Thursday, January 30, 2014

Raspberry Pineapple 'ice cream'

I've been digging into pineapple versions of fruit 'ice cream' recently, as you can see here in my post on ASVD. I've been enjoying combinations like:
Mango, pineapple and almond milk (AMAZING by the way, I use a 1:1 ratio) and
Mixed berry, pineapple and almond milk (really yum with a ratio of 1:2)
but today I'll be sharing the raspberry pineapple version! It's sweet but a little tart and it's simplicity and clean flavours speak for themselves. If you're yet to try fruit 'ice cream' what are you waiting for? I've got lots more flavours here.

Raspberry Pineapple 'ice cream'
Makes 3-4 serves
1 cup frozen raspberries
2 cups frozen pineapple
1/2- 1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk of your choice)
Stevia to sweeten (if you're pineapple is ripe and sweet you shouldn't need it but adjust to taste)
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor/blender (my vitamix is the best but food processor comes a close second, regular blenders third)
  • Allow to thaw slightly for approximately 10 minutes (depending on the temperature)
  • Blend/process drizzling in almond milk as desired to form a smooth consistency
  • Adjust sweetness to taste
  • Enjoy!
  • This can be stored in the freezer but the texture will change
I hope you like this fruit 'ice cream' flavour- it was a real hit at my house!

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Best Vegan Pizza!

This is my favourite pizza. You can never have too many vegetables. Capsicums are also a great addition but I didn't have any when I made this. The cashew 'cheeze' is perfect. Perfectly perfect. I may or may not have eaten so much while I was cooking I wasn't sure if I would have enough left! Obviously you can top your pizza with any delicious veggies you desire but these are my favourties.

The Best Vegan Pizza!
For 2 small pizzas (just smaller than dinner plate size)

2 x pizza bases (We've used pita bread, wraps, gluten free pre-made bases, home made dough, I even made cold mini ones with rice crackers!)
1/2 medium eggplant
1 small zucchini
2 large field mushrooms
2 fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup olives

Cashew Cheeze
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked becomes 1 cup)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Tomato Base
5 sun dried tomato halves (approximately 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp cashew 'cheeze' above

  • Soak cashew nuts overnight (or for as long as you can if you have a high speed blender)
  • Prepare bases as needed (make dough, thaw if frozen etc.)
  • Pre-heat oven to 180-200 C depending on your pizza base
  • Slice vegetables in 1/2 cm slices and dry fry eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms in a non-stick on a medium heat until golden and leave to cool
  • Slice tomatoes and de-pit olives (if required)
  • Drain cashews, combine cashew cheeze ingredients in a blender and process until smooth
  • Empty into a bowl (leaving approximately 2 tbsp in the blender) and set aside
  • Add tomato base ingredients to the blender, including the soaking water and blend until smooth
  • Assemble pizzas, spreading the tomato base onto the pizza bases then layering vegetables as desired- making sure to spread out the olives- and top with small ammounts of cashew 'cheeze'. 
  • Note on the cheeze: If you would like your cheeze to remain the same consistency then add it to the pizza after baking. When cooked the edges of the cheeze will harden slightly and become more chewy. Personally I do both and enjoy both textures!
  • Cook for 15-20 mins or until base is crisp
  • Enjoy!

Who says pizza has to be oily and unhealthy? Not me! Veggies all the way. So that's mine...what's your favourite pizza?

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Durian Walnut Kale Chips

I LOVE kale chips, I make them often and try not to buy them because they're pricey but they make a great treat. There are a million recipes for kale chips out there so I've refrained from posting one until now but this version is something I haven't seen or tasted before. Usually I make a savory version with a herb/spice coating but recently I've been dipping my toe into the water of sweet kale chips.

These are sweet, 'creamy', fruity, crispy, delicious and jam packed full of nutrients! I enjoyed them as a snack, for dessert and even breakfast! They made a perfect movie snack too, beats popcorn any day. If you're not a durian fan (I know it's an acquired taste) jackfruit would be equally as delicious but so would most other fleshy fruits like nectarines or apricots.

