Chilli Prawn Zasta

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We have a dish in my house that just solves problems. Feeling tired? Prawn pasta. Feeling cranky? Prawn pasta? Feeling so hungry you could eat the jocks of a plump man who has just done 100 squat-thrusts? Prawn fucking pasta. But it came at a cost: that fucker was full of butter, wheat pasta, and cream. Holy shit. I could not give up on its other healing powers, though. So I got in that kitchen with determination, and turned that unhealthy son-of-a-bitch into a healthy, hearty, warming meal that leaves you with zero guilt. No bloody worries, mates. Oh, and P.S. Zasta is ‘zucchini pasta’. Feel free to applaud my cleverness. I did.


Ingredients: (serves 2 small eaters or 1 greedy-guts)

-150g raw prawns (get shelled ones – don’t be silly)

– 3 tablespoons coconut cream

– 1 tablespoon lemon juice

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 tsp of the already crushed stuff)

– handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

– 1 birdseye chilli, finely chopped

– 1 tsp coconut oil (or whatever but it’s bloody tasty)

For the Zasta:

– 2 zucchinis. These scallywags need to be cut into pasta-like strips. You can do this with a julienne peeler; or with a knife and fucking patience; or a fancy spiralizer. If you’re confused, google ‘zucchini pasta’

– 2 tsps coconut oil (or butter)


How to solve your problems:

– get one frypan heating up over a medium heat and pop the oil in

– when that’s ready, throw in the garlic and let it have a little sizzle

– bang your prawns in and give them a good flick around, they’ll get all coated in the garlic, yessssssssssssssss

– now get your chilli in on the action and stir that too. Let that all mingle for a couple of minutes

– when the prawns have just turned opaque, add in the parsley and the coconut cream

– while the prawns are bubbling away for a couple of minutes, get another frypan heating up to make your zasta. Get the oil in there and when it’s hot, throw in those zucchini strips and sauté for a minute or two (you want it so that it resembles cooked spaghetti) so use your judgement and get it out and into a bowl as soon as it’s done

– back to our prawns. These little bastards cook pretty quickly so they’ll be ready by now. Add in your lemon juice. Have a taste. Does it need more lemon juice? Any salt? If so, bang it in. You want your tastebuds to exclaim “Jesus, dude, you have got it going on tonight”

– that’s it. Get your prawns on top of your zasta and make sure you get some of that creamy sauce on there. Levels of wetness matter

– love it


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This one excites me, people. It’s revo-fuckin-lutionary in my house.

Shannon x


Healthified Baked Baby Custard

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Baked custard is hardly revolutionary, but removing the rude sugar makes it a nutritious option rather than a ‘treat’. It is far tastier than it’s commercial counterparts, which also contain artificial colours and flavours (even the ‘baby’ ones – not good for revving your little terrors up!) and it is more creamy and obscene than Prince.  Plus, it is truly so easy.


 Ingredients for a single serve:

– 1/6 cup milk (if you want a dairy-free option or a tropical escape use coconut milk)

– 1/6 cup cream (dairy free? Try coconut cream)

– 1 egg yolk

– 1 teaspoon maple syrup

– 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

– optional: fruit, such as banana


 Catch the packet custards later:

– get your oven going on 170

– combine the milk, cream, egg yolk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until combined

– if you want to add fruit, cut it up and line the bottom of a very small, ceramic ramekin

– pour the mixture into the ramekin

– put the ramekin in a baking tray and surround it with boiling water (to about halfway up the ramekin)

– bake for around 30 minutes

– allow to cool before presenting this to your baby – clearly that ramekin will be bloody hot!

– pray that your baby doesn’t finish the custard so you can (it won’t happen)


 Bye bye sugar! You’re a dick,

Shannon x


Eat Your Heart Out: Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

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Hearts: they keep us from being jerks and they also keep us alive, which is preferable and cool. They pump harder than a horndog to move that nutritious blood around your body. They can’t take holidays either, those poor suckers, and if they do – well, you dead. So let’s treat them like the winners that they are, and feed them the sort of rocket fuel that makes them happy. 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) envelops a range of diseases, such as heart attacks, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease caused by atherosclerosis (accumulation of plaque on arteries) and thrombosis (sneaky, dirty, nasty blood clots). CVD accounts for significant morbidity and mortality in the developed world and is a leading cause of death in Australia (Heart Foundation 2013). Risk factors for CVD include advancing age, family history, dyslipidemia (cholesterol levels more deranged than Gadaffi), hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption (Lord, help us), inactivity, and, importantly, diet.

