Monthly Archives: June 2013

Apple and Blueberry Yoghurt Slice

Standard
blueberry-banana-bread1

NOTE: this is not an image of my original product…this one is off the internet as my slice was snapped up for I could even take a snapshot of my finished product!

Everyone loves a good cake and this one is no exception…the only difference is this one is SUPER healthy, with lots of antioxidants, no butter, very little sugar and wholemeal flour for some extra fibre, vitamins and minerals..what’s not to love?? I found this recipe about a month ago and have cooked it several times since, making adjustments and substitutions where I saw fit! So I hope you enjoy this one as much as I (and everyone at work) did! 🙂

Using low fat yoghurt instead of butter, cream or sour cream is a great way to cut back on calories without skimping on flavour and texture! If you have a kids party or morning tea coming up and have been trying to decide what to bake, do yourself (and the crowd you are cooking for) a favour and give this recipe a go… I dare you! You will not believe something that tastes so good could be so healthy!

What you need…

3/4 cup self raising flour

3/4 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1/2 cup desicated coconut

1/4 cup CSR SMART white sugar blend (or 1/3 normal caster sugar)

1 1/4 cups low fat vanilla yoghurt (or you can use low fat natural yoghurt to reduce the sugar content even further!)

2 eggs

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon rind

1 granny smith apple, chopped roughly

1 cup frozen/fresh blueberries

1.5 tsp cinnamon

 

What to do…

Add flours, coconut and sugar to a bowl and stir to combine and break up any clumps.

Whist yoghurt, eggs, oil, vanilla and lemon rind together in a separate bowl and then fold into the dry ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.

Spread mixture into a lightly greased and baking paper lined 28cm x 18cm slice tin. Press apples and blueberries into the top of the slice and then sprinkle over the cinnamon.

Bake at 180 degrees for around 30mins until golden and cooked though.

Cool for 5 mins in the pan before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Slice into squares for serving and sore in an airtight container until required.

You can also serve this with some low fat natural/vanilla yoghurt spiced with cinnamon, brown sugar and lemon.

Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

Advertisements

To all you chocolate addicts out there!

Standard

chocolateWho here is a life long battler with chocolate cravings??? Chances are there would be a hell of a lot more women out there than men putting their hands up, am I right? Ever wondered why its always the damned chocolate bars we seem to crave 9 times out of 10??

Well firstly Chocolate obviously contains a good hit of sugar, so when our blood sugar levels drop (if we forget to include healthy snacks between meals!) we start to crave sugary foods for a quick sugar hit… and what better food to accomplish that than the trusty old chocolate bar! Not only this, but chocolate also contains caffeine which further enhances the short lived energy boost! But we all know this energy boost and enhanced mood is very short lived and we end up back to feeling worse off than we did before!

Another theory that may be of interest to all the athletes out there is that chocolate contains significant amounts of magnesium…a mineral that often becomes depleted in those that do not have long recovery periods between intensive workouts! Magnesium levels become depleted as it is used in the conversion of glucose into energy and muscle contraction and relaxation processes during exercise. So if you’ve been experiencing some choccy cravings of late there is the possibility that you could just be a bit low in magnesium so do yourselves a favour and go out and buy a good quality magnesium supplement if you think this could be you!

Thirdly, chocolate makes you feel good because it raises serotonin levels in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of well-being and enhanced mood. Serotonin also helps reduce anxiety, which is why in times of stress or depressed mood we find ourselves reaching for the chocolate bar before we even realise what’s hit us!

But why do women crave chocolate more than men you ask?? Well we can thank our womanly cycles for that, as most women experience lowered serotonin levels during different stages of the menstrual cycle…lucky us huh?! oh well…at least it explains those all too common mood swings we never seem to have answers for!

Chocolate has also been found to contain the same alkaloid compounds that make alcohol addictive, leading some experts to believe that chocolate may actually have some physiologically addictive properties! It also contains a compound called anandamine, which scientists believe stimulates the brain in the same way as marijuana. The jury is still out on this one however and more research needs to be done before we go jumping to conclusions!

So the moral of the story? Yes chocolate does have mood enhancing properties but just remember that they are very short lived and you often end up feeling worse off after eating it than you did before… the old aging saying of “a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips” unfortunately definitely rings true for this one!

