Poached Pears with Cinnamon and Anchor Greek Yoghurt

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Pears are harvested in New Zealand and Australia around February to March and are generally available until May so this is the perfect time to get your pear fix.  Poached pears are a beautiful addition to have on top of muesli, keep in an airtight jar and snack as you go or as a dessert topped with Anchor Greek Style Yoghurt for added sweetness.  Anchor Greek Yoghurt is high in protein and low in fat – deliciously good for you.  It’s thick and creamy, with a tasty fruity layer of either strawberry, passionfruit or pear.  We put some of the leftover poached pears in a smoothie with more of the Anchor Greek Style Yoghurt and some spinach, wow, dream combo!

Anchor Greek Style Yoghurt has no artificial colours or flavours, and comes in a cute little 180g pottle, or a 450g tub. There is also a 950g natural version – perfect for cooking, baking, and amazing in smoothies.  You can pick it up at New World and PAK’n Save stores nationwide.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Poached Pears

3 large Pears, cut into wedges (we used Taylors Gold variety)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1/4 cup of Coconut Sugar
3 cups of Water
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
180 gram punnet of Anchor Greek Style Yoghurt (we used passionfruit flavour)

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Method

  1. Wash pears and cut into wedges (approximately 4 wedges per pear).
  2. Combine water and sugar in a large sauce pan, break cinnamon sticks into large pieces and also place into the sauce pan.  Cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Once sugar has dissolved add the pear pieces, vanilla essence and stir to combine.  Cut a disc of non-stick baking paper and place over the pears.  Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the pears have softened.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to serving dishes.  Top with some of the liquid, cinnamon sticks and a pottle of yoghurt.

    J&L x

#officialblogger #snackchat

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Massaged Kale Salad

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Kale, not just for green smoothies, you can also use this nutrient powerhouse in your salads! As Kale is course and tough the best way to make it palatable is to massage it.  Yes, literally give it a good massage to soften it up and turn it into your new favorite salad base.  Of course you will need a tasty dressing and the one in this recipe is a winner.

Use the massage kale as a side dish or pile lots of your favorite foods on top and create an epic salad.

Salad Ingredients:
1 bunch of kale
1 cup edamame beans
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 avocado, sliced

Dressing: 
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbsp Balsalmic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to season

Method:
1. Remove spine from the kale leaves and discard spine so that there are just the leaves left.   Wash them thoroughly and dry off.  Chop the leaves into small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together. Pour into bowl of kale leaves and with your hands massage the kale gently for a few minutes.  It will soften, go shiny and turn a dark green colour.
3. Add the rest of salad ingredients on top and serve.

Jx

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Vegan Mud Cake with Cashew Icing

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Everyone loves a good chocolate cake recipe so I thought I would experiment and make a chocolate cake that is vegan, therefore free of egg and dairy.  This cake is so beautifully moist, gooey and decadent.

I have used the cashew icing recipe in a few of my previous desserts but I wanted to make a vibrant pink icing for Valentines Day. I initially tried using raspberries but the icing was lumpy and didn’t have a good consistency, I tried again using beetroot and it blended so well and the colour came out so beautiful.

This delectable mud cake is the perfect dessert and it is unbelievably easy to make. I made this for Valentines Day but it would be a hit for any celebration.

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups of unbleached all-purpose gluten free flour
1 cup of coconut oil, melted.
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
1.5 tsp of baking powder
2.5 tsp of baking soda
1 1/4 cup of raw cacao or cocoa powder
1/3 cup of melted dark chocolate. (I used Whittakers 70% Dark Ghana)
2 tsp of vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups of coconut sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tsp of cinnamon

Icing Ingredients:

1 small beetroot – slice into small cubes (skin off)
1.5 cups of raw cashews
2 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
1.5 Tbsp of vanilla essence

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and lightly grease 2x 8 inch baking trays.
2. Mix the coconut oil, olive oil, dark chocolate and vanilla essence in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cacao, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients and stir well.  The mixture should be think and creamy with no lumps. If the mixture is too thick, add more melted coconut oil and if the mixture is too wet add more flour or cocoa.
4. Divide the batter and add evenly to the 2 baking trays. Place the trays in the oven.
5. Bake for around 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool before icing.
6. To prepare the icing, blend the cashews, coconut oil and vanilla essence in a blender or food processor.  Slowly add the beetroot until the mixture turns into a vibrant pink colour. If the mixture is too thick, add a small amount of water so it turns into a smooth and fluffy consistency.
7. Once the cake has cooled down, frost the first layer of cake with pink icing. Add the top layer and ice generously. I sprinkled desiccated coconut over mine, alternatively dust with icing sugar or cocoa.

