LIZANNE MARR

Wholefood Dietitian & Nutritionist │ Personal Trainer

The Bountiful Lunch Plate

The Bountiful Lunch Plate - raw, vegan, delicious lunch by 'Not Your Typical Dietitian' We all want our lunch to be delicious and we want to look forward to what is in our lunch box! We might be tempted to have the toasted ham and cheese sandwich from the corner cafe, but we really just want something that's going to taste good, fill us up, and keep us energised for the rest of our busy day. Ahhh wouldn't it be nice to have a personal chef to whip up such whimsical-sounding morsels!? Yes yes it would.

Let's pretend for one moment your personal chef created this for you, ok?

The Bountiful Lunch Plate - raw, vegan, delicious lunch by 'Not Your Typical Dietitian'

Thrown together with the extra sweet potato "chips" he made for you last night that was accompanied with a perfectly cooked fillet of salmon and a crisp seasonal salad. Well yes please!

The Bountiful Lunch Plate - raw, vegan, delicious lunch by 'Not Your Typical Dietitian'

But let's say in case you didn't have a personal chef, you could indeed "throw" this together in just a few minutes, by simply making extra sweet potato the night before and having only a few other fresh ingredients on hand. Easy. 

The Bountiful Lunch Plate - raw, vegan, delicious lunch by 'Not Your Typical Dietitian'

Here's why it's good for you!

Kale: The mother of all leafy greens and packed full of potassium, beta carotene and Vitamin C. Kale also contains isothiocyanates which have powerful anti-cancer effects in our cells.

Cashews: Cashews are slightly lower in fat than most other nuts and contain predominately oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, shown to reduce triglyceride levels. This nut is also rich in copper, important for healthy hair and skin.

Sweet potato: This veggie is filled to the brim with antioxidants, including Vitamins A, E and C. All of these vitamins are excellent for beautiful hair and skin, and help us to fight the free radicals associated with ageing and diseases such as cancer. It really is a "beauty food"!

Avocado: Want to lose weight? Eat avocado! Even though avocado has lots of fat, it is mostly comprised of the healthy monounsaturated fats. Studies have shown that these fats are more likely to be used as slow burning energy rather than being stored as body fat. It also helps us to keep full and satisfied for longer. AND it is RIDICULOUSLY TASTY especially when you add salt, pepper and lime!

Here's how!

Ingredients:

Leftover sweet potato chips from last night's dinner Big handful finely chopped kale leaves Half a fresh beetroot (roughly grated) ¼ avocaso Handful cherry tomatoes (halved) Small handful cashews (untoasted & unsalted) Juice of 1 lime Chili powder Salt & Pepper

Method:

1. Warm up the sweet potato chips in the oven until warm an crispy 2. Mash the avocado and season with salt, pepper and lime juice 3. In a cup, mix together the cashews, a sprinkle of chili powder and lime juice 4. Arrange ingredients onto a plate and dress with the remaining lime juice

The Bountiful Lunch Plate - raw, vegan, delicious lunch by 'Not Your Typical Dietitian'

Healthy Hummingbird Cake

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - Not Your Typical Dietitian I love makeovers. Before and after photos of people who lost weight, renovated their home got a new haircut. It's so fun to share in the transformation. But the best makeover of all is when you can take one of your favourite unhealthy recipes and make it healthy! But hopefully in this case, you WON'T be able to taste the difference between before (unhealthy) and after (healthy) - I couldn't!

All you get here is a 100% satisfying piece of cake - dense, moist,  and chewy. This is packed to the brim with good-for-you ingredients and filling too - so you won't be tempted to have a second slice.

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - Not Your Typical Dietitian

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - Not Your Typical Dietitian

I didn't think you needed any reason to eat cake, but in case you do, here are some points on why this cake is so good for you!

WHOLEMEAL SPELT flour comes from an ancient grain that contains much lower amounts of gluten than wheat. This doesn't mean our Coeliac friends can eat it, but those with gluten intolerance MAY be able to tolerate it. Wholemeal spelt is also much higher in protein and fibre than regular flour.

Some studies have shown that CINNAMON may help to regulate blood sugar levels, which means we won't suffer from that typical sugar slump and we're less likely to overeat at our next meal/snack.

