This past weekend was a whirlwind as my parents visited for the first time since I’ve moved to Melbourne so it was great to show them my local haunts and also to try out a few new places. It was amazing to just spend … Continue reading
It’s my first week back in Melbourne since my travels and it’s been absolutely FREEZING! I’ve been drinking lots of herbal tea and making winter meals to keep me warm. Here’s something many of you didn’t know about me, I’ve never actually had a ‘proper’ winter before. Yes I’ve visited places during the winter and have seen snow multiple times but to live in a city where I can wear a winter coat and boots day in, day out is quite exciting for me.
Along with embracing the winter fashion I’ll also be making plenty of hearty meals that are full of nutrients. If you would like to be the first to receive these healthy yet hearty meals straight to your inbox, just hit ‘follow’ and enter your email on the right side of this page –>
So, here’s just a few things that I’ve been making/buying this week.
The above meal is one of my go-to weeknight dinners as along with being healthy it is simple, quick and tasty. After a busy day at work and in this cold weather all I’ve been craving is warming foods. By adding warming spices such as cinnamon and cumin to the sweet potato it really brings out the flavour of the vegetable – try it out next time you’re roasting some!
This week I’ve been stocking up my healthy pantry – two of the health food stores in my area have had ‘super saver’ days (one 20% off and the other 15% off) so how could I not buy anything?! Although initially it is quite an outlay, these products will last me a long time and I know I can make/create a lot of different recipes with this selection.
As I’ve moved to a new area in Melbourne, one of the first things I did was check out my local health food store and find out when their ‘super saver’ days are. It is common for health food stores to have 15% off on the first Saturday of every month, but make sure you ask and put it in you calendar as you can make a real saving!
Before heading to the Prahran Markets to buy some fresh produce for the week, I stopped by Organica for an almond milk latte. It was just what I needed as it was quite cool – as you can see by the number of layers I’m wearing! I haven’t eaten there yet, but they have some great raw vegan slices, healthy salads and soups and takeaway meals.
This was last night’s dinner and boy did it go down well. Made with organic grass fed lamb mince and fresh vegetables all sourced from the markets it was just what I needed. You too can make this roasted stuffed pumpkin with moroccan spiced lamb – it’s actually one of my favourite recipes. The best part is I have plenty of leftovers so tonight’s dinner is sorted.
Now for the vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf recipe. I made this at the start of the week as a quick breakfast option and to enjoy at morning tea. It’s actually a vegan and gluten free version of this loaf.
Almond meal is a light flour that’s also gluten free and grain free (it’s basically ground almonds). The additions of chopped almonds add a crunchiness, the coconut adds a slight chewiness and the quinoa flakes add bulk to the loaf.
As I’ve mentioned previously, a chia ‘egg’ is just chia seeds mixed with water. It’s a vegan substitute that acts as a binding ingredient just like a regular egg does – plus it has the added nutritional benefits of chia seeds!
Once the dry and wet ingredients have been separately mixed, it’s time to combine them. Make sure you gently fold them together in the larger bowl so the blueberries don’t break/bleed their colour too much.
All mixed together now and you can really see the different elements that make up this deliciously healthy loaf.
I always line my loaf tins to ensure the baked good can be easily removed. Plus, it means less cleaning up as you just need to wash it in hot soapy water without having to scrub bits of loaf off the tin.
The loaf needs to be pressed into the tin to ensure a nice, even top. I sprinkled a few extra chopped almonds on top just for decoration, feel free to do the same!
Just how a loaf should look – golden and crunchy on top! Enjoy a slice of this healthy loaf with some almond butter and a cup of tea, or just by itself.
Make sure you allow the loaf to cool completely before slicing as it is quite delicate!
This loaf will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week.
Vegan blueberry quinoa coconut loaf
Makes 1 loaf
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
- 2 TBSP chia seeds
- 6 TBSP water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt*
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease or line loaf tin with baking paper.
- Combine almond meal, baking soda, shredded coconut, almonds and quinoa flakes in a large bowl, set aside.
- Combine chia seeds and water in a bowl, set aside for 2 minutes or until liquid has absorbed.
- Stir in vanilla extract, coconut oil, coconut yoghurt and blueberries into chia ‘egg’ bowl.
- Fold wet and dry ingredients together.
- Transfer batter to prepared loaf tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely in loaf tin.
- Slice with a bread knife and enjoy!
- Substitute the coconut yoghurt for 1/2 cup mashed bananas
- Make sure you allow the loaf to cool completely otherwise it may crumble.
I’ve already sliced the up into individual portions and have them all wrapped up, ready to take to work for the week!
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Like many of you, I’m already back into full time work for the year. Knowing first hand when you’re working one of the last things you feel like and have time to do is cook lavish meals during the week. So, I’m starting a ‘Back to Basics’ series which will include basic recipes so you can prepare healthy yet simple food.
To start off this series, I’m bringing you gluten free pastry. This pastry can be used for tart bases, pie crusts and quiche bases. These are all great dishes to make on the weekend to have on hand during the week or mini versions are perfect to serve when entertaining.
I have been fortunate to be gifted some Woolworths Macro Gluten Free products to try out and Woolworths have kindly donated two $50.00 gift vouchers to giveaway – keep reading for details on how to enter. My favourite product is their gluten free self raising flour as it’s quite a fine flour so it is great to make pastry with, and it is soy free! I try to avoid using soy products and often gluten free flours and products unfortunately contain an element of soy.
I was pleased with the overall taste of the flour and was surprised how long this packet lasted especially since I am always cooking.
As coconut oil is used instead of butter in this pastry, I actually chilled the flour for a few hours before using it to ensure the coconut oil was able to slightly solidify when worked into the flour.
Traditionally pastry is made with just egg yolks however I used two whole eggs for this pastry as I found the gluten free flour needed the egg white to make a more workable dough.
As there is no gluten in this pastry you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. Kneading it just helps it come together and ensures it can be rolled out easily.
The dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes so that it is easy to work with when rolled out.
Make sure the surface is lightly floured to prevent the dough from sticking to it when rolling out.
This is what your pastry should look like once rolled out: thin and smooth.
To cut the tart shells out, use a cookie cutter or a circular object to ensure they are all the same size.
It is important to grease the tart pan well so the shells can be removed easily – there’s nothing worse than breaking tart shells!
Once cooked, these tart shells will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer up to two weeks – just place shells between layers of baking paper to prevent them from sticking together.
Back to Basics: Gluten Free Pastry
Makes approximately 40 mini tart shells or 2 large tart shells
- 1 1/4 cups Woolworths Macro Gluten Free Self Raising Flour, extra for kneading
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 TBSP water
- 2 eggs
- Combine gluten free self raising flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Add coconut oil then using your fingertips, work it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add water and eggs then mix with a wooden spoon or spatula to a dough.
- Turn pastry onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
- Shape into a disc, wrap in glad wrap then place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F and lightly grease 24 mini tart tins with coconut oil.
- Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 5 mm thick.
- Cut out circles and re-roll the scraps until all the dough has been used.
- Push tart rounds down gently with your fingers in the tart tin.
- Bake tart shells for 10 minutes and leave to cool at room temperature.
Keep an eye out for my next blog post where I will share a healthy filling recipe for these tart shells!
Enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Woolworths gift card: This competition has now closed!
It’s been a stunning weekend on the Gold Coast! As it’s my last semester of university I’ve been making the most of the time with my friends. It’s an exciting time for us all to be moving onto the next stage of our lives, but is also marks the ‘end of an era’.
With this in mind I had some friends over for dinner last night and everyone contributed a delicious dish. I made my vegan spelt pizzas as they are simple yet tasty and don’t require hours of cooking.
Now onto the shaved parsnip and carrot chips recipe. A few weeks ago now I made these as I felt like something crunchy – they are a great substitute for potato chips!
To shave the parsnip and carrots, I used a vegetable peeler as it ensures an evenly sliced chip.
Try not to overcrowd the baking tray as then the chips won’t become crunchy.
These are best eaten immediately otherwise they will lose their crunch.
Shaved parsnip and carrot chips
Serves 2 as a snack or serves 4 as a main meal accompaniment
- 1 parsnip, washed and peeled
- 2 carrots, washed and peeled
- Coconut oil
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave the parsnip and carrots.
- Lightly coat with coconut oil and place on lined baking trays.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, turning every 6-7 minutes to make them crispy.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve! Enjoy!
They can be eaten by themselves as a snack or on top of beef or fish to keep your dinners interesting!
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This past week I have been a bit under the weather and was looking for a soothing snack. I decided to make my own frozen yoghurt, but with coconut yoghurt. I added the raspberries for their antioxidants and the ginger to help my immune system (and to scare away my cold) – it seems to have worked a treat!
This frozen coconut yoghurt is the perfect dish to eat when you’re sick or to cool you down this coming summer.
Frozen raspberry ginger coconut yoghurt
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor.
- Blend/process for 3-5 minutes until well combined.
- Serve and eat immediately. Enjoy!
What soothing snacks do you eat when sick?