Brown Rice Jambalaya

Oil

2-3 chorizo or Andouille sausage, sliced

500g chicken thighs, diced

2 onions, diced

2-4 cloves of garlic, minced

4 sticks celery, diced

2 green capsicums (bell peppers), diced

5 bay leaves

2 cups brown rice

800g tin of diced tomatoes

4 cups of liquid (stock and/or water)

3 heaping tablespoons of Cajun seasoning

Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).

With a little oil, in a large, oven-safe pot fry sausage until slightly brown. Add the chicken and fry until the chicken is just cooked.

Remove the meat from the pot. In the remaining oil and juices at the bottom of the pan, fry the onions, then add the garlic, capsicums, celery and bay leaves. Sauté for 2 minutes then add the meat back in along with all the other ingredients.

Keep the pot on the stove until the mix is bubbling and then put it in the oven with a lid on for 1 hour.

Check occasionally to make sure it is not too dry (add more water/stock if necessary), if it is too wet, cook with the lid off for the last half hour.

The jambalaya is ready when the rice is cooked through.

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Lentil Lasagne with Cauliflower Bechamel

I promise you'll go back for seconds!

I promise you’ll go back for seconds!


This is a ‘meat-lovin’-husband-approved’ vegie lasagne. The lentils give it great substance, the cauli-‘cheese’ sauce is awesome and everything comes together in many delicious layers! It’s super cheesy with only 50g of cheese in the whole lasagne, that’s less than 10g per slice!

There’s quite a lot of work putting this together, but it makes HEAPS to last all week.
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Intolerant Friend Cookies

Well, really cookies for friends with food intolerances…

These cookies are free from wheat, dairy, egg and soy. So if you have vegan friends and friends with food allergies (except nuts – I can’t help you there), then these are a really good option. Despite being free from traditional ingredients they are still really tasty.

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Ingredients:

Dry
1 1/2 cups almond meal
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 cup cocao nibs (or chocolate pieces)
1/3 cup cranberries

Wet
1 tbs ground flax (or 1 egg)
4-6 medjool dates
1tbs coconut butter (or nut butter, oil, or real butter)
1tsp vanilla

1. mix the ground flax with 3 tbs of water, leave in the fridge for 15 minutes
2. soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes
3. mix the dry ingredients
4. mix the wet ingredients in a blender including a little of the water from the dates until it blends well
5. mix wet into dry
6. on a baking tray make small balls from the dough then flatten slightly with a fork (they won’t spread when baking)
7. bake at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly browned at the edges

 

Process photos

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Posted in Dessert, Healthy and Tasty, Uncategorized, Vegan and Delicious, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Some Thoughts on the Raw Food Movement, plus Zucchini Pasta

Recently I’ve been very interested in the raw food movement/diet/lifestyle/religion and thinking about the value of raw foods in one’s diet.

Generally I agree about 80% with it. Raw, whole foods are the way nature provides them to us which is probably a good indication that it’s a good way to eat. But then there is a part of me that has questions.

Do sashimi and beef carpaccio count?
Foods dried in the sun would get over the ‘raw’ temperature, wouldn’t they?
Some foods are only edible if cooked, right?
Not everything in nature is good for us, deathcap mushroom anyone?
How can you live without coffee?
Is this all just too much?

I’d started feeling really sluggish recently when I tried to eat more meat too quickly. I started to read into raw foods and I was massively intrigued by their recipes. I tried a few of their recipes and have been feeling really good. Can you call it a recipe if you don’t use heat? (Kidding). There is a lot of benefit in eating more raw, more fibre and nutrients, it’s harder to eat ‘naughty’ foods, and a great enthusiasm for food and life. But I think for me personally there is a lack of balance and I’m not sure I could sustain it in social situations; don’t offer me brie, I can’t say no.

Also I found a lot of raw foodies were only mainly ‘raw’, not that it in any way undermines their dedication to a healthy diet though.

Nevertheless, I’ve been incorporating more ‘raw’ and ‘raw inspired’ (that is cooked because I don’t have a dehydrator) in my diet and I am feeling good, much better than when I tried to incorporate more meat. So there may be more ‘raw’ recipes after today, and I really encourage you to try some to find the deliciousness that is a raw carrot, or a cashew cheese, or cauliflower pizza.

Raw zucchini pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes


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Posted in Frugal Foods, Healthy and Tasty, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegan and Delicious, Vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What LAB eats, plus Vegie Mush

Wow, I bet I’ve just inspired you there with that title. I’m not expecting this to be a big hit recipe like beer soaked apple pie was, but it has its place on theLAB.

If you’re wondering, what do K and LAB eat everyday? Do they really live on pretzels, and beetroot chocolate cake, and chestnut tart, and fancy pomegranate roast chicken? The answer is partly yes, in that everything on here I cook and eat (ok K doesn’t eat everything – he’s not a fan of tempeh or green smoothies), but really most of our diet would be foreign to most people.

