4 Tips to Shake Yourself out of a Winter Food-Rut

To my own complete annoyance, I have a tendency of getting into a food-rut from time-to-time. Either I find a few dishes and make them every few days or so for weeks on end, or things just get so busy that it’s easier to just stick to the one dish each lunchtime than spend time being creative to come up with something new. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m eating toast every day, but I’m certainly not getting the wide variety of foods that I know would be of more benefit to me health-wise, as well as keeping life interesting. The reality is, really, I just get into a headspace where everything seems ‘too hard’, or takes ‘too long’ to be worth the effort.

It’s funny, because while all this is going on, I’m annoyed because I actually don’t enjoy eating the same thing day-in, day-out. That’s why the whole ‘Sunday cook-up’ ‘meal-prep’ thing just doesn’t work for me. I know that some of you couldn’t survive without that ritual, but my food habits and tastes are much more spontaneous than that, so having the same meal for every lunch and dinner each week is by far the last thing I could do on purpose.

The wider variety of foods that you eat, the wider array of nutrients you eat. It’s a food mantra that (for the most part) inspires me to try new things, be creative and be mindful of the food I have in my kitchen. So when it hit me that I’ve been having the same gluten-free instant noodles with soup and mackerel for lunch every day at work for the past six weeks, I knew I had to snap out of it, be purposefully aware of my habits and find inspiration to shake things up. Continue reading

7 Tasty Food-Hacks for the Intolerant Foodie

Recently I’ve had to make a few major adjustments to my diet because of my own personal health issues, which means, apart from butter/ghee, I have cut out gluten, dairy, alcohol and sugar from my diet. This has reduced my bloating and gut issues, given me more energy, cleared up my acne, balanced my moods a bit and has me feeling more like myself again, even though I still have further to go. Having food intolerances can really suck, especially when people have no empathy for you (because gluten intolerance doesn’t exist, apparently) and a lot of the foods that are created as substitutes are loaded with sugar and chemicals and crap.

Between my boyfriend and I, the list of foods we can’t eat is quite expansive, so we’ve become experts at reading labels and thinking outside the box when we cook for one another. For the most part, we don’t feel like we’re missing out, and we enjoy cooking together, or for each other, because we both like to try new things when we do. Continue reading

Miranda’s Chicken & Chorizo Paella

Picture this:

It’s a hot but blissful day. You’re 20. And for the first time in your life you’re in a country where English isn’t the first language. You’re staying in a resort with your sister and some family. You spend your days in the pool, at the beach, discovering tapas for the first time ever and getting tipsy from your new favourite summer drink, sangria. You feel adventurous, and you’re loving the extra summer you’re getting when it’s winter at home. Your soundtrack of choice is California Waiting by Kings of Leon and you’ve just tasted the brightest orange juice you’ve ever seen. You’re in Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain. They serve garlic bread as bread smothered in garlic aioli and the week you are spending here feels like heaven to you.

In 2007, I went to Alcudia, Mallorca, just off the coast of Spain and fell in LOVE with paella. It was one of the first nights we were in Spain, and so, of course, we went to a Spanish restaurant to try some of the local fare. Aioli, patatas bravas, croquetas, albondigas en salsa – the options were endless! This stage in my life was when I first started experimenting and trying new foods, after years of being rather unadventurous. We’d just arrived from England, where I’d tasted my first English strawberries – something that up until that moment, I was convinced that I hated. So in the spirit of new discoveries, without much description of it, I took the recommendation to order paella, and I haven’t looked back. I think I ordered it four times that week, taking home the leftovers. And when arrived back in Australia, it was all I talked about – I even received a paella pan and bag of paella rice at my 21st birthday!

The only photo I could find of myself in Mallorca, 2007

The only photo I could find of myself in Mallorca, 2007

If you haven’t tried paella, it’s a fabulous Mediterranean dish. The saffron-yellow rice with simple flavours of rosemary, parsley, capsicum and tomato can be complimented by any protein of your choice, from prawns, to chorizo, to chickpeas. It’s tasty, it’s filling, it makes a lot, and if you make your own stock, you don’t have to worry about MSG. (If you’d like to skip the nitrites, you don’t need to add the chorizo)

It’s a comfort food classic, and even though the rice is filling, it’s still a perfect meal to eat in summer with a side of salad (in my humble opinion).

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

500-700g chicken, diced (or 2-3 tins chickpeas)

2 chorizo sausages, sliced

2tb extra virgin olive oil

1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)

0.5g saffron

1 litre of bone broth or homemade vegetable stock (you may need extra water)

2 cups arborio/short grain rice

400g tinned tomatoes

1 cup frozen green beans

2tb rosemary

Salt & Pepper

Half a cup of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Lemon wedges, to serve

Chicken and chorizo paella

Heat a wide based pan on a medium high heat until hot, and brown your chicken on a medium-high heat. Remove from the pan. Brown the chorizo and remove.

Heat your bone broth/stock and infuse saffron while the water simmers.

Meanwhile, add more oil to your pan if necessary, and cook the capsicum slices for 5-7 minutes, stirring, until tender.

Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the rice and garlic, and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes, until the rice is coated. Add the saffron infused bone broth/stock, tomatoes, green beans, rosemary, salt and pepper, chicken, chorizo (or chickpeas) and stir to combine. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. (If your rice needs a bit more liquid, feel free to add it)

When the fluid is mostly absorbed, stir through the parsley, then stop stirring the pan to allow a “crust” to form on the bottom for a few minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve with fresh lemon wedges and salad.

How to find the positive in your mental health diagnosis

I still very vividly remember when I first realised that I had anxiety. Partly because of the way I realised, but mostly because when I did realise/had it pointed out to me by my gorgeous Mum, it was one of those, “Umm… Duh Miranda!”-moments, and I kind of felt really silly because of course I had anxiety!

At least, that’s the way I felt at the time.

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Rather shoot yourself in the foot than eat another handful of almonds? :: 17 Super Snack Ideas that give you Bang for your Buck!

Often when healthy snacks are suggested, the go-to is a handful of almonds, or some veggie sticks – how friggin boring right? If you still want healthy options for your snacks but want to enjoy them too, I’ve got your back, Jack! There’s a whole world of tasty snacks for you to explore, and they’re incredibly easy to fit into your way of life.

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Pumpernickel toast. Hummus, zucchini, tomato and nut cheese (or ricotta/fetta goes good too)

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