Meal Plan 29th June - 5th July 2015

Wowza! Last week, while I was in Vegas, it was actually the last week of the 'Whole Life Challenge' I was participating in for 8 weeks, which was fantastic! Absolutely loved it, to say the least! You really can change your lifestyle habits, it just takes a bit of work, patience, commitment, and organisation (I may have missed some?!); now that I have finished, I really believe that my habits have changed, yes I would still like to eat chocolate, but I don't believe the cravings are still the same, yes I would like to enjoy dairy from time to time, but I don't think I will eat as much as I was eating before - I lived on natural yogurt!

Unfortunately, I was meant to do another fat test before I left for Vegas, but we ran out of time, I will still do one this week (or maybe next?!), but I'm unsure h
ow good the results will be after a week in Vegas... ekk..... I will keep you posted, Im a little nervous!!

So this week.... Only four meals for us this week... we have another wedding this weekend, and I think that takes out Friday and Saturday night... quite possibly Sunday too, so will only plan for Monday through to Thursday, but I will give you a delicious vegetarian meal to try... Check it out below!
Click to enlarge...

Recipes


Beef Chow Mein

(click on the title to send you to the recipe)



Duck with bacon, & walnut & orange 
I am making this recipe up, I am yet to decide how I am going to cook the duck, so I think I will be updating this recipe after I have cooked it! My current thinking is to wrap the duck in bacon, along with some garlic, ginger and chinese five spice - but unsure how I will cook it, or how long for... I will serve the duck alongside a very simple salad, consisting of baby spinach, orange segments and chopped up walnuts. Duck & orange go together nicely so this should work, fingers crossed!



Chicken in lettuce leaf tacos 
Again, a recipe I am making up (inspired by Las Vegas); at this stage my plan is:

500-600g chicken breast
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp 
soy sauce
1 tbsp 
tomato paste
garlic cloves, crushed
1 lettuce 
1/4 
cucumber, thinly sliced or grated
carrot, thinly sliced or grated
1 cup mung beans
fresh coriander

1/4 cup 
chopped peanuts

Chop the chicken breast into 2cm thick slices. Mix together the honey, soy sauce, tomato paste & garlic cloves; place the chopped chicken into here and toss. If you like, marinate for a few hours - depending on how much time you have! 
Heat a griddle to a high temperature, quickly cook the chicken. Once cooked place to the side.
3 To make the lettuce taco: Take one lettuce leaf and fill with your desired ingredients, for example, cucumber, carrot, mung beans; place some chicken on top, along with coriander and a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.


Crumbed beef schnitzel 
Chelsea Winter's Italian styled weiner schnitzel, click on the title to check out the recipe. 

Notes: I plan to use almond flour/meal instead of plain flour for the crumbing. 


So this week being a short week, we dont have a vegetarian meal on the menu, so I wanted to include a favourite of mine. This was sooo delicious, it was rather spicy, so I didn't feed it to the kids, but I'm pretty sure you will like it. I have not included the ingredient on the grocery list....


Vegetable & Quinoa Paella
Mindfood edited by Michael McHugh (editor-in chief). McHugh Media Limited, NSW, Australia. March 2015, pg 141.
pinch saffron threads (I am yet to find these!)
¼ cup olive oil 
1 large red onion, finely chopped
½ small eggplant, cut into 1-2cm dice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika 1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper 1 red capsicum, cut into chunks
yellow capsicum, cut into chunks
3 fresh bay leaves 1 tbsp chopped lemon thyme 3 ripe roma tomatoes, chopped
1 ¼ cups quinoa 400g tinned diced tomatoes 1 1/3 vegetable stock 1 large zucchini, chopped
1/3 cup goats curd (I did not include this, when I made it)
1 ½ cups rocket leaves
Lemon wedges
, to serve

Combine saffron and 1 tablespoon boiling water in a small bowl. Set aside 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a 28cm paella pan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, 8 minutes or until soft. Add eggplant, garlic, sweet paprika, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, cook, stirring 5 minutes.
Add capsicums, bay leaves, lemon thyme and fresh tomatoes. Cook, stirring 3 minutes. Add quinoa, tinned tomatoes, saffron liquid and stock. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil. Cover and simmer on low, 10 minutes.
Add zucchini, Cover and cook a further 5 minutes or until quinoa is just tender. Set aside 5 minutes. Sprinkle with goat's curd and rocket. Serve with lemon wedges.
Vegetable & quinoa paella
I hope this has provided you with some inspiration and ideas for this week. Enjoy!







