Creamy Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

There’s nothing like instagram to give you food envy.  As I was scrolling through my feed, I found a picture of some home made frozen yoghurt and I was inspired to give it a go.  I’ve been taking part in the Symbio Summer Feel Good Challenge and had a tub of natural Symbio in the fridge so I thought I’d have a go at making my own.

The result was better than expected actually!  I used fresh strawberries which gave it a beautiful flavour, and I sweetened with some honey which complemented the strawberry flavour nicely.

If you’re making this, make sure you have an afternoon/morning at home as you’ll need to beat the mixture several times during the freezing process.  Sounds like hard work but it’s not! You just need to be around to give it a quick mix.  This is because when you freeze anything from liquid to solid, ice crystals form.  By beating the mixture when it’s partially frozen, you break up these ice crystals resulting in a softer, creamier mixture.

Here’s how to make Creamy Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt:

500g tub of natural unsweetened Symbio yoghurt
1/2 cup cream
1 cup strawberries, chopped into pieces
3 tablespoons honey

In a cake mixer, add all the ingredients and beat till the mixture thickens and the berries are broken down and mixed through.  This process takes about 10 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a loaf tin and place in the freezer.

Set the timer for 1 hour.  After one hour, take out of the freezer.  Using a stick blender, blend the mixture up again.  You can keep it in the loaf tin to do this.  If you don’t have a stick blender, you can just use a spoon to beat the mixture well.   Place back in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Repeat this process 3 times.  This helps make it creamy.

Serve with fresh berries.

Best served within 3 days.

Makes 10 servings

Chocolate Apricot and Macadamia Nut Slice

Nuts have been a long time favourite snack for me, and with today being National Nut Day I thought I’d share a bit of a special way to enjoy the humble nut.

Nuts are a simple wholefood rich in many essential vitamins and minerals.  Nuts are also a source of protein, fibre, antioxidants and heart healthy fats making them a fantastic snack that keeps you feeling fuller for longer.  To see the nutritional benefits of different types of nuts, check out this post.

Anyway, back to the Chocolate Apricot and Macadamia slice.  This slice uses macadamia nuts and almonds to create an indulgent yet healthy nutty treat.

I was inspired to make this after one of the ladies at work bought a giant slab of a similar slice to work – only it wasn’t that healthy!!  Thanks to Alison’s Pantry and Mother Earth, I had some nuts to play around with so I thought that a chocolate apricot macadamia slice would be a nice recipe to modify into a healthier version, so out when the refined ingredients and in went lots of delicious nuts and other wholefood ingredients.  The outcome, this delicious, nutrient rich slice.


Here’s how to make it

Chocolate Apricot and Macadamia Nut Slice

For the base:
1 cup of dates, soaked in boiling water for 1 hour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup whole almonds

For the topping:
1/4 cup dried apricots
1 cup macadamia nuts
100g dark chocolate
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Drain the dates well and place in the bowl of a food processor.  Add all the ingredients except for the whole almonds.  Turn the food processor onto a medium speed and blend the ingredients together for a couple of minutes until combined.  Add the whole almonds and blend so all the dates are mixed through well, but there are still a few chunky almond pieces.  These add to the texture.

Press the base mixture into a lined and greased slice tin.

Finely chop the dried apricots and cut macadamia nuts in half.  Chop the chocolate into chunks.  Press the nuts and apricot pieces randomly across the slice.  Fill in the spaces with the dark chocolate, the sprinkle over the coconut.

Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes.

Leave to cool then cut into squares.

Since it’s National Nut Day,  I thought I’d share links to some of my other favourite nut recipes too. Check them out below.

Homemade nut bars
Raspberry, banana and coconut raw cheesecake
Home made nut butter



Zesty Orange Beans and Broccoli

Are you a little bored of your daily greens?  We often think of veges as a simple side dish yet there are lots of ways to jazz them up, add nutrients and make them more delicious and enjoyable.

I found this recipe for zesty orange greens  here and it was good!! I simply changed the vegetables a bit to fit with what is in season at the moment and the quantities to work for me.   Served with some marinated chicken and some quinoa or brown rice it makes a delicious meal. This was even better as leftovers the next day a the dressing had really flavoured the vegetables.

