Tag Archives: cheese

ThermoMix heaven….

Easy, healthy cooking.

About a year ago something happened that literally turned things around for me in the kitchen. I met Caroline, my Thermomix consultant. She’s also a mummy with two young children so we clicked straight away over shared experiences.

Together she showed me how this one piece of equipment could help me in so many ways – not just making it possible to make healthy and tasty options but to do so quickly and easily, which of course meant I didn’t resort to store-bought yuckies. And having more free time was a bonus I didn’t anticipate but certainly appreciate.

Now I’m not big on selling things but seriously, this ‘thing’ she showed me, was about to turn my kitchen experience around.

Even better, I could get those nutrients into my littlies, especially my fussy young man, without resorting to a battle. Of course, trying new tastes often results in the reflex spit-out but a bit like the sleeping patterns persistence can pay off and it took less time than I imagined.

Yes, a Thermomix is a considerable investment, but for me it’s also been a Godsend and possibly one of my best purchases as a parent. They also have many options to almost ‘lay buy’ or ‘pay off’ this piece of kitchen equipment. I use mine almost every day and for everything from a smoothie, making porridge, chopping vegetables, cooking a whole meal at once, including steaming vegetable in the varoma, whilst making a pasta sauce in the jug!

This 1 item has eliminated so many from my kitchen. It chops, blends, steams, boils, stirs, cooks, poaches, purées and all on a timer. So no boiling over, burning pans or constant stiring. Best of all it comes with a recipe chip, which is amazing! It has hundreds of easy to make recipes, that takes no time at all to prepare and cook. Well actually this machine pretty much does everything. The LCD screen works a bit like an iPad. It prompts you all the way so you basically cannot stuff up! Easy!

Not only is Caroline always just a phone call away to help with cooking and recipe tips, but as well as a Thermomix consultant I’ve also gained a friend.

Your interested to know more, please feel free to contact Caroline direct. I’ve popped her details at the bottom of this post.

Or jump onto the ThermoMix website and check it out for yourself!

Here’s one of our favourite sneaky veg recipes:

Carrot and Zucchini Choc Muffins

Ingredients:
1 medium zucchini
1 medium carrot
30g raw sugar
130g chickpea flour
30g raw cacao
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch salt
30g almonds
30g macadamia nuts
70g grapeseed oil
2 eggs

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray
Grate zucchini and carrot speed 7 for 2 seconds, transfer to a bowl
Add all ingredients from raw sugar to macadamia nuts and mix speed 5 for 6 seconds
Add oil and eggs and mix speed 5 for 20 seconds
Add back zucchini and carrot and mix speed 2 for 5 seconds on reverse
Transfer mixture to prepared muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes
Transfer to wire tray to cool for 10 minutes

I like to serve these with vanilla coconut custard…( one of Caroline’s recipes).

These can even be frozen so you always have a supply on hand!

If you would like to contact Caroline to arrange a cooking demonstration or purchase you own Thermomix you can contact her on 0402 483 803 or carolinesomma@hotmail.com

Chorizo and spinach frittata.

Chorizo and baby spinach frittata

This is a simple yet yummy and relatively healthy dish that can be used as a side, snack or meal.

You can also use low fat milk and cheese.

I have cooked this before using capsicum and mushroom. I’ve also cooked it with cubes of sweet potato. It’s one of those easy dishes that can be altered to suit your individual taste.

Chorizo and baby spinach frittata.

Ingredients –

6 x chorizo sausages (I like the spicy one’s)
12 x large eggs (I use 700gm organic eggs)
1 1/2 x cup milk (I use full cream but you can use skim)
3 x cup baby spinach
1 x cup goats cheese (you can use any cheese)
1/2 x cup wholemeal self raising flour

Method –

In a pan brown the chorizo whole then once brown on outside, slice in half and brown the insides. Once brown set aside to cool then slice or cut into bite size pieces.

