Tag Archives: Summer

Creamy Courgetti with Peas

Creamy Courgetti with Peas

 

Ingredients:

6 Courgette / Zucchini (medium)

1 Cup of Frozen Peas

1/4 + 1 tbsp Creme Fraiche

3 Cloves of garlic

2 tbsp butter (grass fed)

Spices: 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp parsley flakes, 8-10 cracks of black pepper

Courgette

Method:

Prep all ingredients before cooking because the cooking goes so quickly, if you’re not prepared, time will get away from you

Prep:

– Spiralize courgette, squeeze water from courgette so they aren’t too wet, salt courgette, add boiling water to frozen peas to defrost, cut lemon in half, measure out creme fraiche 

  1. Melt 1.5 tbsp of butter, saving the remaining half tbsp for later, on med-low heat for 30 seconds, then add minced garlic. Cook for 30-40 seconds. You want the garlic to start to color a bit, but not to burn
  2. Take pan off the fire and add spiralized courgette and lemon juice. Mix really well then add back to the fire. Cook for 5 minutes on medium-low head, stirring occasionally
  3. Add remaining butter, creme fraiche, peas and spices
  4. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes for crunchier Courgetti and 5-7 minutes for al dente ‘noodles’. I prefer a crunchier texture, but Dad prefers more al dente. It’s 100% preference.
  5. Voila!

Courgetti in Pan

I made this light, super easy dish to accompany the sea bass I was cooking. While the sea bass was baking in the oven, I made this courgetti. If you’re organized, it takes less than 30 minutes.

So much can be done with this simple dish! It can be eaten alone, as a lovely, creamy vegetarian dish; you can have it with a light, white fish or you can chuck in some bacon for a gluten-free, ‘pasta’ Carbonara. If you’re opting for the vegetarian version, the peas add a good source of protein, but also an easily digestible, gluten-free, slow releasing starchy carbohydrate, which is great for blood sugar balancing. The Courgetti ‘pasta’ is made using a fresh, green vegetable – this adds vitamins, antioxidants, natural fibre and an all-around healthy nutrient profile to what also feels like an indulgent dish. It’s great for kids, to boost their veggie intake; great for mums looking for a lighter meal to maybe shift the pregnancy weight, and great for dads who might get home late and want to avoid a heavy pasta dish. Winner!

The magic of this dish is the garlic, butter and lemon combination. The lemon lightens up the richness of the butter and cream, adding a kiss of citrusy tang. And no good Italian dish is complete without garlic!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does. It’s all the pleasure of a pasta dish without the heavy, bloated feeling of a pasta dish. Bellissimo!

 

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Cauliflower Rice

Cauli Rice

 

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower

2 carrots

Butter

Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Cut the cauliflower in half or quarters if you want to make it easier and remove the core stem. Each floret is attached to the core by its own little stem. Cut away as much of the little stem as possible, eating them as you go, and aim to only have the small florets remaining. Wash.
  2. Peel and dice the carrot
  3. Add to the steamer and steam for 10 minutes, or until soft enough to mash with a fork.
  4. Transfer into a bowl and quickly pat down with a cloth to remove water. With a large fork, mash the florets, which should be very easy.
  5. Add salt, pepper and grass fed butter (or ghee) to taste
  6. Voila!

Cauli Rice 1

 

Why cauliflower rice? Why not! I’m always preparing food with a gravy, or a stew that needs pouring over a base, and I find cauliflower rice is a nice alternative to white rice and quinoa – the two grains that I’m constantly recycling in my kitchen.  Cauliflower rice is a lovely, light substitte to grains in the summertime and it’s also a great way to get more vegetables into your little one’s tummy. It’s a inoffensive vegetable, barely containing a flavor, but packed with a nutritious punch, so utilizing this vegetable in diverse ways makes a lot of sense to me. I find white rice has a hint of sweetness to it when cooked, so as an attempt to replicate that natural sweetness, I add the carrot to my cauliflower rice.

Enjoy!

