Spaghetti Squash – Singapore Noodles

IMG_2416Spaghetti squash or vegetable spaghetti as it is sometimes known is the “king” of paleo pasta substitutes and is becoming easier and easier to find as it gains popularity.  I love it because my three year old loves it.  If he is eating vegetables then I am happy.  My first attempt at cooking it I boiled it.  I think I may have over boiled it and it did not taste so good.  So then I tried this Nerd Fitness recipe and baked it.  This turned out a lot better. A few times we have had bolognese with the squash which has been ok but I much prefer zoodles (zucchini noodles).  Singapore noodles is a pretty common recipe and the spaghetti squash reminds me of vermicelli so I thought I would give it a go.

Singapore Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken thinly sliced (you can use whatever meat you like or a combination)
  • 4 eggs (beaten and cooked into an omelette then thinly sliced)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 garlic glove crushed
  • 1 carrot in thin slices
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • 1/4 cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 spaghetti squash (baked and “noodles” pulled out)
  • 2 tbs curry powder (make your own )
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs fish oil
  • 2 tbs coconut aminos

Method:

  1. Heat pan with sesame oil.
  2. Cook meat until browned.
  3. Add vegetables and curry powder.
  4. Once vegetables look cooked enough add spaghetti squash, egg, fish oil and coconut aminos.
  5. Cook for a few more minutes

If you like you can add prawns, bean sprouts, coriander and any other vegetables you have.

IMG_6821I love making meals where you can re-use again the next day so I still had half a spaghetti squash and we made Paleomg Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Bake. Which was delicious.

Where do I get my spaghetti squash from?

I get asked this question a lot!  I get mine from Crisp on Creek Mt Gravatt but if this is not in your area then check out the Vegetable Spaghetti page and find your closest stockist.

Let me know your spaghetti squash creations!

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If all else fails science will help my 2 year old eat veggies?!?

Part 3 of a 3 part series on Paleo and Kids

In my last post on this 3 part series I will discuss what I am putting in my son’s lunchbox.

I find lunch time the hardest meal for myself let alone what to pack in my son’s lunchbox.  It’s easy to get busy and start looking to pack convenient “packages” into the lunchbox and soon you have a convenient box of processed food and sugar – not good!

A typical lunch for my son would have consisted of:

  • A sandwich on white bread with spreadable butter with jam/honey/vegemite/cheese slice.
  • A packet of tiny teddies
  • A fruit or veggie squeeze pack
  • A piece of fruit (normally strawberries/grapes)
  • A kid’s style yoghurt
  • Some flavoured rice crackers with pre-packaged dip (like gherkin dip)
  • A pre-packaged muffin/lamington/slice etc

While it might have been convenient for me to pack each day I would not call this a very healthy lunch for my 2 year old. Plus it was also very expensive and a lot of the food especially the sandwich would come home and be thrown out.  I had a chat with one of the daycare teachers and she suggested instead of the sandwich I give him leftover dinner – brilliant! That’s what we have for our lunches so packing another one would be no problem.  Then I looked at a cheaper option for the pre brought yoghurt.  I decided on plain full fat greek yoghurt as the flavoured yoghurts are full of sugar.  I normally go for the Aldi organic greek yoghurt or Jalna brand and I add a handful of frozen raspberries (quite inexpensive from Aldi) and by the time he eats it the raspberries are soft and sauce like.  On Sundays I make up divide up the yoghurt into small containers with the raspberries and have them sitting in the fridge ready to go for the week.

I also decided that making up a batch of biscuits for the week where I am able to control the ingredients going in is far better than store brought. When I brought my thermomix I also started making my own dips and whatever other things I have time to make for the week.   On Sunday I made two batches of biscuits, some banana custard, some fruit balls and dinner in around an hour which lays the foundation for a good week ahead.  At the end of this post I have included some recipe ideas that have worked for us.

Now the overhauled lunch box looks more like this:

  • Leftover dinner
  • A healthier style biscuit
  • Greek yoghurt with frozen raspberries
  • A piece of fruit
  • Unflavoured rice crackers with homemade dip like beetroot/cream cheese and veg/avocado
  • A sometimes treat of homemade cake/slice/banana custard

Whilst it is not strictly Paleo I still feel much happier about what I am sending him to daycare with and the bonus is, it’s healthier, costs less, only takes a little bit extra time to make these things (especially in the thermomix) and I know what I am giving him.

