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Lentil & Mushroom Au Gratin

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 ¼ cups red lentils

2 ½ cups water

2 tablespoons shoyu

Salt and pepper

Mushroom filling:

30g margarine

250g flat mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tbsp chopped parsley

¾ cup grated cheddar cheese

 

Method

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, carrot and celery and fry gently for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt the margarine in a frying pan, add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Place half the lentil mixture in an oiled shallow ovenproof dish. Spread the mushrooms over the top, then cover with the remaining lentil mixture. Top with the cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 1900C, for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with salad and crusty bread.

Serves 4

Arancini

An effort, but delicious!

Serves 10 or more

Ingredients

3 ½ cups (875ml) chicken stock

40g butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 ½ cups (300g) arborio rice

½ cup (125ml) dry white wine

1/3 cup (25g) grated parmesan, plus 1 tbsp extra

2 eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

60g button mushrooms, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

200g lean beef mince

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 cup (70g) fresh breadcrumbs

Rice bran oil, to deep fry

Tip: make bolognaise separately

Method

1. Make risotto by heating chicken stock in saucepan, until simmering. Keep hot. Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 mins, stirring until softened. Add rice and stir for 1 min, until translucent. Add wine & stir until evaporated.

2. Add 1 ladle of stock, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Repeat with remaining stock, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly for 15-20mins, until rice is cooked. Remove from heat & stir through parmesan and 1 lightly beaten egg. Season to taste. Spread rice onto a baking tray lined with baking paper to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan on high. Cook mushroom & garlic, stirring for 5 mins. Add mince and cook 5 mins, until brown and moisture evaporates. Stir in parsley, remaining egg and extra parmesan.

4. Divide cooled risotto mixture into 12 portions with wet hands, take 1 portion in your palm and make a small well in the centre. Place 1 tbsp of mince mixture in centre of rice. Fold over rice to enclose mixture and shape into a ball. Repeat with remaining rice portions and mince mixture. Roll balls in breadcrumbs and set aside.

5. Heat rice bran oil in a large saucepan on high until a cube of bread sizzles on contact. Deep fry rice balls in batches for 4 mins, turning, until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.

Easy Potato & Leek Soup

Easy Potato & Leek Soup

Serves 4

4 tbsp butter

2 cloves crushed garlic

2 leeks

4 potatoes (1/2kg)

8 cups chicken stock

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

450mls milk (or soymilk)

Method

  • 1. Clean & chop the leeks.
  • 2. Melt the butter in a pan and add the
  • 3. leeks and garlic. Fry them over a low heat until the leeks are soft, about 10mins, stir frequently.
  • 4. Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes.
  • 5. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan, except the milk.
  • 6. Bring the soup to a boil and then let simmer for 20minutes.
  • 7. Just before serving, pour the milk into the soup and stir well. Serve.

Roast Pumpkin & Potato Soup

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 butternut pumpkin (approx. 1 kg), seeds removed and cut into wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried chillies
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
500g Desiree potatoes
Sea salt and black pepper
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 tablespoon butter
1 brown onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, skin on
1.5 litres of vegetable stock
¼ cup thickened cream (see tip)

 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the pumpkin in a baking dish and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Sprinkle with dried chillies, fennel seeds and salt and pepper. Cut the potato into wedges and also place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with thyme leaves. Bake pumpkin and potato for 35-40 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

2. Heat a large heavy based saucepan, add the remaining olive oil and butter and fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the pumpkin and potato and mash. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 10- 12 minutes.

3. Blend until smooth with a hand held blender or food processor. Return to the pan and reheat if necessary. Stir through the cream and season to taste. Serve with cracked black pepper.

Elaine’s tip: This soup is chunky, delicious and low-fat unblended and without cream (just skip step number 3!).

Barley & Vegetable Soup

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Barley and Vegetable Soup

This nutritious, warming and slightly bitter soup is particularly helpful for promoting fluid and fat metabolism.

Elaine’s tip: If you’re short on time omit the barley, the soup can then simmer for 20 minutes only.

¼ cup barley

2 tablespoons oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, thinly sliced

3 carrots, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 turnip, chopped

1 cup green beans, cut into 2.5cm lengths

bouquet garni

6 cups water or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon shoyu/ soya sauce

salt and pepper

4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Soak the barley in cold water to cover for 1 hour. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry until softened. Add the celery, carrots, garlic and turnip. Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.

Add the soaked barley, green beans, bouquet garni, water/stock, shoyu, and salt & pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender.

Add the tomatoes and parsley and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove the bouquet garni and serve.

