I tried HelloFresh – here’s how it changed my week

With over a year of working mum life under my belt, there’s one thing I’ve discovered. You just can’t do everything. Time and energy are precious and after a hectic 2018, this year I’ve decided to really review how I can make life easier. So when I was offered the chance to try out HelloFresh, I jumped at the chance. The convenience and peace of mind knowing my menu for the week was sorted and delivered to my door definitely saved time and made life easier.  

Here’s what I thought:

No more rushed supermarket visits

I tend to be a frequent visitor to the supermarket to get extras for dinners, but this week that all changed! My HelloFresh box was delivered to my doorstep filled with quality meat, produce, seasonings and condiments needed to create the recipes.  

The meals (minus the chilled items) come in prepackaged meal bags which are colour coded to match the recipes, making it super simple to know what goes with what when it comes to cooking. At dinner time, you can just grab the bag, then the other chilled ingredients and you’re ready to cook.  

The recipes were simple to follow and only took around half an hour to prepare and cook. This meant we could get dinner on the table early, which is always a necessity with a toddler in the house.   

No more stressing about dinner time

The biggest plus for me with HelloFresh was the peace of mind. It might sound silly, but thinking about what to have for dinner has felt like a big chore when there’s already so much else to think about. It honestly felt like such a relief not having to think about what I was going to eat for the week or if I needed to rush to the supermarket in my break or after work to pick up something I needed for dinner. I knew I had everything I needed to create a delicious meal. And that frees up both time and mental energy for the more important things in life, such as spending time with my little girl.

Ordering made easy

The process of ordering with HelloFresh was also straightforward and it is made even more accessible with their mobile app. You can switch meals, change your plan settings, check the menus for the next few weeks and more from your phone. I ordered the Classic Box for four, but the Family Box also looked great and I might switch plans to that next time.  


Discovering new cuisines

Despite owning a slightly embarrassing number of cookbooks, I tend to repeat the same recipes over and over again. It’s been exciting to come home to trying different meals and ingredients and I’ve felt like I’ve enjoyed cooking more than usual for this reason. And the flavours are perfect even for my little eater.  

My favourite meal this week was the Middle Eastern Yoghurt Chicken, with Roast Vegetable, Feta & Coriander toss. It was such a nice combination of flavours and textures. Other yummy meals were cheesy beef nachos (with homemade tortilla chips), Bacon & Basil Pesto Pilaf, and Sage & Rosemary crumbed chicken. The meals were generously sized and because I went for the box for four, we had plenty of leftovers. This meant there was the added bonus of lunch being sorted the next day too.  

Life as a working mum definitely felt a bit easier this week thanks to HelloFresh. There’s been less stress, less energy spent thinking about what to eat, fewer trips to the supermarket and less time spent in the kitchen. And all of that means more time for myself and my family.   

If you’re keen to experience HelloFresh, I’m treating you to a $35 discount off your first box! Simply use my code EATWELL or click here to redeem the offer. While it’s not a quite a week off cooking, it certainly makes it faster, convenient and enjoyable too.


I’m giving away a HelloFresh box to one lucky person. To be in the draw, simply comment below with what you’d like the most about HelloFresh.   

Competition will be drawn Friday 15th February and the winner will be notified via email. 


 This post was sponsored by HelloFresh

Raspberry Chocolate Brownie

Raspberry chocolate brownie combines tart raspberries and chunks of dark chocolate to create a delicious slice.

I actually created these brownies by accident. My idea was to create a cashew cookie recipe but when that didn’t go to plan I decided to turn it into something else.   And that turned out to be yummy  raspberry chocolate brownies!

I’ve always loved to bake and experimenting in the kitchen is something I find quite relaxing.  I had a big bag of cashews that I had forgotten about and needed to use, so I decided to get creative. Usually when things don’t go to plan it’s a waste of ingredients, but luckily this time it could be repurposed!

