Archive | January 2013

Did you know?: The power of Lego!

My son has just discovered Lego duplo and he is loving it. The concentration on his face is adorable as he tries to build all sorts of things. I decided to google some information on the benefits of Lego & it’s impact on his development.

Lego can help aid your child’s creativity & brain development, and it’s also lots of fun! I have included some links below on advantages of playing with Lego or blocks, and how they encourage children’s imaginations.

‘Whenever you think a thought unfamiliar to you, YOU are being creative. Creativity is the ability to generate ideas and artefacts that are new, surprising and valuable. When children make things (build and create), when they make things up (imagine and fantasise) and when they play make believe (doing ‘as if’ and pretending) they harness curiosity and playfulness into three different kinds of creativity: combination, exploration and transformation.’ http://learninginstitute.lego.com/en-us/research/systematic-creativity/

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Power_of_Lego/

http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/213655/163/Experts-Legos-can-help-childs-brain-develop

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Chicken and risoni soup

This soup recipe makes you feel good. It’s packed with flavour and very healthy. Flavours such as lemon, chicken, garlic and rosemary just work together so well, the result is delicious. I originally found this recipe in a Murdoch soups cookbook but have modified it to include more ingredients and flavour. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly spiced
  • 1/2 celery, sliced thinly
  • Large handful of button mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 1 cup risoni
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary (Dill also works as another option)
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Steps

Heat oil in saucepan over low heat and add leek, cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and stir for 1 minute. Add stock and bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat back to low, add the chicken fillets and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from soup and allow to cool. Then shred into small pieces.

Stir in risoni and simmer for 12 minutes or until cooked. Add the chicken back to soup along with rosemary sprig, spinach and lemon juice. Simmer on low for 2 minutes. Season to taste and serve. Serves well with crusty bread for dipping into broth.

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Grandma’s BBQ Lamb Fillet with dips, salads & flat bread

Grandma’s first recipe post – Here is an easy Sunday lunch the family can enjoy.

BBQ Lamb fillet with dips, salads & flat bread

Ingredients

  • Lamb fillet marinated with garlic & rosemary approx 1kg, serves 4 people
  • Store bought Hummus dip – caramelised garlic version is popular
  • Store bought Tzatziki dip
  • Turkish flat bread- BBQ the bread & serve warm
  • Potato x 6 medium size, peeled and cut into quarters
  • Cucumber Salad includes; 1/2 Cucumber, thinly sliced, Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    Thyme, 1 sprig, Dressing; Infused macadamia oil, 1 splash (different varieties available at the supermarket
  • Rocket & Mango salad includes; Rocket, 1 packed, 1 x Mango, cut into bite size pieces, 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly, Slivered almonds, 1 x handful, Pepitas, small sprinkle
    Salad Dressing; 1 clove crushed garlic, salt & pepper, dash of raw sugar, 70ml olive oil, 30ml extra lite olive oil, 30ml pukara estate liqueur vinegar.

Steps

Fry lamb in frypan for 5 mins on each side to seal. Then roast in bbq for a further 15-20 minutes per 0.5kg for medium rare. Slice up and transfer to serving platter.

Bring potatoes to boil, simmer for 5 minutes, flush with cold water. Drain.
Toss in olive oil and bake in fry pan on BBQ for approx 30-40mins or until golden, transfer to serving plate.

Bring all ingredients of cucumber salad together and transfer to a serving bowl. Again bring all ingredients of Mango salad together and transfer to another serving bowl.

Place all dishes in the middle of the table and let the family serve themselves. Serve with dips and flat bread. Delicious.

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Super Foods = Super Health

Superfoods are a hot topic in nutrition, so what exactly are they?

Well according to Dr. Steven Pratt, author of New York Times bestseller ‘Superfoods RX’, the below 14 superfoods have incredible health benefits that can help protect against illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

  • Beans – help reduce obesity
  • Blueberries – lower the risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Broccoli – fights birth defects
  • Oats – reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Oranges – help prevent strokes
  • Pumpkin – lowers the risk of various cancers
  • Wild Salmon – lessens the risk of heart disease
  • Soy – lowers cholesterol
  • Spinach – decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease
  • Tea – helps to prevent osteoporosis
  • Tomatoes – raise the skins sun protection factor
  • Turkey – helps build a strong immune system
  • Walnuts – reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer
  • Yoghurt – promotes strong bones and a healthy heart

Dr Pratt’s superfood diet is based on the four following principles;

1. The most known beneficial nutrients with the least negative properties,

2. Superfoods are whole foods,

3. Food synergy, nutrients working together,

4. Simple and positive, eating a healthy diet of superfoods allows room for other foods that give you pleasure, such as chocolate.

