Friday, September 30, 2011

Love Your Heart


You may have noticed on the side of my blog a Mums United button.
Let me explain...

I am so excited to be involved in a campaign by the Heart Foundation together with Soup called Mums United.
It is a whole lot of us mums together trying to encourage change in our communities. Changing the way we eat, and the way we live.

But don't let that scare you!

Small changes can make a big difference.
Changing some of the products you use in cooking and changing some of your favourite recipes to be a little more heart friendly is easy and the benefits are well worth it.


Encouraging your family to be active, to get outside, even for just 30 minutes a day can make big differences. It's not about forcing yourselves out, doing something you don't want to do. It's about finding something fun and active that your whole family will enjoy.

I have set myself a challenge for the month of October, but I am hoping to keep some of these changes as a permanent improvement for us.

My goals for my family are:
  • Less TV for the kids.
  • More family walks to the park (aiming for 3 times a week).
  • Meal makeovers. Buy products with the Heart Foundation tick of approval and get cookin'!
  • Healthier snacks. Prepare smoothies to hide fruit and freeze excess to make "ice creams".
  • Less take away food. It's just not good!
  • More vegetables. Sometimes meals tend to fall into being built around carbohydrates and proteins and not many vegetables find their way in there. Prepare three different kinds of salads to have handy for meal times or to snack on.

So where do I start?

I have been perusing the Heart Foundation website and there is a whole swathe of healthy recipes HERE.
Not only are there recipes but there are also healthy eating tips as well as activity ideas.

So over the next month I will be focusing on:
  • Being active as a family-When we go to the park together, we have fun, we talk, we relax and exercise without really noticing.
  • Kids in the kitchen-I really believe that kids should be more involved in food preparation so they can learn the necessary skills for healthy eating. It saddens me when I see people my age who still cannot cook and rely on fat filled fast foods.
  • Organization-Meal planning can be done so easily and it has so many benefits. It ensures variety in your weekly meals and saves you money!
  • Making it fun-Why should healthy eating be boring? Why should exercise be boring? I think it's time to inject a bit of fun in the day to day.
Just to make things a little more exciting for you readers, there will be some awesome giveaways over the next few weeks. I have so much to give away and the lovely people from Soup are donating some awesome prizes to go with the theme too!


Watch this space!
:)






Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Windy Weather Calls For Warm, Hearty Dinner

A blast of cold Spring air has hit us over the last few days. What appears to be a beautiful sunny day outside turns into a blustery storm, with icy winds lashing at your mistakenly dressed body.

A change in dinner was called for and I pulled out a recipe that looked perfect.
Pastitsio.


I have had this magazine clipping for a while but never quite got around to making up a big batch.
Finally I did.
It looked good.
It smelled amazing.
From what I heard, the taste was also amazing.

It's a simple dish, but full of flavour.
I tweaked mine a little (as I always do), left out the eggs (we had none), used one kind of mince and of course put more vegetables in there.


It was a hit with the meat eater so I guess I can mark the clipping as "yummy" and keep it for next time.

I have also been giving some of my favourite foods a bit of a healthy makeover.

Vegetarian Laksa using coconut flavoured evaporated milk...


Much better than the previous version with full blown coconut cream in it!

Another favourite of mine is quiche...


I made this for lunch one day, it was fast, easy and so delicious. I whisked up some eggs with fresh asparagus and some semi sun dried tomatoes (just a little bit for flavour), added a pinch of cheese and baked until set.
No pastry crust makes this a lot better for you!
Served with a big side salad and it was a great lunch all round.

:)


Monday, September 26, 2011

Tropical Rainbow Layer Cake

I wanted to do another rainbow layer cake ever since I finished the last...
But I wanted to do something different.
I wanted flavours.
Every layer a different flavour.
My brain went into cake hibernation mode and all I could think of was cake and flavourings.
I needed strong flavours, more than the usual essences or artificial flavourings usually found in the baking section of the supermarket.
Somehow my mind jumped to jelly.
There are so many flavours to choose from, I knew I could get exactly what I wanted.

So I started my little quest, mixing and baking. The most time consuming part...
And finally, this morning I mixed up the giant bowl of buttercream frosting and assembled my tasty piece of art...


Yes, it is a little wonky on the top.
The cakes were kept in the freezer to keep them nice and firm for stacking and the second that buttercream hit a cold cake, it started to harden, so I had to move fast.


I should have waited for it to thaw before making such a messy cut...


But we just had to try a little bit!


It was delicious!

I went with a fruity flavoured theme and used grape, blueberry, lime, mango, orange and strawberry. You can almost convince yourself that you are having a fruit salad....
Ok, no, not at all.
We had a few mouthfuls and had to stop.
I jumped back into the kitchen and balanced myself out by making up three big containers of salads for us to snack on.
So now I have a gigantic cake in my fridge and absolutely no desire to eat it at all...

I just did it cause it was fun.
:)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Need To Bake Something Delicious {DAIM CHOC CHIP COOKIE CAKE}

I started off with some of these...


Chucked them in my mini food processor...


Chuck in some chocolate...


Perfect!


Have a little taste...


Grab some butter and brown sugar...


Beat until nice and creamy...


Then mix in the flour, just a little...


Throw in that delicious crumbly toffee and chocolate mix...


Mix it all up into one delicious cookie dough...


Fill up a nice big tin...


Shape the leftovers into cookies and bake them all until golden and crispy...


Look at that cookie... The melted toffee oozing out...Mmm...


Take a bite...Heaven!


Here is the original recipe, it uses chocolate chips instead of the delicious Daim candy pieces. If you can get the Daim (found at IKEA) then use it! Trust me, it is so, so, SO good!!


Chocolate Chip Slab Cookies


Ingredients:


220g butter, softened

200g brown sugar

1tsp vanilla essence

300g plain flour

200g chocolate chips (I used IKEA Daim chocolates and some plain chocolate blended in to small chunks)


Method:


  • Preheat the oven to 180*C. Lightly grease a 38 X 25 in baking tin.
  • Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Stir in the flour and chocolate chips.
  • Pat the dough into the prepared baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are slightly crispy.
  • Allow to cool before slicing into squares.
Don't forget to check out my awesome giveaway over here!