Category Archives: LFW Fit and Healthy

Seven Days of New Year—Day Six!

Day 6! And if we’ve worked this out right, it’s also Saturday, so we’re splurging with Hot Dogs! Yes … Hot Dogs!  Way to go!

hot-dog-bacon-and-avo

Hot Dog with avocado, salad, and  crunchy bacon pieces

But hang on there … hot dogs? Well our hot dogs are healthy hot dogs. We’re using real meat GF sausages (not your horrible pink Frank things), GF or whole-grain hot dog buns, and some great toppings. And, we’re serving them with one (or two) of our great salads that we published earlier. So try one of our guilt-free hot dogs. Yummy! And the kids will love them too!

hot-dog-with-cole-slaw

Hot Dog with crispy, crunchy home-made coleslaw

Start out with good quality sausages and buns and add either, or a combination of, slaw, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, Asian pickle, avocado, salsa, Spanish (red) onion, and anything else that takes your fancy. Just remember to go carefully with cheese and dairy as they will boost your fat intake.

sausage-and-asian-pickle

Put the HOT in hot dog with spicy Asian pickles!

Seven Days of New Year—Day Five!

The topic for today is salads! And we’ve got a couple of great healthy salad recipes that you can use for a light lunch or as a side salad with your main meal. And don’t forget our lovely Salade Verte recipe from yesterday.

First up is our super simple Beetroot Salad

beetroot-walnut-salad

Beetroot and walnut salad

What you need: 1 large can whole baby beets or beetroot wedges, 1 large pack Mesclun* salad mix (or mix your own with a variety of salad leaves, baby spinach, and rocket), chopped walnuts, one medium piece low-fat Feta cheese, and white wine vinegar, Balsamic vinegar, and olive oil for dressing.

What you do: Drain and cut the whole beets into quarters, or large wedges in half. Rinse the salad leaves, shake well, and place in a bowl. Add beets, walnuts, and small pieces of Feta and toss. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon each of white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar in a sealed jar and shake well (or whisk together in a large bowl). Pour over salad and toss gently. Serve immediately.

*Substitute a soft blue cheese if you prefer, although higher in fat it does add a bit of a kick (and colour) to the salad. Mesclun originated in Provence and is a mix of all small, young salad leaves, in, more or less, equal proportions.

And next … our crunchy and kick-ass Asian Slaw

asian-slaw-2

Kick-ass Asian Slaw!

What you need: 1/4 of green and red cabbage (that’s in total—not one quarter of each), 1 green apple, 1 carrot, 1 finely chopped red chilli, ¼ chopped mint, ¼ cup coriander, 1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts or cashew nuts, and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds—nuts and seeds are optional.

Dressing: 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons light soy or fish sauce, ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice, and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.

What you do: Finely shred the cabbage, coarsely grate the carrot and place both in a large bowl. Thinly slice the apple and then cut each slice into thin matchsticks and add to the bowl. Then add the chilli, mint, coriander, nuts, and sesame seeds and toss lightly. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a sealed jar and shake well. Pour over the slaw in the bowl and toss well. Serve immediately.

thai-crab-cakes

Thai Crab cakes with corn salsa at 222 Silom

This salad is fantastic served with our Thai Fish Cakes (see recipe in Cooking Thai 101—Thai Fish Cakes).

Seven Days of New Year—Day Four!

Day four and we’re over half-way there! Today we’re offering up a light lunch or dinner with a great recipe for an old favourite with a new twist—French stuffed eggs. So add a bit of je ne sais quoi to your healthy eating and go à la française. Ooh la la!

French Stuffed Eggs (serves 3 – 4)

french-stuffed-eggs

French stuffed eggs

What you need: 6 large eggs, 1 tablespoon good quality light mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste, and fine chopped parsley to garnish. ½ cup finely chopped reduced-fat ham,1 tablespoon finely chopped green end of shallots (spring onion), 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 2 slices of bread (regular or GF), extra virgin cooking oil spray.

