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Nomnom home-baked kale chips

17 Sep


With its luscious looks and myriad nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder kale is blooming in popularity.

Nutritionists have been raving about the dark green leafy vegetable, heralding it as a ‘nutritional powerhouse’. And it’s easy to see why with these health benefits:

  • Has zero fat and just 36 calories in 1 cup
  • Aids digestion
  • Filled with fibre
  • High in iron, vitamin K, A and C which boost immunity and maintain health and wellbeing
  • It contains several powerful antioxidants including carotenoids and falvonoids
  • Keeps your liver healthy and is an ideal detox food
  • Has more calcium than milk

Kale is also low in cholesterol and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight against asthma, autoimmune disease and a range of other conditions.

So when I spotted a box overflowing with vibrant bunches of fresh kale at the Marrickville farmers’ markets on the weekend, I couldn’t resist grabbing a bunch. Especially since it only cost $2 a bunch – that’s cheaper than a chocolate bar!

I was excited to try making my own oven-baked kale chips. Here’s how to do it:

What you need

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • Sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs oil of your choice (I used olive oil)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees C
  • Break the kale into 5cm strips. According to Sarah Wilson, the stalks can cause digestive issues, so throw them away
  • Pour the oil and sprinkle salt over the leaves
  • Line the leaves on the tray, careful not to let them overlap
  • Bake the kale for around 5 minutes, or until they’re crispy

There you have it – a quick, healthy and addictive snack that will keep you energised between meals.

Aside from chips, you might like to enjoy kale in a salad, soup, pasta or boiled. I might even try a few variations in coming weeks and let you know how it goes. 🙂

Have you tried making kale chips? How else do you eat kale?

The perfect snack for hot chip lovers

15 Sep

It’s the weekend and you have a hankering for a tasty, salty, lip-smacking treat. But you’d like it sans calories, fat and other nasties, thank you very much!

If you’re a hot chip lover like me, then you’re going to love this healthy snack I just whipped up.

Introducing my Super Spicy Sweet Potato Chips!

What you need

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1tbs olive oil or another heart-friendly vegetable oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1tsp Cajun seasoning (check the salt content before you buy)

Nutritional info

Think of these as a ‘sometimes’ snack. I recommend sharing them with someone. 🙂

Serves: 2 (if having it as a snack)

Calories: approx 140 per serve (depending on sweet potato size. I recommend adding each ingredient to a calorie tracker like My Fitness Pal.)

Fat: approx 9g per serve

How to make it

This one is so easy, you could probably do it with your eyes closed. Please don’t though – that could get messy.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Peel the sweet potato (it’s best not to wash it after it’s peeled, as the oil won’t stick and your chips could go soggy)
  3. Cut the potato in half
  4. Cut each half into 5cm x 1cm chips (these are ‘ish’ measurements – you just  need to cut them to resemble chips)
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the chips on the tray (don’t worry about lining them up just yet)
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil over the chips. Don’t drown them; they should glisten
  7. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning and black pepper over the chip pile
  8. Smoosh the chips around with your fingers to coat them in the oil and seasoning
  9. Line the chips up on the tray, with an even space between them. It’s really important not to let them touch, as otherwise they’ll sweat and go soggy
  10. Place the tray in the oven
  11. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the chips over
  12. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until they are soft and brown
  13. Pull the tray out of the oven, pour the chips into a bowl and…..EAT THEEEEM! YUM!

That’s it! A super filling, super scrummy and super easy recipe for hot chips! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat my chips in front of a chick flick. Ahhh, I love weekends. 🙂

Oops, I had a Maxibon

13 Sep

Last night, I cooked a deliciously healthy meal for The Lad and me: lamb cutlets on a bed of minted peas, lemon, ricotta and spicy sweet potato.

I added it to My Fitness Pal and completed the day just a few calories short of my daily allowance.