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Las Vegas!! 22nd - 28th June 2015

"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" right? No way! I need to tell you about the amazing holiday I just returned from!!

Unfortunately before leaving I ran out of time to set you up with a meal plan for the week, I then had a great idea of giving you some of my favourite recipes for you to try if you wished, but then spent way too long deciding what clothes to bring with me! So, nothing eventuated, sorry!

When I first arrived in Vegas, it was HOT, as in 40+ degrees HOT! I was struggling when not in the air conditioning, however by day three I was loving it, and found that when I was in air conditioning I was tooo cold. I am now sitting here in thermals trying to climatise back to New Zealand winter/reality!!

It was not hard to eat healthy, I thought, I was going to struggle, but there are healthy options everywhere! Yes the serving sizes are huge, I wish I had taken a photo of the omelette I got one morning, there would have been at least 5 eggs in it! Crazzzzzy! We didn't really have desserts or treats; would usually have two meals a day, as by the time we got up and were ready it was really passed lunch time, so was a very late breaky/lunch and then dinner would be around 8 or 9pm. I may have eaten healthy, but I don't to think about all the alcohol I consumed. A lot of the time I was drinking vodka with soda water and lime, however I did have one night that is was cranberry juice and vodka - "the UTI drink", as one of my friends I made was calling it, haha!

Exercising... didn't quite eventuate... However, I think dancing for a least 5 hours most nights counts as pretty dam good exercise, and my heels weren't short either, so most mornings (or should I say afternoons) I woke up with sore legs, and I am sure they have gotten more toned, I will take it anyway!!

Here is some of the food I enjoyed:

Lettuce wrap taco's with chicken 
I loved these chicken taco's wrapped in lettuce leaves, so simple, yet oh so delicious, they have inspired me to make something for this coming week.

I somehow managed to wrangle my way into free breakfast or lunch at a place called the 'Buffet' for two; so had two fabulous meals there:

Plate full of sushi, salsa, grapes, meat, roasted veggies & salad

Salads! with bacon sprinkled on top - why not!! 

In short, it was one of the best weeks of my life, I only knew a few people that were going to this wedding, as it was a destination wedding, and most of our friends couldn't make it due to babies, house buying, wedding saving etc! But the people I met were incredibly nice and fun, the food was delicious, the hotel was outrageous, the weather was fantastic, the wedding was beautiful, the nights were long, the days were short, and its over already! It is back to reality of house cleaning, washing, meal planning, grocery shopping etc etc etc; I wish I had a button that said "room service", so the beds were made, and everything packed up nicely! Oh how the other half live ay ;)

Shara & I outside "New York New York" in Vegas

Soooo this week's meal plan is on it's way! Bear with me, while I recover and catch up with the usual daily life events x 


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Meal Plan 15th - 21st June 2015

Usually I'm quite organised, usually I have a few recipes (at least) already organised for the next week... but for some reason I was behind my game in regards to planning for the upcoming week. After a late night last night (Saturday) up till 2am, having friends over, and then a screaming 1 year old, my brain is in rather a 'brain fog'. But meal planning is complete for the week! I do apologise if there are any groceries missing from the list, I would not be surpised, I am tired!! 

After finishing planning this week, I see I have quite a 'meaty' week! My partner will be happy!!
Click to enlarge...
Grocery list notes: I have excluded lamb brains (not keen to try this, sorry!); sour cream, tortilla chips and red wine (due to the 'Whole Life Challenge'); and I have used venison mince instead of beef mince because we have venison mince in the freezer. In regards to the venison medallions, if you don't want to buy venison (we have it already, as my partner is a hunter), grab beef steaks instead.

