Cashew, coconut and chia slice

There was a stage in my life when most of the snacks I bought came in the pre-packaged variety.  Now if you look hard, you can find some good quality bars, but these days I tend to either snack on fruit, nuts, veges or yoghurt if I’m hungry in between meals.  Because I’m  training for a marathon, I’ve been needing to eat a little more to fuel my workouts so I was after a snack that would give me some high quality carbohydrates plus  some  protein too.  So I made this delicious cashew coconut and chai slice.  It’s pretty tasty and I also made for the first time a cashew type icing for it.


2 cups rolled oats
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped raw cashews
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil (or you could use coconut oil)
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon nut butter (cashew, almond, peanut, whatever you wish)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add the vanilla, eggs, honey and nut butter in another bowl and whisk until combined.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Spoon into a greased baking tin lined with baking paper.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the icing:

1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 3 hours
1/4 cup honey
3 teaspoons coconut oil
Blend all ingredients until smooth.   Once the slice is cool, spread the icing over the slice, top with coconut and cocoa nibs if desired.

Chocolate Apricot Nut Bars

Making these chocolate apricot nut bars is surprising simple.  This recipe for nut bars contains just a few unrefined, natural ingredients and they’re ready in under 10 minutes which make them perfect to whip up for a lunch box snack.

These bars are a good source of fibre, and also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron.


1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sunflower and chia)
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips, melted

Soak the apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain well.  Place the apricots, almonds and seeds into a blender and pulse until finely ground.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper, leaving a few centimetres  of overhang on each side. Press the mixture in firmly with a spoon.  Put a layer of baking paper on top and press down as hard as possible to compact the mixture. This is key in making the bars stay together.

Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from tin and cut into 6 long fingers, and then in half again if you like.


Make your own summer popsicles

Enjoying an ice cream or an ice block on a hot summers day is one of life’s simple pleasures.  And with a beautiful day forecast for the weekend I made two fruit packed varieties, banana and kiwifruit and boysenberry coconut – both of which were delicious. The good thing about making your own is there’s no artificial colours or flavours – just all natural, fresh ingredients.

And all you need is a set of ice block moulds, a few basic ingredients and some patience while you wait for them to set!

Here’s how:

Banana Kiwi Ice block
4 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped.
1 kiwifruit sliced into rounds
2 large bananas
4 tablespoons of thick vanilla yoghurt

Blend all ingredients until smooth, except the extra kiwifruit.  Slice the extra kiwifruit and slip down the sides of the ice block moulds. Spoon in the blended fruit/yoghurt mixture and insert popsicle sticks.  Freeze until set.

Boysenberry Coconut

1 cup boysenberries (I used frozen ones)
2 tablespoons coconut cream
1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  Spoon into popsicle moulds and freeze until set.

Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Tarts – a simple lunch idea

Pear, walnut and blue cheese is a classic autumn flavour combination, one of my favourites. There’s something very delicious about the sweetness of the pear, sharpness and saltness of blue cheese and the crunch of walnuts.

I had some reduced fat pastry in the pantry so thought I’d try this flavour combination as a tart.  No suprises that when encased in pastry, this flavour combination is even more delicious.

While I wouldn’t exactly call these a “healthy lunch”, something like this makes a nice weekend treat.

Here’s how:

One sheet reduced fat pre-rolled pastry, defrosted
Half a pear, cored and sliced into thin slices
A handful of walnut halves
Blue cheese, to crumble on top.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a baking tray. Cut the pastry into oblongs, you can make whatever size you wish, but my sheet of pastry made 6.  Fold the edges over slightly to form an edge.  Lay down the pear on the bottom, scatter over walnuts and crumble over the blue cheese.  Cook for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry is a light golden brown.

Serve with a side salad.

Healthy snacks to keep you full between meals

If you’re bored with your usual morning and afternoon between meal snacks, here’s some ideas for healthy snacks.  The combination of fibre and protein contained in these snack options means they’ll help keep you full in between meals.

10 almonds + 5 dried apricots

While nuts are a great snack, portion size is important – count them out as it’s easy to go overboard.  Here, almonds provide protein and heart healthy fats while dried apricots are a good source of fibre.

4 Vita-Weat crackers with cottage cheese and tomato

While many think crackers are a healthy option, many are high in fat, and in particular saturated fat. Some crackers has as much fat as potato chips. However Vita Wheat crackers fit the bill for a healthier cracker. Serve with cottage cheese for a protein boost.


Peanut Butter Power Balls

These are really quite delicious, especially when you’re craving something sweet.  One ball contains 80 calories, 5g of fat, 1.8g of sugar and 4.8g of protein. Found thanks to Fit Sugar

Ingredients (makes 16)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate

Mix all ingredients together, roll into balls and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


 150g low fat yoghurt sprinkled with a teaspoon of LSA.

LSA is a blend of ground linseed (also known as flaxseed), sunflower seeds and almonds. It’s a good source of fibre and rich in the essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6. Serve on top of yoghurt for a extra nutrition boost.

Carrot, capsicum and cucumber sticks with a tablespoon of hummus

Boost your vege intake with this low calorie snack. Hummus provides protein and a bit of extra flavour to your vege sticks.

Falafels with Mint Yoghurt Dipping Sauce.

Recipe adapted slightly from Annabel Langbein’s book “Great Food For Busy Lives”

300g dried, split green peas
1 small onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
handful of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt and lots of ground pepper

Cover the green peas with water and leave to soak for a minimum of 1 hour.  Drain and place in saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain and place in food processor with the rest of the ingredients.  Roll into balls and pan fry with a small amount of oil.

Makes 24.

Yoghurt Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons mint sauce
5 finely chopped mint leaves

Serve as a snack with dipping sauce, or serve in pita pockets with salad as a lunch or dinner.

How to Avoid Holiday Season Weight Gain

Image from Flickr via Pinterest

It’s a great time of the year, Summer BBQ’s, Christmas Parties and end of year catch ups.  Unfortunately the unwanted side effect of lots of socialising and celebrating can  be weight gain.

Here’s how to enjoy the holiday season while maintaining your weight.

1. Ensure you make time for exercise
With lots on, it can be easy to let your exercise routine suffer. However, at this time of the year it’s vital to keep it up to burn off those excess calories. In fact, including extra exercise is a good idea to help maintain your weight when you know you’re going to be eating and drinking more than normal.

2. Don’t arrive to an event hungry
It inevitably leads to eating more than you need.  Have an apple and glass of trim milk before you go. The fibre in the apple and protein in the milk will help keep you from feeling too hungry when you arrive.

3.  Watch the alcohol
Alcohol affects weight in a number of ways.  Firstly, it contains a lot of calories.  1 gram of alcohol contains 7 calories, compared to 4 calories in the food groups carbohydrates in protein.  Not only is alcohol high in calories, often mixers are high sugar too, adding extra calories. Secondly, alcohol lowers your willpower and increases hunger so you’re more likely to make bad food choices and eat more than you really need.  If you’ve got more than one event a week, pick one day only where you will drink alcohol, and limit to 3 drinks.

4. Eat light on the day you’re going out
If you’ve got a function, make the other meal a light one – soup or salad with protein. This will help compensate for the extra calories you’ll have at the function.

5. Enjoy but don’t over do it
Christmas and New Years is a time to enjoy yourself, so by all means eat your favourite foods, but remember portion size.  Just because you’ve been given a box of chocolates, it doesn’t mean you need to eat it all in a couple of days.  Share it around and make it last.

Lemon and Pistachio Biscotti

If you’re after a sweet treat but don’t want an overload of fat or sugar, then biscotti are a the treat for you.  I like them. Because they are double baked, they’re hard so they take a while to get through meaning really savour the treat. They’re great for dunking in a cup of tea or coffee too.

This recipe is adapted slightly from the book “Indulge” by Rowie Dillon.


3 egg whites
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 1/4 cups (150g) gluten free cornflour
Rind from half a lemon, finely grated.
1 cup  crushed pistachio nuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.Grease a 9 x 15cm loaf tin and line the base and long sides with baking paper.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy. Fold in the cornflour, lemon, pistachios and vanilla.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and firm to touch. Cool in the tin until it’s cool enough to touch.

Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius.  Cut the loaf lengthways into 1cm thick slices and then into 1cm thick fingers.  Place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp.  Cool completely on tray and store in an airtight container.

For a wee bit of extra indulgence, add half a cup of white chocolate chips in the mixing stage.

Homemade muesli bars


Homemade muesli bars are one of my favourite things to make for workday snacks.  They are so simple to make and you can be pretty flexible with the base ingredients to substitute nuts and seeds etc.   I have used tahini in place of peanut butter and butter in place of the coconut oil.  Both times they turned out well and had a different taste which helps keep it interesting. These homemade muesli bars are also yummy with a drizzle (or coating) of chocolate on them.  Because let’s face it – chocolate always takes things to the next level of deliciousness!

To create a nourishing and delicious homemade muesli bar recipe, these home made muesli bars contain the following ingredients for the base:

Linseed (flaxseed) a good source of plant based essential omega 3 fats, source of fibre.

Pumpkin seeds – a source of zinc plus other nutrients 

Sesame seeds – high in maganese and copper, plus a source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fibre

Almonds – high in heart healthy monounsaturated fat, source of vitamin E, magnesium

Oats – a source of fibre and contain vitamin B1 and B5, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium

These are best kept in the fridge as in hot weather they can go a wee bit soft.

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Homemade muesli bars

Homemade muesli bars are simple to make and you can even experiment with different nuts and seeds to create something that suits your tastes.  Make a double batch and keep half in the freezer for those times when you’ve got nothing at home but want a tasty, nourishing snack. 

Prep Time 15 minutes Refrigeration time 45 minutes Servings 16 bars


  • 1/4cuplinseeds (flaxseeds)
  • 1/4 cupcup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4cupalmonds
  • 1cuprolled oats
  • 1/3cupcranberries
  • 1teaspooncinnamon
  • 1/3cuppeanut butter
  • 1/4 cuphoney
  • 1/4cupmelted coconut oilor substitute butter
  • 80gramsdark chocolate


  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Place a small pot over a medium heat and add together the honey, peanut butter and oil, heating for around 5 minutes.
  2. Gently stir the mixture as it heats, being careful it doesn’t burn.
  3. Pour the honey mixture over the seed and nut muesli mixture and mix well. Spoon into a lined slice tin and press down well with the back of a spoon. If using the chocolate, melt the chocolate then drizzle over the top.
  4. Place in the fridge for around 30-45 minutes, or until set and cut into squares.

  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you are after other home made muesli bar ideas, here’s some other yummy recipes:

Cranberry and Almond Muesli Bars

Cranberry, Cashew and Chocolate Muesli Bars