What you do: Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. When bubbling vigorously, cover, turn off the heat, and leave on the hotplate for 15 minutes. Run under cold water and cool. Shell eggs, cut in half, and scoop out the yolk into a bowl. Add the ham, shallots, parsley, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, mix well and spoon back into egg whites. Place the bread in a food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs. Top each egg with the breadcrumbs and coat lightly with the cooking oil spray. Heat the grill and place the eggs on the baking paper. Grill for 1 minute until the breadcrumbs are brown and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

salade-verte-with-pear

Salade Verte (green salad)

Serve with a Salade Verte—the classic French mixed green leaf salad, to which we add cucumber, and thinly sliced fresh crisp pear and crunchy walnuts. All tossed in a light French dressing. Bon appetit!

Seven Days of New Year—Day Three!

Pizza marinara is one the first pizzas made in Naples—the origin of the pizza as we know it … more or less—and consists solely of tomato, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. That’s right. No cheese. And, it’s vegetarian/vegan!

One of the main reasons that pizza is not considered a ‘healthy’ meal is that most people (and cafés) tend to smother it in cheese—there is even such a thing as ‘double cheese pizza’ where there is cheese on the bottom and the top! A true Italian pizza may not even include cheese and when it does, it’s never (ever) the bulk shredded cheddar. So let’s pretend we’re sitting at a little café in the piazza and go Italian!

With our various dietary requirements we always make our own pizza using GF bases.

 

no-cheese-pizza-1

Pizza with tomato paste, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and olive oil, and shredded rocket.

Italian style Veggie Pizza

What you need: Salt-free tomato paste (for the base) and veggies. Yep, that’s it! Popular veggies include mushrooms, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, capsicum, Spanish (red) onion, and olives. If you like heat you can also include some finely chopped chilli or jalapeño.

What you do: Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spread the tomato paste over the base and add sliced veggies. Decorate with baby spinach leaves and rocket and bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

vegan-pizza

Pizza with fresh tomato, mushrooms, onion and baby spinach, on home made GF base

Obviously, for the meat eater in your circle, you can also add chopped ham, chicken, salami, pepperoni, or any other chopped or shredded meat, or shellfish. And, if you really, really have to have cheese, place a few pieces of thinly sliced mozzarella (bocconcini) on the top before you place the spinach leaves and rocket.

Seven Days of New Year—Day Two!

Today we’re bringing you a super easy stir-fry recipe. This is a lovely light meal that you can serve with quinoa, steamed rice or rice noodles. And, although you’re making the sauce from scratch—don’t be deterred. It’s really quite a simple recipe and is really yummy.

ginger-garlic-prawns-with-green-beans

Ginger garlic prawns with green beans

Ginger and garlic prawns with green beans (serves 4)

What you need

24 peeled Tiger prawns with tails (we just don’t like peeling them)

6 cloves garlic

8 button mushrooms (halved)

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 cup chicken stock (preferably home-made)

1 tablespoon corn flour

200 grams green beans* (topped and tailed)

Extra-virgin olive oil

What you do

Heat oil in frypan or wok and quickly fry the prawns until pink and just cooked and set aside. Steam or microwave the green beans until just tender (about 5 – 7 minutes) and add to the prawns. Stir fry the garlic and ginger in the oil (add more if necessary) for one minute—do not allow to burn. Mix the corn flour with the cold chicken stock and add the soy sauce, then pour into the pan with the garlic and ginger and stir until bubbling. Add the prawns and beans and cook until warmed through. Serve with quinoa, rice or noodles.

*You can substitute, or mix the green beans, with broccolini, bok choy, choy sum, or any other green Asian veggie.

Seven Days of New Year—Day One!

OK—so now we’re all done with the festive celebrations and it’s time to get back to some good healthy eating—no dieting just simple healthy food. Over the next seven days we’re bringing you seven great recipes to start your new regime and get over the festive food binge, and, as well as the salads, fish, and greens, we’ve included healthy burgers, pizza, and hot dogs!  So you can still eat naughty, but nice.

We’re kicking off with a great recipe for yummy chicken and avocado burger. So let’s go!  And don’t forget you can also check us out on FB, Instagram, and Twitter.

Day 1: Healthy chicken and avocado burger—makes four burgers

myob-chicken

Chicken fillet burger

What you need: Four GF or whole-grain burger buns, one whole chicken fillet cut into four, one ripe avocado, lettuce, low-fat aioli or peri mayonnaise, and half small lemon.

What you do: Heat oven to 220 degrees celcius. Cover an oven tray with foil and bake the fillets for 10 minutes, then turn and bake a further 10 minutes. If they need a few more minutes, turn the oven off and check after five minutes. Split the buns and spread with either the aioli or mayo and add lettuce and chicken fillet. Sprinkle the sliced avocado with a little lemon juice and pop the rest of the bun on the top. Serve with a small green side salad and use low-fat dressing, or make your own with a little oil and lemon juice.

And it’s super easy to substitute the chicken for either a salmon or white fish fillet.

myob-salmon-fillet-burger

Salmon burger

Fish fillet substitute: Follow the instructions for chicken and place skin side down on the foiled line tray and bake for 15 minutes. If they need a few more minutes cover the fillets with foil to stop them drying out, turn the oven off, and leave a further five minutes if necessary.

STEPPIN’ OUT! Oxfam Trailwalker Hike

We’re following team member Emma on the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker Hike today and tomorrow (19 and 20 August 2016) from Hawkesbury to Manly (Sydney). Emma and the rest of the team (Anne, Karena, and Nadine) from JCSMR (ANU), Curtin Trailblazers, have been in training since May and have hiked through Tidbinbilla, Mount Kosciuszko, and Namadgi National Park to get used to day-long hikes and rough terrain.

We’ll be following their progress through the Oxfam website and posting pics through our Facebook page.

Here are few pics to get you started! Go Ladies!

FINAL UPDATE! 100k done!! Big thank you to my team the Curtin Trailblazers: Karena, Nadine and Anne, and our wonderful amazing support crew Megs and Chris. Also big thank you to team #272 The Walking Divas, my first ‘adopted’ team, and team #502 HMAS Melbourne, my second ‘adopted’ team who helped keep me sane right up to the finish. Hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but definitely worth the effort. Had a blast with friends and made many new ones along the way. Experience of a lifetime!

Certificate - hardly awake enough to appreciate it though!

Certificate – hardly awake enough to appreciate it though!

Congratulations Emma and team Curtin Trailblazers and crew! Well done! Crossed the finish line at 1.02am Sunday 21 August.

Exhausted but over the line!

Exhausted but over the line!

 

Emma with HMAS Melbourne (below)

Emma with team HMAS Melbourne

Emma with team HMAS Melbourne

 

UPDATE! Rest of the team has retired so now going alone for team Curtin Trailblazers. Now at Frenchs Forest (Sydney) 11.30am Saturday 20 August. Only 30km to go!

Checkpoint 5

Checkpoint 5

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Earlier pics

Curtin Trailblazers

Curtin Trailblazers

Steppin' Out!

Steppin’ Out!

Rough terrain in Section 1

Rough terrain in Section 1

Still Walking!

Still Walking!

Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

Night walk - left checkpoint 3 at 2.32am

Night walk – left checkpoint 3 at 2.32am

Off again. Rest of team retired so going it alone now for Curtin Trailblazers

Off again. Rest of team retired so going it alone now for Curtin Trailblazers

Sweet Treats from Rawspirations!

By Emma Dowling

Let’s be honest. Eating paleo or raw is easy—it’s good for you, it’s healthy, it’s fresh (mostly organic) food with little or no gluten, colouring, flavouring, processing, or added sugar. So far, so good—right? But, when it comes to cooking paleo it’s a whole different, and somewhat daunting, ball game. It’s a bit like living before the kitchen was invented as you make almost everything from scratch. And when it comes to desserts—no sugar, easy-peasy cheat flavours, no packets, and no chocolate(!) OMG! What kind of dessert is that!

