Veggie Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Why hello there! Its been a while ūüôā I guess all my posts should start with this. I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Life gets in the way. Today though, is different. My lovely babysitter is picking the boys up from school and I am having an afternoon to do as I please… and it just so happens that I am spending some of it writing up this recipe for you. Even though I haven’t updated in a while, I am still cooking up a storm. Check out my instagram¬†to see what I’ve been making lately.

This is a take on my veggie fried rice recipe. I have been following a almost grain free diet and quinoa is my go-to rice substitute. Actually it’s not a diet, but a lifestyle change. That’s why its a “almost grain free” ūüôā I do find that my general health and well being is much better with limited gluten and grains but I also don’t want to deprive myself of the occasional special treat. An added bonus of this new lifestyle is that I lost 10lbs in the process! ¬†I have also reduced my overall sugar intake and really try to avoid all refined sugars (except of course for those special treats). It’s amazing how much your palette for sugar will change with just a few weeks after going off it. ¬†You can really start to recognise the body/mind addiction for sugar and after a few weeks without, you can really taste how sweet something is. Sugar is in everything these days!

Veggie Quinoa

Veggie Quinoa

I do make almost everything from scratch, but somethings I don’t, and this recipe does feature Oyster Sauce – one¬†of those ingredients that I buy and of course it has sugar in it. Because of this, I try to use it sparingly. If you are following a sugar free diet, you can make your own sauce with soy, ginger, garlic, lime juice and rice vinegar. If you feel its missing some sweetness, add orange juice!

Veggie Quinoa ‚ÄúFried Rice‚ÄĚ

Veggie Quinoa ‚ÄúFried Rice‚ÄĚ

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock (or water with a bouillon cube)
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 of a small broccoli
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 large stalks of kale (stems removed)
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking your quinoa. Follow the instructions on the package and sub in the chicken stock for water. Once cooked, drain and put to the side.
  2. Finely chop all your veggies. I always use a food processor for this and just throw everything in and pulse a couple of times. (A side note, if you don't own a food processor, I can promise you that it's worth the investment! It makes so many annoying kitchen tasks easy).
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan or wok and saute your veggies until soft.
  4. When soft, add in your quinoa and the other tablespoon of oil and cook until the quinoa starts to get a little crunchy around the edges. About 5 minutes.
  5. Add in your oyster sauce and mix to combine.
  6. Now make two holes in your mixture and crack an egg into each one. Turn up the heat a bit and fry the egg until the whites are set.
  7. Remove from heat and scoop the quinoa onto a plate and place the fried egg on top.

Just remember you can use any type of veggies in this recipe - anything you have to hand in your refrigerator. I've used some many different combinations and it always tastes good!

Quinoa works even better than rice because it doesn't get soggy like just cooked rice will. So you can use it straight after cooking. I always make extra that I can toss into salads or use in substitution for bread crumbs. Quinoa will get nice and crunchy if baked!

http://www.alotofyum.com/veggie-quinoa-fried-rice/

Blue Cheese Burgers and Crispy Kale

So by now you might have noticed that I am a big fan of comfort food. I love to cook comforting meals and thinking up ways to reinvent classic combinations is always fun.  This week its burgers!

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

 

I serve these bun-free… you know… to make it healthy ūüôā I top mine off with blue cheese but you can use any kind you like. ¬†This combination is so tasty you don’t need the usual burger staple sauces like ketchup or mayo.

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

My secret to keeping the burgers really moist is adding grainy mustard into the burger mix.  It helps to bind them and keep them moist.  The little mustardy zing goes great with the blue cheese and kale too.

Sweet Potato Fries

You can’t have a burger without fries… in my opinion. So I serve mine with crispy sweet potato fries and a sriracha dipping sauce. Getting your sweet potatoes actually crispy in the oven may have been tough before, but I guarantee if you follow my recipe they’ll turn out every time! (These ones may have been left a little too long…but they were still tasty!)

