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Cauliflower, potato, pea and red lentil curry

Cooked this tonight. Found the recipe I used before but as usual, I made the recipe my own.

God it was a good brew.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Curry. I used two or three teaspoons of Keans curry powder, a generous sprinkling of ground coriander, and even more garum masala
  • 1 cup and bit of dried red lentils
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock. I use Campbell's real stock
  • Whole cauliflower, cut up into florets
  • 3 or 4 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Big squirt of tomato paste, about 2 or 3 tablespoons
  • Several handfuls of frozen peas
  • I also used left over and wilting celery, finely chopped so it would disappear because Mr S doesn't like it. But he picked it straight away. OK, I didn't chop very finely.
  • Natural yoghurt, to serve

Method

  1. Heat oil in large pan. Add onion, garlic, and celery. (The latter is optional.) Fry for a bit until onions soften. About 5 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder. Fry up a bit.
  3. Add lentils and stir so lentils are coated in all the curry goodness.
  4. Add stock, cauliflower, potatoes, tomato paste, tin tomatoes l.
  5. Simmer for about 25 minutes with lid on.
  6. Add peas and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  7. I turned off the heat and took off lid so it would thicken.

It has to be served sprinkled with chopped coriander leaves and thick Greek yoghurt.

I wish we had some Naan bread. That would have improved on perfection.

Monday 1st May. May Day, it’s begun

Apologies if my misappropriation of a day that celebrates and promotes workers’ rights offends. Please be assured I have marched on May Day marches before. 

Now down to business, today is the day I started my healthy eating. This week I plan to cut out sugary snacks. I will have lunch and morning tea ready so I am not tempted to eat biscuits and cakes and lollies and chocolates. 

It may be difficult but I will say no to two morning tea offerings that I know I will face: scones with jam and cream, sausage rolls and pastries. I will have the healthy food to hand. 

That’s the plan: swapping unhealthy (high calorie, low or no nutrients) with healthy foods. I am not looking at portion control or actual meals yet. Let’s just stick with the swap. 

Last night I made some Greek yoghurt. I use Easiyo. It’s so easy. Lol. And yummy. I make he Greek yoghurt. I’ll use it for morning tea. With fruit. But separate. I don’t like my fruit with yoghurt or bits in my yoghurt. 

So how did I go today?

Breakfast: porridge – half a cup of quick cook oats cooked with 3/4 water. Added 1 teaspoon sugar and skim milk 

Mugs of tea with full cream milk between breakfast and morning tea: 2

Morning tea: 2 mandarins and a medium sized banana. 

Lunch: crispy Asian salad (ready chopped supermarket one with those noodles, cabbage and stuff). Bowl of my homemade minestrone. Recipe to come. Very small handful of saltanas. 

Afternoon snack: few grapes. 

Dinner: vegetarian pasta dish with cheese. 


Drinks: two schooner (ie big) glasses of tap water and one glass of sparkling water. Will have water or a cup of tea or both after after dinner. 

By gad, at 5pm I was hungry. I am so used to snacking on biscuits and chocolate and crackers and junk. Grazing continually. My stomach isn’t used to being empty. What’s that? it is saying. What’s that feeling? At it sends messages of needing to eat for hunger, not for emotions or boredom or routine or habit. 

Anyway I didn’t succumb and will wait for dinner which is almost ready. 

How did you go? Share away. 

May Day. It’s a revolution 

To start my revolution I need to plan. And do some prep. Rather than reaching for a bikkie or four when hungry, I need some healthy food that is to hand and can be eaten quickly. 

When you reach for sugar dense foods, you find yourself reaching for some more very quickly. Eat a bikkie or two and you bounce awake when the sugar hits your system. But that high drops quickly so you need more. And then more. 

My main problem is not having food prepared. I have no time to do so at work nor in the mornings. So I need forthought. 

On Saturday afternoon I bought fruit, salads and nuts. I made up a big saucepan of minestrone soup. Gosh it was delicious! Mr S thought so too. He had two bowls for lunch. The saucepan will give me lunch for three days next week, on top of the weekend lunches. (On two other days I won’t be on site so can’t take the soup. Food will be supplied.)

I also bought some raw almonds. For nibbling. 

And bought some easy to eat fruit – mandarins, bananas, plums, apples, grapes.

I have a tonne of chocolate around from Easter. I got Mr S to hide it. I know where more is but I won’t open the packets. 

Next step: bake some leb bread with olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Much less fat than crisp breads or crackers. And I can nibble this with some Persian feta. 

Preparation is the key to eating healthy and to avoiding temptation. 

May Day! May Day! Weight loss needed

Long term readers of this blog may exclaim, “Not another weight loss challenge! Another healthy eating attempt!”

Yep! I know I started this blog as a record of my weight loss and attempt to get healthy before it morphed into general blithering about travel and books and decluttering. 

Ha! What I’d give to be that weight and size again! Since then, I’ve hit menopause. 

It’s seems since losing some hormones, I can’t eat what I want. But worse than that, the weight doesn’t drop off when I change my eating for a little bit. 