Using ground cashews create a delicious, nourishing base while coconut flour helps keep the brownie moist.  Cashews are a source of magnesium, potassium, iron and other vitamins and minerals.  If you don’t have cashews, feel free to swap them for ground almonds.   This can also be gluten free by switching the wholemeal flour for gluten free flour and making sure the rest of the brand ingredients are gluten free.

The brownie keeps quite well in the fridge and makes a yummy addition to the lunch box when you’re feeling like something sweet.  Keeping some in the freezer is also handy.  Just keep in an air tight container.

PS If you like this recipe, you might also like these peanut butter cookies 


Raspberry Chocolate Brownie

Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 30 minutes


  • 50 gramsbutter, softened
  • 1/2cupmacadamia nut oilor melted coconut oil
  • 1/3cupsugar
  • 3/4cupcashew nuts, blended until very fine
  • 4tablespoonscoconut flour
  • 1tablespoon wholemeal flour
  • 4largeeggs
  • 1/4cupcocoa
  • 2tspvanilla
  • 2tspbaking powder
  • 1/2cupraspberries
  • 1/3cupchocolate chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 

    Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cooked in the middle. 

  2. Cream the butter, sugar and oil together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until well combined. Next, stir through the baking powder, flours, ground cashew nuts and cocoa and mix until combined.

  3. Line a slice dish with baking paper and spread over the mixture. Top with the frozen raspberries and chocolate chunks

  4. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until cooked in the middle. 






How to make coconut yoghurt

When I had to eliminate dairy for Elise’s food allergy, probably the one thing I missed the most was yoghurt.  As an alternative, I learnt to make my own coconut yoghurt.  I became a bit of a coconut yoghurt connoisseur and tried a few different flavours as well as learning how to make coconut yoghurt for myself. If you’re wondering how to make coconut yoghurt, the good news is it’s pretty easy once you know how.  A coconut yoghurt recipe is super simple and you only need two ingredients coconut milk and probiotics.

Nutritionally, coconut yoghurt is quite different to standard dairy yoghurt.  It’s much higher in saturated fat and energy,  lower in protein and doesn’t contain the calcium, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 found in dairy yoghurt.  It still contains beneficial probiotics and it makes a nice alternative if you can’t have dairy.

One of my favourite dairy free breakfasts was banana, blueberries, almonds, walnuts and coconut yoghurt.  It is also delicious with this home made granola.

Anyway,  it isn’t cheap hence why I figured out how to make coconut yoghurt.  I did a bit of experimentation and  it’s actually really easy.  I experimented with a few different coconut milks.  Firstly I used Ayam’s coconut cream.  This was super thick and not really yoghurt like because of that.  Then I used a 400ml can of TCC premium coconut milk.  This was nice but a wee bit runny for my liking.  My happy medium was mixing a small can of Tcc Premium coconut milk with a can of Ayam coconut cream.  I also found just using Ayam coconut milk worked well – the tin is quite small so I used almost 2 cans to fill my 400ml jar.

Here’s the recipe for coconut yoghurt (if you can even call it a recipe!)

Method 1: Probiotic Capsule

I used two probiotic capsules for my first batch, then tried another batch with one and they both worked, the batch with one capsule just took a little longer.  These capsules contained a fairly high amount of bacteria (75 billion) so if you were using a lower count, then you’d probably need two capsules. The probiotic I used was this one.

Simply add around 400ml coconut milk to a jar that is the same size as your tin of coconut milk.  I used a 400ml preserving jar.

Gently open the probiotic capsule at the join and sprinkle over the coconut milk.  Shake.

Place lid on the jar and leave at room temperature for approximately 24-48 hours.

Method 2: Coconut Yoghurt

You can use coconut yoghurt as a starter for another batch of coconut yoghurt.  Here’s how:

Simply add two tablespoons of coconut yoghurt to a jar.
Add 1 tin of coconut milk.
Shake to combine.

Place lid on the jar and leave at room temperature for approximately 24-48 hours.

