Messy Mince Lettuce Cups

Lettuce Cups make for THE BEST delicious plate of goodness. They use basic ingredients and don’t take too much effort. You can use chicken, fish, mushrooms, falafel… whatever you like, but these ones use the humble beef mince. The result is a scrumptious hand-eaten real-food feast that dribbles from your hands right down to your elbows by the time you reach your last bite!

Ingredients: 1 head of lettuce, a little dollop of butter, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped fresh garlic clove, 500g beef mince, ½ teaspoon of salt (I use salt with seaweed ground into it for some extra nutrients) a sprinkle each of cumin, turmeric, paprika and ground ginger, 2 chopped tomatoes, a few leaves of leafy greens like silver-beet all chopped up into little bits, 1 carrot, 1 beetroot, a handful of finely chopped baby spinach, some fresh parsley ripped up into small pieces, and if you like a bit of garnish then have some greek yoghurt, grated cheese and sauerkraut on hand.

Steps: Wash your lettuce to get all the bug-poo and dirt off… especially when pulling straight from the garden like me! Don’t be too pedantic, a little dirt never hurt. Heat butter in a good pan to a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until it has softened a little. Add the mince and break it up with your wooden spoon, continuing to cook until browned. Add your spices to taste, salt, 1 of the chopped tomatoes and finely chopped leafy greens. Continue to cook and stir until any liquid has reduced and it smells and tastes yummy. While it is cooking away, grate your carrot and beetroot, chop your baby spinach, toss the three together in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes and parsley.

Spoon some mince, then grated salad onto a couple of lettuce leaves, and add grated cheese, a dollop of Greek yoghurt and sauerkraut if using. Grind some salt and pepper on top. Om nom nom, feast away!             

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Chicken and Veggie Mungbean Pasta

Serves: 4  Time: Let it go… not long though.

Ingredients: A dollop of butter, 2 finely sliced garlic cloves, 2 sliced shallots, 1 finely chopped fresh chilli, 4 chicken thigh fillets chopped into small cubes, chopped veggies (broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, silverbeet), 1 packet of mungbean pasta, 1 egg, half a cup of cheese, salt and pepper, drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup of microgreens.

Steps: Heat the butter in a pan to a low-medium heat. Add finely sliced fresh garlic, shallots and chilli. Stir for about 3 minutes until it softens and smells so good. Add chicken and stir occasionally until almost cooked through. Add broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, silverbeet and any other greens that need to be used up. Continue to cook without increasing the heat, until the veggies have softened a bit, or to your own desired crunchiness. Cook mungbean noodles as per instructions and drain. Whisk an egg and cheese with a fork in a small bowl. Throw the noodles into the pan with the chicken and veggies and stir to combine. Stir through the egg and cheese mixture, salt and pepper to taste and a drizzle of olive oil.  

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

5 Dangers of Eating Real Food

More and more people are starting to eat food in its real form as it comes from Mother Earth. Are you just going to sit back and watch this happen? Something must be done. Eating real food is dangerous! Here’s why:

  1. It can give you NUTRIENTS. This affects all of the cells. ALL of the systems in your body could become more efficient. Body and mind inclusive.
  2. May cause increased energy levels, concentration and motivation. Watch out.
  3. Can lead to higher self-esteem.
  4. Studies have shown that a real-food diet can increase school achievement levels in children.
  5. It can lead to a gentler footprint on our environment.

Sorry. I’m being a bit silly. I did have a list of sarcastic ways you can stop the real-food movement but I’ve changed it now. My morning writing voice was a little too silly and sarcastic for my evening reading one. But I just wanted to pause and have a think about why some people seem adamant that leading and encouraging real-food lifestyles is somehow irresponsible. I notice comments online and also in real life. An attitude that we must not venture into real-food lifestyles until thorough research has been done. It could be dangerous! It could leave us feeling deprived! It is an act of self loathing! We won’t get all the nutrients we need! And on another level, that people who eat unprocessed food are somehow oddballs with a snobby, stuck up attitude!