Now, any dingleberry could probably tell you that diet affects the incidence of heart fuck-ups, but it’s good to know that epidemiological studies agree. Some foods are beneficial in preventing and treating CVD, and some will gladly jizz all over your heart, spit on it, and walk away high-fiving their evil counterparts. Friggin jerks! 

Foods that are Mr Good Boys:

Nuts: Various studies concur that consuming nuts several times a week significantly reduces heart disease and the incidence of myocardial infarctions (when you heart goes “tick.. tick.. tick.. tick BOOM! = not good). Explanations for this benefit include the high quantities of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nuts. These fats have positive effects on blood lipids by lowering LDL (low density lipoproteins = the bad-arse cholesterol) and total cholesterol, which helps rebalance weirdo-wacky-harmful cholesterol levels. The fats also reduce LDL oxidation. Oxidation of LDL involves that bad-arse cholesterol reacting with free radicals. Let me explain this: imagine the LDL is some dickhead you know. They’re already a dickhead, but then they go and take Crystal meth and then they turn into a right cock, and start punching everyone and smashing things. That is oxidised LDL. It is volatile and it goes and messes up your sweet arteries, damaging the tissues and building plaques (atherosclerosis). So if you reduce this occurrence, and combine it with the anti-inflammatory qualities of nuts, you have yourself a reduced risk of atherosclerosis (remember that shitty stuff that clogs your arteries?).

Arginine, an amino acid present in many nuts, may also prevent and slow progression of CVD.  Arginine is a substrate for nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and inhibits atherosclerosis progression through anti-platelet activity. Nitric oxide also helps guys get boners. Just sayin’. Nuts also contain fibre, vitamin E and minerals essential to general heart health. Pass me a nut please, actually, pass me two, as they are best served in pairs. Sorry, Lance, but it’s true.

Whole Grains: These monkeys lower the risk for CVD through various mechanisms. Soluble fibre found in most whole grains lowers blood cholesterol levels by binding with bile acids in the gastrointestinal tract, causing their excretion (like the person on the dance-floor who falls over and drags you down with them). The liver then increases cholesterol consumption to replace lost bile acids, thereby reducing blood cholesterol levels. Thanks liver! You really are a giver.

Whole grains are legendary antioxidants as well. So like their friends, nuts, they prevent oxidation of LDLs (remember those filthy meth-heads?) which reduces the clogging of your arteries and your risk of CVD. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect (through their balancing effect on insulin), which has a positive effect on blood vessel integrity. Aim for a couple of servings of whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, for example) a day, at least! Refined grains, on the other hand, are harmful to the heart, explained down below.

Fruits and Vegetables: 

Large scale studies have found that a minimum of 5 serves of fruit/vegetables daily reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by around 30%. Fruit and vegetables are rich in many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants and fibre. These nutrients affect various physiological functions, such as improving blood lipids, blood viscosity and agglutination (whether or not they stick like shit to a blanket), reducing oxidation, reducing blood pressure, and increasing insulin sensitivity. The high fibre content reduces cholesterol (like those lovely Whole Grains). Antioxidant content in fruit and vegetables also benefits individuals by preventing damage to the blood vessels, thereby reducing that shitty, clogging, atherosclerosis.

Combatting hypertension is also essential in managing CVD. Some flavonoids, such as those found in onions and peaches, can assist nitric oxide function, improving blood vessel function. The mineral magnesium is abundant in many fruit and vegetables. It behaves as a calcium channel antagonist which stimulates vasodilation (nice, loose, chilled blood vessels). These effects could reduce blood pressure and strain on the heart. High potassium intake also lowers blood pressure as it encourages the kidneys to excrete sodium.