Troubleshooting and tips:

  • Taste your yoghurt to test if it’s ready.
  • If it doesn’t work with the probiotic capsules it’s likely your probiotics are not active – aka the bacteria are all dead!!
  • Make fruit flavoured yoghurt by crushing freeze dried plum slices and mixing this through the yoghurt.  It adds a nice intense flavour.
  • The coconut yoghurt will be runny when it’s on the bench but it will thicken up when it’s put in the fridge.
  • If you want it thicker, you can buy coconut yoghurt thickener and a coconut yoghurt kit at HealthPost here (affiliate link)
  • Sometimes your coconut yoghurt can seperate.  This often happens if the coconut milk you buy has lots of added water.  Sometimes it will seperate if it gets too warm.   Mine did seperate once and I just drained out a bit of the liquid, then mixed it.  It still tasted yummy!

If all else fails, my favourite brand of coconut yoghurt was Raglan Coconut Yoghurt.  I decided to try them all to do a review:

Here’s a wee review of the flavours:

Plain:  Thick and creamy, the plain coconut yoghurt is very versatile. It doesn’t have an overpowering coconut flavour and it has a nice tang.  It contains a small amount of added honey, but the overall sugar content is low (2g per 100g). I used this as a replacement for sour cream as well.

Blackcurrant and vanilla:  I LOVE this flavour.  Tastes great.  That’s all I have to say 🙂

Mango:  This was nice, but the mango flavour isn’t that prominent.  If you’re put off by the turmeric, it gives it colour, but you can’t taste it.

Banana Chai (not pictured):  Personally, I didn’t really enjoy this flavour.  The chai was a bit overpowering for me, and I felt like it had a slightly gritty texture too. If you’re a lover of chai then you may enjoy this.












Rice and quinoa salad with halloumi and summer roast vegetables

Warm and sunny summer weather is perfect for salads and this rice and quinoa salad with halloumi and summer roast vegetables is a new favourite I have created.  This recipe mixes brown rice, quinoa, roasted vegetables and halloumi with a delicious zesty dressing and is a yummy dish alone or as a side dish for dinner.  I love the colour and flavour of capsicums and they’re especially delicious when roasted, as are zucchini which get that delicious, melt in your mouth texture.  These, along with the mushrooms, brown rice and quinoa plus a little halloumi gives you a nutrient packed salad that I’m sure you’ll love.

Some people avoid brown rice as they think it’s hard to cook.  But it’s actually quite easy – it just uses a little more water and takes a little more time.  My favourite method is the boil method where you just boil in plenty of water as per the packet instructions and then drain.  It’s perfect every time.  The SunRice pack of rice and quinoa is an easy way to get a mix of nutritious grains plus if you’re in a hurry you can buy the steamed bags and cups which are ready in literally minutes.  The rice and quinoa blend provides a source of protein and fibre – perfect for helping keep you feeling full. It is also a source of magnesium and niacin.

For the dressing, I used pomegranate molasses.  It has a unique sweet flavour and there are lots of different things you can use it for once you have it.  But if you don’t want to buy it you could use honey instead.  This mixed with lime, soy sauce, avocado oil and balsamic vinegar creates a zesty, slightly sweet dressing that complements the salad well.

Here’s the recipe:

Rice and quinoa salad with halloumi and summer roast vegetables


1 cup SunRice Rice & Quinoa, cooked per instructions on packet.
3 zucchini
1 red capsicum
1 yellow capsicum
10 brown button mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 small handful of basil, chopped
2 tablespoons oil (olive or avocado)
100g halloumi


1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
4 tablespoons of avocado oil
Juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Wash the vegetables.  Core the capsicums and cut into chunks then cut the zucchini into rounds.  Place on a baking tray and drizzle with half the oil (1 tablespoon).  Place in oven to cook for 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes is up, drizzle the remaining oil over the mushrooms. Take out the capsicums and zucchinis, flip them over and add the mushrooms.  Cook for a further 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the SunRice Rice & Quinoa as per packet instructions. To save time you could also use the pre-steamed bags instead.  Place the cooked rice and quinoa in a bowl and mix through the pumpkin seeds, chopped basil. Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, shake and drizzle some over the rice and quinoa mix to taste.  Next, mix through the roasted vegetables.

