Tag Archives: healthy

January = wonder woman me.

So I’m doing The January Cure through Apartment Therapy. You spend the month getting some projects done and identifying housey-home* things that need fixing either this month or over the year.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

If my desk area looked like this right now, i would be so happy. Planning to replace it with a cupboard big enough for the filing cabinet to go inside. Will just spin aimlessly on the chair in the centre of the room.

So far, I have done things like: create a project list, vacuumed and washed the floors (ok, no I didn’t, Ben did because he said he would and they look awesome!), buy flowers, cleaned up the kitchen (but yet to tackle the pantry of dank, dark doom and forgotten corners. Doesn’t that sound like a Harry Potter book? Harry Potter and the pantry of forgotten corners…) and picked projects to tackle this January (fix the kitchen sink washers and re-hang my inspiration board which fell off the wall, oh I don’t know… 3 months ago?), choose a piece of art to hang (inspiration board). <– This is an appallingly long sentence. Sorry about that.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The lonely inspiration board that fell off the wall. Currently in that position because it hides a power point and cord nicely. Oh, and the fabulous lady in the photo is my Great Aunt, aged 92.

The 8th project is to plan a party or get together. Not sure on that one, although Ben’s birthday is coming up.

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it's far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn't like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

Another area I wish currently looked like this. it’s far more crowded than this picture and the worst part is that I actually use it all regularly. Ben bakes bread, I like to bake everything else, we use random annoying foods like nutritional yeast, chia and spirulina and who doesn’t like approximately 20 spices with which to cook?

My Facebook status this morning was:

So I’m feeling quite superwoman today: I’ve jogged, I’ve eaten my raw chia cacao pudding with strawberries and homemade almond milk, I’ve yoga-cised, done at assortment on housey-home things and plan to go to Bunnings to get new light bulbs and washers for the kitchen. All I need to do is prison time for tax-fraud and I’d be a regular (granola version) Martha Stewart.

If I can get a handle on the desk and the pantry before I go back to work (whilst remembering to finish writing and editing an article and planning two more… sleep? what?) I will be a happy person.

Oh, and do my tax returns for the last 2 years. No really. I should probably do that.

 

*Housey-home came from this one time where Ben and I watched 100 episodes of Tobuscus playing Minecraft on Youtube. The term has stuck. No I don’t do drugs. Yes, I clearly needed a better hobby at that point in my life.

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Morning Sunshine!

So I try to be healthy, but I am terribly lazy. Living in an apartment also means I don’t feel like turning on the blender or juicer at 6 in the morning. I want my neighbours to like me. So when I saw this raw cacao chia pudding recipe on Pinterest that requires no equipment besides a tablespoons and a jar, I knew I had to try it.

I’ve never used chia before. I knew that when you soak them, they swell up and go gelatinous. Well they certainly did! They reminded me of tomato seeds with the gel sack around them. My breakfast gets made while I’m asleep and I can eat it at home or take it to work. Chia is so darn good for you, I can’t believe I haven’t tried it before. I think I’ve found a good 2014 breakfast to obsess over.

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CHOC CHIA PUDDING

INGREEDIENTS:

2 tbs chia seeds (I used white chia, which is actually grey)

1 cup milk (I used homemade almond milk [always using Sarah B’s recipe] but you don’t have to be that committed).

I tbs raw cacao (I used two because I apparently can’t read recipes)

Sweetener of your choice (I used raw honey from Stanthorpe but of course you could use a vegan option)

Add-ins of your choice (I used banana and coconut, but will be buying blueberries and strawberries soon. I would also add sunflower or pepitas or chopped almonds, but I already added almond pulp, as you can read below).

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My other variation:

As I had just made almond milk, I added two tablespoons of the almond pulp leftover from that. It adds some bulk and nutrients and means that the almond pulp doesn’t go to waste (although it’s a great addition to hummus as well).

