Eat: Watermelon Salad

Summer is officially over in NZ.  We’re in Autumn now, but the watermelons are still available at the markets and grocery stores.

I’m big into eating as much fruit as I can throughout the summer and I’m also big on eating light, fresh, filling meals.

So I made a watermelon salad and wanted to share.

Watermelon Salad

Watermelon Salad

Anyway its super simple to make and is ready in under 15 minutes, depending on how quick

you are in the kitchen I guess.

Watermelon Salad

  • 1 watermelon cut up into bite size cubes
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled I like the crumbly greek style kind but choose your favourite. Also add more or less cheese dependent upon your tastes or preferences
  • 1 bag baby spinach (or any mix of greens you prefer)
  • 1 small to medium red onion, cut in half and super skinny
  • 1 bunch of mint, now you can choose to leave it as full leaves or slice them into threads
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • and a glug of olive oil, or any oil you prefer

Toss it all together and this is what you get, a delicious, easy, yummy, summer salad, that you even enjoy on those warm autumn nights.

If when you chop up the watermelon, you feel like you have too much for salad, here are my ideas on what to do with the extra.

  1. eat the extra as a sweet snack
  2. put the excess in a blender, it’ll turn into watermelon juice and drink up.
  3. or if you’re not into having a fresh glass of juice, then put them into popsicle moulds and freeze for a treat.
  4. freeze the cubes to add to a smoothie
Another picture of our salad

Another picture of our salad

how do you eat?

check out the zig zag

check out the zig zag

My call is to eat well most of the time and treat myself sometimes and enjoy it all. Pretty much that means try to make the right choice most of the time, and on occassion where I eat the cupcake, I don’t suffer the guilt from it.

Apparently the way I eat can be described as a zig zag. I didn’t know it was what I was doing, but then I read about it from Dr. Libby Weaver, and I’ll let her explain it. Here’s what Dr. Libby has to say about it:

“The concept of ‘zig vs zag’ is a helpful one as the weekend approaches.

A ‘zig’ meal is made up of nutrient-dense foods, real foods and no alcohol. While for a ‘zag’ meal, little if any consideration is given to the nutrient value of what you are eating. It is more about the company you are in, being playful and relaxing. Zags are part of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Usually I would guide someone to zag once a week, or 3 to 5 out of their 35 eating occasions in a week.

If you know you are going to your office party, that doesn’t mean the whole day is a right off, yet so many people approach their life or health in this way! Having the office party in the evening is even more reason to eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch, following up with nutrient-dense food choices the next day. You enjoy the zag but when you live mostly as a zig, the zag takes very little toll on your overall level of well-being.”

3 to 5 out of 35 eating occasions in a week. I had never really thought about how many times I would eat in a week. But this really helped break it down for me and made it so much more realistic to eat well and made me feel better, because it confirmed to me that I was eating well.

When I’m in charge of my own meals, I do my best to eat right. However, when I’m out with friends, visiting family or even when I’m at work, I’m more flexible and indulge (my favourite indulgence while I’m at work, is a cookie from moustache. These cookies are seriously addictive, but at the same time I can only eat like 1 every a month, it’s just too rich in flavor for me)

Cookbooks

Cookbooks I’m drawing inspiration from reguarly or cooking straight out of.

It’s all good check it out here

While this book has been skewered, I really don’t get why. Overall it promotes a whole food diet. Less with the packaged trash and more with whole foods that we all know is the best way to eat. No book is perfect, and yes this books makes me roll my eyes and giggle a bit, but that’s happening at the non recipe stuff. The recipes though, you can’t really fault them. I’ve tried a handful, stir fried brow rice with nori and black sesame, red smoothie, all three beet salad suggestions, black and guacamole tacos, plus some others and I keep coming up with winners. My favourite part though, is her basic recipes section.  She has amazing recipes to make your own pickled jalapenos, Lee’s Sriracha, roasted tomato and chipotle salsa

The real food chef check it out here

Dr. Libby Weaver is all kinds of awesome. I was lucky enough for this book to be given to me as a gift, and it really just keeps on giving. Again, I’ve tried a handful of recipes brain balls, roasted vegetable frittata muffins, banana, berry, coconut smoothie, nut butter muffins, chocolate seed balls, pad thai chicken (and a tofu version), and I just adore the dressings and condiment section. The recipes have yet to fail me. Dr. Libby has a new book that has recently come out, The Real Food Kitchen, and I’m number one on the wait list for the book at the library, and I’m super excited to borrow it!

The spunky coconut dairy-free ice cream – check it out here

The top most review of this book on good reads wrote something to the effect that she preferred the book, Vegan a la mode. It’s funny because I borrowed that book and this book from the library at the same time. I returned Vegan a la mode without any interest in any of the recipes, however during my loan period from the library, I went ahead and ordered the Spunky book for myself. It was exactly what I was after. I absolutely love the book. I had bought an ice cream maker and it had sat in the house for at least a month without any use. As soon as I read this book, I was completely inspired and before too long, I was whipping up my own ice cream. I’ve had the ice cream maker packed away for winter, however, it’s coming out next weekend! Hurrah!

Cornucopia – check it out here

I don’t know why exactly, but this is a cookbook that I usually break out in winter and usually on a Sunday.  It’s a wonderful book, choc full of recipes that always fill me up, in that way you want a winter meal to fill you.  I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but you should have a read.

Make: Pasta with creamy Avocado sauce

IMG_1730In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not really a photographer, I’ll just keep practicing and hopefully I’ll get better.

