March 30, 2011

Cajun beef and butternut

Cajun beef and butternut

I made myself and easy dinner tonight; beef strips with butternut squash and cajun spices, topped with coriander. And served it with roasted broccoli, again.
Coriander is my absolute favourite spice to top just about any dish with!
Normally mine doesn't really keep that well in my fridge, so I decided to chop it up this time and keep it in a tupperware. I hope it'll work! I still have lots of ideas on how to use it this week.
I even started growing my own herbs this week, and while I'm not quite sure it's actually going to work (I don't have a garden or balcony) I really enjoy the process of trying to grow something. I've got parsley, coriander, thyme, basil, chives and mint. The seeds should have sprouted within the next 10 days or so, and if there's anything to show, I'll make sure to put a picture up. Let's see what happens..

March 28, 2011

Paleo Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Paleo chocolate hazelnut cookies

I needed chocolate and cookies today.. And I had a good reason for that.
The best way to combine my needs: chocolate cookies!
I kept them simple, only used 5 different ingredients and sweetened them with dates instead of agave or something similar. I like my chocolate to be bitter, so if you like yours to be a little sweeter, simply add a few more dates.
Right now, I'm watching Prison Break, my latest addiction, and am enjoying these cookies at the same time. Pretty good!

Rosemary basil chicken

Rosemary basil chicken 1

Used my Dutch oven again today! It's only the second time I used it, but more ideas on using it keep popping into my head. I love it!
Tonight I made this rosemary basil chicken, with onions, butternut squash and tomatoes. Quite good! Normally, when I'd fry chicken fillets, they'd end up a little (and sometimes very) dry because I'm afraid to undercook them..
This way, they were still nice and moist on the inside, while cooked through. And the process was easy. I basically threw everything in the pan, transfered it to my oven and while the oven was doing its job I did the dishes. How's that for multitasking!

Rosemary basil chicken 2

Salmon with kohlrabi leaves and parsnip

Salmon with parsnip and kohlrabi leaves

Today I used a rather unusual vegetable to cook with: kohlrabi leaves!
They had beautiful kohlrabis at the market, with all the leaves still in tact. Normally, I'd just pull those off and throw them away, but I figured those might actually be edible.. After some googling I found out you can use them as you would use any other leafy green vegetable, so I used them in a stir-fry with salmon and parsnip. Tastes really good!
I'm not quite sure what you could compare the taste of the kohlrabi leaves with as they don't have a specific taste. They just make a good addition to pretty much any dish.
I served mine with zucchini fritters, although judging from the picture (and the amount of fritters) you could also say I served my fritters with the salmon stir-fry. Made a tasty meal either way!

March 27, 2011

Leftover chicken stir-fry

Leftover chicken stir-fry

My CrossFit workouts seem to have improved my running big time! I went for a run yesterday and it was so easy, it took me hardly any effort.
Of course the beautiful weather helped as well.
As for my CrossFit workouts, they're getting easier as well! I've already increased some of the weights I use and I hardly get any sore muscles afterwards anymore. What I'm most proud of, is that I now use a slightly less thick rubber band for my pullups than I used to, and still get my reps done as prescribed.

I made a huge amount of beef stew today, to store in my freezer. I love being able to pull it out of the freezer when I feel like it. Some days you just don't have the time to do a large amount of cooking.
Today I ate the last pieces of Wednesday's chicken. I never knew leftover chicken could be so tasty! The meat I ate today was from the wings and thighs, very tasty. I think I like it even better than the breast meat.
Out of the chicken carcass I'd made some chicken stock too. I saved part of it in my freezer, for soup I guess, and I saved some in my fridge. I already put some in my beef stew, and it also worked really well with today's dinner.

