Thursday, February 28, 2013

Raspberry Coconut Mousse

You know how much I like fruit and raspberries are one of my favourites but I do realise there are some people who aren't as keen (like my husband). The obliteration of said fruit seems to be able to tempt the less enthusiastic into trying them, so these delicious thick 'creamy' raspberry mousse are a great way to start off. 

Now these are a mousse but if you're a pie person they would make a delicious pie filling. If I wasn't watching the calories I'd have made a dried fruit/nut crust and gone to town but for now I shall leave that up to you. 

Raspberry Coconut Mousse
Makes 4 serves
1 cup mashed/2 cups whole raspberries
2 x 300g packets silken tofu (Organic Japanese style in the fridge)
Vanilla Stevia to taste
1 tbsp coconut cream or 1/2 tsp coconut extract
Optional Extras
Toasted dessicated coconut
Cacao powder/nibs
Chopped Nuts
  • Press tofu overnight to remove excess water
  • Mash raspberries
  • Blend all ingredients well
  • Pour into small ramekins/bowls
  • Refrigerate uncovered to set- minimum of 20 mins, the longer the firmer they become
  • Top with desired extras (or enjoy alone)
  • Enjoy!
Even if you think you don't like tofu give these a go! They're seriously yummy, not to mention healthy and filling.

Love and Smiles,

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Monday, February 25, 2013

My top 5 Blogging time savers

Blogging can be one hell of a time suck. If I let myself get obsessed I could easily make striving for blogging perfection a full time job but alas, the real world demands attention. I'm sure some of you feel the same so here are a few tips I use than really help when life is a whirlwind and I begin to question why I put so much on my plate.
  1. Write down any blog ideas when you get them! You know those momentary strokes of genius in the shower, gym, grocery store, on the train, day dreaming in a lecture etc. Write them down before you forget them! Keep a stash of draft posts with some ideas for those days when bloggers block hits.
  2. Pre-writing posts. Writing ahead of time keeps me sane (even if it's 10 mins drafting something on the train). Having the security of knowing you've got something in the works makes deadlines a lot less intense. I tend to work on posts in increments when I have the time so there will always be something to add too/edit photos for/develop recipes for etc.
  3. Take quick photos. There's a time and a place for photographic perfection, tweaking props, plating, lighting, angles, focus etc. but if you're low on time it's not something you can obsess over. Keeping your tripod out, props on hand and backgrounds/reflectors set up and shooting on auto or aperture priority will save you heaps of time. Editing time can be cut down by batch processing and brushing up on your software shortcuts, once you've got it down editing should only take a couple of minutes per image.
  4. Scheduling your posts. At first I wrote and published my posts daily but working out how to schedule posts made blogging MUCH more enjoyable. Preparing posts ahead of time and working on the next weeks (or even further ahead) gives you a nice buffer for when you need a day off or a surprise commitment pops up.
  5. Not blogging daily. When I first started blogging I pushed myself to blog daily- the majority of people are daily bloggers and people tell you it's best for a successful blog but the reality was I ended up eating cold meals alone (taking photos took priority over eating) and spending my evenings rushing to edit photos and publish before I could enjoy some down time with my husband. I didn't have the time to be inspired and create food I loved and really wanted to share. I was just blogging everything I ate. Now for some people that's awesome and there are many many amazing blogs out there that use that model but for me, not so much. Long term it just didn't work for me. It wasn't worth it for me, I would get burnt out and end up taking breaks from blogging. When it comes down to it, it's quality over quantity.
Hope sharing this helped some of you too!

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Raspberry Ripple Mocktail + Raspberry Juice

I love raspberries. They're so packed with flavour and not too sweet with that distinctive tartness that balances them all on it's own. Thank you nature! Here are a couple of delicious raspberry drinks that taste divine and are a wonderful alternative to soft drinks. I brought the mocktails to a uni function and without telling people they were sugar free and healthy they went down a treat, results like that just don't lie. I know you'll enjoy them too!

