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Silver beet, Spinach and Bacon Tart (Gluten Free, Clean eating, Paleo) + Taking shortcuts

Silver beet and Spinach Bacon TartThe weather is warming up! I’m not usually a fan of warm weather but I do not mind a little sunshine for our walks and play ground dates. 

When someone ask me “How do I do it all?” I struggle to answer that question. Perhaps the right answer is that I do not do it all. In fact, I find it slightly disturbing that I’m sending out a message that I’m doing it all, and providing an image that all is nice and dandy.IMG_2458 (640x427)

I would be the first to admit I do put quite a few things on my plate. I’m working on it but I have some expectations about myself on what I take on as responsibilities. Perhaps a little too much at times, and I do find it hard to “take it easy”. That would be my journey and one that I will learn gradually. 

Recently, I was down with laryngitis. Then following a holiday, I was feeling run down again. Despite disliking taking time off work (another down side of working part time), I decided to do it instead of coughing over my colleagues. Even hubby was surprised but agreed I simply needed to rest.

Coming back to “doing it all”. I don’t. I outsource some things too.IMG_2446 (640x427)

  1. My hubby does most of our washing and would hang out our washing. I do the folding and putting clothes away.
  2. Once every 2-3 weeks, we have a cleaner that comes in to do a through clean. I highly recommend that. I resisted that initially but realised it buys me back a whole morning every 2-3 weeks with Asher. Now that is precious. 
  3. I try not to cook on Saturdays. We may have a simple pan fried fish or steak. Hubby might take over or we have cold cuts, tinned tuna and salad. Perhaps an occasional take away like a roast chicken from Woolworths, Nandos or Oporto. We were excited to see Zambero open near us! Think a big salad bowl with a slow cooked pull pork..mmmm… 
  4. We make use of “click and collect” from woolies at times. We order our groceries and pick it up
  5. We also order from The Local Grocer. I love their fresh produce and grass fed meats. Pretty similar if not the same of what we can get from the farmers markets. I do think their prices are a little higher but I look out for offers. Time saved is priceless as well. 
  6. Hubby might pick a few things up with Asher while I do a boxing workout on Saturday mornings. IMG_2445 (640x427)

One of the excitement from ordering from the Local Grocer is that we get some ingredients that we do not usually buy. Take silver beet for instance. I’m not sure why we haven’t been having it more often. Perhaps we are just not used to it. Seeing it in our box makes me want to cook with it. Experimenting with a tart base that i saw from Teresa Cutter, this is a lovely filling tart that we had for 3 days!  I love how the crust is full of fibre and vitamins. IMG_2460 (640x427)

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Ricotta Chives Waffles + Work Life Balance

IMG_1845 (640x427)Balance is such an subjective word. What is balance for you may not be balance for us. A recent conversation with a close girlfriend got me thinking….

Balance is the perceive notion that there is even weight given. Work-Life Balance would suggest that one has managed to figure out how to ensure both are given equal amount of attention and work. Equal. That word lies heavily on me. I would love to say I’m happy with the “balance” on the day in and out basis. Sure I like my job, and I certainly like being at home. Is it balance? I think “balance” means fine tuning takes place on a weekly, if not daily basis. IMG_1849 (640x427)

In reality, I believe that it is what we choose to prioritise. What we choose to concentrate and focus on, and perhaps  even what we choose to let go. Balance is perhaps not the best word for us. Like most people, we have bad and good weeks. We have events that throw us off. Our emotions get better of us. Or perhaps someone falling sick means plans need adjustment. 

Balance perhaps is what you perceive as working for your family. Each family takes it quite differently because most of us have different priorities plus developmental changes What we choose to do depends on that too. Balance for us means we have to accept that at our stage in life, we may not get as much time together as a couple than what we have before. However, we choose to spend time as a family figuring out Asher’s personality, likes/dislikes and how can we develop him in his potential. We chose for me to work which means we have to make do with simple or batch cooking for meals, adequate cleanliness and ironing that sometimes pile up. We choose for hubby to concentrate on his career, which means he looks for opportunities to develop himself. I choose to concentrate on strength and performance at the gym, which means I’m trying to focus less on image but more on development. IMG_1845 (640x427)

Do we want more of something? That’s a big YES! Perhaps it is human nature, but hubby and I love to have more time together. We are still learning how to be a couple again on top of being parents. We like to spend more time doing up parts of the house, and most of all, be able to have more time with both sides of our families. There are times when hubby and I give up going for courses because we have other priorities even though the courses might interest us. 

Is balance a series of choices then? 

