Hands down my favourite breakfast is pancakes. Although scrambled eggs & avo on sourdough comes pretty close.
There’s nothing better than a tower of soft, fluffy pancakes, covered in delicious toppings.
This morning I woke up with a burning desire for pancakes.
I like to mix up my pancake toppings: it’s usually a compilation of nut butter (I’m addicted to Mayver’s peanut butter), fresh & frozen fruits, sugar free maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut yogurt, caco nibs, dried fruit & nuts, or regular vanilla yogurt.
Today I went with frozen blueberries and a very thick drizzle of almond butter for the topping. For the pancakes themselves I blended 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. I cooked this on a medium-high heat.
I wanted to address almond milk. If you are interested in the alternatives to cow’s milk, you have probably heard whispers about almond milk being part of a fad health craze, or that it just doesn’t taste good.
I investigated almond milk, and whilst it does have far less protein and calcium than soy milk and cows milk, it is a great option if you are looking for something lighter to go with a protein dense meal (such as peanut butter drenched pancakes). In terms of the taste, I’ve love it, but perhaps it is an acquired taste for some. Give the chocolate or sweetened versions a go for a while before you switch to plain, unsweetened almond milk.
Hope you have a lovely Friday leading into an even better weekend. I’ve got lots planned – this one’s meant to be sunny in Sydney!! Stay tuned for more recipes and adventures 🙂
Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work.
I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.
Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has dainty, flower embellished decor and serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.
I’ve also been having scone cravings lately. I’ve tried baking some myself, but my favourites are from The Tea Cosy in the Rocks. We indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea. This was a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of Christmas – you can buy it in their shop!
I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly, who brought the Poké trend to Sydney. I had the Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce. Delicious!
Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. These supposedly prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little sceptical.
However, after looking into the argument for them, it makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.
I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea. They are bitter and slightly off-putting so you will need a palette cleansing chaser. I blend kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds.
If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to boost your daily nutrients, it’s something I would try!
Reading over and editing this post I realised how many times I used the word Spring. I’m sorry 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 climate that summer is bringing, it’s sad to see those cool, breezy Spring days fade away.
Because Spring is the season before Summer, it’s 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 with the right ingredients they can taste great and they ensure you are packing your daily greens in.
So, I created the perfect Spring salad, with protein, healthy fats and a range of different flavours.
You will need:
1 medium tomato – reduce risk of heart disease and cancer
135g tinned salmon – rich in omega 3 fatty acids and a great source of protein.
Mixed green lettuce leaves
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Heaped tsp of dried chia seeds – high in omega 3s, fibre, and provide a delicious crunch to the dish.
An all salad restaurant sounds like the type of thing I would politely decline. Although I love eating healthy and exploring nutritious food options, I don’t advocate eating solely lettuce as a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I sound like a salad hater, and that’s only because the salads on restaurant menus are usually comprised of whole cherry tomatoes, 3 salad leaves and a weak amount of dressing if you’re lucky.
If a salad can be done deliciously.. I’m all in.
Greenhouse Asian Salads has just opened in Sydney and offers a range of exotic salads, which experiment with green tea noodles, chicken wontons, green papaya, white sesame and more.
I decided to head over because reading the menu, every single option had a mix of flavours that sounded mouth-watering.
I opted for the Green House #1, a vegan salad with tofu, green tea noodle, avocado, cucumber, carrot, red radish, cashews and sesame seeds. However, what made it wonderful was the coconut soy dressing. This tied the whole dish together with a sweet tang that left me wanting more.
Mum went for the Naughty Tuna, which was delicious – a mix of tuna, green tea noodles, edamame soybeans and cashews with wasabi dressing.
Unexpectedly this café trumped a lot of dining places I’ve been to this year, many of which have menus that offer a range of wonderfully diverse cuisines and dishes.
So, I’ll take back my salad prejudice and highly recommend this very green, very healthy and VERY yummy lunch destination.
Madang. The Korean BBQ restaurant that’s revered in Sydney. I had to try it.
In Korean BBQ you get given deliciously marinated raw meats (of your choosing) and cook them at the dinner table.
