Black Bean Quesadillas

If you are wondering why I haven’t posted a recipe in ages, the reason why is that I am hardly home!

Between packing up my apartment and moving in with a friend, driving back and forth between Tofino and catching up with friends before I move, life has really been chaotic! And then I decided that I am going to Arizona for 5 days and then starting my new job that day after I get back (sucker for punishment right there!)

Continue reading “Black Bean Quesadillas”

Satay Mung Beans

A meal that calms all the doshas!

Mung beans do not sound appetizing. It’s probably because “mung” rhymes with “dung” hehe!


But name aside, these satay mung beans are actually a really creamy and wholesome dinner.


Another cool thing about mung beans is that they are very good for balancing the body. More specifically, if you are a follower of ayurvedic medicine, then you know that mung beans are prized for the balancing of the three doshas: pitta (fire), vata (air) and kapha (water/earth).


I have dabbled with ayurvedic medicine since I was 18 and a lot of the science behind it makes sense to me. I have a kapha dominant body, which means that I like to move slow, soak in my surroundings and have a very calm personality (most of the time). Being a body type that is mainly water means that living in a rainforest has it’s challenges as cold and wet body + cold and wet climate = super cold Olivia!


That is where these satay mung beans come in handy because the balancing from the mung beans plus the extra heat from the hot sauce keeps my body functioning at its best and I feel great after eating this meal!


You can buy canned mung beans and that makes this recipe really fast but if you have some time, (or are feeling super organised) buy the dried beans, soak them overnight and then give them a day or two to sprout. Not only do sprouted mung beans taste delicious and make a great afternoon snack, but the sprouted beans bring a really fresh flavour to this dish.



Serves 4___Prep Time: 30 minutes (longer if you use dried beans)___Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Satay Sauce Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves
1 tbs ginger, grated (1 inch of fresh root)
1 tsp oil
400mL can of tinned tomatoes
Juice from two lemons (about 4 tbs)
2 tbs soy sauce
3 heaped tbs of peanut butter
Hot sauce (personal preference)


Method for Satay Sauce:

  1. Place all the ingredients and blend until a smooth consistency.
  2. This recipe yields enough for 2 meals so I freeze the remaining sauce.


Putting it all together:

1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp oil
1 cup of frozen spinach
1 cup of kale, stalk removed
2 cups of mung beans, cooked or sprouted



  1. In a large frypan, cook the onion with the oil until transparent (5 minutes).
  2. Add the frozen spinach and cook until it is defrosted (2 minutes).
  3. Add the kale and mung beans to the mix, along with a cup of the satay sauce.
  4. Let it cook until the whole mix is hot (5 minutes). Serve with rice.

I hope that you love this recipe and if you do, let me know by posting it on instagram with the tag #lifewithlists or posting a picture on the the Life With Lists facebook page

Have a great day! Olivia x 

Green Thai Curry

Cheap and easy meal

I love green thai curry!

I think it is because of my time spent up in Darwin, which has the perfect blend of Australian and Asian cultures. Every Saturday, I would go to the local markets and there would be all sorts of goodies for sale. I generally got a vegetarian spring roll which was as thick as my arm! Or a green papaya salad. Dessert would be sticky rice with mango or banana, or a coconut and lime juice.

Yum! Yum! Yum!  Just thinking about it makes me hungry!

Asian food
The sweets from Parap Markets, Darwin. Photo Credit – Arafura.

Anyway, back to the curry…


I am going to admit, I royally screwed up this recipe! I thought I would make a vegetarian version with brussel sprouts and water chestnuts but the water chestnuts were from a can and had a weird “tinny” flavour to them. I may have used too much curry paste as well because I don’t read the labels.. So the moral of this story is: It’s great to experiment in the kitchen, but sometimes it will turn out wrong! (But that’s ok, because that is how we become better cooks!)


On the plus side, Alex really liked it but I couldn’t get past the tinny taste so I just had rice with olive oil for dinner instead 🙁

So, to make it up to you, I am going to use a fail safe recipe from Thai Kitchen because I have used this one before and haven’t messed it up.



Serves 4___Prep Time: 10 minutes___Cooking Time: 30 minutes


1 x 400mL coconut milk
1/3 cup of stock
2 to 3 tbs of fish sauce
1 to 4 tbs of green curry paste
2 tbs of sugar (optional)
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves (optional)
1 and 1/2 cups of cut up vegetables (I normally use peppers, snow peas and carrots)
500g of your protein of choice (tofu, chicken, beef)
Rice for serving


  1. In a deep frypan or medium saucepan, mix the coconut milk, fish sauce, green curry paste, stock, basil (optional) and brown sugar (optional). Bring to a boil on a medium heat, then turn down to low to let it simmer.
  2. Once the curry mix is simmering, add the chicken to gently poach it.
  3. In another frypan, stir fry the vegetables until they are partly cooked (I like my vegetables crunchy). Add them to the curry mix.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, the curry is ready to serve on a bed of rice with some fresh basil and bean sprouts on top.


Photo Credit: About Food








Heart-Warming Chicken Stew

Cheap and Easy Meal

This stew with chicken, stock and zucchini is as simple as a stew can get! I made it in my slow cooker and it was so nice to come home and have the delicious smells coming from my kitchen. If you don’t have a slow cooker then don’t worry, this can easily be made in a large pot as well.

