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The Humble Baked Apple: A perfect fall/winter dessert!

The Humble Baked Apple: A perfect fall/winter dessert!

Hi Friends! Welcome to another recipe post! It was my mums birthday this weekend and to celebrate I had her and my sister over for lunch. I love to cook for and feed others, it’s my way of showing love and generosity. I think I […]

Easy Pumpkin, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Easy Pumpkin, Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

Hi Friends, Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post! This delicious and creamy pumpkin, mushroom and spinach risotto came about because I am really focusing on minimising food waste and being frugal in the kitchen. I had a butternut pumpkin (I think in America this […]

Mandarin, Almond and Honey Muffins

Mandarin, Almond and Honey Muffins

Hi Friends,

Unfortunately it has been quite a while since my last post! For those of you that don’t know, I am actually pregnant with my first baby (21 weeks as I am writing this) and life has been a little hectic which hasn’t left me with much time or energy for blogging.

However, I am back today to share my healthy Mandarin, Almond and Honey muffin recipe. These little morsels of goodness are perfect for that 3pm pick me up and make a great snack for school or work lunch boxes.

For those you that know me, you know I like to shop seasonally, generally if you are buying in-season your produce has travelled less kilometers, it is fresher and more affordable. I have been getting some fresh fruit and veggies delivered from a local family run business who work with farmers to provide in-season produce boxes. It is winter in Australia right now and mandarins have been on point, my weekly deliveries have been packed with them, so much so that I actually found myself with a bit of an excess of mandarins, way more than we could possibly eat in a week.



I hate wasting food (or wasting anything really) so I set myself the task of turning these mandarins into something before they went bad. Maybe it’s my pregnancy cravings or maybe thats just an excuse, but my mind went immediately to something sweet. I had a look around for some mandarin muffin recipes and couldn’t find anything that really sparked my interest, so I decided to just wing it and make up my own. I think they turned out pretty well! I used blanched almond meal which gives a bit of a different texture and adds a nutty undertone to the muffins, I also added in some honey for sweetness which combined with the mandarins gave a really yummy flavour.

This recipe makes 12, I actually decided to glaze four of them just for fun, and the rest I left unglazed as I wanted a bit of a healthier option for our work lunches during the week.

Anyways, enough of me rambling on, the recipe is below I hope you enjoy it! If you happen to make these I would love to see a photo, just tag me on Instagram @kiahs.kitchen!

Until next time, stay warm, healthy and happy!

x Kiah

Mandarin, Almond and Honey Muffins

A delicious healthy muffin recipe, perfect for work or school lunches!

Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Australian
Keyword Afternoon Tea, Healthy Muffins, Lunchbox Snacks, Mandarin Muffins, Muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author KiahsKitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 heaped cup plain flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, blended
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 small mandarins
  • 1/2 heaped cup brown or coconut sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 whole eggs (or substitute flax eggs if vegan)

Optional Glaze (makes them slightly less healthy)

  • 2-3 whole mandarins
  • 1/2 - 1 cup icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan forced)

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking soda, salt and blended oats (I used whole rolled oats and blended them in the NutriBullet for 30 seconds)

  3. Peel and remove any visible pips from mandarins, place flesh into NutriBullet or other food processor/blender and blend until smooth

  4. Add the sugar, honey, coconut oil and almond milk to the blender with the mandarin and process for another 30 seconds or so until all combined

  5. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs until lightly beaten

  6. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the blended wet ingredients and eggs

  7. Gently fold mixture through until just combined

  8. If mixture is too runny, add a little bit more flour until you reach the preferred consistency (it should be like a thick soup/paste that requires two spoons to get it into the muffin tins)

  9. Line muffin tin and evenly distribute mixture between each muffin cup

  10. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean

  11. Allow to cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack

  12. Serve with fresh mandarin slices on top

Optional Glaze

  1. Peel de-seed and blend additional mandarins until smooth

  2. Slowly stir in icing sugar until glaze reaches desired consistency

  3. Spread glaze over each muffin and top with fresh mandarin wedges

Recipe Notes

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or can be individually frozen. Great addition to school or work lunch boxes for an afternoon pick me up, these are delicious with or without the glaze, obviously if you are looking for a healthier treat, omit the glaze and have the muffins as they are.


Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Easy Red Lentil Dahl Recipe!

Hi Friends! I’m back with another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe for you today! This past weekend in Melbourne was a doozy! I believe Saturday was the coldest March day in over 40 years and it poured with rain for most of the day. Whilst there are […]

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Coconut Kidney Bean Curry with Steamed Greens

Hi Friends! Welcome back to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post, I’m sharing a super delicious, cheap and easy Coconut Kidney Bean Curry recipe! I have been continuing to read and explore the principles of diet according to Chinese Medicine and taking a more holistic approach […]

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew Recipe (Vegan) & Chinese Medicine learnings

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew Recipe (Vegan) & Chinese Medicine learnings

Hi Friends!

Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post. I recently read a book called Food for the Seasons: Eat Well and Stay Healthy the Traditional Chinese Way by Lun Wong, it was a gift from my mum for Christmas and I loved it! I have actually been getting fortnightly acupuncture treatments since around October last year from Nashira at Middle Path General Practice of Chinese Medicine. I have already made some changes to my diet based on the Nashira’s advice and have been feeling a lot better for it. Reading this book really helped me to understand why some of these changes were necessary for me and provided great foundation knowledge of the role diet plays in Chinese Medicine overall.

According to the principles of Chinese Medicine, autumn is the time for nurturing and supporting our organs, fluids and blood as we transition into the cooler weather. It is important to move away from summer salads to more warming foods – both in temperature and in qualities. It is a great time to start introducing soups and stews, the longer food is cooked for the more warming it is and the easier to digest, so time whip out the slow cooker!



The recipe I am sharing today is a Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew which is perfect for this seasonal transition time. I created this recipe to address some of my own health objectives, however I feel it is a great option for anyone looking to nourish their body and energy at this time of year. The stew contains barley which is great for building strength, blood and supporting yin, mushrooms which benefit the lungs and stomach, carrot which strengthen the spleen and boosts digestion, celery to benefit the spleen and liver and reduce the effects of wind which can be felt in autumn, and potatoes to strengthen the liver yin and benefit the spleen and qi. The stew is cooked over a period of 5-8 hours making it more warming and easily digested.

Health benefits aside, this stew is a great autumn staple, it is full of flavour and so easy to make, you can throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on low and come back at dinner time to dig in. I do hope you enjoy this recipe!

If you make this delicious stew, please let me know how you liked it in the comments below, and if you share it on social media, please tag @kiahs.kitchen or #KiahsKitchen so I can check out your creations!

Until next time, enjoy the plentiful fruits and veggies that autumn has to offer, stay healthy and take care of yourselves!

Kiah xo

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew (Vegan)

Warming, nourishing and delicious autumn stew, as simple as throwing everything in the slow cooker, set and forget!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Australian
Keyword Autumn Stew, Easy Vegan Dinner, Mushroom Stew, Stew, Vegan Stew
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups salt reduced vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 400 grams mushrooms
  • 150 grams oyster mushrooms
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch parsley (for serving)

Instructions

  1. Clean and slice the leek, carrots, celery stalks and mushrooms and add to a large slow cooker

  2. Wash the potatoes, dice into 2 cm pieces and add to the other vegegtables

  3. Add all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir everything through

  4. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours (until barley is cooked through and vegetables are soft)

  5. Serve immediately with fresh parsley and cracked black pepper

Recipe Notes

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to one month to ensure maximum freshness. I cooked this on high for around 5.5 hours and it turned out perfectly, different slow cookers may vary, adjust based on yours.


Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Hi Friends, I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Today I am sharing my recipe for a banana apple bread which is 100% dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free and could be made gluten free by changing out the flour, so it certainly […]

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Hi Friends! I’m back with another recipe for you! It is coming to the end of an exceptionally hot summer here in Australia. As much as I love the sun, the crisp edge in the air as we transition to autumn is very refreshing. One […]

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

Hi Friends!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019, it’s going to be a good one!

Often January is the time of year where everyone is setting goals and intentions, trying to break bad habits and implement better ones. That’s why I have decided to share with you my meal planning, shopping, storage and cooking routine that helps me save money, reduce food wastage and eat healthy, nutritious meals each week.

I have included some tips that I hope you will find helpful if you are trying to improve this aspect of your life, after all doesn’t everyone want to save money, the environment and their health? I have also included a recipe for my healthy and delicious buddha bowls, a great option for work lunches!

Planning

Planning is KEY to successfully organising almost any aspect of your life. Every Friday, I make a meal plan for the following week which includes what I (and Nathan) will eat for breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks.

  1. Don’t plan to cook more than you actually need to cook.

    I only need to cook three nights out of the week, to give us six nights worth of dinners (if you don’t like leftovers I have some specific tips in the LEFTOVERS section below). Furthermore, I can prepare lunches for the first three days of my week (Monday to Wednesday) on Sunday, which saves me having to prepare lunch every night. Not having to cook every night means I get more time to spend doing things I love like walking my dogs, reading, spending time with Nathan etc.

  2. Write it down.

    I open a new note in my Google Keep app and title it ‘Plan for next week’ (I know, super original right?) in here I’ll type out the following headings: Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinner 1, Dinner 2, Dinner 3 and Snacks. Then I list what I am making for that particular meal for the following week.

If you need some meal inspiration try:

  • Pinterest
  • Blogs
  • YouTube

Alternatively it can be super helpful to maintain a list of easy healthy recipes, that you know how to make and you know you enjoy, to refer to when stuck for ideas.



So now my list looks something like this:

If you’re new to this, I would suggest creating a shopping list with the ingredients you’ll need for each meal so you don’t forget anything (because everyone knows that annoying feeling of starting to cook only to find out halfway through that you are missing a crucial ingredient!).

Structure the list so that items are grouped together according to their location in the shop, this will make your life SO MUCH easier! If you are using Google Keep it allows you to check off items as you add them to your trolley which is super helpful.

Shopping

Onto the fun part! (does anyone else love grocery shopping? Just me? Okay..).

via GIPHY

How to win at grocery shopping?

  1. Have a designated shopping day once a week.

    If you have planned your meals properly, you will save so much money and time this way rather than doing a heap of random stops at a grocery store where you are more likely to grab things on a whim (especially if you’re hungry!). My shopping day is Saturday, I get up early and have breaky, grab my re-usable bags then head to my local shopping centre. Arriving early means I beat the Saturday shopping crowd, get a great car park and can actually enjoy my time shopping without feeling suffocated!

  2. Shop for your produce at a farmers market or fruit and veg store.

    You’ll be surprised it can actually be cheaper and the produce is generally fresher having travelled less kilometres than that sold in supermarkets. Plus you will be supporting local farmers and minimising your consumption of plastic, win win. First thing when I get to the shops is order a coffee in my Pottery For The Planet reusable cup, then I head towards the fruit and veg store. Once I am done with the fruit and veg, I’m off to the supermarket (Woolworths) to get the non-produce shopping items. Finally, if I need to I’ll stop in at the health food store and stock up on anything I am running low on i.e. natural deodorant, natural skin care, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds or chocolate (you know, the essentials!).

  3. Use produce that is in season.

    Designing your meal plan around what is in season will save you money and ensures you are eating the freshest produce available. I often make salad bowls or soups for lunches, I love doing these as I can mix up the ingredients depending on what we feel like and what produce is in season and they always taste great!

  4. Use your reusable shopping bags.

    Need I say more?

While this sounds like a lot, I can have it all done in under an hour and be back home by 9 am. This brings me to the next section, storing your produce.

Storing

After you have gone to the effort of planning and shopping for your delicious food, you need to ensure you store it appropriately to make it last the week. You can’t just chuck your veggies in the fridge willy nilly and expect them to stay fresh, nutritious and juicy.

  1. Check your fridge temperature.

    Make sure your fridge is set on the correct temperature (around 4 degrees Celsius) too cold will mean your food freezes and too warm places your food in the ‘danger zone’ where harmful bacteria will thrive.

  2. Clean your produce draws.

    Remove all existing produce from the fridge, take out the draws, rinse them and dry them, I line mine with newspaper. These draws are designed specifically to manipulate the airflow and humidity to keep produce fresh for longer. So use them correctly and they’ll do just that. The draws should be about three quarters full to allow enough airflow. If you find that you can’t fit all of your produce in the draws, it might be worth investing in an additional fruit/veg storage container to keep your remaining veggies fresh.

  3. Remove plastic and store appropriately.

    Fresh produce needs to breath, if you are leaving it in plastic bags, it will sweat and spoil very quickly. Most veggies can go into the storage draw/container as they are, however some may be partially prepared first or stored separately which will help with freshness and also your convenience. For example, with big bunches of kale, I will de-stalk, rinse and store the leaves in an airtight container lined with a damp tea towel. This keeps my kale fresh all week and because it is already prepared it is super easy to grab for smoothies or other recipes. With fresh herbs, I fill up jars with water, place the bunch of herbs in there just as you would with a bunch of flowers in a vase and I store them in my fridge door. That way they are easy to access to tear or cut leaves as required and stay fresh and green for the whole week!

  4. Use up existing produce.

    What to do with the old veggies you pulled out of the fridge? Cook them up into a meal to eat that night (or freeze for later), use them to make your own veggie stock (super easy – I do this weekly!) or add them to the compost so they can nourish your garden.

Cooking

Right, so you’ve done the planning, you’ve done the shopping and you’ve correctly stored your produce. The cooking part should therefore be quite easy!

via GIPHY

I allocate an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon to cook our Monday – Wednesday lunches. I usually do hearty soups or salad bowls, this week was a salad bowl!

On the nights that I am cooking dinner (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday) I get home from work and get straight into it. We have a rule in our household, whoever cooks does not do the dishes, given I am the cook, Nathan is usually on dishes duty which works great for us.

Once it reaches Thursday/Friday and I have run out of pre-prepared lunches, I’ll either grab something from the freezer which was leftover from the week before or I’ll throw together something easy like my no tuna chickpea sandwiches which will get us through the remainder of the week!



Lastly, I leave one night a week without a meal planned because we will often go out on a date night or have dinner with friends/family!

The schedule of cooking every second night works really well as we are only cooking for two so there are always leftovers, and it means we are eating the food while it is fresh and flavoursome.

So, you have cooked a nice big delicious meal and you have leftovers, now what? In the next section below you’ll find my top tips for storing leftovers so it doesn’t really feel like you are eating leftovers!

Leftovers

Leftovers are great! I know some people are not keen on eating food that has been cooked before, but trust me, if it is stored and prepared correctly it makes all the difference. It can also be helpful to adjust your mindset, we are so so lucky to have leftovers, because that means we have an abundance of food, we have so much that there is some left over. There are so many people (including children) living below the poverty line, not only in third world countries but even in our own country. Remember how lucky you are to have enough food to fill and nourish your body!

Got leftovers? See my top tips below for storing and preparing them!

  1. Store leftovers in airtight GLASS containers.

    Not only is plastic bad for the environment, it is also bad for our health, it is made of harmful chemicals that can leach into our food. You’ve probably noticed a lot more glass storage containers on the market these days, there is a reason for that. Invest in some good ones and it will change the game of food storage (and they’ll literally last forever!).

  2. Store meal components separately.

    For example, when storing a potato and chickpea curry with rice, store all of the curry in one container and all of the rice in the other. This stops things from going mushy and watery. It means when you reheat the leftovers, they don’t blend together into a mess resembling chunky baby food. By reheating the different components of the meal separately, when you serve them nicely on a plate topped with some fresh herbs it feels much more like you are eating a freshly cooked meal rather than leftovers.

  3. AVOID THE MICROWAVE.

    As convenient as it may be, its not great for your food and tends to make things look a little sad (not surprising as they have literally been zapped). How do you reheat your food without the microwave? Take my example of the curry above, if you have stored the curry and the rice separately, you can simply put the curry into a pot on the stove with a teeny tiny bit of water and heat it on a low heat stirring occasionally, this doesn’t take long at all and tastes way better! You could either put the rice in the microwave to reheat or in a different pot. Not keen on the stove? Use your oven! putting the curry into a casserole dish with a bit of water and covering it will allow it to heat through nicely on about 180 degrees Celsius. This will take longer than the stove, but hey, you may want to use your time while you are waiting to take a shower, read a book or do some washing etc.

Leftovers make your life easier, prevent food wastage and save you money, be grateful for leftovers!

Preventing Waste

Did you know, the average Australian wastes up to 20% of the food they buy? This equates to $8 billion worth of perfectly edible food being discarded by Australian households every year, of which 33% is fresh food and 27% is leftovers! Not only is this bad for our finances, it’s really bad for our planet! Food discarded in landfill produces methane as it rots which is 25 times more potent and damaging to our environment than the carbon produced from you car! (Facts from foodwise.com.au).

If you are guilty of wasting food (you’re not alone), I encourage you to look at the reasons why. Do you have a meal plan? Are you simply buying too much or impulse buying? Are you cooking too much? Are you not making use of leftovers? Are you not storing food appropriately? Whatever it may be, put some steps in place to help you change your behaviours and minimise your food wastage. You’ll be benefiting your bank account and the environment!

For more information check out these resources:

  • www.foodwise.com.au
  • Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy
  • World Wide Fund for Nature Reducing Food Waste

Now that you have all of my top tips for planning, buying, storing and preparing your food, here is a recipe to get you going. This buddha bowl recipe makes about six servings, I prepare it on a Sunday afternoon and Nathan and I take it for lunches for the first three days of the week!

Have you got some top tips for preventing food waste or streamlining your shopping/cooking routine to save time and money? Share them below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by, until next time,

Kiah x

Easy Buddha Bowl

Course Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Buddha Bowl, Macro Bowl, Nourish Bowl, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Salad Bowls

  • 1.5 cups tricolour quinoa
  • 1 400g can chickpeas
  • 5-6 medium white potatoes
  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 1 whole carrot
  • 200 grams green beans
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch alfalfa sprouts
  • 6 whole radishes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius

  2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, drizzle with olive oil and coat in turmeric and curry powder, toss to coat well

  3. Place the prepared cauliflower on an oven tray and place in the pre-heated oven, set timer for 20 minutes

  4. Rinse the quinoa, add to rice cooker with the stock and water, set to cook (or alternatively cook according to packet instructions on the stove)

  5. Cut the potatoes into 2-3cm chunks and place in vegetable steamer on the stove, steam until soft to pierce with a fork, remove from heat and set aside

  6. Top and tail the green beans, cut in half and set aside

  7. Thinly slice the radishes, set aside

  8. Peel and grate the carrot, set aside

  9. Drain and rinse chickpeas well, set aside

  10. Rinse, de-stalk and slice the kale

  11. Finely chop or mince the garlic

  12. Heat a large frypan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil, add garlic and green beans, saute for 2-3 

  13. Add the kale to the fry pan with the green beans and garlic and saute for a further 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside

  14. Once the various components have finished cooking, it is time to assemble the bowls: divide the cooked quinoa, cooked potato, kale/bean mixture, chickpeas, grated carrot, sliced radish, roasted cauliflower and alfalfa sprouts evenly between six containers (if meal prepping) 

  15. To make the dressing, mix tahini, sesame oil, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together, add water to achieve desired consistency. Store dressing separate to salad bowls and add when ready to eat.

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

Hi Friends! Welcome to 2019, another year, another opportunity to fill your life with good books. Today I am sharing my top three favourite book picks from Reese Witherspoon’s book club for 2018! As you may already know (and if not, you’re about to learn) […]