There is no doubt that it’s starting to get colder. Blue sky is a now a rare thing I drop everything for to chase that 5-10 minutes of vitamin D or opportunity to walk the dogs in comfort! I don’t know about you, but I have a real love/hate relationship with winter. On the one hand I prefer heat so it’s tough to motivate myself to get out and about but on the other hand, it’s so cosy and warm in side – it lends itself to the occasional sleep in, curling up on the couch with a blanket knitted by nana and with the dogs on top for extra warmth, and soups! Lots of delicious, tasty soups!
What is bone broth?
Bone broth is just like stock only instead of putting lots of vegetables and meat into the pot, you put bones! This released the collagen protein inside the bones into the water which is extremely beneficial to us. Ideally the bones should be slow cooked over a long period of time to get the most benefit. You can still add vegetables & seasoning just like you would with stock so don’t fear you’re going to end up with a bland tasteless substance.
What are the benefits of bone broth?
Dr. Axe does a much better job of describing the benefits compared to what I can offer so if you want a detailed explanation please click here to go to his website. In a nutshell – Bone broth contains essential and non essential amino acids which are building blocks for our body to utilise. It also has collagen which assists connective tissue development and has nutrients which help our immune system, brain function & digestive function. Therefore bone broth can be helpful for skin repair, joint repair, stomach problems including IBS for example, muscle repair and fighting off winter bugs!
Where can I get bone broth?
Bone broth can be made at home or be purchased from the store. In the local area the IGA at Hamilton Place have both chicken and beef bone broth, and the health food store at Chadstone has Bliss brand bone broth. The purchased ones will set you back about $10-$15 per 500 grams.
How do I make bone broth?
Please go to Dr. Axe’s article on bone broth and scroll right to the bottom for some important information on making bone broth yourself. You must make sure you get the right type of bones, that they’re from a good source and you should add some apple cider vinegar to help draw out the nutrients. Check out the recipe here.
How do I use bone broth?
I love using bone broth in so many things during the winter! My favourite at the moment is to use it in zoodle bolognaise and a yummy tomato & chilli soup I make but you can add it as a base to any soup, stew or curry recipe. Would love to hear what you come up with, feel free to share your recipes here so we can all enjoy them!
Tomato & chilli soup
Serves 2, double quantity for a family.
250 grams bone broth (not chicken)
2 heaped teaspoons of concentrated tomato paste
2 whole tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons onion/spring onion or 1/2 teaspoon onion powder or onion oil
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic, garlic powder or garlic oil
2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil leaves
2 cups of baby spinach leaves
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tamari
2 drops of doTerra oregano oil
Heat the bone broth on low heat
Add the tomato paste, tamari & spices and mix until dispersed evenly throughout the liquid
Add the diced tomatoes, spinach leaves, basil leaves & any other desired vegetables
Cover for approximately 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened, mixing occasionally so the tomatoes cook evenly
Serve with your favourite bread or protein side, add thin noodles, mushrooms or another yummy vegetable for a bit more bulk or have on it’s own as an entree!
Lots of people chat with me about lunch ideas that get them away from the boring and carb loaded sandwich or wrap. These rice paper rolls might look complicated, but trust me, they are easy. Once you get a few under your belt, you’ll be trying all sorts of different combinations! The recipe today is a classic Vietnamese style rice paper roll with a satay sauce, but as I pointed out you can try anything your heart desires! This recipe will make approx 12 rice paper rolls. I find 3 plenty as a lunch time meal but if you store some wrapped in moist paper towel and in an air tight container they will keep for an extra day. I tend to make them the night before as dinner and then have a couple of left over ones for lunch the next day. If I make them same day I tend to layer ingredients straight on to the rice paper roll and this is where you can get quite creative with pomegranates, shredded carrot, cucumber and all sorts of ingredients! Traditionally rice noodles are also added but I find this too bland and chewy so I like to add lots of fresh ingredients and some sort of protein.