So today I’ll give you an everyday recipe that we make at least monthly sometimes more (and it makes about 5 meals each), plus I’ll run through what we eat, in case you’re interested. I’m not saying that this meal plan is perfect, far from it. I’m low in B12 and iron due to a low ability to absorb it from the limited meat in my diet, but I’d rather manage that minor issue than risk all the problems associated with obesity. This is how I’ve lived day to day for about three years keeping the weight off, it works for me and I have been healthy (barely even a sniffle) and full of energy for three years so I’m sticking with it.

How funny is this eggplant? I love his crooked nose! He went in the pot


Weekday breakfasts are almost always one of two things, either fruit and yoghurt, or a green smoothie.

My colleagues are often bemused by my lunch “is that whole tub of vegies just for today?” (yes), “oh, what is that smell?” which can be either a good or a bad question. Lunch varies, sometimes microwaved pumpkin and peas, or a massive salad with a bit of everything plus some raw cashew cheese, or Indian dal, or tomato on homemade bread, but it could be anything (sometimes cake – but that’s a secret). Plus usually more fruit and yoghurt as snacks.

Dinner depends, sometimes we’ll make a normal dinner, but that’s pretty rare. Between university nights, soccer night and eating before or after going for a run, dinner is usually a mish-mash of whatever is around the house, or baked beans when I’m at uni. K knows how to fend for himself and finds the yoghurt or toast if I’m not around.

When we do have “dinner” often it is something really simple and I doubt it looks like dinner for most people. One of our staples is “Vegie Mush.” A nondescript assortment of vegetables with a couple of cans of tomatoes, possibly some beans that is eaten either as is or on toast, sometimes with a sprinkle of Parmesan. The ingredients vary according to season and what’s in the fridge, but usually it has onion, eggplant or mushrooms, carrot, celery, zucchini, canned tomatoes and herbs.

So when do we actually make the dishes that go on theLAB? Well… some weeknights we make a “proper dinner” but usually I cook a lot on the weekend. I get completely absorbed in how to use some new ingredient or learning about cultures for yoghurt making. Poor K has to run around all over Brisbane with me to get some inspired ingredient for our culinary adventures.

But without further ado, I’m sure you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for…
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Posted in About LAB, Breakfast, Frugal Foods, Healthy and Tasty, Main Dishes, Vegan and Delicious, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Superb Chipotle Bean and Tomatillo Corn Salsa Nachos

I don’t claim that these are better than all the nachos in the Americas, but I’m going to put it out there that these are some seriously spectacular nachos.

I’ve had enough nachos in my life to tell the good, from the bad (I’m looking at you soccer stadium in Utah – bleurk!) and these were really freakin’ good. I knew they’d be good, because it was an awesome combination of ingredients, but I wasn’t expecting this from vegetarian nachos. Often vegetarian nachos are too bland, or too cheesy, or too sloppy, or too salty (salt does not make up for meat people!).

But there was great substance to these nachos: the beans were flavourful and hearty, vibrant guacamole, solid tortilla chips, but it was really the combination of the beans with such a kick-ass salsa that pulled it all together.

K and I agreed that these were the best nachos we’d had, not just best vegetarian ones (and vegan sans cheese and yoghurt/sour cream), but best nachos. period.

I dare you to try not to fall in love with these nachos


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Toasted Corn and Tomatillo Salsa

Mexican ingredients can be hard to find in Australia, which is a shame because their food is amazing and it quite suits our climate, plus I love Mexican food and wish I could eat it every day.

Over the years I have found a number of good foreign food shops around Brisbane and I’m often found stocking up on herbs and spices, nuts and beans, or condiments and unusual ingredients. I don’t feel out of place in my favourite Indian store in McWhirters in the valley turning to K and asking “do we need more upma and idli mix?” or “how many bags of edamami and cans of kickapoo?” at Yuen’s around the corner.

For more European ingredients I head to Woolloongabba (that’s a place in Brisbane if you’re not Australian, and yes, we know it’s may sound funny to you). On a recent trip I picked up a can of tomatillos because I didn’t like my chances of getting fresh ones here. I really enjoyed them in a couple of Mexican themed salads I made, but then I had most of a 30oz can left. So K and I set about making the most superb nachos we’ve ever eaten including this toasted corn and tomatillo salsa.

This was fantastically light and zingy against the rich, hearty chipotle beans; likewise it made an excellent dip that was also good for the waistline.

These nachos will knock your socks off thanks to corn and tomatillo salsa


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Posted in Dips, Healthy and Tasty, Main Dishes, Snacks, Vegan and Delicious, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment