Home-made pizza adventures

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Roasted veg and feta

I think you all know by now that I’m into less processed foods. And I’m also SUPER keen on encouraging y’all to cook more from home. Add into that my obsession with dough and you have a recipe for dinner success, home made pizza success that is.

 

I love dough. I really do. So do my girls. We love putting the yeast in the luke warm water and watching it froth. Miss almost-4 says that it’s like fireworks if you watch it from the top. We love sifting the flour in and mixing with our hands. They LOVE getting a chance to knead the dough and then check on it as it gets bigger and bigger and BIGGER. It really is a wonderful lesson for them to learn.

 

My great love, dough

My great love, dough

When it is pizza dough we are making they get extra excitement because it also means that mum will let them “help” roll out the dough. They get to watch mum throw a pizza base in the air (purely for entertainment guys, not necessary) and they also get to sprinkle toppings. It is the most fun they have in our kitchen I tell you!

 

Pizza dough is also an awesome time saver because it freezes really well. I will often make a big batch, portion it up and freeze it for the nights that I really can’t be bothered making something elaborate. At one point I was also bagging and freezing chopped up pizza toppings so all I had to do was roll out the dough, dress the pizza and cook.

 

Margherita heaven

Margherita heaven

No-one ever believes me but it is seriously simple to make your own pizza dough. SERIOUSLY! If I want the process to be quick I will sometimes secretly make the dough while the girls are otherwise entertained J. I’m okay as long as they don’t hear my pyrex bowl clink on the bench. If they do, they know that some cooking is going down and my clean kitchen is a goner!

 

The other awesome part about pizza is that you can cater for everyone’s tastes. There an almost endless list of options for pizza toppings and you can go wild with your combos! I have been known to hold pizza nights where everyone comes and brings their favourite combos. You get to share your favourite but also learn new toppings to add to the repertoire.

 

Rising to heaven

Rising to heaven

If you want to take it to the next level, make your own pizza sauce too. It is super easy as well and you can freeze it along with your dough for many happy pizza nights to come.

 

Get your prep on

Get your prep on

I use taste.com.au for my pizza dough recipe. The link is here.

So here are our favourite pizza topping combos:

Simple starters

  • Margherita: pizza sauce, sliced tomato rounds, cheese and sprinkled Italian herbs.
  • Ham and cheese: the girls almost always just choose ham and cheese for their pizza. In saying that, they will end up stealing bits of our pizza with other toppings on it too.

–          The lot – basically anything and everything you can find in the fridge

 

Mexicano

Mexicano

Gourmet explorations:

  • Tandoori chicken: marinate some chicken breast in tandoori paste and cook in a frypan before putting on pizza. On top of pizza sauce layer the chicken, green capsicum, cheese, mango chutney and sour cream. After it is cooked top with some fresh coriander.
  • Roast veg: pizza sauce, layer on roasted veg like pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, carrots and beetroot. Slices rather than chunks work best. Top with crumbled Danish feta and pine nuts.
  • Mexican – slow cooked salsa chicken, capsicum, sour cream, cheese.
  • Potato and bacon – sliced potato, diced bacon, drizzled sweet chilli sauce, sour cream blobs, and cheese
  • My sisters Brussel sprout, leek, and goats cheese! She sautes the brussels and leeks with some bacon and then tops the pizza with it, crumbling the goats cheese on to finish!
Keeping it basic, ham and cheese

Keeping it basic, ham and cheese

So get your Italian mumma on and get kneading some dough. It’s therapy and dinner at the same time!

 

Happy cooking,

 

The Dietitian Mummy

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Nutty Friday – Walnut edition

It’s that time again, time for me to nut on about nuts!

 

Today’s nut is the walnut. I put walnuts in so many baked goods that I make, just a handful chopped in cakes, biscuits, muffins and most importantly today, loaves.

Walnuts_amends

When we were kids, mum used to make this nut loaf all the time. We used to eat it warm, fresh and delicious or a few days old with lashings of margarine. I re-created her recipe the other day in honour of this delish nut.

 

Mum's 1970's nut loaf tin

Mum’s 1970’s nut loaf tin

Mum’s old nut loaf

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup plain flour

30g olive margarine

½ cup honey

½ cup chopped dates

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup milk

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Method

Soften the dates by soaking in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain well.

Mix the honey into the butter and add the drained dates and chopped walnuts.

Crack in the egg and give it a good old beat.

Sift the flour and baking powder on top and add the milk.

Grease a nut loaf tin (cylinder tins with a lid for the top and bottom), and pour the mixture into the tin.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) vertically (standing up) for about 45 minutes.

wpid-20140606_152535.jpgVisit http://www.nutsforlife.com.au for more nutty info!

