Minute Steak & Challenge

I may have bitten off more than I can chew with making the Unprocessed October pledge!

I was feeling so passionate and inspired when I wrote yesterdays post, but something that I failed to take into consideration is that I live in a completely new country, I barely speak the language and still do not know my way around at all, not to mention that nothing is familiar in the supermarket!

Yesterday afternoon, I took a little walk to my local supermarket here in Brasilia to buy a few things for dinner. I also wanted to take the opportunity to acquaint myself with it and really get to know the products that they sell. I have to admit it was rather discouraging! Don’t get me wrong the produce looks very good – a descent variety of vegetables and cuts of meat, but what was really discouraging is all the ‘side’ products.

I spent 20 minutes in the cold meat section trying to find a good ham and fresh bacon- analysing labels, looking at ingredients and I found nothing that had no preservatives! Likewise I could not find a single Greek or natural yoghurt which did not have sugar as its second ingredient…it dawned on my very quickly, that this challenge could be very, very difficult!

However, with that said – I am still going to try. It may be that at times what I eat is not truly ‘unprocessed’ but living in this corporate world it is ultimately about choices, and about making the best choice with the options you have.

Talking about choices, yesterday I did make the best choice for dinner though: Minute steak, with a creamy onion sauce. It was one of those meals, that I had a vague idea of what I wanted, but ‘free styled’ it and was very surprised (impressed?) with the results! Although I would like to perfect the recipe, the ingredients are so simple, I think anyone could throw this together. Best of all, it took me all of 25 minutes from start to finish! Perfect for a mid-week meal.

I also made a point of using a local Brazilian brand of cream cheese, not only is this half the price of my usual Philadelphia cream cheese but it is also about being brave in the kitchen – don’t get stuck in a rut and be adventurous. I’m glad I did, as it turns out, I think I prefer this cream cheese….

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Brazilian cream cheese and cream

So this is what I did:

Ingredients

  • Olive oil (butter would have been better…but I don’t have any at home!)
  • 3 minute steaks
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 1 chili, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • cream cheese
  • milk
  • cream
  • dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

Heat a frying pan with olive oil, in the meantime season your steaks with salt and pepper.

When the oil is hot, fry the steaks, a minute on either side (hence the name!) until brown on a high heat. Remove the steaks from the frying pan and let rest.

Turn the heat to low and if needed add more oil in the frying pan. Then add the onions and chili and let them sweat for a few minutes, add the capsicum and sauté it all together until your happy with the consistency (I ike to have a bit of bite left in my capsicum)

Add a little bit of milk and cream cheese. Let the cream cheese melt into the liquid. Add some cream to thicken the sauce. I do not have quantities for this (as I didn’t measure it…hence I need to refine the recipe) but I think you can add a little of everything at a time, until you get the consistency that you like.

Season it was salt and pepper, and then add some dried/fresh herbs of your choice. I used oregano with very good results.

Put the steaks back into your sauce, cover the pan with a lid and let simmer for a minute or so. Just to heat up the steaks. Then they are ready to serve!

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I didn’t have my steaks with any sides, but this would go really well with some boiled broccoli or green beans, something to help mop up all that creamy sauce!

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It Is No Longer Just About LCHF….

Starting the LCHF diet changed my life. Don’t get me wrong, I was not sick, I was not over weight, I have not made any miracle recovery. But I have discovered a lot.

What started out as a sceptical experiment into the life of LCHF has not only led me to believe that LCHF is a much better way to live your life, it has also opened up my eyes to the amount of rubbish we are putting into our bodies!

No matter what kind of diet you are on – there is one thing we should ALL strive for and that is cutting out the crap. Even Prince Charles is on the band wagon! You should read his speech which was given at the Lagenburg Form this year: http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/We-are-not-amused-Prince-launches-scathing-attack-on-food-industry

With this in mind, I have decided to take the Unprocessed October Challenge. This is a movement that started 4 years ago and was created by Andrew Wilder from Eating Rules. I think the title is pretty self explanatory, but the idea is that for the entire month of October I will avoid processed food. This does not necessarily mean I have to make everything from scratch (I do not see myself making cheese for example) but what it does mean is that I will choose food products that only include ingredients which I can actually find in my kitchen, that I can actually make myself or that I can actually pronounce (Butylated Hydroxyanisole meets none of these requirements!).

If any of you are interested in taking this challenge too – head on over to Eating Rules, and make the pledge!

First Home Cooked Meal in Weeks – LCHF style!

You all remember how I was complaining a couple of weeks ago about hotel food…..well I am pleased to announce, that I am now in Brasilia, in my new apartment and I made my first LCHF friendly meal today, and it feels good! Wohoo

In the middle of my anti-hotel food breakdown, I saw this great looking recipe on Popular Paleo: Moroccan Chicken. What I wouldn’t have done to get my hands on that meal! There is something about a tomatoey spicie stew which I just find so comforting. Although I did not make this today as my kitchen is not at all stocked at the moment, my lunch was definitely inspired by it.

I had some veggies in the fridge, half a chicken breast and half a jar of tomato sauce that needed to be used up. After I had sliced up and browned the chicken breast and put them to one side. A quickly sauteed all my veggies, poured in the tomato sauce, and threw my chicken back in and let it simmer for a bit. At the very end, I added a handful of fresh parsley and grated cheese. It definitely was not fancy, but I can say it was the best meal I have had in weeks.

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Bring on home-cooked food goodness once again 🙂

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

I watched Jamie Oliver’s TED talk which he did in 2010 and it was incredibly moving, I can’t believe I have not come across it until today. Although this is not LCHF per say, the whole speech, and what Jamie Oliver stands for, is something that I think we should all strive for, and we should demand our governments to strive for.

No matter what so-called diet you are on or what you believe in whether it is Low Carb High Fat or High Carb and Low Fat – there is one thing that we should all agree on, and that is we need to bring an end to the processed food culture.  We need to teach our kids about food and where it comes from, we need to make big corporations accountable for the rubbish they are feeding us, we need to teach people how to feed themselves again, we need education, we need to change!

Please….No More Hotel Food!

So C and I moved out of our apartment two weeks ago today and have been staying in a hotel. The hotel is fantastic, it is a nice feeling to know that all the hard work is done in regards to packing up and out of our apartment, and now we can just sit back and relax and enjoy our final few weeks here in Mexico. However one thing that is really starting to get to me is not being able to cook and eat my own food.

At breakfast today, I took my usual eggs and bacon….but you know what? I just could not stomach it. I mean it looks good doesn’t it? But after 14 days straight I had such a strong reaction against it! So it had to be toast with lots of butter and ham – not LCHF but it was delicious!

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In exactly a week, we will be in our new home in Brasilia….more than anything, I can’t wait to start cooking my own food! But do you know what I am not tiring of? This view from the breakfast table:

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A Leisurely Lunch!

It has been raining cats and dogs here in Mexico City for the last 2 weeks but today has been the first day I have seen sun! So after my run I decided to grab the opportunity to have lunch outside, and work on a post idea I have for The Travelling Chopsticks, so I went to one of my favourite cafe’s here in Polanco, the Belgian chain Le Pain Quotidien:

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I started with a summary gazpacho – which really is one of the best gazpacho I have had (sorry mummy…yours is good to!!) Followed by a Niçoise Salad. If you ignore the piece of bread poking out behind the gazpacho, and the baby potatoes hiding under my salad leaves (which naturally I did) this was a very healthy LCHF meal 🙂

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Writing some notes for TTChopsticks

I am slowly getting back onto that band wagon!