Durian Walnut Kale Chips
Makes approximately 6 serves
1 cup durian flesh (or jackfruit)
2 cups walnuts
1 cup almond milk
Stevia to taste (if you would like it sweet)
1 extra large bunch of kale
  • Preheat oven to 120 c (or the lowest your oven will go)
  • Combine durian and walnuts in a blender
  • Drizzle in almond milk as required to form a smooth paste- you don't want it to be too thin so only use as much as your blender/processor needs to form a smooth consistency
  • Sweeten to taste
  • Remove kale from stems and tear into pieces
  • Coat kale in durian walnut sauce by tossing them in a large bowl- taking care not to overcoat them or they won't crisp up!
  • Lay flat on a lined baking tray
  • Bake at 120 c (or the lowest your oven will go) for 1.5 hrs or until crisp
  • Enjoy!
  • Keep in an air tight container for as long as you can keep your hands off them!

If you're a kale chip and durian fan give this one a try! If you're new to kale chips then I suggest you start out with a more traditional savory version and then move onto sweet varieties like this one. Kale is really wonderful for you, I can't recommend it enough!

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coconut Walnut Shortbread

I created this recipe to use the ridiculously delicious Coconut Walnut Butter I made (ok, it may have to stop myself from eating it straight from the jar) and give to a friend as a congratulations you just had the most beautiful baby girl gift. 

They're very short (so be careful to allow them to cool before moving) but make a wonderful alternative to shortbread. Granted they don't taste buttery, more coconutty!, but they do have that smooth mouth feel that higher fat desserts give and taste divine.

Coconut Walnut Shortbread
1.5 cups desiccated coconut
1 cups walnuts
1/2 cup coconut sugar
(or 1/2 quantity of coconut walnut butter)
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
desiccated coconut to sprinkle on top
  • Make coconut walnut butter (if not already done)
  • Pre heat oven to 180 c
  • Ensure nut butter is a room temperature and add to a bowl
  • Sift in flour and baking powder
  • Combine ingredients
  • Roll into small balls, flatten and sprinkle with desiccated coconut
  • Bake on a lined tray at 180 c for 30 mins or until golden
  • Allow to cool on tray to avoid breakage
  • Enjoy!
  • These keep really well so no need to eat more of these rich little things than you need to
I hope this gives you an idea of how to make shortbread with no dairy- it is possible after all!

Love and Smiles,

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Years Fresh Start

This article was first published in the January 2013 issue of Natural Food Magazine

The New Years Fresh Start
Secrets to making your New Years resolutions successful.

This New Year I will…
Lose all my unwanted weight!
I’ll exercise every day- and train for a marathon!
I’ll get more organised!
I’ll find the perfect partner!
I’ll increase my savings!
I’ll buy a new home!
I’ll get the job of my dreams!
I’ll be a better person!

If 2014 was the fresh start you were waiting for to become the best version of yourself then your resolutions will have summed up all your enthusiasm and hope for the year ahead…

But lets face it, most new years resolutions are broken by the first month of the year and forgotten by the second. Though made with the best of intentions they have the potential to haunt your fabulous new year as a constant reminder of the unattainable perfection you’re striving for.

Without deterring the eternally optimistic resolutioners out there a dash of practicality may be needed to enhance those original goals. Now the New Year has come and gone lets take a moment to review the resolutions (that may or may not be transforming into reality) and see if you could tweak them to better suit you.

Making New Years resolutions to sum up your enthusiastic longings for the year ahead can fall into many traps, assess your resolutions, could you improve them and avoid any of these?

·        Setting huge goals that you are bound to fail
I’ll find the perfect partner and buy a house! - Attempting to move a mountain can deter you when progress doesn’t appear fast enough. It’s fantastic that your end goal might be to run a marathon but if you haven’t run in years then aiming for going for a jog three times a week will be much more achievable. Keeping your longer term goal in mind work backwards and make some smaller, shorter term goals to start with and keep you motivated towards the grand finale.