Example of my Better Than Southern Fried Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

Cauli Rice and BTSFC

 

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Ashy Family Tabbouleh Salad

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Ingredients

3 cup cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)

1.5 – 2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 tomato

4 green onions

3 sprigs of mint (15-20 leaves)

1 1/2 lemons

2 tbs olive oil

1/4 tsp sea salt

3 pinches of cayenne pepper

Equipment

Mortar and Pestle aka “Knocker” (wooden preferably)

Large salad bowl

* double all ingredients for a larger batch

Method

  1. Cook and cool the quinoa. Once quinoa is cooled, add to large salad bowl. You can either cook the quinoa the night before, or you can cook it and cool it in the fridge while preparing the other ingredients
  2. Wash parsley, onions, tomatoes and mint
  3. Start chopping vegetables. I start with the parsley – cut stems off as close to the leaf as possible. Do this in handful sizes. Bunch the parsley up and chop finely. It usually requires a horizontal and vertical chop to get it to a fine consistency. You can use flat or curly parsley; curly parsley is quicker and easier. Once chopped, chuck into your quinoa in a large salad bowl *see note below
  4. Chop onions (white and green) and tomatoes quite finely and add to quinoa
  5. Remove mint leaves from stem and chop. Add to the knocker with pinch of coarse salt. Knock and mash the mint with considerable pressure until you get a paste consistency. The coarse salt helps to grind the mint down into a paste. This usually takes 60 seconds of firm knocking and mixing
  6. Squeeze juice from lemons and add to the mint paste along with salt, pepper and olive oil Mix together well then pour over quinoa. Mix well
  7. Serve chilled in lettuce wraps
  8. Voila!

Example of how finely to chop tomatoes, onions and parsley

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Growing up in a Lebanese family, in south Louisiana, is quite a unique experience. My great-grandparents left their country in the early 1900’s and migrated to the southern parts of America. They chose the south because they were Christian, and they were French speaking. South Louisiana offered a home to both of those attributes. We southern Lebanese descendants now proudly refer to ourselves as Leba-Cajuns because of the rich cultural experience we received growing up in Acadiana Parish. Cooking, eating and drinking shaped our existence.

My mother’s father was Lebanese and her mother was French, so my mom grew up with a predominately Cajun-Creole cuisine. When my mom married into the Ashy family, she was taught through the generations the recipes of the Old Country. My mom was a great student and an even better teacher. I’m so grateful to my mom for teaching us that nothing tastes quite as good as food prepared in your own kitchen.

Traditionally, Tabbouleh is made with number 2 medium grind bulgur wheat. My ancestors might not approve, but I substitute bulgar wheat with quinoa. Quinoa much improves the nutritional value of the dish, and I actually prefer the taste. Quinoa is one of the few plant foods containing all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, which makes this version of Tabbouleh a well balanced vegetarian salad providing essential fat, protein and carbohydrates.

I make Tabbouleh at least once a fortnight. The girls taste it & Number 1 likes it more & more. Number 2 still struggles to chew leaves, especially parsley, but she will get there. And so, the Lebanese tradition continues to be passed down through generations – with food this tasty and healthy, how could it not!

Additional Notes

Chopping parsley is the most time consuming part of the preparation. It’s worth taking the time to hand chop, so maybe plan to make this salad on a weekend. However, being a realist as well as a busy mom, I have many times chucked the parsley in a food processor and whizzed it up in seconds. If you do this, make sure not to over process; otherwise, you will end up with soggy parsley.

Enjoy!

  

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Salmon and Quinoa Fishcakes

FIishcakes

 

Ingredients

220g wild salmon fillets skinless

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 egg

1 tsp chopped onion

1/2 juice of fresh lime

Spices:  1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 pinches garlic granules, black pepper

Ghee for frying or your oil of preference (see note below)

Method

  1. Chop raw salmon into cubes and add to food processor. I use a small hand processor
  2. Add egg, onions, lime, ginger, salt, pepper – blend
  3. Transfer mixture into a bowl and add the cooked quinoa. Mix well
  4. Heat preferred fat for frying while you shape the patties – I use ghee and a lot of it because it soaks into the patties and keeps them moist.
  5. Shape patties and line up before adding to the pan. Make large patties for adults and small 1″ patties for toddlers. I usually make three large patties and six small patties from this mixture
  6. Slow fry the patties for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with fresh lime wedges and preferred dipping sauce. I use Greek Yogurt with a sprinkle of salt and garlic granules
  7. Voila

Fishcakes_1

Baking salmon is by far the easiest way for busy moms to get good quality protein and essential  fats into their little ones, but a close second is dishing up a fishcake.  Essential fats like oily fish, avocado, grass fed butter, coconut oil, nuts & seeds should be integrated into a babies diet in the early stages of weaning.  Fatty acids from breastmilk is variable, depending on the mothers diet, and maternal fatty acid stores begin to deplete after 6 months of lactation.  However, fats are essential for a babies growth and brain development and are a key nutrient from 6-24 months.

Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but it’s actually a seed.  It’s quite unique in its make up, serving as a complete protein containing all essential amino acids and also serving as a starchy carbohydrate.  It offers the variety that a grain would offer, without the irritation that wheat and/or gluten containing foods typically cause during digestion.  We are a wheat free/gluten free family, so quinoa is a great substitute to the normal starchy carbohydrates that are common in my cooking like sweet potato, white rice, potato, squash etc.  I like quinoa, and I use it for certain dishes, but I don’t find it particularly satiating, so typically I will opt for other more nutrient dense proteins and/or carbohydrates, but for fishcakes – it’s perfect!  Quinoa takes 10 minutes to cook – it’s as easy as boiling a kettle.  You can prepare it the night before, and keep the leftovers in the fridge for this recipe.

As a quick and easy side, steam broccoli and beans and serve with a dollop of butter and pinch of salt.

Additional Note

Ghee is clarified butter, meaning the sugars (lactose) and protein (casein) from butter have been removed leaving only the healthy fats.  Being that ghee does not contain lactose or casein, it’s usually tolerated by people who are dairy intolerant.  It’s a wonderful addition to your cupboard for it’s health promoting benefits, but also for its high smoke point, making it preferable to other oils commonly used for frying.

Enjoy!

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Watermelon Daiquiri

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Ingredients

2 cups watermelon

6 strawberries

1/4 cucumber

1/2 cup cold water

4 ice cubes

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients into the blender or NutriBullet & blend
  2. Voila!

This is the perfect summer blend – sweet and refreshing.  Virgin for the little ones, spiked for the big ones – everyone wins!  Double the ingredients and make a pitcher to take to picnics, BBQs, or just for late nights in the garden. It rivals Pimms and beats serving the little ones juice boxes.

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Additional Notes

The cucumber, which is in my opinion the key to this concoction, might be a toddler deterrent. My girls love it, but they eat cucumber like it’s candy.  If you think it won’t fly with your little ones, add a half cup more watermelon and two more strawberries.

Enjoy!

 

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Watermelon Cubes

Watermelon cubes

 

Ingredients

2 cups watermelon

1/4 cup water

(straws cut into 2″ sticks & an ice tray)

Method

  1. Add watermelon and water to blender or Nutribullet and blend
  2. Pour the liquid into ice tray and add a straw to each cube
  3. Freeze until solid – serve

Let’s not forget, babies and toddlers are excited by simple things.  When it comes to approving a new food, our little ones are using more than their sense of taste. Kids will also employ sight and smell to conclude whether or not they like a food, so something simple like watermelon cubes: pink, cold, fun, sweet and a stick attached – can it go wrong?! Not in my house…

It’s worth remembering that little ones have twice as many tastebuds than adults, so the sweet flavor of foods will strike them much more intensely. This is why it’s so important to withhold processed sugar as long as possible because once their tastebuds become aquatinted with that chemical sweetness, they are going to have an expectation of what sweetness tastes like.  Stick with natures candy – fruit!

You can infuse your water with these watermelon cubes.  It’ll keep your water cooler for longer, add electrolytes for hydration and give your water a nice sweet summertime flavor. Also, these are great to use as a reward for potty training – my mom friend tried it on her daughter, and they had great success.

Enjoy!

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Summertime Seabass

Seabass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients 

6 seabass fillets with skin (100g portions)

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

1 lemon

1/4 cup of pine nuts

10-12 kalamata olives

Ghee

Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, 180C, gas mark 4
  2. Add 1 tbs of ghee to baking dish and melt in the oven
  3. While the ghee is melting, slice the onions thinly and garlic thickly
  4. Add onions and garlic to dish with melted ghee, you can add a little more on top of the onions if you like – this will enhance the flavor of the fish. Cook in oven until the onions are soft. Approximately 10 minutes
  5. While onions are cooking, slice lemon, olives and season the fish with salt and pepper
  6. Layer sliced lemons on the cooked onions, sprinkle pine nuts and olives. Add the seabass skin up. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until done
  7. Remove from the oven once cooked and serve. I usually serve with a side of cauliflower ‘rice’ or with stir fry spinach and roasted potatoes. Cauliflower ‘rice’ recipe coming soon. 

Sea bass is SO easy to prepare and a wonderfully light meal to digest during the hot summer days and nights. I often pop this in the oven while the girls are running around outside, burning off the last bit of their post nap snack. Sea bass is not a strong flavored fish, so more often than not it gets toddler approval. The pine nuts, in my opinion add so much to this simple dish. The sweet and buttery pine nut is an important essential fat and an antioxidant, so it packs a punch considering it’s tiny size.  I add a scoop of the cooked pine nuts to the cauliflower ‘rice’ and the girls eat it up with a side of their fish.

Enjoy!

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