raspberry and cashew cheesecake

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I’m not a fan of the colour pink. But I love the pink colour this slice puts out because it is not due to a few drops of that bright red stuff that comes in little brown bottles. It is a pure, natural and healthy pink! This recipe was inspired by Wholefood Simply’s Raspberry Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. Because I refuse to participate in the coconut oil craze, and because I was running out of a few of the ingredients (I have to hid my stash of cooking cashews to stop them from being devoured in minutes around here), the original recipe has been altered. The result = yumbo bumbo!!

Ok so here is the good news. Raspberries are super high in Vitamin C (especially frozen raspberries, as Vitamin C suffers in our climate as much as we do), are a relatively ‘low sugar’ choice of fruit (perfect for those wanting to reduce their total kJ or sugar intake), and also contain these magic things called phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are kind of like little soldiers that fight and neutralise the effects of oxidative stress, which is caused by everyday life. This is where the anti-ageing claims come from. Don’t think your going to stay or return to your 20-year old self  forever though:) Cashews and brazil nuts are high in 2 types of fatty acids (good types) – oleic acid (particularly cashews), and linoleic acid. Oleic acid helps to reduce our LDL-cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and linoleic acid gets converted in your body into longer chain fatty acids and then a group of hormones our body needs to function well.

The warning: these slices, although yummy and full of good stuff, should still be classed as a ‘sometimes food’. One slice still contains 270 calories, so four slices for afternoon tea is not recommended. But it is much more beneficial for your body to be eating one of these for afternoon tea than a piece of caramel mud cake (or a small fries from you know where..).

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup brazil nuts
  • about 10 dates (pre-soaked in boiling water to soften)
  • 1tbs cacao/cocoa powder

Top

  • 2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1.5 cups cashews
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 heaped tbs low fat cottage cheese
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  • Get your food processor out – it is going to get a good workout!
  • Blend your brazil nuts up first in the processor, then add coconut, dates and cacao/cocoa.
  • Press your blended crust mixture into a 20cm cake tin and pop in the fridge to cool.
  • Blend up your raspberries and set aside to semi defrost.
  • Blend up your cashews and then add all of your other ingredients to the mix, including frozen raspberries.
  • Pour mixture on top of crust and pop in freezer. Cut into 12 slices once half frozen.
  • Note: the mixture may not be completely smooth, but this adds a chunky, more homemade feel to the slice.
  • When serving, take the slices out 5 min before serving so that the mixture softens slightly as it can get quite hard. Try not to take out and refreeze the slices, as they will suffer a bit of freezer burn if de/refrosted too often.
  • Enjoy x

Nutrition information (per slice)

1125 kJ (269 cal)

ptn: 6.5g

fat: 22.3g (8.5g sat)

carb: 8.5g (6.2g sugar)

fibre: 2.6g

sodium: 36.5mg

 

cauliflower pizza base

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I love pizza so much, I could eat it every night. But Im not sure if my hips would appreciate the overload of thick, heavy pizza bases that taste so yummy. You may have seen cauliflower pizza bases before, but were too scared to try it, or put it in the ‘too hard basket’ (like me). Well let me tell you – it is actually pretty easy, and tastes so so so much better than I ever thought. I’m going to make a big call here, but I think I like the cauliflower base over the thick, heavy bases that my hips hate me for!

Ok so why cauliflower? Apart from making a great pizza base, cauliflower has a few other benefits. It is high in Vitamin C, which is one of our body’s antioxidants, as well as being a source of other antioxidants. Antioxidants help to ‘balance out’ harmful free radicals in our body, and therefore play a role in ‘keeping us young’. Cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin K, which aids in inflammation. Plus, just for being a veggie, it contains other good things like fibre, and is low in fat, sugar and sodium (something which regular pizza bases are generally quite high in). So basically, its a winner!

Ingredients: (makes 1 pizza/ 2 serves)

  • 1 large half of a cauliflower
  • 4ts plain flour (or substitutes eg. almond meal, gluten free flour etc)
  • 2 eggs
  • toppings of your choice – choose lots of veggies ;)
  • optional: herbs/spices can be added to the base mixture for extra flavour

Method:

  1. Roughly cut the heads off your cauliflower, and pulse in the food processor until it becomes like fine grain.
  2. Put ‘grains’ in the microwave (uncovered) for 5 minutes to cook.
  3. Lay cooked cauliflower on a towel to cool.
  4. Once cool, bundle up in the towel, and try to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  5. Add egg and flour (or substitute) to the cauliflower and mix well.
  6. Lay mixture onto a baking tray with baking paper, and arrange into your pizza base shape.
  7. Bake in oven at around 200 degrees C until slight browning occurs.
  8. Add you pizza toppings and wack back in the oven until ready to eat.

Nutrition info (1/2 pizza/ 1 serve)

  • kJ 524 (125 calories)
  • fat 4.6g (1.2g sat)
  • ptn 8.9g
  • carb 10.1g (1.9g sugar)
  • fibre 4.2g
  • sodium 82mg

watermelon & feta salad

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Long time between drinks (sorry!!) – I’ve been enjoying summer too much to be blogging, whoops!!

Here is one of the quickest and freshest salads you can make (I know I overuse that line!). But honestly, it is. 4 ingredients, a couple of minutes prep and you have a great addition to any BBQ salad selection.

I actually don’t know where this salad recipe came from. It could be common knowledge for all I know. So here I am, not claiming that it is my recipe, but not denying it either… If it’s news to you, we all win x

Ingredients:

  • quarter of a watermelon (more if feeding a hungry army)
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • handful of mint leaves (if they are growing in your garden you are onto a winner)
  • small block of  danish feta (replace with creamed cottage or ricotta cheese for a much healthier version)

Method:

  • Cut watermelon into cubes (about 2 cm ones).
  • Crumble your cheese into the mixture, and add the mint leaves and a dash of lemon juice.
  • Done and dusted!!

chickpea and mango salad

Christmas in Australia is a time of outdoor BBQ’s, beach days and picnics. Everyone is asked to bring something, and one lucky person receives the task of bringing the salad. The salad is a staple at every BBQ, beach day or picnic. It is something the boys pick a few leaves out of to put on their homemade double whopper with cheese (and some of them put about as much salad on their burger as HJ’s does). But it is also something that the girls study. Whats in the salad? How creative is it? How much time and effort went into that? Can I steal the recipe?

Well here is a fresh, healthy salad recipe that you can feel free to steal:)

Salad ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas – rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango (can used drained, canned mango)
  • 1 punnet (250g) cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 1 cucumber – diced
  • 1 red onion – sliced
  • 1/2 red capsicum
  • sesame seeds to top

Dressing ingredients:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon (lemon juice is fine)
  • 4 tsp curry paste
  • 1 cup low fat natural or Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp tahini
  • 3 tsp coriander leaves/ground coriander

Method:

  • Slice capsicum into strips and put in a frying pan with a little bit of oil or under the grill, until slightly browned.
  • Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl, with capsicum, and top with sesame seeds.
  • Mix dressing ingredients.
  • Note: I put a bowl of dressing next to the salad for guests to add. The dressing contains dairy, so make sure your dairy-free guests know this. The salad still tastes delish without dressing so can be eaten on its own.

Sorry, no piccies of this recipe, as it was made and eaten within the hour, and I didn’t get a chance to happy snap it.

This recipe comes from the Jan 14 edition of the Australian Healthy Food Guide magazine (slightly altered) – a great magazine if you are looking for healthy, dietitian-approved recipes and advice – http://www.healthyfoodguide.com.au

almond milk

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Many healthy recipes requiring milk use almond milk because it is a vegan alternative to cows milk.

Today I made almond milk, and it made me think of all the things that plant-based milks lack. So I thought I would put up a few milk facts for you lovely people, and let you make up your own mind on which milk it best for you – because the milk you use is determined by likes/dislikes, intolerances, vegan/vegetarianism etc etc etc.

Just quickly though – the biggest reason we are told to get our milk fix is because of calcium. Calcium is one of those things that if we don’t have enough floating around our body, it gets taken from our bones (which is our backup storage). If this happens too much it can lead to diseases such as osteoporosis. Building up our stores throughout life, will help us prevent this happening.

Milk Facts:

  1. 60% of the fat in cow’s milk is saturated (‘bad’) fat – go for reduced fat/skim.
  2. Skim milk is higher in calcium than regular milk because the process of removing the fat increases the watery portions (which contain the calcium).
  3. Animal (eg cow’s) milk is unique in that is contains a special type of protein (caseins), which hold lots and lots of calcium. They allow more calcium to be dissolved in milk than if you tried to dissolve calcium in water. That is why milk is our major source of calcium.
  4. UHT milk (the carton milk) contains slightly less folate and B1 than fresh milk, because the heat processing that the milk goes through destroys some of these vitamins.
  5. Permeate free milk is not permeate free!! Permeate is when during processing lactose and some vit/min’s are taken out of the milk, standardised, and then put back into the milk. This is done so that milk contains the same amount of lactose, vit/min’s at all times of the year (b/c the grass cows eat differs between seasons). Permeate free milk, hasn’t had this process happen. Permeate is not bad for you!
  6. A2 milk comes from cows that produce a specific type of beta-casein protein – A2. Manufacturers claim that people who have milk sensitivities/intolerances can tolerate this type of milk better, but evidence hasn’t been clear yet so I will let you decide on that one:)
  7. Plant based milks are good for vegans or those who have lactose intolerance, but always try and get the one that is fortified with calcium, and any other vit/min’s you can.
  8. Soy milk = high protein, low calcium (get one that is fortified with calcium).
  9. Rice milk = low protein, low calcium, low vit/min’s.
  10. Almond milk = low protein, low calcium, higher vit/min’s than rice milk – esp Vit E.

Feel free to comment with any questions, queries,  thoughts! Now for my homemade almond milk…

Ingredients:

  • Large handful raw almonds
  • Water

Method:

  • Place almonds in a bowl, and put in as much water as is needed to just cover the almonds.
  • Soak overnight.
  • Place almonds and water in blender/food processor until smooth.
  • Strain mixture (I used a tea strainer).
  • Ta daaaa!! You have almond milk. If drinking by itself, you can add a sweetener such as honey to better the taste. I used mine for inclusion in a yummy banana smoothie – it gave it a slightly nutty taste.
  • Note: homemade almond milk lacks the calcium, vit/min’s of cows milk or even shop bought, fortified almond milk, so I wouldn’t recommend this as a milk replacement x