How to Perfect Winter Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are the perfect healthy accompaniment to any lunch/dinner meal.

Whether I’m focusing on leaning down a little bit or just trying to incorporate enough veggie servings into my day, I will regularly prepare a meal of roasted veg + protein side.

Having said that, the only way I can maintain focus on a healthy diet is to make the food I’m eating actually taste good.

So, I’ve developed the perfect recipe for whipping up delicious roasted vegetables quickly.

This blend of spices has the aroma and flavours of a hearty, warming winter meal.

You will need:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

This combo of oils and spices can be used with any combination of your favourite vegetables, but here are my Vegetable Suggestions:

  • Turnip
  • Beetroot
  • Leek
  • White Onion
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts

To prepare, just chop the vegetables into desired sizes, cover in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and oregano.

Cook for 35 minutes at 200˚C and enjoy!

High Protein, High Fibre, Summer Smoothie Bowl

Before we start, here’s the breakdown: 

Calories: 219 (335 with 1 tbsp peanut butter topping) 

Protein: 26g

Fat: 5g | Fiber: 14g | Carbs: 23g

Prep time: 5 mins 


Now that summer’s approaching here in Australia, a smoothie bowl is the perfect refreshing breakfast or lunch. 

I have curated the perfect recipe using healthy ingredients for vitality and energy. The key ingredient here (which I discovered recently and have been loving) is the Raw Slim &  Tone Protein by Amazoniathis stuff has around 7.5mg of iron in it. 

Incorporating this powder into a smoothie bowl gives it an irresistible nutty chocolate taste, as well as packing it with protein and iron for satiety and energy throughout the day. 

In my bowl I have: 

  • 30g Slim & Tone Protein 
  • 1 cup baby spinach 
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries 
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husks (optional – but good for digestion of the protein) 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • You can also add some extra nutrients such as the collagen and pro/pre-biotic powders from Vida Glow and The Beauty Chef

Whip these up in a blender, and pour them into a bowl. I also like to garnish with Carman’s fruit free muesli, seasonal fruits, healthy nut butter’s etc. 

I think I’m going to be trying some home-made bread recipes this weekend… will keep you updated! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to try! 

xx

My XMAS Salted Caramel & Choc Chip Cookies

These did come out looking more like Patrick Star than Xmas creations, but they tasted better than you can imagine.

Okay so yes I used a store bought packet mix (Betty Crocker wins every time) as the base, but, there was a twist. For a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity, I added a hint of smooth choccy flavour by adding chocolate chips to the dough, and created star designs with specific cookie cutters.

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Read on if you’re interested in my simple, yet divinely tasty XMAS cookies, or better, create them yourself in 20 minutes.

Gather the following:

  • Betty Crocker Salted Carmel Packet Cookie Mix
    • Note: This is limited edition packet mix – hence why I grabbed it in Woolworths. If you aren’t able to get your hands on it, try adding Hershey’s caramel choc chips to a plain cookie recipe.
  • Cadbury choc chip cookies
  • Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Star cookie cutter

Okay, so the method:

Mix all the ingredients together, until you form a cookie dough.

Use a rolling pin to knead the dough out on top of an acrylic/plastic/stone surface.

Here’s where it got a little more complicated. I’m currently experiencing an Australian summer, so naturally the sun was beating down at 30˚C, which made all my cookie dough melt and stick to my hands. So, I wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer for 5 mins to make it think it was in the northern hemisphere. Note: this might be a good idea if you are in a hot climate.

Cut little star shapes out with the cookie cutter.

As the cookie cutter will make the raw cookies a lot thinner and smaller than Betty Crocker recommends for cookie sizing, you only have to place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), so they don’t burn.

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Once cooked, place them on a plate and awkwardly place a rogue Christmas decoration next to them for aesthetic purposes (I’m kidding). 

The perfect Christmas snack.

 

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Caramel brown

xx

 

 

Australia voted YES! Rainbow pizza & pancakes for marriage equality.

Although I’m not a member of the LGBT community, I believe in equal rights, and so, hearing that 61.6% of Australians had voted “YES” in the recent postal vote (legalising gay marriage) was overwhelmingly exciting.

Naturally, I decided to draw inspiration from the rainbow flag which represents the LGBT movement, and make rainbow pizza and pancakes to celebrate.

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If you want to make eye-catching (and extremely delicious) rainbow meals, read on.

Rainbow Pancakes (makes 15)

We’ll start with the pancakes – since they are the simplest (and because everyone wishes dessert would come first).  These are the perfect breakfast or lunch (or dinner??) recipe, and I used a simple pancake shake mix to make it all happen even quicker.

You will need food dye, pancake mix, vanilla essence, fruit (to garnish) and butter for greasing.

