Fall perfection: pumpkin soup

20130930-194101.jpg

I love coming home from work and being able to eat a cup of soup before starting to prepare dinner. I am always hungry when I arrive home, so a big pot of soup waiting on the counter for me to arrive is dang great! Since cold days are slightly returning – and I’m starting to long for snuggly blankets, pajama days and loads of tea – I thought it was about time to make a big batch of soup for us to enjoy on weekdays. My favorite soup is pumpkin soup. It’s perfect for this time of year and the slight sweet taste is comforting on cold days. I say: fall perfection! It’s my mom’s recipe, and I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid…

You’ll need

(Difficult to say how many servings, depends on how much take each time :), if you eat it all, it will be 771 kcal, but it will be quite amazing if you can finish the whole lot at once though!)

  • 1kg pumpkin
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 tbs Kurkuma
  • Some basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • One chicken broth cube
  • water
  • A small handful of rice

Directions:

cut up your onion, carrots and pumpkin and put them in a large casserole. Add the chicken broth cube and add water until all veggies are covered. Put on a high heat, when the water starts to cook leave to simmer for about a half an hour. Add kurkuma and salt and pepper and the basil leaves. (I often add more once my soup is mixed, because then you can taste)

Mix everything until your soup looks smooth and there are no pieces left. You could sieve it, to make sure your soup is really smooth without any chunks, but I don’t really mind if it isn’t perfect :). Add a handful of rice and leave to cook until the rice is ready (or even longer). I usually add some rice to make my soup a little thicker. I love thick soup, and this is a little trick I learned form my mom to obtain just that!

Et voila, serve extremely hot in a nice bowl. 😉

* I usually fill some jars and put them in the freezer. First of all: it’s a lot of soup, and in that way, you can enjoy it for a long winter to come!

Bon appetit!

xo, Kirsten

Advertisements

Overnight oatmeal

Overnight oats

I’m a morning workout person. When I come home from work, I want food and my couch. I usually don’t want to get in my workout gear and be active. So I make sure I all ready did it in the morning. But hey, do whatevs works for you! Nothing wrong with a late night run. I schedule a workout each morning and set my alarm at 6:30 a.m. (weekdays, I mean). Which means about two out of five times I actually wake up and workout. 🙂 But this works for me, if I would ‘plan’ three workouts, I might only go once. Sew me. So I plan five, sometimes I do make it every day (which is dang great!), sometimes only one.

Anyhow, whenever I come home from an early morning run, I want a quick and nutritious breakfast before leaving for work. But I don’t want to waste too much time on preparing it. And breakfast is essential, in my book, I will not skip it. So, overnight oats are the perfect solution, and it’s delish!  I first heard about overnight oats via Lauren Conrad (whose blog is one of my daily visits), so this one is based on one of her recipes with some alterations.

You’ll need (makes one serving, 306 kcal)

  • 40g Quaker oats
  • 100ml almond milk (or plain milk)
  • Low fat Greek yoghurt (I use Total 0%)
  • Stevia
  • your favorite fruity toppings
  • pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Put the oats in a jar (or bowl) and add your milk. Now add the greek yoghurt and stir it through your oats and milk. If you like it real sweet, like I do, add some cinnamon and stevia. Now put the lit on your jar, or some foil on top of your bowl, just make sure it’s sealed, and refrigerate the mixture overnight.

The next morning I always add my favorite berries (raspberries/strawberries/blueberries) or some mango or passion fruit with another pinch of cinnamon. Since I usually buy frozen berries, I heat them first in a pan, so it turns out to be some sort of berry sauce. You can also add some honey or agave sirup if you want. Or if you had a very tiring workout, you can add a sliced up banana to get some extra carbs in there. Recently I’ve been adding my healthy Nutella too. Dang great.

Oh, and you will love hearing that this entire recipe contains flat belly foods only. Or at least, that’s what I learned from Laurenconrad.com 

Bon appetit,

xo Kirsten

Spicy chicken pita burgers

Spicy chicken pita burger

I know some of you might have the same reaction to the word ‘hamburger’ like I do… I’m like “whooopie let’s start this cheatmeal Friday!” Ok, so what I’m actually trying to say here is that we usually associate burgers with cheat meals or greasy food. Which is true. And it’s so dang good to cheat with a greasy burger every once in while! But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a healthy version. You all ready know my carb free Portobello burgers. So these aren’t as healthy as those. 🙂 But they are sooo good. Promise. And, thanks to the pita bread, it still feels a little like you feast on a good old cheat meal on a plain weekday.