Whisk the egg, milk and flour until combined.

Add goats cheese and spinach and mix well.

In a large baking dish, pour the egg mixture then slowly place the cooked chorizo over the top evenly.

I add the chorizo lastly as its a ‘heavy’ sausage and it ‘sink’s’ a bit into the egg mixture as it cooks.

Bake on 180 degrees for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature back to 120 degrees and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.

Serve either warm or cold.

Lunch box ideas?

School lunch box ideas.

With the school term fast approaching I’ve been thinking of different foods that I can use in my little mans lunch box that are nutritious and yummy.

He is a very fussy eater so coming up with different food ideas that he won’t get ‘bored’ of but foods that will also sustain his hunger, give him energy, are healthy options and are a nice variety.

He is only 3 but is very picky. He used to be a great eater and ate everything I have him, right up until he was about 2.5 years old. Then, like a switch, he ‘didn’t like anything’.

I try many options in his lunch box but the majority of the time, the lunch box comes back with the prepared food still not touched. Such a waste of good, wholesome healthy food.

I’ve tried asking him what he would like to eat. He still won’t eat it. I end up packing things that I know he will eat. Not always the healthiest options but he will eat it.

It makes me question, is it better to feed them what they like and want knowing it will get eaten?

Or pack him what I think is a better and healthier option knowing that it may possibly come back home untouched and know, my little guy went hungry as he didn’t like what was prepared for him?

He isn’t one of those children that sees other children eat and decided he wants to eat the same. He isn’t swayed by peer pressure. He is very head strong and is very confident.

So below are some options that I pack for my little guys preschool lunch box. I’d love to hear what you pack in your little ones lunch boxes.

Vegetable pancakes –
Yes I purée vegetables and put it in a pancake mix then make ‘regular’ pancakes. Great way to hide vegetables as my little man loves pancakes but ‘doesn’t like vegetables’.

Cereal –
I pack either Nutri grain or mini wheats. Yes I know they have sugar, but not as much as Cheerios or fruit loops and many other cereals. My little man will eat both and it’s a good easy way to get him to eat whole grains.

Crackers –
I make home made ones with my ThermoMix, they are quite healthy and really tasty. He eats them plain. If I have made a batch I will pack brown rice crackers or vita wheats. Again he eats them plain. Another easy way to have him eat while grains.

Cheese sticks –
A good source of dairy and protien and they keep well. If I have no cheese sticks I will cut up cubes of cheese. Full day of course.

Yogurt squirts –
I pop these in the freezer the night before school to ensure they stay cold for his lunch box. He will only eat vanilla and that’s fine. It’s another way to get dairy in his lunch box and brewing a squeeze pack, no mess and no need to pack a spoon.

Fruit squeeze pack / jelly squeeze pack –
I know some of you will think SUGAR but, I go for the lowest with no added sugar. He refuses to eat solid fruit even if I cut it up, so this way he is still getting fruit, some fibre and it’s a ‘sweet treat’.
I have tried making my own and using the refillable squeeze packs but he won’t touch them. I’m happy to buy them as its something I know he will eat.

Left over cold meats –
Example of i make mini meatballs for dinner, I will cook extra and pop those into his lunch box. He happily eats them cold. Or an extra sausage. Again if u cut it up he will eat it cold. Or even chicken tenders or home made chicken nuggets. So easy to make, good source or protein and iron and he will eat them cold.

Cold pasta –
Befor you think I’m nuts, it’s easy. I cook either shells or spirals, let them cool and put some in his lunch box. He likes cold pasta. I usually do while grain pasta or spinach. He won’t eat the ‘red’ but I find he doesn’t mind the ‘green’ or ‘brown’. Good carbohydrates and being low GI keeps his energy levels up.

Banana bread fingers –
He thinks it’s cake 😉 occasionally he will eat it. Plain though, no butter and it must be cut in rectangles. I again make my own in my ThermoMix so has almost no sugar and I again make it on half kamut and half wholemeal flour rather than plain white. Kamut flour is high in protein. You could also use chickpea flour.