March 26, 2011

Roasted pepper salad

Roasted pepper salad

I've been pretty lazy last week.. Only went to the gym once, and didn't really feel like doing a lot of cooking. I blame it on the exam I had last Thursday and this was my way of dealing with the stress. Not exactly the best way to so (especially since it included eating a lot of nuts, dried fruits and there might have been some potato crisps too) but 2 days later, I realised I feel much better when eating clean Paleo and going for regular workouts. And that's exactly what I'm going to do! I'm thinking about going for a run today and I might cycle to the market as well. Not sure yet..

Today I still had some peppers in my fridge and thought it would be nice to roast them in my oven. It's been such a long time since I had those, and the ones I had came out of a jar so I never really had the real deal. They're soo good! And my home smells really nice because of the roasting too.

March 23, 2011

Lemon roast chicken

Roast chicken 2

I did it! I roasted a chicken for the very first time! And it was soo good and delicious!
I'm definitely going to do this again.
Of course I used my new Dutch oven for it, and I'm so glad I did. Very easy to use and I could just pop it into the oven.

Over the past few days I had been looking for the perfect recipe to start with, while using my Dutch oven. I ended up using a recipe from my cookbook 'Mastering the art of French Cooking' by Julia Child, as a base, and just added whatever I thought would be good.
I was a little scared of cleaning the chicken, but I was lucky because the chicken I bought had already been cleaned properly. *big relief*
The other good thing about it was that I didn't need any kitchen string because my chicken had already been tied.

Roast chicken 1

March 22, 2011

Another breakfast recipe

Sausage, omelet and avocado breakfast

These days I'm really enjoying making new breakfast dishes. Normally I'd eat pretty much the same breakfast every day, but since I'm not eating as much fruit and nuts anymore and a simple dish with some meat won't fill me up, I have to get creative.
Today's breakfast was really tasty and it did keep me full for quite some time. I made a quick dish with beef sausages, a 2-egg-omelet and served it with a small avocado. Nonetheless I was hungry again by 11.30am, which was late because I normally get hungry before 11am. Maybe my digestion just works very effectively in the morning.. Does anyone have any good theories on that?

March 21, 2011

Spicy lemon chicken

Spicy lemon chicken

This is what my dinner looked like tonight! I wanted to create something that would almost taste like it would in Asia, and it did. Especially with the banana chips, which I got from the Asian supermarket in the city center today. They're long and thin, and have some garlic on them while not too salty. My favourite!
The curry was pretty spicy because of the chili pepper I added. Those are only 5 cm long, and just one is more than enough to create that spiciness.
I also served it with some oven roasted broccoli, which turns out to combine really well with just about anything.

My day was pretty relaxed, just as I planned. I found my New York shoes (yay!) and some other stuff as well, and I did a whole lot of groceries. I even bought a whole chicken, and I'm going to make an attempt on roasting it this Wednesday. I still haven't found a recipe that I really liked though..

Carrot cookies

Carrot cookies

Ok, so I have to admit.. My cravings got even worse yesterday! Causing me to bake these carrot cookies. I didn't allow myself to eat the whole batch, by immediately freezing most of them. They are really good though, so I'm sharing the recipe with you.

I have a vague idea on where my cravings came from; Friday night's cookies. (and the fact that I ate the whole batch at once)
Of course I felt sick again after eating my cookies and my stomach still doesn't feel too good. I'm definitely going to take things easy today; going to the market for my veggies (finally I get to go there again, I missed it over the last 2 weeks), some cooking, some studying and I think I'm going to go shopping too. I'm still looking for a pair of shoes to wear in New York!
Anyway, without further ado; the cookie recipe:

March 20, 2011

Stuffed pumpkin

Stuffed pumpkin 2

Had a good workout this morning. I decided to run to the gym, as it's only 1.3km (according to google maps..) and then have my regular workout. I have 3 different workouts, so the process repeats itself every week, and I'll get a new schedule every 4-6 weeks.
I normally cycle to the gym, and then they have me doing a warming up of; cycling! Feels slightly useless to me, so I thought I'd have a much better (and more fun!) warming up when I'd run there.