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

Ingredients

    Burgers
  • 300g of high quality ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of grainy mustard
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning
  • 50 grams of blue cheese
  • Crispy Kale
  • 1 big handful per person of chopped kale
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Crispy Sweet Potato Fries & Sauce
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of creme fresh
  • *1 teaspoon of sriracha (more or less to taste)

Instructions

    Sweet Potatoes & Sauce: (they take the longest so start these first!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 225C
  2. Take your peeled and sliced potatoes into a big bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for at least an hour but you can also do this the night before and place in the fridge.
  3. Drain your potatoes and pat dry with a clean towel.
  4. Toss the potatoes in the arrowroot or cornstarch and then drizzle olive oil overtop. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and line up so there is space in between each piece. Don't crowd or they will steam.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then flip and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.
  7. Meanwhile make your sauce by combining all the ingredients and mix well together.
  8. Burgers:
  9. Mix all your burger ingredients (save the cheese) in a bowl and form into patties. Put the patties in the fridge. You can make these a day in advance if you prefer.
  10. When ready, cook your burgers for 4 minutes on each side in a grill pan or frying pan over medium high heat.
  11. When you flip your burgers, place the cheese on the cooked side.
  12. Once cooked, let the burgers rest on the plate for about 5-8 minutes before serving.
  13. Crispy Kale:
  14. Place your kale on a baking sheet and "massage" the olive oil into the leaves.
  15. Sprinkle with salt.
  16. Place in the oven and cook for approx 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it. It doesn't take long for it to go from perfect to burnt!

To Serve: Pile the kale on top of the burgers. I like to serve mine with roasted cherry tomatoes on the side.

*If you don't like sriracha you can substitute with chipotle powder or a minced whole chipotle in adobo sauce.

http://www.alotofyum.com/blue-cheese-burgers-and-crispy-kale/

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

So the boys slept for 2.5 hours today! ¬†And what did I do? I’d love to say I cleaned all the things that need cleaning or maybe acknowledged the massive pile of laundry that is permanently installed in my hallway, but no. ¬†Instead I binged watched Shameless, had a cup of tea and ate two of these delicious muffins. Sorry not sorry.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

As a stay-at-home-mom I make a lot of muffins.  They are easy to make and travel well and something a toddler (and who are we kidding Рeveryone) always wants to eat.  So when we were following a grain free diet I still wanted to make sure we had some of our favorites to keep us motivated.  Learning to bake with almond and coconut flour has been a bit of a learning curve (ongoing!) but I absolutely love the taste and texture these ingredients give to the finished product.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange MuffinsThis recipe produces a moist and fluffy – almost cake like – muffin.¬† I love the flavor of orange and carrot together.¬† Its a classic combination and the added cinnamon really brings out the flavor of the orange.¬† You can add nuts and/or raisins to this as well for a more traditional carrot cake feel.¬† If you’re looking for a grain free cupcake recipe, these are a great option as well – just add your favorite frosting.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

A new way to enjoy a old favorite.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • zest and juice of one large orange
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup grated carrots

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and grease or line your muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg). Set this aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, orange juice and orange zest.
  3. Add the dry mix to the wet mix just until combined and then gently fold in the grated carrots.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. This are best stored in the fridge up to 3 days.
http://www.alotofyum.com/grain-free-carrot-orange-muffins/

 

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

If you are on a low-fat diet, look away now. Or don’t. But I warn you, once you read what’s below, you won’t be able to resist. ¬†And how can you. ¬†I mean I’m talking¬†bacon, cheese, cream, potatoes.

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

With all this horrible cold, wet and windy weather, I was craving something warm and comforting.  I first came across this recipe in Delicious Magazine. A Tartiflette is a very traditional French dish made with Reblochon cheese.  I, however, mix it up and do mine with a soft blue cheese. I also add a few other less traditional ingredients like dried herbs, mushrooms and courgette.  For some reason if I add a few vegetables I feel a whole lot better about consuming all that yummy cheesy, creamy, bacony goodness. This is also a great meal to make with leftovers from a roast chicken dinner Рusing the leftover chicken and even the leftover vegetables!