An alternate in the banana bread fingers could be mini fruit muffins? If you make them yourself you can cut down in the sugar. I know some may question why cutting down on sugar in children.

Well 1 it rots teeth, 2 it can cause health issues and 3 if sugar is not burnt within the body from activity or exercise its stored as fat and our nation is already overweight. I don’t see I big issue in using either natural sugar sources such as fruit over refined sugar and I also think so much food has hidden added sugar that by cutting down on some can not hurt.

I don’t send my little man to school with muesli bars as its a nut free environment. I also don’t like the idea of roll up as its loaded with refined sugar.

I’d love to hear your ideas for fussy eaters that won’t eat a sandwich or cut fruit and vegetables.

Email me :
Noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Summer tips!

So with summer just around the corner, a lot of friends are starting to work towards their summer body.

Or if your like me, your trying to shift those last couple of baby kilos.

I know I’ve posted some foods calorie counts previously to help with weight loss goals.

Below I’ve listed a few easy ‘switches’ that can help you achieve these goals sooner!

Always remember to achieve your weight loss goals, eat healthy and your still allowed ‘cheat meals’ or snacks on occasion. With all weight loss, it is recommended that some exercise is included. Be it a walk or a class of some sort or simply running around with your children.

You can loose weight with a strict diet and without exercise however exercise will speed up the process and you will get results sooner!

Not to mention feel better as exercise releases endorphins and will give you more energy and a heather mind.

🙂

Switch a full cream milk in your flat white (123 calories) to skim milk flat white (68 calories)

Switch 100g of roast duck (313 calories) for 100g of roast chicken (152 calories)

Switch a can of lemonade (124 calories) for a diet lemonade (2 calories) – or even better sparkling water (0 calories)

Switch a pita bread pocket (190 calories) for a slice of Mountain Bread (75 calories)

Switch a glass of tonic water (135 calories) for a glass of soda water (0 calories)

Switch a 100ml scoop of Connoisseur
Vanilla ice cream (224 calories) for the same size scoop of Peter’s Light and Creamy Vanilla (75 calories)

Switch a tablespoon of regular cottage cheese (45 calories) for a tablespoon of low fat cottage cheese (26 calories)

Switch 80g of mashed potato (85 calories) for 80g of mashed cauliflower (19 calories)

Switch a tablespoon of sour cream (70 calories) for a tablespoon of fat free Greek yoghurt (13 calories)

Switch a cup of regular soy milk (185 calories) for a cup of light soy milk (95 calories)

Another tip – always read the labels of food as sometimes when something is low or no fat, it has a higher sugar count.

And what happens if we don’t burn the sugar ??? It turns to fat!

Tortilla layer cake

An easy mid week or weekend family meal.

Quick, easy and delicious!

Oh and mildly healthy

Tortilla layer cake?

An easy alternative to tacos/tortilla wraps.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 x kilo mince – I use lean beef but you can also use chicken or turkey mince.
2 x packets taco seasoning
1 × 6 pack tortilla wraps
1 1/2 x cups water
1/2 x cup sour cream
1/2 x cup tomato salsa
2 x cups grated cheese
Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c

Brown off mince on stove top then add taco seasoning and water.

Simmer for 15 mins.

In an oven proof bowl layer each tortilla wrap with mince, salsa, sour cream and cheese untill all wraps are used. It will resemble something like a cake!

Sprinkle cheese across the top.

Place in preheated oven untill cheese is melted / grilled to desired liking.

burrito salad!

Burrito Salad – healthy yet delicious!