And then I had a Maxibon. It was calling to me from the freezer at the 7-Eleven. ‘Eaaaat me, Kat! Eaaaaat meeeee!’ All it took was for The Lad to grab one for himself, and my resolve was unraveled.

I’ll admit, it tasted a-ma-zing. And, having already made the decision to eat it, I really enjoyed the snack. I savoured its sweetness, delighted in the crunchy texture and devoured it in minutes.

In the past, I would have beaten myself up about scoffing something that wasn’t in  my nutrition plan. I would have eaten it guiltily and tried to pretend it never happened.

Acknowledge and move on

Now? I no longer beat myself up. I acknowledge that I went a bit cray-cray and try to understand why I did. I know I ate the Maxibon because I wanted to reward myself for sticking to my fitness plan. I realise how illogical that is!

I’ve decided that next time I want to reward myself, I’ll go to the movies, have a epsom salt bath or read a magazine. I’ll find food-free ways to pat myself on the back.

Here’s something I’m learning – life is for living. If that means I want to indulge in a sweet treat every now and then, I’ll do it and enjoy it. If I feel like counteracting that with a few more lunges or going for a run, I’ll do it and enjoy it. I’ll celebrate my decisions and applaud myself for being in control of those decisions.

And if I feel like it, I’m going to have a Maxibon. Who’s with me? 🙂

My latest discovery – the farmers’ markets

10 Sep


Last week, my grocery bill came in at $70. For one week’s food. For one person. I was floored!

The eating plan I’m following as part of Michelle Bridges’ 12WBT has a focus on fresh, filling, clean foods. There’s hardly a pre-packaged product in the entire menu. Instead, my shopping basket is filled with veggies, fruit, eggs, nuts, fish and meat. It’s not exactly an indulgent way to eat!

I came to the conclusion that supermarkets are super expensive. So I’ve started searching for a more affordable alternative.

Enter the farmers’ market

Thankfully, I live in an area of Sydney where organic farmers’ markets are all the rage. Even cafe menus in the inner west boast a spread of organic, farm fresh ingredients.

So when a friend invited me along to check out the Marrickville Organic Food & Farmers’ Market, I grabbed my green bags and sprinted down to Addison Road.

I was immediately staggered by the array of vibrant, juicy, delectable produce on display. Boxes were brimming with bright spring fruits, ripe greens and luscious herbs. I spied succulent strawberries, knobbly sweet potatoes and perfectly round organic button mushrooms. Rows of spelt bread loaves and gluten-free treats adorned makeshift stalls; the rich scent of just-roasted nuts lingered.

With so much on offer, I quickly filled my bags with a week’s worth of groceries. While I wasn’t able to find any meat (though there were many scrummy-looking vegetarian dishes on offer), I ticked almost all the items off my shopping list.

The savings

It wasn’t just the quality of produce that put a skip in my step. I was absolutely floored by the difference in price. Even with a few organic ingredients thrown into my basket, my wallet ended up just $14 lighter! Yes, $14 for a full week’s worth of vegetables, fruit and unprocessed snacks.

Even once I visit the butcher for a few lamb chops and kangaroo steaks, my bill won’t come close to last week’s ridiculous $70 bill.

The verdict? Farmers’ markets are a godsend for those of us on a budget. I’m planning to get down there every Sunday to stock up on fresh produce.

The only trick is avoiding the sweet treats – there are so many stalls brimming with calorie-laden cakes, cookies, creams and chocolates!

It’s time for a 12 week body transformation challenge!

27 Aug


Depending on your friends and who you follow, you may have noticed Facebook and Twitter are abuzz this week with news that celebrity trainer Michelle Bridges’ 12 Week Body Transformation challenge is underway!

It’s the third round for 2012 of Michelle’s uber-successful program. I’ve seen friends (and previous challengers) drop kilos, re-educate themselves about nutrition and emerge from the program fresh-faced, lighter and leaner.

So now it’s my turn to give it a go!