Yep, your table turns into a frying pan, where you whip up your meal and garnish it with lots of tasty condiments such as spicy kimchi and seaweed, potato mash, soy paste, fish cake, miso paste and more.
You could be very adventurous and get sliced ox tongue, but since my dining partner screwed her nose up at that, we opted to share Dweji Bul Go Gi (marinated pork) and Bul Go Gi (beef in traditional Korean sauce), with the Jang Uh Gui Jungsik (grilled & marinated eel). The table service was very attentive, and I would recommend the tender Bul Go Gi and Jang Uh Gui Jungsik. The pork wasn’t my thing, I had a couple of bites and didn’t’ LOVE it.
This was a lot of meat (and therefore a lot of protein) to have in one meal, so if you’re planning on heading to Korean BBQ for dinner prepare your stomach by making your other meals that day a little smaller (I forgot to do this and afterwards felt like I was going to pop from all the food inside).
Madang is located in the middle of a little Korea-town. Left, right and centre there were Korean restaurants dotted about that I’m now dying to try out. Seoul-Ria, Basax Korean Chicken and Dining and Arisun are on my ‘to go to’ list.
I finished off the night with and an epic froyo. Imagine this: chocolate and strawberry frozen yoghurt, loaded with cookie dough, chocolate chips, tim tams, oreos, chocolate wafers, and strawberries. Mouthwatering? I thought so.
Note: Madang was said to be the best by The Urban List, one of my go-to sources for dining information around the city (you have to check it out if you are in Sydney).
I also had a random craving for chocolate cake this week.
Usually, I try to make a natural ingredients cake with cacao, banana, and maple syrup (a delicious recipe I will share soon). However, this day nostalgia was calling me and I whipped up my childhood favourite: Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake mix.
It was so much fun to just splurge and spontaneously treat myself by baking a simple cake for no occasion. I finished decorating it around 1:00am and it was so satisfying to sit on the couch afterwards savouring a big piece with a cup of tea.
Comment below if you did anything spontaneous this week!
Mmm a smoothie is the perfect breakfast when you wake up on a hot day.
A lot can go into a smoothie (and sometimes I do go a bit overboard), so it’s important to fill them with beneficial ingredients. Sometimes I can go a bit overboard on the cacao powder and peanut butter that the smoothie isn’t as nutritious as I had hoped (still healthy relative to a thick shake).
Below is my recipe for a quick, healthy and FILLING smoothie for breakfast. This thing keeps me full until lunch, and I’ve made sure I packed it full of ingredients with wonderful health benefits.
It’s the perfect smoothie if you’ve had an indulgent week (or perhaps a big night) and you want to boost your system with beneficial vitamins and minerals.
You will need:
1 cup spinach – high in protein, fibre, vitamins.
1 tsp turmeric – contains curcumin which increases your immune.
1/4 cup almond milk – rich in protein and calcium.
1/2 cup blueberries – antioxidants combat ageing and boost cognition.
1/2 cup strawberries – source of manganese and potassium.
1/2 banana – great for your daily intake of vitamin B6 and B12, as well as magnesium and potassium.
1 tbsp chia seeds – loaded with nutrients for hardly any calories.
1 tbsp greek yoghurt – makes you feel full and has great probiotics (The Wise Bunny has great Dairy alternatives)
If you have any good smoothie recipes please share them with me! I’d love to try them.
The reason The Rocks is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sydney is because of how many diverse restaurants, bars and cafés it has to offer. What makes it better is that each restaurant has a different cuisine, atmosphere, quirks, and is just a 2 minute walk from the iconic harbour.
If you only had one night in the city, I would tell you to first head for drinks at Grain, a dimly lit cocktail bar next to the Four Seasons. What they do best is a range of exotic cocktails; I recommend Alexander’s Fizz or Sunburn, if you want to give some strangely delicious drink combinations a go.
If you are feeling Tex-Mex, head to El Camino Cantina. They serve up oversized margaritas and tapas share platters (think crispy tacos, sizzling quesadillas, nachos dripping in cheese and churros), AND they have unlimited corn chips and salsa which is always a win.
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.
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 traditionally and festively. 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, you have to head to the iconic Guylian Belgian Chocolate Café, for desserts which both taste and look amazing. I recommend the dark chocolate raspberry cheesecake or a milk chocolate mousse with macadamia cream.