·        Attacking too many goals at once
I’ll be a better person, get organised, get a new job, increase my savings, make new friends, and be healthier… The desire for a new start in all areas of your life might be tempting but by attempting to change your whole world you’re most likely biting off more than you can chew! If you want to focus on multiple areas such your health, personal life, work etc. why not make one smaller main goal for each or determine your priorities and devote the most dedication to it?

·        Setting goals that are too vague/not measurable
I will be healthier- a great sentiment for a resolutions but incredibly vague. Do you want to focus on your medical concerns? Exercise? Diet? Meditation? Setting ambiguous goals can lead to confusion and frustration with your progress and ultimately demotivation.
EquallyI will be a better personis be a lovely idea but how do you measure better? How will you rate your progress and keep motivated? Will you be satisfied with one good deed for the year (after all it may be an improvement of the year before) or are you striving for being more thoughtful with your words or weekly volunteering? Setting specific goals that you can track will keep you motivated through the year.

·        Setting goals that are too tough (or not getting the help needed)
I will find the perfect partner- some things in life can be quite a challenge! Setting huge goals that you’re unlikely to ever reach or that are impossible to achieve without asking for help can trip us all up. There’s no point striving for a degree without enrolling in university, take the steps needed to start you in the right direction. Remember- asking for help is a sign of strength and intelligence not weakness.

·        Taking an all or nothing approach and giving up!
I’ll exercise every day. Just because you didn’t get the chance to exercise yesterday doesn’t mean it’s all over and there’s no point even trying to go today. Obstacles will come your way- life isn’t as easy as we would all like it to be! When you’re faced with a setback the all or nothing approach often leads to failure (and regret). Get your head in the right place and keep on going. It’s never over until you decide it is.

If your new year isn’t off to the start you envisioned remember it’s NEVER too late to start over. The opportunity for a fresh start presents itself every moment, everyday, every week. Every decision you make is another chance to start fresh and be proud of your actions. You’ve only truly failed when you’ve given up. Just get back on the bike and keep on the journey to your goals.

Practice kindness, cut yourself some slack- this isn’t about perfection- it’s not an all or nothing endeavour, forgive yourself for minor slip ups, acknowledge that obstacles will come your way (how boring would life be without them?) and just keep going!

Here’s the secret: Set yourself up for success.

·        Make achievable, specific, measurable goals
You can always exceed your goals. Start with small, short-term goals and work your way up to your longer-term outcome. Set goals that you know you can accomplish- I know it may sound counter productive but it really does work. By regularly achieving your goals you will have the renewed motivation to continue the desired behaviour and on to your final goal.

Specific goals will allow you to focus your energy and effectivelytrack your progress. Havingexplicit short, medium and long-term goals gives you bearings and allows for frequent achievement to heighten enthusiasm.
Measurable goals give a daily/weekly/monthly progress update- allowing you to keep track of your journey and keep accountable for your actions. This tool can be hugely motivating when you need a boost and can look back at all your hard work.

·        Expect obstacles/setbacks
Sometimes life gets in the way- we know this! There are uncontrollable factors is everyone’s lives- think extreme weather, sickness, last minute occasions etc. When a true obstacle arises (not you trying to use it as an excuse!) don’t beat yourself up over it or let it cause your failure, simply accept it and move on and up.

·        Don’t give up!
Sometimes a setback can be more than a missed workout or meal out- even if you’ve put everything on hold to fly across the world to be with family you don’t have to give up. If needed alter your goals for a time period- perhaps it’s only realistic to take the stairs instead of the elevator or say no to dessert rather than uphold your usual standards. Until you stop trying it’s not over- keep heading in the right direction and don’t give up!
Time off is another option. If you’re going on holiday for example and don’t have the equipment needed a week off to relax and have fun with your family needn’t be your failure. Make the best choices you can at every given opportunity and get right back to your plan when you return.