MACADAMIA OIL is a wonderful oil that contains a lot of heart healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It is shelf-stable and has a much higher resistance to heat so it doesn't oxidise as easily as other nut/seed oils. It is rich in vitamin E and squalene, both of which are important antioxidants for beautiful skin.

PECAN NUTS are packed with plant sterols that can help lower blood cholesterol. They contain the same healthy fat (oleic acid) that we find in olives and avocados. This nut is also a great source of vitamin B3 (niacin) to help us fight afternoon tiredness and fatigue by accessing the energy that we get from our food.

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - Not Your Typical Dietitian

Ingredients:

Cake 3 cups wholemeal spelt flour ½ cup honey or rice malt syrup 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ tsp sea salt 1 tsp cinnamon 3 eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ½ cup cold pressed macadamia oil 1 can crushed pineapple (drained) 3 large mashed bananas ¾ cup pecan nuts ½ cup shredded coconut

Icing/frosting 250g light cream cheese ½ cup thick unsweetened plain Greek yoghurt 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup liquid stevia drops to sweeten to your taste 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Topping ½ cup pecan nuts 2 tablespoons shredded coconut 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Combine dry cake ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl combine all wet cake ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. Oil the inside of a 22cm/8.5inch springform cake tin and pour mixture into the tin.
  6. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 35-40minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Meanwhile, combine all the icing ingredients in a bowl using a hand mixer until creamy.
  8. Combine all the topping ingredients in a separate bowl and mix to combine.
  9. When the cake is done, remove from oven and let cool completely.
  10. Once cake is cooled, use a bread knife to cut the cake in half horizontally.
  11. Remove the top layer of the cake and smear half the icing onto the bottom layer of the cake.
  12. Place the top layer back onto the cake and smear the rest of the icing on top.
  13. Finish off with the with nutty coconut & cinnamon topping – divine!

Healthy Hummingbird Cake - Not Your Typical Dietitian

5 ways to a healthier weekend

destress You’ve worked hard all week. You got up early every morning to do your workout. You planned out your meals, you even prepared your breakfast and lunch the night before. You said no to the cake at the Friday morning tea at work. Heck you even had your super greens powder and lemon water upon waking even though you dry reach every time just thinking about the after taste. You did everything right this week. And now you feel you need to be rewarded for it this weekend. Don’t do it! You are undoing all the progress you made during the week and perhaps even taking a step back. If you’re tired of not reaching your fitness goal it’s time to have a good hard look at what you’re doing over the weekend, because it is probably the reason why you are not there yet. Here are a few easy tips that you can do this weekend to help you get closer to that goal you made at the beginning of this year. It’s not too late to reach that 2014 new years resolution!

1. Avoid over sleeping You might think sleeping in an extra 2 hours on the weekend is doing you good, but in fact your body is already used to your sleeping routine from the week and so are your mealtimes and metabolism. If you sleep in, that means you’re less likely to do your morning exercise, you’ll probably skip breakfast and your meal pattern will be all over the place for the rest of the day. This means you’re more likely to over eat or eat when you’re not actually hungry. Allow yourself an extra 30 minutes of sleep and plan to do something active with your friends or family that you can’t normally do during the week.

Exercise with weights

get up early to exercise

2.  Plan ahead You might feel like the weekend is the only time when you can relax with your meal planning and be more “spirit of the moment”. You can still go out for a post beach swim breakfast or have a romantic dinner, but plan ahead and look up their menu on the internet. Do this when you are not hungry and make a decision about what you will order then. This way you’re more likely to steer clear of the all-too-familiar last minute hot chips side order.

3. Reward yourself You still need to reward yourself for all the effort you put in towards your goal during week, but you can do this without using food. Pamper yourself with a foot massage, a warm bath, your favourite magazine, a bunch of fresh flowers or some quality time with a friend. Remember to take deep breaths and give yourself a big pat on the back for your hard work!

success

4. Watch the alcohol! The biggest problem with this is that your body makes it its number one priority to metabolise this toxin once you’ve started sipping your champagne.  This means that any food you’ve eaten before, during, or after will be stored as excess energy (fat) – even if you’re drinking low carb beer or a vodka lime and soda!  Your best bet is not to have anything at all and enjoy other alternatives  (check out my delicious mocktail on Instagram) because alcohol is proably THE BIGGEST culprit for not reaching your goal yet. Your second best option is to stick with only 1 or 2 drinks and sip slowly to savour each mouthful. Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and don’t drink too close to bedtime as this will affect your sleep and set you up for a tired unmotivated start to the week.