Or, if you’re feeling like a real treat night, head over to Pancakes on The Rocks, a well-known dessert chain 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
I seem to go through phases of being a coffee addict, and then cutting down to one a day.
A month ago I lived on four cups a day and swore by the stuff for mental acuity, increased cheeriness, and the ability to stay wired all day and complete everything I had packed into my schedule without being dreary.
Unfortunately, the $4.50 I was dishing out left right and centre for a small almond Capp just wasn’t agreeing with my bank account.
After realising I was spending $60 per week on coffee I knew I had to quit. I waited until university exams were over (or else I would jeopardise any chance of late night study) and went cold turkey on quitting coffee…
I won’t dress it up. The headaches and irritability were terrible.
I began my coffee cleanse as I went on holiday to South Africa, and spent the 14 hour flight over unable to watch movies, eat food or chat to anyone as I was trying to escape the withdrawal headache with Panadol.
Luckily for me (and everyone around me), after about 24 hours the pain had eased off, and after 3 days I was free of irritability, headaches and intense coffee cravings.
Even a month on, I do miss the rich, smooth, bitter-sweet taste of a freshly brewed Cappuccino, but more than that I miss the mentally stimulating effect it gave me. Here is a list of the alternatives I’ve gone for that do the job.
I have recently become a green tea enthusiast. I can never stomach the taste of the original green tea from tea bags (tastes like I’m munching on field of grass), however, The English Tea Shop has a wonderful range of organic & free trade, herbal teas that are delicately delicious. Although Green Tea does have a bit of caffeine, it’s much cheaper than coffee and doesn’t give me the jitters that coffee gives.
You may not be familiar with Kombucha. It’s a fermented drink made from black tea, that’s known for boosting immunity, and has a very low-calorie content. It also gives me the kick I need before my 9am lectures.
Aside from its glorious taste, Dark Chocolate also has a fair bit of caffeine which usually does the trick. I’ll snack on a piece of dark choccy in the afternoon if I’m feeling lethargic. As well as that, it’s a powerful source of antioxidants which fight harmful radicals in the body.
A very refreshing alternative to water, coconut water is taken from the fresh green coconuts (before it turns to milk) and serves as a boost in the form of sugar and electrolytes.
I’m also interested in trying latte alternatives like turmeric/dark chocolate/beetroot/matcha lattes when I’m out for brekkies and brunches. I know The Porch has a range of these options, so I’m planning on going there soon.
Having said all that, Australia is known to have some of the best coffee in the world – and whilst I’ve given myself a break from the drink for a while – if you are around Sydney you must grab your fix from my favourite places (some of these are run by coffee connoisseurs who have spent their lives perfecting their signature blends):
I’ve always been interested in trying out different diets I discover (Banting, Keto, Paleo, Vegetarian, Mediterranean you name it). Except I’ve always had a hard time with straight veganism, because of how many food groups it cuts out.
The benefits that the Vegan diet provides to the environment and to animals are undeniable. (If you have any shred of doubt about this check out the facts here).
However, I am sceptical about whether it is a viable option for maintaining balanced nutrition and fuelling my body with everything it needs to function. Whilst I am surethat there are ways to get all required nutrients whilst being vegan, as there are fewer options to choose from, it requires a commitment to ensure that the body is deficient in anything.
To elaborate; when committing to a vegan lifestyle you must ensure you are still getting enough protein (1.3 x your weight in kilograms, in grams), iron, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc.
So, I decided I was only allowed to judge it once I’d given it a go, and try being the all-scary, waiter-frustrating, plant-based eating, VEGAN. For a week.
Sunday DAY ONE
I’ll start here by admitting that the vegan diet was meant to start yesterday (Saturday). However come Saturday lunchtime, with the all-good intentions of being vegan, I bought Dal and Naan from an Indian shop I wasn’t familiar with. When my food arrived I found the Dal was made with creamy ghee butter and the Naan was smothered in cheese. With my steaming Dal and gooey, cheesy naan staring up at me, I decided veganism would have to wait until Sunday.
Hint 1: When ordering out at new places, always ask what ingredients are in dishes.
Sunday, my first day of being vegan. My boyfriend and I went out for brunch at a local cafe that does the generic big brekkies, bircher muesli’s, porridges, pastries etc. for breakfast. I was shocked to find that not one of the twenty-or-so dishes were vegan. I had to Build My Own Brekkie and ordered half an avo, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a slice of toasted sourdough for AU$12.50.
For dinner, I went out with a friend to Coco Cubano, a restaurant that serves flavour-packed Cuban food, including Fajitas, Nachos, Pressed Sandwiches, Burgers, Burritos, Churros and exotic cocktails (reminds me of an up-market Guzman Y Gomez). I went with their quinoa salad – and opted not to have a topping of chicken/steak/halloumi – with a side of guacamole and plain corn chips. My problem: The meal was delicious, but I was still peckish afterwards. I had to have a handful of roasted cashews and almond milk tea to save me rolling about with hunger pains all night…
Monday DAY TWO
I didn’t have any big plans today (eating-wise) but I did have my weekly Game of Thrones night with my friend, where she always cooks dinner for me. I have to admit, I did feel a little uncomfortable mentioning that I was Day Two of my vegan streak, and when I sheepishly mentioned my diet restrictions I realised I had to bring a dish along so I wouldn’t be a pain.
Hint 2: Offer to cook/bring your dishes to other’s houses.
Tuesday DAY THREE
I worked all morning and decided to treat myself by going out for a late lunch afterwards (a habit that’s become a little too regular lately). Usually, I would head for Guzman Y Gomez, Sushi Train, or Grill’d, but I spotted a restaurant that’s recently opened up, called Nudefish Poké. I chose to go with the Down to Earth poké bowl which hosted tofu, mushrooms, beetroot, pickled carrot, ginger, snow peas, radishes and tamari almonds, brown rice and avo in a salty-sweet soy sauce. I definitely wouldn’t have usually chosen this option, but it turned out to be a delicious choice I’ll go for again.
Wednesday DAY FOUR
I was off to uni today, which meant I needed a big, filling breakfast if I was going to last the day without breaking the budget and splurging on another bought lunch. I put together a homemade brunch, taking inspiration from Niomi Smart’s Butternut Cashew Wholemeal Pasta (she calls it vegan Mac n’ Cheese), which filled me up until 4pm.
I realised here that I was halfway through the diet. Had I noticed any changes in my mood/appearance/health? To be fair, I was only four days in, but I had noticed my skin had mysteriously cleared up – it was looking a lot fresher and livelier… could cutting out animal products be working?
Thursday DAY FIVE
Thursday was a full on day of work and uni, but I managed to squeeze in a quick dinner at Sushi Train with a couple of friends. Straying away from my usual sashimi, soft shell crab and tuna/avocado rolls, I went for the avocado seaweed salad (with soy sauce dressing), a large bowl of miso soup packed with creamy tofu, and edamame beans. The meal combo was so good, that I’ve decided I’m going to go for it the next time I’m there, regardless of being vegan or not.
Friday DAY SIX
I’m coming to the end of my seven days, and I’m in shock that I’ve made it so easily… I thought I’d slip up with the temptations of baked goods, Gelato, creamy sauces and chocolates that had been staring at me from shop windows all week.
On the way home from work I stopped by at McDonalds, to check out if the menu had any vegan options – I was expecting to be told that I would only be able to have a glass of water. To my surprise, that was not the case.
Hint 3: The sodas, apple pie, bread, hash brown’s and juices are all vegan approved.
Saturday DAY SEVEN
I’ve come to the end of my vegan week and went out with a bang with dinner at one of my favourite Indian restaurants; Cumin.
The Verdict: I had a wonderful week exploring new food options and meals, and I respect the lengths Vegan’s go, to protect animals, their health and the environment. However, the limitations with ordering out, and the guilt I felt inconveniencing others when I ate at their houses were major drawbacks for me.
However, noticeable changes in my mood, skin and weight (after just one week) has motivated me to look for more animal product alternatives (nut butter, nut mylk, soy mylk and egg replacers) and to cut down on my meat intake.
Do you have any diets you swear by? Let me know xx