Ingredients (for 3 serves):

1 head of broccoli
2 cups of green beans
zest and juice from 1 small or 1/2 a large orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
3 tablespoons of chopped chives


Steam the green vegetables until just cooked. You want the broccoli to be slightly crisp to bite, not soggy.   While the vegetables are cooking,  place the orange juice, zest, and olive oil in a bowl or shaker and wisk/shake until combined.   Drizzle the dressing over the cooked greens and sprinkle over the hazelnuts and chives.

It’s as easy as that!

Do you have any yummy vegetable recipes?  Do share in the comments below



Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Muffins

Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Muffins – fresh from the oven

I love to bake, especially in winter when it’s cold outside and you can hear the rhythmic fall of rain on the roof.  I find it incredibly relaxing.  This weekend I baked these yummy muffins, inspired by this recipe over at Little and Loved. This was an  experiment that turned out well.  The muffins are rich and chocolatey and they feel rather decadent to eat – only they’re free from refined carbohydrates and contain more nourishing ingredients than your standard muffins.

These gluten free chocolate banana muffins are full of nutrient rich ingredients, making them a nourishing sweet treat.  They’re also a breeze to make.  Here’s how:

Ingredients for Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Muffins

2 very ripe large bananas
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter
70g finely ground almonds
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut sugar (you could also use maple syrup or just plain old sugar too)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
12 squares of Green & Black Organics dark chocolate

In a small bowl mash the bananas well.  Mix in the egg, vanilla essence, and nut butter.    In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, minus the chocolate.  Make a well in the middle and add the banana mixture.  Mix gently until combined.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.  Spoon tablespoons full into the cases until they are just over half full.  Add a square of dark chocolate.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins.

These are also delicious heated with a little natural yoghurt for an after dinner treat.


Curried chicken and vegetable soup

Curried chicken and vegetable soup

With gale force winds and plenty of rain this weekend, it was perfect soup weather.  Plus I felt like I needed a good dose of vegetables after a week of cocktail drinking and plenty of eating in Rarotonga.   This soup is packed full of a range of vegetables and is a good source of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and plenty of antioxidants too.  It’s a nutritious lunch or light dinner that provides lots of nutrients to keep your immune system purring this winter.   We had it for a quick dinner and I had it for lunch today too. Gotta love left overs!

Here’s how:

1/2 a butternut pumpkin
2  parsnips
1 medium kumara
1 small red onion
1 whole garlic bulb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of broccoli
2 leeks
100g free range chicken breast
4 litres of chicken stock

Preeat the oven to 180 degrees.  Peel the pumpkin, parsnips and kumara and cut into small chunks.  Peel the onion and cut into large chunks.  Place in a roasting dish along with the bulb of garlic.  Drizzle over the olive oil and rub through the vegetables.  Roast for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked.

While the vegetables are roasting, chop up the broccoli and leeks.  Add to a pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.

Take the garlic bulb from the oven dish and squeeze the cloves from the skin.  They should slide out nicely.  Add half to the soup along with the roasted vegetables.

Finely slice the chicken breast and to the soup.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

With a stick blender, lightly blend the soup so there are still a few small chunky bits of vegetables.

Organic yoghurt recipe – easy, cheap and delicious

If someone had told me there was an easy organic yoghurt recipe I wouldn’t have believed them.  But it’s true!  And that’s great news for me as I love yoghurt.  Smooth, creamy and a little bit tangy it’s a taste sensation.  Not to mention it’s nutritional value – an excellent source of calcium, protein and probiotic bacteria to help keep your gut and immune system healthy.  I’ve thought about making my own for ages but it seemed in the too hard basket, until I saw Nadia Lim’s organic yoghurt recipe.  It’s SO easy!  Two simple ingredients, a little heating and standing, then in 8 hours you’ve got your own yoghurt.

I used slightly different quantities to Nadia, but it still worked fine.  I wanted to make some organic yoghurt, so I used the delicious Lewis Road Creamery organic milk and some natural, unsweetened probiotic yoghurt. Turned out great. Plus it’s much cheaper than buying it.  Making this organic yoghurt recipe will set you back under $4 for the milk.  Compare that to an 800g tub of organic yoghurt which is around $7.60.

Here’s the organic yoghurt recipe:

1 750ml full fat Lewis Road Creamery Organic milk
3 tablespoons natural unsweetened yoghurt

Heat the milk in a pot and gently bring to the boil before turning off the heat.  Take the milk off the heat and leave to cool until it reaches 45-50 degrees.  I used a kitchen thermometer for this but if you don’t own one, it’s around 10-12 minutes.

Whisk in the yoghurt until combined with the milk.

Pour the yoghurt into a thermos or plastic container.  I put mine back into the Lewis Road milk bottle! Wrap up in hand towels and place in the hotwater cupboard for 8 hours, or overnight.

You’ll then have your organic yoghurt!  Mine came out lovely and smooth, but if yours is a little grainy pour into a bowl and whisk until smooth.

You can easily make your own flavours and I’ve tried the following:

Vanilla + Cinnamon: 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 teaspoons manuka honey
Passionfruit: just add passionfruit pulp – yum
Feijoa – add chopped feijoa just before serving

Porridge and yoghurt with feijoas and a drizzle of maple syrup. It’s pretty good I tell you!



Vital Greens + a giveaway

Multinutrient powders are the new thing in the world of supplements.  Rather than popping a pill, you simply add couple of spoonfulls of the powder into a glass of water, or even in recipes like smoothies and bliss balls.   I recently sampled Vital Greens multinutrient powder which was a tasty way to get an added nutrient boost.  I’m a bit hopeless at remembering to take supplements, but this was easy to add to my smoothie without a second thought.

I see it as a little bit of a nutritional insurance policy – I eat a healthy diet, but this just gives me an added boost, especially for those days when I don’t eat as well as I should.    Sometimes a busy lifestyle, illness or stress can increase your nutritional needs, and because I’ve been run down lately, I was excited to give Vital Greens a go.

Vital Greens is a carefully balanced blend of nutrient dense greens, vegetables, fruits, plus additional herbs, vitamins and minerals, powerful antioxidants, prebiotics and probiotics, essential fatty acids, fibre, PLUS a uniquely alkalising pea protein. Phew, it’s a lot of good stuff packed into a powder.

Vital Greens is also naturally sweetened.  It uses an organic sweetener called thaumatin,  a sweetener extracted from a type of fruit called Katemfe.

It’s designed to provide the optimum nutrient levels to help support detoxification, digestion, intestinal health, immunity and provide optimal nutrient levels to assist vitality and energy.

While I always suggest getting your diet right first, Vital Greens does make a good multi nutrient supplement to give your nutrient levels a boost, as well as other benefits other supplements don’t contain, such as probiotics and added fibre.  It’s great in smoothies and I’ll share one of my favourite Vital Green smoothie recipes tomorrow.

Thanks to Vital Greens, we’ve got one 300g tub of Vital Greens to give away, worth $94.90

To go into the draw, simply, 1.  comment on this post letting me know what part of your daily routine is vital for your wellbeing. Then, 2. like us on Facebook here! and you’ll be in the draw to win.

Competition is open to NZ readers only and closes  Wednesday 21st August at 8pm. Winner will be drawn by random number generator.

UPDATE  – Congratulations to Jo – you’re the lucky winner.  Check your email for details.

Healthier ANZAC cookies: 30 Days of Wellness

I would be lying if I said I don’t have a sweet tooth.   It just wouldn’t be ANZAC day without ANZAC biscuits so I decided to have a play around and make a healthier version.  These turned out great! I think the only thing that would have made them better was if I had squished them down a bit flatter.

I used coconut oil which has a healthier fat profile than butter, mixed with macadamia nut oil. Macadamia nut oil is high in heart healthy monounsaturated fats and helps make the biscuits nice and crispy.  I also reduced the sugar slightly, and switched out some of the plain flour for wholemeal flour.

Here’s how:

60g plain flour
65g wholemeal flour
1 cup coconut
50g coconut oil
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
100g sugar
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water


Mix together flour, sugar, coconut and rolled oats. Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup together and add the macadamia nut oil.

Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water and add to the oil and golden syrup.

Make a well in the centre of flour, stir in the liquid.

Place in spoonfuls on a greased tray and press down with a fork.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

A Healthy Breakfast – 30 Days of Wellness

Hello! Welcome to day 3 of 30 Days of Wellness.

Today we’re talking breakfast.  Now I’m a great breakfast fan and I think the only time I’ve ever skipped breakfast is when I’ve been sick.  But my breakfast could do with a little shake up, because variety is the spice of life – and variety is important in getting a range of nutrients. Breakfast is such an important meal as it’s the first think you’re putting in your body after more than 7-8 hours of eating.  The ideal breakfast should combine some protein, some wholegrain carbohydrate and either vegetables or fruit to keep you nourished into the day.

Lately I’ve been having crunchy peanut butter and honey on toast for breakfast. That, or oats with fruit and yoghurt. I LOVE peanut butter with honey but everyday this isn’t the best breakfast – in fact, when we were kids this was a “treat” on Sunday!  And while oats, berries and yoghurt is a great breakfast combination of wholegrain and protein, I’m bored of it.

I wanted a nutrient packed breakfast that was yummy and would give me a good start to the day.

So I did a bit of investigating and found a recipe for quinoa granola.   Quinoa is considered to be a wholegrain but it’s actually a seed from a plant that’s in the same family as spinach and silverbeet.  It’s a great source of protein plus phosphorus  iron and magnesium.  Quinoa is also source of zinc, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin E. No wonder it’s considered a “super grain”. While quinoa is great in salads and savoury dishes,  it also makes a tasty granola, giving you a nutrient packed breakfast.

Here’s the recipe ( from Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light book)

Quinoa Granola


1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups  rolled oats (use the chunky ones rather than the finely chopped porridge oats)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons of macadamia nut oil


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the mixture evenly over the two trays. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes enough for 10 servings. This will keep for up to 2 weeks.
Enjoy with fresh fruit and milk.

What’s your favourite healthy breakfast?

My favourite books for NZ Book Month

March is NZ book month, so I thought I’d share with you some of the favourite books I’ve read the past few months.  In general my favourite books to read are non fiction.  I find biographies particularly inspiring, and I also enjoy the odd self improvement book, because I believe in becoming the best I can be.

My other love is cook books, especially ones with gorgeous photography – I have quite a collection now and I’m always willing to add to it.

So without further ado – here’s three of my favourite recent reads:


1.  Bills Every Day Asian by Bill Granger
I always thought I couldn’t make tasty Asian food at home.  Turns out I just didn’t have the perfect recipes.  Enter Bill’s Every Day Asian.  Every recipe I’ve made has been super delicious – in fact, I’d say better than some of the takeaway Chinese I’ve had.  My favourites so far – the Thai basil stir fry and pork larb. Put this in your shopping cart now and be prepared for some delicious dinners.

2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project has been on the New York Times best seller list for almost two years which in its self is a testament to the fact that this is a great book.   Part memoir and part self help, the book tracks Gretchen Rubin’s year long project to investigate and trial for herself wisdom of ages along with current research on how to be happier.  Filled with practical tips and advice, this book lead me to examine what my own values are and how living true to those values contributes to my own happiness.   She aslo has a blog and website here

3.  All Blacks Don’t Cry by John Kirwan

While I’ve never suffered serious depression, I have had mild depression and it’s not a nice place to be in.  There’s a lot of stigma around mental illness in society and I really admired John Kirwan (JK) for coming out in public and talking about his experiences.    At the height of his rugby career, behind closed doors JK was living through a private torment that the public new nothing of until recently. I believe the act of him sharing his struggle with depression in public has made it easier for a lot of men to acknowledge their depression.

I actually enjoyed this book much more than anticipated and it has been one of my favourite reads.  As well as talking about his own experience through depression, the book also provides some practical advice for people going through the same situation.

I really like how John share’s his wellness plan – the things he needs to do to stay on top of his depression and feel good.  I think this is something we can all benefit from in terms of looking after ourselves.   For me, I know getting enough sleep is crucial to feeling good, as is regular exercise and plenty of down time to relax and do the things I enjoy.  Without this, I get grumpy and my moods get low.  Reading this book lead to me thinking about the things I need to keep feeling good, and as a consequence I do my best to ensure I make them a priority.

What are some of the good books you’ve read recently?   I’d love to hear some suggestions to add to my reading list.