5. Take the time to de-stress Use the extra time you have on the weekend to de-stress from the week. Take some time out to reflect on your progress so far and write down any thoughts or ideas that can help you be better this coming week. Make sure that you spend quality time with your family and friends, laugh a lot, get outside and enjoy life. We can easily lose perspective on the important things in life when we focus too much on one goal. When we get our focus right, we are generally happier and therefore more productive and motivated to get where we want to go.

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Enjoy a healthier weekend and reap the rewards!

Lizanne xxx

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Healthier Malva Pudding

One of my most precious memories as a little girl was coming home from church, the house filled with aromas of the Sunday roast my mum had put in the oven that morning. The whole family sitting down for a long lunch with lots of laughter and jokes, us kids playing under the table and making fun of the mung beans in mum's salad (little did I know about their nutritional value). The moment we were all waiting for finally came at the end of lunch and mum would reveal a perfectly baked Malva pudding from the oven. We could hardly wait for her to evenly divide it so that everyone had their fair share, and then of course with a big scoop of ice cream on top. Back then, you didn't have dessert every night, you had a treat once a week. The desserts weren't low fat, sugar-free, or gluten-free but man did they taste good! Every now and then I will have a craving for this kind of pudding. If you're South African (like me) or if you have any South African friends, I am sure they would've told you about this pudding before. It really is heavenly in taste, but unfortunately being laden with sugar, butter and cream, not so heavenly for your health. So here is my best recreation of a healthier version. Remember that any dessert, whether healthy or unhealthy, is still a treat and should only be enjoyed occasionally.

Healthier Malva Pudding - Not Your Typical Dietitian

Ingredients:

Pudding 1 tablespoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon coconut sugar* 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup* 1 egg 3 tablespoons no-added-sugar apricot jam (I use Charles Jacquin jam) ¼ cup milk (almond/rice/soy/cows) 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda

Sauce 1 cup coconut milk (or full cream cows milk) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Sweetener to taste*

* coconut sugar can be substituted for any other unrefined sugar such as rapadura * rice malt syrup can be replace with honey or maple syrup * sweetener can be rice malt syrup, stevia, honey or maple syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine all pudding ingredients except the flour and bicarb in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the flour and bicarb little by little as you continue to whisk.
  4. Pour into a baking dish (20 x 15 x 4 cm)
  5. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 min or until golden.
  6. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in pan over low heat until small bubbles form.
  7. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Remove pudding from oven, cool for 5 to 10 minutes and cut into squares. Pour the sauce over the pudding and allow to absorb. Serve with extra sauce and/or whipped coconut cream - yum!

Healthier Malva Pudding - Not Your Typical Dietitian

Healthier Malva Pudding - Not Your Typical Dietitian

 

Healthier Malva Pudding
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Pudding
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar*
  • 2 tablespoons rice malt syrup*
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons no-added-sugar apricot jam (I use Charles Jacquin jam)
  • ¼ cup milk (almond/rice/soy/cows)
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
  • Sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or full cream cows milk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetener to taste*
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine all pudding ingredients except the flour and bicarb in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the flour and bicarb little by little as you continue to whisk.
  4. Pour into a baking dish (20 x 15 x 4 cm)
  5. Place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 min or until golden.
  6. Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients in pan over low heat until small bubbles form.
  7. Remove from heat and set aside.
  8. Remove pudding from oven, cool for 5 to 10 minutes and cut into squares. Pour the sauce over the pudding and allow to absorb. Serve with extra sauce and/or whipped coconut cream - yum!
Notes
* coconut sugar can be substituted for any other unrefined sugar such as rapadura, rice malt syrup can be replace with honey or maple syrup, sweetener can be rice malt syrup, stevia, honey or maple syrup