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Start by working off the pancakes you’re about to eat, and shake the pancake mix like crazy as per its instructions. Once it’s ready, add 1 tsp of vanilla essence to the mixture (gives it a delightfully sweet tang) and pour 65g of the mixture into 6 different bowls. Add the food dye as follows:

Red – 8 drops red dye

Orange – 2 drops red, 4 yellow

Yellow – 5 drops yellow

Green – 5 drops green

Blue – 5 drops blue

Purple – 3 drops red, 1 blue

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Then, cook up a storm, and cook the pancakes over a medium heat in a frying pan. Tip: make sure you add butter to pan between each pancake so they don’t stick and burn (and earn a lovely, buttery aftertaste).

Voila! Garnish with berries.

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I also tried making one large, multi-coloured pancake with the left over mixture. It looked a little funky, but was too yummy to turn away.

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Rainbow Pizza (makes 8 pieces)

I like it simple (and I want my food ASAP) so I decided to go with store bought pizza bases. If you can get them I recommend Bazaar Gourmet Pizza bases.

You will need:

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  • 1 Pizza Base
  • Tomato Paste
  • Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (you can use light mozzarella if you want something healthier)
  • Colourful Veggies, my suggestions:
    • Red – Red Pepper (Capsicum) & Red cherry tomatoes
    • Orange – Carrot
    • Yellow – Yellow cherry tomatoes, Sweet corn
    • Green – Broccolini, Snow peas
    • Purple – Red onion, Cabbage (I didn’t end up using the cabbage)

First, after heating the oven to 220˚C, smear the base with tomato paste and sprinkle the cheese on top – this is different to normal pizza recipes; the cheese needs to be put on first so the veggies stick but you can still see their beautiful colours.

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Then, chop up all the veggies and place them on the pizza in a rainbow fashion.

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Cook for 10 minutes and your pizza is ready!

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These recipes were so tasty, and incredibly fun to make. Let me know if you try it out, or have any other rainbow recipes 🙂

xx

 

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I couldn’t choose just one colour for this post. 

 

A salad to suit the season?

Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. It starts to sound funny if you say it too many times, but unfortunately Oxford dictionary doesn’t have any good alternatives.

***

We’re getting to the end of Spring over here in Australia, and although I’m excited about the beachy, holidaying climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days go.

Because Spring is the season before Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere, its the time every gym membership goes on sale, Halloween stashes quickly get thrown out, and green smoothies and salads are glorified.

The idea of munching on a bowl of bitter green leaves drizzled with vinaigrette sounds highly unappetizing to me, but I am reminding myself not to be too cynical about salads – with the right ingredients they can taste great, and they do have numerous health benefits.

So this Spring I worked with some of my favourite ingredients to create the perfect Spring salad.

You will need:

  • 1 medium common tomato
  • 135g tinned salmon
  • Mixed green lettuce leaves
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds
  • 100g chopped canned beetroot
  • 50g avocado

Cost: approximately AUD $10   Calories: 380

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Perfect! xx

Why The Rocks is my Dream Dining Destination

The reason The Rocks hits number one on my list of favourite places to dine in Sydney, is because of how many OUTSTANDING restaurants, bars and cafés it has to offer. What makes it better is that they each have a different atmosphere, their own perks, and are just a 2 minute walk from the iconic harbour.

If you only had one night in the city, I would tell you to head to El Camino Cantina. A Tex-Mex restaurant with oversized margaritas and tapas share platters (think crispy tacos, sizzling quesadillas and nachos dripping in cheese) it’s a destination you can’t miss.

I went here for dinner with a friend the other night, and was blown away. The walls are adorned with Mexican themed collectables and animation-style art, giving the place a groovy, retro vibe. We went for the Cadillac Platter which served up a selection of chilli chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, tuna ceviche tacos, guacamole, chicken and cheese quesadilla, and chilli con carne – which tasted as good as it sounds.

Of course, the night wouldn’t have been complete without a couple of cheeky cocktails. Their oversized glasses (the picture below doesn’t do it justice) make the experience even more exciting… and a little hazy (I blame the tequila). I went with a Classic Frozen MargaritaHere Comes the Sun with tequila and orange juice and Sympathy for the Devil with ginger beer, lime and jalapeño syrup.

Next time I’ll be sure to taste their churros, which come with cinnamon sugar, Mexican caramel, and are apparently to die for.

If Mexican isn’t your thing, head over to Zia Pina Pizzeria, owned by the same family for the past 3 decades (there’s a reason why their food is so good). I would recommend the Zucca pizza with cheese, tomato base, grilled pumpkin, olives, parmesan cheese and rocket, or the Veal Gnocchi.

There’s also the Munich Brauhaus which does Bavarian food in a traditional and festive fashion. The wait staff are dressed in dirndls and lederhosen, serving up house-made sausages, freshly baked pretzels, schnitzels, crispy pork belly, and of course, lots of beer.

For dessert my favourite has to be the Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café, where I usually finish the night with a dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake, or a milk chocolate mousse with macadamia cremeux. These desserts don’t just taste amazing, their presentation is magnificent and sometimes difficult to destroy (check out the menu for pictures).

