• meganalsford

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There are plenty of homemade nugget recipes on the web and these are just my take on them. I wanted to achieve two things, keep the sodium down and make them soft and easy to chew once cooked.


Nuggets or meat/veggie patties are a great finger food for little ones. I just find a lot of them end up too hard to chew for my little 1 year old. She only has two teeth so can't chew through much and while she'll try meat, she finds it too dry and it all comes out as a big pile of mush. And like 40% of other parents, I describe my little one as fussy. So finding a food combo she'll eat is challenging.


As it turns out, she loves pumpkin (big win for Mum) and I happened to be gifted a giant home grown pumpkin so I turned some of it into these nuggets. They are quite tasty and even the big adult kid ate them! If you wanted these as a family meal then I think they'll go well on a burger, or could even be eaten as a patty with a side of salad or other veggies.



They also freeze really well and I'd expect to last well for at least a month. The other great advantage is they are fairly mess free eating (huge bonus if taking these for a picnic lunch).


NOTE 1: To make the wholemeal bread crumbs, I used two slices of wholemeal bread. Any bread will work and it's a great way to use up older bread before it goes mouldy as it doesn't need to be fresh. The key is to make the sure the bread has completely dried out. To do this you will want to toast the bread slowly and let it cool. Start by putting the bread in the toaster at it's lowest toast setting, cool and toast again until no soft bits remain. Then cool again and crush with your fingers.


NOTE 2: I made medium sized patties and cut into fingers. You could easily make them bigger or smaller depending on your needs. For example make them bigger as a burger patty or smaller for try nugget shape.


Chicken and Pumpkin Nuggets

Makes 9 medium patties


Ingredients

250g chicken mince

250g pumpkin peeled and diced into 2cm cubes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 slices thick cut wholemeal bread, turned into breadcrumbs - see note 1 above.

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200oC. Add 1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin oil and pumpkin to a bowl and mix to coat the pumpkin.

  2. Cook pumpkin until soft, roughly 20mins. Let cool and mash with a potato masher.

  3. Add all ingredients, extra virgin olive oil, together in a bowl and mix well to combine.

  4. Heat remaining extra virgin olive oil in a small frypan over medium heat.

  5. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out chicken nugget mixture and add to the pan. Flatten slightly with a spatula. Cook for roughly 1.5minutes each side until cooked through.

  6. Serve warm.




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  • meganalsford

It is great to see that the Victorian Government has announced a plan to ban some single use plastics as soon as February 2023! Government agencies will need to remove the problematic plastics even sooner by February 2022.


What plastics will be banned?

  • Straws

  • Cutlery

  • Plates

  • Drink stirrers

  • Cotton bud sticks

  • Expanded polystyrene food and drink containers.

This is great news for the environment as these items end up in landfill or our waterways after only being used for such a short time. This change will be more difficult for some than others and the Victorian Government has agreed to work with stakeholders on developing a plan to enact this ban. Visit their website for more information as it unfolds:


Ban on Single Use Plastics


As a consumer using these items, now is the time to set yourself up with a little re-usable kit for when you're dining out or on the run. And why wait until Feb 2023, you can start now. Here are my tips on what to use instead:


Straws

Buy a set of metal straws - usually they come in a set of 4 which is enough to keep one in the car, one in your bag and enough spare to rotate in the wash. Get a set that includes a cleaner. I find simply rinsing with water after each use and washing each day (if used) as you would your other cutlery works well.


Or here's a novel idea - don't use a straw. Besides those people who may need a straw to safely swallow their drinks, most of us don't actually need straws. And the most environmentally friendly way to replace straws, is not to use one.


Cutlery


If Covid restrictions allow then I'd suggest visiting your local thrift shop and getting yourself a set of metal cutlery. You really only need a spoon, butter knife and fork. To make it easy to carry this around with you, why not create a foldable pocket from an old tea towel, or skip the sewing and just wrap it up with an old ribbon like I have below? Or you could find a reusable container to fit them in, this will be handy to store your dirty cutlery after you've used it.




Plates or Food Containers

Firm reusable plastic plates are a good option. I'd say buy them from your local thrift shop, but I've had no luck trying to find any in a decent condition. If you can find them, then don't hesitate to grab them! Alternatively, I can recommend Replay plates and cups. The Replay range is made in the USA from BPA and BPS free #2 HDPE recycled plastic and is freezer and top rack dishwasher safe. I've used them for my daughter and LOVE them. Buy them from Little Earth Nest and support a local shop too (if you're a Victorian).


Drink Stirrer

If you've got your reusable straw or reusable cutlery you won't need a stirrer - easy.


Cotton Bud Sticks

Use a washcloth or cotton balls not on sticks. Note: you shouldn't be using cotton bud sticks to put in your ears! Ever.

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  • meganalsford

I love cooking with fresh herbs, I love the flavour they add to cooking and prefer it over dried herbs in most instances. What I don't like, is buying little bunches of them wrapped in plastic only for them to perish before I get a chance to use them. I also hate picking off individual tiny leaves but there isn't much I can do about that part (anyone have any ideas or tips to make this easier?).


Fresh herbs are also a great nutritious addition to any meal. They contain antioxidants that have been shown to support good health. Different herbs will have different health benefits, this is why its great to aim for variety. They also add flavour to meals, so if you're trying to reduce your salt intake but find your meals bland, add herbs.


While I'd ideally be able to grow my own herbs, I haven't yet mastered my green thumb to grow sufficient quantities to match my appetite. I'll keep trying but in the meantime store bought is where I'm at. So if I can make them last longer then at least I can buy them in bulk from the market where they don't come in plastic and I'll use them without resorting to adding them to the compost.


I've read plenty about the best way to store fresh herbs and thought I'd do my own experiment to see which method works the best. Each herb would be different but I'm starting with continental parsley as this is the herb I probably buy the most (thanks chimichurri).


The three methods I'm comparing are:

  1. Glass of water, changing the water every 2 days and kept out of direct sunlight - to avoid wasting the water I use it the leftover water to water my indoor plants.

  2. Wrapped in paper towel in a container in the fridge.

  3. Left in the plastic wrap and placed into the veggie crisper drawer with other green leafy veg.

RESULTS

Day 1 - All three methods ready to go




Day 3 - After just three days, the herbs left in the wrap and placed in the fridge had already started to wilt and turn yellow. The other two options looked fine.



Day 8 - It took another five days for the parsley left in the glass of water to begin to wilt and turn yellow although it was still firm. The parsley in the paper towel still looked fresh.




WINNER = Wrapped in paper towel in a container in the fridge.




The paper towel method was far superior than the other two methods for continental parsley. Although 8 days isn't bad with the glass of fresh water. If you don't have spare room in the fridge and can use the parsley in 8 days then keeping in a glass of fresh water is better than leaving unwrapped in the fridge.


I should note that during the experiment the temperature was mid 20 celsius in my kitchen. Perhaps in cooler weather the glass jar method may have faired better. Also despite turning yellow and wilting, I still used all the parsley in this experiment in my cooking. I used it to add flavour to a dish versus using it in chimichurri as parsley is the hero ingredient and really needs the freshest parsley in my opinion.

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