Insomnia

Once again the Insomnia bug has hit me.

So I leave the comfort of my warm bed, crawl out quietly as to not disturb the night owl that attempts to sleep beside me and here I sit in the living room, lights dimmed and wide awake.

It’s always nights like these that I wish for one of two things – or realistically, one thing, but I would be happy if I could accomplish 2 when 1 isn’t attainable!
1. That I could fall asleep
2. That I could be productive if I have to be awake!

Alas, if 1. can’t happen, it generally means that 2. can’t happen because I’ll either be too loud and wake up those fortunate enough to sleep… or because my head is too fuzzy and blurred to do anything productive!

So instead…
I try to read: I got 4 pages in before I had to stop. Focus was waning. And once you have read the same sentence 8 times and think that you need to read it again… you know its’ time to quit!
I check my emails: Nothing new.
I look at Facebook: Two minutes later…
I see if there are any new YouTube Video’s to watch: No new ones, 10 minutes of browsing

I then think… “I should be productive”
Dishes: Too loud
Cleaning: Too loud
Photo Editing: Big computer in bedroom. It would be too loud to get it
Emails: Do I have anyone I need to write too? I am coherent enough to try?
Blog: Here  I am. Writing absolutely nothing important or productive… but hopefully, it’s causing my brain to fatigue more and soon I shall be able to join the land of sleep!

But for now… I might see what good things can be found of Pinterest. Or watch some Vines.

And – Happy Saturday morning to my Canadian friends!

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Chicken & Veggie Lasagna

I might be on a bit of a chicken mince band wagon at the moment… but once you find a good thing, you have to stick to it.

So after an amazing success story with my Lemon Zucchini Chicken Meatballs, I thought that I should find another use for chicken mince.

So I started to think – what does one make with beef mince? Shepherds Pie. Spaghetti Bolognese. Lasagna!

Lasagna. Lets attempt that!

I’ve never made a lasagna before – maybe its because I’ve lived at camp for so long and always had lasagna available to me – who knows, but I thought that I would attempt this! And personally, I liked this Chicken & Veggie Lasagna better than any beef version I have ever had.

With some thought and seeing what was available in the fridge, this is my lasagna creation!

Also – on a side note… I had difficulty deciding how lasagna is spelt… is it with an ‘a’ or ‘e’ at the end. With some quick internet searching, I discovered both are correct – so you can let me know if you prefer lasagna or lasagne.

Chicken Lasagna

500g Chicken Mince
1 Carrot
1 Zucchini
1 Sweet Potato
4 Tomatoes
140g Tomato Paste
2 cloves Garlic
1 tablespoon Italian Herbs
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Rosemary
Salt & Pepper
200g Mozzarella Cheese
100g Parmesan Cheese
8-10 Lasagna Sheets

Grate carrot, zucchini and sweet potato with small grater. Finely dice garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté garlic. Add grated vegetables and fry for 2 minutes. Add chicken mince. Fry until chicken is cooked. Dice tomatoes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to chicken mixture. Add herbs and spices and mix well.

In a lightly greased oven proof dish, place a thin layer of the chicken mixture. Layer pasta, then chicken mixture, then sprinkle cheese. Repeat. Add one more layer of pasta and then cover with grated cheese. This will make a crunchy top layer.

Bake in preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F for 45-50 minutes.

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Pumpkin & Spinach Risotto

I might be breaking all of my blogs rules here by including this recipe

For two reasons:
1. It includes onions and
2. It’s possibly is a recipe that I won’t be making any time soon.

Not because it’s a bad recipe, but because it contains pumpkins. You see… in Australia, most of us grew up having pumpkins as a savoury… but in Canada, pumpkin is a sweet – it comes in muffins, pies and even ice cream treats! So, as much as I love pumpkin, it’s a savoury for me. For my hubby – it’s a sweet!

The other reason why I won’t be making it soon is because it contains spinach too! Not only do we live life with no onions, but my husband has a hereditary condition called Hemochromatosis. Basically that means that his body stores excess iron. So after learning more about this condition, many doctor’s visits and a consultation with a dietitian and a geneticist, we have come to learn that he needs to stay away from foods that are high in iron. Hence, no more spinach.

BUT

I am including this recipe in here because it’s such a quick and simple meal to make. And if I could… I would make it more often!

Pumpkin, Spinach Rissoto

Ingredients:
250g Pumpkin
1 Onion
1 clove Garlic
2 cups Aborio Rice
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
5 cups warm Stock – Chicken or Vegetable
100g Baby Spinach Leaves
½ cup Parmesan Cheese

Cut pumpkin into large cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large saucepan/wok, add diced onions, crushed garlic and pumpkins. Cook until onions are soft. Stir in rice, cook for 1 minute. Add stock and cumin and mix well.

Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally (if you have a sticky saucepan you will need to stir more often towards the end of the 15 minutes). Roughly chop and add spinach with ¼ cup of the grated cheese for the last minute. Serve & garnish with remaining cheese.

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Burger Time!

Today I share with you, what is probably going to be the first of many unfortunate onion story!