 

DO:

Stick everything but the fruit/coconut in a jar. Shake well (very well!). Leave in fridge overnight and then add fruit or other add ins of your choice. Use a bigger jar than me. I was adding sliced banana bit by bit. I’ll have to find a good sized jar to take this to work in.

What does it taste like?

Hmmm… well as I said, I added too much cacao, so it had this intense, dark chocolate flavour. The bitterness of the cacao was perfect with the sweetness of the banana. I’d use less cacao just to stretch it further next time. You can never hoard too much cacao.

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Enjoy!

 

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Super Duper Easy Chickpea Rissoles

So this is one of the easiest recipes in the world. I make them regularly and they’re full of protein and very flexible on the flavour balance.

I like to make these on the weekend and eat them for lunches. They freeze well and are nice hot or cold. I took this batch to a picnic on a perfect Sunday afternoon. Very yum.

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inGREEDients:

2 cans of chickpeas

2 eggs (if you want to make these lower calories, just use egg whites. I hate waste).

4 tbls flour

4 tbls parsley or other greens floating around (spinach, coriander, etc.)

Cumin, paprika, ground coriander

Salt and Pepper

Any other spices or flavours that you fancy

 

DO:

Drains and rinse the chickpeas. Chuck those puppies in the food processor and give them a blitz to get them started. Add all the other ingredients and blend until sticky (you may want to mix more or less depending on what texture you like).

Roll into balls or patties and bake on a well oiled tray until outside is crispy.

These are really nice with sweet chilli sauce. I had them the other day with a spinach and feta dip and they were delicious. You could also put this in felafel.

Makes about 2 dozen balls, depending on how small you roll them.

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So easy, you won’t have any excuses not to try them and report back!

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RAW ENERGY

So Ben and I have been to Raw Energy since forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but certainly ever since there has been a branch at Cotton Tree. There are also branches at Mooloolaba, Peregian Beach and Noosaville. We like Cotton Tree on a Sunday morning. This time, I went with my mum on a Monday morning.

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Despite the name, Raw Energy doesn’t have a lot of raw products outside of its juices. Until recently, they had almost no vegan food either, but this is starting to change. There was a vege stack that was vegan on the day we went there and they sell some energy balls that are vegan. I’ve had the avo and tomato toast when I was vegan which is really yummy.

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal :)

Another place that gives you plastic fruit to summon your meal 🙂

I opted for my “usual” juice: Green With Envy. It’s apple, pear, celery, broccoli, spinach and something else (I’ve forgotten) but the best part is you can’t taste the veggies! Mum had a Tropical Twist, which is orange, pineapple and ginger. I also ordered the lentil and three cheese triangle and two chialicious balls to take away for later.

These are my new favourite thing. I'm so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

These are my new favourite thing. I’m so glad to choc ones were out so that I tried these instead.

This place can get hectic on the weekend and service can become slow, but today was a Monday and things were speedy. We sat at the communal table and read “Vogue” while we waited.

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My triangle was delicious. The lentils had a tasty tomatoey sauce they were cooked in and although I couldn’t name the “three cheeses”, I really enjoyed the meal and the wee bit of salad on the side. Our juices were great- they always are. There’s a huge juice and smoothie list to stare at while you order or wait.

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Overall, this meal was delicious and boosted our spirits. We went and browsed the shops and then sat in the shade behind the public pool overlooking the Maroochy River mouth. Very relaxing.

Be patient on weekends and you’ll be rewarded!

Raw Energy on Urbanspoon

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ORAWGI

So I’m in love. I love raw food places because you can feel the care in the food. I’m serious! Nothing can be “slapped together” in a raw food cafe because everything is a process- blending, chilling, dehydrating, marinating, etc.

Orawgi (meaning Organic, Raw and low GI) is run by the supremely talented Jamie Louise Stevenson. I like to think her parents read her Treasure Island as a child. It’s actually located inside another building- BioSolar- on Ipswich Road in Wooloongabba. Their Facebook page is here and the owner also runs the yoga studio next door.

