Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wins of the Week

Ladies and gentlemen, I have for you today, not one, not two, but THREE great new food tries. Some are just new to me, and others are even new to New Zealand!

First up, Smoozes

We saw these at Nosh awhile ago, but they only had Pink Guava on special, and to be frank, it wasn't that tempting. But then we went back, and all of the flavours were on special. Hopefully that's not because no-one liked them, cos I hope these stay in stock! Frozen pineapple juice and coconut milk, they're like a teeny weeny pina colada in squeezy form, and for only 68 calories! Phil loved them too, and I'll even pay full price for them next time.

Next up: Pop Chips!

Having seen these on all the cool kids' food blogs, I just about had a heart attack when I saw them advertised in this month's Healthy Food Guide! Low fat potato based chippie substitute? Yes please! I couldn't see them in my local supermarket, so I found the website and begged them for details of suppliers (and free samples!) Unfortunately, the esteemed manufacturers of pop-chips must not have thought this blog, with its readership of 3, was quite the place to market their new product, and no sweet samples have been forthcoming.

But I did find them. It's hard to beat good old Victoria Park New World for new products, specialty goods and plain ol' variety. Even if I am still mad at you about the plastic bag thing.

The first flavour I tried was Ready Salted Romance, and they're bloody good. Crispy, crunchy and salty. More like Pringles than my favourite Bluebird chippies, but definitely better than the other "healthy" chip products on the market. And lower cal too- 528 kj for the serving.

The Saintly Salt and Vinegar (opened with Phil last night) are good too- they'd would be great with dip (that lovely Country Goodness one), but wouldn't replace bluebird for a chippy and cheese sandwich (oops... and you thought this was a healthy eating blog!). Not quite as awesome as the ready salted, but still a win.

I'm yet to try the Symphony of Sour Cream and Chives- but will let you know!

Lastly, good old mountain bread.

Not new to most people, but new to me. I used it in place of a whole wheat tortilla or a pita in my current go-to lunch (carrot, peanut and raisin salad with spinach and hummus). It wasn't bland, and the texture was lovely. A great weight-loss bread, but I probably need a bit more in my lunches at the moment!

So, there you go. Three great products we've tried recently. I'll try to make this a habit!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What’s the best thing about healthy eating? A ramble

Nutritionista has recently started a good wee series, Profile of a Healthy Eater.

Of course I sent off my submission. And I won't go through that unless it's published. If it's published :), but one of the questions did get me thinking, and I'm going to talk about that.

What’s the best thing about healthy eating?

I answered along the lines of, "the best thing for me about healthy eating is that it has encouraged me to be creative." I didn't even realise as I was writing that I was totally copying Ms Nutritionista herself, because it's Just So True. I don't know why, but trying to focus more on eating healthy, whole food has made me miles more creative with my meals. I've tried new ingredients, new combimnations, new methods.

This has led to (or is the result of) less waste. I'm less concerned about whether things "go", and am getting much better at dumping piles of random veges into salads, stews, sauces and stir fries, and thinking about creative ways to use what I have before buying more.

Anyway, I digress.

The other side effect of eating healthy and the resulting creativity, the one I want to talk about, is the mental satisfaction I get from creating something ("creating" in the sense of "building" rather than "inventing")- and the reason I want to write about it is that it led to a bit of a Eureka moment.

The time is 9-something on Monday night and I've just got home from work, bloody hungry, and struggling through the door with a heavy swimming bag, backpack full of running gear, handbug bulging with empty pottles and extra work, and two bags bursting under the weight of $50 worth of groceries (side note: $50?!! Seriously?!! I don't even eat meat!) I stumble in, cast my eyes around the messy house, think about my tasklist and take a deep, deep breath.

Then I pour myself a wine, whip up a "marinade" (really more of a gloss, or a rub),slice and draine tofu, chop fresh veges, empty the dishwasher, baste and bake tofu, stir fry veges in leftover sauce, make bircher for the morning, and whip up a batch of no-bake pb cookies. Phew!

And then, even though it was nearly 10pm, and my house was still a mess, and I was still looking at a pile of documents the size of my lounge, I felt in control, I felt relaxed, and I felt proud. Both the tofu* and the no-bake cookies were new things, and both worked out brilliantly.

This is probably more a story about me being a neurotic type A control freak than about eating healthy, but the realisation that for me it wasn't just the healthy meal that was worth the extra effort (I know, I know, baked tofu, brown rice and veges is hardly gourmet cuisine, but it's harder than a frozen meal or a grilled cheese!), it was the experience of creating itself. I think that little piece of inconsequential knowledge will help me through the next few months.

*I've eaten tofu plenty, and cooked it before, but I've never quite nailed it, and baking it was new.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Something new

This morning we tried quinoa flakes for breakfast for the first time!

We'd had breakfast quinoa before- red quinoa all cooked up with cinnamon, almonds and blueberries, but I have to say it was only a 6 out of 10 for me. And it takes more than a 6 to make it onto my highly competitive breakfast rotation!

But Phil's a grain nut, so when I saw quinoa flakes nestled among the baking grains, I decided to give them a go. Nothing like super food for the most important meal of the day!

We googled a bit for a how to, and followed the advice from this site. Basically, you cook them up like porridge and add, well, whatever the hang you want.

I put out a selection of toppings, including craisins, raisins, frozen blueberries, banana, zapped apple, cinnamon, AB, agave and raw almonds and we went nuts. I opted for apple, blueberry, cinnamon and AB (and agave) and Phil substituted almonds for the AB (word of advice- I won that battle).

It took a couple of mouthfuls to get used to the fact that it wasn't porridge, but once I got over that hurdle, it was bloody nice! Am tempted to try it with my other favourite porridge combos, like banana/walnut, date and AB, and pear and blueberry.

I'll also be on the lookout for ways to add the flakes to baking, and maybe to some homemade muesli (granola or bircher).

All in all- new food WIN!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jumping on a yummy bandwagon!

I finally jumped on the breakfast cookie bandwagon. Thank you fitnessista!

Here is my ugly but yummy first try:

It's pretty simple. OK, boring! Oats (I added extra as I ran twice yday), AB (mmm), milk, cinnamon, agave and craisins. Next time I think I'll add something with a bit of crunch, but I don't want to add more nuts with all that AB! What else goes crunch? Might also add some coconut.

Anyway, all in all I enjoyed my cookie. I don't think it'll ever really compete with my delicious bircher and porridge, but it will definitely feature in the rotation from time to time!