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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

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Today there was no school. So in the morning my kids rushed to the computer and didn’t wake me, so I woke at the amazing hour of 8:40, filled with love and goodwill towards the entire world.
So what to make for an indulgent breakfast?
My first idea was pancakes, but it takes a lot of time and with Purim this week the kids weren’t lacking in cake. And then I  thought of hot chocolate, but Independent doesn’t like it. And then inspiration struck: strawberry banana milkshake!

Makes 6-7 small cups.

Ingredients
2 bananas (the riper the sweeter, I used one fresh and one very ripe frozen)
2 cups cut strawberries (about 3 uncut)
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar or to taste (depends on the sweetness of the strawberries)

Directions
Blend everything together except the sugar. Taste and add sugar if necessary. Pour into cups and receive all the compliments with a smile. Sit and drink the measly half cup they left you 😉

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Independent enjoyed making it with me and enjoyed drinking it 🙂 Bon apetit!

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One of Investigator’s favorite foods is fried cauliflower. He can eat half a cauliflower by himself 🙂 So I make it pretty often, as both my husband and I like it too. You basically split cauliflower into florets, boil like pasta (with some salt until al dente), then mix with beaten egg, a pinch of salt and (gluten-free) breadcrumbs, and fry, covered, stirring occasionally until egg is cooked.  Time consuming, but easy and well known.

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Smells great!

However, as it does take time, I started asking Investigator to help me out. Suddenly, splitting the cauliflower into florets is a creative undertaking to rival the Mona Lisa 😀 He made florets in the shape of: a duck; a crocodile; a sofa; a face; a pyramid; a plane; and more and more and more. Who knew?

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See? Arrow; chess piece; duck.

Gluten free breadcrumbs are either: gluten free crumbled bread of choice, chickpea flour, crushed gluten free cornflakes/rice puffs.

Bon Apetit!

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I’ve been doing Pilates for 10 years, so I flatter myself that my core muscles are pretty strong. But Pilates doesn’t include cardio. I get out of breath very quickly. This year, I decided to do something about it. But what?

My first idea was to join a course. But in addition to time (and finding a parking space!) and money, I had one more problem: That the first ten lessons would probably be me gasping for 5 minutes and spending the rest of the lesson in a dead faint on the floor 😦 (I’m not even exaggerating that much).

And then a friend (Thanks Maya!) introduced me to Fitness Blender: Practically unlimited full length workouts, of different difficulties and times, that you can do in the peace and quiet of your own home, and all absolutely free! It includes HIIT*, low impact, no equipment, special equipment, you name it. I went with a 6 minute warm up, 16 minute cardio workout, and 5 minute cooldown. I still can’t do the full 16 minutes, but they have great suggestions for pacing yourself and I’m getting better. And when I add the shower (and believe me do I need a shower!) It takes 40 minutes out of my day  – that’s it!

My workouts:

Quick total body cardio warm up:

Wake up and go HIIT workout:

Fast 5 minute cool down:

May we all be happy and healthy!

*HIIT: High intensity interval training, a method to get results in a short time 🙂

Disclaimer: Do not take my advice on your health without talking to a doctor first!

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I like starting the day with something sweet (who doesn’t?). But eating double fudge brownies for breakfast every day would be expensive for my wardrobe 😉 So I tried to find something that is:

a. Gluten free (so the guilt would be split between more people)

b. Protein based, instead of carb based (healthy!) and

c. With chocolate, because of course.

So I tried out this recipe from Elana’s Pantry (doubled, with the addition of chocolate chips, because of course)

The advantages: This is gluten free. It has only almond meal, so it’s pretty healthy. It is also immensely satisfying, so perfect as a breakfast food. And it looks great!