Oh, and if you were wondering where I go for some real hamburger fun without even thinking about my general health or even worse: my encounter with the scale the next morning… I go to ‘De Burgerij’ in Antwerp. They have thousands of burger options and combinations on their menu and it’s super cosy inside. During summer they set out a big terrace by the water. You feel like you’re dining in the south of France! 🙂

But, for now – and until you pay my lovely hometown a visit – you’ll have to stick with these pita bread ones. Recipe is based on one that I found on Pinterest. {I’m a devoted Pinner, according to me, Pinterest is the best invention ever. You can follow my boards here }

You’ll need (makes 2 servings, 479 kcal pp):

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 4 whole wheat pita breads
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Egg
  • Corriander
  • Mint
  • Harissa
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cucumber
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Two garlic cloves

Directions:

I’ve already talked about how I make my minced meat and why before. So head back a few posts for a ‘how to’ (easily put: mix egg with chicken breast in food processor)

Now chop up your red onion and cilantro. Add it to your minced meat and mix the whole lot together with a pinch of harissa. and a chopped up garlic clove. Turn the mince in to 4 even burgers. Bake them in a grill pan on a medium heat.

Now mix your greek yoghurt with the other garlic clove and mint. This is your sauce guys. It’s the best! Roast the pita bread, add some salad, cucumber with the hamburger and a good scoop of greek yoghurt sauce. Easy. As. That. Feast away!

Bon appetit!

xo, Kirsten

Egg white omelet Lover

egg white omelet

Usually my agenda turns into one big dinner plan during the weekend. Because I have been a working class girl for over three years now, my weekday evenings have turned into: scheduled workouts (read: I take my bag with workout clothes to work and drive straight to the gym after work – to make sure I won’t end up on the couch ignoring my ready-made sporty spice bag in the corner), every Tuesday I’m eating at my mom’s place and on other days I’m being the best possible couch potato a girl can be. without any feeling of guilt whatsoever. So, I try to catch up with friends or go on date nights with the love of my life during the weekend. This means my weekends usually contain lots of unhealthy splurges. But, that’s what weekends are for, right? Though it’s tough, I try to watch what I eat while eating at home on those days. I don’t believe in skipping meals to buffer a big upcoming meal. I do believe you can eat as light as possible to compensate. Enters one of my favorite pre-cheat-meals: egg-white omelets!

I have to admit that I’ve been a fan without even knowing about the low calorie benefits. I’m a egg yolk hater. Ever since I was a kid, I always finished my egg whites and gave my yolk to my dad. With a sunny side up, I only ate the fluid part with a piece of bread, with a hardboiled egg I didn’t even touch it. And with a plain omelet, I was ok I guess, but it wasn’t my favorite way of eating an egg. Since I attended UCLA three years ago, I discovered the Californian way of eating an omelet: egg whites only. I felt like they must off thought about me when they created it. It was only until later on {I wasn’t interested in nutritional food facts back then. Like at all. I was a calorie counting or weight watching kind of girl without knowing who-what-where. I just counted what I ate without being bothered about it being healthy or not :)} I discovered how healthy the egg white only version is. So, here is my favorite omelet ‘recipe’ (not much to it really, so hence the quotation marks).

Oh, and I know lately people are saying you shouldn’t count calories. Just eat what you want but keep your portions under control. I say: do what suits you best. I like to count them. Mainly because I’m a muncher. I love food – probably the reason I started a foodie blog – and I want to eat as much as I possibly can, so I need some sort of guidelines in order to keep my munching under control. 🙂 But like I said, do whatever you prefer. I’ll always write down the calories for my recipes, for you to decide if you use them or not as a guideline.

You’ll need (makes one serving, 220 kcal):

  • 4 egg whites
  • 4 wasa crackers (I usually buy the lightweight ones)
  • Cherry tomtatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Turmeric spices (for the dutchies: kurkuma kruiden)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Put 4 egg whites into a bowl and add some turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Now whisk them a little. Pre heat a pan on a medium heat and add some coconut oil. Add the egg whites. Now you can choose if you want to scramble them up or bake a plain omelet. I made an omelet, because I felt it was easier with my crackers.

Meanwhile slice up some cucumber and add pepper. Now you can layer some egg white omelet on top of your cracker with cucumber and some cherry tomatoes on the side.

Works for breakfast and lunch. Every once in a while I’ll also add a whole egg in there too. I just change it to one egg and two egg whites… Depends on how ‘active’ my day was and if I ever made it to the gym or went for a run outside. 🙂

Bon appetit!

xoxo, Kirsten

Vegetable treat

Veggie galore!

