Vegan Pumpkin Soup

Warms the soul as well as the belly!

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • 200g butternut pumpkin
  • 4 large carrots
  • 125g can coconut cream
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • Chives to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C and roast the pumpkin and carrots until soft and golden. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Place the roasted pumpkin and carrot, sage, rosemary, stock and coconut cream in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Alternatively, place the mixture in a large bowl or saucepan and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
  3. Serve hot with chives on top.

Pie Maker Savoury Muffins

After a recent baking spree for night shift, I can now truly appreciate why people are going nuts over these pie makers!

You’d be surprised at what people can create in such a short space of time with one of these (a real bargain considering they’re only $29 from Kmart). For some epic recipe ideas, definitely look up the Australian Kmart pie maker recipe group on Facebook!

As part of my experimentation, I made an old recipe of mine, a cross between a muffin and a frittata – a fruffin if you will (because mufftata sounds a bit risky).

I made two different flavours of these by changing the spice, otherwise the base recipe is the same!


 

Ingredients (makes 12)

Method

  1. Turn on the pie maker.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add the milk, flour, yogurt and spice mix and stir well to combine.
  3. Place spinach leaves at the base of the pie mould, then pour 1/8th cup of filling mixture on top. Place a small piece of cheese, then add another dollop of filling mixture to cover.
  4. Cook in the pie maker until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). These will cook more evenly the more full the mould is.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge if they don’t all get eaten!

Spiced Protein Porridge

Hooray! The weather is FINALLY cool enough for the first protein porridge of the season!

Ingredients (serves 1-2)

  • 3/4 cup rice flakes or oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp vanilla pea protein
  • 1/2 tsp chai spice (or cinnamon / cardamom)
  • Banana and almond butter for serving

Method

  1. Mix the rice flakes, milk, protein, flaxseed and spice together in a bowl.
  2. Microwave on high for 2.5 minutes.
  3. Serve topped with banana and almond butter. Easy!

Breakfast berry oat protein bars

A mouthful to say and a mouthful to eat! Another delicious creation on my never ending quest to keep my scrub pockets full of snacks….

Ingredients (makes 8)

  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup vanilla pea protein (I use Botanika Blends)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 and 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoon liquid coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Method

    Preheat the oven to 200*C. Line a slice tray with baking paper.
    Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.
    Add the wet ingredients and stir well.
    Add the frozen berries and mix through.
    Spoon and flatten the mixture into the slice tin, bake until set (about 30-40 minutes) and allow to cool before slicing into 8 pieces. Store wrapped in baking paper in the freezer or in an air tight container in the fridge.

Lemon Coconut Blueberry Protein Mini Muffins

The secret to these super moreish, dairy free, gluten friendly mini-muffins is the use of lemon infused olive oil instead of butter / coconut oil, which adds an amazing tang to the mix!

Ingredients (makes 24) 

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup vanilla pea protein (I used vanilla pea pro by Protein Supplies Australia)
  • 2 tbsp lemon infused olive oil
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a 24 cup mini muffin tray with cases.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Spoon ~ 1.5 tbsp mixture into each case and bake until firm (approximately 30-40 minutes). Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Granola-Crusted Salmon

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but trust me, it works! The trick is to use a granola that’s nut-based and doesn’t contain added refined sugars.

Ingredients (serves 2) 

  • 2 salmon fillets, skin off
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 1 bunch asparagus (I prefer raw, but it can also be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute just prior to serving)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Chop the sweet potato into rough chunks and place on a lined baking tray. Bake until soft (20 minutes).
  2. On another lined baking tray, place the salmon and bake for 10 minutes. Crust the granola in a small bowl, and while still hot, place the salmon skin side down into the granola and press firmly to stick. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, and allow to rest before serving.
  3. Serve the salmon with potato, spinach and asparagus.

Roast Pumpkin and Eggplant Bake

This is one of my favourite meal-prep dishes ever, and I have been known to exist off it when I’m on a week of night shift. This is vegetarian soul-food at it’s finest – packed full of veggies and unbelievably tasty, plus easily adaptable to suit the vegans, dairy-free and coeliacs among us!

Ingredients (serves 4) 

  • 250g kent pumpkin
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes
  • 4 fresh basil leaves or 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 clove of garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup salt-reduced stock (use either veggie or chicken  – use a gluten free stock to make this coeliac friendly!)
  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 2 large carrots
  • 150g bag of baby spinach leaves (can also substitute for green kale)
  • shredded mozzarella for sprinkling on top (portion dependent on how cheesy you like it, can be substituted for dairy-free cheese instead) 

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C. Slice the pumpkin into 1cm thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake until just soft (about 20 minutes – continue the rest of the recipe in the meantime!).
  2. Prepare the sauce: Place the tomatoes, stock, garlic and herbs into a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. If you like your sauce thicker, you can also add 1 tbsp tomato paste or substitute the tinned tomatoes for passata instead. 
  3. Prepare the rest of the veggies: Slice the eggplant width ways into discs. Dice or slice the capsicum into small strips. Also slice the carrots length ways into small discs.
  4. In an oven-proof baking dish, start by laying down a layer of eggplant slices. Top with the spinach leaves, then a layer of pumpkin, followed by the capsicum and carrots, then half the sauce and a small sprinkle of cheese. Repeat the process with another layer of eggplant, then spinach, pumpkin, capsicum and carrot, with the rest of the sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled with cheese to your liking.
  5. Bake until the eggplant is soft and the cheese on top is golden brown (about 20-30 minutes). Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Note that even when it has been cooked, the eggplant skin can be a little tough to slice, so go slowly with a big knife! Also feel free to experiment with different types of cheese – I have used combinations of Jarlsberg, Edam, feta, mozzarella, ricotta, goats cheese and provolone with great success! 