The inches have been creeping on around my waist and my chest so that many of my clothes do not fit and some elasticated ones are tight. Now if stretchy clothes are uncomfortable, you know you have two choices: buy new clothes or lose weight. 

OK, I buy new clothes anyway but I am going to lose weight. 

I haven’t actually weighed myself lately. I don’t need too. I feel bloated. And I definitely look bloated. I have this belly that looks like I’m pregnant. Or have all the fluid build up you get from a tumour. 

I know I have been eating too many unhealthy things. And not enough of the good things.

So back to conscious eating for me. Which takes planning and not leaving food selectionuntil I am hungry. Because then I grab chocolate. Or whatever is handy. Normally high calorie, low nutritional food stuff. 

I have been grabbing bikkies this week at work. And lollies. And chocolate. 

My poor body! I need to treat it with some respect.

Why May Day?

Everyone knows you start a diet on a Monday. Or the first of the month. 

Well May 1st is a Monday. So it is doubly the right time to start. 

And May Day is a call for help. And a day of revolution. 

What could be more perfect! It’s in the stars!

Just what mother/the doctor ordered

I’ve been feeling poorly. 

Coughing, spluttering, chills, hot spells, headaches, muscle aches, sinus pain, burning throat. Think that’s about it. 
Started with lethargy and headache and sore throat. Had a day off last week and thought I was fine. Actually felt a bit of a fraud. So went to work the next day. 

Then came the coughing. And lost voice.  I had a play on Saturday and didn’t want to be kicked out or ruin the experience. Not that the voice was necessary for the day. I bought some cough mixture and cough lozenges. I got through the play but then things went downhill. Coughing fits. Deep hacking coughing. On the crowded train home. The Japanese lady next to me was visibly distressed and turned away. I can imagine what everyone on the carriage was thinking: get that disease-ridden woman off the train. 

Bedridden on Sunday. No way I could go to work on Monday. Mr S doesn’t believe in days off. When I said, on the Sunday night, I thought I couldn’t go into work tomorrow, he said I should wait until the morning, I was might be better. 

That night I slept through our fire alarm that went off with no apparent reason. I had had a few deep coughing fits and my body was exhausted. 

So what to do?

Western medicine. Chinese medicine. Mother’s medicine. Medicine for the soul.

My mother said to stay at home and rest. She rang on my home phone Monday morning to check I hadn’t gone to work.   

I really craved chicken soup.  I needed its healing properties. Jewish penicillin. But like my grandmother used to make. Warm and soothing on the throat.

Doctor said I needed some antibiotics to kill the infection and some cortisone to strengthen the lungs and stop them being so reactive. And to use the ventolin puffer. And that I should have got a flu shot. And don’t waste my money on cough syrup – no better than a placebo. 

Friends variously recommended rest with video catch up and time to read. I borrowed a very easy read. But I have no inclination to read. That’s how sick I am. 

One friend suggested something new: astragalus root infusion. Chinese herbal medicine. Apparently boostes immune system. Move over Echinacea. Interesting reading if you google it. 

What have I got to lose? I’m using everything. 

What do you do to fight a cold or upper respiratory infection that won’t go?

Summer is …

Mangoes

Trays of mangoes in the fruit shop tell me it is summer. 

Who can resist a tray of mangoes? $25 for 17. 

As it says on the side of the tray: taste the tropics. But even better, the smell is divine. Creamy, sweet, mangoe-y. There’s nothing quite like it. Shame there is no scratch and sniff Internet. Who needs scented candles?

 

A tray of mangoes when a couple of mangoes is never enough. 

Mimi’s refried beans

Mimi is a cook on a forum I belong to. She comes up with wonderful and often cheap recipes.

This was wonderful, quick, yummy, cheap and healthy. Mimi put smoky paprika but I prefer sweet.

Ingredients

2 cups dried red kidney beans
1 cup red lentils
3/4 cup olive oil
6 cups water
1 onion diced
6 cloves of garlic, sprinkled with a touch of oil and roasted for 15 minutes in a moderate oven (more or less according to your love of garlic! I make extra to use in other dishes, eg salsa.)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 Bay Leaf

Method

1. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of it’s papery shell.

2. Combine everything in the crock pot, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. You can also simmer this on the stove top for 2-3 hours.

3. Remove the Bay Leaf.

4. Empty into a food processor and blend until smooth.

How to serve?

1. Soft tacos
I made guacamole – mashed an avocado with a fork, squeeze of lemon, spoonful of Greek yoghurt (I make my own yoghurt with Easiyo).

And I made salsa – chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped coriander, couple of roasted garlic, half a cooked onion.

Warm tortillas, put small spread of refried beans, some lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sweet chilli sauce. Wrap and eat!

2. Dip
Serve as a dip layered with salsa and guacamole with corn chips.

3. Wraps
Heat a heaped tablespoon of refried beans and a stalk of broccolini in microwave for a minute. Place two pieces of Mountain Bread on board. Spread beans thinly down middle of slice, put on broccolini and grated cheese. Roll bread and put in sandwich press until cheese slightly melts.

Of course you could use it for nachos, hard tacos etc but these were the three ways I served it. Yum!