Rawspirations e-book

Image from Rawspirations

Fast getting over grinding our own corn and doing a million-and-one things with a coconut, we were pretty excited when we got a copy of Rawspirations brand-new Sweets & Treats e-book. With over 50 amazing vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar recipes to tempt your taste buds, this little book includes both raw and baked treats, smoothies, cakes and slices, and big and little bites, and we taste tested more than a few at The Divine Rawspirations High Tea Event earlier this year and they passed with flying colours!

 

 

Many of the recipes in the e-book have a fairly long list of ingredients, so make sure you have everything before you start, and some ingredients such as cacao butter or white chocolate butter, hemp protein powder, and coconut nectar, you’ll need to source from a health food shop. However, once you’ve got all you need, the ‘what you do’ bit is fairly straightforward.

We road-tested a few of the easy ones to start with:

Caramel and coconut balls

Caramel and coconut balls

Caramel and Coconut Balls—super, super easy! Basically you just blend everything in a food processor, shape into balls, and roll in the coconut. This is a great one for beginners.

Raw chocolate chia and  hemp truffles

Raw chocolate chia and hemp truffles

Raw Chocolate Chia and Hemp Truffles—another super easy one! Only seven ingredients, toss in the food processor, roll into balls, and freeze! Another good one to start with.

Triple choc mint slice

Triple choc mint slice

Raw Vegan Triple Choc Mint Slice—this one is a bit tricker and with four different layers you need to give yourself plenty of time, and we found it easier to soak the cashews from early morning, make the slice in the afternoon and leave overnight in the freezer before you add the choc icing. Tricky and time consuming but well worth it; especially if you want impress with your raw vegan cooking skills!

Then we side-stepped … sort of … this one isn’t from the cookbook but it’s pretty damn good! Raw Coconut Bounty Bars—totally awesome! This recipe is available from Rawspirations Facebook page.

Raw coconut bounty bars

Raw coconut bounty bars

The Sweet & Treats e-book is available from Rawspirations website for only $15. The recipes are in simple steps and easy to follow, and accompanied by the most gorgeous mouth-watering pics. So watch this space for more road and taste testing … might have to give the Chocolate Mudslide Thickshake a go next!

Sweets & Treats ebook by Sabrina Muscat from Rawspirations

Fasta Pasta = Healthy Pasta

Big news today is that Mars Food, the makers of Dolmio and Uncle Bens pasta sauces and meal kits, is changing its labels in the UK to issue a warning that the sauces should only be consumed ‘occasionally’ because of the their high salt, sugar, and fat content. They do not say if this will extend to Australia, and other products by Mars Food.  But seriously … who buys this stuff when it’s easy-peasy to make your own.

Dolmio labels will soon be changing to read consume 'occasionally' instead of everyday. Image - independent.co.uk

Dolmio labels will soon be changing to read consume ‘occasionally’ instead of everyday. Image – independent.co.uk

We stopped using ready-made sauces years ago, and our favourite pasta sauce is simple fresh vine-ripened tomatoes with hint of garlic and chilli. Even better if your toms come from a nice organic market such as Capital Region Farmers Market (Saturday am) or Choku Bai Jo (North Lyneham and Curtin).

So check it out. We promise you’ll never go back to ready-made sauces!

Photo by LFW

Photo by LFW

What you need: 3 – 4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 very small red chilli (optional), and a teeny drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil.

What you do: Cut your tomatoes in half and pop everything in your food processor and whiz until you get a nice thick sauce. How easy is that? If you don’t have a food processor, chop everything really finely and place in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir constantly (you don’t want it to burn) until it reduces to a nice sauce.

You can vary the sauce by including one or more of the following; a few fresh basil leaves, a couple of mushrooms, a few slices of red pepper, a couple of nice fat fresh olives from the deli, or a tablespoon of grated parmesan. However, we leave it up to people to put their own parmesan on so they can choose how much, or how little, cheese they want. Also best not to include if you’ve got dairy-free people popping round for pasta.