Raspberry Juice
Makes 1 serve
1/2 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups filtered water
Stevia to taste (optional)
  • If using frozen raspberries allow to thaw
  • Blend ingredients
  • Strain as desired to remove seeds
  • Enjoy!
  • Keeps well in the fridge for 3 days
As you can see I don't really mind the seeds but I do try and make an effort for others who do. The overall result is just a bit more sophisticated and refined.
Bottle explanation: These were made for my peers at our assessment day, they were required to be artistic alliterations so these are Bridget Riley's Raspberry Ripples (aka Raspberry and Mint Mocktails)
Source Get it?
Raspberry Ripple Mocktail
Makes approximately 3 litres
2 litres mineral water (if you're fine with sugar you could use lemonade)
Stevia to taste
1kg Raspberries (I used frozen)
Handful of fresh mint
  • Thaw raspberries
  • Wash and remove leaves of mint
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender
  • Blend until you reach a smooth consistency
  • Strain as desired to remove seeds
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in an airtight bottle to remain aerated
These taste way better than artificial soft drinks, if you're trying to kick the habit (or just like yummy drinks) give them a go!
Love and Smiles,

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Running- I'm doing the C25K program!

I have a confession to make. I hate running. 

It's a long running hatred, despite the fact I was a sporty kid and ran quite a lot it was never enjoyable. If it was between plunging myself into an ice bath and running I would pick the ice. Post puberty it just got worse, adding a disproportionately large chest into the mix just made an un-enjoyable activity downright painful (and quite literally a bloody mess)

I think the lowest point was the term my sports teacher decided we would do mini triathlons. I still have flashbacks of me holding my bouncing chest while running in bathers. The rhythmic stinging, ripping, burning pain was enough to make me swear off running for a decade. 

Despite this I have recurring dreams about running. Idyllic painless running- being free and happy while running rather than my reality. I wish so much I could run and enjoy it.
But wishing doesn't get you anywhere so I've decided to do something about it.

I'm embarked on the C25K program (and am considering reduction surgery). Its a light start to ease me into it but I know lots of people have had success with it so I'm willing to try it. Have any of you completed it?

I got the c25k Pro app to help me and like it much better than running alone. Well worth $1.90 in my opinion. Lets be honest, I still need all the help I can get so any runners out there- your advice is more than welcome!

So there you have it- I'm officially running. I'll let you know how it goes....

All the best,

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pea Pesto Kale Pasta with Balsamic Pepper Tempeh Nuggets

My love for pasta goes way back, half my family is Italian- need I say more? But gluten filled pasta and my tummy and good health really don't mix (a sad fact I'm still coming to terms with). When my other half is digging into a plate of spaghetti I try to make meals with zucchini/carrot spiral 'pasta' or gluten free pasta substitutes like this. 

This recipe uses a pea pesto- its another version of my vegan pesto that's a great way to amp up the veggie intake. I love the sweetness that peas add to the sauce and the slightly lighter texture it gives the pesto. Obviously if you're not a fan then pick another green veggie you do- spinach and broccoli work wonderfully for example.

The tempeh nuggets were a momentary stroke of genius if I do say so myself. I was just going to add it plain but because I was testing out a new noodle I was a little worried it would be bland. Not with these! they're full of flavour and you don't need many but they really elevate the dish to a meal. If you're not a tempeh fan why not use tofu or balsamic and pepper toasted nuts? or you could simply drizzle the dish with balsamic vinegar!

Pea Pesto Kale Pasta 
with Balsamic Pepper Tempeh Nuggets
Makes 1 huge serve (pictured) or 2 regular serves
1 x 250g packet Slim Me Noodle (fettuccine) or flat rice/bean noodles
1/2 bunch Kale (4-5 large leaves)

1 cup Peas (fresh or thawed frozen)
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1/4 cup Nutritional yeast
Seasoning to taste

50g Tempeh
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cracked black pepper to taste (lots!)

Fresh Basil
Pine Nuts
Nutritional yeast
  • Begin by preparing pesto- thaw peas if not done
  • Combine all pesto ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth
  • Chop tempeh into small cubes- if you're not a fan of the nutty flavour of tempeh feel free to pre-steam to reduce this or substitute
  • Marinate tempeh in balsamic vinegar while you
  • Chop kale finely, remembering to remove the stems!
  • Massage kale (like kneading dough) until it softens and loses some volume
  • Dry fry tempeh nuggets until crisp- they will darken quickly because of the balsamic
  • Season liberally with freshly cracked black pepper
  • Cook noodles according to packet in instructions (most just need to be covered with hot water for a short period of time and drained)
  • Combine pesto, kale and noodles making sure the pesto coats everything evenly
  • Add tempeh nuggets
  • Garnish as desired with nutritional yeast, pine nuts, cracked black pepper and basil
  • Enjoy!