Lime & Sage Cashew "Blue Cheese"

photo apetizer I absolutely love entertaining at home and serving up new food and drink creations to friends and family  (using them as my guinea pigs). They don't seem to mind most of the time. Sometimes my creations don't always come out looking and/or tasting very glamorous, but at least it lends itself to some interesting dinner conversations. This one (thankfully) did turn out to be a success and a wonderful substitute for blue cheese if you struggle with the thought of mould in your cheese (me). If you're stuck for an appetizer at your next dinner party, this cheese compliments any kind of seasonal fruit and is heavenly on a fresh piece of sourdough.

photo fig

Ingredients:

2 cups cashew nuts 1 handful fresh sage Juice of 1 lime

Method:

Add cashew nuts to a high speed blender and blend until a fine powder. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a soft "cheese" consistency. Spread on freshly baked sourdough with fresh fig slices.

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Ricotta Fritters with Mango & Beetroot Marinated Zoodles

I don't know about you but my appetite is hugely affected by the temperature outside. When it's hot I love light, fresh meals that don't take too long to prepare and that can be enjoyed outside under a tree on a blanket or on the side of the pool, or even at the beach. I take any opportunity to include summery flavours like mango, coconut, pineapple, watermelon, basil, coconut...oh wait I already said coconut. Yep I love coconut. I sneakily incorporated it into this dish, along with mango and a few other unusual ingredients. The combination might sound a bit strange, but this one is a winner! We had this on a balmy summers evening last month when there was no breeze when I quite frankly would've been quite happy to eat a bowl of watermelon (if I lived by myself). This was the next best thing... Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Ingredients (makes 2 to 3 large serves):

2 zucchinis 1 fresh ripe mango 1 fresh whole beetroot 3 tablespoons shredded coconut 1 bunch fresh basil (roughly chopped) 400g form ricotta (IMPORTANT: ricotta must be firm otherwise the fritters won't hold shape) 1 egg Half a cup of flour (I used oat flour) 40g grated parmesan cheese Zest from one lemon

Method:

Marinated Zoodles - Using a julienne vegetable peeler, make "noodles" or "pasta" from the zucchini. If you are unsure of how to do this, here is a helpful video to help you and link of where you can buy the vegetable peeler:

Video - how to make zucchini noodles

Buy the vegetable peeler here

Combine fresh mango, whole beetroot, and coconut in a high speed blender until smooth. Cover the zoodles in the marinade, stir through half the basil and set aside.

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Fritters - Combine the ricotta, egg, flour, parmesan, lemon zest, and the rest of the basil in a mixing bowl. Form into tablespoon sizes fritters and roll in extra flour if desired. Heat non-stick pan on medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Add the fritters to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden and crisp.

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Arrange the marinated zoodles in the centre of a pasta bowl and top with the ricotta fritters. Enjoy!

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Going nuts for nuts!

Nuts,  the perennial of life for any vegetarian, has now been proven above its other feats to have life prolonging capacity.

Having long been known as nutritious (and by many health conscious as a “superfood”) these little guys were previously known to lower cholesterol and diminish insulin resistance.

Most of these claims were met with scepticism, with the most common question being – ‘how does lowering cholesterol or improving insulin function really even help me?’.

Published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, was  the largest prospective study to date on nut consumption. With 76 464 women and 42 498 men, the authors concluded that those who ate nuts less than once per week had a 7% decrease in mortality and those who ate nuts up to 7 times per week had a 20% reduction!! And that goes for any type of nut too.

Good news right? Great news you say ……especially for those of you aiming to push past 95 and spend every last waking hour squeezing a bit more out of life. But what about those who are more stuck in the reality of the next few years rather than the twilight of time? Maybe you hate the though of living out your life in a hospital bed or rattling with pills into old age? There's more good news!

The study also showed associations with lower rates of cancer, respiratory ailments and heart disease.  And possibly the best part …increased nut intake was associated with less weight gain (contrary to popular belief). LESS weight gain! Yes you did read that right. Reduced waist circumference, and reduced risk of obesity.

So ready set go. To your pantry scrabbling for that packet of almonds bought last year and inhale your 28 grams for the day. Alternatively you could always click on the links below and creatively consume your portion.

