{RECIPE} Grape & Prosciutto Crostini

We were at my parents house a couple of weeks ago and I was flicking through an Aldi catalog and came across a recipe on the back page. Being Italian, I loved it straight away… it had prosciutto! I wanted to make it ASAP! We don’t get catalogs where we live so my Mum kindly gave it to me to take home.
The Hubby was hesitant, mainly about the grapes. But while Olivia napped I made this for lunch. And it was really tasty! The grapes were a nice cold and sweet hit, it worked really well. The Hubby loved it and I’ll be making it again for sure. After a few people saw it on IG and FB they asked for the recipe, so here it is…
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Image is my own.


Grape & Prosciutto Crostini
Ingredients

1/2 cup small red and white grapes, halved
80g goats feta
6 thin slices of  Prosciutto
½ cup rocket leaves
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 ½ tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tbsp Honey
1 loaf of Pane Di Casa, sliced

Method

Brush bread slices with olive oil on both sides and toast in a frypan on medium heat. Gently press slices with a spatula. Flip and repeat once bread is crisp/golden and transfer to a platter.

Lightly whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt and pepper to taste to make honey balsamic dressing. Set aside.

Slice each prosciutto piece into two long strips and place one strip on each grilled bread slice. Top with crumbled goats cheese, a few rocket leaves and sprinkle with the halved red and white grapes. Drizzle each slice with the dressing and serve immediately.

Again, I do not take credit for this recipe. You can find the original recipe here.
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{12WBT} Pre-Season

I hate counting calories. I believe it’s an unhealthy habit. There, I said it. It leads to obsession and then guilt when you eat over your allocated calories. And what about fat, protein, carbs, sodium, sugar, minerals, vitamins etc… they are just as important! Focus on them! I understand people who are overweight need to look at their calories in order to lose weight. I understand weightloss is 80% food. I understand the main factor for gaining weight is the calories. But for me (who doesn’t need to lose, but just tone up) I’m finding it hard to think like this.
So why am I doing this 12WBT? For my husband. He needs me. He needs the support. He needs my commitment and I’m his wife… of course I will do it. I’m excited about the exercise part of this program but not so much about the food – my diet is so particular these days: superfoods every day, raw as much as possible, vegetarian/vegan for most meals, no dairy, limited gluten, no refined sugar. And we definitely try to avoid additives, preservatives, colouring etc. And clearly it works – I’ve been the healthiest and lightest I’ve ever been as an adult. Yes, post baby too!
Something I’ve noticed with the 12WBT is a lot of recipes have sugar. And colouring! One dessert had food dye in the ingredients. Whaaat! Not to mention Michelle is big on low-fat options. No no no! Remove the fat and it’s replaced with other shit! And she uses a shit load of ricotta in her recipes. No good for the lactose intolerant/sensitive (meaning Olivia… which also means me until she weans). I think there should be a focus on a healthy lifestyle, not just losing the weight. Being skinny doesn’t mean you are healthy.
The meal plan has lots of meat but luckily you can change it to vegetarian and then filter the recipes even more with options like “lactose free” or “gluten free”. It does then become very limiting but I think in a few weeks time when we have this down pat I’ll add some of our usual recipes, but count the calories for the Hubby.
So pre-season is done. Tomorrow we do some food prep for the week ahead. The rest of the list is looking good… Shopping, tick. Fitness test, tick. Measurments, tick. Before photo, tick! Workout gear… need to do! I need a supportive bra. I don’t wear underwire because I breastfeed and I live in the Bonds feeding singlets which has an inbuilt bra. But I need a proper underwire workout bra if I’m going to exercise every day. And I will invest in some thick socks… say no to blisters!
MEASUREMENTS
Height: 164cm
Weight: 57.5kg
Body Fat: 23.9%
Chest: 94.2cm (not fair, I have big milk-filled breasts!)
Waist: 74cm
Hips: 90cm
Arms: 25cm
Thigh: 47.4cm
Distance from knee: 26cm 
FITNESS TEST
Continuous Push Ups (on knees): 16
Plank (on knees): 1:35
Sit + Reach: +11.5cm
Wall Sit: 1:08
1km Time Trial: 6:55
My result was actually pretty good and I am fitter than I thought. I’ve been recommended to do the “intermediate” program but I’m sticking with beginner for now! Why not try the above fitness test and see how you went?