I hope you're all finding lots of yummy ways to eat your veggies too! and Aussies- don't forget to enter the Slim Me Noodle Giveaway!

Love and Smiles,

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Cacao and Orange Fudge Slice {Raw}

This recipe is seriously delicious! Quick and easy un-baking, you just have to try it. If you have a food processor you have no excuses. Got a chocolate craving? Not any more! Need to satisfy your sweet tooth without sugar? done!

I've made many different versions and it tastes divine with other flavour profiles too but this is my favourite. Having said that I view recipes as a guide, they're not set in stone, no one's (well I'm not) going to be offended if you tweak them to suit your tastes/dietary restrictions. If chocolate orange or raisins aren't your thing you could substitute them for dates/figs/apricots pretty much any dried fruit and the orange for lemon for a yummy citrus bar or classic chocolate mint or why not try the classic chocolate vanilla that will please everyone? 

These rich, moist, dense, sweet, fudgy slices are so intense you only need a small slice.
Cacao and Orange Fudge Slice
Makes 36 serves (100 cals each)
1 tsp Orange blossom water (found in good grocers/delis/health food stores)
2 medjool dates or 20 drops Orange stevia (adjust to taste)
3 tbsp Orange zest (zest of 3 oranges)
150ml freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
2.5 cups Raisins
2.5 cups raw cashews
6 tbsp Cacao powder
Optional extras
Chia seeds (reduce the quantity of cashews)
Flax seeds (reduce the quantity of cashews)
  • Zest oranges
  • Juice 1/2 orange
  • Process cashews into a fine powder
  • Add dates and raisins- process into a paste
  • Add cacao, orange zest, stevia
  • Process, drizzling in orange juice until the mixture begins to clump into a ball
  • Line a shallow baking tray (9.5" x 12") and empty mixture into it
  • Press mixture together firmly
  • Roll out flat into approximately 1cm depth
  • Refrigerate briefly if the mixture is warm/sticky
  • Cut into 36 slices (6 rows, 6 columns)
  • Enjoy!
  • Stores well in fridge or freezer- just remember to put baking paper in between the layers so you can get them out individually!
And for the delicious chocolaty, fudgy, nutty close up...

I really hope you give this one a go, it's one of my favourites and never disappoints- plus it keeps so well in the freezer it's always conveniently on hand for unexpected guests or impromptu snacks and travels well, talk about perfection!

Love and Smiles,

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Slim Me Organic Noodles Review and Giveaway!

 I was not paid to write this review, I received free samples to try but all opinions are my own.

What are Slim Me Noodles?
An Australian brand of Shirataki noodles, the extremely low calorie and low carb noodles often used in Asian dishes.
These noodles are made from Konjac Glucomanna (KGM), a water soluble fiber from the (low cal, low carb) root of the Konjac plant (devils tongue yam/elephant yam).

They come in different styles :
Angel Hair (Thin round noodles) 
Fettuccine (Thicker flat noodles) 
and a Rice version is coming soon.

Overall Review
I found them to be super quick (2 mins) and easy to cook. They have a great soft texture with body and volume. They hold together well even when tossing and have a little bit of elasticity. They have zero flavour but I'll take that for such few calories- and really how much flavour do rice/bean noodles have? They take on the flavours of any sauce you add- so for a yummy meal you just need to combine with a delish sauce, preferably add some veggies and enjoy. They can be eaten hot or cold but I've found them best with a combination of salt and fat- so soy and tahini for example. They've worked well in all the dishes I've used them in, so all in all, I would totally buy these!

I also tested these out on my father and uber fussy husband:
My father's verdict- great! low calorie, filling but taste like nothing. They're cheaper than the alternative available on the market which he tried but it was too pricey for him. He would use them again too.
My husband's verdict- good but different. They don't taste like much. The texture's good, they've got that right- it's a noodle but it's just not the same as rice noodles. When they have a good sauce on them they're nice. They just don't quite hit the starchy gluten spot though. It's a great base or filler material for a dish but needs flavour added.