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

The disadvantage: The taste. Wait! Don’t go away! It doesn’t taste bad as such. It just tastes different. Almond meal has a pronounced (but not bad) aftertaste that takes some getting used to. I personally liked it and ate it with joy. Investigator liked it with the chocolate chips. Insightful and Independent wouldn’t touch it. *Sigh*

In any case, I’m thinking of substituting one cup of almond flour with chickpea flour, which surprisingly has no taste at all (odd, isn’t it?) in the hope of cutting down the unfamiliar taste. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Ingredients for the adventurous:

  • 200 gr almond flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • about 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C
  2. In a medium bowl, combine chocolate chips, almond flour and baking soda
  3. In a large bowl combine eggs, vanilla, honey and vinegar
  4. Stir dry ingredients into wet, mixing until combined
  5. Transfer to a loaf pan
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. If top becomes too brown, cover in aluminium foil.
  7. Let cool in pan and eat!

Bon Apetit!

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This isn’t a recipe as such. But this is still totally amazing. I present to you (queue drum roll):

The carrot sharpener!

ta-da!

ta-da!

This handy tool, which has a peeler on the back and looks like a huge pencil sharpener,

Peeler built in!

Peeler built in!

actually caused my kids to search out carrots in the fridge, peel them, sharpen them, and eat the carrot shavings. And once one kid starts, the others are on him with puppy eyes asking “Can you please give me some?”

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Amazing!

* big smile icon from here.

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I find it more and more difficult to find Ricola with sugar. I don’t like artificial sweeteners. In addition, there is research that they don’t help lose weight, and they don’t satisfy food cravings, and only teach us to like sweet food*. And frankly? I don’t see what’s so bad about sugar. Granted it’s bad for the teeth, but calories? The bulk don’t necessarily come from sugar.

For example: 18 gr of white sugar has 70 calories (from google).

An 18 gr mini mars bar has 99 calories > 18 gr of sugar (written on the pack of mini mars bars). So the other stuff they’re adding has more calories than sugar. I don’t know what it is, but I haven’t been able to eat a mars bar since I realized this. Or Twix, which used to be my favorite 😕 Sugar just gets all the blame.

So I prefer stuff with sugar, I just put less of it (and I use brown sugar, but that doesn’t affect the calories). I always put less sugar than the recipe states, I find it sweet enough. I never add sugar to breakfast cereals, they have more than enough. And I stay away from artificial sweeteners. This is getting difficult, especially with gluten-free foods, many of which are also sugar free. I don’t mind honey, dates and apple juice; just leave the sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame K out, please.

Now I just need to get everyone else to think the same, and I’ll be able to find my favorite Ricola bonbons 🙂

May you have a sweet weekend! Do you eat sugar or artificial sweeteners? Why?

*Take note that these are actual scientific papers, not screaming headlines in tabloids. Be careful what you read, and always check their references. Especially on the Net.

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I’m not much of a soup person. I usually feel as though it’s a first course, and I wait for the main afterwards 😉
However, daylight saving time and colder weather, coupled with trying a healthier lifestyle, changed my mind.
During the summer, my husband and I decided to make a large salad every evening. This worked about 50% of the time 😕 But it was better than nothing. With cold weather, I had zero liking for a salad, so I called my MIL and asked what she puts in her vegetable soup (as that’s one of the few soups my husband eats) and tried it out. I used the food processor to chop the vegetables, using this awesome knife that I discovered for salads:

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To my surprise, I also discovered that it’s great for homemade French fries, but that’s a different blog post 😉
Basically chop everything, put in a pot, add water and salt, and wait. Of course, doing this around the kids means that part of the vegetables end up in their mouths,  but that’s just a bonus – and they love working the food processor 🙂 Turned out great and perfect for a quick dinner on those busy weekdays (I made a pot for the weekend and we ate it during the week).

Ingredients
1 onion
2 kohlrabi, peeled
1/2 a cauliflower
5 large carrots, peeled
4 potatoes, peeled

Optional :
1 leek,  cut into 4 (no need to chop)
Canned chickpeas, whole, drained
Small bunch of parsley
Small bunch of dill
(I tie them together without chopping and take them out after cooking)
Fennel

Chop all vegetables. Put in pot.