Ingredients

1 1/2 x cups lettuce

1/2 x cup brown rice, cooked

1/3 x cup beans, cooked (I use the 4 bean mix that comes in a tin, simply drain and rinse)

1 x cup vegetables (try tomatoes, red peppers, onions, or roasted sweet potatoes)

2 x tablespoons avocado or guacamole

2 x tablespoons salsa

Sprinkle of low-fat cheese

Directions

1. Place lettuce in large bowl.

2. Add the rice and beans then toss.

3. Top with your choice of vegetables, plus salsa and cheese (if desired).

4. Eat cold or microwave for 20 seconds and serve.

You could also add some cooked mince it cook a steak or chicken breast, slice and also toss through!

Easy, full of flavour and heathy!

Tacos / Tortillas!

An easy alternative to tacos/tortilla wraps.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 kilo mince – beef or chicken
2 packets taco seasoning
1 × 6 pack tortilla wraps
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup tomato salsa
2 cups grated cheese
Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°c

Brown off mince, add taco seasoning and water. Simmer for 15 mins.

Layer tortilla wrap, mince, salsa, sour cream and cheese untill all wraps are used.

Sprinkle cheese across the top.

Place in preheated oven untill cheese is melted to desired liking.

Mexican chicken bowl.

Mexican chicken bowl.

I love easy recipes that the whole family will eat. It’s even better when it’s a 1 pot or 1 pan kinda meal. Less cleaning and less mess!

Here is one that a good friend of mine makes and I’ve changed a few ingredients to suit my taste buds.

Another good swap is by using browned mince instead of chicken and you can also add green capsicum and half salsa half BBQ sauce.

Be creative, think about the flavours that you like and adapt this recipe to suit your taste buds.

Ingredients

6 tortilla wraps – I use wholemeal the medium sized ones from the supermarket bread aisle.
3 cups cooked chopped chicken – I used a BBQ chicken and simply pull it apart.
1 x tablespoon olive oil
1 x cup red capsicum, chopped
1 x can red kidney beans, black beans or chilli beans
1 x can corn kernels
1 x teaspoon chilli powder – I use fresh chilli approx 1 small red chilli
3 x cups salsa – I use medium heat – store bought jars – approx 2 jars
1 1/2 x cups sour cream
1 1/2 x cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 x cups grated mozzarella cheese
Method

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Spray a casserole dish large enough to fit tortillas.

Heat olive oil in pan and cook capsicum for 5 minutes, or until softened.

Mix in chilli and remove from heat, stir in beans and corn.

In a medium bowl, mix salsa and sour cream.

Layer tortilla, salsa mixture, chicken, tortilla, vegetables, cheeses.

Repeat 4 times, or until you reach the top of the casserole dish. Top with cheese.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and browning.

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Pregnancy snacks – healthy options.

Healthy pregnancy snacks!

Firstly let me start by saying, these are not just snacks for pregnant women. However when your pregnant there are many restrictions that you perhaps should and shouldn’t have within your diet, so finding healthy options to curb your craving and stop the nausea can sometimes be difficult.

Below are my trusty snacks that are a healthy option – so that I’m not packing on too many extra kilo’s but also eating the right foods for both bub and me.

I understand cravings can override health and you just want to reach for a burger and fry’s, well I’m not saying don’t, what I’m saying is choose better choices. I sometimes find that if I’m craving hot chips / fry’s and I make my own oven baked rather than deep fried, they succumb the craving and I don’t generally eat the serving that I made for myself anyway.

Green apples – I love crunchy food during pregnancy, not sure why but I do.

Vita wheats – just plain, nothing on them, again crunchy but filled with many vitamins, seeds, whole grains and good stuff.

Cheddar / tasty cheese – yes unfort they say to stay away from soft or light coloured cheeses due to homogenised mill etc but a sharp tasty is just as delicious either alone or on crackers.

Yogurt – extra dairy which is great calcium, just watch the sugar content. Sometimes it best to have natural Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit for the sweetness.

Toss Salad – easy and healthy and crunchy packed with vitamins and minerals. A simple tomato, half an avocado and some chopped cucumber, cold, fresh, crunchy and delicious. I sometimes squeeze fresh lemon juice in for extra kick. This will satisfy both sweet or sour cravings.you could also add cheese.