I don’t normally eat pasta, but my husband loves it so we’ve compromised and pasta appears on the menu maybe twice a month, and the second compromise for us has been that at least once, he’d like it not to be whole wheat.  So here it is.  The compromise dinner, pasta and its not even wholewheat.

What makes this pasta so frickin’ awesome is the sauce.  It’s a non-cream based creamy sauce, that even my husband can dig.  

Fettuccine with avocado cream sauce

Fettuccine, enough for two people in our case

Spinach,  a big bunch
Sundried tomatoes cut into strips
Optional toasted pine nuts or roasted unsalted cashews. I also am known to throw in some courgettes or brocolli too, really I just add whatever I like. If the husband were to make it for just himself, I have a feeling that he’d add some roast chicken.
Sauce:
1 avocado
a handful of mixed fresh herbs, you can use whatever you like, I chose mint and basil
2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1/4 of a lemon, or more depending on your personal taste
1 large clove of garlic or more if you like or less 
salt and pepper to taste
Oil – choose your favourite kind, I like a mild flavoured oil with this dish, so I use rice bran oil
optional – sometimes I add about 1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes 
 
Sautee your spinach, set aside. 
 
For the sauce, chuck all the ingredients, except the oil, into your food processor, and turn it on.  Add the oil slowly through the spout. Again, you probably will need to scrape down the sides, and keep tasting the sauce, to see if you like the flavour.  Set it aside once you reach your desired consistency.  
 
Boil your pasta. Once its done, strain it and add your spinach, sundried tomatoes (and anything else you opted to add) and sauce.  Give it a good toss and serve.
 
Top with fresh grated parmesan if you like and cracked pepper.  

 We’ve made this a few times, and the only advice I can give you is: this is a dish best eaten fresh. I wouldn’t suggest it for leftovers. 

Remember this recipe makes enough sauce for two people, so if you want to make it for more people, make sure you make a bigger batch.

Dig in and enjoy.

Make: Chocolate pudding

super simple chocolate pudding

super simple chocolate pudding

So this is one of my favourite recipes. It’s super simple to make and incredibly fast. Best part about it, its delicious and you don’t feel guilty enjoying it – because it’s free of all that junk that is bad for you.

So you’re going to need your blender for this one. You could do it in a food processor, but I don’t know if the pudding will have that silky smooth finish. Well at least my food processor isn’t powerful enough.

Chocolate Pudding

Fresh coconut meat from 2 coconuts

1.5 to 2.5 tablespoons of cocoa (I used dutch processed)

1/4 cup of cashews

2-4 tablespoons of honey

water or milk (I used almond milk)

You can change the flavour of your chocolate pudding by adding some cinnamon, chilli powder, powdered ginger or lavender to it. I would start with about 1/4 teaspoon of any of the options and gradually add more to suit your taste.

I started by putting 1/3 a cup of almond milk into the blender with all of the ingredients. Turn on your blender and let her spin. You’ll notice if the blender is doing its thing or not. If it isn’t, it’s time to add more milk. In the end I think I ended up with nearly 1 cup of almond milk and I had to add more cocoa and honey (that’s why I’ve suggested a range of measurements for them).

You want to blend it until it’s silky smooth. You may need to stop the blender a few times and scrape down the sides. It should be like a consistency of a thick smoothie. You can eat right then or put it into the fridge to set.

Optional toppings for your pudding, if you feel inclined; any berry (we had strawberries with ours), crushed peanuts, shredded coconut, sliced bananas, kiwi fruit, pretty much whatever you love to have with chocolate. My husband’s suggestion is a drizzle of maple syrup. Of course you could just have simply as is, it’s pretty delicious on its own.

If you try it, let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Make: Basil Pesto, I made my own, you can too

just some basil pesto i whipped up

Picture of the basil pesto I whipped up, I didn’t have any fancy bowls, so I just chucked it in plastic container. All class all the way.

I’m sort of, maybe addicted to all sorts of dips and spreads.  I think its totally acceptable to eat a dip as a meal.  So it was only a matter of time before I tried to make my own basil pesto.  After I made it, I realised that I should have made it sooner, for the following reasons:

1. It’s super easy to make and takes likes then 5 minutes.

2. It’s so satisfying making it yourself.

There are so many recipes out there, but if you stumbled across mine, hurrah!

Good old fashion pesto – your own way

3-4 cups of fresh basil – if for some reason you can’t get your hands on that much basil (or any), add some spinach or coriander or parsley or mint, a mixed herb spread would be delicious.

1/2 cup nuts, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, why not try any other nut, if it’s your favourite

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped, more or less if you like

some sea salt

1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice, but really just do it, to your taste

1/3 cup of oil, your choice, i like a good olive oil and again add more or less depending on the texture you’re going for

Decide what kind of texture you want your pesto to be, it’ll be in your food processor so, shorter time means a grainier pesto, longer means a pureed pesto.  You choose.

Roast your nuts on the stove in a pan, it makes them taste nicer, but if you’re feeling lazy, then skip this step.

Chuck your (roasted) nuts, basil and garlic in a food processor. crack some salt on it. Turn it on and slowly add your oil. Add your lemon juice, give it a whirl in your food processor again, and your done.

I checked on mine a few times, to scrape down the sides and taste it.  Add more of anything that suits your taste buds.

If you don’t know how to enjoy pesto, here are a few ideas:

  • spread it on a sandwich or filled roll
  • stir it through pasta or roast veggies or a salad
  • spread it on crackers and top with cheese or tomatoes
  • use it as a sauce base for a pizza
  • and my fave is to make a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto

It’s the start of summer here in the southern hemisphere and I was lucky enough to buy some fresh basil at the farmer’s market. Stoked I tried to make my own, I’ll definitely do it again.