What I liked:
Calories- they're so low you can enjoy a higher fat/cal sauce with them.
Free Shipping!
Organic (Japan certified)
Held together well when cooking/tossing
Free recipe ebook
Filling carbohydrate replacement
Quick cooking- only 2 mins in hot water
Work with a wide range of recipes/cooking methods. For example they can be cooked, blended and used to bulk up baking/smoothies
BPA free packaging

What I didn't:
Flavour (lack there of) you really need a good sauce

Smell of the liquid they're stored in- but you rinse it and they're fine
Not Australian Certified organic
Processed- not a whole food. I know this isn't an issue for many but its something I try to keep to a treat in my diet.

Here are the recipes I tested them with:

Pea Pesto Kale Pasta with Balsamic pepper Tempeh Nuggets
The fettuccine was really easy to cook, it has a lovely bite to it and nice noodle texture. I think they're a great replacement for pasta too. They made this recipe much more filling (it actually could/should have been two serves). The combination of the pine nuts, nutritional yeast and balsamic vinegar was perfect to elevate the somewhat plain noodles to a fantastic meal.

My version of Cheaters Pad Thai- The Happy Herbivore Pg 117
 His above with cashew nuts, spring onion and chili and 
Hers below with tempeh, kale and beanshoots
This was an awesome recipe to use these with, the strong sauce was the key! I added lots of veggies for crunch and nutrition and spiced it up for the hubs. The fettuccine replaced flat rice noodles wonderfully and held together through lots of tossing. I think they taste lovely warm but am curious about them cold...

Rice paper rolls
These worked perfectly! I used the thinner noodles for this recipe, they retained their texture and volume when cold. I was a little worried that they would be bland because the only flavouring was on the tofu and dipping sauce. However combining them with mint, avocado and crunchy veggies was enough to boost them to a lovely mouthful. I'm definitely making this one again!

Almost Raw Pad Thai- Ani's Raw Food Essentials
This meal was perfectly perfect. Just lovely. I'm seriously loving these. They work really well with the strong flavours of basil and lemon in this dish and the almond butter gives it the fat needed. I like combining them with veggies that have more texture, but then I like texture in my pasta/noodles.

My version of Coconut Noodle Salad- in Fast, Fresh, Simple

His and hers coconut salads. Noodles, basil, mint, capsicum, carrots, lettuce, coriander. His with added chili and spring onion, hers with added kale, beanshoots, cucumber. I edited this recipe quite a lot- I used young coconut flesh instead of coconut milk to make the dressing and it was absolutely delicious. I think these noodles work really well cold. I just cooked them according to the packet instructions (rinsed, 2 mins in hot water) then let them cool. Gotta love a versatile ingredient.

'Creamy' Harissa Noodle Salad
Angel hair noodles for this one worked beautifully. They kept surprisingly well uncovered for a couple of hours and covered in the fridge overnight. If you leave them uncovered for too long obviously they will dry up but I've found them to be quite resilient. This was both filling and delicious- you know the great thing about the bulk of your meal being such low calorie? You can splurge and have a higher calorie dressing! mmm loving the nut/seed based sauces.

'Creamy' Asian Noodle Salad
Again I used the angel hair noodles, it's pretty much the same as the one above with a different sauce. Leaving the noodles to marinate in the sauce for a little helps give them more umpf. I would definitely make these salads again. Just lovely for summer.

Cashew Noodle Stir fry
I know this one is seriously lacking in colour (and vegetables) but the flavour was good. I stripped this down to the basics to really test it. The dressing was simply soy, oyster sauce and chinese dark vinegar and the verdict...they still went down a treat! These really can be eaten alone with a flavour packed dressing. I'm quite impressed.

Now for the fun- it's giveaway time!

Slim Me Noodles have also been kind enough to sponsor an Australian Give Away. THREE lucky winners will each receive a box of Slim Me Noodles (containing 5 x fettuccine and 5 x angel hair)

To enter simply leave me a comment (on the blog, facebook or twitter) telling me which delicious recipe(s) you would like to try these with... the more creative the better!

I will select one lucky winner on Feb 28th. Good luck xxx

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