Now you’ve worked out how to tweak those resolutions here are some ideas and tips that will help you edit your plan of action(if needed) and successfully achieve your new years resolutions.

Assess your priorities
What matters most to you, to your life? What are you most passionate about? What excites and invigorates you? What will make you happiest? Is this what you’re going to achieve via your new years resolutions? If not perhaps a slight reshuffle of goals could help…
·        Write a mission statement
Write yourself a mission statement that you can read to refocus your efforts. Having this resource to remind you exactly what you want and deserve can be a golden ticket when your motivation starts to waiver.Begin by listing all the things you don’t like about you/your life before you reach your goal and then all the positives you envision after reaching it.

·        Planning and preparation
This cannot be underestimated! Timetable the time in your diary to reach your goals, set aside the money needed and make a detailed plan of action for success. Prepare your environment as well as yourself, clean room to exercise, clean out cupboards/fridge/freezer.

·        Pick enjoyable activities
For example if you’re goal is to eat 5 serves of fruits and vegetables daily don’t force down the sprouts- rather enjoy the strawberries! With fitness goals if you hate running don’t make yourself run, find something you do love! Switch the jog for swimming, hula hooping, football, rock climbing etc.

·        Public acknowledgement
By showing those around you that you are committed to reaching your goal you have the opportunity to get other to help you. By having others on side you’re accountable to more than yourself and can use their support when needed. This also has the potential to raise some tension among the negative people in your life, try to surround yourself with positive like-minded people who will respect your desires and help you reach your goals.
Perfection is overrated!
Try to put less pressure for perfection on yourself. While we all want to be the best possible version of ourselves, shooting for perfection can lead to disaster. Reduce the self-inflicted pressure for perfection, accept (and enjoy!) the occasional break and just keep moving in the right direction. Progress at a rate you’re comfortable with, if you’re happy jumping in with a splash go for it! But if you’re happier dipping one toe in at a time then take it slow and steady. Remember you’re striving for consistency over perfection!

·        Track your progress
This may sound annoying but it really is priceless. Keep a journal or electronic document to record your journey. Having to record your actions keeps you accountable and allows for reflection of progress and achievement.

·        Reward desired behaviours frequently
By having achievable short-term goals (in addition to longer term outcomes) you have to opportunity to regularly reward yourself for achieving your objectives. This keeps your enthusiasm up and makes every day count.

If there’s only one thing you take away from this let it be that it’s never too late to keep trying. Don’t allow yourself to give up and wait until next years resolutions to make the effort you deserve to be your best self.

When challenges come your way take deep breaths and remember your goals. Be kind to yourself- but firm- beating yourself up isn’t a productive plan of action, it’s not going to help you reach your goals and will more than likely just make you miserable. Forgive yourself if you slip up but be firm and get back on track with your next choice- don’t let it snowball into something you will regret.

In this same positive manner of practicing kindness with yourself you always have the option to aim for 80, 90 or 99%. There’s no one standing behind you with the rules telling you what to do- if you’re happy that your goals may take a little further to get to you can always shoot for the 80/20 principle. Having a little wiggle room can make all the difference to maintaining your positive mindset.

Forget about perfection; just ask yourself- what’s the best decision I can make for me in this situation? and go with it!For example if you’re aim is to adopt a vegetarian diet but it’s all too much at first go ‘almost veg’ and take each meal as it comes. Remember to value consistency over perfection, you’re most likely focusing on year or lifelong goals that will enhance your big picture, jus take a step back if you feel overwhelmed and remember all the positive changes you’ve made to address your goal.

Whether you dip in one toe at a time and make small changes to help you achieve your goals or jump in with both feet- just keep going! Take baby steps, just focus on continuing to place one foot in front of the other. Cut yourself some slack if things don’t always go according to plan and keep moving forward!

Love and Smiles,

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