Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Turkey and Vegetable Quinoa Stir-Fry

Converting the masses with this amazing super-seed! .... Maybe not quite the masses but definitely my Mum : )

When I told my Mum that I had started a blog where I would be posting some of my recipes, she specifically asked whether I was going to post "that quinoa thing" I made because "that was good!". Thanks Mum :). I have to say, one of the most satisfying things for me about cooking healthy food is cooking for other people who are unfamiliar with the ingredients and having them thoroughly enjoy it - especially when I know how good it is for them. Its like I get to share a little bit of what I love about being healthy with them - feeling great about yourself after eating a tasty meal and enjoying food for not only the taste but the amazing nutrition it provides!

I have recently started experimenting with Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and I definitely agree that this one tasted amaaazing. This special little seed has gained recent popularity, mainly because it is a great source (and the only plant based source) of complete proteins, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids. This makes Quinoa a great option for people who enjoy a diet free of animal protein as well as the health conscious who are potentially practicing a high protein diet for either weight loss or muscle development/repair purposes. Even for those who haven't eliminated animal protein, Quinoa boasts a range of other beneficial health effects such as high levels of magnesium which aid against migraines as well as improving the elasticity of our blood vessels, reducing the change of cardiovascular complications and many more. What does Quinoa taste like?Quinoa is comparable to rice or cous cous in texture and does not have much taste by itself other than a slightly nutty flavour. Nutritionally, quinoa is higher in protein (and contains a more useful protein structure) than both rice and cous cous as well as being lower in carbohydrate than the two.

Turkey and Vegetable Quinoa Stir-Fry

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

1/2 cup uncooked Quinoa (cooked to packet instructions)*
250g lean turkey mince
1/2 medium sweet potato chopped in 2x2x2cm cubes
1/2 onion, diced
1 small red chilli
2 cloves of garlic
1 large zucchini, sliced
1 small eggplant sliced (or use a larger eggplant and only a few slices)
1 handful green beans, cut into 5cm pieces
4 mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup broccoli, cut into small florets
2 cups of baby spinach leaves
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
1tbs kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1/2 tbs macadamia nut oil (or your oil of choice)

*Quinoa can be cooked in low sodium vegetable stock if desired, which will add extra flavour.


Place chopped sweet potato in a saucepan with water and boil until soft (do not overcook)
Saute onion, garlic, chilli and oil in a large frying pan until onion has browned
Add turkey mince and stir fry until cooked through and then add all of the vegetables except spinach and basil - stir fry until vegetables are softened.
Add spinach, and basil and stir fry for 2 minutes until adding the sweet potato and kecap manis at the very end.
Once spinach has wilted and sauce is spread throughout the meal, serve immediately into individual bowls!

Now sit down and enjoy your tasty and super healthy dinner! : )

Note: Feel free to experiment with whichever vegetables you desire. Its not just about following the recipe but about finding the foods that you love and enjoy and finding the recipes that they suit best! Personally, I think ANY and ALL vegetables fit in any and every dish : ).


Friday, 27 July 2012

The Acai Bowl

The Acai Berry

I feel that it is absolutely necessary to post this amazing purple deliciousness very early in the life of my blog due to it's importance in my life! I would say that 99% of people who have eaten this food would understand how addictive it is! ACAI (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a purple berry that grown in the amazon (in Brazil) and is disrubuted in many forms including powders, syrup, tablets and as a frozen pulp puree. The latter is without a doubt the most delicious and satisfying HEALTHY food I have ever come across. The reason Acai is available in the above forms and not in its original berry form is due to the difficulty of maintaining freshness during transportation from the amazon. It is stored in the above ways to maintain the nutritional goodness that it contains as much as possible. Acai is commonly referred to as a 'Superfood' and it gains this status based on its nutritional value which includes being very high in antioxidants and containing large amounts of heart healthy fats. The best thing about Acai though is definitely it's taste. Tasting like a combination of berries and CHOCOLATE, it is so amazingly satisfying and I have to admit that my boyfriend (whom once again is the reason I came across this food in the first place :D) and I are way more than addicted.

How to eat Acai

Commonly Acai is eaten for breakfast or even dessert - our favourite way (and the traditional way) to serve Acai is in a bowl topped with fresh banana, strawberries and muesli (granola is commonly used).

Where to buy acai

We're in Sydney and we buy our Acai either from The Berry Man or Manly Freezers. I know though that on the Amazon Power website you can locate a stockist near you!

TRY IT!! But beware: you will become addicted...

- Mel

Saturday morning in my kitchen : )

Good morning everyone and welcome to the weekend!

Here in Sydney, the weather looks amazing outside! Fine, sunny and.. 14 degrees with some very chilly winds. Becoming more desperate every day for the coming summer when I can return to wearing shorts, singlets and dresses and basking in the sun!

I have to report that I made some amazing spelt flour and oat pancakes for breakfast but was so hungry that I couldn't pause for long enough to take a photo that looks good enough to post! They tasted delicious though and since I have a new habit of making different pancake concoctions on the weekends, I will post a recipe for them very soon.

What I DID take the time to take many photos of was my Oat and apple power cookies! These are adapted from a number of recipes by Teresa Cutter - The Healthy Chef. Teresa could quite well be the reason behind the development of my love of cooking healthy food. On the very first day we met, my now amazing boyfriend sent me to work with one of Teresa's Muesli Muffins, that he had made. The rest is history - my love for him and healthy cooking grew from that day forward : ). I definitely recommend that anybody interested in healthy cooking and eating should check out her page and test out some of her recipes.