Here are a few paleo style recipes we like (would love to hear yours!):

Has anyone seen the latest Aldi lunchbox campaign?  Sorry Aldi in my eyes reduced fat milk drinks, 99% fruit juice, a snack pack, small packet of chips for variety in a “balanced “ lunchbox is not an option in my child’s lunch!

If all else fails science will help my 2 year old eat veggies?!?

Part 2 of a 3 part series on Paleo and Kids

In my last post I discussed the challenges of getting my two-year old to eat veggies, in this post I am going to discuss how we used Kombucha to rid the evil apple juice addiction.

So why did I give him apple juice to begin with? My husband and I do not drink juice, we do not drink soft drinks.  Our fridge consists of water, sparkling water, milk and the occasional beer or wine.  I never really had juice as a child. I never really thought it was good for him but I guess it was like a treat much the same way you give them a sweet biscuit or a chocolate thinking it can’t hurt them.  Then the quantity increases as they want more.  The once off glass of half apple juice, half water turned into a regular glass each afternoon after kindy and he was soon asking for more.  I realised this was turning into a bit of a sugar habit, with the increase of asking for juice and then lollies, chocolate and party cake (as he calls it).  A regular afternoon snack of juice and tiny teddies.  He is only 2!  But I can see how easily this can get out of hand once the (sugar) tantrums kick in and after all we had this food as kids didn’t we?   As a kid I was lucky to have these “treats” once a month and maybe just at a party but I feel now because we have easy access to these foods we seem to be giving them to our kids more often.  What are you thoughts on this?

I tried taking the apple juice off him cold turkey but instead, he would stand in front of the fridge screaming, and if I offered water he would tip out the water all over the floor when he realised it was not juice. The tantrum would often lead into dinner time and then bath time and ………… you get the picture.

Enter Kombucha

I had been reading a bit about Kombucha and the benefits of probiotics on other Paleo blogs I follow and I was pleased to read it was a good way to help reduce sugar and even alcohol intake.  Kombucha is a fermented tea.  Here are some sites I like if you are interested in knowing more:

  • Cultured Food Life  – Lots of stuff on Kombucha and Fermented Foods
  • Ray of Sunshine Wellness  – A lovely little post on how it is great for your guts
  • Paleo in Melbourne – Kombucha tips and tricks
  • Buchi Kombucha – The most awesome Kombucha to try and where I brought my kit from.  They are also fantastic about answering all your kombucha questions especially if you are worried about the sugar, the caffeine and the alcohol content (of which my mind is at ease otherwise I would not be giving it to the 2-year-old!!!)

So where would I find this mysterious drink?   Luckily a friend told me there was a stall at the Northey Street Markets.  We went there and met the wonderful family from Buchi Kombucha.  The lady told me how her children just loved to drink it and even helped with the brewing process.  I brought a bottle of the natural flavour straight away, excitedly took it home and gave Mr 2 -year- old some with some water and told him it was juice.

His first response was to spit it out everywhere! 

It does have a strange taste (certainly to juice) but it is not an offensive taste. This time I decided not to give in and did as Mrs Buchi suggested giving it a few goes, so I tried again and again with no luck.  Then I gave him some without the water and guess what – he took it and asked for more! Finally!  I went back the next week and tried another flavour – Hibiscus Pine Lime.  Now this one did not look like juice but the flavouring gave it a more sweeter taste – this one was a huge hit!  Then the hubby tried it and suddenly we were going through at least 2 bottles a week – uh oh what have I done now!!??

I went back to Buchi and I brought one of their starter kits.  It contains the scoby (mushroom) with some starter tea, tea bags, sugar, vessel – everything you need to get started.  All I needed to do was follow their very simple instructions and our first batch was brewing.  At around the 10 day mark we tasted the brew to see how it was going.  I felt it was still a bit too sweet but hubby thought it was ready so we bottled it and started the process again.  Now we are up to brewing 10L a fortnight to hopefully give to family and friends (if we don’t drink it all)!

bucha

Our Kombucha starter kit from Buchi

It is very inexpensive to buy the kit and very inexpensive to make new batches with only the cost of tea and sugar.  I usually buy the Aldi brand organic black and green boxes of tea.