It’s a really interesting topic because hubby and I never talked about being “balance”. We spoke about how we need to shift things around to make things work. One thing that works to our advantage is that the working hours in Australia is shorter than Asia. That provides the perceive notion that we have a more balance approach to life. Somehow I do agree with that because the shorter hours means there are more option provided to us. I also feel for my family and friends whose life seem to be consume with work. I believe we do work hard here though. I think it is such a myth that being in laid back Australia means there are no hard workers around. Sure we all know of people who slack or we might even question why some individuals are in certain positions. However, I know more people who takes work seriously and commit themselves to it when they are there. Hubby starts work 7ish, and I know that he has already started replying emails and working while on public transport, right down to when he comes back. My part time hours means I generally do not have a break (Yes, I know, probably not legal but I like to make sure my minutes are well accounted for) on some days. I have friends who push themselves and work longer hours than they should. 

Balance perhaps is a cultural option as well. Perhaps we are luckily here because we have the option. That I count us very very lucky.

If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably aware that whenever I can, I like to have breakfasts at any time of the day. On our wedding anniversary, I made some waffles for lunch. It was a real simple savoury one that we enjoyed with some lovely gluten free lamb and rosemary sausages. I did have a small side salad that was not shown in the picture. For these waffles, I attempted to whip the egg whites to give it more of a lift. However, I neglected to note that my waffle maker does thin and crispy waffles. Not the Belgium style type. So…. my waffles turned out crispy anyway! Major DOH moment. IMG_1848 (640x427)

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Zucchini Sundried Tomatoes Slices

IMG_1647 (640x427)I really can’t complain as Asher is an excellent eater. Most of the time anyway. He likes his vegetables and would go for his fruits any day. He would eat what I make for him and usually looks like he is enjoying his meals. Yes as a toddler, he has his fussy days, but overall, I think we have been very blessed with a good eater. IMG_1652 (640x427)

On my “off days”, I like to make something extra to freeze. Sometimes, these can be used as snacks. Other times, it can be a breakfast item. I freeze bigger meals as well so that I know that there is something we can pull out of the freezer for him on busy evenings. 

IMG_1650 (427x640)I LOVE zucchini. I think we can have it every week if we want to. We can roast it, grate it, fry it, add them in stews.. the possibilities is endless. I have not yet make them into cakes yet but that day might come just yet. In the mean time though, I do like grating and adding them in fritters or frittatas. I like to think they increase the nutrition value of whatever we are making. 

This has a few slices of sundries tomatoes with the added protein of eggs. I love how well they freeze- making them easy to defrost. They are portable and makes a good snack if not breakfast. 

I hope you like it too!

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Coconut Celery Zucchini and Pea Soup

We are well and truly in winter mode. Rugs are out and hot mugs of drinks. Every week, I like to schedule in a soup for dinner.

I made this for lunch though. My friend is expecting her first child and was heavily pregnant. I thought it would be love to have a girly chat with her before the baby arrives. She and I love to exchange ideas and recipes and we had lovely conversations about using simple and down to earth ingredients rather than processed items. We laughed about how her husband still prefers sweet desserts as that is how desserts should be in his mind, and how my husband has grown to have less of a sweet tooth over time.

I wanted to make something nourishing for her. A little like our friendship. Nourishing.

There is a green smoothie and then there is a green soup. This has celery, zucchini and peas. How much more green can it get? Oh hold on, it does have red onion in it so it’s not totally green. Instead of heaviness of cream, I used coconut milk for that added richness.

I picked up these vegetables from our local farmers market. The freshness shone.

Yes, of course I made extra for dinner and lunch the next day. It’s a perfect plan. Lunch with a  girlfriend and dinner already done. More time for Asher for the rest of the day.

Coconut Celery Zucchini and Pea Soup (serves 6)
1 full bunch of celery chopped
3 zucchini chopped
200 grams of organic frozen peas
2 tsp coconut oil
2 red onions sliced
2 tablespoons of garlic
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of ground ginger or fresh ginger minced
2 ltres of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tin of coconut milk

Saute onions and garlic in 2 tsp of coconut oil. Add all spices and cook till fragrant. Add all veges and cook till they are slightly soften. Add stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend with a hand blender. Strain if you like. Otherwise, reheat the blended soup with coconut milk. Serve with Coconut Bread or a grain free bread.

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Did you see this right? Nachos? Corn chips? I had an attack of nachos one afternoon. I have to say it was influenced by my colleagues who had nachos for lunch one afternoon.

Armed with some organic corn chips, I melted some parmesan on it in the oven. Prepared guacamole. Dollop of sour cream and spring onions- lunch is served.

My hubby? Oops- another lunch without meat.

Nachos for two.
150 grams corn chips
handful of parmesan cheese
1 avocado
1/2 tomato finely chopped
2 tsp of tabasco
salt and pepper
1/4 red onion chopped
2 tablespoon of sour cream
2 sprigs of spring onion chopped

Toast corn chips with cheese in a 180C preheated oven for 10 mins. Meanwhile, mash avocado and add in tomato, tabasco, onion and salt and pepper. Transfer corn chips onto another plate. Pile it high with guacamole and sour cream. Sprinkle with spring onions. EAT!


