Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coconut Apricot Bars

Here's a great idea for a healthy treat for kids lunchbox...... or for adults who enjoy snacks too! (I include myself in that list!)
Bonus: Its so easy to make.

In a food processor combine:
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup almonds

Process until mixture resembles crumbs and then add:
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla soymilk

Continue to process for a bit longer until mixture holds together. It will be slightly sticky but not too sticky too handle.

Press into a muesli bar maker or roll into balls.
NB: This may work if you press it into a baking tin & then cut it but I haven't personally tried it that way.

This mixture makes enough to perfectly fill the Tupperware T-bar set which is an ultra easy way to make healthy bars at home!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pizza Cheeze Sauce

Miss cheese on a pizza?
Don't like non-dairy cheeses?
Here is the ultimate pizza topping!

In a food processor combine:
1/2 cup chickpeas
3 Tablespoons soymilk
1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Drizzle over your pizza and cook!
This makes enough to lightly cover one pizza. 


Prior to cooking
Baked :-)
Also great in toasted sandwiches, or "fold-over pizzas".

NB: You can also use white beans in place of the chickpeas in this recipe. The 'cheeze' will be whiter in colour and will have a smoother consistency. But I promise you its equally as delicious.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tropical Brown Rice Breakfast

This is far to simple to count as a real recipe! ;-)
But I needed to share this breakfast idea with you because it's very tasty & very filling, a breakfast essential.

Place 1/2 cup cooked brown rice in a bowl & microwave til just warmed through. Pour over 150ml almond milk. Add half cup sliced pineapple and a chopped banana. Top with 1 Tablespoon shredded coconut, 1 Tablespoon sunflower kernels and cinnamon.

Easy breakfast = great start to the morning

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Black & White Bean Stew

This stew is deliciously tasty and the range of colours make the dish look amazing! Maybe it should be called rainbow stew ;-)
A bit of chopping involved & it needs to cook for a while but its easy to do, so its definitely not a stressful meal to make.
If you have children, get them involved with the chopping & draining of the beans - they'll love it!

You'll need:
1 can black beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 can corn (you can use fresh or frozen if you'd rather)
1/4 head cauliflower
1 zucchini
1 carrot
1 large brown onion
1 red capsicum
1 large potato
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1 clove fresh)
1/2 teaspoon chilli (more if you like!)
2 bay leaves
juice of half a lemon
2 cups water
dried oregano & black pepper to serve
Yes, its a long list - but trust me.... the flavours come together wonderfully! And don't be tempted to leave out the lemon - it adds an amazing little zing that is delicious!

Finely chop the onion & add to a stock pot with the garlic and chilli. Saute for 5 minutes until onion is soft.
Chop all the remaining vegetables into little pieces and add to the pot along with the bay leaves & the tin of tomatoes. Add the water (I always do this by rinsing out the tomato tin!). 
Stir until all the vegetables are mixed around well.
Press the veggies down so they are under the liquid.
Place the lid on the stock pot and bring to the boil over high heat. This will take approx. 5-10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low & simmer with the lid on for 30-40 minutes until all the veggies are soft.
Serve with oregano and pepper.

This makes a big batch which is handy for leftovers, or even a second meal. 
To turn it into a 'pie' place the remaining stew in a casserole dish and make a "crust" by combining breadcrumbs & nutritional yeast & milk until moistened crumbs are formed. Spread the crumb mixture over the top. Bake in a moderate oven for 30minutes until warmed through & the top is golden brown.

Mixed fruit dessert

As you probably know by now - I am addicted to freezing bananas and using them to make dessert :-)

Have you tried any of these tasty desserts yet?
Here is another variation you can whizz up in no time & enjoy as a guilt free evening treat.

In a mini food processor combine
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
3 medjool dates (pitted)
1 Tablespoon cocoa or cacao powder
100ml almond milk (or other milk of choice)

Blend until smooth

Enjoy :-)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Okara Apple Banana Loaf

Here's another easy cake recipe.
Add this to your healthy snack list..... wait it's so healthy you could serve it for breakfast too!
It has no sweetener so if you find it not sweet enough you could add date spread or jam to help sweeten it up a bit. I quite like the taste even without sweetener though so it's definitely worth giving it a try plain first. Would also work really well with a date icing (I might have to try that sometime!).

You'll need:
2 over ripe bananas
1 cup pie apples
Mash together in a bowl
Stir in:
1 cup wet okara
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 cup oat bran
1 cup spelt flour
Stir gently until well combine - do not overmix.

Pour mixture into a lined baking loaf
Bake at 180C for 45-50 minutes until lightly golden brown on top.
Allow to cool before slicing.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Orange Pancakes

I loooovvvvveeeee pancakes, as I'm sure you've already worked out by now. And with the right ingredients they can be a wonderfully healthy start to your morning - who said they need to be full of fat and sugar???