Yesterday I had a date with some girlfriends to go and do some water aerobics. It started around 8 p.m. and if you count a half an hour drive and 15 minutes to change into my swimwear I needed a quick dinner which was light and easily digestible.

(And I need some cute sporty swimwear in my life, because I nearly flashed everything with my pretty and fashionable but not so move-proof bikini! Anyone that knows where to find this Stella Mccartney for Adidas bikini? It’s sold out everywhere! And I want it. Or something that looks like it :))

So, I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks at the moment: ‘Mijn Pure Keuken’ (Translation: My Pure Kitchen) from Pascale Naessens. She is Belgium’s top food writer at the moment with all 4 of her cookbooks in the top 10 best seller list. Need I say more? Seems like my country is obsessed with her view on food and her lifestyle.

Her principle is – in simple words – either you eat carbs and veggies or you choose to eat meat with veggies. Preferably the last combination. She does advocates as few carbs in your daily diet as possible though. {You guys might have noticed that I also try to avoid them as much as possible, though I eat them daily, I always go for moderation}

Anyhow, this recipe is based on one of hers. Perfect a a pre workout dinner. You’ll feel full, but not bloated (got to still look cute in the bikini, right?) and it digests easy and you have sooo many veggies in one meal. Lean green machine!

I can highly recommend her books. (I don’t think they are available in English though, so only for the dutchies, sadly) Though it often seem small portions, I always choose more veggies and larger pieces of meat. Also, I have to admit she’s a little careful with seasoning. I love to use a lot of herbs and pepper when I cook. And I love my food spicy 🙂 (good for you digestion, fyi).

Oh, and I might have to admit that the boyfriend prepared me this dinner. So when I came home from work, all I had to do was eat and then hurry back out! 🙂

You’ll need (makes two servings, 326 kcal pp):

  • two pieces of lamb filet (or steak). About 150g pp
  • Medium Zucchini
  • two tomatoes
  • two (or more) carrots
  • spring onions
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

And now it’s easy peasy! Start by peeling the carrots. Slice them in two, lengthwise. Put them in a casserole. Add your tomatoes (you might also want to slice these in two pieces) and spring onions (we put in 4 spring onions). Add the zucchini, also sliced up in four pieces. Sprinkle some olive oil on top and season with pepper and salt to taste. Now pop it in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes. If you want them still a bit crunchy, you might want to get them out a little earlier.

While your veggies are in the oven, bake the lamb fillets on a high heat with some olive oil (or coconut oil) with salt and pepper to taste.

Done!

Sometimes, lovely dinners can be so simple and so good!

Bon appetit lovelies.

xoxo, Kirsten

Yoghurt Parfait

Yoghurt parfait

This is my – at least at the moment – favorite breakfast. The best way to kickstart my day. I eat it almost every day. (Ok, it eat it every day. Besides on sundays, when I go for healthy banana pancakes) That’s how I usually roll, I discover a new ‘breakfast’, love it, and then eat it for weeks until I’m sick and tired of it. But this time, I just can’t imagine ever getting tired of this one. Breakfast perfection. BreakFEAST. It really tastes like dessert for breakfast, which is a perfect {in my opinion} breakfast before heading off to work. A little sweetness early in the morning never killed anyone. Especially when it’s healthy sweetness. I kid you not. So, I guess you could also eat it as a dessert?

My boyfriend turned 26 last wednesday, and I made him a big surprise breakfast. Besides eggs and salmon, buns and a white chocolate with praline filling (his favorite) I made my yoghurt parfait. He loved it too. So, without any further ado or blablabla from my side, here comes the recipe:

You’ll need (makes 1 serving, 350kcal)

  • Greek yoghurt (0% fat – I use ‘Total 0%’ yoghurt, which is 170g)
  • Banana
  • 20g Quaker Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Stevia (or any other sweetener like sugar, honey, agave sirup,…)
  • Goji berries
  • 5g peanut butter (which is only a little, I know. But it’s high in calories, so I use just a pinch for taste :))
  • Fruit (I usually go for strawberries and raspberries, my favorites. But often add mango or blueberries)

Directions

Heat a skillet on a medium heat and add the oats. Meanwhile peel your banana and slice it lengthwise into two pieces. Don’t bother doing it neatly, it’s only for baking. They’ll end up in small pieces anyhow, because they won’t fit your glass or breakfast bowl otherwise ;). Move your oats to the side and put your banana in the middle. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Bake it for about two minutes on each side. You want it to caramelize and soften a bit. After you can mix the banana and oats together with a spatula. You’ll get sticky, caramelized looking oats. Some sort of mash I guess…

Meanwhile I mingle my greek yoghurt with some stevia . I love to make it as sweet as possible, so I’m not giving you directions on how much sweetener you should add to the yoghurt. You can do this to your own taste or not add any at all! 🙂

Mix through some Goji berries. I’ll dedicate a post to these berries later on, it’s a superfood you should really add to your diet. I eat them daily. The list of (healthy) benefits is endless. You can usually buy them in a health store, or, like I do, you can buy them at the market at a Moroccan stall (right next to the nuts and olives :)).