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The decor is white and bright but a lot of fun. I forgot to take a picture of the wall that was just black and white photo frame wallpaper with the staff’s colour photos stuck on it, but it was very cute. There were quite a few people there and the three staff were bustling and busy.

Ethics is the name of the game here. Everything is vegan (except for honey in smoothies) and organic and made in the store. It’s not cheap, but when you consider the labour that goes into making an organic dehydrated pizza base or quiche or bagel, it’s worth it! Take away containers are biodegradable and non-plastic wherever possible.

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I oggled the display cabinet but decided upon the pizza straight away. I think most of the meals were $15 but a lunch deal is $20 and includes either a drink or something sweet. I ordered The Jefferson Special smoothie (walnuts, protein powder berries and honey) with my lunch and it also came with salad. I had the garden salad and the kale salad (although you can just have one or the other if you want). This might not look like a huge serve, but I was FULL by the time I’d finished.

That is not a real orange. It is my "magical orange" which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

That is not a real orange. It is my “magical orange” which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

The salads were tasty- the kale one had purple carrots and a Asian soy-ish flavoured dressing with lots of sprouts and seeds. Fresh.

How do I describe raw pizza? Hmmm… well the veggies included tomato, capsicum and florets of broccoli (trust me when I say that broc on a pizza can work!) on a crispy base. The base is made from nuts that are made into a “dough”, rolled thin and then dehydrated (dried without cooking) until crispy. The sauce was amazing- it tasted like sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps capsicum buzzed up in a Vitamix blender until super-fine and smooth. There was also a drizzle of cashew sauce- cashews, garlics and I’d have to guess perhaps some nutritional yeast- which serves as the “cheese”. This is not Dominos people, this is nutrient dense food that tastes great.

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I also ordered a brownie to take away but they were all out so I had the chocolate and salted caramel tart. It’s a hard life. Even though it has coconut oil/butter in it, it lasted all the way home via the fruit and veg shop without turning into a gloopy mess. I don’t know what I liked more: the base or the toppings.

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The verdict?

Can you marry a shop?
Orawgi on Urbanspoon

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Cranking up My Breakfast: Are Eggs for Me?

So I don’t know about where you live, but in Australia a mid week breakfast tends to be toast or cereal. Maybe yoghurt or muesli or oats if you’re a bit fancy. A piece of fruit? Perhaps.

Upon selecting these photos, perhaps I’m a breakfast person after all.

We save cooked breakfasts for the weekend.

For a long time, breakfast for me was fruit or yoghurt. I couldn’t stand the thought of more in my tummy that early in the morning.

My trainer, however, had other ideas. He’s actually a guy from work and a bit amazing. He trains me and some other colleagues once a week. It was his idea for me to give up sugar. He’s also a protein advocate and not vegetarian. He knows that I am self conscious about my “grain belly” but is not an advocate of cutting wheat and grains from your diet- only refined, poor quality grains.

The other day he ask me, “How many eggs do you eat a day?”

I blinked. I was vegan for three years. I really don’t like eggs that much. Now cheese. Cheese I’m on board with. Eggs still freak me out.

“Umm… I have two a week. On the weekend”.

Cue eye boggling.

My trainer’s response? Eat 4-5 eggs a day. A DAY.

I get it. Protein is important. We all know that protein is needed for regenerating tissue in the body. But you don’t have to look far to find a vegan or vegetarian who will tell you that you don’t need animal protein in your diet.  More and more mainstream sources are suggesting we are careful about our animal protein intake because of the other health risks this can inflate.

So I told him I would try and went away to reflect and research it.

There’s more and more evidence to suggest that healthy adults (tee hee. I’m an adult) don’t need to worry about eggs contributing to heart disease or high cholesterol. So that’s good.

But 4 or 5 eggs a day?

If you read any of the links above, you’ll see that one, maybe two eggs were the recommended amount. Does that mean I should eat the rest in egg whites? What do you do with the spare yolk? I’m not chucking that out. What do you do with it (seriously, comments below appreciated).