Now Mr 2-year-old no longer asks for juice but asks for boocha and I am no longer keeping apple juice in the house!   I have noticed for myself that I only need a small amount of kombucha to feel refreshed and energised and that half a glass every few days seems to be enough.

Stay tuned: In my third blog post about Kids and Paleo I will discuss lunch boxes and how I overhauled a lunchbox of sugar and share some recipe ideas.

If all else fails science will help my 2 year old eat veggies?!?

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Paleo and Kids

I think it is safe to say I do obsess a bit over food, I think about what the family is going to eat a fair bit of the time, I menu plan (blog post to follow soon on how I do this), I research recipes, I research places to source food and because we are on a budget I check the latest specials and all of that before even cooking the food!

So I do spend a fair bit of time thinking about what to feed my 2 year old son (I am sure I am not the only one).  Is it ok to feed him ‘typical” children’s food like vegemite sandwiches that I ate everyday as a child?  If this food caused me issues later in life why should I subject him to eating non paleo foods and running the risk of future health issues?  My philosophy on meal time is that I have always refused to cook a different meal for my son and a different meal for us.  At times I have struggled with this but long term it has been better for the family eating the same foods together at the same time.  This is our family ritual.

But like a typical 2 year old he is fussy and it’s hard to get him to eat at the best of times especially when he has discovered his sweet tooth and asks for party cake and lollies!

So apart from the approach of us all eating together I got him involved in cooking with me.  We have Mondays at home together and we often make some lunch box snacks for the week.  This has worked well with him trying different things as we are cooking (licking the bowl, eating what we have baked while it is still warm). We have the cookbook “Eat like a Dinosaur” which has great ideas for kids Paleo meals with easy instructions and how kids can help you in the kitchen – as an extra bonus my son just loves Dinosaurs!  I find some of the recipes are a little unusual to our tastes and I sometimes modify them to suit us but the ideas are absolutely fantastic.

After all this I still had a problem with dinner time and in particular vegetables!

Enter a couple of interesting articles I read from the whole 9 a few weeks back (just in the nick of time):

http://whole9life.com/2012/08/kids-and-vegetables/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250365.php

The first article was interesting in that it gives 5 tips (based on scientific research) such as making the food visually appealing with lots of colour, how kids like to imitate (so making sure you are eating what’s on your plate) and repeated exposure to foods to name a few.  This made sense but the second article they referenced really sounded like fun and we thought why not give it a go!

It talks about renaming normal food with catchy names that kids will like.  I read it, I got excited I was about to serve dinner and oh no I needed a catchy name quick so salad became “Lion Salad” and chicken kebabs became “chicken on a stick”.  I know great first effort Mum – not!!  But guess what – to my surprise he thought Lion salad was so cool he ate it and roared like a lion after every bite.  This was the first time I had seen him eat salad willingly!  And well we all know kids love anything on stick so the chicken was eaten too.

Wow relief, an easy dinner.

I am not one to be lulled into a false sense of security so the next meal was carrots, cauliflower with cream and some marinated chicken.  I had a little more time and we called this one “Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”, It was colourful, it was repetitive (this time I cut up the chicken and put toothpicks in each piece) and it had a cool name.  Again it worked!  The next night we had been watching the movie “The Gruffalo” and steak and sweet potato bake became “Gruffalo Steak and scrambled snake potato bake”

kapow cars carot and creamy cauli

“Cars Kapow Carrots and Cool Creamy Cauliflower + chicken on a stick”

Again it worked – was it really this easy all along?  Since then meal time has been a lot easier with him trying the foods with the funny names.  We do have the occasional set back – after all he is only 2 but on the whole a few simple tweaks at dinner and we are all enjoying meal time a lot more.

What successful strategies have you used in the past to get your kids to eat food?  I would love to hear them.

Stay tuned: In my next blog post I will discuss my son’s absolute love of apple juice and how we used Kombucha to ease this sugar addiction before it got too out of control.