Simple Comforts- Ham and Egg Roll

So I like to go simple sometimes  nearly all the time. After church, AR asked me “sooo..what’s for lunch?” In reply, I bought bread rolls.. and said “Ham and Egg roll!”  Nothing pretentious about it, just a good old classic that is cheap to make. Besides, how can one resist the gooey egg yolk running down the bread roll?

Ok, so I jazzed up the burger by adding a slice of cheese and some chutney on it. Spicy Mango Chutney to be exact. Abit of tang on a usual ham and egg roll. Toasted of course. I like my sandwiches abit on the crisp side.

oh oh! and look at how sexy the yolk is. I couldn’t help but give it a light poke….

Ham and Egg Roll  (Serves 2) 

5 slices of honey baked ham 
2 eggs-pan fried sunny side up 
2 slices of cheese
1 tablespoon of spicy mango chutney on each
2 bread roll-toasted halves

Grill half a bread roll with the cheese. Top with ham and the chutney. Place egg on top. Serve with side salad

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Frittata

As the weather gets warmer, I return to having light meals for lunches. I love this recipe because it is so light and easy to make. Best of all, healthy and rather guilt free! One more slice for me please!

Now that Spring is here, I’m seeing more varieties of vegetables again! woohoo…

and as you are reading this, AR is bringing me out on a picnic date! YES! and he is making sushi!! (with my help of course!!! Long weekend..I love long weekends!! Short post today. 😉

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Frittata (For 2 with tea time left adapted from Australian Good Food Magazine
2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion sliced
2 potatoes peeled and sliced
1 bunch of asparagus trimmed
100 grams smoked salmon slices
60 grams fetta cheese (I used normal but u can use goats cheese feta)
5 eggs
1/4 cup of soy milk (or skim milk)
Cherry tomatoes to serve

Cook onion in pan till caramelised. Par boil potatoes in saucepan with salted water. Blanch asparagus.

Preheat Oven 180C
Place sliced potatoes onto baking dish. Top with layers of onions, smoked salmon, asparagus and fetta.

Whisk eggs, milk till combined. Pour eggs mixture over dish. Bake for 45 mins till it turns golden brown! Serve with cherry tomatoes or a green salad.

Red Wine Caramelised Onion with Chickpea and Chicken Salad

what do you do when you have some red wine left? I was sautéing some red onions for a salad recently and decided to pour the rest of the red wine in the pan. I was happily surprised by the result as the onions has such a rich flavour to it! Toss it through with chickepeas and some chicken (although I reckon left over roast beef will do very well in this salad), it made a good hearty meal.

Red Wine Caramelised Onion with Chickpea and Chicken Salad
1/4 cup of red wine
1 onion sliced
1 can of chick pea
left over bbq chicken shredded
2 cups of baby spinach leaves

Saute red onions. Add red wine and leave it to simmer for around 5-10 mins till it becomes a nice sticky mess. Toss it through with some warmed up chickpeas and chicken. Pour mixture on to bed of baby spinach leaves. Enjoy!

Chorizo Prawn Salad

I think it is a huge myth that salads can’t be tasty. One of my favourite Sunday lunches would be a quick salad filled with ingredients. Now, Chorizo isn’t exactly the healthiest sausage around but it’s strong tasting- which means less is more. I used a cold pan to fry slices of chorizo in, which helps the fat melts. I drain the fat away (although if you want more flavour, you can always retain it) and place chorizo on paper towels to further absorb more oil.

Chickpeas, grilled red onions, juicy prawns- what’s not to love!  Although it’s winter now, a warm salad sorts of break the monotonous meals of stewed meat, casseroles, soups…etc. It’s light and hearty at the same time.

Tell me what are your favourite combination of salads?

Chorizo Prawn Salad
1 Spanish Chorizo sliced
1 red onion sliced finely
1 can of chick peas
around 150 grams of shelled prawns
2-3 cups of baby spinach leaves

Grill chorizo slices till done. Drain oil and place chorizo on paper towels. Using the same pan, grilled red onions till nice and done! Toss in the prawns and then chick peas. Add chorizos. Spoon mixture onto baby spinach. Sprinkle some black pepper of needed. EAT =)

Jacket Sweet Potato

Most of us would have used potato as the “jacket” for the filling. Well, I thought of using sweet potato one day. Just because it has a lower GI content and I love it’s sweet texture. This is really easy for lunch. Just frying up some remaining mince, top it on a cook jacket potato. Sprinkle cheese and tadah.. all done!

Jacket Sweet Potato 
Whatever mince you like
2 sweet potatos-scrubbed and baked in oven for 45 minutes or so.
Cheddar cheese

Salad to serve with it.

Saute mince. Once sweet potato is cooked, top with mince and cheese!