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

So with the twins fully entrenched in some serious train track building, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods.

P.S My mouth is already watering…

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

A new take on a traditional French Classic

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts or the leftovers from a roasted chicken - shredded
  • 3-4 medium sized waxy potatoes sliced thin
  • 200g of smoked bacon - I used traditional French Lardons
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 courgette - sliced thin
  • 200g of chestnut mushrooms - sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons of flour (or you can use arrowroot powder for grain/gluten free)
  • 250g of soft blue cheese chopped
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 200ml of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C and grease a roasting dish.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the bacon.
  3. Cook the bacon until it just starts to crisp up. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook until soft.
  5. Once soften, add the herbs, mushrooms and courgette and again, cook until they start to soften. Once softened, add the bacon back in and sprinkle over the flour. Mix to combine. Take of the heat and set aside.
  6. If you don't have any leftover chicken, poach the chicken breasts in a pot of stock for about 10-15 minutes. Take the chicken out and shred.
  7. Add your potatoes to the pot of stock (or a pot of boiling water) and cook for 5 minutes, then drain. Mix together the chicken stock, cream and a dash of salt and pepper.
  8. Now you're ready to assemble. I like to do two layers. First some potatoes, then veg, then chicken, liquid and 1/3 of your cheese. Repeat one more time then cover the whole top in a layer of potatoes.
  9. Put in the oven and cook for 40 minutes until the potatoes are nice and brown. Add the remaining 1/3 cheese to the top with 15 minutes left.
  10. Remove from the oven and ideally let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into it
http://www.alotofyum.com/blue-cheese-tartiflette/

Although I’ve never been able to wait – but when you go back for seconds the sauce will have thickened up a bit and taste even better. ¬†This is just as delicious the next day.

Blue Cheese Tartiflette

Vietnamese Kebabs

Hiya!

Don’t worry…you’re in the right place! I played around with the layout of my blog and found that I like this design better.  I hope you do too!

So I realized yesterday when trying to get my 2 overtired toddlers out of the stroller, up the stairs, clothes off and into bed, that it somewhat resembled when you had to get a drunk friend out of the bar, off the phone, in a cab, up the stairs and into bed.  So maybe life hasn’t changed as much as I thought…its just shifted. Although at least when I had to help a friend, chances were I was a little drunk too…

It can be hard to find these links. Those little bites of life that remind me of what it used to be like before these two came along.  Yes, its been a while since I had to help a friend like that, but at least I’m reminded that there were hard times then too. I’m learning that there is no perfect and that’s ok.

Which is why it’s ok that these Vietnamese Kebabs, which started off as lettuce wraps, ended up as a salad – I was just too tired to wrap them up.  If you have a little extra energy, I recommend you try it out!

Vietnamese Kebabs

Vietnamese Kebabs

Sorry about the pic…nighttime lighting ūüôĀ

For the kebabs:

  • 300 grams of pork belly cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 thumb of ginger – minced
  • 4 gloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (I used coconut but you can use olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons of fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • skewers soaked in water

For the wraps/salad:

  • salad leaves – I used butter lettuce
  • rice noodles
  • 1 julienned carrot
  • 1/4 julienned cucumber
  • pickled radishes 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped salted peanuts

Take all the ingredients for the pork, mix together in a bowl and let marinade for 20-30 minutes.  During this time, prepare your pickled radishes and put in the fridge.

Vietnamese Kebabs

Once your pork is ready, preheat the oven to 180C and skewer your pork. There should be enough for around 6 skewers with 3-4 pieces on each. Place your skewes on a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until they are browned and a bit crispy.

Prepare your noodles by placing them in a bowl with a dash of rice vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.

When you pork is done, assemble your wraps by taking a lettuce leaf, adding the noodles, carrot, cucumber, pork. Top with pickled radish (and a little drizzle of the pickle liquid) and chopped peanuts.