Carrots – Yep trusty old crunchy carrot sticks! Cold and full of fibre and good vitamins.

Potato chips / wedges – Yep you can indulge – make your own. Cut your potatoes in either wedges or strips/chips and put on a non stick oven tray and bake for approx 25 minutes or until golden. You can use white or sweet potato. Add some salt and munch away!

Cold sausages – yes I said it. I know some women can’t stand the smell of cooked meat so have someone else BBQ these for you and store them cold. It’s important to keep up unite proteins and iron levels during pregnancy so try not to cut out red meats. Eating them cold generally helps subside the aromas.

Orange – I like mine cold, I also find it hard to keep my fluids up as I suffer terrible morning sickness. By eating an orange I’m getting lots of vitamins especially vitamin c and it’s also helping with my hydration.

Boiled Eggs – Packed full of lots of good things, boiled eggs are great to have in the fridge. I do a batch and just leave them. Again once cold the aroma isn’t too bad and these little babies are full of goodness. One large egg contains (1):
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 7% of the RDA.
Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body… including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, Folate and many more.
A large egg contains 77 calories, with 6 grams of quality protein, 5 grams of fat and trace amounts of carbohydrates.

Sunflower or pumpkin seeds – full of magnesium these are a good nibble.

Pork – an excellent source of thiamine. Have the occasional good-quality grilled sausage or slice of lean ham. Even on toast this is also helping with protein.

Beans (baked beans) – high in fibre these will help stop the dreaded constipation that most women experience during pregnancy.

Pikelets – I personally love the golden ones from the super market and I eat them dry. I find that they are light, fluffy, not dense and with minimal flavour eaten dry they seem to calm my nausea.

Parmesan cookies!

Parmesan biscuits!

I made these many years ago and many many times, however have only just found the old hand written recipe. I can’t quite remember where I got the recipe but it has flour on the paper and in parts the paper has gone transparent from the melted butter. The perfect way to tell its a good recipe, it’s been used many times.

These Parmesan Cheese Biscuits are such a tasty (and yet so easy) treat to make for either a cheese platter with a bit of flair or simply to have in your pantry as snacks, or better still pop them in the school lunch box!

They are a golden and buttery, yummy cheesy parmesan biscuit that will be a hit with everyone in your family.

Ingredients

125g Soft Butter (Salted or Unsalted depending on your taste)
175g Plain Flour (White or Wholemeal depending on your preference)
100g Grated or Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Pinch Salt
Method

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a soft golden dough ball starts to come together. If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a hand mixer, a stand mixer or good old elbow grease and a wooden spoon.
Turn the dough onto a gently floured surface (not too much flour or your biscuits will be very dry) and knead for 2 – 3 minutes until the dough is a beautifully smooth ball.

Divide the dough ball into two equal parts and set one aside.

Form one of the dough balls into a cylinder shape – aim for very flat ends and make the cylinder as even as possible all along.

Wrap the cylinder tightly in cling wrap and pop into the fridge for at least half an hour for the dough to become firmer (the butter will harden allowing the cylinder to hold its shape better).

Repeat Step 3 with the second half of the dough.

While the dough is chilling, pre-heat your oven to 180 – 185 degrees celcius (reduce by 10 degrees if you have a fan forced oven).

Once the dough is nice and firm, remove the cling wrap and using a large knife (run it under hot water and then dry on a tea towel between cuts) cut the dough log into 1.5cm rounds.

Place each round onto a biscuit tray on sheets of baking paper.

The biscuits should not spread too much during cooking but allow a little room between each just in case.
Cook for 15 – 20 minutes or until the edges are a beautiful golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack until cool.

Serve warm or cold – on their own or with a lovely soft, gooey cheese and a fruit paste.

Or serve them alongside soup (delicious dippers) or crumble over a salad like a crouton.