{RECIPE} Cheats Pizza

Normally I would make a pizza base from scratch (next on the list is a cauliflower base) or at least use an actual base from the freezer department designed for pizza making. But… I’m human too. Shock horror, I know. I’ve been tired and run down lately (as my last whingey entry told) so I whipped up a cheats pizza for dinner last night.
To me, making a pizza from home is pretty basic, especially when using a prepared base. But I’m hopeful someone will find this inspiring or helpful.
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Cheats Pizza
Wholegrain wraps (or spelt, white, whatever you like)
Sauce base (I used pesto. Other options are pizza/tomato sauce, BBQ, garlic sauce)
Veggies (for mine I used pumpkin, pineapple, capsicum, mushroom, red onion and pine nuts)
Quality melting cheese (I always use Bocconcini)
Preheat your oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper.
Chop up your veggies to desired sizes and shapes. If you’re using something like pumpkin or sweet potato, pop them in the oven while you’re making the rest of your pizza.
Place your wraps on the tray and spread with whatever base you want (pesto, BBQ…).
Arrange veggies on your base. Shred or slice your cheese (try not to go overboard, most people do!) and arrange on the pizza.
Pop it all in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and base is crispy. Slice it up and enjoy!
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Other toppings I often use: baby artichokes, pine nuts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomato, avo (after cooking), prosciutto (my favourite, but naughty!), fresh herbs, rocket (love this fresh as a topping after the oven).
The options are endless. Have fun experimenting with what flavours compliment each other. I’ve found minimal is key.

Very Tired

I’m tired. Very tired. Olivia has tooth #7 coming through and therefore is not sleeping very well. Which means not only am I tired but I’m also sore because she insists on breast feeding all night. So I have nothing interesting to post today. So here is a load of recent pictures of my adventures in the kitchen.

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1. Tropical style smoothies are my go-to lunch right now with the heat being in the 30’s and 40’s. This one is topped with coconut and bee pollen. Easy to whack it all in the blender and tastes amazing. If only I was on a tropical island to match.

2. Was going to make a lemon meringue. Decided to give a clean recipe from IG a whirl and made a lemon tart instead. Tastes exactly the same as the lemon meringue (minus the meringue obviously) but the consistency wasn’t very pleasing – it was like half dried glue or as the Hubby said, “snot”. Delightful.

3. Scored punnets of strawberries for 99c each over the weekend. They were end-of-life quality so after making a smoothie, feeding them to the kid and having them on my breakfast cereal, I made this Strawberry Jalousie (recipe on my Instagram).

4. As mentioned above, the strawbs needed to be used, so in this smoothie went a big handful of them along with some blueberries, baby spinach, banana, black sesame seeds, coyo, bee pollen, maca powder and almond milk. Breakfast is served.

5. Healthy and “clean” flourless chocolate muffins via Teresa Cutter. I used raw cacao instead of cocoa powder which made it taste pretty bitter. Next time I’ll have to add more sweetener (agave, maple syrup etc). The recipe is here.

{RECIPE} Capsicum & Nut Dip

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Today I’m sharing the recipe for a delicious dip I made yesterday. It’s healthy and suitable for vegans, kids… everyone! I’ve had many comments on Instagram asking what nutritional yeast is. It’s great for vegetarians and has plenty of vitamins in it such as B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. It’s low in fat and often gluten free. It has a cheesy flavour so is often a staple in a vegan’s home. Olivia has air-popped popcorn with a drizzle of good quality olive oil  and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on it every day. It’s her favourite snack and I’m okay with that because it’s pretty healthy!

Why do I love this dip? It’s easy and quick to throw together. It took me less than 5 minutes to pop it in my Cuisinart, blitz it smooth and transfer to a glass jar. And I usually have all the ingredients in my kitchen at any notice.
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 You’re going to need:
  • 1 cup pine nuts 
  • 1 cup cashews 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1 red capsicum 
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • ½ cup ACV 
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast/savoury yeast
  •  Pinch salt 
  • Water for desired consistency (I use none)

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender.
Store the dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

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I usually only make half the amount which is perfect for one person over a week or two. I also do a little less ACV than listed as I find it too overpowering. You can smear it on some bread, or use it as a dip for some crackers, or veggie sticks.
Tip: you could use salted cashews instead of a pinch of salt.
Not sure who to credit with the recipe as my Mum sent it to me in a Word Document a couple years ago. Hope you enjoy it, maybe it’ll be your go-to dip to take to your next BBQ!