Summer Popsicles

photo 1 Australia is warming up and we're getting ready for summer - hooray! With summer comes sun bathing, flip flops, and of course ice cream! We are definitely not willing to sacrifice our bikini body that we'll need to flaunt on boxing day though, so we need guilt-free options. Here are 3 healthy, delicious, and very summery popsicle recipes that are super quick to make!

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Blackberry Froyo (makes 6) 1.5 cups low fat Greek yoghurt 2.5 cups frozen blackberries (thawed out) Sweetener to taste (rice malt syrup or stevia)

Stir sweetener through the thawed out blackberries. Do the same with the yoghurt, but keep separate from the berries. Layer popsicle mould with a layer of yoghurt and a layer of berries. Continue this process until filled. Pop in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

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Mango Lassi Pops (makes 6) 1.5 cups low fat Greek yoghurt 3 cups frozen mango 3 tablespoons shredded  coconut Sweetener if desired

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Fill moulds and freeze.

photo 4 Breakfast Creamsicle (makes 6) 1.5 cups almond milk 2 bananas 2 tablespoons chia seeds 2 tablespoons hemp seeds 2 tablespoons protein powder 2 teaspoons cinnamon 2 medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender for at least 1 minute. Fill moulds and freeze.

 

Cashew & Fig Cream

photo 2 My sister and I have been eating no sugar for 5 weeks. She asked me if I wanted to cut out sugar with her for a whole 8 weeks to help keep her accountable. I agreed without realising how difficult it is to actually avoid the stuff. It is literally EVERYWHERE and my eyes have really been opened to how much we eat of it without even realising.  I am still allowing myself fruit though - I could never live without fruit, it is my favourite food in the world, really!

I've really enjoyed the journey of getting creative making tasty treats without relying on sweeteners. This cashew and fig cream is one of the toppings I created for our pancakes over the weekend. It really is perfect on anything from pancakes, toast, fruit, or even in smoothies...and vegan-friendly too :)

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Ingredients:

1 cup cashews Half cup filtered water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 dried figs

Method:

Add ingredients to a blender and combine on a high speed until creamy.

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Rainbow Salad with Poached Chicken & Miso Dressing

photo 3 It has well and truly warmed up in Perth and we're all in need of a good salad recipe to carry us from an easy pre-pared lunch to a balmy summers picnic dinner. This one looks as delicious as it tastes, and the miso dressing gives it an Asian infused flavour that will have you going back for seconds (without the guilt!). Give this one a go for your next evening dinner on the patio.

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Ingredients:

Salad -

2 large chicken breasts (poached and shredded)* 3 big handfuls of green leaves (I used baby beet leaves) ½ bunch roughly chopped fresh coriander ½ bunch roughly chopped fresh mint 1 handful microherbs (optional) ½ head broccoli cut into florets and lightly steamed 3 cups shredded cabbage 1 small yellow capsicum cut into strips 1 small red capsicum cut into strips 1 grated carrot 1 cob of sweet corn (kernels cut off the cob) Juice from one lemon

* How to poach chicken: place the chicken breast in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and leave to sit for another 10 minutes. Drain, cool, and finely slice or pull meat apart.

Dressing –

1/3 cup rice vinegar 2 tablespoons sesame oil 1 tablespoon miso paste (can be bought from health food stores) 3 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated 1 clove garlic, fine grated

Method:

Combine all salad ingredients except the chicken. Coat the salad with the lemon juice. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a small jar and shake vigorously until well combined. Coat the chicken with the miso dressing. Top the salad with chicken and serve with cooked quinoa and buckwheat mix.

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Pear & Ginger Loaf

There is a beautiful café that recently opened near the suburb where I grew up. I went there with my mum and sisters and we had a lovely morning chatting over breakfast and coffee. I ordered the pear and ginger loaf with caramelised banana and Greek yoghurt - wow, I was impressed! This one of course was made with processed flour and white sugar. I simply had to healthify this one (I know that is not really a word).

What is good about it? The psyllium husk, pears, and buckwheat boost the fibre content. The almond meal, nuts, and seeds provide healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a protein packed loaf to help keep you full and curb any sugar cravings. It is gluten-free as buckwheat has no gluten and is actually not derived from wheat in any way. This recipe can also be sugar-free if you use stevia instead of honey or maple syrup.