I found this book very interesting and it includes many great superfood recipes. I am definitely going to try to incorporate these foods into our family meals. If you would like to find out more click on the link below.

http://www.superfoodsrx.com/

 

Lola Berry free recipes

I just love Lola Berry, she’s all about nutritional healthy food!

Here is a link to Lola Berry’s blog where there are free yummy recipes available & great nutritional tips!

http://lolaberry.com/4-free-recipes/

http://lolaberry.com/category/recipes/snacks-recipes/

Top 10 Foods highest in Vitamin D

I’m now 31 weeks pregnant and still have very low levels of vitamin D in my body. I have doubled my dose of supplements but thought it might help to investigate what other foods I could eat more of  to boost my levels. The link below has the top 10 foods highest in vitamin D. Perhaps some of you are in the same situation?

  • Cod liver oil
  • Fish
  • Fortified cereals
  • Oysters
  • Caviar
  • Fortified Soy Products
  • Salami, Ham, and Sausages
  • Fortified Dairy Products
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms

unfortunately some are not suitable for pregnant women.  Guess I will just bulk up on the dairy, soy and eggs!

http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/high-vitamin-D-foods.php

Is bread crust good for you?

Do you cut the crust off your or your children’s sandwiches? I admit it, I cut the crust off bread for my son as otherwise he just eats around it. But perhaps I shouldnt be doing this and should encourage him every time to eat the crust. I recall growing up always being told to eat the crust because its good for me. I just thought that was something adults said up until now!

Apparently crust is good for you and packed with antioxidants. The antioxidants were found eight times more plentiful in the bread crust than the rest of the bread.

Check out the below article to find out further details from their research. This link has many interesting articles on old wives tales related to health. Check it out.

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/eating-bread-crust.htm

Did you know?: Health benefits of lentils

Lentils are yummy and so versatile. Can be added to stews, soups, salads and lots more. Leroy is really enjoying them at the moment which is great as I know he’s getting lots of goodness from them!

Here are a few health benefits from eating lentils; more information can be found at the links below.

• protect the heart
• regulate blood sugar levels
• slow energy release
• protein packed
• great source of vitamin B
• loaded with iron

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/6-health-benefits-of-lentils.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/410190-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-lentils/

Recipe for vegetable & lentil curry

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/25718/vegetable+and+lentil+curry

Pumpkin loaf

I found this recipe in the Woolworths fresh christmas edition magazine. I only tested it the other day and wow! Delicious! Good for lunch boxes and afternoon snacks.

Pumpkin Loaf Recipe – woolworths fresh magazine

Prep 15mins
Cook 40mins
Serves 6

Ingredients
650g diced pumpkin
1 x diced onion
250g sliced mushrooms
1 x cup roasted cashews, ground
3 eggs
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped parsley

Steps
Line loaf pan with paper. Spray pumpkin with oil and roast for 20 minutes or until softened.
Fry onion and mushrooms in oil until soft.
Combine pumpkin with onion mixture, 3 eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley. Season and spoon into loaf pan. Sprinkle over extra cheese and bake for 25 mins or until golden.
Stand for 5 minutes. Serve with salad or just by itself.

20130115-122625.jpg Picture doesn’t do the dish justice, it was very yummy. Easy for little ones to eat with spoon or hands.

Did you know?: Health Benefits of Pineapple!

How much do you know about Pineapple?

An article in the January edition of Health works opened my eyes to what an amazing fruit pineapple is with all of its health benefits. The 3 main benefits outlined in the article were;

  • The fruit contains tryptophan which triggers the release of serotonin.
  • Contains Bromelain, an enzyme with digestive and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Packed with vitamins and 16 minerals.

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pineapple.html

Pineapples are generally available all year round with the best value being from November to February. Pineapple recipes can be found at the below link from Australian Pineapples.

http://www.australianpineapples.com.au/index.asp?p=16

 

 

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