My recipe is very simple, mainly because I didn’t think too much about this meal as I was making it. In fact, I was due to leave for work in five minutes and decided that instead of chicken fry stir (my original plan), I wanted a simple stew with some crunchy vegetables and fluffy rice. If I had a bit longer, I think I would have added some ginger and chili flakes for some extra warming and serve with a little soy and cilantro (coriander) for an asian twist.


Serves 2___Prep Time: 5 minutes___Cooking Time: 8 hours in slow cooker/1 hour in pot


2 chicken breasts
2 cups of chicken stock
1 zucchini
1 potato

Method – Slow Cooker

  1. Add the chicken breasts (whole) and stock to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  2. Once you have gotten home from work (or woken up), turn the slow cooker to high.
  3. Chop up the zucchini and potato into cubes and add them to the mix.
  4. Let them cook for half an hour, while you are making the rice.
  5. Serve the stew on a bed of rice, with a dollop of sour cream, some chili sauce and some cut up green onions or parsley.

Method – Pot

  1. Chop up the chicken, zucchini and potato into cubes and add them to the pot with a splash of olive oil.
  2. Fry up the mix until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are brown, then add the two cups of stock.
  3. Turn the heat down low and let the mix simmer for half an hour while you are making the rice.
  4. Serve the stew on a bed of rice, with a dollop of sour cream, some chili sauce and some cut up green onions or parsley.


  • Add some fresh ginger (1 tbs), chili and lime juice.
  • Add a clove of garlic and a cup of mushrooms.
  • Add some corn (half a cup) and make some noodles instead of rice.




The Best Risotto Recipe!

Delicious creamy risotto

This is honestly, the best best risotto recipe! Why? Because I have made it so often and have never screwed it up! Also, because  I have made it so often, I know all the little tricks and can also go into autopilot with this meal now.

I learnt to make risotto while I was the front desk manager of a hotel. Our chef, Maija Maltais, is a master with flavours and makes the best lemon and saffron risotto that you have ever tasted. As well as a brilliant chef, she also takes the most breathtaking landscape pictures, which you can view on her website.

This dish was always coupled with fresh Dungeness Crab and a leafy salad and needless to say, it was a well received. Sometimes, we would be a little short staffed so I would help out in the kitchen. I loved doing this and after a while, risotto became the meal that I would look after, just because the stirring was so labour intensive. I can still feel the ache in my arms as I mixed two giant pots on our gas stove, while making sure that I didn’t burn the mix and adding stock when it was needed. We needed to make enough for fifty people and if we were lucky, there would be some left over for the staff.

Risotto is a dish that is well worth the effort. Creamy rice with rich flavours of parmesan cheese and white wine, it is the savoury version of rice pudding.  The science behind the dish is ultimately because of the constant stirring and the slow addition of the stock to the rice. These two actions stimulate the starch from the rice to thicken, thus creating a creamy mouth feel.

The basics of risotto
Everything, ready to go!
easy risotto recipe
The rice, just after I added the wine.
Frying mushrooms
Don’t forget the mushrooms!
risotto recipe
Ready to be served!


If this is your first time making risotto, don’t be intimidated. It is really easy! And with the steps that I give you, you will be a master in no time.




Serves 6 – Cooking Time: 20 minutes


2 cups of arborio rice
2 cups of dry white wine
6 cups of stock
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1 onion
Vegetable of choice (we like using mushrooms, but asparagus is really good too)



  1. Get all your ingredients together, this is crucial.
  2. Chop your onions finely, and your vegetable of choice into large chunks.
  3. Make your stock in a saucepan and have it on a low heat.
    1. Note – Taste your stock. Does it taste very salty or like a soup broth? If it is super salty, dilute it with some extra water. If you do use a very salty stock, you will find that the risotto will be very salty, as the cheese adds a extra salt element.
  4. In a large saucepan, add some olive oil and fry your finely chopped onion until it is translucent.
  5. At the same time, heat a frypan and cook your chosen vegetables for the meal.
  6. Add the 2 cups of rice and cook them until they have soaked up all the oil.
    1. Note – Don’t cook the rice until it has browned a little bit. I have done this and it does not end well.
  7. Add the 2 cups of wine. This is when the stirring really starts so make sure that you have a ladle for spooning your stock onto the rice.
  8. Once the wine has been absorbed, start adding the stock. Keep stirring constantly (yes, you can leave the saucepan to do other things) and keep in mind that the more that you stir, the creamier your risotto shall be.
  9. Once you have added 4 cups of stock, taste your rice. It should be soft on the outside, but still a little bit crunchy on the inside. Add one more cup of stock and try again before you add the last cup. Is the rice really soft and mushy, or is there still a tiny amount of crunch left?
  10. Once your rice has reached the desired consistency, add the 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese. Stir in, along with the fried vegetables and there you have it…. you have made risotto!


Sidenote: I like my risotto a bit “dryer” than some of the other recipes that I have seen on the net. If you want a “soupier” risotto, just add some milk or a little bit more stock at the end.