Furthermore (and I know this link is to an Oprah article and therefore may not be as reliable as the Harvard or Mayo Center links) there’s the sensible idea that if you’re eating more eggs, you’re probably eating fewer wholegrain serves.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, the first thing is to get that one a day. And I have for the last four weeks. Here’s my new breakfast wrap (Parmesan is a good source of calcium, an egg cooked without oil and greens on a wholemeal wrap).

I like my whites solid (I hate uncooked egg white) and my yolks runny for a good dose of lecithin,

If I have the chance to eat another egg or eggs, then sometimes I take it, sometimes I don’t. I know that even though my weight hasn’t changed yet, my muscle mass is increasing and I’m getting lots of comments from people noticing (vain, I know). When I go to the doctor’s for a checkup next month, I’ll be sure to have a blood test and get my cholesterol levels measured to make sure daily eggs work for me and my body.

My trainer is not an idiot. He knows that I don’t have to worry about cholesterol from other food sources because, apart from a little dairy, my largely plant based diet is cholesterol free. I understand where he was coming from.

I don’t think I’m going to get to 4-5 eggs a day but for now my trainer will just have to live with that.

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Pity Party, or a solo resistance to my bad habits.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. ― Hippocrates. He knew how to roll.

So today I was going to review a cafe, but every time I began, I just couldn’t get into it. I couldn’t recreate the dishes in my head and why they gave me so much pleasure. So I stopped. Obviously, otherwise you’d be reading a cafe review.

Instead, I planned to go the gym while Mr. Ben and his sister swam. I mentioned the other day that I went for a huge walk that resulted in mondo blisters. And they’re not better. Not by a long shot. You know those pictures of zombie makeup people make with oatmeal and food dye? Yeah. Like that! I nearly screamed trying to put my shoes on and looked on jealously when the other two popped off to swim. Bastards.

I went and sat with my feet in the sun because according to my sister-in-law, drying them out helps. I can’t find anything online to support this, but “Heck! Why not?”. I started researching foods that help our skins heal to remind myself what I should be boosting in my diet.

A lot of articles these days focus on the beauty element, such as this one (which admittedly I found in Glamour magazine) but I’m happy to report that not all are focused on eating well simply for skin deep results. This article in particular had the approach that healing your skin can be about your whole body, not just your face.

In particular, zinc, vitamin C, E and K as well as taking serious steps to reduce stress were good elements for healing.

Normally if I was feeling bummed (I really hope this expression “means down and out”/ “mildly depressed” as it does in Australia and not something else!) I would eat poorly, not get off the couch and spend a huge amount of time on Pinterest. Then I thought: Meh. Meh to that.

And I decided to distract myself from potato chips with much better food.

My Challenge: To fix myself a snack that would be packed full of skin-benefiting nutrients.

Zinc: Nuts (almonds and walnuts) and homemade yoghurt in a smoothie.

Vitamin C: Pak choy and mixed frozen berries in my smoothie (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries).

Vitamin E: Almond and walnuts

Vitamin K: Pak choy.

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Bonus smoothie ingredients: Frozen banana, maca powder, spirulina, protein powder, water.

Final product? Yo’ ugly, but delicious.

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Bonus BONUS round: One leftover vegan maple quinoa hazelnut muffin made by a good friend on Saturday. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but a little quinoa never hurt anyone (except the Bolivians who eat it which I why I don’t buy quinoa or purchase meals with quinoa in them, despite this food being super awesome and arguments for and against eating quinoa being many).

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This muffin is also a bit of an ugly blighter, but so delicious and as well as real maple syrup, quinoa and hazelnuts, bound together using chia seeds, the weirdest, coolest thing to hit health food shops in the last 10 years.

So I’m been slowly nomming on these all afternoon and apart from coming to the obvious conclusion that your feet are important (really really!), I realised that I didn’t have to fall onto poor eating habits and eat my birth weight in salty snacks just because my “get moving” plans for the holidays have been set back by zombie feet.