Breakfast On The Go

This is a follow on from my ‘Sexy Salads’ and ‘Meal Prep for Professionals’ pieces, as I am out to prove that if a sleep-deprived and ridiculously busy doctor can make the time to organise her food, then there’s nothing holding you back too!

My colleagues at work have both teased and praised me for my breakfast choices at work. I tend to arrive hurriedly at 7 am, still in my gym clothes, madly eating a jar of breakfast while attempting to change into my scrubs and make my hair and makeup presentable. Yes I did say a jar of breakfast.

The breakfast parfait / layered breakfast jar is one of the ultimate nutritious breakfasts on the go, and surprisingly easy to make. Some of the most beautiful breakfast jars on social media have to be seen to be believed, but us mere mortals don’t often have the time for that. But if you’re keen to start the day on the wholesome foot, here are a few ideas to get you started!

Overnight Oats 

Essentially the cream-less version of Bircher Muesli. Place 1/4 cup of oats in the jar and mix with a yogurt of your choice (stick to the plain ones with less sugar, I like the plain fat reduced Chobani or Paul’s natural style yogurt) and add a scoop of your favourite protein powder if you’re that way inclined. You can also kick start the metabolism with a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric or ginger, or really mix things up with some matcha powder or grated carrot / zucchini (don’t knock it until you try it!). Then top with fruit (frozen berries work well here but also try banana, mango or stonefruit) and your favourite granola or nuts. These don’t have to be left in the fridge overnight but they thicken when they do. You can easily make a stash of them a few days in advance and enjoy a run of less-stressful morning rushes to work!


Chia Pudding

Similar to overnight oats in terms of the process, however it does require the added step of being mixed with a fork. Soak 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a milk of your choice (I find the nut and soy milks work better here for some reason) and mix well with a fork. Let it sit for five minutes and stir with a fork again and you’ll notice that the seeds develop a gelatinous coating and stick together as pudding. Allow to rest for another five minutes before topping with fruit, granola, nuts and / or yogurt, and let it sit overnight in the fridge for the ultimate thick consistency.

Want a decadent breakfast without the calories and guilt? Try 1/4 cup of chia seeds mixed with 1/2 cup of almond milk and 1 tablespoon cacao. Top with coconut yogurt, cacao nibs and a dollop of your favourite natural peanut butter – absolute bliss!

Baked Eggs

A less fancy but no less tasty variation on Eggs en concotte or Shakshuka. Pre-heat the oven to 180*C or so. For a single serve, take a large oven proof jar or ramekin and spray with olive oil. Line the base with spinach, kale or silverbeet, then add whatever tidbits take your fancy (like leftover roasted vegetables, fetta cheese, haloumi, sundried tomatoes, capsicum, mushrooms etc). Then crack two large free-range eggs over the top (don’t scramble!) and season with salt, pepper, dukkha / dried herbs / a sprinkle of cheese, then bake until the whites are firm. These can be made en-masse and kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days ahead, or can even be frozen. Just reheat when ready to eat, although many combinations actually taste good cold too!


Vegetable slice alternative: Preheat the oven to 200*C and line a small brownie tray with baking paper. In a bowl mix 6 eggs, 1/2 cup of plain flour of your choice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tsp baking powder and then throw in 1 cup of whatever finely chopped vegetables you like – chopped spinach, rocket, tomatoes, mushroom, roast potato / pumpkin, steamed broccoli, grated carrot, zucchini etc. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese and seasoning, then bake until just set (10-12 minutes). The result is 4 servings of a portable, delicious, fluffy, quiche-like slice!


Smoothie Jars 

As long as you use an airtight jar, these can be made the day before for the ultimate portable liquid breakfast (and you usually get two servings out of each). Try blending 1 cup of nut milk, 1 cup of spinach, 1/2 cup of frozen berries and a 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to increase your daily intake of leafy greens. Need refuelling after your morning workout? Try blending 1/2 cup of milk, 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, a scoop of protein powder, 1/4 cup of oats and 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter. Skip the banana bread and instead use 1 cup of almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 banana, 1/4 cup of oats, and 1/2 tsp each of cinnamom, cardamom and ginger. It’s pretty hard to stuff these up nutritionally, just use fruit instead of sweeteners and limit the amount that goes in. Also stick to blending rather than juicing as this tends to extract the flavour and sugar from the fruit / vegetables without retaining the amazing fibre that helps to keep you full (and your bowels regular!).