Eat heaps and heaps of fruit and vegetables. Just do it.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These guys are very special, so they have a post all of their very own, see here:

http://shannonskitchen.com/2014/06/02/omega-3-fatty-acids-whats-so-special-about-fish-oil/

Foods that will buggar it all up:

Certain foods can contribute to the onset or exacerbation of CVD, and include:

Refined grains:  Western diets are high in refined carbohydrates. God damn it. Refined grains have lost many micronutrients during processing and this lack of nutrients compromises the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis, undertake repair and thrive. Boooooooooooo. Studies suggest higher refined carbohydrate messes with cholesterol levels – increasing LDLs (those monsters) and reducing HDLs (the friendly cholesterol). Refined grains are ranked high on the glycaemic index as they are digested quickly, causing blood sugar elevation. This blood sugar spike triggers increased secretion of insulin. If refined grains are consumed in excess over long periods, metabolic damage and insulin resistance can occur. This constant spiking and falling of blood sugar levels and insulin levels damages blood vessels and promotes inflammation, which in turn can increase atherosclerosis. Let’s not ignore that consumption of refined grains is also correlated with obesity, a predominant risk factor for CVD.

We have all heard dudes roostering on about saturated fat being bad for the heart, but modern research suggests that refined grains are more detrimental to CVD risk than saturated fat (if you are interested for more information, check out this and that). So to look after your ticker, and your entire body (waistline included) ditch refined grains and replace them with whole grains.

Trans Fatty Acids: Trans fats. What a bunch of absolute menaces. Complete arseholes. They are artificial and are found in many fried foods and hydrogenated vegetable oils such as margarine. That’s right, margarine is not healthy. Consumption of trans fats has been strongly associated with a higher risk of CVD. Trans fats adversely affect blood lipids, and excessive consumption raises LDL cholesterol (bad dudes) while lowering HDL cholesterol (good dudes). These absolute dropkicks also promote inflammation and thrombus formation (blood clots that can find themselves causing very inconvenient blood-vessel roadblocks: the kind that make you go dead). They are in deep-fried foods, many packaged foods (like snack foods), baked foods, and margarine.


There is so much more to talk about, and so many foods to have and to leave. But if you’re eating real food (whole foods, not packet foods) then you’re on the right track. Food doesn’t just determine your size, it also determines the health of your precious inners. Like you, I kind of need my heart. I’m still going to eat a sausage roll every now and then, I’m not going to lie to you. But let’s try to do more of the good stuff, and less of the bad.

Savvy?

Shannon x


READING, IF YOU’RE A NERD:

Anderson, J. and Hanna, T. 1999. ‘Whole grains and protection against coronary heart disease: what are the active components and mechanisms?’. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70 (3), pp. 307-308. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/307.full 

Appel, L., Br, S, M., Daniels, S., Karanja, N., Elmer, P. and Sacks, F. 2006. ‘Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension a scientific statement from the American Heart Association’. Hypertension, 47 (2), pp. 296-308. Available at: http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/47/2/296.full 

Connor, W. 2000. ‘Importance of n- 3 fatty acids in health and disease’. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 71 (1), pp. 171-175. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/71/1/171S.full

Damasceno, N., Perez-Heras, A., Serra, M., Cofan, M., Sala-Vila, A., Salas-Salvado, J. and Ros, E. 2011. ‘Crossover study of diets enriched with virgin olive oil, walnuts or almonds. Effects on lipids and other cardiovascular risk markers’. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 21 pp. 14-20. Available at: http://predimed.onmedic.net/Portals/0/crossover.pdf 

Dauchet, L., Amouyel, P., Hercberg, S. and Dallongeville, J. 2006. ‘Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of cohort studies’. The Journal of Nutrition, 136 (10), pp. 2588-2593. Available at: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/10/2588.full 

Dokken, B. 2008. ‘The pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: beyond blood pressure and lipids’. Diabetes Spectrum, 21 (3), pp. 160-165. Available at: http://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/21/3/160.full

Gillingham, L., Harris-Janz, S. and Jones, P. 2011. ‘Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids are protective against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk factors’. Lipids, 46 (3), pp. 209-228. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-010-3524-y 

Heart Foundation Australia. 2013. Data and Statistics. Available at: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/information-for-professionals/data-and-statistics/Pages/default.aspx

Hu, F. 2003. ‘Plant-based foods and prevention of cardiovascular disease: an overview’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78 (3), pp. 544-551. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/544S.long

Hu, F. 2010. ‘Are refined carbohydrates worse than saturated fat?’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91 (6), pp. 1541-1542. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/6/1541.full.pdf+html 