Roast Vegetable & Chickpea Soup

Roast vegetable & chickpea soup

Serves 6

2 (500g) eggplant, cut into 2 cm pieces

2 small (500g) organge sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces

4 (500g) zucchini, cut into 2 cm pieces

2 red onions, cut into wedges

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

400g can diced Italian tomatoes

4 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed

¼ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

  • 1. Preheat oven to 230oC. Line 2 large roasting pans with non-stick baking paper. Place eggplant, sweet potato, zucchini and onions in a large bowl. Add oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss vegetables well to coat. Spread vegetables evenly over trays and roast, swapping trays after 30 minutes, for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden and tender. Sprinkle garlic on top for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • 2. Place roast vegetables, tomatoes, stock and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes. Using a potato masher, roughly mash vegetables. Stir in chickpeas. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until warmed through.
  • 3. Remove soup from heat. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
  • Tip: Soup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Cost per serve $2.37

Hormones: Subtle is Powerful

Ever wondered if Mercury in retrograde will affect your week? Well, try seeing how a hormonal fluctuation will affect your whole day! Have you ever tried on your favourite bra for that perfect dress only to discover that your breast size has changed overnight? Ever suffered with premenstrual acne, period pain, excessive facial hair, hot flushes? Have you ever had inexplicable weight gain? Or have you been intensely angry with your partner one day, only to discover in the very next day or two, that it was due to a premenstrual mood swing? We often underestimate the power of our hormones. Even when they’re in balance, they can run or ruin our day, imagine what it’s like when they’re out of balance!

hormone imbalance

Hormones basically act as chemical messengers in our body, transporting a signal from one cell to another. And it is a subtle signal. For example, only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. We have many different types of hormones; estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, adrenaline & cortisol, thyroid hormones and many more. Hormone signals control the internal environment of the body through homeostasis.

Now, homeostasis is a process that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) knows a lot about. TCM Doctors simply call it – balance. TCM, especially acupuncture, is very effective at sending chemical and electrical messages in the body. Subtle and often powerful messages. Just like our bodies hormonal signals, acupuncture has proven to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters in our body such as endorphin and enkephalin2. All of these complex messages can keep us functioning at our optimum. We can utilise acupuncture to help the body self-regulate hormonal balance; Yes, we can do something to ease those troubling symptoms!

balance

Different language is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to describe balance, namely Yin and Yang. But we are essentially talking about the same thing: a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant. TCM has an advantage in addressing hormonal problems as it takes a holistic view. Meaning that it views your body, mind and it’s functions as a whole unit, complete with all it’s complex interactions.

Our body is often well equipped to regulate itself, but sometimes it needs a helping hand. Take menopause for example, most women’s biggest hormonal challenge. Menopausal symptoms can arrive when our estrogen levels naturally decline. Acupuncture can significantly reduce menopausal symptoms, not by replacing lost estrogen, which Western Medicine attempts to do, but by stimulating endorphins to stabilise the body’s temperature controls1.In my clinic, I regularly see women obtain significant rapid relief of menopausal symptoms, without unpleasant side effects.

menopause relief

PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome can also be alleviated by some hormonal fine tuning with TCM. Whether it’s premenstrual mood changes and irritability that ail you or the more physical symptoms of headache, breast tenderness, bloating or fatigue. It is very easy for a qualified Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture practitioner to reduce these symptoms within three months.

Hormonal problems which can contribute to weight, sleep and fertility issues can also be helped with TCM. As can Thyroid Disease and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. These more complex hormonal balance issues can take 3 to 6 months to be balanced by Chinese Medicine and/or Acupuncture. A good practitioner will also teach you ways in which your diet and lifestyle can add or subtract from your hormonal balance.

If your hormones are making you suffer, I strongly suggest you don’t put up with it, seek some help. Give Acupuncture or Chinese Medicine a try! Click here to book.

Written by:

Dr. Elaine Hickman

B.H.Sc. TCM (Acupuncture), Cert.Cl.Ac (Beijing)

Registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Dr Elaine Hickman sitting at clinic desk

References

1. http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/natural+health/acupuncture+for+menopause,11089

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18711761Include blog written content and any URL links to videos

Coconut Chia Pudding

Coconut Chia Pudding

Gluten, sugar and dairy free Coconut Chia Pudding for breakfast yum!

So quick & easy to prepare and super healthy as chia seeds are amongst the most nutritious foods on the planet, loaded with fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. @health.made.me prepared the pudding last night. 

Ingredients: 2 tbs Chia Seeds, 1/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk, 1/4 cup Water, 2 tbs Coconut Yogurt, 1-2 tsp @natvianaturalsweetener Stevia.

Mix together and leave in the fridge over night. Then top with whatever your heart desires! Coconut Yogurt, 1-2 tsp @natvianaturalsweetener Stevia. Mix together and leave in the fridge over night. Then top with whatever your heart desires!

 

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