Sunday, January 30, 2011

Stuff I Cooked

Pistachio & Chilli Crusted Chicken

Beetroot Risotto

Spiced Lamb with Chickpeas & Cous Cous

I'm a terrible food photographer!
Any tips?

Stay well,
Nat x

Happy Life Moment

Heading to the beach on a Friday night after work and taking a dip in the beautiful salt water early on a Sunday morning.

Keeping your mind healthy and relaxed is just as important as keeping your body well nourished.

Stay well,
Nat x

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The First Supper

Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day. Brekky, for me, sets the tone and the standard for the rest of the day. If I have a fatty, sugary breakfast, then I only crave fatty and sugar foods for the following 24 hours. When I have a healthy, well balanced breakfast, I crave fresh, whole food for the rest of the day. It really does dictate what my day of food will involve.

In addition to this, breakfast is what it is, a 'break' of the 'fast'. Your tummy and insides have been cleaning themselves all night preparing for the next day and you have this grand opportunity to make it incredibly happy, so it makes no sense to me why people put too much butter on white bread with some jam and give that to their hard working insides. Yes it's easy, fast and cheap before work, but so's an apple, (or wholegrain bread with no butter but some peanut butter instead. Or both!). Imagine you spent all day cleaning your car only to have an overtaker splash mud all over you? I bet you'd much rather someone come along and polish it. Although, unlike the occasional white bread with butter, I don't think mud on your clean car is ever good. Even in moderation.

Right now, my usual 'every day' breakfast is home made un-toasted muesli, with fresh or stewed, (without sugar), fruit, and most of the time, some yoghurt. I always wake up to a glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice and not for the detox benefits some people claim it has, but because I love the freshness in the morning! I follow with a green or peppermint tea. On weekends this usually changes and is accompanied by an long decaf macchiato.

It took me a while to get into making muesli, but now I've started, I'm addicted. The following is what I have in my current one, but it changes every brew. If you want to make your own muesli but are lacking in inspiration, have a look at .

Natalie's Current Muesli
(Please don't ask for quanitites)
A lot of rolled oats
Flaked almonds
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Bran flakes & straws
Dried apricot

Dice fruit & mix it all together! I store it in the fridge to keep the nuts, seeds & fruit fresh.

So why do I eat this? The filling factor of muesli is amazing, plus the oils, vitamins and proteins from the nuts and seeds, and the fibre from the dried fruit a long with the little sugar hit it provides. The fruit always feels amazing on my stomach first thing, (I often have an apple before I leave for work, and eat the muesli when I am hungry again at work), as well as all the obvious vitamins from fresh fruit. The yoghurt is a calcium as well as a protein thing - I don't eat a lot of dairy otherwise (I buy Jalna Low Fat Vanilla or Strawberry, but the Vanilla is better with the muesli). Most importantly, all of the above tastes ridiculously amazing and is hard to get sick of.

The above is an M creation. He by no means eats this every day, but I like to make an event of weekend breakfast's and M seems to be appreciating this, which makes me happy. On this particular morning, I offered to make M a toasted sandwich which, when he asked, I explained I did in the griller. Oh the things you learn living together! M says the proper way to make a toasted sandwich was as above; fried in a pan, in butter. I'm not big on frying in butter and probably would never have done this myself, but this smelt amazing. He promised to make me one some day and I can't wait to try it.

This was a mini-event weekend breakfast, (probably a Sunday, they're always smaller). Almost all our meals from breakfast to dinner are this different in appearance and ingredients. We're very different eaters (and I'll write about the vegetarian health nut living with the meat eating pretty relaxed eater very soon). We always eat breakfast very late on the weekends to avoid eating 3 very large meals. A late breakfast signals time to relax in my brain.

So, I'd love to know, what do you have for breakfast?
And why?

Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peanut Choc-Chip Muffins

Although I whole-heartedly believe in a balanced lifestyle and all the perfectly balanced meals that come with that, I believe that a big part of every balanced lifestyle should be a few meals that would be suitable for a detox, and some suitable for a re-tox. Both of which are fine in a balanced scheme of things along with what I hope is your life of mainly balanced meals.

However, this is the re-tox.

Peanut Choc-Chip Muffins
(For Casey)

Recipe from 'The Essential Vegetarian CookBook' - Murdoch Books

2 cups (250g) self-raising flour
1/3 cup (80g) raw sugar
1 1/2 (240g) dark choc bits
1 egg
1 cup (250g) crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons strawberry jam (I used raspberry)
60g butter, melted
1 cup (250ml) milk
Icing sugar for dusting (I ignored this)

Preheat oven to moderate 180c
Brush a 12 hike standard muffin tin with melted butter or oil (I sprayed olive oil)
Sift flour into large bowl
Add sugar and choc bits; make a well in the centre
Add combined egg, peanut butter, jam, butter and milk
Stir until just combined (do not over beat)
Spoon evenly into muffin cups
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
Loosen the muffins in the pan and leave for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack
When cool, dust with icing sugar (I found them sweet enough)


Stay well,
Nat x

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Breakfast at Natalie's

(You have to sing the subject to the correct tune to get the full effect)

A part of M & I's present to my Mum & Dad for Christmas was a brunch, and this morning was the time. After much wracking my brain about what to make and how to ensure all the eggs were going to be cooked right and at the perfect time, (and how I would enjoy the morning whilst doing so much cooking), I decided to host a cold brunch. This, mixed with the really-sick-of-fatty-food factor felt by everyone at this time of year, resulted in a relatively healthy, cold brunch.

And this was the spread..


