Recipes: Beef and Mushroom Risotto

So I had some arborio rice left over from my previous adventures with risotto so I decided to try a new recipe. I borrowed the base recipe from Stay at Home Mum but made some slight modifications. The boys protested when I mentioned I was going to make Italian rice so I halved the recipe and made them Tomato Chicken instead.

Mushroom beef risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 1/2 cups stock
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 150g button mushrooms
  • 200g beef sliced
  • parmesan

Method:

  • Turn on the slow cooker on low and add butter, onion and garlic.
  • Cook with lid on for 30 minutes.
  • Add rice and stir.
  • Add stock and continue cooking for 90 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  • Add mushrooms and beef.
  • Cook for another 30 minutes.
  • Add parmesan and serve.

Notes:

  • For the stock, I used plain water and 1 1/2 cubes of stock (one chicken, half beef). You can also use Campbell’s Real Stock.

DH and I both enjoyed it so I guess this one’s a keeper, too.

Morlife – More Super Food Powders!

I was at Village Grocer when I stumbled upon these:

Superfoods

It’s a new range of organic super food powders from Morlife… As much as I love Supersprout, it hasn’t always been convenient for me to get my hands on them so this was a lucky find. We’re always on the lookout for boosters to give the boys that little bit extra in nutrition and freeze dried powders make a good compromise when you can’t get the fresh food item. It’s also an easy way to pack a little more punch to the meals we’re eating.

Camu Camu Powder

This fruit is native to the Amazon and has a mild citrus flavour. It is a great source of vitamin C as well as other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:

  • A teaspoon of camu camu powder has 1180 per cent of your recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
  • Valine – an essential amino acid that prevents muscle breakdown and is important for nervous system and cognitive function.
  • Leucine – an essential amino acid for muscle and bone tissue growth and recovery and the production of growth hormones.
  • Serine – an essential amino acid required for digestion.
  • Flavanoids – antioxidants that neutralise free radicals.
  • Potassium – required for proper heart and kidneys functioning.
  • Gallic acid – antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-fungal properties.
  • Ellagic acid – antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes.

Kale Powder

The comparison between kale and spinach is a pretty close fight so it probably won’t make too much of a difference whether you’re adding kale, spinach, wheatgrass or barley grass to boost your meal. For academic purposes, kale is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. It is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Kale also contains the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Acai Powder

As one of the superfoods, there are many health benefits claims surrounding acai. Unfortunately, some of these claims have not been researched sufficiently. Here’s what we do know:

  • Acai is 10 times richer in antioxidants compared to grapes and twice the antioxidants compared to blueberries. Antioxidants are great for neutralising free radicals. The antioxidants in acai are anthrocyanins which are noted for being beneficial for cardiovascular health.
  • Acai is naturally high in essential fatty acids having a fatty acid profile similar to olive oil. Essential fatty acids are also good for heart health and a healthy nervous system.
  • Acai berries contain amino acids which help promote muscle performance, energy production, endurance and strength.
  • Acai berries contain as much Vitamin C as blueberries and is also a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and E. It is also a source of calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

Lucuma Powder

We’ve written about lucuma powder here.

Recipes: Extra-Chewy, Extra-Chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies

G2 found a chocolate chip cookie recipe in one of his Geronimo Stilton books some time back and has been begging me to make it for him so I did – with a minor alteration to make it just a little “healthier” and “easier”. We removed a bit of flour and replaced it with some wheat germ which is virtually unnoticeable in the final product. Wheat germ has a slightly nutty flavour which passes off easily in chocolate chip cookies.

G2's choc chip favesG2's choc chip faves

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 65g brown sugar
  • 75g castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 165g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 150g plain flour
  • 40g wheat germ

Method:

We never did understand the need to add everything in one by one when “chucking everything into the mixer and beating it until it’s all combined” works pretty well. You’re also supposed to roll the dough into logs and refrigerate them until they are firm enough to be sliced into cookies. I just scooped the dough with a cookie scoop:

Place the scooped cookies onto a tray lined with grease-proof paper and baked in 190C for 8 to 10 minutes. It doesn’t get easier than this…

…Unfortunately, the oven failed us so I had to experiment with our multi-function microwave-convection oven. The cookies didn’t rise and they looked dreadful (hence no photos) but they passed the taste test with our fussy eaters.

The Secret to Children and Vegetables

If you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged by your child’s refusal to eat his greens, I thought this article might prove enlightening – specifically, the part where they tell us:

Infants have around 30,000 taste buds spread throughout their mouths. By the time we hit adulthood, only about a third of these remain, mostly on our tongues. So eating is an intense experience for the very young. No wonder nursery food is traditionally bland.

Children don’t tend to lose their extremely sweet teeth until puberty. The reason they often don’t eat their greens could be that the bitter notes in them are amplified by so many taste buds. And as we keep pairing flavours with experiences and forming prejudices, by the time children’s palates are more accepting of vegetable flavours they are negatively associated with parental nagging – an altogether different mood to that of the fun occasions when sweet treats are bestowed.

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Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, so that doesn’t really answer the problem of getting kids to eat their veggies – aside from hiding them in their food. What can we do about it? Apparently, the key to getting kids to eat their veggies lies in what you serve your veggies with. Most of the time, the other food alongside our veggies are stiff competition because they’re too tasty. If you serve your veggies along with other less tasty food, it will increase the likelihood of the veggies being eaten. The best thing to do, however, is to serve the veggies on their own before serving anything else.

Many years ago when I was vegetarian, I noticed this. Vegetables started to taste better because I was no longer eating meat. When I started eating meat again, the vegetables lost their appeal. So perhaps that’s what we need to do – veggie starters.

Slow Cooker Recipe: Soy Sauce Chicken with Potato and Chinese Cabbage

Another slow-cooker chicken recipe that I experimented with recently… I forgot to take a photo (not that there’s much to look at anyway) but I thought I should record the recipe since the boys were pretty happy with it and it’s a really easy one to do.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pieces of Chicken Maryland
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • Chinese cabbage, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 cube of chicken stock
  • 2 rice bowls of water
  • dash of white pepper

Method:

  • Place chicken, onion, and potatoes into the slow cooker pot.
  • Mixed everything else together (except the cabbage) in a bowl and add to the slow cooker pot.
  • Set to cook on auto.
  • Add in the cabbage 30 minutes before eating.