Rice Paper Roll Ingredients
12 x 22cm rice paper roll rounds
1 cup Pulled Chicken, Pulled Pork or Shreeded Tofu (roast chicken, prawns or mince would also work)
1/2 cup Bean Sprouts (cut in half)
1 small red capiscum (thinly sliced)
1/8 Wombok thinly sliced (Chinese Cabbage)
1/3 cup mint leaves (fresh)
1/2 cup corriander leaves (fresh)
2 tblspoons Lime Juice (approx 1 lime)
1 tblspoon Fish Sauce
1/8 cup Tamari
1 tsp Lime Juice (simply steal a tsp from the rice paper roll recipe)
1 tblspoon Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
1/8 – 1/4 tsp Chilli flakes depending on desired spice
Tip: For allergies omit the peanut butter, it’s still quite nice without it!
Making the filling
Combine the chicken, bean sprouts, red capsicum, wombok, mint, corriander, lime juice & fish sauce in a mixing bowl until well combined. Set aside while you prepare your first rice paper roll.
Putting your rice paper rolls together
Place the rice paper roll on a decent sized flat and clean chopping board.
Splash some water onto the rice paper roll and spread around with your fingers until it soaks in (the rice paper roll will go moist and will now be pliable – you may soak them in shallow warm water if you prefer but I find this moistens them too much and they go kind of soggy).
Arrange 1/4 cup of mixture onto the rice paper roll in a horizontal row slightly off centre towards you. Any ingredients that have remained long, line up across ways to make the rolling process easier.
Fold the edges in and roll up tightly rolling away from you to enclose the filling.
Continue this method until all the mixture is used up. The beauty of this method is that if you don’t use all the rice paper rolls, it doesn’t matter simply store them for next time!
Satay Dipping Sauce
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a small whisk or fork until the peanut butter has dissolved.
Take to work in a small jar for less mess, just make sure the jar has a wide enough mouth for dipping your rice paper rolls into!
That’s all there is too it! Let me know if you come up with any delicious recipes of your own or share here at the end of the blog post for everyone to enjoy! Props to taste.com which is where I got the foundation of this recipe and adapted it from.
Made this choc-mint smoothie for lunch today and it tastes so good I had to share! Very refreshing on this hot day we are having here in Melbourne. Added bonus, it’s packed full of nutrition including anti-oxidants and is great for you brain, your digestion and your energy levels!
2 cups spinach or kale
250ml milk of your choice (I used Nutty Bruce coconut and almond milk)
1 banana fresh or frozen
6 ice cubes
1-2 drops DoTerra peppermint oil
2 tablespoons chocolate protein powder (I used a whey protein isolate from grass fed cows. Isolate is easier to digest for lactose intolerant people. I don’t suffer at all!)
1 tablespoon MCT oil (I used bulletproof brand available here)
1 teaspoon pure cacao powder
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy. If it’s not sweet enough you could add some liquid stevia or a different type of sweetner but I think it’s sweet enough as it is.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I am (I am literally drinking it as I write!) let me know what you think or if you come up with any variations for me to try.
I used to love pesto the traditional way, with pine nuts, and you may too in which case you can substitute the walnuts out for pine nuts. You can also use cashews which adds a little sweetness or combine the nuts, even better! I no longer mentally enjoy eating pine nuts after an experience which left me with a terrible taste in my mouth for several weeks. If any of you reading this have suffered the same fate you can probably identify. If you’d like to know more about ‘pine nut syndrome’ click here. Anyway, I was thrilled when I discovered you can make pesto with walnuts or cashews as well. This is a fructose friendly version of pesto if you stick to the walnut version and I’ve included a zoodle (noodles made from zucchini) with chicken breast and broccolini recipe for you to try it with, so yummy!
Nutty nutritional facts
Please click here if you’d like to read some interesting nutritional facts about nuts. Paleo Flip have done a great job of summarising all the pros and cons about nuts. If you’ve now finished reading these facts and they have left you feeling deflated and confused? Fear not, everything in moderation as they say! And as the article suggests if you pair nuts that have a poor balance of omega 3:6 with something that is anti-inflammatory such as olive oil or use this pesto with an oily fish high in omega 3’s such as salmon, you are all good! To give you a quick conclusion of Paleo Flip’s findings on nuts: if you’re looking for a snacking nut or baking nut, macadamias although very calorie dense have the best anti-inflammatory properties with almonds coming in second place. Walnuts although high in omega 3’s are also very high in omega 6’s and cashews aren’t actually a nut! They like peanuts are a legume which can be troublesome for some people to digest.
Walnut Pesto Recipe
1/3 cup walnuts, cashews or pine nuts (or a mix of all of them if you like!)
1/3 to 1/2 cup garlic infused olive oil
2 stuffed cups of basil
salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 – 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
Place the nuts & basil in your food processor and pulse until chopped
Add the olive oil, Parmesan cheese (optional) and desired amount of salt and cayenne pepper and pulse again
Put aside or store in air tight container in the fridge (It keeps for about a week)
Pesto Zoodle with Chicken Breast & Broccolini (serves 2)
2 tablespoons of pre-made walnut pesto
2 medium zucchinis
1 bunch broccolini
400 grams chicken breast (more or less depending on desired protein intake)
Mixed herbs to taste
Use kitchen tool to make zucchini noodles (looks like spaghetti) or cut into thin strips (looks like fettuccine).
Cut chicken into strips and apply mixed herbs to both sides if desired.
Pre-heat large frying pan to medium/low heat and add some coconut oil so the chicken doesn’t stick.
Put brocollini at bottom of steamer and zoodles at the top so they should be ready at the same time.
Cook chicken, flipping regularly until completely cooked through.
To serve place the broccolini at the bottom of the plate, then the zoodles, layer the chicken pieces on top and dollop a tablespoon of the delicious walnut pesto on top.
Once you’ve marveled your creation, you can mix the pesto in with the zoodles or use it as a dip, what ever you desire, enjoy!
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post. If you have any queries about recipe variations or are unclear on certain aspects of todays recipes, please do not hesitate to contact me. Also if you would like to share your own recipe variations or other uses for the walnut pesto, feel free to share in the post feed.
As promised in last weeks post “Is Thai Food Healthy?” here is a delicious and surprisingly easy healthy Thai Food recipe you can make at home. These are very yummy. You can pre make them all or if you have eaters with various tastes you can prepare all the ingredients and make them up at the table, lots of fun! It makes 12-15 so good as an entree. Due to the capsaicin content in red chilli, this meal may help to reduce pain, bonus for anyone anticipating a Myotherapy appointment!
5oo grams beef mince, turkey or chicken mince
15 betel leaves or cos lettuce leaves
1 tbl spoon coconut oil
1 tbl spoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon coconut sugar
1 tbl spoon thinly sliced and chopped ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass finely chopped
1/2 salad onion thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 fresh red chillies thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
Fresh herbs – mint and coriander
METHOD – everyone helping themselves at the table
Heat coconut oil in your favourite stir-fry cooking pan.
Add garlic and stir for 1 minute.
Add mince and stir while cooking to make sure it all breaks apart and cooks evenly.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the betel or cos lettuce leaves in a pile for serving.
Prepare the ginger, lemongrass, onion, red chillies and fresh herbs for serving.
In a small pan gently heat the lime juice and fish sauce then add the coconut sugar and stir until the sugar has just dissolved.
Pour the sauce into a small bowl for serving.
The mince should now be cool enough to also place in a large bowl for serving.
Now you are ready to eat!