Ingredients:

½ cup almond meal 1½ cup buckwheat flour ¼ cup ground flaxseed/chia 2 tablespoons psyllium husk 3 ripe juicy pears 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ cup milk of choice 3 eggs 1 tablespoon oil (coconut/olive) 2 tablespoons sweetener (honey/maple syrup/stevia) 2-3cm piece of ginger ¼ cup chopped walnuts 3 chopped medjool dates

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a bread tin or silicon loaf pan (22cm x 9cm x 6cm) with baking paper. Sift almond meal, buckwheat flour, flaxseed/chia, and psyllium husk into a bowl. Wash and deseed one pear and combine with vanilla, baking soda, milk, eggs, oil sweetener, and ginger in a blender. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the walnuts and dates and fold through. Cut the remaining two pears into 8 wedges each. Fill bread tin with half the batter and spread evenly. Top with half the pear wedges. Cover with the rest of the batter and top with the remaining pear wedges. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover it with some baking paper if it starts to brown too much. Let cool in tin. Slice and enjoy with caramelised banana, yoghurt, and a drizzle of honey. It is also divine with some fresh ricotta and honey or a smear of almond butter. Enjoy!

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Vietnamese Noodles

Do you also have a hard time making a tasty stir-fry without using some kind of condiment/sauce/paste that contains copious amounts of sugar, oil, or salt? If you're a food label reader, you probably know that it is really hard find a product in the supermarket isle dedicated to Asian food without one of these featuring as one of the first 3 ingredients. Unless you want to pay $10+ for a jar labelled organic or gourmet that actually contains REAL flavours, spices, and herbs then this recipe is for you! It is flavourful and delicious without any of the nasties.

Ingredients: makes 5 - 6 large portions

1 pack rice noodles 1.5 litres boiling water 500g free-range chicken breast (cubed) 500g bean shoots 1 large carrot (julienned) 1 large bunch fresh mint (roughly chopped) 1 large bunch fresh coriander (finely chopped stalks & roots, roughly chopped leaves) 4 cm piece fresh ginger (grated or finely chopped) 2 cloves of fresh garlic (grated or finely chopped) 1 large stick of lemongrass (finely chopped) 1 large chilli (finely chopped) 2 tablespoons fish sauce 2 tablespoons salt-reduced soy sauce 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 large lemons or 3 limes

Method: Add rice noodles to boiling water in a large bowl and drain after 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat pan on high and add sesame oil, stalks and roots of coriander, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked through. Add the bean shoots and half the carrots. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, honey, and the juice of 1 large lemon and mix through. Take off heat and stir through half the mint and half the coriander leaves. Divide the rice noodles into bowls and spoon over the juice from the bottom of the pan. Cover noodles with stir-fry mix and top with fresh carrots, mint, coriander, and lemon/lime wedge.

Nutritional Information per serve: 1500 kJ (360 kcal) 43g protein 31g carbohydrate 6g fat (1g sat fat)

Healthy Strawberry Macaroons

I want to clear up the confusion between macaroons and macarons. Macarons is a sweet meringue-based confection made with eggs, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond meals, and food colouring/flavour. It is usually filled with a ganache or buttercream. The macaroon is a type of light, baked confection, that can look like a small cake or meringue-like cookie. Here is an illustration provided by blogilates

It is this innocent-looking delightful treat on the high tea tiers that makes us second guess the healthy eating vow we murmur to ourselves as the tea is being poured into our fine china cup.

Not Your Typical Dietitian has developed the "Not Your Typical Macaroon" and gave it a healthy twist, without refined sugar and butter. I am not saying that this treat is that healthy that you can now gorge yourself on them, but they're definitely a better option than the macarons you'll find staring back at you through the glass casing at the patisserie. And they have real fresh strawberries in them!

Ingredients: Makes ~20 macaroons

1 ½ cups almond flour 2 ½ cups organic shredded coconut 3 tablespoons raw honey 3 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract 1 punnet fresh strawberries (250g) (finely chopped) Pinch sea salt

Method: Combine dry ingredients. Warm coconut oil and honey in a bowl suspended in hot water until runny, then add vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients. Once well combined, carefully mix through the strawberries. Use your hands to form into macaroon shapes and place on baking paper. Chill in fridge for around 1 hour or until firm. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Will keep for 1 week.