My goal? To drop the stodge, work off weeks of take away (I’ve been lazy, what can I say?) and regain my self-confidence. Also…umm…see that sunshine out there? Yep, another bikini season is nearly upon us. CUE A GREAT BIG GULP!

But I know these thighs aren’t going to stop jiggling on their own. I need to pull on the trainers, put in the work, eat cleanly and break some very hardy habits.

I’ve stocked up on a set of scales, some new workout gear, a lovely lime green pair of dumbbells and Michelle Bridges’ DVDs so I can literally roll out of bed and into my personal gym (aka the living room).

I’ll be blogging about my successes, setbacks (hopefully few!) and results.

Please feel free to ask me questions as I work through the 12 weeks. And if you’re taking part in round 3 of 12WBT, please let me know how you’re going by commenting below. Let’s spur each other on!

Veg and coconut quinoa curry

8 Jun

Whenever I’m up in the mountains, all I want to do is warm the kitchen with wholesome, hearty cooking.

On my train trip up to the Hunter, I was flipping through the latest issue of Wellbeing magazine and landed on a page filled with healthy recipes from Lee Holmes.

So last night, I grabbed a pan and raided the cupboards to come up with a delicious variation of Lee’s Vegetable Quinoa Curry.*

Apologies for the dodgy pic – I’m without Instagram!

What you need

  • 1C quinoa
  • 2 1/2C green beans
  • 2 tsp grated garlic
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 2/2 Tbs coconut oil
  • Half a head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
  • 1/2C cashews
  • 4 carrots, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2C water
  • 2C coconut milk
  • 1C coconut cream
  • 2/4 C chopped coriander
How to make it
  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil
  • Add quinoa and cook for 5 mins
  • Add the beans and cook for another 5 mins, then drain and place aside in a colander
  • In a frypan, saute the garlic, ginger and onion in coconut oil
  • Push the sauteed ingredients to the side of the pan
  • In the pan, toast the coriander, tumeric and coriander for a few mins. Stir consistently
  • Add the cauliflower, cashews and carrots. Stir fry for a few mins
  • Add the water and bring to the boil
  • Reduce the heat to a simmer
  • Add the coconut milk and stir through. Cook from about 10 to 15 mins
  • Turn off the heat and stir the fresh coriander through
  • Fold through the quinoa and green beans
  • Add a good dash of coconut cream and sea salt
  • Bring the pan back up to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste
  • If  needed, add more fresh coriander and a few tsps of cumin
I then stirred through another blob of coconut cream to thicken the curry and add more flavour. A few more dashes of salt can also boost the taste.
It’s delish!

* Lee Holmes’ original recipe can be found on page 122 of issue 138 of Wellbeing Magazine.

Chuck-it-all-in coconut & pumpkin curry

4 Jun

I’m heading north on Wednesday to spend a few weeks with mum, so I’ve started clearing the fridge and freezing food with fervour.

I found a pumpkin, broccoli and beans in the crisper that were starting to turn. So I bunged them into the wok and created a yummy vegetable curry.

It’s been the perfect dish to tuck into on these cold wintry nights, and I’ve frozen a few portions for ‘take away’ dinners when I get home. Plus, it’s healthy!

Presenting…my quick coconut & pumpkin curry

What you need

  • Wok
  • Green curry paste (follow the suggested amount on the pack. I used 50g)
  • Coconut oil (or another cooking oil)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cans coconut milk (I used a full-fat, organic milk)
  • Any veggies you have handy: pumpkin, peas, broccoli, green beans and organic carrots went in mine
  • Some steamed rice/brown rice/rice variety such as quinoa

How to make it

  • Heat the coconut oil in the wok
  • Add the green curry paste and stir it all together til hot
  • Pour in a cup or so of coconut milk and bring to a boil
  • When boiled, throw in the vegetables (you might like to soften the pumpkin by roasting in the oven beforehand)
  • Cook over a medium heat, until all vegetables are soft
  • Serve over the rice/alternative
  • Add a good dollop of Greek yoghurt. Mmm……

Enjoy! 🙂

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