Now you can do it pretty like in the picture above, and layer your ingredients OR you can do like I usually do during weekdays – like when you don’t get up at 6 a.m. to make some breakfast perfection for the boyfriend – and throw the whole lot together in your favorite breakfast bowl :). Greek Yoghurt, baked banana and oats, berries and to top things of: a dash of peanut butter. I  usually add some extra cinnamon on top too {sweet tooth, remember}.

Bon appetit!

Oh, and do you like my table setting for the birthday boy? 😉

xo, Kirsten

Breakfeast

Belgian traditional stew: Stoofvlees

Stoofvlees

‘Stoofvlees’ is a famous dish in Belgium. Any self-respecting Belgian household makes it at least once a month. So do I. Especially since my mom gave me an expensive pot roast from Le Creuset for my 25th birthday. I have to use it wisely. So why not for some old school ‘stoofvlees’ (meat stew) with (healthy oven roasted sweet potato) fries and beer. Jep, you HAVE to eat ‘Stoofvlees’ with fries and drink a beer along with it (preferably dark beer. And preferably Belgian beer ;), though I drink it with a cherry beer. Sweet tooth, remember). You can always add a little salad on the side for your daily greens. I have to admit that this recipe isn’t all that traditional. It’s the pimped Cupcakes and Beans version. A mixture of my mom’s recipe, Famous Belgian TV chef Jeroen meus, some internet tips and my own good sense and a secret ingredient. Which goes live from now on all over the internet :). I also add mushrooms. I don’t know why, but I always want veggies. Plain fries, meat and sauce doesn’t really cut it for me. So, if you want to stay traditional: leave out the mushrooms. They’re just a little C&B touch.

You’ll need (makes 2 servings, 600kcal pp)

–          Stew meat (150g pp)

–          Dark beer (I chose a Belgian classic ‘Grimbergen’)

–          1 cane sugar cube

–          A bay leaf and thyme (or a readymade bouquet garni from the supermarket)

–          1 medium yellow onion

–          1 tablespoon of coconut oil and olive oil (for the sweet potato fries)

–          2 sweet potatoes (about 200g pp)

–          Cinnamon

–          Salt and pepper

–          250g button mushrooms

–          1 slice of dark bread

–          1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Directions

Start by chopping your onion. Keep them a bit chunky. Heat a pot roast (my Le Creuset) on a medium heat with some coconut oil and add the onion.

Meanwhile put a pan on a high heat and add your meat together with some salt and pepper to taste. Fry until it looks golden and brown and after add them to your pot roast with the onion.

Keep your pan on the heat and add half a dark beer (Grimbergen in my case). It’s always a good idea to use a little more. Everyone likes a little extra sauce? Uhu, thought so.

When the beer boils together with leftover meat encrustation you may add it to the pot roast.

Add a cube of cane sugar and your herbs. I added a bay leaf and some thyme.

Now take 1 slice of dark bread and generously apply some Dijon mustard on top. Add it to your pot roast with the mustard facing downwards.

If you don’t want your sauce to get too thick, half a piece of bread is enough for two persons. Now add a pinch of cinnamon (hah, secret cupcakes and beans ingredient! But trust me, it’s dang good!) and let the whole thing simmer away.

Clean your mushrooms, cut them into pieces and throw them in with the rest of the ‘stoofvlees’ (meat stew). Now you can leave it to simmer for up to 3 hours. The longer, the thicker and tastier your sauce will get.

After two hours, you can start with the sweet potato fries.

Pre-heat your oven to 200/220 C° or 392/410 F°.  Peel two large sweet potatoes and cut them into fries. You can choose the thickness you want. I love my fries on the medium side.

Spread them on an oven tray on a baking sheet. Generously sprinkle some olive oil on top and a good amount of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Now put them in the oven for about 45 minutes up to an hour. Check them regularly and stir them a bit.

Now all there is left to do is serve it with a cool beer and enjoy a good sunday night traditional Belgian dinner! 😉

IMG_1886

Bon appetit!

xo, Kirsten