Or, if you’re feeling like a real cheat night, head on over to Pancakes on The Rocks, a revered dessert venue which does pancakes every way you can think. My favourite is the decadent Black Forest Cherry, which involves chocolate pancakes with cherries, brandy sauce, creamy chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips, all doused in chocolate sauce.

 

Leave comments below if you know any other great places at The Rocks! I’d love to check them out xxx

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Harbour Shadow Blue for wonderful food by Sydney harbour.

Escaping to Byron Bay on a Whim

For months now my best friend and I have been playing with the idea of doing a sporadic trip away to experience something different from Sydney for a couple of days. So, about a month ago (on a whim) we just thought FUCK it and booked tickets to Byron Bay.

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Byron Bay is a coastal town in Australia and is only an hour flight (or an uncomfortably long 9 hour drive) from Sydney. It’s got beautiful beaches and bushwalks (one to the Byron Lighthouse pictured above) but is also known for its relaxed, hippie vibe and alternative culture – it has lots of vegan destinations, where you can find eco-friendly products.

We wanted to keep the trip pretty cheap since we booked last minute and didn’t have reams of cash to work with. The flights weren’t too cruel to the budget but we tried to be cost effective with accommodation. We stayed in a caravan park, only a 10 minute walk from the centre of town, and were given a sweet little cabin which had a double bed, a stove, microwave, tv, eating area and a small bathroom. Since we didn’t plan to spend that much time in our rooms it was absolutely perfect.

We stayed 7 days, and spent time swimming on the main beach, shopping, buying ice-creams from the local favourite In The Pink (I was a fiend for the chunky MARS icecream), trying restaurants and doing walks along the beach and to some of the look-out points over the ocean:

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On one of the days we took a trip to a highly recommended place called The Farm, which is a community owned farm (that you can take a look around) which uses some of its produce for a great restaurant called the Three Blue Ducks. We made the grand mistake of deciding to walk from Byron to the restaurant (in 33˚C heat I’ll add), which took about 1.5 hours, so by the time we got there we were ravenous and felt like we were going to collapse from dehydration.

Luckily, the restaurant had delicious lunch options and I indulged in sticky pork ribs with lime, and quenched my thirst with hibiscus, elderflower, ginger & tumeric kombucha. We were sitting on wooden benches right in the middle of the farm and had roosters waltzing around our feet as we ate.

A couple of nights we tried Byron’s bars (which have a huge backpacker demographic) and our favourite by far was the Railway Bar. It was very casual (I rocked up wearing flip flops) and had people all ages enjoying a drink together. Some nights we didn’t feel like going out, and instead bought ingredients to make nachos, pasta or burritos, which we would enjoy in bed whilst watching TV.

I also found the Love Byron Bay chocolate ’boutique’, and I’m still deciding if it was an amazing or concerning discovery. After I found out that they sold almost every type of chocolate under the sun (they even had 100% Ecuadorian dark chocolate) I must have spent about AU$15 every day just buying bars of choccy to taste.

All in all we had a wonderful week relaxing and enjoy our time together and we will definitely go back. It was about my fifth time to Byron, and every time I go I discover a whole lot more – I would definitely recommend travelling there if you get the chance!

xx

 

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Dodger blue for an exciting escape

 

A Day in my Life

After pushing myself for an hour through a tough gym class, I set off to the city mall to do some serious Christmas shopping.

My goal today was to buy presents for the important people in my life and getting all of them under my belt felt like a massive accomplishment. I sifted through dozens of stores throughout the day and finally ended with a mix of presents I am really happy with.

For Mum, I got a satin robe with floral detail and some black cotton placemats/marble coasters to match her dining room. For dad, I got the Gillette gift pack and a new stainless steel kettle because their current one was $7 from Aldi and the plastic is already starting to crack. I also got my best friend two MAC lipsticks (Faux and M.A.C. red) and a satin nightie which I got myself as well so we can match! Satin is a huge favourite of mine at the moment because I just love the silky feel of it against my skin. Even better, the material doesn’t make me overheat on balmy nights considering we are moving into summer here in Australia.

I also had a cheeky treat myself, and bought myself a Belgian waffle at Oliver Brown which was delicious, but I have to say it did feel a little funny just hanging out in the chocolateria alone, amongst couples who were chatting and eating fondue together.

For lunch I explored a little eatery plaza called ‘Hawker Lane’ which offers a fusion of Asian cuisines. However, feeling a little unadventurous today, I went for my go-to brown rice avocado/salmon sushi roll and some edamame beans. Yum!

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Once I got home I began to prepare dinner, whilst watching the Netflix movie How to be Single which is actually incredibly funny, and I would definitely recommend. It’s also really relatable to my life right now… For dinner, I fried up some homemade falafels and paired them with a light baby spinach salad and some butter chicken.

I think I’ll share my butter chicken recipe in a later post. It’s much healthier than the typical restaurant bought butter chicken but still rich with flavour and spice.

xx