Mum's shepard's pie

Chef Pete Evans Facebook Page – posted 19th March 2015 (From his Going Paleo book)
Serves 6

2 tablespoons coconut oil or other good-quality fat
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
600 g beef or lamb mince
2 lamb brains, soaked in cold water with 1 teaspoon salt for 1 hour, rinsed well and finely chopped (optional) or heart, liver or kidney (I am not game enough to add this!)
2 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
4 tablespoons dry red wine (such as shiraz) (optional)
375 ml (1 ½ cups) Beef or Chicken Bone Broth (if you don't have bone broth, stock works great too)
1/2 Pumpkin

Notes: Pete Evans, makes this with a cauliflower puree (the quantities are not shared on his facebook post, otherwise I would have shared with you; I am going to top my shepard's pie with mashed pumpkin)

1 Chop pumpkin into chunks, boil pumpkin pieces on the stove top, covered in water till soften, mash, then leave to cool.
2 Preheat the oven to 180°C.
3 Heat the oil or fat in a large, deep frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the cumin, onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Add the mince and brains (if using) and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, until browned. Add the tomato paste and thyme and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the wine (if using) and bone broth and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
4 To assemble, spread the meat mixture into the base of an ovenproof dish and level with a spoon.
5 Cover with the mashed pumpkin and smooth the top out evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with a fresh salad of your choice or veggies and dent forget some fermented veggies on the side.


Shepard's pie

Seared venison with creamy mash and boysenberry sauce

New Zealand Healthy Food Guide. Yvonne Kerr (Editor). Healthy Life Media Ltd. Takapuna, Auckland. May 2015. Pg 61


480g
venison medallions
4-5 potatoes, scrubbed and cut into even pieces (I will use kumara/sweet potato instead)
2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup red wine
425g can of boysenberries drained (reserve 1/4 cup syrup) (I plan on using frozen boysenberries, so I'm not using sugary syrup)

2 teaspoon oil
6 cups dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, silverbeet), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons sour cream

salt and pepper

1 Season venison with salt and pepper and set aside. Place potatoes and cauliflower in a medium-sized pot and cover with water. Boil until tender (about 20 minutes) and remove from heat. Meanwhile, add wine, boysenberries and 1/4 cup of the syrup to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn temperature down and simmer until sauce thickens (about 10 minutes), set aside.
2 Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Cook venison for 2 -3 minutes on each side, until meat is browned but still medium-rare (take care not to overcook as venison is low in fat and best served this way). Set aside to rest.
3 Meanwhile, place greens in the same frying pan with the garlic and a good amount of pepper. Place a lid over the pan and cook the greens for a couple of minutes until wilted.
4 Add sour cream to potatoes and cauliflower, mash or blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Place venison on the mash with plenty of wilted greens. Top with boyensberry sauce and serve with chopped parsley and ground black pepper.

Seared venison on kumara/cauliflower mash with boysenberry sauce

Vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes
(click on the title to send you to the recipe)

Notes: I won't be serving this with tortilla chips & sour cream because of the 'Whole Life Challenge' I am still participating in. 



Lemon chicken casserole
(click on the title to send you to the recipe)

Notes: I plan to use almond flour instead of flour for this recipe



Lemon chicken casserole


Italian meatballs in mariana sauce 
(click on the title to send you to the recipe)

Notes: I plan to make this for with venison mince as we have some in the freezer.

Beef steak, kumara chips and grean beans

2 or 3 pieces of beef steak
2 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
2-3 kumara, peeled & chopped into wedges
1 - 2 tbsp Moroccan seasoning
250g green beans 


1 Half an hour before cooking, take your steak out of the fridge, as this will bring it to room temperature. Preheat oven to 200C. 
Toss the kumara wedges in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Moroccan seasoning. Lie them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper, ensure they are spaced out. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until nice and golden.
3 Heat a fry pan to a medium/high heat. Rub the olive oil onto the steaks. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Place into the frypan for 3 to 4 minutes each side for medium-rare/medium.
Let the steak rest for around 5 minutes.
Place the green beans into a pot of boiling water for 2 - 3 minutes, then drain the water, place the beans into a frypan with garlic and butter, and gently fry for two minutes (this step is optional, you could instead, place butter and garlic on top the green beans once served).

Reviewing the week...

I love this recipe for shepards pie, I make it with bone broth as suggested, it adds such a delicious flavour to it, I highly recommend making your own bone broth! If you don't have any though, a good quality stock would work as well. This recipe actually calls for the pie to be topped with cauliflower, however the Facebook post didn't give the quantities, so I tried pumpkin instead, and it is amazing! Pumpkin adds such a delicious sweetness to the dish. Next time the only change would be, to add less stock, this is rather watery, I would add a maximum of a cup.