You can also use the basic sauce on your pizza bases.

Fresh and organic from Choku Bai Jo

Fresh and organic veggies from Choku Bai Jo

Eat fresh—eat healthy! Bon appetit!

Rawspirations’ Inspiration!

If you think raw vegan and vegetarian dishes are boring, think again. Just looking at Sabrina Muscat’s recipes is enough to make you drool and convert forever. By Wendy Johnson

Sabrina runs Rawspirations, a website stuffed full of free delicious recipes and ideas on healthy living. Her Instagram account has a whopping 74,600 followers and grows every day. And she’ll launch her first recipe e-book featuring her sensational sweets this Saturday 9 April at the Divine Rawspirations High Tea Event.

Baked purple sweet potato and pumpkin

Baked purple sweet potato and pumpkin

Rawspirations’ ever-growing collection of savoury and sweet dishes are all organic and dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free. Some are baked and some are raw. This is food that looks and tastes amazing. Sabrina develops and trials all recipes, including her favourite baked purple, sweet potato wedges with smashed avocado, polenta and corn fritters, and rainbow sushi rolls.

For a little decadence in your life, Sabrina includes in her e-recipe book treats such as chewy caramel and choc custard cups, a choc mint slice, and a caramel slice that her family can’t get enough of. All of these desserts will be offered at the High Tea, along with mouth-watering raw and baked vegan and vegetarian buffet, organic wine, champagne and cold pressed juices.

For the High Tea, Sabrina is joining forces with Therese Kerr, voted one of Australia’s Top 50 Most Influential Women of 2015 and Organic Industry Leader of 2015. Therese owns The Divine Company, a line of certified organic beauty and personal care products.

Raw vegan choc-mint slice

Raw vegan choc-mint slice

Both Sabrina and Therese have had endometriosis, a major factor in their journey to live chemical-free lives. Endometriosis is where tissue from the membrane that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus, typically on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other areas in the pelvis.

Sabrina’s story began many moons ago. She hadn’t been well and had almost given up on falling pregnant. In 2013, she sat shocked in her doctor’s office having been told she had Stage 4 endometriosis, a painful condition affecting between 25 and 50 per cent of infertile women.

“My endometriosis had spread through most of my organs and my doctor told me I had very little chance of ever falling pregnant,” said Sabrina. “It was suggested that I take a six-month course of a hormone therapy and type of chemotherapy, although there were no guarantees it would help me have a baby.”

Sabrina found some comfort by connecting with friends through Instagram. She ultimately chose not to go the treatment route but back to basics. “I decided to look at the underlying reasons my body wasn’t happy,” says Sabrina. “With support from my naturopath, I began to eat predominantly raw and vegan organic foods. Six months later I was pregnant and I had a beautiful baby boy.”

Chewy caramel and choc custard cups

Chewy caramel and choc custard cups

Both Sabrina and Therese will speak at the Divine Rawspirations High Tea Event. Sabrina, backed by her studies in ongoing studies in nutritional science and her skills as a fully qualified life coach, will talk about how easy it is to eat well without compromising on food variety, presentation or taste.

Sabrina and Therese will also explore why thyroid challenges and other hormone-related disorders are so common these days and why it can be so hard to lose those extra few kilos no matter how much effort goes into it. They’ll share insights on the impact of chemicals in every day food and other products, including beauty products. “I’m not a preacher and believe that what worked for me may not work for everyone,” says Sabrina. “But I felt my experience, and Rawspirations, could motivate others to think health eating and living.”

Raw white chocolate and blueberry mini cheesecakes

Raw white chocolate and blueberry mini cheesecakes

The Divine Rawspirations High Tea Event is being held at Double Shot, Deakin, on 9 April. Bookings are essential. It’s a seated event with a maximum 150 guests allowed. Tickets, including the High Tea itself, are $58. Book online: www.rawspirations.com

Images of Sabrina Muscat by Margit Selg Photographer

Images of food by Sabrina Muscat