My husband and I had a meeting today just before lunch. By the end of the meeting we both were thinking of replenishing our thirst and hunger so we decided to go to the plaza and get some lunch before heading home.

So we went to check out a place that we have heard about lots. We looked at the menu and couldn’t see that there would be too many issues. It was only burgers after-all.

“Lean beef patty with cheese, salad, relish & herbed mayo on a traditional bun”

Doesn’t that sound good? In true Aussie style, I upgraded to a burger with egg , bacon & beetroot too! But for Cam, he kept it simple.

We ordered, making sure that the ‘salad’ was just a fancy word for lettuce and that it would include no onion.

We made our way to our seats with our drinks and waited for the burgers to arrive.

A few minutes later, our burgers arrived. I should have taken a photo – because there was just no way that I was going to fit that burger in my mouth, let alone hold it without the contents spilling! I didn’t win any graceful eating awards with this one! I think by the time I got to my 10th bite, I managed to find the actual patty!

However, on Cam’s third bite… a resounding “Oh no, this isn’t good” was exclaimed! And he opened it up to reveal onion chunks in the relish! But it was too late. Not much could be done by this point. We scrapped off as much as we could but that was about all we could do. Oh, and take an antihistamine to hopefully counter react some of the onion contamination.

The moral of the story: We now have learnt that relish will most likely contain onions. And when we return to this restaurant, it’ll be relish free burgers for Cam!

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Toblerone Cheesecake

I’m a chocolate lover… I can’t deny it! And this is an old faithful of mine.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Toblerone! Oh, so good!

And cheesecake, that delicious creamy smooth texture and amazing taste!

Combine these two things… and you will find yourself in cheesecake heaven!

Toblerone Cheesecake

Ingredients:
1 cup Chocolate Biscuits
½ cup Butter
500g Cream Cheese
½ cup Sugar
200g Toblerone Chocolate
½ cup Thickened Cream

Crush the biscuits until it resembles breadcrumbs. Combine with melted butter and press into lightly greased spring form pan. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer for 2 minutes or until smooth. Add sugar, melted Toblerone chocolate and cream. Mix until well combined then pour into prepared crumb base and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set. Serve with shaved Toblerone.

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A Story Is Told…

I have come to believe that food and story telling go hand in hand.

How often do you find yourself out for dinner with friends? Catching up over a steaming hot cup of coffee (or in my case, hot chocolate)? Sitting at the park, at the beach, in the backyard or on the deck, with a sandwich in hand and a loved one close by? Or gathered around the table with family or friends… sharing in food… sharing your stories?

My guess is that happens on a daily basis.

Food and stories go hand in hand. 

Looking back on some key moments that have happened in my life – not one of them didn’t involve food in some form. From weddings to birthdays, anniversaries to funerals, graduations to promotions, not one has been celebrated without food. And all of these have stories.

I could tell you about the time that I was in Thailand and we were on Ko Phi Phi Island during the World Cup… late nights hanging out watching the fire dancers or big screens playing soccer games, at beach parties… and hamburgers, always hamburgers! Or when we went to Cambodia and saw the temples near Siem Reap and at the end of each day, we would go to at least three restaurants – one for drinks, one for mains and one for desserts – just to soak up as much of the culture as we could. I could go on…

This is why I want you to know a story behind every recipe I share. I want you to know the essence behind the recipe, the reason why it is a favourite or a new discovery to share. This is why I want to share life as we know it without onions and the amusement that comes with it.

Food. The invitation for stories to be created.

Not only do food and stories go hand in hand… friendship, food and stories go hand in hand.

Lemon Zucchini Chicken Meatballs

The other day I discovered an incredible thing – Chicken Mince!

Ok… really, it’s not that big of a discovery.

I have known about Chicken Mince for quite some time but I have never bought it!

So the other day I decided that it was time to stop walking past it and pick it up.

Then it was time to figure out what I should cook with it.

And this my friends, is what I created…

Lemon Zucchini Chicken

Ingredients:
500g Chicken Mince
1 Zucchini
½ Lemon
½ cup Breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper

Using a small grater, grate zucchini and squeeze excess juice out. Combine chicken mince and zucchini. Squeeze approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into chicken. Add salt and pepper as desired. Mix well.

Roll into small balls. Makes about 15 balls. Roll meatballs in breadcrumbs until covered.

Heat fry pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add meatballs. Turn occasionally. Cook until outsides are browned. While browning, squeeze remaining lemon juice over meatballs to add additional flavour. Once meatballs are browned, transfer to an oven proof dish and cook in moderate oven 180ºC / 350ºF for a further 15 minutes.

Life With No Onions

And so it begins…

After a year hiatus from my other blog… I thought that I would start a fresh. This blog is going to focus on a few different things. Food will be a HUGE component of this blog… is it named Life With No Onions after all!

My husband has an onion allergy – hence the blogs name – and here I would like to explore our life as we rework, reshape and find amusement in life as we now know it. So if you would like to join us on this ride… feel free to come along!

Life With No Onions