Muesli with Fruit

Mini Sandwiches

Banana Pikelets

Roast Tomatoes & Mushrooms with Thyme

Date & Walnut Loaf

Muesli with Fruit

Bottom Layer -
Stewed Apricots, (from M's parents garden). I put them in a bit of water, no sugar, & cooked them for 15-20 minutes. They were refrigerated for 2 days before serving.
Middle Layer-
Home made muesli. Rolled oats, diced dried apple, raisins, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds & sesame seeds.
Top layer-
Fresh strawberries sprinkled with extra almonds & shredded coconut.

Apricots are extremely high in Vitamin A & fibre, & very low in calories.
Sesame seeds are very high in calcium.
Strawberries, along with the oats, will help reduce cholesterol.

Mini Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon -
Smoked salmon, light cream cheese & a sprig chive on light rye bread.
Cucumber -
Cucumber, light cream cheese, a mint leaf & a sprig of chive on light rye bread.

Cucumbers will also help to lower cholesterol thanks to their sterols - just keep the skin on because, as with most fruit & veg, (though cucumber is technically a fruit), that's where all the good stuff is!

Banana Pikelets

Recipe from Best Recipes
Make a lot & were great cold.

2 cups self-raising flour (I used wholemeal)
Pinch of Salt
1/3 cup of sugar (I used raw)
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla essence (I added this)
(the recipe calls for some butter or margarine spread, but I used a none-stick pan and no coating)

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add sugar and cinnamon.
Whisk in sugar, butter, eggs and milk until smooth.
Add mashed banana and stir mixed.
Dollop spoons of the mixture into hot, non stick fry pan and turn when bubbling on top side.

I served drizzled with honey and cinnamon.

Whenever you can, use wholemeal flour - it's not the equivalent of eating a good whole grain bread, but it has some vitamins, unlike refined white flour. Same goes for raw sugar versus refined white sugar. In most recipes, they will act in exactly the same way and wholemeal flour is readily available in both plain and self raising.

Roast Tomatoes & Mushrooms with Thyme

Button mushrooms & tomatoes on the vine roasted for about 30 minutes (put the mushrooms in 15 minutes earlier/45 minutes total for the best flavour). They were hit with some olive oil and black pepper first, and served with torn and toasted, (also in the oven), wholemeal rolls before being sprinkled with fresh thyme.

Date & Walnut Loaf

Recipe from Taste

  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour (I used wholemeal)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Grease a 6.5cm-deep, 9cm x 19cm (base) loaf pan. (The recipe calls for baking paper as a liner, however some spray olive oil and a none-stick pan made mine fall out beautifully)
  • Place dates in a heatproof bowl. Pour over boiling water and maple syrup. Stand for 15 minutes.
  • Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda together into a bowl. Add oats, walnuts and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the date mixture. Stir until well combined.
  • Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Smooth the surface. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Stand loaf in pan for 5 minutes. Lift onto a wire rack to cool.

I found this loaf didn't need cream cheese, just a good cup of coffee alongside the plate.
I didn't use raw sugar as I love the flavour of brown sugar with walnuts.
This loaf, containing no eggs or butter, is a much healthier alternative to most (though don't count on it to be low in calories - but who would expect it to?)

Have you ever hosted a brunch? I highly recommend it. You can prepare things way in advance & when it's done, you still have to day to do things, as well as not having to go to bed with a very full stomach.

Stay well,
Nat x

PS. Can anyone recommend some good food/nutrition/cooking/health blogs?

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Why Lemon Living?

    Hello to all! - some of you old (I hope), some of you new.

    Why Lemon Living?

    Well my greatest passion in life is by far, nutrition, health and food. Beauty, fashion and shopping are wonderful things that bring endless joy when funds permit, but I know as much as the rest of the world that beautiful women like my friend, Melanie, and the ever-outfit-inspirational Lady Melbourne do a much better job of making you want to hit the shops. Me? I hope to make you love more than anything food that loves you more than anything.

    So why now?

    I work with 2 girls who I'm forever blubbering about food and health to. Let's call them Mickey* and Mini*. Mickey and Mini endure my my non-stop babble 5 days a week for exactly half an hour, and when I do stop babbling to eat something, I often get comments on the way I enthusiastically eat. At a recent work function, Mini commented to Mr. Boyfriend that she'd never met anyone who revolves their life around food and meals as much as I do. This past week, Mickey and Mini both suggested I start to write about food, nutrition, weight management and all the other topics related to edibles I pride myself on having a library in my head about. What a good idea.

    So what will Lemon Living be about?

    Well, as some of you will know, as a result of a half-decade long illness and the determination it left with me to treat my body as well as I can learn how to, it is my plan in life to return to study one day to become a nutritionist (hopefully once the flurry of a new home settles down). I believe prevention is the best medicine**, and, as one of the authors of a loved book of mine, Skinny Bitch describes herself, I like to think of myself also as a self taught know-it-all. I love to cook, I love to know what exactly is going into my body and what it will do, I love to help people improve their health through food and I love to share my knowledge, (and am eternally grateful to all the people in my life who don't yell at me to shut the hell up).

    I hope more than anything you will love, or even like, to read what I write.

    I'll leave you with a collection of food photos I've taken over the past year. They never end up anywhere but my hard drive, and I'm so happy to now give them a home.

    Vic Market

    The Press Club

    I love to cook M breakfast

    Caught-out coffee (Southbank)

    Noodles for my Birthday

    Cheese & Wine in Halls Gap


    I should have started this blog years ago.

    Stay well,
    Nat x

    *names changed
    **I do not believe everything can be prevented