Monday, 22 July 2013

Power Breakfasts:

Lately I have been alternating between two different breakfasts that are full of protein/fibre and keep me full until lunch time!

Microwave Frittata:

Basic 'base':
1-2 Tbsp Cottage cheese (lite is best but it doesn't matter too much)
1 whole egg + 1 egg white or 4 egg whites

Options for fillings:
10 grams (handful) of torn baby spinach
1 Tbsp finely grated hard cheese like Romano
10-20g of crumbled feta
Spring onion finely chopped
1/8 cup Edamame (soy beans) - high in protein!
1-2 button mushrooms
Sundried tomatoes
Roasted jarred capsicum
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
About 50g of: Leftover meat from dinner or ham/cooked bacon etc...
Leftover vegetables from dinner

Really the possibilities are endless..

You can top these with chutneys, mashed avocado, hummus etc...

Spray a mug with cooking spray, set aside.
In a separate bowl combine and beat the 'base' ingredients.
Chop/prep the filling options and add to base mix
Season with herbs and/or salt & pepper
Pour mix into the prepared mug then place into the microwave.
Cook on high for 30 seconds, then stir, then another 30 seconds, then stir.....until the egg is just set. This should not take longer than 2 minutes.

I like to place on a piece of rye or whole grain/wheat toast - I'm loving Signature Range rye at the moment - high protein!

No time to make breakfast in the morning?
Are you looking to incorporate more 'super' foods into your diet?

Then this breakfast is for you...

Anna's Super-Charged Power Overnight Oats:

1/3 cup whole grain oats (old fashioned oats)
1 Tbsp of raw buckwheat
1/2 - 1 Tbsp of chia seeds
1/2 - 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed (linseed)
1 Tbsp Goji berries
1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 cup of low fat yoghurt (I like fresh and fruity lite) - unsweetened Greek is best though.
1/4 cup of low fat/unsweetened almond/coconut/soy/rice milk
Sweeten with low calorie/low G.I. sweetener if you need to but if you use flavoured yoghurt, you shouldn't need to.

  • For added punch:
    • If you are heading to the gym then add a scoop of vanilla or unflavoured protein powder. NOTE: you may need a bit more liquid if you do this option.
    • 1/2 to 1 Tbsp of Maca powder is great for energy and libido boost - also a great hormone balancer. This powder has been found to improve PMS and boost sperm count!

Layer options:
Frozen/fresh berries
Sliced banana
Diced pineapple
Diced Kiwifruit
Really, any seasonal fruit that you like...

No more than 28g of dry roasted nuts and seeds
Or  1-2 Tbsp of nut butter
Or 1 Tbsp Cocoa nibs

Combine ingredients.
Spoon 1-2 Tbsp of mixture into tall glass
top this with a layer of fruit of your choice.

Cover and chill in the refrigerator...
In the morning quickly roast nut/seed combo in a small dry fry pan and throw on the top...or top with nut butter/nibs.

Let me know how you go with these and if you have any questions regarding where to find these ingredients ask in the comments or on Facebook.
If you live in Christchurch, I suggest Liberty Market on Moorhouse Avenue for these and other 'healthy'/'organic'/'natural' foods.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

My Love Affair with Lentils

Lentils have become a staple in my newly improved diet. Low in calories and high in nutrition, lentils are perfect to eat in the summer in salads and spreads and fantastic in the cold months in hearty stews, soups and curries. I always gravitate towards foods that are easy to cook, and lentils are a hassle-free compliment to any meal. Nutty and earthy in flavour, lentils have a high nutritional value that anyone can benefit from by incorporating them into their diet. I have learnt to use them in place of meat in dishes like lasagne, and have used them to up the protein factor in things like hummus.

For some great lentilspiration: Recipes.

Eat lentils and reap their health benefits including:


1. Lower Cholesterol – Lentils help to reduce blood cholesterol since it contains high levels of soluble fibre  Lowering your cholesterol levels reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke by keeping your arteries clean.

2. Heart Health – Several studies have shown that eating high fibre foods like lentils reduces your risk of heart disease. Lentils are also a great source of folate and magnesium, which are big contributors to heart health. Folate lowers your homocysteine levels, a serious risk factor for heart disease. Magnesium improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Low levels of magnesium have been directly associated with heart disease, so eating lentils will keep your heart happy!

3. Digestive Health – Insoluble dietary fibre found in lentils helps prevent constipation and other digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. 

4. Stabilized Blood Sugar – Adding to the many benefits of fibre, soluble fibre traps carbohydrates, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar levels. This can be especially helpful for those with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia.

6. Increases Energy – Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fibre and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.

7. Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre  protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.

6. Increases Energy – Lentils increase steady, slow-burning energy due its fibre and complex carbohydrates. Lentils are also a good source of iron, which transports oxygen throughout your body and is key to energy production and metabolism.

7. Weight Loss – Although lentils include all these beneficial nutrients like fibre  protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat. One cup of cooked lentils only contains about 230 calories, but still leaves you feeling full and satisfied.

5. Good Protein – Of all legumes and nuts, lentils contain the third-highest levels of protein. 26 percent of lentil’s calories are attributed to protein, which makes them a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking


Tips for Preparing Lentils

Lentils can be prepared the day of serving since they do not need to be presoaked. Before washing lentils you should spread them out on a light coloured plate or cooking surface to check for, and remove, small stones or debris. After this process, place the lentils in a strainer, and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking Lentils

To boil lentils, use three cups of liquid for each cup of lentils. Lentils placed in already boiling water will be easier to digest than those that were brought to a boil with the water. When the water returns to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cover. Green lentils usually take 30 minutes, while red ones require 20 minutes.
These cooking times can be slightly adjusted depending upon the final use. If you are going to be serving lentils in a salad or soup and desire a firmer texture, remove them from the stove top when they have achieved this consistency—typically 5-10 minutes earlier than their usual cooking time. If you are making dal or some preparation that requires a mushier consistency, achieving this texture may take an additional 10-15 minutes.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Cake + Cake + Loaf = YUM

The 29th of June was my 22nd birthday and i decided to bake two cakes to celebrate! 

Cake #1:

Irish Mocha Cake:

Makes: 12 servings
Active Time: 
Total Time: 


  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour - (I sifted together 1 Tbsp cornflour with 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and a 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp of plain flour twice to make my version of home-made pastry flour).
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or equivalent sweetner of your choice
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (1/2 Tbsp vinegar/lemon topped until half cup with trim milk)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten - or egg replacer equivalent (I used Orgrans egg replacer, you could use a flaxseed/chia "egg")
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil/avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp Irish cream Sugar Free Torani syrup
  • 1/2 cup hot strong black coffee - I used Robert Harris Irish plunger blend


  1. Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Coat a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper. (I used a silicone mould which I greased and floured).
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, sugar, egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely.
  4. Ice with avocado icing - link below...


Per serving: 139 calories; 3 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbohydrates; 2 gprotein; 2 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 60 mg potassium.

Avocado icing

Cake #2:

Tropical Cheesecake:

  • Base
  • cooking oil spray - to grease the tin
  • 5 Arnotts Gingernut biscuits
  • 1 cup oat flour/almond flour
  • 1/4 cup Unrefined organic cold-pressed coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • Filling
  • 1250g reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 125g light cottage cheese
  • 1 egg + 3 egg whites (or two whole equivalent in egg replacer)
  • 400g plain low-fat unsweetened yoghurt - I used passionfruit yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/8 cup pureed tropical fruit

Large container of Dole tropical fruit pureed - minus the 1/8 cup used in the mix above
2 tsp cornflour
Toasted coconut

Step 1Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 20cm springform pan with oil. Place biscuits and oats in a food processor bowl and process until finely crushed. Add oil and process until combined.
Step 2Press biscuit mixture in the base of prepared pan. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill. Then cook for 10 mins. Allow to cool before pouring on the mixture.
Step 3Process cream cheese and cottage cheese until soft. Add eggs and process to combine. Stir in yoghurt, icing sugar and flour. Pour over prepared base.
Step 4Place pan on an oven tray and bake for about 1 hour, or until just set. Turn oven off and cool cake in oven with door slightly ajar.
Simmer puree with cornflour in saucepan over medium heat until it thickens - cool
Toast around 1/4 cup of desiccated coconut in a dry pan until golden brown.
Spread puree over cooked cheesecake, sprinkle with the toasted coconut and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

I have also recently tried this awesome loaf given to me by my dad. The recipe is originally from the Women's Weekly but I have healthified it! It is so yummy...light & fluffy, yet moist!

Date and Walnut Loaf:

1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 cup boiling-hot black tea
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed or coconut sugar for low GI
1 egg, lightly beaten  - or egg replacer substitute
1 tbsp melted coconut oil (refined) 
1 tsp vanilla essence 
2 cups self-raising flour, sifted  - I used 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup plain flour mixed with 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp of baking soda sifted together
½ cup walnut pieces
1. Place dates in a bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and cover with hot tea. Set aside for 1 hour for dates to soften and cool.
2. Heat oven to 160C. Grease and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper.
3. Stir brown sugar, egg, butter and vanilla into the cooled date mixture. Stir in sifted flour and walnuts to just combine. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until loaf tests cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean.