Friday, October 28, 2016

Dairy Free Diaries: Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Comfort food is a big necessity in this cold, wet weather. This rich, creamy, dairy-free soup is spicy and perfect for a cold day - an it only has a few ingredients and is SO simple to make! Butternut squash is one of the weekly specials at Aldi this week, making this filling & nutritious dinner for 4 cost around £1.50. No joke. Talk about a win-win-win.

I'm not fully dairy-free anymore, but I was for several months when my daughter was born, because she had various digestive problems when I ate/drank dairy products. With dairy being one of the most inflammatory foods we can eat (second only to gluten), I often recommend eliminating dairy to health coaching clients with various issues related to inflammation (eczema, bloating, blemished skin, etc). It doesn't have to be a restriction - there are tons of ways to eat delicious foods without giving a cow a second thought - and this recipe is one of them!

1 butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped out
1 organic white onion, diced
1 heaped tsp madras curry powder
2 cups organic vegetable or chicken stock
1/2-1 cup non-dairy milk (I used soymilk)
Salt & pepper, to taste

Lightly rub the cut halves of squash with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast at 180C/375F for 20-30 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and then cut into 1" cubes.

In a large pot, saute onions in olive oil until lightly browned. Add curry powder and stir for 1-2 minutes before adding the stock. Then add the butternut squash, reduce heat, and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and blitz with a hand blender (or, if you are using a conventional blender, allow to cool first!). Return to the pot, add non-dairy milk, and stir over medium low heat; add salt & pepper to taste. It's that simple! Voila!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Southwest Sweet Potato Chili

The weather is officially colder, and I'm in the mood for hearty, warm comfort foods. Chili is one of my favourite meals to whip up, because it's a toss-it-all-in-one-pan-and-forget-about-it kind of dinner, which is especially important when you have a baby who is learning to walk and determined to get into absolutely everything. Like, seriously. Yesterday she put a banana in the dryer... and then turned it back on. I need my hands free, is the bottom line here - so this dinner takes about 10 minutes to throw together, and then it just bubbles away on the stove while you do whatever it is you have to do. Oh - and it's great in a slow cooker, too!

You see, I'm sort of looking to take this blog in slightly new direction - I've started a YouTube vlog type thing (look for Munchie Mummy!), and I want to help people to not only eat healthier, but on a budget! Living healthily is more than just buying fancy organic foods, so I'm on a mission to show everyone how they can live better - for less! Our grandmothers really new how to stretch protein in a meal - which is great because it saves us money on our grocery bill, and eating less meat in general is better for our health! This meal has so much veg in it, it's really an "eat the rainbow" dish. If you want spice, add chili powder as well as the other spices, but since I'm sharing this meal with our little one, I just tossed chopped hot peppers/hot sauce into mine as I liked it! For a vegetarian option, replace the beef with 1 can of black beans or chickpeas.

1/2 lb mince beef
1 sweet potato, diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained (or black beans)
1 white onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used half red, half green)
1 cup frozen sweetcorn
4-5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Chili powder, to taste (optional)

For the garnish (all optional, but I use them all!)
Chopped coriander (cilantro) or parsley
Grated cheddar
Greek yogurt or sour cream
Hot sauce

I brown the beef in a pot with the onion, then add the seasoning, the tomatoes, 1 can of water, and sweet potatoes. Add in the beans and frozen corn. Taste, season (I usually chuck in more seasoning, but do it as you prefer!) and allow to bubble away uncovered until the chili thickens and the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with rice, couscous, or on its own as a hearty winter stew!