** Make this recipe grain free by omitting the rice noodles**

Baked Chicken Parm Meatballs

I am a comfort food cook. ¬†I confess. I love hearty and indulgent meals, the kind you have to loosen your belt for. Sadly, I’m not 24 anymore and can’t eat like this all the time. BIG SIGH. Even now when we do crave one of these meals, I try to find alternatives that make them “a little” healthier. I developed this recipe¬†when I was trying to reduce the amount of carbs we were eating (a stepping stone to grain free). ¬†I had been making the chicken parm meatballs for a while – for some reason I have never really been into traditional chicken parm – but have loved the meatballs. So when we were reducing our carbs, I was looking for ways to still keep those “indulgent” meals without “cheating”. I came up with the idea of using nuts instead of breadcrumbs and it worked! Not only did it work, but it tasted so much better. ¬†The nuttiness goes¬†perfectly with the chicken and adds depth to the entire dish. I’ve tried this with a variety of nuts – pecans, hazelnuts – but have found that coarsely ground almonds to be the best for taste and texture. ¬†This recipe should feed 4 or enough for leftovers. ¬†I might add that these reheat beautifully or can be frozen, thawed and baked.

Grain Free Chicken Parm Meatballs

Grain Free Chicken Parm Meatballs

Meatballs

  • 500 grams of ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon grainy mustard (my secret ingredient that helps bind and keep the meatballs moist)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package of mini mozzarella balls
  • 250g of almonds coarsely ground
  • freshly grated parmesan for serving

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 jar of passata
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 200C. Put your chicken, mustard and seasonings in a bowl and mix until combined.  Be careful to not over handle the chicken, this can make it tough. Form your meatballs. Using your thumb, press one ball of mozzarella into each meatball, then roll in ground almonds. Place your completed meatballs on a lined baking tray and bake for 25 minutes until the nuts are nice and toasted.

Making Chicken Parm Meatballs

While the meatballs bake, make your sauce. ¬†Saute your onion, carrots, courgette and aubergine until soft, add your oregano and cook for another minute and then add your passata and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the meatballs are done. ¬†My boys don’t like “chunky” sauces so at this point I add some more water and then blend. You can do this too or leave it chunky – which is way better to mop up with toasty garlic bread… when you’re not totally grain free ūüôā

Put some sauce on a plate, add your meatballs and grate some cheese over top. Ta da…even the toddlers will eat this up! ¬†I might add that these meatballs made without the mozzarella taste really nice too…I make them and serve over pureed celeriac with a pomegranate reduction. ¬†So make extra for the freezer and mix it up!

Chicken Parm Meatballs

Crispy Chickpeas – An Afternoon Snack

Since I was pregnant with the boys, I suffered from pretty bad sciatic pain. ¬†Last October I was looking into different treatments and ended up reading about how grains in our diet can cause inflammation in our bodies….interesting. ¬†I decided to try a 30 day grain free diet. ¬†It was so successful¬†that¬†we ended up going 60 days and I have not had any sciatic pain since.

Although it was successful, it meant changing up a lot of our diet. ¬†One of our favorite snacks was popcorn, and on this diet it wasn’t allowed – and too tempting just to make it for the boys! ¬†So I wracked my brain for easy, healthy and low mess snacks that the boys and I could have in the afternoon – and came up with chickpeas!¬†I have been frying up chickpeas for snacks at dinner parties for a while and thought – why not for our snack? ¬†To make it a little healthier, I now bake mine – which is also helpful since I don’t have to stand over a stove while two wild children run about. ¬†You can add any kind of spices you like: garlic powder, paprika, curry, cayenne etc. ¬†I went for simple and classic but have tried different combinations in the past, all with great success! You can also do this with cooked lentils and other beans like kidney and cannelloni beans. Check out the recipe below.

Crispy Chickpeas OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder for grain free or you could use regular corn starch
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C.  Rinse and drain your chickpeas. Shake off the excess water then place on a baking sheet.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sprinkle with arrowroot or cornstarch and toss the chickpeas to coat. Drizzle olive oil over and toss again.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you choose. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Check them and they should be crunchy, if not, put them in for another 5 minutes or so.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ready to eat!