As I have said before steak is not my favourite meal... a little too meaty for me... however this meal I LOVED! oh em geeeeeeee sooo good !! I used kumara instead of potatoes for the mash, you don't need to use 4 to 5 kumara, as the recipe states for the potatoes, as I did and it made way to much, I recommend 2 - 3 tops. I also used butter instead of sourcream for the mash, I used 1 - 2 tablespoons, delicious! I didn't make the sauce with red wine either, I used frozen boysenberries and cooked them over the stove top, and this turned into a delicious sauce, could not be easier!

Wednesday night, myself and the kids were sick, so there was no dinner for us! Well I gave the kids eggs, which they were happy with :)

Manu's lemon chicken, I used the slow cooker for this and it worked prefectly, I added an extra cup of stock for goodluck - well I didn't want the casserole to burn, I don't think the extra cup of stock was actually needed. I also served this meal with cauliflower rice and garlic green beans, yummy!!

Friday night, Italian meatballs, we have made this meal before with using beef mince and it was amazing!! However, this time around I had taken out venison mince, which I thought would still work great... Then I went to a friends place for a play date with the kids... she had nacho's on the stove top cooking, I could not get the idea out of my head about nachos for dinner, so that's what happened... I went to the diary, brought chips and sour cream. I got home, the meatballs were cooked, I dismantled these easily, and there we had it nachos! Delicious ;)


Italian 'nachos' ;)
For Saturday night, we had the vegetarian chilli, this was so tasty! I loved the spice in this meal, however, if you were wanting to serve this to your kids, maybe omit the chilli, as it was a little too spicy for them! Another vegetarian dish for you to try!

I hope you enjoyed this week's worth of meals!!






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Meal Plan 8th - 14th June 2015

A bit of a rough week last week, due to a random virus at the start of the week, and a vomiting bug on Thursday; so a few meals were missed! I then missed the planned meal for  Saturday, only because I forgot to take the smoked marlin out of the freezer, but, ended up making delicious kumara hashies for dinner that night, so I'm definitely not complaining!! Then, on Sunday, with the smoked marlin I made lots of mini pies for my 3 year old's and partner's lunches this week. 

Sooo this week, 
I have put the mexican beans with sausages on the meal plan again, as this meal sounds delicious to me. I am quite excited to be bringing back the ever so amazing butter chicken recipe from Pete Evans, I get numerous comments about this recipe, it really is a 'crowd pleaser', and even one of my friends cooked it for her very fussy husband, and he commented that it is now one of his favourite meals; it really is that good! And... chicken burgers! I can't wait to make the burger buns made with just eggs again! Some people are still a bit skeptical about this... but it really does work, I promise! I plan to add herbs this week, I'm currently thinking fresh coriander, or ground cumin, maybe?? I also have a roast beef planned for this weekend, it is my partners birthday so will have friends over to enjoy the roast with us; as usual will be using Jamie Olivers recipe, however, I have a pumpkin so will be roasting pumpkin along with everything else, I can't wait! 

I had planned another duck meal this week, with duck breast wrapped in bacon... however... murphys law, my partner had a quick shoot on Sunday morning and didn't get any! Shouldn't of put it on the meal plan, my fault!!


The meal plan for the week.... paleo friendly (still doing the 'Whole Life Challenge'), gluten free, sugar free, grain free, and just dam good, right?!

Click to enlarge...
Recipes


Mexican beans with sausages
The Australian Women's Weekly Smart Food. Edited by Susan Tomnay (Editorial director). ACP Magazines. 2009. Pg 99

1 cup (200g) dried kidney beans
800g beef sausages, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion (200g), chopped coarsely
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red capsicum (350g), chopped coarsely
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano

Notes: I will use a can of kidney beans, as I already have some in the cupboard. This will save time as I will skip step 1. 

1 Place beans in medium bowl, cover with cold water; stand overnight, drain. Rinse under cold water; drain. Place beans in medium saucepan of boiling water; return to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until beans are almost tender. Drain.
Cook sausages, in batches, in oiled large deep saucepan until browned; drain on absorbent paper.
Heat oil in same pan; cook onion, garlic and capsicum, stirring, until onion softens. Add cumin, paprika and chilli; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add beans and undrained tomatoes; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 1 hour or until beans are tender.
Return sausages to pan; simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until sausages are cooked through. Remove from heat; stir in oregano. Serve with tortillas, if you like.