Liu, S., Stampfer, M., Hu, F., Giovannucci, E., Rimm, E., Manson, J., Hennekens, C. and Willett, W. 1999. ‘Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses’ Health Study’.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70 (3), pp. 412-419. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/412.full

Lopez-Garcia, E., Schulze, M., Meigs, J., Manson, J., Rifai, N., Stampfer, M., Willett, W. and Hu, F. 2005. ‘Consumption of trans fatty acids is related to plasma biomarkers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction’. The Journal of Nutrition, 135 (3), pp. 562-566. Available at: http://nutrition.highwire.org/content/135/3/562.full 

Mellen, P., Walsh, T. and Herrington, D. 2008. ‘Whole grain intake and cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis’. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 18 (4), pp. 283-290. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17449231 

Reaven, P., Parthasarathy, S., Grasse, B., Miller, E., Steinberg, D. and Witztum, J. 1993. ‘Effects of oleate-rich and linoleate-rich diets on the susceptibility of low density lipoprotein to oxidative modification in mildly hypercholesterolemic subjects’. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 91 (2), p. 668. Available at: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/116247/pdf/render

Sabate, J. and Wien, M. 2013. ‘Consumption of nuts in the prevention of cardiovascular disease’. Current Nutrition Reports, pp. 1-9. Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13668-013-0059-x 

Seal, C. 2006. ‘Whole grains and CVD risk’. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 65 (01), pp. 24-34. Available at http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FPNS%2FPNS65_01%2FS0029665106000048a.pdf&code=b3bc201c43b88d69a52396b9fb4b0cce

Siri-Tarino, P., Sun, Q., Hu, F. and Krauss, R. 2010. ‘Saturated fat, carbohydrate, and cardiovascular disease’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91 (3), pp. 502-509. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/502.full 

Wang, C., Harris, W., Chung, M., Lichtenstein, A., Balk, E., Kupelnick, B., Jordan, H. and Lau, J. 2006. ‘n- 3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary-and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review’. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84 (1), pp. 5–17. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/5.full

Wu, G. and Meininger, C. 2000. ‘Arginine nutrition and cardiovascular function’. The Journal of Nutrition, 130 (11), pp. 2626-2629. Available at: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/130/11/2626.full 


Mandarin & Pine Nut Salad with Lamb

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Fruit and meat are natural chums: the sweet acidity of the fruit, the lightly salty meat – it just works. Salads, on the other hand, can be downright offensive, and sometimes I would rather eat a dick than eat salad. A wise man once said “You don’t win friends with salad,” and I tend to agree. But sometimes, the timing is just right, and the raw green goodness can be embraced with love. So next time you get the urge, try this little sucker:


 Ingredients:

– 1 peeled mandarin (pop the seeds out unless you like unpleasant mid-meal surprises)

– baby spinach leaves (a handful or two)

– baby kale leaves (a handful or two)

– 1 tablespoon pine nuts

– 1/4 avocado, chopped

– a small drizzle of sesame oil

– 1 teaspoon (or more depending on your desired level of zest) lemon juice

– torn up coriander to your taste (I am a coriander whore so I cannot be trusted to advise you)

– some sort of cooked lamb (I recommend dirty juicy cutlets, just avoid that fat)


 Merge that fruit and meat:

– on your plate combine the spinach, kale, avocado, mandarin, pine nuts and coriander.

-Drizzle that nutty, tasty sesame oil over the top and then drip the lemon juice over.

– Serve with lamb because it has to be done.


 Hey: do it,

Shannon x


Mango’s Smooth Moves

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Smoothies. What can I say? They’re cheeky and I like it. They are a great way to smuggle fruit into the diets of kids and weird grown ups with fruit aversions. I’m not going to lie to you – these babies pack some calories, but they also allow the opportunity for stocking up on minerals (like potassium, calcium, magesium) and vitamins (catch you later, Berocca, you can b-b-bouce). Let’s not deny the fact that they taste bloody awesome. This sultry smoothie tastes like a mini-holiday – banana and mango anyone? Let’s do this.


 (Makes one large serve or divide between grown up and bub)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup frozen cubed mango (you can cut up your own and freeze it or buy it pre-chopped in the frozen supermarket bit, or buy organic stuff from a healthfood place)

– 1 chopped banana

– 1 cup of milk (rice, cow, goat, almond, soy) OR make me really proud and use coconut milk. Let’s go tropical on those unsuspecting taste buds!

