With the first of March came a complete about-face in weather in our neck of the woods. Where I had been sleeping without even so much as a sheet over my largely pregnant body for the preceding weeks due to extreme and uncomfortable humidity, I suddenly needed not only that sheet, but my duvet too to keep cosy on the chilly nights. Of course my feet were very, very pleased with the new temps, allowing me to choose footwear other than my $5 jandals since ugly swollen feet were not a daily given now.
With the change to cooler temperatures, so too comes a change in the kind of foods I want to eat – less salads & raw vegetables, more warmth and comfort foods. The all too common problem with those pesky “comfort foods” however, is the over-abundance of carbohydrates. It is for this reason that I am particularly please Sunrice have released a new Health & Wellbeing range to their line-up. This range has been specifically created to cater for the needs of conscious eaters who are actively seeking to incorporate more healthy grains to their diet. There are several great blends available including Rice & Barley and our new family favourite Rice & Quinoa. Also available are Low GI White & Brown as well as Organic White & Brown Rices.
We don’t eat a lot of pork in our home, mostly because it’s not a meat I particularly enjoy, so I made this meal on a night when I knew I would be going out (hehe). As is common practice with most mothers of toddler-aged-children however, I did have a few mouthfuls of my little man’s bowl as he was struggling to finish up his hearty portion and boy did the flavours make me happy. You could of course substitute the pork for chicken, beef or fish.
My kids and husband loved this, and because it was so laden with a variety of great vegetables, I was more than happy with the way it got wolfed down. 5+ a day and all that!
- 600 grams of Pork Fillet or tenderloins, fat trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 T Canola or Peanut Oil
- 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 250g beans, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 5-6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped (you could grate this if you wish to better conceal for littlies)
- 2 sticks of celery, washed and finely chopped
- 2 medium sized zucchinis, washed and chopped (also can be grated)
- 6 large florets of broccoli, washed and cut into smaller pieces
- ¾ C peanut butter
- ¾ C warm water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 T grated fresh ginger
- ¼ C soy sauce
- 2 t honey
- 2 t sesame oil
- Place the peanut butter in a mixing bowl and add nearly all the water. Mix together with a fork or small whisk. The peanut butter will eventually mix with the water, and become lighter in colour. Continue to add the remaining water a couple of tablespoons at a time, until you have something that looks like hummus in colour and texture. The amount of water depends on the peanut butter, and how much solid to oil it has.
- Add the garlic and the ginger and mix together. Taste. You should taste both the garlic and ginger. If you don’t, add more.
- Now add the soy sauce and taste again. If it doesn’t taste salty enough, add more, a tablespoon at a time, until it tastes right to you.
- Add the honey, mix and taste again.
- Last, add the sesame oil, mix and taste. The sesame oil will bring a roasted complexity to the sauce. Add more until you like the taste.
- *If you wish to add a bit of heat, add cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon at a time to achieve your desired level of heat. With young children, I tend to avoid adding spice where I can so I omit this altogether. You may also need to adjust your honey quantity if you add cayenne.
- Set aside and begin to cook the meat and vegetables.
- Over medium high heat, heat a tablespoon of the oil in a frypan or wok. Add the pork and cook quickly until nicely browned. Drain any liquid, remove cooked meat to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat again. Add the onion, and cook until golden and transparent.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Next, add all the vegetables and cook over medium to high heat, stirring frequently.
- Continue to cook until vegetables are almost ready, yet still have a bit of a bite in them.
- Pour completed sauce over the almost completely cooked vegetables and continue to cook, stirring for approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Return the meat to the pan also, ensuring you avoid adding any of the liquid that has drained from the meat whilst sitting. Stir all together until the sauce is evenly coating the vegetables and pork and the meat is heated through.
- Serve over prepared Sunrice Rice & Quinoa mix or regular rice of your choosing.
- As with the flexibility of meat used in this dish, you can add or omit whichever vegetables your family enjoys. I use whatever I have in the fridge at the time and use as many or as few a variety as I have on hand.