I served mine with a dollop of coconut yogurt but it would also be delicious with dairy free ice-cream. Store in an airtight container in the pantry. Cake should keep for 4-5 days.

Enjoy! L x

 

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Symbio Feel Better February

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We are always stressing about the importance of gut health and how beneficial pro and pre-biotics are when talking about this subject.

Symbio’s Feel Better February is a simple, effective way to help achieve digestive balance. It’s easy. Enjoy one 150g serve of Symbio Probalance (or 200mL serve of Symbio Probalance Pouring yoghurt) a day for 14 Days in a row, and combined with the tips and tricks Symbio will send you, we guarantee you’ll feel the difference.  In fact Symbio are so confident you’ll feel a healthier, more balance you at the end of 14 days that they’re offering a guarantee. Feel the difference or your money back!

On Saturday 17th January Libby and I went to The Cloud on Auckland’s Queen Wharf for the Symbio Yoga Event, the class was taken by Mande White.

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The class was packed full of people keen to hack into their inner yogi and that is exactly what we did. It had been a while since I had practised any yoga and the next day my shoulders were so sore. What a work out! We had a lot of fun.

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So what’s included in the Symbio Feel better February Challenge?

You’ll receive:

  • Daily emails containing wellness tips and tricks to a healthier more balanced you.
  • $1 off coupons throughout to ensure you’re always stocked up.
  • Inspiring quotes to keep you motivated.
  • Serving suggestions for interesting ways to enjoy your Symbio each day.

What sets Symbio’s pro-biotics apart from the rest?

  • Symbio’s unique DR10™ blend of probiotics has been rigorously tested in numerous independent trials. The results? DR10 has been proven to increase ‘good’ bacteria in the gut which in turn results in a calmer, happier, feel-better you, inside and out.
  • When you eat enough of the right kinds of probiotic cultures (like a daily dose of Symbio), it can help to balance more than just your insides. As your digestion becomes less sluggish, your energy levels start to lift, and you glow. And who doesn’t want a bit of that?
  • Symbio contains tummy taming probiotics making it a deliciously divine way to create some inner happiness (not to mention tastebud happiness).

If you want to sign up to Symbio’s Feel Better February and receive a helping of inner calm every day, click here.

P.S. When you sign up you could be in to win a trip for two to a stunning wellness retreat in Noosa, Australia!

J x

Exotic Fruits Iced Tea

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Exotic Fruits Iced Tea

In November I spoke at Red Seal’s launch of their new tea range. Red Seal is a New Zealand owned and operated company, well known for their natural products including supplements, toothpastes and teas.
At the launch I spoke about the benefits of tea and also created two delicious iced tea recipes. One of my favourite flavours of the new range is ‘Exotic Fruits’. Some of the beautiful ingredients this tea includes is:

  • Hibiscus
  • Apple
  • Rosehips
  • Natural Flavouring
  • Orange Peel
  • Pineapple Fruit Juice Granules

I always have a jug of iced tea in my fridge so I can sip on it throughout the day, hydrating on nutrients. If you are wanting to cut out coffee and soda drink consumption, this recipe is going to make it a lot easier to curb any cravings!

Ingredients:

5 Red Seal Exotic Fruits tea bags
2 cups (500 ml) of coconut water
1 cup of boiling water
2 cups of cold water
1 tablespoon of black chia seeds
1 lemon (finely sliced)
1 cup of fresh mint leaves (chopped)
¼ teaspoon of fresh grated turmeric (okay to substitute with powdered turmeric if there is no fresh turmeric on hand)
Ice cubes for serving

Brewing directions:

1. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the tea bags, into a 2 litre container
2. Steep for 5 minutes and then fill the container with 2 cups of cold water and 2 cups of coconut water.
3. Steep for another 5 minutes and then remove the tea bags
4. Place the chia seeds, turmeric, sliced lemon and mint into the container and stir well
5. Pour the tea into glasses and add ice before serving.

L x

Mini Christmas Pavlovas

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There is a long standing dispute as to whether the humble Pavlova originated in New Zealand or Australia; it seems to be New Zealand who can take claim to fame for this popular Christmas dish (read more here) but I can bet you Aussies will say otherwise.  Regardless of where the Pavlova originated from we can all agree that they are delicious!

This recipe is inspired by Sovereign and their #lifetakecharge mantra. Here, I’ll show you how to take charge of Christmas and enjoy a traditional festive treat without all of the additives!

Most Pavlova recipes call for additions of ingredients such as vinegar, corn flour, icing sugar and a whooollee lot of castor sugar.  I have tried to make these mini pavs as low in sugar as possible, however, there still needs to be an element of sugar in the recipe for the meringues sake, so in this case I have opted for Norbu – a natural sweetener made from Monk Fruit.

Libby has given us some tips on reducing our sugar intake and I have another to add to her list – When baking replace refined sugar with natural sugars. There are plenty of natural sweeteners available at the supermarket or your local health food store so if you are a regular baker little changes like this can make a big difference over time.

I have topped my mini pavs with cream to keep them traditional but if you are dairy free try a coconut yoghurt or goats milk yoghurt (generally suitable for people who are lactose intolerant). The addition of walnuts on top add a nice crunchy texture that compliments the chewy meringue really well.

Makes 6-8 mini pavs

Ingredients:

6x egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (I used norbu – stevia would also work well)
1 cup full fat organic cream
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 punnet of strawberries, sliced.
3 kiwi fruit, sliced.
2 passion fruit (to drizzle over top)
Handful of chopped walnuts.

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Method:

1.  Pre heat oven to 160 degrees celsius/fan bake.  Line a tray with baking paper.
2. In a bowl whisk the egg whites until they hold firm peaks.  Then slowly add in the sugar whilst still mixing.
3.  Spoon egg white mixture on to baking tray in circular shapes. Place into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
4.  Once cooked turn the oven off and leave cooked pavlovas in the oven with the door ajar.
5. Time to prepare the cream.  Add cream and vanilla essence into a bowl. Whisk until nice and firm.
6. Once the pavlovas are cool spoon on cream and flatten out/smooth over with a spatula.
7. Decorate with kiwi fruit, strawberries, passion fruit and chopped walnuts.

If you wish to make the pavlovas in advance they will keep for about 4 days in an airtight container.  Only decorate with cream and fruit on the day that they will be eaten otherwise the liquids will cause the pavlovas to soften and crumble.

Jx

#officialblogger #lifetakecharge

 

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Tips on reducing sugar intake in your diet

There are two types of sugar; naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. The latter is the one to watch out for, which is added to common processed food and drinks. Added sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. In other words anything that has gone through intensive processing, so that it no longer resembles its original state.

Sugar, other than offering empty calories, causes your blood sugar levels to spike which can make you feel hungrier and reach for more sugar and thus creating an acidic environment in your body. Ultimately, decreasing your sugar intake can help you lose weight, have better control over your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases.

Sugar can be addictive and giving it up can induce short-term side effects that usually subside within a few days or week.

Thanks to Sovereign, below are my tips to help you #lifetakecharge and reduce the sugar intake in your diet:
Avoid processed foods.

Processed foods are full of sugar, trans fats, chemicals and preservatives that give it flavor and a longer shelf life. They have also had a lot of their nutrients removed during manufacturing. After time these chemicals build up in the body causing you to feel sluggish. When you eat whole foods, you’re consuming the food in its natural state with all of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Whole foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, bean, legumes and nuts and seeds.

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Check labels

Food packaging that is labeled ‘low fat’ or ‘less fat’ are usually high in sugar. When purchasing food products check the ingredient list on the back of the item, if sugar is listed as one of the first four ingredients it is best to avoid that product as it is likely that it is high in sugar. When checking food packaging avoid any products that contain high fructose corn syrup, fructose, rice/corn/malt/golden/palm syrup, corn sweetener, dextrose, maltose and sucrose, these are common sugar aliases.

Regulate blood sugar levels

Regulating blood sugar levels is essential for good health, to maintain a healthy weight and to lower the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. A lot of the food we consume is converted into blood sugar, which is used by the body for energy. When blood sugar levels drop it can cause fatigue and sugar cravings. By having regular meals the diet is more likely to be balanced and controlled which helps you avoid any blood sugar spikes.

Hydrate

Often when someone is craving sugar it is their body’s way of telling them that they are dehydrated. Staying properly hydrated throughout the day helps with your alertness, controlling appetite, and keeps symptoms such as fatigue and headaches at bay. Drink 2 litres of purified water a day so you can have more energy and feel less tempted to reach for sugary food and beverages. If you are trying to cut down on fizzy drinks, swap them for sparkling water and add lemon, mint leaves, strawberry or cucumber to your drink bottle.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Begin your day off with a glass of warm water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar delays gastric emptying time which means it makes you feel full for longer. It also slows down the release of sugar from foods into the blood stream, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and helps avoid any blood sugar level spikes. When your blood sugar levels are balanced you are less likely to crave sugar.

Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration and makes it less likely for you to have sugar cravings. Avoid cereals that are high in sugar as these will only spike your blood sugar levels, instead choose whole foods that are going to nourish your body. Breakfast should include a healthy source of protein and plenty of fibre, this combination will help satisfy your hunger and will keep you feeling full until lunch time.

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Quit snacking on sugar

Prepare all your meals in advance and always have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t find yourself snacking on high sugar foods throughout the day. This will also ensure you know exactly what you are eating. Healthy snack options include raw vegetables with hummus, nuts and seeds, sliced apple with nut butter and hard-boiled eggs.
Try our Cashew Ginger Slice, Cookie Dough Truffles or Gourmet Banana Pops for healthy, sugar free treats.

Exercise

Sugar cravings can be a response to a low mood so it is important to exercise regularly. This will help boost your endorphin and serotonin levels, which are our feel good hormones. These will give you a natural mood boosting effect, making it less likely for you to crave sugar.

Libby x

Some Festive Advice

Tis the season of Christmas parties, liquid lunches, after work drinks, office desks piled high with bottles of wine from generous clients and weekends filled with weddings. With all of this partying going on it is easy to get caught up in over indulging and any attempts at healthy eating fly out the window. Who doesn’t love eating Christmas mince pies? And I don’t mean the gluten free kind.

Decorative Freshly Baked Christmas Mince Pies

I have just come back from a holiday in Bali and a friend’s wedding in New Zealand where I drank some cocktails, glasses of champagne and did some serious eating, my 80/20 rule was flipped upside down and I have come back to Sydney feeling a few kg’s heavier. Do I feel guilty? No way! I spend majority of the year not touching alcohol and eating well so if I want to eat pizza and drink some wine for a week or two, I will.

Extreme restrictions of foods you love generally don’t work and you know the saying “you want what you can’t have”. Don’t beat yourself up if you eat or drink something you know is not necessarily the best for you. For me I do not drink a lot as A) my liver deserves better and B) the hangover is not worth it.

Hold on to those feelings that certain foods or drink give you as motivation to try harder next time and not be tempted.  Remember the hangovers and bloated bellies!

Holiday cocktails for Christmas on tray

Thanks to Sovereign, below is my advice to help you #lifetakecharge this festive season.

1. Prepare yo self!

If you have a Christmas lunch coming up and your colleagues have chosen Denny’s as the location, sneak a protein shake in your handbag that morning to drink at your desk before heading out. It will fill you up and you will be less likely to over eat. If you aren’t a protein shake person, nuts, avocado or some hummus on rye bread will help.

2. Where is that drink taking you? 

If you are going to have a drink always drink water between alcoholic drinks and try to stick to one drink per hour. You don’t want to be “that person” at the office Christmas party who embarrasses themselves to the point of no return. Make sure you eat before drinking, please!

Stick to low carb drinks such as gin, vodka, soda water and fresh lime or order a mocktail, no one will know its non alcoholic!

Before bed time I like to drink coconut water or any other electrolyte drink and have some B vitamins to re hydrate and help my liver flush out all of those toxins.

3. Parties!

If you are heading to a party at someones house and need to take a plate my go to is always a cake or lush salad – if there are males attending you can almost guarantee that the meat is taken care of.  Just don’t touch  the pork crackling! Go for lean meats and load your plate up with greens.

Try our our Summer Antioxidant SaladRaw Lime Cheesecake or pretty pink Raspberry Cheesecake.   Super easy to make (no baking required for any of these recipes) and you will wow everyone with your culinary skills.

Christmas is a time of reflection, relaxation, celebrating… let your hair down, have some fun! Just remember to treat your body with care and to not go too over board.

Jx

Apple cider with cinnamon sticks and anise star in apple cups

New Ambassador Role – Stirling Sports

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We are so excited to announce a new ambassadorship role with Stirling Sports! Stirling Sports opened their first store on Dominion Road in Auckland in 1964, a store we are both familiar with as it is just up the road from our old house, so are honoured to represent such an iconic New Zealand brand.

This is a fun role for us as we are huge lovers of the brands housed in Stirling Sports stores.  Everything from Adidas, Lorna Jane, Nike, Converse and Vans! We live in sports wear so keep an eye out on our blog and Instagram as we will be showcasing the latest brands and styles as they hit shelves.

Love J&L x

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