{Recipe} TWP Caramel & Macadamia Raw Cheesecake

Image from The Whole Pantry app.

“Healing_Belle” was one of the first “clean foodie” accounts I found on Instagram. She is a wonderful woman based in Melbourne who has brain cancer. Instead of conventional treatment (chemo etc) she decided to use food and a healthy lifestyle. Fermented, raw, super foods… she did her research and her passion for this field really shows, especially in her app The Whole Pantry (TWP). One of her recipes listed in the app is this raw Caramel and Macadamia Cheesecake. I decided to make it for the first time this week and took it to my family’s Christmas lunch today.

I was pretty disappointed. I mean, Macadamias aren’t cheap!

Mum’s comments: “It’s boring, there’s no flavour.”
My comments: “All I taste is coconut!”
Hubby’s comments: “I like this. Yum.”

It didn’t even look the same. Mine was white. Surely I left something out… *re-read singredients* Nope. It’s all there. Even the caramel sauce was thick and pasty, not like a sauce/topping, and certainly not resembling the beautiful recipe photo above.

Usually her recipes are ah-mazing. The quinoa “meat balls” are really nice, and the biscuit recipe is one of the Hubby’s fave. I’m confused!

I’m sure she doesn’t want me to give out all the recipes on the app but this one I want to share because I don’t know where I went wrong. Make it, show me your pics, tell me I’m not just a shit cook?!
FOR THE CRUST:
150g sunflower seeds
115g shredded coconut
60ml rice malt syrup or honey
1 tbs melted coconut oil

FOR THE FILLING:
240ml coconut cream
225g macadamia nuts
120ml melted coconut oil
60ml rice malt syrup
2 tsp vanilla bean extract
1 lemon, juiced

FOR THE TOPPING:
18 pitted medjool dates
120ml coconut cream

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Grind the sunflower seeds and coconut in a food processor for about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and process for a further 30-60 seconds until mixture is coated and comes together. Flatten mixture out into an even base of a 20cm spring-form tin. store in the fridge while making the filling.

In a blender or food processor add the ingredients and blend for 1-2 minutes until creamy texture is achieved. Pour filling on top of crust, place in fridge whilst making the topping.

For the caramel topping blend the dates until a paste is formed, scraping down the sides when needed. Add coconut and whizz for 30 seconds. You can serve it with the sauce drizzled over it, or make it as another layer to freeze.

And that’s it.

Now look at mine… WHITE!

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New Salad Love

Recently, my mum and I went halves in purchasing The Green Kitchen, a vegetarian recipe book full of beautiful photos and nutritious and easy recipes. It’s written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, who live in Stokholm and they have an adorable little girl called Elsa.

One of the first things I recreated from the book was the Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate and Raisins. I followed it word for word and it’s now one of my favourite salads. I’d never eaten pomegranate before (although I’d had the juice, but always mixed with something else) so wasn’t sure what to expect.

Some people struggle with eating broccoli  raw but it’s really crunchy and nice! It’s a really refreshing salad, and I can see us making it often, with the warmer summer months ahead.

So here I share the recipe with you. I recommend you purchase the book (or even have a squiz  in your local library) for more delicious recipes! And check out their blog here.

Raw Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate and Raisins
You’ll need:
  • 2 heads of fresh broccoli
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • arils from 1 pomegranate\
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins
  • generous 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Separate the broccoli florets from the stalk and cut them into smaller bit sized pieces. The book says to slice the remaining stalk and use that as well but the hubby said no way. Place it in a serving bowl with the onion, pomegranate raisins and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine. Add the yoghurt, salt and pepper to taste, and then using your hands, mix the yoghurt through everything, making sure to coat all the broccoli florets. 
Ta-da! Dig in.
It’s a seriously different but beautiful salad.
Give it a go and tell me if you like it!