Why is this? Money? Fear of change? Addiction to processed food? Envy? Body image? Self-worth? Varying educational schools of thought? Conflicting interests? Prior experience? Fear? Different values? I’m not sure.

I think that everyone should be free to express an opinion, and that nobody is right, so that’s cool. But I totally disagree with the cautionary approach to whole food. And most people I know who follow this kind of lifestyle are actually some of the most empathetic and compassionate ethical thinkers that I know. Because they give a shit about how our food consumption affects themselves and the world.

Research around nutrition will never be conclusive. Like, never ever. Too many variables. Too much stuff we don’t know about our bodies. Surely the only side effect of eating unprocessed food is to get healthier. Isn’t this what we want for ourselves and each other? If it’s what we want to do then can’t we just do it, and without judgement? And help others to do so too when they ask for encouragement too?

Everyone is doing the best they can do with the knowledge and resources that they have. So just let them do that. And if they reach out for support to eat healthier, give it to them. It will not cause harm.

Comments and ideas below are very encouraged. It is a conversation I think is important.

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

For examples of recipes these real-food eaters might cook, click here.

 

5 Delicious Zucchini Recipes

 

If you’re like me and lots of my friends, your zucchini plants are going nuts at the minute and you have all these humongous mutant zucchini taking over the back yard! So before they take over the WORLD, quick, use ‘em in these recipes:

  1. Too Easy Zucchini Fritters  are easy to whip up for brekkie or any other time for a quick meal.
  2. Banana-Zucchini-Cacao Mug-Cake  a fantastic sweet treat that takes a couple of minutes to whip up when that chocolate craving strikes.
  3. Chicken Ginger Zoodles for a simple flavour sensation.
  4. Zucchini Carbonara with Cauliflower and Parmesan Crumb  for a slightly fancy, health-i-fied take on your classic pasta dish.
  5. Fry ‘em up in butter! Fried zucchini = Heavenly! 

I hope these recipes help your excess zucchini shine!!

Moment of truth… most of the giant zucchini in my posession have come from friends who have had great success with their zuccchini plants. Mine, not so much… but I have had a steady flow of little zucchini from my own garden! They might just be my favourite vegetable with their endless versatility.

Enjoy.

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Ginger Chicken Zoodles

Serves: about 4 people, but just add more to feed more.

Ingredients: 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 chopped shallots, 2cm grated fresh ginger, 1 crushed fresh or dried chilli, 1 tbsp tamari, 4 chopped boneless chicken thighs, 3-4 large spiralised zucchini, salt and pepper to taste, ripe avocado to garnish.

Steps: Heat a good pan with 1 tbsp coconut oil to a low-medium heat. Add shallots, grated ginger, chilli and tamari and cook, stirring, until browning and aromatic. Add chicken and stir until cooked through. Add zucchini noodles (spiralised zucchini/zoodles) and cook, stirring, for a furhter 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with sliced avocado if desired. Too easy, all done!

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

How to Enjoy Running!

 

Me happy and knackered after running the Bridle Path track, Port Hills Chch

Running. The word itself makes some people run at the mention. So many people hate it. But, having a healthy cardiovascular system undeniably feels great. I don’t care who says cardio is bad. I think all exercise is good. Especially when the goal is holistic health, not just pumping up your muscles or sculpting a ‘perfect bod’. Nothing says cardio like running. So how can we do it and keep doing it? Here are are my three suggestions:

  1. Run somewhere spectacular! I enjoy running, but running along the footpaths in the ‘burbs pains me. Get me out into the Port Hills or a national park and I’m high on life!  
  2. Run within a sports game! One guaranteed weekly run-around for me is Wednesday night touch-rugby. It is enjoyable, there is a competitive element to amp up the motivation, and I am accountable to my team mates. It works.
  3. Run with a buddy! Ok so I said suburban footpath running is torture to me, but chuck a good friend with good chat by my side and I am more than happy to do it. There is the accountability factor too.
  4. Enter a challenge or event! I enjoy tracking my improvements if I am running to train for a sports event/race.
  5. Run as a mode of transport! Use running to get from ‘a’ to ‘b’. Good for your body, good for the environment, good use of time.      