I couldn't figure out a way to bring my water bottle with me, so I just carried it, but running with a bottle in one hand doesn't exactly improve your running. Maybe it's a good idea to take an empty bottle with me (hardly any weight!) and fill it at the gym with tap water.
For lunch I made myself some stuffed pumpkin. Very yummy! It's easy to prepare and as soon as it's in the oven you can start doing something else around the house. I did some studying in the mean time, for my exam next week, which I'll be doing a lot over the next couple of days.

The weather's extremely sunny today and it's making me happy! I should definitely go outside for a while this afternoon. I can't keep studying for hours without a break anyhow.

March 19, 2011

Minty mussels and leeks with celeriac pasta, and a new pan!!

Minty mussels and leeks with celeriac pasta

I'm so happy right now, I just got a package delivered to my home containing a beautiful Le Creuset Dutch oven! Last month, I bought some Irish beef with a sticker from the Irish food board on it. You had to fill out the barcode of the beef and your address and such online in order to participate, and apparently I won!
It's cobalt blue and 24cm in diameter. So a whole chicken will easily fit in there.
I can't wait to start cooking in my new pan =)

Le Creuset pan

March 18, 2011

Quick paleo cookies

Quick paleo cookies 1

My nut- and fruit free weeks are over! In total I stuck to it for 2.5 weeks and I felt great! My only cheat days were last weekend, when staying with my parents and enjoying that awesome high tea.
These days I get way less cravings, my blood sugar is pretty much stable throughout the day and I feel much fitter. Most of the time I don't even feel like eating any fruits or nuts because my meals keep me full all the way through to my next meal.
From now on I'll only be having fruits and nuts as a treat on weekends. They're so easy to grab during the day as a quick snack, but in the end they won't make me feel any better, just more tired and craving for more. So it's weekends only!

Spicy koftas with pumpkin puree

Spicy koftas with pumpkin puree

Yesterday at work I was shocked.. I had to help a nurse insert a pH-metric probe in a 5-year-old girl, and explain the test to her and her parents. No one likes getting a probe up their nose, going all the way to their stomach, and certainly not a 5-year-old.
She asked me if it was going to hurt, and I told her it wasn't nice at first, but if the thing was in, she wouldn't feel it anymore. Of course inserting it went wrong at first and the girl was in pain; crying and screaming, panicking. I felt so sorry for her!
Especially when I heard why she was getting the test..
She was often having a stomachache and feeling nauseous. Plus, she had already been diagnosed with a dairy allergy.
And what does a children's doctor do; he checks if the girl's producing too much stomach acid. Which it probably does and he will end up giving her medicine to supress it. Why would you want to give those crappy medicines to a kid? (or to anyone for that matter)
I'm not a doctor, but to me it sounds extremely logical that the first thing to do would be checking for food intolerances. Especially because she already has a dairy allergy.
Most of the times, the body works just fine, what we feed it is what's causing a lot of problems. Wouldn't it be easier to rule that out before we start looking what's wrong with the body itself? It would save a lot of people from taking unneccesary medication or undergoing uncomfortable tests.
I'm totally aware that not everything can be fixed with a diet, but it can most certainly make a huge difference.

March 17, 2011

Big warming chicken breakfast

Warming chicken breakfast

Had a really good, big breakfast today, one that will keep me going all morning, and possibly even longer.
I made myself an omelet out of 2 eggs, together with some paprika, black pepper, ginger and cinnamon. Added iceberg lettuce and a few slices of roasted pumpkin, which tastes very well with the skin on by the way. There's no need to cut that off, as long as you scrub the pumpkin clean before roasting it.
And last but not least, I added this chicken with warming spices. Yum!

March 15, 2011

Yellowfin Sole in Tikka tomato sauce

Yellowfin sole in Tikka tomato sauce

Finally, some time to cook myself a decent meal again!
I still wanted to make it a quick meal, because I was planning to go for a good CrossFit workout afterwards. After I got ill last week, I haven't exactly done any exercise anymore and I miss it. Luckily I feel all better, and even the fact that I was looking forward to go for a workout is a good sign.
The workout itself was a little less easy, I could definitely feel that I'd been ill, but it felt good to be there again!