And I felt a bit better.

 

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Mum’s Birthday Weekend

So while I’m not going to post pictures from my mum’s birthday, I am going to post other nice moments from this weekend. Mum’s dinner went perfectly. Good food, wine and cake was had by all at Daisy’s Place on Steve Irwin Way on the Sunshine Coast. Although the clientele demographic seemed a bit older than places Ben and I frequent, it was superb service, great food and they were completely accommodating  of our arrangements for mum, like coming in early and decorating with roses, homemade Bunting and paper crowns and bringing out birthday cupcakes with candles (even though we ordered sweets off the menu as well).

In respect for mum, I didn’t take blog photos, but amazing vegetarian food was had, like mushroom risotto, Greek salad, warm cheesy breads, astoundingly good pesto and a fantastic cheese plate for two. My sister ordered “beetroot three ways” served with goats cheese and loved it. They also had a great looking vege curry that I would have ordered in a flash had it not palm sugar (ahhh sugar, you strike again).

it was expensive, but what you would expect for $25+ mains: excellent local produce, care, attention to detail, excellent vege options (in fact, a vege chef!), and a great international and local cheese and wine selection.

The next day was election day but we had all voted early because of mum’s birthday (four of us were outside of our electorate) so we went to Envy Cafe at Cottontree for breakfast. Envy says it’s healthy but to be honest, I don’t understand why, as although they do fresh juices and smoothies and have vegetarian options, they serve bacon, no vegan options beyond toast, and beer battered fries at lunch time. I really liked the food and the service had improved since I first went there early last year, but I just don’t get the “healthy” tag.

I had a Pride juice (celery, parsley, apple, spinach; can’t remember the price) with a spirulina boost ($1.50) and poached eggs on toast ($10). Ben had coffee and my sister had the corn fritters. My mum got sourdough toast with marmalade and dad got fruit toast.

The service was prompt and friendly. My eggs were cooked ok (whites still a bit too runny for my taste) served with plenty of toast. My sister thought the corn fritters were ok, but apparently lives near “The best corn fritters on earth” in Melbourne, so she might be spoiled for choice! The toast servings were generous for everyone’s meals.

Overall, we thought everything was nice, we didn’t have any mistakes or problems even though there were six of us. I was impressed by the speed and friendliness of service. Just don’t get the “healthy” tag! Don’t get it at all!

Ben and I finished off the weekend with a wander around Eden Gardens nursery at Carseldine, which is just amazing and reminded us why you can’t just go to Bunnings Warehouse for plants and pots! Such care and expertise was really lovely and, as old lady as I am about to sound, makes for a relaxing and sweet-smelling wander. Plus there was a cat in a box in the gift shop.

Then it was time to relax, reflect, smile at the pretty flowers and drink too much coffee at Pear.

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So many Zzzzzs needed.

Daisy's Place on Urbanspoon
Daisy’s Place

Envy Cafe on Urbanspoon
Envy Cafe

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Loopy for Lentil Soup

So I love me some lentils. I think it comes with the vego territory. There are plenty of vegos out there that aren’t tofu or tempeh fans, but lentils are natural, store easily and are super cheap. I eat a lot of dahl, but thought this recipe from My New Roots looked zingy and interesting. Sarah from My New Roots calls it Four Corners Lentil Soup. I thought I’d check it out.

IMAG2058The big difference is that I used parsley as a garnish (way too much judging by that bowl in the back). I used the onion option instead of leeks as onion last forever in the fridge.

IMAG2061It was thick, warning, zingy, surprisingly quick and reinvigorated my love for lentils. If you need a lentil revamp, try it. I have never regretted using Sarah’s recipes, and I regret a lot of cooking experiments!

 

 

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Been chowing on this.

So you might have noticed that when I become in love with my food, I take photos, even if it’s not worth posting a recipe. Here’s some quick noms for your eyes.

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