Tried everything and still loathe running? Then stop running. Start something that you love instead. Not something that just makes you feel good afterwards, but something you enjoy doing at the time. Something you can lose your thoughts in. I believe exercise is only sustainable if you enjoy it. It’s is the only way you will continue to exercise for ever and ever. And that’s what I intend to do. Happy running (Or not).

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Kumara Pizza Base

 

Ingredients: 1 large kumara, 1 cup almond meal, 3 eggs, ¼ cup coconut flour, salt.

 
Steps: Chop the kumara up into chunks, skin and all, and boil in a pot until soft. Drain, mash, transfer to a mixing bowl, and pop it in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill a little. Take out of the freezer, add almond meal and salt to taste, and mix together well with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and mix well again. Add the coconut flour and mix again. It should be getting a bit dryer but still hold together when you roll it into a ball. Divide the mixture into quarters. Roll each quarter into a ball, working it a little, then flattening into a pizza base shape. They’re just little ones, a personal one each for a family of four. Bake on 200 degrees celsius for 15-20 minutes or until holding shape. Top with your choice of toppings… don’t over-load it. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until cheese (if using) melts and turns golden.  

Yummy!

Why I do The Things That I Do

 

This is dedicated to the why behind the what.

I exercise because it makes me feel good, not because I need/want to lose weight or tone up.

I trail-run because there is no better feeling than being away from the city and in nature, the great outdoors.

I box because it makes me feel confident and strong.

I set goals and work hard because I love a challenge, not because I feel like I don’t have enough in my life already. The process of striving to better myself, not the product, gives me thrills.

I cook everyday because it keeps me connected to my food sources. I cook because it is my time to zone out and at the same time hone in on one action. I cook from scratch because the food is better for me that way. I cook because I love the feeling of providing nourishing food for people I love.

I garden because it keeps me aware of where my food comes from. I garden because when I do I feel relaxed, content and at the same time productive. I garden because it gives me thrills to grow food from seed to then harvest it for a home-cooked meal. I garden because I love the world we live in, even with its many, many flaws. I garden because I like to be outside.

I eat mostly nutritious food because I feel my best when I do, not because I’m watching my figure.

I love my body in any condition, because it is loving my body that drives me to take care of it, not hating it.

I socialise with great people because great-ness is contagious.

I smile because it makes myself and others feel good.

I cry because it makes me feel better.

I accept people because I don’t know their background-stories. I don’t know their perspective and therefore don’t understand why they do the things they do.

At the same time I do judge people, because it is really a reflection tool for my own values.

I speak my mind because it builds deeper trust in my relationships.

I write because it fuels my creativity, and for me creativity is the essence of a fulfilling life. I write because it helps me to reflect and improve on my thoughts, actions and values.

I study because I know I’m never right, but I can become more right if I keep learning. This is the same reason I listen.   

I teach because I thoroughly enjoy it. When I stop enjoying it, I’ll find/create another way to make money in an enjoyable way.

What are your whys?

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

 

 

My Secret Weapons for De-Stressing

 

My friend Sephrah blissing out on a rock!