March 13, 2011

High Tea and Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

High Tea 1

This post should actually be my mom's post, because she's the one who prepared all this delicious food.
She did so much baking and put a huge amount of time into preparing every single item of food we had today. And it all tasted great! Plus, we had a really good time having this high tea while talking about travelling and sharing our next holiday plans.

March 11, 2011

Garam masala zucchini fries and spicy tomato sauce

Garam masala zucchini fries + tomato sauce

Still not feeling too good today, but my meals taste pretty good, so I guess that's an improvement. I actually feel like I could eat just about anything today! (won't do that though, since I want to get better sooner rather than later)
I had to go attend a class today, all the physical exercise needed for that was to walk 10 minutes to the train station and it was too much.. I eventually arrived at the train station, all dizzy, sweating and tired, so I ended up turning around and going back home again. This sucks.. Anyway, I'll stop whining about it, because that certainly won't help. Positive thinking is key!

Click for more to see the recipes!

March 10, 2011

Comfort food - pudding

Comfort pudding

I'm not feeling too good today.. Nauseous, tired, dizzy.. I even went home from work after just a couple of hours. So here I am, hanging on my couch, listening to podcasts, reading articles and watching some series. Someone recommended Prison Break to me and I seem to be hooked!
I didn't have lunch today (my breakfast felt like there was a brick in my stomach) but I figured I could at least have a simple dinner because my stomach was growling and I figured it might make me feel better.
I ended up making this comforting and warming pudding, and added some healthy spices. Tasted really good and didn't upset my stomach at all.

March 9, 2011

Cabbage chicken rolls

Cabbage chicken rolls 1

After making cabbage rolls with beef and Italian herbs last week, I wanted to try them with chicken. This time I didn't use plain cabbage, but savoy cabbage. The leaves were easier to separate and they were less tough after baking. So all in all, I like the savoy cabbage much better for rolls. I used some coconut milk to keep them moist and it all turned out very tasty!
I served them with a simple, Asian spiced, stir-fry of cabbage, carrot and leeks.

March 7, 2011

Curried sprouts fritatta

Curried sprouts fritatta 1

I'm still in 'New York mode' today, makes me so happy :) I'm also still listening to the Abercrombie & Fitch playlist a few times a day. Very wrong, I know, but it gives me this summery feeling with songs like 'In The Navy' (Village People), 'Get Up' (Disco Brothers ft. Weather Girls) and 'I Love Saturday' (Erasure) and I removed a lot of depressing songs from my ipod too. Occasionally I find myself browsing NYC on Google maps, just to see if I can find some nice places to go. My mom and me came up with the idea to go to the cinema in the evening over there and we might go to a Broadway show as well. I'm not sure what's on next month, but I'll find out soon enough.
I've also been browsing the USA map again to plan a trip, and I might just start in San Francisco or LA, drive through Yosemite NP, Sequoia NP, Vegas, Valley of Fire SP, Canyonlands, all the way through Colorado, into Utah and visit Salt Lake City and its surroundings, through to Wyoming and of course Yellowstone NP, grab a piece of Idaho along the way and go through to Montana, into Washington to see Seatlle. And if there's time left, down into Oregon because that appears to be a beautiful state too.
After all of that, I'll simply make a stop-over in Chicago for a few days because that's a city I really want to see.

Now all I need is time and money...

March 6, 2011

Spicy chicken curry & Paprika roasted broccoli

Spicy chicken curry & paprika roasted broccoli

Had a really challenging workout today! I mean, I feel my legs when I train them, but today I trained my arms and that was much worse. Don't get me wrong, I totally enjoyed my workout, it was hard and satisfying, and most of all; fun.
But I felt kind of weak.. I could hardly get my arms up at a certain point, they felt like rubber and didn't do what I wanted them to do anymore. So frustrating! I guess it'll just become easier over time as long as I keep training them.