 

Happy nutty Friday,

 

The Dietitian Mummy

 

Look after yourself mum

Being a mum means LOTS of coffee

Being a mum means LOTS of coffee

It’s so often that I get very caught up in looking after two very energetic (ahem ratbag-ish) kiddies, working, budgeting, trying hard to be a good wife/sister/daughter/friend etc etc, and my body gets to a point where it just decides to say “nah uh girl, I’m DONE”. It basically just crashes and manifests this crash in varied ways (migraines, pulled jaw muscles, stress rash, full blown flu or IBS to name a few I’ve had). It is my body’s way of reminding me that yes I am a mum (plus a million other roles), but I need to take care of me in order to be a good mum. As much as you might think being a Dietitian would mean my nutrition is perfect, it’s not. I’m just as guilty as the rest of you for surviving whole days on biscuits, cheese and 2 minute noodles scoffed once the girls go down for their arvo sleep. I know full well what it’s like and just how hard it is. But it IS important. So in terms of nutrition, when you are the last person on your own list, here are your main focus areas gals.

It means TRYING to stay fit

It means TRYING to stay fit

Energy

Yes, kilojoules, calories, actual eating. You might be striving to lose some baby weight or look like Miranda Kerr did post child (pffttt), but starving yourself is not going to help! Neither is crash dieting. I understand the pressure to look a certain way, and that the media portrays starvation diets as something that is normal but no kid wants a tired, grumpy and plain depressed mummy because they are depriving themselves of the joys of eating. Eating regularly and eating enough, will still help you to reach your weight goals. It will help your body to metabolise the food you eat efficiently. You need energy from all forms (carbs, protein and fats) for your body to function well, so don’t cut out groups completely. Just be mindful of the amounts you have. Make sure you get energy from lean protein sources (lean meats, legumes, low fat dairy), high fibre carbohydrates (grainy bread, the least processed cereals and crackers), fruits and vegetables and a small amount of unsaturated fats.

It means more than a few mornings waking up like this

It means more than a few mornings waking up like this

Iron

This is super important. Lack of iron means feeling tired and hell I’m pretty sure we all have a hundred other reasons to be feeling tired without this one adding to the issue. And the easiest way to get this is red meat. Try to do it 3 times a week. It doesn’t have to be steak, it can be mince or stew and can be any type. Good old skippy the bush kanagaroo is amazingly packed with iron and is pretty cheap too. And you don’t have to eat loads, one serve is the size of the palm of your hand. Other meats also have iron in them, but in smaller amounts. If you don’t eat meat make sure you get lots of plant based forms of iron (technical name is non-haem). You can get these from wholegrain and iron-fortified breads and cereals, legumes like kidney beans or baked beans, green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli etc), nuts and dried fruit, and quinoa. The top tip if you are having these is to have some vitamin c at the same time because the iron from these foods isn’t absorbed as well, so team them up with citrus foods, strawberries, tomatoes, or kiwi fruit.

And days when you feel like this

And days when you feel like this

Fibre

Fibre is important. It helps you pooh. It keeps you regular. I don’t think I even need to explain why we want to avoid being constipated? Do I??? Fibre also helps with keeping you fuller for longer. Meals high in fibre will take longer to break down in your stomach and therefore will hold off the hunger pains. So if you do get 5 minutes to scoff down your lunch, at least higher fibre foods will keep you going until the kiddies go down for a sleep in the arvo (here’s hoping hey). And the foods that are high in fibre are generally good for protecting against scary diseases like cancer, yes it’s that kind of important. Good fibre foods are vegetables, fruit with the skin on, seeds, wholegrains (couscous, rice, and quinoa), pasta and wholegrain varieties of foods like bread, crackers, cereals and legumes.

And it means appreciating this much more than you every thought

And it means appreciating this much more than you every thought

Calcium

Yes, as mums we are all females and we all need calcium! Why? Because y’all don’t want to be frail old ladies bent over a stick, fracturing hips and limbs with every step now do you. And we all know the best source of calcium is…. Yep dairy foods (unless you are believing that trollop being touted around about calcium not being absorbed blah blah. Rubbish.). Milk and yoghurt are the best because you can get low fat and skim varieties but also cheese. Three serves a day of dairy is the going rate at the moment (1 cup milk, 1 tub yoghurt or 1 slice cheese). If you really don’t like dairy and fancy yourself a bit of soy, almond or rice milk, please make sure it is calcium fortified and I won’t bother you anymore. It’s just as good. Some other lower sources of calcium are almonds, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, tahini, Asian greens, kale and broccoli. Caffeine stops calcium absorption (ouch I know) and salt increases excretion (getting rid of calcium in your urine), just so you know.

And it means being a climbing frame

And it means being a climbing frame

Water

KEEP HYDRATED PEOPLE. There are many health reasons for staying hydrated but the main one is you feel like crap if you are dehydrated! Dehydration can cause more than just a dry mouth, it can bring on headaches, dizziness, being tired and constipation. If you absolutely “can’t” face water then chill it, infuse it with fruit, or add diet cordial to it. You can have full strength cordial or juices but they are high in kilojoules (calories if you are unaware of our Australian version) and will give you a swift assistance to weight gain.

There are plenty of other things nutritionally that we probably need to be more aware of but I hate lecturing and badgering so I’ve keep the list short!

But it also means lots of beautiful moments like these

But it also means lots of beautiful moments like these

Take care of yourselves mums, because it’s the most important part of taking care of your little ones.

Much love,

The Dietitian Mummy.