Quick recipes to try; satisfying a sweet tooth; and eating out.

February 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s easy to be bored by the thought of salad – I know that I have a bit of an aversion to the traditional iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber offering, but the truth is you can make a simple salad taste great with a bit of creativity.

This one I made yesterday is nothing spectacular or unusual, but it did taste pretty damn good. I chopped all the ingredients up quite small, and as dressing just used fresh lemon and cracked pepper, with a small amount of sea salt. In the mix was :

fresh mixed salad leaves (with rocket, baby spinach etc – much more interesting than iceberg which is watery, bland and nutritionally pretty dismal)

diced cucumber

diced roma tomato

thinly sliced celery

diced capsicum

herbs (fresh mint, basil and parsley)

diced avocado

fresh lemon, sea salt & cracked pepper

Ok so that one was fairly standard, but the herbs, lemon, avocado and pepper especially gave it a really delicious flavour.

You could also try things like roast veggies tossed through baby spinach leaves with pesto and artichoke. Or marinate some tofu (i’ll use Tofu on the VERY odd occasion) in garlic, ginger and chilli and mix that in with whatever salad-ey things you have at hand.

Moving on! With all this talk of cutting out sweet, refined-sugar treats, some of us (me included, chocoholic #1) may be a little intimidated. But i’ve discovered a really easy way of satisfying chocolate cravings and still being uber healthy (and smug!).

Hear me out on this one, because it may sound like a weird combination, but I have to say that cottage cheese is an awesome base for sweeter snacks. For example, I make this brew that I call Blackforest (Cottage) Cheese Cake…and it seriously tastes like chocolatey, berry, nutty, naughtiness.  You use some low-fat cottage cheese, frozen mixed berries (fresh ones too if you like – strawberries are good), goji berries, walnuts and almonds and then add cacao powder and agave nectar to make it taste like chocolate.

You might be wondering what is cacao? No, not cocoa. Cacao. It’s the raw, unprocessed, un-messed-with form of what we know as chocolate. The cacao bean itself is one of the richest known sources of antioxidants in the world, and is actually exceptional for you…this may be why you’ve heard people proclaiming ‘dark chocolate is good for you! Eat more!’. Well, the cacao bean before it’s been heated and processed to oblivion, then combined with sugars and addititives is fantastic, yes, but that’s hardly what you’re going to find at the candy bar. Raw cacao powder (that you can readily buy at your local health food store) is therefore not sweet like it’s commercial conterpart, but once you add a natural sweetner to it like Stevia or Agave, it tastes just like what we have come to know as chocolate! Oh my lord, we’re onto a winner!

Pictured above is a combo I made today that looks pretty ugly on camera, but tasted delicioso. I made a cocolatey base with cottage cheese, cacao powder, agave nectar and a bit of coconut oil (will talk about this amazing food soon), topped with banana, apple, walnuts, goji berries and some shaved coconut. Was almost too sweet, even for me.

This is an AWESOME way to make things taste like chocolate, in the knowledge that it’s actually giving you a heap of nutrients and it’s not going to make your skin break out. (I sometimes make ‘chocolate’ porridge this way too, if you’re in the mood for chocolate at breakfast time…and there’s nothing wrong with that!)

Oh, and also had this veggie juice today at lunch:

Beetroot, cucumber, apple, orange, carrot. (Need to use more veggies & less fruit in these…working on it).

Onto the last thing; eating out… Or actually just eating ‘bad’ foods in general. The last few days i’ve dined out much more than usual, due to the moving fiasco and social events in general. This morning, after eating at a restaurant last night, followed by a cafe breakfast this morning, I started to feel the familiar guilt for not being 100% saintly in my diet, 100% of the time. And yes, even though I tried to stay healthy (eg salads, veggie kebabs, museli) I also drank wine, ate a heap of white rice, smoked shisha (sooooo fun – lebanese apple-flavoured tobacco) and had french toast for breakfast this morning… so probably not the best. In reality though, you can’t be expected to adhere strictly to your healthy eating plan at all times – there has to be a balance. What i’m trying to get across is that you can make mindful choices when you’re out that don’t kill the fun of restaurant dining, but still allow you to enjoy some ‘food for the soul’.

An interesting guideline is the 90:10 rule, where you make an effort to eat for your health 90% of the time, and 10% for pleasure. This to me sums up the importance of being flexible in your diet and not going down the path of feeling guilty and trying to ‘repent’ for your culinary sins – no one needs that.

Signing out now – don’t forget to experiment with cacao. So amazing!

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