Quick celeriac and beef

Quick celeriac and beef

This morning I spent some extra time making breakfast, just because I felt like it. I made yesterday's turnip parsnip fritters first, and then this quick and easy dish to go with it. Very yummy!
It filled me all the way up and I feel ready to go to the gym for a good workout, CrossFit style! I love spending my Sunday mornings this way. The weather outside is beautiful and I got woken up by the birds, I feel good :)
Yesterday I made the mistake of stepping into a bookstore and going to the travel section.. Made me want to buy so many great books and book a huge trip around the world! Maybe I can make a good Indian meal someday soon, I always love those and they make me feel like I'm on a trip.

Another thing I did to get me into travelling mode was browsing the Abercrombie & Fitch website (my all-time favourite clothing store in the USA) and listening to their playlist. They always play very, very loud music in those stores, and it's often a little wrong, but I love it because of the feeling it gives me.
Now all I need is some Starbucks tea and a trip to Whole Foods Market and I'll be in heaven!

March 5, 2011

Turnip parsnip fritters

Turnip parsnip fritters

Just made these for lunch; turnip parsnip fritters. They made a very tasty combination! I served them with some leftover beef stew (which I mixed with purslane and celeriac).
I'm just going to go to the city center this afternoon, stroll over the market and that's about it. Always love doing that!

For now, here's the recipe for the fritters:

Chicken and sausage 'rice'

Chicken and sausage rice

After thinking 'what to do with my cauliflower' for a few days, I came up with this dish. It's actually quite simple and easy to make, but the goodness is in the fact that the cauliflower rice soaks up all the delicious flavours that come out of the sausages when frying them. Making this dish very tasty, without the need to add a whole lot of spices.
If you want you can also stir in some spinach or purslane during the last couple of minutes of frying, I think it would make a good addition.

March 4, 2011

Breakfast wrap

Breakfast wrap

Finally, it's weekend again!
My weekend plans might change a bit, I'm not sure yet, but I'll hear about that later tonight. I'm going to enjoy my weekend anyhow.
Fridays at work usually are the best days, me and my colleagues always have a lot of fun and we don't really care what happens simply because it's Friday. We always end up laughing about it.

A small update on my nut and fruit free diet; it's still going really well! I don't miss any of it to be honest. Although that might just change over the weekend, because that's when I usually feel like snacking. (on sweet things)
As long as I make myself a satisfying breakfast, I'll be alright I guess. Just like I did today. When I told my colleagues what I had for breakfast this morning they practically told me I'm insane. I, however, loved my breakfast and have already been thinking about making it again soon.

March 2, 2011

Chicken stuffed peppers with guacamole

Chicken stuffed pepper 2

Already feeling much better on day 3 today! I basically had a huge breakfast with lots of chicken and eggs, which easily kept me full until lunch. Lunch consisted of a salad with smoked mackerel, and I wasn't hungry again until dinner.
As for dinner, I decided I'd make something special tonight; stuffed peppers.
My first idea was to stuff them with some beef, but I figured a chicken stuffing would be good too. And totally different!
These worked out so well, as you can see from the pictures they're nice and firm on the inside, not too wet, not dry at all. The guacamole made a tasty side-dish, adding some good fats to my meal. Yum!

March 1, 2011

Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce

Cabbage rolls 1

Day 2 without fruit and nuts.. I've been pretty hungry these past 2 days and started noticing how often I actually ate fruits and nuts. I already incorporated more protein in all of my meals, but I still get hungry in between. So after my workout tonight, I'm going to do some more cooking for the next few days to make sure I won't reach for the fruits and nuts. Maybe I should add some more fat to my meals and snacks?
I haven't been getting any cravings for fruits and nuts though, so that's a good thing! And my energy levels are very stable and seem to be higher all day long :D This is definitely going to work for me!