please sir, may I have some more? Part 1. June 2010

Recently I decided to try to eat a healthier diet in a bid to increase my immunity to baby/toddler germs I encounter at work and to halt the inevitable weight gain that comes with being back at uni.  This time around I have decided to be more mindful of what I eat and to really think about the effects of what I put in my mouth.  This has all come about because for the last four weeks I have been chained to the computer researching and writing essays, which always leads to the intense need for coffee and sugar.  Thankfully, P has been there through the grumpiness, the computer hogging and (yes) tears… and has proved to me time and again that I am certainly with the right person by making me amazing, healthy stir fries and salads to keep me going and to stop my body screaming at me for eating takeaway. (Bless him.)  I really love salads, but sometimes they just aren’t enough to fill me up and satisfy me through to dinner time so I get really excited when I find a winning combination that does.

Ages ago L gave me the recipe for this kidney bean salad that has quickly become the established lunchtime favourite of P and myself. I don’t know where she got the recipe from, so if you read this and it’s yours let me know and I will promptly attribute it to you.

Delicious, healthy and filling Kidney Bean Salad:

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 can kidney beans (rinse and drain them before using)

1 tsp ground cummin

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups fresh or frozen  corn kernels

60g mozzarella diced (if you don’t have mozzarella, plain old cheddar works fine)

2 cups cherry tomatoes quartered

3/4 cup chopped avocado

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander

Heat up a frying pan with a little oil or spray (whatever you use) and chuck in the corn.  Keep moving it around while it cooks.  Once it’s cooked mix the cummin into it and heat it through in the pan until it is fragrant. Take the corn and cummin out of the pan and set it aside to cool.

In the mean time mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl (because it makes a fair bit) and add in the corn.  Mix it all up and enjoy!

Grocery shopping this week brought an abundance of interesting foods into our kitchen as P and I decided to branch out and try some new things.  Two of these foods were frozen baby octopus ( a large bag is surprisingly cheap compared to prawns because you don’t need to use a lot of them) and some oyster mushrooms I found on special. Upon arriving home last night with grumbling bellies we decided to whip up a quick and easy stir fry with them.  Baby octopus may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy trying new foods so I was pretty excited about dinner.

P got some peanut and sesame oil heating up in the wok and then added onion, garlic, chilli and ginger once it was hot.

Then came the octopus and mushrooms. (we defrosted the octopus first by running cold water over them) and just chucked them in whole.

After cooking those through for a little while we added some sliced carrot, broccoli and red capsicum, along with some soy, oyster and fish sauce.  Yum!

And then it was ready to eat!  I have gone through life so far hating stir fries until very recently when P (almost)  single handedly converted me. Now I love them and think there is nothing more convenient when the entire process takes less than 15 minutes.

We quickly cooked some rice noodles to add to it and excitedly sat down to eat.   I have to say- I LOVE baby octopus now.  I actually have had it before, but only the really little ones you get in marinara mix. These were quite a bit larger and meatier……..and delicious.