Wednesday, 30 November 2016

30 Minute Paleo Meals eBook Review and Bonus Cuban Burger with Plantain Fries Recipe

Over four years ago we made the switch from pre-packaged convenience foods to a real food paleo lifestyle. We were already a family of five at the time and had to learn how to successfully prep and make real wholesome meals that appealed to all the little mouths we were feeding. It definitely took some time and I completely understand everyone's struggles when they are starting out. I found the meals that took around 30 minutes most manageable (in order to fit in homework, bath time and story time during the week) so I'm super excited to let you know about Real Simple Good's 30 Minute Paleo Meals Cookbook and even more excited to share their Cuban Burger with Plantain Fries recipe!


30 Minute Paleo Meals eBook Review and Bonus Cuban Burger with Plantain Fries Recipe30 Minute Paleo Meals eBook Review and Bonus Cuban Burger with Plantain Fries Recipe
30 Minute Paleo Meals eBook Review and Bonus Cuban Burger with Plantain Fries Recipe

Thursday, 24 November 2016

One Pan Roast Chicken

Who doesn't love a one pan meal with all the ingredients infused in the one pan and less washing?! Our current family favourite meal is this one pan roast chicken with sweet potatoes, baby carrots & radish. I've been using my Staub griddle in the oven for our one pan dinners (and in the mornings for my 12 yo's post swim breakfast of steak & asparagus), it's been one of the best kitchen investments I've made and our one pan roast chicken comes out perfect!

One Pan Roast Chicken
One Pan Roast Chicken - pictured here is a young chicken known as Poussin or Coquelet

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Nana Ice Cream With Gut Healing Collagen and Slippery Elm - GAPS, Paleo

One thing we always seem to have at home (and even more so now living in hot and humid Vietnam) are over-ripe bananas. They're a bit like avocados, one day they're just right to eat, then the next they have all these black spots on them! Once they are at this stage they either get baked (like my Chocolate Banana Bread recipe) or peeled and frozen for nana ice cream or smoothies. The bananas with black spots are approved on the full GAPS diet so my 8yo is overjoyed with his delicious Nana Ice Cream treats (sometimes for breakfast too :)

Nana Ice Cream With Gut Healing Collagen and Slippery Elm - GAPS, Paleo
Nana Ice Cream With Gut Healing Collagen and Slippery Elm - GAPS, Paleo

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Braised Vietnamese Meatballs (Paleo, GAPS, AIP Friendly)

I recently learnt how to make this simple braised Vietnamese meatball dish and it's become a family favourite, especially for my 8 yo who started on the full GAPS diet a couple of months ago. It's so quick and easy to make (as well as cheap!). Served with steamed vegetables to dip in the meatball liquid, or over some cauliflower rice (or rice if you can), you need to put this on your monthly dinner rotation!

Braised Vietnamese Meatballs (Paleo, GAPS, AIP Friendly)
Braised Vietnamese Meatballs (Paleo, GAPS, AIP Friendly)

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Vietnamese Cassava Cake (Grain, Egg, Nut and Dairy Free)

Cassava was one of my favourite tubers growing up, I have delicious memories of the savoury curries and all the sweet desserts my mum would make.  I have certainly neglected to use this amazing little tuber in my kitchen once I moved out of home. Now that I'm living in the land of cassava (Vietnam) with homegrown cassava at my mum's country house I'm going to be making a few cassava recipes with my all time favourite Vietnamese Cassava Cake (bánh khoai mì) first.

Vietnamese Cassava Cake (Grain, Egg, Nut and Dairy Free)
Vietnamese Cassava Cake (bánh khoai mì)

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Vietnamese Pickled Carrots (Đồ Chua) - Naturally Fermented

Growing up in my mum's house there were always jars of pickled carrot, daikon radish, cauliflower, lemons and cumquats sitting around. My mum used sugar, salt and allowed them to sit and create their own brine. I absolutely loved the sweet and sour crunch the vegetables added to all our dishes. We made iced fermented lemon and cumquat drinks during the summer which were sweet, salty and sour all at the same time. Normally I am sugar free, but since I have raw organic sugar for my kefir and kombucha, I thought it would be fun to add to my fermented vegetables to try and re-create my mum's pickles. I was really pleased to get my mum's approval for this recipe! (it is a lot less sweeter than her original version and the longer you leave it, the less sugar there is).
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots (Đo Chua) - Naturally Fermented
Vietnamese Pickled Carrots (Đồ Chua) - Naturally Fermented

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Grain Free Energy Breakfast Bars (Paleo, GAPS with Nut Free Option)

I often get asked how to start the transition over to a real food / paleo lifestyle for the family and the best tips I have from my personal experience is to initially replace just one meal a day (breakfast was easiest for me as you can also eat breakfast all day :) and make sure you have some pre-made compliant food and snacks to avoid bad last minute choices. These grain free energy breakfast bars are perfect for this. You can have an energy dense bar for breakfast, pack for school / work snack or freeze for later. It also takes under 30 minutes to make!