The biggest difference between this recipe and the one that inspired me is the lack of banana. I LOVE bananas but I have had a number of people ask for a healthy cookie or muffin recipe without the use of bananas - so here it is!!

Oat and Apple power cookies


100g wholegrain oats
20g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
55g sultanas
5g flaxseeds
3 tbs apple sauce
1tsp cinnamon

Healthy facts about these cookies

- Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates which are linked to a myriad of other health benefits which include lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar and hence reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. While carbohydrates are often tagged as the enemy when it comes to weight loss, foods like oats are heavily linked to aiding weight loss when consumed regularly. One of the reasons they are linked to weight loss is that they keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce the likelihood of snacking. This is why a great breakfast choice is a steaming hot bowl of porridge! : )
- Pepitas and flaxseeds are a great source of healthy (monounsaturated) fats and protein both of which should be included in every meal we eat. The fats contained within these little seeds are linked to a reduction in the risk of heart disease through lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This HDL cholesterol is "good" because it is believed to aid in the removal of fatty build up (atherosclerosis) on the inside of our arteries and cells and transport it to the liver for processing and removal from the body. Cholesterol is not the enemy as long as you're eating it from the right sources. Good sources of HDL cholesterol include; egg yolks, avocado, fish (salmon and sardines are wonderful), nuts (natural, raw), pepitas and flaxseeds, among others.
- Apple Sauce is something that I commonly use in baking these days as a replacement for a part or all of the oil called for in a recipe. It acts as a great binding agent which adds moisture and also sweetness to any dish, reducing the need for any added sweeteners!
- Cinnamon is commonly incorporated into most things I make. I find that it adds some sweetness and a nice flavour but aside from that, cinnamon is strongly linked to reducing blood glucose levels and improving insulin sensitivity by consuming as little as half a teaspoon per day! To contribute to the notion of cinnamon being (in my own words - ha) a super-spice, one teaspoon alone contains 28mg of Calcium making it a great diet inclusion for those who are dairy-free or suffer from osteoporosis! 


Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius
To construct these cookies, simply combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and thoroughly combine! Use hands to mould them into 5 round balls and flatten slightly before placing them on a baking tray with baking paper.

Place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes! If they're left in any longer than this, the sultanas are likely to burn. For this reason, I also tried to place the majority of the sultanas closer to the bottom of the cookies and only leave a few on top : ).


Nutrition per serve (1 cookie)

Energy: 600.6kj/143 cal
Protein: 4g
Fat: 4g
Saturated fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 22g
Sugar: 9g*
Sodium: 5mg

*note: sources of sugar are apple sauce and sultanas which are both good for use as natural sweeteners.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012


HI! and welcome to My Whole and Healthy life : ).

This blog has been a long time coming as with every passing day, I feel more and more desperate to share my thoughts on all things health, life and FOOD with like-minded, passionate people.
The world of blogging has captured me over the last few months as I have gained so many wonderful ideas for healthy recipes, interesting workouts and have enjoyed simply reading inspiring posts written by motivating and positive people. To be able to contribute to that world the way I hope to would bring great satisfaction.

So today - being the day of the birth of my first blog - is a special day, and I always hoped that my first post would be worth reading so LUCKILY I had some success in the kitchen last night that I feel is worthy of sharing!

I spend at least 3 hours a day travelling between home and work and I often find myself spending the entire trip home brainstorming new things I can cook and healthy ways to alter recipes. I get so excited about these ideas that I often end up stopping at the supermarket on the way home to collect any neccessary ingredients and get home to start experimenting. Yesterday, my trip home took me about 2 hours alone so I had plenty of time to come up with the recipes that brought me my success last night! 

One of my favourite things to do is to create and prepare delicious and healthy recipes. I am determined to do so because contrary to popular opinion, I completely believe that healthy food can taste as good if not, better than food laden with artificial and/or unhealthy ingredients. We don't need to jeaopardise our health to enjoy a tasty meal and I hope that I can inspire others to realise this wonderful news.

On that note....

Custard and Mixed Berry Tart

Crust (not pictured)

1 cup wholegrain mixed oats (ground)
1/2 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 tbs apple sauce

Place oats in food processor and process until fine like flour, then add to a mixing bowl with the wholemeal spelt flour.
In a separate bowl, mix cinnamon, vanilla and apple sauce - then add wet mixture to dry mixture.
Mix together (i used my hands) and spread into a pie plate so that the crust is about 5mm thick. (My crust was about 1cm thick and I think it would have been nice thinner - maybe extend the crust up the sides of the pie plate).
Place crust in the preheated oven (160 degrees C) for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.


3 eggs
1.5 cups milk of choice (dairy, almond, soy etc.)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp natvia (natural sweetener - brand of stevia)
2 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (if frozen, defrost in microwave and drain excess liquid)

Place a small amount of the milk in a measuring jug (microwavable) and add stevia, heat so that stevia dissolves then add remaining milk (to make 1.5 cups) to cool the milk down. Combine all filling ingredients, except berries in a mixing bowl and stir. Place berries evenly on top of golden crust and then pour egg mixture over the top.

Place in the oven and cook until egg mixture has risen slightly, golden and slightly hardened.


Serve with homemade banana ice "cream" or low fat yoghurt :).

-Hoping to perfect a recipe for healthy ice cream soon. In the meantime, it is good enough just by itself! :)

So, hopefully this very first post proves useful to somebody!

For now, im heading to bed for the night (dreaming of Custard and mixed berry pie, no doubt) and ill be hoping to rise early for a good gym session before I begin my trek to work again : ).

- Mel