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Tied up herbs on the right

Cover with water. Add 1 tsp salt or to taste. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or until all the vegetables can be easily picked with a fork. Serve and eat!

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If you’re in the mood, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top… Yummy!

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I’ve been going at full speed the last few days, so today I took things easy and worked from home. One of the perks of working from home, for me, is to take the time to make and eat a proper breakfast, with a cup of earl grey and milk, and a good book.

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The epitome of peace

So we have a mushroom, herb and cheese omelet, toasted whole wheat bread and butter. For some reason, I  never pack a butter sandwich, or a cheese omelet to take to work.  For me, this is the essence of taking it easy.

Mushroom, herbs and cheese omelet 
Heat oil (can also be olive) in a frying pan. Place sliced mushrooms in one layer in the pan. When browned, turn over and pour eggs mixed with milk, a dash of salt and some snipped herbs (I used parsley and dill, use what you have). Wait until firm and brown on the bottom, then flip over. Place two slices of cheese on half the omelet, wait a minute the fold in half over the cheese. When cheese is melted, move to a plate and eat immediately.

If I’m still hungry, another small pleasure I usually don’t take time for is a tomato and cucumber salad, cut small, with a large splash of good olive oil, a small splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Simple, but I’m the only one in my family who eats this so I make it only when I’m eating at home alone. You can imagine how often that happens. 😉

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So simple, so good

Sometimes the simple things are all we need…

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And the last Passover installment: only one of my three children likes potatoes (what’s not to like? Kids are weird). However, they all like french fries. I refuse to deep fry at home – the mess, the smell, the popping oil, dire warnings of trans fats and using up a whole bottle of oil each time you want french fries turns me off. So I tried this recipe for oven baked french fries, and it was a rousing success! Just be warned: It takes about an hour and must be eaten fresh.

One potato per person
Olive oil
Salt
Other spices to taste (I think sweet paprika would be great, but as I said, kids are weird).

Slice potatoes into chips (1 cm thickness about). Put in pot with water and salt.

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Bring to a boil. when starting to boil, drain (this was difficult as we didn’t think we would need a pasta strainer for Passover, so we didn’t have one. Next year). Wash with some cold tap water if you want. Add some olive oil and salt, mix well so that the chips are well covered in oil. Spread in one layer on baking dish lined with baking paper. Grill at 200 °C for 20 minutes, or until brown. I tried once grilling at 230 °C, but it got brown without cooking properly.

Brown

Brown enough for me

Transfer to a serving dish and eat immediately (well, when it cools down a bit of course 🙂 ).

Don't forget the salt!

Don’t forget the salt!

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And yet another installment in Passover food: this was one of the main courses for the Passover holiday, and it turned out amazing! Easy to do, very tasty, and easy to digest – very important during Passover as the food tends to be very heavy.

And here I can link to Awesome Ashild‘s excellent, funny and useful blog without guilt 🙂

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil
6 Fennel bulbs, sliced thinly
4 chicken thighs and 6 chicken legs (or whatever fits in your baking pan)
4 tbsp brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, sliced in half lengthwise
salt and pepper to taste

Oil a large Pyrex with 2 tbsp oil. Layer half the fennel in the Pyrex. Layer the chicken pieces, skin downwards, on the fennel. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil, garlic and 3 tbsp brown sugar on the chicken. Cover with remaining fennel and cover with aluminium foil (if it sticks up above the Pyrex, don’t worry – fennel looses much of its volume in cooking). Bake for 2 hours at 200 °C in a preheated oven. Take out of the oven, move aside the fennel and turn over the chicken so that the skin is upwards. Baste the chicken with the liquid in the pan and sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp sugar, salt and pepper. Bake without covering an additional 30 minutes until browned. Eat, and don’t neglect the caramelized fennel in chicken stock, it’s excellent!

And it smells even better!

And it smells even better!

 

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