Grain Free Energy Breakfast Bars (Paleo, GAPS with Nut Free Option)
Grain Free Energy Breakfast Bars (Paleo, GAPS with Nut Free Option)

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Coconut and Chia Pancakes 5 Ingredients (Paleo, GAPS, Grain free and Dairy free)

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know how much I love these 2 ingredient sugar banana pancakes (see recipe here) which give the batter a much thicker consistency than the standard bananas, just adding some shredded coconut and chia seeds really changes the texture and flavour. My husband who is the only one that doesn't like the 2 ingredient sugar banana pancakes as much in our house loves this version. It's a quick breakfast recipe and works well in lunch boxes, being nut free they work great as a school option for the kids too so you can pack up any leftovers for snack time.

Coconut and Chia Pancakes 5 Ingredients (Paleo, GAPS, Grain free and Dairy free)
Coconut and Chia Pancakes 5 Ingredients (Paleo, GAPS, Grain free and Dairy free)

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Cucumber Hamwich and Fermented Carrot Sticks

This cucumber hamwich and fermented carrot sticks isn't so much a recipe but more of a healthy fun lunch box or after school snack idea. We don't often have cold meats as it is hard to find pasture raised junk free ham and salami here but every now and then my kids love a cucumber hamwich and some fermented carrot sticks as a snack.

Cucumber Hamwich and Fermented Carrot Sticks
Cucumber Hamwich and Fermented Carrot Sticks

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are one of our family favourite's and these fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime chicken wings are a hit whenever we are hosting or bringing a dish to potluck. They also taste great at room temperature so they make a great party platter that you can leave on the table. I serve them up for the kids with veggie sticks to keep up with the finger food theme.

Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Chicken Wings
Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Chicken Wings

Monday, 22 August 2016

Roast Pumpkin & Chinese Cabbage Salad (Napa, Wombok)

I love salads that keep all day without getting soggy. They're perfect to take on picnics or pack for lunch. This roast pumpkin and Chinese cabbage salad can be made the day before and is easy to make with only five ingredients. The dressing is super tasty with a wheat free tamari, lime and sesame dressing which you can keep aside until ready to eat. Over the weekends I usually make a big batch and portion it out or leave it on the table for everyone to help themselves throughout the day along with a few other veggies. I then only need to heat up some healing bone broth, cook up some protein for the kids and I am set for the day.

Roast Pumpkin & Chinese Cabbage Salad
Roast Pumpkin & Chinese Cabbage Salad (Napa, Wombok)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Tamari and Sesame Oil

Chinese broccoli also known as Gai Lan or Kai Lan, is a nutritious Asian green that belongs to the same family as broccoli (brassica oleracea). Broccolini is actually a cross between Chinese broccoli and broccoli which is why it looks like a leafier version of broccolini. It has a similar taste to broccoli and when served with a sauce the leaves really absorb the flavours. My 12 year old and I could easily do a plate each of this Chinese Broccoli with Tamari and Sesame oil! I sometimes just have a plate of this for dinner as it's soo tasty!

Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Tamari and Sesame Oil
Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Tamari and Sesame Oil

Monday, 15 August 2016

Turmeric Stir Fried Mince with Vegetables (Paleo, GAPS, AIP)

This turmeric stir fried mince with vegetables is one of the my favourite family dishes. It's super easy to make, full of vegetables, it can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days or frozen and reheats well (scroll down for food prep and meal ideas!). It's a cheap meal, portable, works well as a packed lunch and my kids love to eat it! One of our regular meals I make often. I use about 1 third either pork or beef mince and bulk it up with about two thirds of vegetables so it a complete meal on it's own or your can add more fresh veggies by using it as a filling in lettuce wraps with some asian herbs.