Moroccan steak with zucchini & green bean salad


This is a recipe I am making up.... so I will update the recipe if there are any changes to it... I orginally planned this with chicken, but decided to try it with beef


500-600g beef steak
1 tbsp olive oil

1 - 2 tablespoons Moroccan seasoning

Salad

3 - 4 zucchini, julienned
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
125g green beans, ends cut off
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (optional)
1/2 red onion, finely sliced
basil leaves, roughly chopped
sprinkle of coconut
1 Rub the oilve oil onto the beef steaks, then sprinkle over the Moroccan seasoning on both sides. Heat a griddle to a high heat, fry the steaks 3-4 minutes each side, for a medium steak. Rest the steak for 5 minutes. 
2 The raw salad, simply prepare the veggies, then mix roughly together with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.
3 Serve the steak on top of the salad or to the side; or cut the steaks into smaller pieces and mix through the salad. 


Raw salad


Vegetable Curry 

(Click on the title for the link to the website)

A mouth watering vegetable curry from Jamie Oliver. The recipe calls for 600ml of curry base sauce; instead of using a pre-made sauce, I will make a Korma paste also from Jamie Oliver.

Butter chicken


4 tablespoons coconut oil

onion, diced
garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 pinches cayenne pepper (optional) ~ this will add spice
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
400 grams coconut cream (1 can)
700 grams chicken thigh fillets cut into bite sized pieces
coriander to serve

Heat 4 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes until translucent. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the garlic and spices. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the salt, lemon juice, coconut cream and mix well.
3 Turn the heat up to medium and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the chicken and stir until well coated with the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
4 Garnish with the coriander and serve with the cauliflower rice.

To keep this 'paleo friendly' serve it with cauliflower rice, otherwise you can serve it white rice.
Cauliflower Rice

This recipe makes 2-3 servings, depending on the size of your cauliflower.

1 head of cauliflower
½ red onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
salt and pepper, to taste


Remove leaves and stem from cauliflower; discard. Grate the entire head of cauliflower until it resembles rice.
Dice the onions and garlic to your desired size.
Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat. Add in onion and garlic until slightly browned.
Add in grated cauliflower and stir regularly for 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, serve.


Butter chicken with cauliflower rice

Chicken burgers
(Click on the title for the link to the website; I will exclude the cheese and mayonnaise)
Serves


For the burger buns themselves.... you need just eggs!!  1 egg makes two 1/2 burger buns - so 1 egg needed per burger.

eggs

Preheat oven to 180C. Separate the yolks and whites from 3 eggs, whisk whites to firm peaks, fold through yolks, spoon onto baking paper lined tray, making 6 burger bun halves, and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C.


Egg burgers!


Roast
(Click on the title for the link to the website)

I am yet to try to cook a roast in the slow cooker/crockpot which I am told is delicious. That is the plan with this roast. I will still use the Jamie Oliver recipe, but will change it around the bit for it to work in the crockpot. Wish me luck!

Reviewing the week...

My slow cooker is becoming my best friend... I used it again with the Mexican beans with sausages meal; firstly I browned the sausages, then placed in the slow cooker, fried the onions and garlic, transferred into the slow cooker along with the meat. Added the rest of the ingredients, then placed the slow cooker on low for four hours. This meal is not one I want to rave about... it was average, I wont be cooking it again.

Moroccan steak with zucchini and green bean salad this was too easy and tasty! Definitely one for you to try.

I talk to so many people about this butter chicken meal, this is a favourite for many of my friends and followers on facebook now. Please try it :)

Wow, if you want a meal that will knock your socks off from spice, this vegetable curry is one for you to try!! I love spice, and I consider this to be spicy, so its HOT. I had to quickly roast some veggies for the kiddies as there was no way I was going to give them the curry. I don't think I should have put two large green chillies in, maybe just one!

I didn't end up doing the roast in the crockpot as I didn't get organised till the end of the day. I loooove roasted pumpkin, so to me this roast with roasted veggies was a winner. Our friends liked it, so that's always good!
As always if you have any questions or comments, you are welcome to contact me, through facebook www.facebook.com/atapinch or email atapinchmealplans@gmail.com. Thanks,








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