Not really secret, but it sounded good right? And now you’re reading my blog. Great! In my opinion, high levels of stress and anxiety can be just as damaging to health as a processed diet. I reckon the best approach is to catch yourself on the way… prevent it from getting out of hand. To prevent stress I…

  • Do not take work home (an easy trap to fall into as a school teacher). Home is for me and my family and friends. Keeping them separate is key to ‘switching off’ as soon as I walk in my door. It also makes me more productive at work because I have had time to re-charge.  
  • Keep stuff in perspective. I try not to use my energy focussing on silly things like what other people think and comparing myself to others. Sometimes it happens, but I snap out of it pretty quickly.
  • View my to-do-lists as GUIDES for productivity, not deadlines, so that I don’t have a major freak-out if I don’t always meet them. I can keep chugging away at stuff I want to do the next day. The world won’t stop spinning.
  • Methodically work through tasks that need to be done, one by one. One foot in front of the other. Trust the process. Things will be achieved.
  • In saying this, I stay organised so that my shit doesn’t get out of control in the first place.
  • Get rid of stuff in my life that isn’t serving me and my long-term goals.
  • Eat well! Seriously, if I go through periods of eating a bit more processed food and sugary stuff than usual, my mood plummets and I get wound up about stupid things more easily. This is really a good thing, because it means I have no desire to continue eating the crap!
  • Spend my time with cool fun people, and not with d-buzz judgy people.
  • Let things go when they need to be let go.
  • Go to bed early.

Sometimes preventing high stress is not possible. So when I do get in a tizz, I…

  • Take deep breaths
  • STOP and change tack. Sometimes you realise you’re just going about things in the wrong way.  
  • Remind myself that the crazy-busy-stressful period will pass.
  • Laugh! Laugh, laugh, laugh and laugh some more. I wrote a bit about the benefits of laughing here.
  • Do some yoga (even just 10 minutes).
  • Do a ten-minute meditation.
  • Have a cup of tea.
  • Get a massage .
  • Accept that failure is part of success.
  • Stop what I’m doing, do nothing and play some rad music.
  • Do a boxing session or another form of exercise.
  • Read a fiction book.

These strategies can seem obvious, but you actually have to get your shit together and DO them if they’re going to reduce the effects of stress in your life. I also think that the latter set of strategies here, the what I do when stress is overwhelming me list, is a list of band-aid approaches to stress. What I’m saying is to really handle stress in your life you need to get the first list in order; the things I do to prevent the effects of stress list.  Cups of tea and yoga ain’t going to give you a smooth life if you’re still running around like a headless chook doing an unachievable number of things you hate doing all day long!

Just my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours.

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy

Raw Peppermint Chocolate Biscuits

 

My FAVOURITE combination is mint and chocolate, something I share with my good friend Tanyka. We both love those Mint Slice bikkies, so here is my whole food answer to that…

Ingredients:

Base: 1 cup of almonds, 3 tbsp coconut oil (melt if solid), 2 tbsp cacao powder, ¼ dates that have been soaked in boiling water for 10 mins then drained, a pinch of salt.

Creamy Peppermint Centre: ½ cup cashews that have been soaked in warm water for an hour, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp (or more) peppermint essence, a pinch of salt, a splash of almond milk to get the food processor moving.

Chocolate Coating: ¼ cup coconut oil, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp cacao powder.

Steps:

Base: Blitz the almonds, cacao powder and salt together to look like breadcrumbs, then add the coconut oil and dates and blitz for a few seconds to combine. You still want it to look a bit rough. Roll spoonfuls into small balls, then flatten a little with your hands and press down the middle with your thumb to make an imprint for the peppermint cream to go. Pop them on a baking sheet on a tray and into the freezer while you make the next part.

Creamy Peppermint Centre: Blitz all the ingredients together until creamy and smooth. Spoon desired amounts into the dip in the base rounds. Smooth over with a spoon and return to the freezer while you make the next part!

Chocolate Coating: Boil the jug and pour boiling water into a medium sized bowl to reach a couple of centimetres up the side. Place a pyrex measuring cup (or similar) in this boiling water. Add coconut oil, honey and cacao, and stir together until smooth. Check the biscuits in the freezer, and if they’ve solidified a little, bring them out to coat. I used a fork to pick up the biscuits, dip into the choc sauce mixture, and bring out to rest back on the baking paper. I dipped each biscuit twice. Pop the complete biscuits back in the freezer until the coating is set. Eat!

By Jasmine at Franklee Healthy