Turmeric Stir Fried Mince with Vegetables (Paleo, GAPS, AIP)
Turmeric Stir Fried Mince with Vegetables (Paleo, GAPS, AIP)
(I absolutely love this cast iron wok I got for my birthday this year - Thank you my beautiful friends in Saigon)

Monday, 8 August 2016

Mango Chia Pudding with Micro Fruit Salad and Agar Jelly

I loved all the Asian desserts we used to have growing up with tropical fruit, crunchy agar jelly and an assortment of seaweed, sweet basil seeds, barley, lotus nuts and Chinese red dates. All the crunchy textures and bursts of sweet fruit is something I wanted to recreate but much simpler because we are all way to busy! Chopping up the fruit into little cubes (doesn't take as long as you think!) helps add to the texture and flavour as you can get lots of different bursts of fruit at the same time mixed in with the coconut water agar jelly for crunch. This mango chia pudding base is made with only 4 ingredients and also great for breakfast as you can make it the night before in a jar to grab and go in the morning.

Mango Chia Pudding with Micro Fruit Salad and Agar Jelly
Mango Chia Pudding with Micro Fruit Salad and Agar Jelly

Friday, 22 July 2016

Halloumi Salad with Strawberry, Watermelon and Basil

We haven't had halloumi for about a year as it's not something we can find easily in Vietnam, so whilst  in Sydney this holiday my 12 year old spotted it in the grocer and wanted it for breakfast. I have to admit this was total torture to cook up knowing I couldn't eat the golden crispy oozy halloumi whilst on the autoimmune protocol but I couldn't deny my son the pleasure so being the awesome mum I am, I cooked it up along with a delicious strawberry, watermelon and basil salad. He inhaled it within 5 minutes... we are working on the mindful eating ;)

Halloumi Salad with Strawberry, Watermelon and Basil
Halloumi Salad with Strawberry, Watermelon and Basil

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Spicy Nut and Seed Brittle (Snaps)

One of my favourite treats growing up were sesame snaps. They came in a packet with 4 thin rectangles of toasty, crunchy, sugary sesame. It would be the best day ever if I could separate all 4 layers without the rectangles breaking. These spicy nut and seed brittle's remind me of this, except I have added almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. You can leave the almonds out to keep it nut free for school treats and just use your favourite seeds. They are great on their own as a treat or sprinkled on salads for a sweet and spicy crunch, you can leave out the cayenne pepper to keep this nightshade free.

Spicy Nut and Seed Brittle (Snaps)
Spicy Nut and Seed Brittle (Snaps)
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Monday, 30 May 2016

Coconut Raisin Pancakes (Grain & Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)

These coconut raisin pancakes are a delicious twist on the 2 ingredient sugar banana pancakes (see here). The coconut gives the pancake extra texture and flavour and the raisins give a nice burst of sweetness that my kids love. Its really important to use sugar bananas in this recipe, known as Ducasse which are short, fat with a thin skin, not the common cavendish type found in the supermarket. The sugar banana when just ripe, gives the batter a nice thickness very similar to a 'normal' pancake batter.

Coconut Raisin Pancakes (Grain & Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)
Coconut Raisin Pancakes (Grain & Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Nut Free)

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Benefits Of Juicing - What Juicer To Buy And Juicing Recipes

It's taken me a long while to start juicing for various reasons, but since my health went downhill a few months ago I had to try something new, so many people I knew were juicing and raving about it. I finally unpacked my juicer after 6 months in the box and hoped for some miracle that would fix my chronic fatigue and other health issues. The miracle didn't happen, but some great things did happen.

Benefits of Juicing - How it helped me
Benefits of Juicing - How it helped me

Monday, 23 May 2016

Bolognese Cucumber Boats

Our freezer is always stocked with jars of frozen bolognese sauce, perfect for lazy days when we need a quick and healthy meal. I usually make a big batch about once a month then jar up the sauce in recycled glass jars and take out them as needed to defrost over night or in warm water. I haven't convinced my kids about the zoodles just yet but one of their favourite ways to eat bolognese sauce are these bolognese cucumber boats topped with some fermented veggies. 

Bolognese Cucumber Boats
Bolognese Cucumber Boats

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Baked Plantain Chips 3 Ways

I have been trying to get my hands on some green plantains in Vietnam for almost 2 years and finally got myself a big bunch of them. The first thing I made were these delicious baked plantain chips. I have been on a restricted diet of bone broth, juices and raw salads excluding nightshades, nuts, seeds and dairy and really needed a safe treat that wouldn't flare up my lupus. I made three versions including salt and pepper, lime and black pepper and maple, cinnamon & cayenne (this one was for my husband which I couldn't eat as it contains cayenne). My kids were over the moon to have 'chips' in the house.

Baked Plantain Chips 3 Ways
Baked Plantain Chips 3 Ways

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Paleo Vegan - Why another label and how does it work?

Paleo Vegan. Why another label? and isn't it a total contradiction? While I prefer just stating that I'm on a 'real food diet', when I mention the word paleo I get a lot of responses like 'oh, you eat a lot of meat'. Unfortunately it's an incorrect assumption that all Paleo followers eat mainly meat, yes it's based on about 38% protein but many of us modify the diet to suit our bodies and choose not to freely substitute meat for carbohydrates. There are a lot of other aspects to the Paleo diet that are very beneficial.

Paleo Vegan - Why another label and how does it work?
My recent Paleo Vegan lunch spread I shared with some friends who left very happy, full and satisfied <3

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Nut, Seed and Fruit Bread by Mette Helbak

When I first started eating real food and following a paleo lifestyle, I found Instagram to be a really wonderful and inspiring place. I met many amazing people who have also become friends and it is also where I found Mette Helbak's account. It was one of the first accounts I started following and I am still in love with her beautiful farm to table creations and foraging adventures. She was so kind to share her delicious nut, seed and fruit bread recipe with me a few years ago and I have permission to share it now with you!

Nut, Seed and Fruit Bread by Mette Helbak
Nut, Seed and Fruit Bread by Mette Helbak

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Vietnamese Meatballs (Xíu Mại)

My middle one asked for his favourite recipe by grandma - xíu mại (Vietnamese meatballs) which I did not get a chance to write out yet, or really just was a little lazy as mum would always cook it for us. She's now back in Sydney so over FaceTime she gave me her recipe and walked me through the steps. I was surprised how easy it was and wish I had tried to make these delicious meatballs earlier. 


Vietnamese Meatballs (Xíu Mại)
Vietnamese Meatballs (Xíu Mại)

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Braised Chicken with Ginko, Lotus & Water Chestnut (Ga Tiem Bạch Quã)

A traditional Vietnamese dish I grew up eating often served during special days such as the lunar new year (Tét). I never knew growing up how lucky I was that mum regularly cooked with all these amazing superfoods such as gingko biloba, goji berries and lotus nuts. Such common ingredients in Asian cooking! This Braised Chicken with Ginko, Lotus & Water Chestnut is a simple one pot recipe that produces a delicious soft fall off the bone chicken that is naturally sweetened with coconut water, goji berries and Chinese dates.


Braised Chicken with Ginko, Lotus & Water Chestnut (Ga Tiem Bạch Quã)
Braised Chicken with Ginko, Lotus & Water Chestnut (Ga Tiem Bạch Quã)


Monday, 4 April 2016

Raisin Bread (Dairy Free, Nut Free and Grain Free) Paleo, GAPS Option

I found out my 7 yo has been trading his food for treats at school. I couldn't work out why his behaviour seemed off and his skin looked terrible so I asked his friends and could not believe he has been trading his crispy home made bacon for treats! I know the bacon is good (check out the recipe here) and he always asked for extra to 'share'. I didn't know whether to be angry or pleased, I was a little bit of both. It made me realise I should make a few more clean treats so he didn't feel like he was missing out. That's where this grain free, nut free and dairy free Raisin bread comes in. 

Raisin Bread (Dairy Free, Nut Free and Grain Free)
Raisin Bread (Dairy Free, Nut Free and Grain Free) - Great for school snack packs

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Spiced Pancakes - Grain Free and Dairy Free

I'm missing the Easter celebrations back home as it isn't celebrated over here and mostly, I'm missing the smell of hot cross buns! but... I'm too lazy to bake so I just made these hot cross bun inspired spiced pancakes. They are grain, dairy, nut and sugar free - perfect for school lunch boxes and really simple to make. So if you want to fill your kitchen up with real Easter bun aromas in the morning without the hassle of beating, kneading and baking dough, here you go! :)


Spiced Pancakes - Grain Free and Dairy Free
Spiced Pancakes - Grain Free and Dairy Free

Lemongrass, Ginger and Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy free)