– 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut

– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

– optional: 1 or 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt or CoYo

– optional: 1/2 scoop of protein powder if you want to be fuller than a young mans ballsack


 Make it:

– put all this in the blender and whizz the shit out of it. That frozen mango might make the blender work, but he can handle it.

– pour into a cup (split it with a tiny human if you have one)


Yessssssssssssssss,

Shannon x


Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

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Alright, people. Prepare yourselves, when you try this thick, rich, satisfying smoothie, your nipples may harden. Not from revulsion, from joy. This smoothie is delicious, and it is friendly to that lovely body of yours. I think the word superfood is a bit of a silly one, but this smoothie does contain a few ingredients touted as such. Read on, friends:


Ingredients:

– 1 cup of rice milk (you can use cow, soy, coconut, whatever, I just like rice milk because it tastes lovely and is gentle on the tum)

– 1 or 2 tablespoons cacao powder depending on how rich you dig it (different to the dirty cocoa you add to cakes, this one is easily found at health shops)

– 1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

– 3 medjool dates, pitted and chopped

– a frozen banana (chop him up and pop in a glad bag in the freezer the night before)


How to get this into a moustache forming liquid:

– Put everything in a blender and whizz it

– Whizz it good.


Chocolately yours,

Shannon x


lamb cutlets with eggplant wiggly sticks and buttered carrots

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Perfect for a hungry toddler. Those fiesty cutlets provide necessary iron for growth and development, and the eggplant wiggly sticks should keep the little menaces entertained. Now, the carrot. It’s deceptive this carrot. It is juicy and sweet and easy for them to shove into their tiny faces. Don’t judge it until you’ve fried it.


Ingredients:

– eggplant cut into strips (as much as you think they will eat. Bear in mind it cooks down)

– carrot sticks (again, same as above)

– butter, the goo of the gods

– cutlets


Make it happen:

– melt butter in a fry pan. Be generous, people. And don’t use margarine, it’s ridiculous for so many reasons (both in flavour and health)

– add in the eggplant and carrots. Turn these little babies regularly so they don’t burn. Be warned: the eggplant will get wiggly. They will cook in around 5 minutes. Take them out of the pan and allow to cool slightly (no bub burns)

– pop those cutlets into the frypan. Turn them reguarly (like every 30 seconds), this will keep them juicy. I cook ours for around 5 minutes as we serve them medium-rare.

– plate it up for your little darling. Slice up that lamb so the poor dears don’t choke.


And while you’re at it, why not eat this yourself?!

Shannon x


smooshed avocado on toast with trout

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Well. Maybe you’re a toddler, maybe you’re not.

Either way, this breakfast does things.

Serves one human.


 Ingredients:

– quarter of an avocado, smooshed

– one piece of good quality wholemeal bread, toasted

– half to one fillet of smoked rainbow trout

– a squeeze of lemon

– salt and pepper if you are a grown human or discerning tot


 How to make it happen:

It’s obvious.

However, if this is for a toddler, please carefully check the fillet of trout for bones, small and large, and get them the hell out of there. And cut the toast into pieces fit for tiny hands.


 Enjoy, Shannon x


caramello-banana porridge

Caramello-Banana Porridge

This cheeky little breakfast is so good it feels obscene.

Imagine this: gooey banana, mixed with nature’s caramel, a hint of coconut, and the warming comfort of porridge.

P.S. It’s good for you.


Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup rolled oats

– 1 chopped banana

– 4 medjool dates chopped

– 1/2 cup coconut milk (light or fatty, it’s up to you)

– 1/2 cup water (and add more if it gets too thick during cooking)

– milk to your liking once cooked (cow, goat, rice, soy, coconut, almond, whatever!)


How to get this shit in your bowl:

Put the oats, banana, medjool dates, coconut milk and water in a saucepan over med-high heat until it starts bubbling, then turn the heat down looooooooow and let that baby simmer for five to ten minutes, depending how you like it. Pop into a bowl and then add milk of your choice to get the consistency that gets you going. Then enjoy the hell out of that healthy, delicious breakfast.


Thank me later,

Shannon x