So my advice for all you chocolate addicts out there…
1.    Stop sugar cravings by eating healthy, nutritious snacks (preferably those that contain a small amount of protein)  in between your main meals to keep your blood sugar levels steady!
2.    Stock the cupboards at work and at home with healthy snacks and DON’T KEEP CHOCOLATE IN THE HOUSE!
3.    If you just cant live without the odd chocolate treat – plan ahead and  include a small chocolate treat (or 2 if necessary) in your weekly meal plan so that you don’t get the guilts after “sneaking one” and end up overindulging on a whole box!  A treat is something that is eaten solely for pleasure and not for its nutrient properties so make sure you sit and actually ENJOY  the experience and savour each and every crumb! (AND just remember that the most satisfaction when eating is always experienced during the first few mouthfuls regardless of what you’re eating..so eating a whole box doesn’t necessarily equal more satisfaction!)
4.    Find healthier alternatives that might help curb the chocolate cravings.. ie mini choc protein bars, mix some choc protein powder through natural yoghurt for a chocolate mousse-like treat or try a low joule hot chocolate powder…perfect for curling up on the couch with on these cold winter nights!
5.    And don’t forget to stock up on magnesium if you are training back to back sessions and are not getting adequate recovery time, as your body could actually just be singing out for a decent hit of magnesium to replenish depleted supplies!

Good luck chocolate addicts!

A

Zarzuela – Amazing Spanish Seafood Soup!

Standard
zarzuelaYep you guessed it… yet another Spanish dish!!!…ole ole ole!! But I promise you this dish will not disappoint! In fact I would go as far as saying that this dish is my new found FAVOURITE dish of all time! But I guess when you combine my two favourite things..good seafood and Spanish flavours (tomatoes, olive oil and saffron) it would have been pretty hard to go wrong! I am telling you though..I could not get over the depth of flavour in this dish! It was devine! And it seemed that no one around the table could hold back from going back for seconds..or maybe even thirds?! If you’ve got the time and are a seafood lover like myself, invite some friends around and whip up a storm in the kitchen with this Spanish masterpiece! Though this recipe is primarily adapted from a recipe off the internet I couldnt help but add in a few of my own ideas as well so here is what I did from memory…
What you need…
For the Picada Sauce:
 Olive oil
2 slices bread
3 cloves garlic
bunch of parsley
1/2 cup blanched almonds
For the soup:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
3 cloves garlic crushed
pinch of saffron
1 heaped tsp paprika
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh squid tube, cleaned and cut into triangular pieces
Spanish brandy (or any Brandy will do!)
1.5 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups clam juice or seafood stock
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
300g white fish (we used beautiful fresh snapper but any firm white fish will do)
250g salmon fillet
500g green tiger prawns
1kg fresh clams, scrubbed
(or put together your own combination of seafood…this combination is just what was available/looked the best at the seafood market!)
1 recipe Picada (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Loaf crusty bread
What to do….
For the Picada sauce (make this beforehand):
To prepare your picada sauce, lightly toast your almonds over medium heat and set aside while you use the same pan to pan fry the 2 slices of bread in a good dash of olive oil. Then break up your bread into chunks and add to a food processor along with almonds, garlic and the parsley. Season with salt and pepper before blitzing it into a fine crumb mixture. Then add enough olive oil to make a nice think paste (approx 3 tbsp). Set aside for later! 🙂
For the soup…
In a large heavy based pot, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until wilted then add the garlic as well as a good pinch of saffron and the paprika and saute for another minute or two. Season the squid with salt and pepper. Add to the onions and saute for 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy and carefully flame. Shake the pan back and forth several times until the flame dies out. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the seafood stock and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the clams, prawns and fish fillets to the pot, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until all of the shells have opened and the prawns are fully cooked.  Stir in the picada sauce. Remove from the heat and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread heated up in the oven.

Not only does this dish taste ridiculously AMAZING it is also a very heart healthy meal with plenty of good fats – omega 3’s from the seafood and monounsaturated fats from the nuts and olive oil and very low in the nasty saturated fats!

So while it is probably not an every day meal..it sure makes a good dinner party dish and will be sure to please the crowds!
Enjoy!
A