing.  Or should I say amazeballs? You know, since they are balls ... No?  Ok ... forget I said that.

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Now ... you don't need a Thermomix to make these.  You could totally make them in a food processor. (You might want to do the nuts and dates separately and then add everything else?)

Thermomix measures in grams (right in the machine!!) so I'll put the measurements in grams ... sorry, you'll just have to grab out your kitchen scales!

350g pitted dates
65g rolled oats
30g pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use my homemade vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
180g pecans

Chuck them all in the Thermomix together ... 12 seconds on speed 7. 
Roll them into balls.  
And that's it!!

Keep in fridge.  Not that they keep very long ... they get gobbled up pretty quick in this house!


Double Choc Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

Seriously? Cream Cheese in a cookie? When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be good!  I was so confident of it's potential goodness that I doubled the recipe!  I'm glad I did!  We now have 60 of these little beauties in our freezer ... ok, maybe not quite 60 as we ate a number of them straight out of the oven ... but many many delicious cookies are packed in little ziplock bags ready for our lunches!
 
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One of my pet peeves with baking cookies is that they always flatten.  These, they didn't budge, not even a little bit!  AND I LOVE THAT! 

Here's how I made mine ... 

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
115g cream cheese, softened
1&1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup organic (if you like) raw sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 &1/2 cups bakers flour (any flour will do) 
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
a couple pinches of salt
250g white choc chips
250g milk choc chips

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  

In your mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together.  Add sugars and beat some more.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Make sure everything is well combined.

Add remaining ingredients, minus the choc chips.  Mix until just combined.  Don't mix too hard or your cookies will be tough.  Now stir in the choc chips. 

Grab your baking sheets and line with baking paper.  I used a small ice cream scoop and was able to fit 15 cooking on each long rectangular tray.  Next time I think I'll fit more as they don't spread AT ALL! 

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  You want them to start to brown but just a little bit.  Remove to a wire rack.  Make sure you eat a few straight out of the oven ... but not all of them, remember, this makes 60!!

Save some to get you through the week, and freeze the rest, ready for school/work lunches!!


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Blueberry Surprise (Banana Bread with Blueberries)

Blueberry Surprise (Banana Bread with Blueberries)


I found this recipe in a book a friend gave me that had short stories followed by recipes. (Yes, she knows me well!) We almost finished the loaf before I remembered to take a picture. I did not do the step of lining the pan with waxed paper, but the bread stuck to a greased loaf pan. So next time I will do it.



          Recipe in story of the same name by Wanda E. Brunstetter

1/3 c butter, softened
2/3 c honey (I substituted Karo syrup)
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ¼ c flour
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
¼ t baking soda
1 c blueberries

Cream butter and honey until fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add bananas and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, mixing thoroughly. Fold in blueberries.

Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at  350˚ for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, remove from pan, and gently pull away the waxed paper.