Place everything in the centre of the table, start with you leaf (you can make a cone to stuff your ingredients by folding the leaf in half and then in half again, now open it to provide a pocket), add approximately 2 heaped tablespoons of mince followed by your desired ingredients and herbs then using a teaspoon pour 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of sauce on top. Enjoy!!
METHOD – serve for your family
Heat the coconut oil in your favourite stir-fry cooking pan.
Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and red chillies.
Stir for 1 minute.
Add the mince and stir for 5 minutes until cooked through.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the betel or cos lettuce leaves 3 on each plate.
Prepare the onion and herbs.
In a small pan gently heat the lime juice and fish sauce then add the coconut sugar and stir until the sugar has just dissolved and pour over the mince.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of mince on each leaf then top with onion and herbs.
Most of us indulge in the luxury of not having to cook an evening meal from time to time, and nothing beats Thai food in my opinion! It’s soooo yummy! But…is Thai food healthy?
When it comes to takeaway options Thai food is often seen as the healthier choice. Pizza is usually greasy, loaded with cheese, has processed meats and has a high carbohydrate base; Burgers are a bit the same…lots of carbs, usually has cheese and a big helping of red meat and often fat, sauces and mayos drip out the sides. There are exceptions to the rule, of course you can make some healthier choices when it comes to these takeaway foods but we would usually hold back on regular indulgence because it’s pretty clear that these foods are not all that great for us. We can also lump in Chinese food which is often deep fried and dripping with sugary sauces and Indian food which often has rich creamy bases. Thai food on the other hand is easier to indulge in regularly without thinking too much about it because it is often seen as healthy. Here are a few reasons why you may want to rethink the regularity in which you consume Thai food.
It may not taste as sweet as Chinese food, but don’t let that fool you. Most Thai food dishes are loaded with sugar! When I’d been off sugar for about 2 months, we went out for Thai food one night and I was very surprised at how sweet the dishes were. Even the green curry tasted really sweet to me! When we are eating sugar all the time, our taste buds get accustomed to it and don’t notice it as much but believe me, most places put a lot of sugar into the dishes. If you look at home recipes for making Thai food even they call for about a tablespoon of sugar, combine that with the the carbohydrate from the rice turning to sugar in your blood stream and that’s a lot of sugar for your body to process unless you are planning to go for a run after dinner!
When I did a Thai cooking class in Thailand a few years ago I was horrified at the use of soybean oil as standard practice in the cooking. We asked them not to put it in which they complied with but that’s just the way they have always cooked, it’s how their mothers and grandmothers taught them. Some forms of soy are healthy and some are not, soybean oil is one of the not healthy ones!
A lot of places are starting to key on that we don’t want MSG in our food, no matter how flavorful or how pretty it makes our food look. MSG or monosodium glutamate is found in trace amounts in some foods such as tomatoes and cheese however the stuff we find in a lot of Chinese and Thai food is processed and more of it is used than found in nature. Some people are fine with MSG and it is generally recognised as safe in small doses, where as other people get headaches, flushing, sweating and nausea just to name a few. So perhaps it’s not the curry that’s giving you the sweaty red glow!
So what’s the solution? At the start, I mentioned, I love Thai food, in fact, I’m going out to an amazing Thai restaurant tonight, yummy, yummy! However I know this restaurant does not use MSG or soy and they use very modest amounts of sugar focusing on a full spectrum of flavours. If I’m going to order Thai food for home I always ask them if they use MSG and soy and I ask them not to use it in my food. I also let them know that I don’t like it too sweet, most places are happy to comply and after you do it a few times, you don’t feel like you’re being a pain! I also enjoy cooking Thai food at home from scratch, they are a lot of work, but very tasty! I have made curries, chilli jam and soups. If you find a recipe to cook at home switch soybean oil for coconut oil and cut way back on the sugar and use coconut sugar instead and definitely don’t add MSG! I’ll share one of healthy Thai food recipes next week but until then if you have any you’d like to share please feel free to post here or email them to me at [email protected]