I tried making panna cotta 2 years ago after my first taste at a friend's house (thank you Gabrielle!). It was a complete fail, even after reading, searching and comparing endless versions trying to work out the best proportions for cream and gelatin. I couldn't get the light yet creamy consistency. I decided to try it again with home made coconut milk and added a little Asian twist of lemongrass and ginger. I served these lemongrass, ginger and coconut panna cotta after our Thai Paleo themed lunch and was so happy to get the approval from all my guinea pig friends :)

Lemongrass, Ginger and Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy free)
Lemongrass, Ginger and Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy free)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Slow Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Whenever I find cherry tomatoes, I buy as much as I can to have leftovers to roast and store in the fridge for salads or freeze for sauces later on. The process is pretty simple and so rewarding as the roasting intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes. Choose organic if you can!


Slow Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Slow Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Lemongrass, Chilli & Turmeric Chicken

This Vietnamese lemongrass, turmeric & chilli chicken dish is another one of my mum's recipes that I grew up eating. It's quick and simple to make and you can easily marinade the chicken ahead of time or freeze them into portions to prepare for a meal later in the week. Once thawed it takes about 20 minutes to cook, making this a great option to plan for dinner during the week. 

Lemongrass, Chilli & Turmeric Chicken
Lemongrass, Chilli & Turmeric Chicken

Monday, 14 March 2016

Charred Eggplant (Aubergine) Salad with Sumac

This charred eggplant (aubergine) salad with sumac is my beautiful friend Mahi's signature salad. The smoky soft eggplant combined with the fresh, crisp, tart, fragrant flavours of the other ingredients is incredible. The charring process is the most important step, don't skip it by roasting or steaming the eggplant, you won't get the beautiful smokey flavour that makes this dish so special. You can prepare the eggplant the day before to save time if needed, then toss the rest of the ingredients together when ready :)

Charred Eggplant Salad
Charred Eggplant Salad

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Best Home Made Bacon - 3 Ingredients

If you love crackling you're going to love this quick simple bacon recipe, it really is the best home made bacon. Best tasting and best ingredients. Just pork belly, salt, pepper and about 20 minutes under the grill. No sugar, no nitrates, no preservatives, no msg and no curing required. Crispy and salty with a little crackling on each piece!

The Best Home Made Bacon - 3 Ingredients
The Best Home Made Bacon - 3 Ingredients

Monday, 7 March 2016

Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew

A Paleo lifestyle for me isn't all about meat, I grew up with meat free days whether it was consciously or unconsciously. My mum followed the Buddhist calendar and following certain ancestral ceremonies we had vegetarian days at home which I really loved. Her Vegetarian stew is one of my favourites eaten with steamed rice and fermented bean curd. 


Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew
Vietnamese Vegetarian Stew

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Mum's Chicken Ginger Congee

Congee isn't considered paleo but I'm adding my mum's chicken ginger congee recipe to my blog so I have it anywhere I go. It's one comfort food I still need every now and then, like an asian version of chicken soup which cures everything from cold's, flu and heartbreak! Perfect for breakfast or any time of the day. My mum would make this for us whenever we got sick or when we had a big family gathering. There would be a huge pot on the stove and we would have a nice warm bowl as a second dinner around 10pm, one of my favourite childhood memories...

Mum's Chicken Ginger Congee
Mum's Chicken Ginger Congee

Ginger, Turmeric and Black Pepper Kombucha Tea - Second Fermentation

Ginger, Turmeric and Black Pepper Kombucha Tea

Ginger and turmeric has always been one of my favourite combinations whether it is for food or drinks, they go so well together (see my lemongrass, ginger & turmeric kombucha recipe here or my hot lemongrass, ginger & turmeric tea which I drink daily here :) This ginger, turmeric and black pepper kombucha tea combination is a favourite in our house, we usually make a bottle each day along with my kids favourite raspberry kombucha.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Kale Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

I really missed kale when I moved to Vietnam, it took a really long time for me to find and was so happy when my local organic store started stocking it. Kale is power packed with lots of beneficial nutrients like iron, vitamin a & c, calcium. It is anti-inflammatory, full of anti-oxidants and high in naturally occurring folate. In addition to all these benefits, what I love most about kale is that it doesn't really go soggy, so it makes for a great salad to pack for work or a picnic. My kids love this kale salad with raspberry vinaigrette, the sweetness of the raspberries make it really appealing for little taste buds!

Kale Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
Kale Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette