Category Archives: Food/Recipes

Rainbow Popsicles: 100% Fruit and Veggie Recipe

Who doesn’t want to get more vegetables into their kids? My Mr 6 is relatively easy to feed, he’ll eat anything. Dinner is a little more drawn out then usual when brussel sprouts and spinach are involved, but in the end he chokes it down. Little Miss who is 2 and a half has proved to be a much pickier eater. She will eat broccoli and carrots and loves to dip them in hummus. Tomatoes, potatoes and just about any fruit she will devour no problem, but that’s about it. Somehow we haven’t managed to evolve her little picky palette beyond less than a handful of different veggies. She sniffs and nibbles on the tip of a yam before making a grotesque face and spitting it out. I’m hoping that she will grow to be more agreeable with vegetables, but for now I have to get creative.

I’m not a big advocate of sneaking vegetables into food, or tricking my kids into eating foods that are good for them. When I make my amazingly chewy chocolaty black bean brownies they are fully aware of the main ingredient. But with these 100% fruit and veggie popsicles the kids love the look of them so much they don’t even ask what’s in them. I mean, who doesn’t love a popsicle! I’ve found in the past that if you can make foods colorful, and in fun itty-bitty shapes, kids will love them (and adults too!)

These bright popsicles are layered with pineapple, blueberries and spinach – your perfect immunity booster for the kiddlets no matter what the season. I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t feel the cold so a popsicle in the winter is totally normal in their world.

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You can make these with just about any combination of fruit and veg, but I find these 3 layers work really well for a mix of sweet from the pineapple, tart from the blueberries and the milld almost non-existent flavour of blended up spinach.

Recipe: Better Than Nutella Chocolate Almond Butter

It seems that everyone including my kids love them some Nutella! I’ve never tried the stuff as I am allergic to hazelnut (as well as peanuts and some other tree nuts). But luckily for me, I am not allergic to almonds. Almonds are a full of fats and omega-3s which are good oils and fats that the body uses to clean the bad fats. Fats are also filling, so if you can include the good kind in your daily diet then you’re onto something good. I’m sure if you are trying to lose weight or have done so in the past, you’ve heard all about proteins role in assisting with weight loss. Almonds equal protein, protein equals feeling full, feeling full helps with curbing you’re appetite. Get it?

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So now that you know almonds are good for you, besides eating a handful as a snack, what are the other ways you can get almonds into your diet? Almond milk, is a smooth, protein-rich, lactose-free and healthy alternative to whole milk. If you’d like to make your own, check out my delicious homemade almond milk recipe. Another tasty way to full up on this tasty snack is with almond butter, and if you’re prone to a sweet tooth attack like me, why not give this chocolate almond butter a whirl! Super simple in my Optimum blender and with the addition of chocolate, its just like Nutella (so I’m told!) but better. Creamy and smooth, its easy to spread on toast for the kids, to dip apples in, or any other fruit and even pretzels – the possibilities are endless. If you’re feeling really decadent you could dip biscuits right in….um…yum.

Delicious Homemade Almond Milk

I generally drink milk based smoothies 4-5 mornings a week. I prefer the mild taste of almond milk in my smoothies over low fat cow’s milk, plus it keeps my calorie count down (a girl’s gotta watch her figure after all!) Not only is almond milk rather costly, but it is usually loaded with added sugar and a list of other ingredients that I can’t pronounce. So, instead I have taken to making my own almond milk in batches every couple of days. I can blend up 4 cups of almond milk in no time with my blender and it lasts for about 2 days. Because I make it myself, I have the option of sweetening as much or as little as I like – I prefer the natural unsweetened blend.

This is such a super simple recipe that you could probably use for other nut milks. I’m allergic to most other nuts and can only eat almonds so I haven’t tried any other variation of this recipe.

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  • 2 cups of raw almonds
  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • optional sweeteners: agave, medjool dates, stevia.
What you’ll need: a high speed blender like my Optimum 9400 Blender, a milk bag and measuring cup.

Healthy & Chewy Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

I’ve seen recipes for healthy black bean brownies all over the internet. I have a sweet tooth, so I have been wanting to try my hand at making them. Now that I have a high powered Optimum 9400 blender, they were easy peasy to whip up! The one problem that people talk about is the dryness of some of the black bean brownie recipes. So, I decided to mash up a few different recipes and come up with what is undoubtedly the chewiest black bean brownie recipe. These are beyond decadent, and you won’t even know that the only chocolate in the ingredients are just 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips.

Chocolatey and tasty, these bad boys are a triple threat, packed full of fibre, protein and anti-oxidants. A cup of black beans is equivalent to two 8 ounces glasses of milk, plus the added benefit of fibre.

Easy to make in an Optimum blender, healthy profile and a nice snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, I bet you want the recipe, right?

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The chewy texture and sweetness comes from the medjool dates – also a fiber filled powerhouse. Applesauce keeps them moist and the cocoa powder and chocolate chips give that authentic chocolate flavour. I chose to make them into little brownie bites to keep myself from eating an entire brownie pan. Be warned that your kids will love these, Mr P polished off 3 with a glass of milk in no time – he would’ve eaten more if I’d let him (side note: these are fibre filled, so its to your benefit to NOT go overboard…if you know what I mean!).

And if you want to make it even that much more healthier, its super easy to blend up your own applesauce with a hint of cinnamon.

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  • 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 + 1/4 of chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe makes 36 mini bites using a miniature muffin tray.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Use coconut oil to grease the muffin tray.

Mix all the ingredients together in the Optimum blender except for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Once blended, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. Scoop the mixture out by the tablespoon, I added 3 chips to the top of each mini bite before sliding the tray into the oven.

Let bake for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bites to get too hard, just a bit crunchy on the top. Let cool for 5 minutes then pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

I made this recipe again, this time opting to make it in a brownie pan. I also did not have applesauce so used a small banana instead. Needless to say equally chocolatey moist taste!

Have you tried black bean brownies before? Let me know how you go with this recipe.

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First Impressions of the Optimum 9400 Blender

The Optimum 9400 blender has been recognized as the No.1 Vitamix rival. So I was excited to be invited as a Friend of Froothie by the New Zealand distributor of the Optimum 9400 to put this powerful blender to the test. In just a few days I have created so much more than just smoothies – everything from black bean brownies, to sauces, soups and desserts.

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I’ve only had it for about a week, but this is what I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 Blender so far:

  • The BPA Free 2L jug, big enough to create large batches of healthy soups, desserts and smoothies for the whole family
  • The tamper tool
  • Everyone’s fruit and veggie intake is up, its easy to blend anything from spinach to beetroot right into a smoothie
  • The amount of time saved, a soup takes about 10-15 minutes from start to finish and it comes up smooth, creamy and warm
  • The simple to use variable speed control
  • Easy to clean, just whizz on variable setting 8 with 1L of water and a drop of soap
  • How easy and quick it is to create healthy and tasty snacks, meals and smoothies
  • The free book of inspirational smoothies, soups and desserts that comes free with every blender
  • This blender is crushing ice like a boss! Many blenders claim to do this, but not all truly do!

To find out what else I’m digging about the Optimum 9400 blender and to hear my first impressions, check out the video below. Hint: I loooove this blender – it’s changing our entire family’s lives!

Healthy Breakfast: Quick and Easy Overnight Oats

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Overnight oats are a tasty, nutritious and quick breakfast that anyone can add to their daily meals. Truth be told, I can eat overnight oats for days on end without it feeling boring. The great thing about overnight oats, is that the variation to toppings is only limited by your imagination.  You can make them sweet one day by adding fresh fruit and natural sweeteners, you can eat them plain jane, make them savory with the addition on nut butters or add-on extra protein like yogurt on a heavy workout day. Just think of anything that you’d add to hot oatmeal, the difference being you can whizz a bowl of these bad boys up in no time at all!

One of the many things that I learnt coming off my 6 months weight loss program with Shaklee 180 is that breakfast is so important. I know we’ve all heard it before, but for some reason this mantra has really stuck with me. I ate 3 balanced meals and 2 snacks per day and I lost 25 pounds and 16 inches (and it is still off  5 months later!). I think it is the noticeable increase in energy that I experience when I don’t starve my body. After several hours without food overnight, breakfast is needed to jumpstart a body’s metabolism for the day.

I’m always on the lookout for breakfast options that are no-brainers and protein rich, so the overnight oats is a winner in my books. If you like oatmeal and haven’t tried overnight oats yet, all I have to say is GET.ON.IT! You will love it. Just like you I am busy, making lunches, getting kids to school, getting myself off to work and then trying to fit exercise in there. Not only are overnight oats easy, but you can take them with you if you absolutely must rush out the door before eating breakfast.