Try these for a nice citrus tang to your pancakes!

Perfectly compliments a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice - or for those who love choc-orange flavour, a glass of chocolate soymilk is perfect (and my preference!!!!).

You'll need:
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water, sit aside in fridge while preparing other ingredients
In a mixing bowl combine:
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
rind of 1/2 orange, grated (grate the whole rind & save some to sprinkle on top)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup ricemilk or other non-dairy milk

Add the flax-egg & mix well.
NB: I recommend grating the rind off the orange prior to juicing, its quite difficult to do it afterwards!
Do you really need directions how to cook pancakes??? ;-)

Now that's my idea of a perfect breakfast....
oh wait - with some maple syrup of course :D

Want to try some of my other pancakes?
You could use this waffle recipe as a pancake batter too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Leafy Cous Cous Salad

Everyone has a version of cous cous salad don't they???
I really love the one available at Woolworths but it has too much sugar & oil for my liking so I have used it as inspiration to come up with my own.
This was very tasty & I will definitely be making this regularly.

In a bowl that has a lid combine:
1/2 cup wholemeal couscous
soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water
Put a lid on an allow couscous to absorb the water for 10-15mins.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup finely chopped red cabbage
1 small carrot, grated
1/4 green capsicum, chopped
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 cup baby spinach leaves

Mix together and enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Chemical Free Cleaning

I have recently decided to go chemical free in our home for cleaning.

I originally thought I would just 'try' to see how it went.
The main reason I decided on this was because I had been getting small cuts all over my hands & nothing seemed to help. Not amount of 'cream' seemed to stop the cuts from coming, yes some creams would soothe once I already had the cut but I couldn't get rid of them.
I had always just blamed "cold weather" or winter but the Summer just past I had cuts the whole time too. 
I wish I had of taken a photo to be able to show what my hands were like.
Lets just say, imagine having tiny paper-cuts all over the backs of your hands & by the time one heals there is another to take its place.

Painful, to say the least. 
Somedays I felt like I could hardly move my hands from the pain.
I would try to remember to wear gloves thinking that the less 'air' got onto my hands the better - but of course, if you have ever tried to live in gloves you realise how impractical it is!

When cleaning I tried using gloves so I wasn't 'touching' any of the chemicals and when that didn't help I tried latex free gloves in case my skin couldn't handle the fabric of the gloves.
Still the same result.

Perhaps I wasn't moisturising enough. So I tried plenty of different products and applied numerous times a day.
Still the same result.

Nothing seemed to be working.

So, I randomly decided that I would try not cleaning with commercial products.

My hands completely healed in a week & I HAVE NOT HAD ONE CUT ON MY HANDS SINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So glad I "tried".
A month later & I am so grateful that I made that decision!
I have my hands back!

I thought I would give a little run down of what I have been using & some helpful places to go for direction if you too are interested in keeping chemicals to a minimum in your home.

Grab yourself a few spray bottles! They are inexpensive & can be easily rinsed out to be re-used.
Another inexpensive must have is a micro-fibre glove. Its dust-collecting benefits are wonderful!

Number one cleaning product:
I cannot believe how effective this stuff is!
It has so many uses.
- stain remover
- deodorizer
- body scrub

What I've been doing with it:
- To clean tiles I put a tablespoon bi-carb in a bucket with a teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil, fill with water = great for scrubbing floors & removing marks!
- I've been sprinkling bi-carb in smelling shoes = no more smells!
- Sprinkle some on pots with stains let set them remove = no need to scrub pots!
- Let cleaning clothes sit in sink with teaspoon bi-carb = very clean clothes that can be reused!
- About once a week I've been doing a quick wash in our dishwasher with a tablespoon of bi-carb = no more smelling dishwasher!
- I have a small container in the fridge with a teaspoon of bi-carb sitting in it = no more smells coming from the fridge!

Check out this link for some more ideas:

Who knew you could do more than just cook with bi-carb!!!!!!

Also handy:

Great for cleaning soap scum. 
Use to clean the bathroom as it has mild bleach properties. 
Fantastic as a kitchen bench spray, as it works like a degreaser! Using a natural cleaner in the kitchen has got to be a positive when food prep is involved!

I have been squeezing half a lemon into a spray container & adding water - keep this for about a week & use as a general purpose spray.
After about a week flush down the drain - great for clearing drain smells too!

Vinegar kills bacteria. Cleaning vinegar or white vinegar work equally as well.It can be mixed with lemon juice or bi-carb to use as a cleaner, or buy itself diluted with water. Mixing with lemon juice helps with the smell!
Vinegar has a great 'shine' quality to it - so this works well for polishing over those kitchen back-splash tiles and over general household furniture. 
Use to rinse out the toilet!  
Add to your washing in place of fabric softener! 
Use to clean coffee/tea stains off your mugs.
Oh and have I mentioned how CHEAP it is to buy!  

EUCALYPTUS OIL (also try tea tree oil)
Works as both a disinfectant and antiseptic. Can be used as a general purpose spray when diluted with water.
Try as an air-freshener, toilet spray or mould killer
Add to washing to kill dust-mites!
Apparently its great as a cockroach and ant deterrent too!

This is another great product to use for cleaning in the kitchen.
Best bit is the lovely fragance it leaves!
Great for cleaning over white goods and bench tops. Try using it for your fridge and microwave.

For some great ideas for chemical free cleaning check out these websites:
Shannon Lush (Amazing lady who is a chemical free guru - also did a TV series on the LIfestyle channel called "Lush House" showing heaps of tips)

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Parfait reminds me of the movie Shrek!!!
I love the character donkey - he is such a crackup.
So, in the words of Donkey: 
"You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, 'Let's get some parfait,' they say, 'Hell no, I don't like no parfait'? Parfaits are delicious!....
Parfait's gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!"

Well yeah, parfait is pretty delicious!
The literal meaning of parfait is "perfect", although Donkey was referring to it as a tasty dessert of layers, as it is commonly known.

I prefer to have parfait as breakfast or an afternoon snack.
Here's some great options for layers:
  • whipped coconut cream
  • cashew cream
  • yogurt
  • oats
  • crumbled rice cakes
  • nuts or seeds
  • gingernut biscuits
  • fresh fruits - try strawberries, passionfruit
  • dried fruits
  • soy-tella 
  • you could try okara if you really want to experiment
  • if you're feeling like a real treat go ahead and add some cacao nibs!!
The options are endless!
Experiment and find what you enjoy.

Here's a few of ours:
Afternoon parfait - strawberry soy-gurt, crumbled rice cakes, soytella, banana, strawberries, currants, sesame seeds, chocolate on top
Breakfast parfait - soy-gurt, oats, chopped prunes, sunflower seeds
And just for Donkey - showing the layers ;-)


Pumpkin pancakes???
Quite tasty really!
What a great way to have something a little bit different for breakfast.

I never used to like pumpkin but lately I have had a bit of a pumpkin fettish. I'm not a fan of baked pumpkin at all - but I love using pumpkin to make sweet dishes. 
Have you tried my pumpkin pie mousse?

When I buy a pumpkin, I just boil it in a pot and mash it & keep it in the fridge to use.
This is what happens when you have mashed pumpkin leftover in the fridge!

1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup ricemilk (can use soymilk but the sweetness of ricemilk is nice)
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/4 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Mix all ingredients in a bowl & stir until smooth.
Cook like pancakes (everyone knows how to do that right????!)  :-)
Makes 6 little pancakes - you can decide if that serves 1 or 2 or even 3 ;-)
 I found these really tasty just by themselves. 
Also nice with maple syrup or fig jam :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Holiday Fun - Green Day

What do you like to do in the school holidays with your children?
Today I had "Green Day" with my daughter!
She thought this idea was great & has been busting for this day to come since the start of the holidays when we planned it!

We made ourselves a list of all the bits & pieces that would be 'green' for the day and got busy.....

 First we had to get dressed in green clothes & do our hair in green ties! And we painted our nails green too!
Breakfast had to be a green smoothie of course!
We spent the morning doing chores that we could somehow turn green - washed "green" clothes (that was a small load - mainly khaki colour really!!!!!) & used "green" sponges to clean the bathroom. What better way to turn duty into fun! Luckily the hose is green too so we could fill the fishpond & water the plants....
While I did my work-from-home hours she busied herself doing craft in her room. I saw an amazing pile of things made from green pipe-cleaners & clay & other odds and ends. We did some craft together in the afternoon and made streamers.
We made green tea cookies for morning tea.
They were sooooooooooooo tasty!
You can find the recipe here.
We altered the recipe a little by using less sugar & oil & substituting sultanas for the figs. 
What green day is complete without listening to some "Green Day" music????
Lunch was scrambled green tofu.
I thought it looked green enough just with all the chopped vegges in the mix but she wanted more green so we dropped a bit of food colouring in just for fun!
Our arvo was juicing some green fruit & veggies and preparing our dessert and dinner.
 Great arvo cuppa!
Making our dessert.
Dinner was green pasta. So incredibly tasty that I was surprised!
Dessert: White choc covered kiwis! So tasty! 
Thanks  Sweet William.
And just to finish our day off we read some green books.

What an awesome green day we've had!
Hope you have enjoyed your school holidays. I will miss days like this when school goes back next week.