Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vegetarian Meatballs - & my trip to the Healthy Chef cafe in Avalon

One of my favourite websites (which has been, ever since i stumbled across it) is the stone soup

I love how simple her meals are, with minimal ingredients and effort required, and that they are healthy, fresh, and delicious, and that you can cook for one or two, or even in big batches to freeze.

This recipe really appealed to me because it's a 'mock' version of meatballs, and id love to be able to feed these to my friends and have them be surprised at how nice it is, even if it contains no meat! It impressed two of my friends, Stella (this is also great for people who are gluten intolerant since it uses almond meal) and also my friend Da binh, who has been a vegetarian all her life. Big bear said it was okay, just missing that 'meaty' taste, he said it 'wasnt too bad'. So for meat eaters, this might not be for you, but definitely if you are trying to eat healthy, i definitely reccomend giving this recipe a go, its so quick and easy - and cooked really well in my convection oven (25 minutes) as i like the balls to be crisp on top :)

before i put it in the oven

lentil balls with tomato sauce recipe
(recipe from here)
takes 5 mins prep + 20 mins cooking
serves 2

i doubled this recipe, and made 9 large balls, froze a few and kept a few for lunch at work

1 can lentils (400g/14oz), drained
75g (3oz) almond meal
1 egg
1 jar tomato passata (tomato puree) (700g/24oz)
parmesan cheese, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F).

2. Roughly mash lentils in a large bowl with a fork, then add almond meal and the egg. Mix and season.

3. Place tomato passata in the base of a large oven proof dish. Using a soup spoon, form the lentil mixture into small balls. Placing them in the sauce as you go.

4. Drizzle very generously with extra virgin olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes or until balls are firm and the sauce has reduced a little.

I also sprinkled in some chilli flakes & dried basil to give it a bit more flavour.

after it came out of the oven

As well as trying out healthy cooking at home, i always try to order the healthy options when i go out to eat (sometimes im naughty though! but it's healthy to cheat once in a while, it keeps you fromc raving the bad stuff all the time, allows you to stay sane)

A little while back, Stella, my good friend, drove us out to Avalon beaches for yoga, a beach run, and then lunch at 'the healthy chef cafe'.

Yoga - was fun! Since then i've bought my own yoga mat, aiming do give my body a good stretch out atleast once a week.

Beach run - is so much harder then normal running! it was a great work out for the legs, and in the short distance, it felt like a really long run with the after burn i got later in the day

You can check out the healthy chef website here, and also check out the cafe menu here.

They cater for vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, people intolerant to gluten and dairy, there's is something for everyone but the main focus is on healthy eating which is great!

& here is a list i found on the site too- enjoy!

Teresa’s 10 steps to eating well:

1 Eat plenty of seasonal vegetables and fresh fruit and choose organic wherever possible.

2 Foods should be served as close to its natural state as possible, without processing, additives, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.

3 Use healthy cooking methods like steaming, baking, grilling, sauté or stir-frying and eliminate deep fried foods

4 Cook with lots of fresh herbs and spices not only for taste but for their health and medicinal properties this will also allow you to use less salt.

5 Include nuts, seeds and super foods daily as they provide you with an abundance of minerals, vitamins, fiber and essential fats for optimum health and well being.

6 Eat healthy cold pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut, avocado oil, sesame and sunflower oil and other virgin nut and seed oils in moderation. Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

7 Keep to a low allergy, low GI diet this includes reducing wheat and excessive coffee consumption.

8 Stop counting calories, Instead just adopt a sensible approach to wellness with healthy food as your focus.

9 Try to keep red meat to a minimum and replace with healthier protein sources like fish, seafood, eggs, organic chicken, turkey, beans + pulses, nuts, seeds.

10 Drink plenty of water and avoid soft drinks, alcohol and excess sugar.

bright green cups used to get your own water from the counter

Gluten free lemon polenta cupcake

chocolate milkshake

dandelion tea

iced soy chai

My iced soy chai was so refreshing, and not to sweet (they used just a hint of honey).

toasted gluten free banana bread

I'm not sure if it was the fact that they toasted it on a grill, or that it had specks of coconut flakes in it, but this was the best piece of banana cake ive ever had! i really miss making banana bread, and eating them, as they are still soo expensive (AUD$10 per kilo).

Poached Salmon with zucchini linguini and green goddess avocado

I wanted a zero carb meal and this was perfect - zucchini linguini is such a smart idea, (tossed with parsley, mint and lemon salsa verde) and the salmon was poached in apple juice - id love to recreate this meal at home.

organic poached egg w/ baked beans bacon spinach + hint of salsa verde

Bacon and organic egg panini with caramalized onion and tomato relish
(i think this was ordered on a wholewheat bun instead of panini)

Everyone at our table enjoyed the food, and we all felt really' healthy' eating is, especially after the yoga & beach run. This is an example of the perfect day out for me, some physical activity outdoors, on the beach, near the water, followed by a delicious and healthy meal, this has become one of my favourite cafes, i'll definitely come back again.

William Tran
8.3.1991 - 3.9.2011

I am glad to have met you
Although our acquaintance wasn't long
You have taught me that life can be short
that even tomorrow i could be gone
this is why i believe
you should live life to the day
and make the most of what you have
don't dwell on the things that you dont