IMPORTANT: You probably noticed that these babies don't require any baking. However, if you would like to bake these for a crunchy outer casing and soft chewy centre, then you can bake them at a very low temperature (140 or 150 degrees Celsius) for around 40 to 50 minutes. The key is not letting them brown too much - so keep an eye on them!

 

Wild Quinoa, Date, & Banana Protein Muffins

I am a big fan of preparing ahead for meals. It means my week is less stressful and more organised, which also means I stick to healthier options. This week I had so many things going on that I completely forgot about the mix of quinoa and wild rice made up to add to salads or to use as a base for hot dishes. There was no way I was going to waste this precious bundle of nutrients. So from there....the wild rice and quinoa muffin was born with the ever-so-complimentary additions of date and banana.

The quinoa and wild rice somehow combines with the rest of the ingredients into the perfect mix of crunchy, chewy, and delicious sticky sweetness...

The ultimate must-have's in a muffin? I think so! Even the nutrient profile is impressive, delivering all 9 essential amino acids (proteins) as well as a good dose of fibre and healthy fats.

Ingredients:

½ cup almond flour 1 scoop protein powder 2 cups cooked quinoa & wild rice mix* 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ¼ cup organic coconut sugar* 2 ripe bananas mashed 1 large free range egg ¾ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract ½ cup dates Cinnamon for dusting

* use ¾ cup dry quinoa and ¼ cup dry wild rice – cook with 2 cups of water * OR ¼ cup rapadura sugar OR ¼ cup brown sugar OR 3 tablespoons honey OR stevia

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Combine almond flour, protein powder, quinoa and wild rice mix, spelt flour, baking powder, and coconut sugar in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Finely chop the dates and fold into the mixture. Scoop into a muffin tin and place in pre-heated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and the skewer comes out clean. Dust muffins with cinnamon and enjoy warm with a cup of tea.

You might think that this muffin combination is a bit strange.

But don't knock it until you've tried it. It really delivers on taste.

Link of the day: Rhubarb & Raspberry Tart

 

Easy Homemade Almond Butter

I can't believe I have only just discovered the wonderful world of making my own nut butter. I didn't realise it is so easy to do! If you're a nut butter lover like me, you probably go through a jar per week - which can work out to be an expensive addiction in the long run. I like to slather it on most things - oats in the morning, smoothies, fruit, dates - the possibilities are endless! By making your own nut butter you're saving at least 50%. If you live in Australia a jar of nut butter bought at Woolworths costs anything from $7 up, but only costs around $4 if you make the equivalent amount at home. Yippee!!

Why bother you ask? Well.......

Nuts are a really good source of "healthy fats" which has been shown to be beneficial for your heart and also your brain (if they're the omega-3 type of oils). Nuts are also high in protein and high in fibre - which is perfect for keeping you full and curbing cravings for sugary snacks. By grinding your nuts into a nut butter you've just opened up a whole new world of possibilities...no more boring trail mix for snacks! You can use it as a spread on this bread with some banana and honey. You can add into smoothies like this one. You can spread on fruit for a snack or fill a medjool date - my favourite!! You can even add it to ice-cream - yum!! Endless fun to be had. Best of all, it is really easy to make.

Ingredients (makes one small jar of nut butter)

2 cups of almonds (or add in a mix of nuts like brazil nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia etc.) Optional additions: 2 tablespoons of oil (coconut or macadamia), maple syrup

Method

Add nuts to a blender and blend on high to form a "flour" consistency. Then blend on medium speed until creamy and buttery. It is that simple! Really! All you need is a little patience. The process usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes for 2 cups of nuts. If you don't have a high power blender the process may take up to 20 to 25 minutes. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides of the blender every now and then. The main thing is to be patient. At first the consistency will become floury, then crumbly with some moisture, and then finally the buttery silky consistency will start to appear. If you want a deeper toasted and creamy texture you can roast your nuts for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven before blending. However, I like to have raw nut butter. It is really up to you.

Now go spread that nut butter on something...