Heat a non stick fry pan over a medium heat.  Cut the halloumi into bite sized pieces and pan fry each side until lightly browned.  Mix the halloumi through the salad and serve.  Delicious!

Rice and quinoa salad with halloumi and summer roast vegetables can be enjoyed alone or as a side dish.

This post was sponsored by SunRice.






Oaty chocolate peanut butter slice

When you think oats I’m sure breakfast automatically pops into your head.  However another place I use oats a lot is in healthier baking.    Oats make a great switch for more refined ingredients since they are a wholegrain product and provide fibre, helping to maintain a healthy digestive system.  Wholegrains also contain antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, lignans and phytonutrients.

Oats also provide a nice texture and chew in baking. For a healthier sweet treat, I’ve created delicious a raw oaty chocolate peanut butter slice using the new UNCLE TOBYS Ancient Grains Oats which also contains rye, millet and quinoa.

This recipe for oaty chocolate peanut butter slice is quick and easy to make – perfect for a spot of weekend baking (or should I say unbaking since no cooking is required!).

Using more wholefood ingredients like oats in place of refined products is one way you can work towards improving your wellbeing.  For more ideas on how to  improve your wellness, you can take a quiz here and get your own wellness score. From there you’ll get relevant tips on how you can improve your wellbeing. The quiz looks at an overall picture of wellness and will give you your results and some advice around happiness, sleep, alcohol, exercise, healthy eating and more. It does talk about weight which is something I don’t tend to focus on, but there are lots of useful tips for healthy eating and building healthy habits – check it out here.

Recipe: Oaty chocolate peanut butter slice


½ cup dates (well packed)
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup UNCLE TOBYS Ancient Grains Oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 cup cashews
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tablespoons cocoa
3-4 tablespoons peanut butter
50g dark chocolate

In a small pot, boil the dates and water together for 5 minutes.  Drain really well.  Place the dates, chia seeds, oats, cashews, vanilla, cocoa and first measure of peanut butter in a food processor and process until combined.

Take half the oaty mixture and press into a small 18 x 14cm lined tin.  Spread over the peanut butter.  Sprinkle the remainder oat mixture over the top and press down firmly with the back of a spoon or clean fingers.

Place in fridge for 20 minutes or until set then cut into thin pieces.  Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top and sprinkle with some extra oats if desired.  Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. This can also be frozen and tastes delicious eaten straight from the freezer.

This post was made possible thanks to Nestlé and the UNCLE TOBYS Team









Cashew, coconut & strawberry nutty granola and granola bars

Nuts and seeds are some of nature’s ‘superfoods’.  Packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and healthy fats, nuts and seeds are the perfect addition to recipes to add plenty of nutrition.   With a new season upon us, it’s a great time to add some variety to your diet and enjoy new recipes that complement the warmer weather.  I’ve done just that by making a delicious  cashew, coconut and strawberry nutty granola that’s simple to make and can be used either as a granola, a trail mix  or a base for some delicious, cashew, coconut and strawberry nutty granola bars.   So you’ve got yourself both a filling, nourishing breakfast and a wholefood, energy dense snack too – all with one simple, base recipe.

As well as cashew nuts and sunflower seeds, I’ve used Brazil nuts in this recipe which are an excellent source of selenium – a mineral lacking in many NZ diets. Selenium acts as an antioxidant within our bodies to help protect against damage, and it’s also important for regulating blood pressure and keeping our immune system healthy.    Cashew nuts are a source of magnesium, vitamin B6 and iron.

We tend to forget about seeds in favour of nuts, but seeds are also really nutritious. Sunflower seeds provide a source of vitamin E, magnesium, folate and other B vitamins and iron, as well as healthy fats, protein and fibre.

Enjoy the granola with milk and yoghurt of your choice, or grab a handful as a yummy snack.  The bars make a good on the go option for a snack or even breakfast on the run.

GIVEAWAY!!  I’ve got an awesome prize pack to give away thanks to Tasti, including some of the ingredients I’ve used here.  You could win:

x 1 Tasti Tin filled with:
– 1 pouch of 300g walnuts
– 1 pouch of 300g cashews
– 1 pack of 70g sliced almonds
– 1 pack of 70g macadamias
– 1 pack of 60g coconut chips
– 1 70-100g “surprise pack”
– 1 pack of Smooshed Wholefood Balls

To be in the draw to win, simply comment below with what nuts and seeds you like the most and click on the facebook share button at the top or bottom of this page.  Competition will be drawn 14th October 2016.  Open to NZ residents only.

Congratulations to Clare – you’re the lucky winner 🙂 I have emailed you to arrange your prize delivery.

Here’s the recipes.

Cashew, coconut and strawberry granola

With a base of cashews, brazil nuts and sunflower seeds plus a little coconut and oats, this is a filling breakfast that tastes great with milk, yoghurt and some added fresh fruit. Because it’s high in fibre and healthy fats, a small serve is all you need to help keep you feeling full and satisfied.

It’s quick and easy to make – simply a matter of throwing together a few packets of the new Tasti bulk nuts and seeds packets together, and mixing in a couple of other ingredients and you’ve got yourself sorted for breakfast or snacks for a good few weeks.


1 300g packet of Tasti cashews (2 cups)
½ 300g packet Tasti Brazil nuts, chopped (1 cup)
½  300g packet Tasti sunflower seeds (1 cup)
1 60g packet of Tasti coconut chips (1 cup)
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ packet freeze dried strawberries (these make it really delicious and are worth buying, but you could also add ½ to 1 cup of dried fruit of your choice instead)

In a large wok or pan, add the nuts, seeds, coconut and oats and turn heat to medium.  In a mug or small bowl, mix together the macadamia nut oil, honey/maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzle over the dry ingredients, turning the dry ingredients over as you do this.  Keep stirring the mixture for around 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Take off the heat.

Leave to cool, then fold through the freeze dried strawberries.  You may want to break up the slices a little bit.

Store in an airtight jar in a cool place.   You can have this for a cereal or take a handful for a healthy, nourishing snack. You can also use this to create the yummy granola nut bars below.


Cashew, coconut and strawberry granola bars


¼ cup almond or peanut butter
¼ cup coconut oil
2 – 4 tablespoons honey (add depending on your preference for sweetness)
1 ¾ cups of cashew, coconut and strawberry granola (as per recipe above)
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup coconut threads
1 large handful of freeze dried strawberries

In a pot, melt together the peanut butter, coconut oil and honey over a medium heat until lightly bubbling. Add the granola, sunflower seeds and coconut threads.  Lightly crush the strawberries and stir the wet and dry mixture together until well combined.

Place the mixture in a small 18 x 14cm lined tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle some extra strawberries and coconut on top if desired.

Freeze until firm and cut into fingers, then cut these in half again. Store in the fridge as these will soften in a warm room.

Makes 10 pieces – simply double the recipe to make more.

The bigger and handier packs of bulk nuts and seeds from Tasti are now available in New World and Pak n’ Save.

This post was made possible thanks to Tasti










In a Nutritionist’s Kitchen – June/July edition

I always find interesting to see what products and brands other people are loving right now, especially when it comes to food.  As I was tidying my pantry in the weekend (how does it always get so messy?!) I thought you guys might be interested in seeing some of products I’ve been trying out over the past month.

So here’s a quick wee round up of a few of the things I’ve been using in my kitchen lately.  I do have to say I’m so in love with the Tom and Luke’s snackaballs I’ve shared below and that cooking with coconut flour has become a new obsession!  It’s always fun to try something new and the good news is I’ll have plenty of recipes to share with you over the coming weeks.  If you’ve got any recipes you think I should try with it, do let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Ceres Organic Coconut Flour

While a lot of coconut products are over hyped, one product that I have been enjoying using lately is coconut flour.  Because it’s made from the dried coconut flesh, it’s a great source of dietary fibre and can help improve the nutrition of baking when replacing more refined flours.

Coconut flour doesn’t behave the same way as ordinary flour in baking, so you can’t make a straight swap.  It absorbs lots of fluid, so you’ll find your mixture needs to be runnier than usual, and it generally works well with plenty of eggs.  I’ve had a bit of an experiement with some good results.  One of these is my banana loaf.  It’s moist and flavourful yet not overly sweet.  Check out the recipe here.


Barkers Unsweetened Blackadder Blackcurrant Juice

I was sent a sample of this a couple of weeks back and I have to say I have been enjoying it as a refreshing change from water sometimes.

This concentrate contains no added sugar, and when made as directed it has just under 1 tsp of sugar per glass.  It’s tart yet flavourful and blackcurrants are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin C.

It’s delicious both hot and cold and you can add a splash to smoothies as well.

It’s available at supermarkets and costs approximately $8.90 for a bottle which makes up 28 glasses.


Tom and Luke’s Snackaballs

I’m really in love with these balls!  They’re made with nuts, pea protein and a range of other nourishing ingredients.  My favourite flavours are the strawberry and macadamia and salted caramel.  The strawberry ones contain real freeze dried strawberry pieces and the salted caramel ones taste so much like caramel, they are a nutrient rich delicious treat.  They’re perfect for when you feel like something a little sweet.

They come in 70g bags containing 5 balls which is fairly large for a snack size if you’re not very active.  Try sharing them around or save some for another day!

You can find them at New World supermarkets and I’ve seen them priced between $2.30 – $2.99 a bag.

Peanut Butter Frooze Balls

While we’re on the topic of balls…. I’m also really loving the new version of Frooze Balls – the peanut butter flavour.  I think it’s my favourite of the Frooze Balls and I reccomend trying it if you haven’t already.  Like the Tom and Luke’s balls – a packet is a large snack size, so share around or save some for later 🙂

The ingredients are simple – roasted peanuts, dates, coconut and a little salt.

Many supermarkets now stock these, and you can find out more about them and the other flavours on their website here.



Matcha tea

I was sent a sample of Matcha Matcha tea and I’ve been drinking this as an alternative to other hot drinks weekends.   To be honest it isn’t something I’d thought about buying as I wasn’t sure what the taste would be like, but I had been interested in trying it.  I’ve been drinking mine with almond milk and I actually really like it.  It tastes much like green tea and I think it complements the flavour of almond milk nicely.    So what is it exactly?  Matcha is a special variety of green tea that has been stoneground into a fine powder.  It has about 1/3 of the caffeine of coffee and is very high in antioxidants – even more than green tea.  You can read more about it here.

That’s it for now, but I think I might make this a regular feature if you find it interesting.  The latest thing on my list to try out for the next edition is cricket flour…..  I’ll let you know the verdict next time 🙂





Roast vegetable salad with crispy Moroccan chickpeas


Meat free meals don’t have to be boring.  In fact, they are often anything but boring.  This recipe for roast vegetable salad with crispy Moroccan chickpeas combines a range of gorgeous flavours and textures.  The vegetables are roasted in olive oil and garlic and the chickpeas coated in delicious moroccan flavours.  This would make a light meal, but you can top it up by adding some halloumi cheese or a poached egg.

This recipe contains a mixture of starchy and non starchy vegetables, and provides a wide range of antioxidants and nutrients. Red onions contain anthocyanins.  Research suggests that anthocyanins may have a wide variety of health benefits including reducing risk of certain cancers and diabetes and can help protect against signs of ageing (1).  The orange vegetables contain carotenoids.  Our body converts these to vitamin A, but they are also thought to have other beneficial effects. may help to slow the ageing process, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, improve lung function and help keep skin healthy although more reaserch is needed

Chickpeas are one of my favourite legumes.  They’re very versatile and work well with lots of flavours.  You can buy them dry then soak and cook them which is really economical since they’re so cheap, but I find canned ones are more convenient and relatively cheap.  A can of organic chickpeas is $1.80 at my local supermarket.

Here’s the recipe:

Makes 2-3 serves.


3 carrots
1 large wedge of pumpkin
1 orange kumara
1 small purple kumara
1 large potato
2 red onions
4 large cloves of garlic
2 springs of Rosemary
1 tin of chickpeas
2 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 sundried tomatoes, chopped


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Peel the carrots and slice lengthwise, then lengthwise again. Cut these carrot sticks in half horizontally. Peel the pumpkin and kumara and cut into even sized pieces.  Wash the potato and cut into same sized pieces as the other vegetables.  Peel the onions and cut into wedges.  Place the vegetables on an oven tray.   Finely chop the garlic cloves and sprinkle on top.  Remove the rosemary leaves from the stem and sprinkle over the vegetables.  Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss the vegetables around to coat in oil.

Place in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden.   Once cooked, turn the oven off and leave the vegetables in the oven with the door slightly ajar to keep them warm whilst you prepare the chickpeas.   Drain and rinse chickpeas. Place a pan on an element over a medium heat.  Add the tablespoon of oil, and once hot, add the chickpeas. Sprinkle over the Moroccan seasoning.  Sir the chickpeas regularly for 3-5 minutes, until they are warmed through and slightly crispy.

Take the roasted vegetables from the oven and add the chickpeas and sundried tomatoes.  Serve with some steamed greens and for a more filling meal, slices of pan fried halloumi or a poached egg.


How much water do you really need to drink?

Water is vital for life.  But how much water do you really need to drink?  If there’s one thing I often hear clients say is that they feel they need to drink more water.  While some  clients I see could do with a higher water intake, others are quite adequately meeting their fluid requirements and are just causing themselves extra stress trying to drink down loads of fluids when they really don’t need to.

Ditching sugary beverages for some good old water is an excellent way to improve your health, after all sugary drinks are linked to excess weight gain, poor glycemic control and gout, and ensuring adequate fluid intake can help with constipation.  But do you really need to be drinking 3L plus of water a day?  Does drinking lots of water help “flush fat” from your body, as I’ve read on some Facebook pages?  Does more water help you detox?  Below I’ll share with you why water is so important and how much you really need to drink.

What do we use water for?

You probably already know that water is a big part of our bodies (around 60% for adults).  It’s a part of every single cell within our body.    Water is used in many processes within our bodies, including the breakdown of the macronutrients carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Water plays a role in regulation of temperature. What happens when you get hot?   You sweat! Sweat is made mainly of water, as well as some electrolytes.  Sweat helps cool the body when it evaporates from the skin.

Water also plays an vitally important role in transportation within the body. This includes getting nutrients into our cells as well as removing waste products from cells (1).

Our blood contains water and adequate water is necessary for optimal blood circulation.  When you’re dehydrated, there is less water in your blood, making it thicker.  Your heart has to pump harder to get the blood around your body to carry oxygen and nutrients to your cell. That’s why you can feel tired when you are dehydrated.

Hydration is essential for every single organ and system within the body, from the brain, to digestive system to the reproductive system.  That’s why severe dehydration leads to death. While that’s the serious end of the scale, mild dehydration does effect your wellbeing. Research shows that  mild dehydration can effect your concentration, alertness, short term memory and increase feelings of fatigue. It also effects sports performance. (2)

How much water do we really need to drink?

Image found here

Our fluid needs vary depending on a number of factors including the temperature and humidity and physical activity levels.  As a guideline, 8 glasses of water a day should be sufficient, however if you’re exercising you will need more.   Higher water intake doesn’t have any additional health benefits (3).  It won’t help you ‘flush fat’, it won’t help you detox (your body does a great job of that already), all it will do is give you more frequent trips to the toilet and increase your toilet paper bill 🙂

Thirst is only a roughly accurate indicator for hydration status.  When you feel thirsty, you are likely already slightly dehydrated.   A simple way to tell if you are hydrated is to look at your wee. It should be a pale yellow colour.  If it’s dark yellow, you could do with some more water.  Be aware that vitamin supplements can influence the colour of your urine – so if you are taking these, this chart will not be as useful.

For those who are doing lots of high intensity, or long distance exercise, and sweating a lot, you may need to pay more attention to your fluid needs for optimal sports performance and recovery.  This page gives some guidelines.

Do other fluids count?

Yes!  Tea, coffee, herbal teas do count towards your fluid intake.  While caffeine is a mild diuretic (meaning it makes you urinate), you don’t actually lose more water than you consume (4).  Overdoing the caffeine isn’t a good idea though as it can affect your sleep and leave you anxious and irritable.  Stick to a couple of cups of coffee a day.

So while water doesn’t help flush fat, or detox your body, it is a vital component of keeping our bodies functioning optimally.   In general, 8 glasses of water should be sufficient, but you’ll probably need more on hot days and when you are exercising.  Use the colour of your urine as a guide to keep yourself optimally hydrated.

New foods I’ve tried and my taste verdict

As a part of my job, it’s good to be able to recommend different products that taste good and meet certain dietary needs, so I do a bit of taste testing and try new products.  I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’ve tried recently, my favourite is the peanut butter – think it’s my new favourite!

Here’s some of the things I’ve tried lately.

1. Gerry’s Go No Gluten Wraps

If you have IBS or celiac disease, bread and bread products are one thing that can be difficult to find a decent replacement for.  When it comes to wraps, many of the brands crumble when rolled, so they’re not that practical.  If you heat before rolling, these are fine.

I made the mistake of not reading the ingredients before I bought and these wraps actually contain the sweetener sorbitol –  no good for those with IBS.  It is likely to be in fairly low doses since bread is not sweet, so it might not affect those who have IBS. But it you’re quite sensitive, you may need to avoid it.

Taste wise,  these were quite nice.  They’re made with mainly corn flour, and they remind me of corn tortillas.  They are fairly processed, like most gluten free breads, but if you do want a gluten free wrap sometimes then you could give these a go.   Have you tried a gluten free wrap that’s been awesome? Let me know in the comments!    I’m planning on giving this recipe a go for an easy looking wrap recipe.  Jess has some lovely recipes on her page, so I’m imagining these will be nice.  Will let you know!

2. Fix and Fogg Peanut Butter

I am a huge peanut butter fan.  And I like it crunchy.  This peanut butter is super crunchy with nice big peanut pieces, just how I like them.  It’s also produced in Wellington, and since I live in the Greater Wellington region, then I think that makes it pretty cool too.  This is up there in peanut butter goodness, especially if you’re a fan of crunchy.  I’ll most definently be a regular purchaser of this brand.

3. Be Nourished Raw Sauerkraut

Fermented foods are pretty trendy right now. And, unlike many food trends, the fermented food trend is deserves the attention it’s getting.  Fermented foods are great for your gut as they’re a source of probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacteria are so important for gut health, which in turn influences many areas of our wellbeing.

This was my first try at tasting sauerkraut.  It does, of course, taste like cabbage, but with slightly sour flavour that comes from it’s fermentation.    It’s not really something that I’d enjoy on it’s own, like I do yoghurt (my favourite fermented food!) but it’s a nice accompaniment to many meals.  I’ve added it to home made hamburgers, had a tablespoon as a side with eggs and mixed some through a salad with chicken for lunch.  It’s a good way to get some probiotics, I’d buy again, and try a different flavour, as there are lots.  I loved the colour of this 🙂

4.  Te Atatu Toasted Muesli

Te Atatu Toasted Muesli healthy blend is a muesli that’s low in sugar and contains no dried fruit.  I was sent some to try.   It’s flavoured nicely with cinnamon and I love the fact that it has some nice whole almonds in it which adds to the crunch.

The ingredients are:  whole oats, buckwheat, apple puree (apple), almonds, linseeds, sunflower seeds,honey, white sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower oil, ground spices, salt

I prefer to eat it with some fruit which adds sweetness with the bonus of antioxidants and nutrients 🙂