I cured my cravings today by having a protein-packed lunch to keep me sustained throughout a big afternoon of study.
This colourful salad has pink salmon, purple cabbage, cucumber, rocket, baby spinach, snow peas, carrot, tomato, capsicum, and cayenne pepper. Yum!
Growing up with an Italian background allowed me to experience the wonderful culinary sensations that my Nonna would create for us. She was quite experimental with new recipes and would often use meals as a way of bringing the family together, or even learn by helping cook. We would often gather the family once a year to cook homemade ravioli and pasta together. I don’t know how many of you have tried this before, but it is definitely not an easy task – whether you’re an Italian masterchef like Nonna, or not. She would begin preparing the ravioli mince at 5am and we would join her at 6am to begin the tedious task of creating the tiny mince parcels. The cooking process would generally finish around 11am, after we had made around 80 dozen ravioli. The ravioli would then be packaged by the 2-3 dozen and frozen to be brought out for special occasions throughout the year.
Tonight I bring a recipe inspired by my Italian heritage and my Nonna – a Bolognese Vegetable Stack.
- The base of this meal is roasted eggplant, which comprises many great health benefits, mainly its high fibre content. Fibre is generally quite heavy, which allows you to feel fuller and eat less (Generally the case with bread, but even better when it’s a vegetable!)
- The next vegetable is roast pumpkin. According to the National Institutes of Health, a cup of pumpkin contains over 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A, which helps aid vision and strengthen the immunity system.
- Last but not least, the bolognese sauce which is based on diced tomatoes and red mince, both of which are proven to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
I hope you enjoy this unique taste of my Italian heritage. Please provide feedback or photos if you try the recipe, because I would love to see how you go!
Bolognese Vegetable Stack
2 pieces of eggplant *
8 small, thin pieces of pumpkin to cover slices of egglant
200g diet beef mince
1/2 diced onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tomato sauce (no sugar added)
1 handful of spinach
1/2 tsp of parsley, oregano and basil (each)
Shredded cheese to serve
1. While the onion and mince are browning in a pan, add the eggplant and pumpkin to the oven at 180 degrees.
2. Once onion and mince are almost cooked, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add tomato, tomato paste, tomato sauce, herbs and pepper to saucepan. Reduce to a low heat. 5 minutes before taking step 4, add spinach to sauce.
4. Once eggplant and pumpkin are cooked (should take 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices), remove them from the oven. Take bolognese sauce off heat.
5. On a tray, place roasted eggplant down first. Layer roast pumpkin on top of eggplant slice and place 2-3 tbsp of the bolognese mince on the pumpkin. Sprinkle with cheese and place back in the oven until cheese is melted.
6. Remove tray from the oven and allow stack to cool slightly.
* Note: Before roasting the eggplant, cut the two sliceds off and sprinkle both sides with salt. Place them on paper towel and leave for 15-20 minutes. You will notice that they release a brown oil, which is quite bitter to taste. Wipe the oils off both slices, then place in the oven to be roasted.
I began the day with a delicious breakfast free from both sugar and dairy. I made a less luxurious version of the bircher muesli recipe from the My New Roots blog.
2/3 cup oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1. Mix oats, milk and chia seeds together in a jar or bowl
2. Place in the fridge overnight
2. In the morning, layer in more milk and add fresh fruit (I had low-fructose fruits – raspberries and blueberries)
So simple yet so good!
Hey guys, these are some of the meals I’ve been having lately. The first left is my ritual breakfast that helps me get through right to lunch. It’s organic oats with chia seeds, honey, skim milk, apple, banana, strawberries and passionfruit. I also drink a cup of hot lemon water before breakfast, as soon as I wake up as it is known to cleanse the body and fasten your metabolism. Miranda Kerr swears by it so you know it must do something right 😉
I went grocery shopping for snacks that could help diminish my sugar cravings. I’m a sucker for crackers and dip, so a healthy brown, multigrain cracker with hummus was a perfect substitute for this. You can also try tzatziki and guacomole. Making these dips at home with fresh ingredients is a great way to know exactly what you’re putting in your body, and taste much better than buying from the supermarket. But I’m a lazy and busy lass so straight off the shelf was best for me 🙂
Keeping a few raw nuts such as pecans and almonds around are also a great snack. Same with Greek Yoghurt with dried fruits, a simple and quick healthy meal.
My boyfriend is very healthy and always makes sure that his fridge is packed with fresh fruit and veg, which is perfect for when I’m around for dinner! He cooked me this meal on the bottom right consisting of steamed bok choy, yellow capsicum, tomatoes, mushrooms, avacodo, spinach and capers.
Also, we hear it enough, but never forget the importance of drinking water with meals. Often hunger is mistaken for thirst, so aim to incorporate water, coconut water, green tea etc with each meal you have to keep hydrated.
Even after a mere 48 hours of no sugar consumption, I can seriously feel a change in my body. I had a 4 hour training session last night for competitive cheerleading, and I had more energy and felt less sloppy throughout the night compared to previous weeks. This feeling has motivated me to continue eating well and working out.
Well thank goodness Day 2 of Sugar-Free September is over, because they say the first week is the hardest – which “they” are proving to be right about!
This morning I started with a Berry-Pink Smoothie (excuse the pun). This was a great way to get my daily fruit intake, whilst re-energising my body after a long night’s sleep (Thank goodness I didn’t have to give that up too, or I would seriously go into meltdown!).
After reading Sarah Wilson’s blog on which fruits are most beneficial for the body, I decided to use this as inspiration for my morning kickstart. I used berries (being a low-fructose fruits), but also added a banana after reading Kalongkong Hiker’s blog, which discusses the fruit’s amazing benefits. A summary of these include:
– containing high iron levels
– increasing brain power
– being a quick energy snack
– improving night vision
Ahh the advantages of eating what Mother Nature gave us!
So, cutting down to the chase – the recipe! With a little inspiration from Shaloni 9’s ‘Coconut Water Smoothie’, and a few little added extras from myself, I give you the delectable; Berry-Pink Smoothie (Apologies for the second bad pun).
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/2 cup ice
1 cup almond or skim milk
3 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp pepita & sunflower seeds
1/2 quick oats (Optional, but a great idea if you’re in a rush and don’t have time for breakfast!)
1. Add ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth
2. VOILA! (For some extra texture mix in 1 tsp shredded coconut after pouring mixture into a cup)
Only 2 days into Sugar-Free September and I have had to be incredibly strong in turning down many delighful offers.
After a few drinks on the last night of August, my friends and I went for a walk in the valley to find a midnight snack. Unsuccessful I was in doing so, as the bread and low-fat lollies in the store were all still packed with sugar. So back home I went to tough it out with water and rye toast.
The first days will be the worst days of course. I didn’t realise how many times I have been offered sugary foods on a daily basis until I’ve actually had to say no. But over the two days I’ve been enjoying eggs, salads, oats and green thai curries. I’ll post the ingredients to the meals I’ve been having lately. Delicious and nutritious 😉
If I can do it, so can you!