My Views on Living a Balanced Lifestyle

Hi everyone, hope you are having a lovely week! This is just a little post about what I’ve been up to lately. I was recently interviewed by That Sugar Fix on my views of sugar and maintaining a balanced lifestyle as a nutrition student. Check out the full article here! 🙂

Danica xx

Advertisements

What’s in the (lunch)box ?

Hey everyone! I know, I know, I’ve been on a MAJOR hiatus (my last post was almost a year ago!), but now that the semester is coming to an end I’ll (hopefully) be able to post more often.

I thought you might be interested in seeing what a nutrition student like myself likes to eat for lunch. As the weather is heating up here in the land of Oz I’ve started to carry more salads to uni like this chickpea, sweet potato and watercress salad I made the other day.

To keep it cool up until lunch time whenever I get a chance to eat in between classes, I like to pop my salad in a lunch bag along with an ice brick, so I don’t end up with (unintentionally) warm salad.

To make this salad I combined roasted sweet potato (from the previous night’s dinner) along with watercress and some canned chickpeas. SIDE NOTE: I absolutely love legumes such as chickpeas as an alternative to meat when it comes to packed lunches. They’re a great source of protein and fibre, so they manage to keep me full especially during those long days at uni.

Anyway, back to the salad. In terms of dressing I like to make my dressings myself with whatever’s lying in my fridge/cupboard. For this recipe, I mixed olive oil with lemon juice, a pinch of salt, pepper, cumin and a tiny bit of smoked paprika to give it some extra kick. I also added a bit of parsley to the salad (for a bit more flavour) before filling my lunch box. SIDE NOTE 2: If you don’t want the dressing to leak all over your bag I recommend investing in a lunchbox that seals tightly, or if you’re scared that it will still leak get a small dressing container and shove it into your lunchbox along with your salad.

Enjoy! Xoxo

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad

image

It’s been a while since my last post but I’m back with a spring-inspired Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad! I absolutely LOVE smoked salmon and could eat it by itself, but I think the freshness of the cucumber really compliments the richness and saltiness of the salmon in this salad.

By the way, can you believe this is my very first savoury recipe that I’ve posted on this blog! (You can tell I have a sweet tooth….)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cucumber peeled in long strips with a vegetable peeler and the centre part diced

A few pieces smoked salmon

Handful baby spinach & rocket salad mix

3 teaspoons hummus (either homemade or store-bought)

Ground black pepper to season

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

METHOD

1. Arrange the cucumber peels and diced cucumber in the centre of the serving dish.

2. Lay the salmon pieces on top.

3. Arrange the spinach and rocket on top of the salmon and cucumber

4. Make a dressing out of the lemon juice and olive oil by mixing them together in a small jug or bowl. Use 2 spoons to shape the hummus into quenelles and lay it on the salad (like in the picture above).

5. Sprinkle a little pepper on the top of the salad and use a spoon to pour the lemon and olive oil mix onto the cucumber and salmon salad.

Enjoy!

The Irony…

It’s funny, growing up if you asked me the question “If you could have any super power at all, what would it be?” I would have definitely said the power to be invisible.

Maybe as a kid I watched too many TV shows and movies about all the shenanigans you could get up to if you were invisible (scaring people into thinking you were a ghost, pulling practical jokes etc), but something about it just seemed so appealing; having the power to do whatever the heck you wanted without people knowing it was you.

However, this so called “super power” comes at a price. It’s usually towards the end of these episodes that the main character comes to the conclusion that being invisible isn’t so much fun after all. Your friends and family can’t see you, no one realises that you’re missing, things go on as normal even without you there.

You’re pretty much non-existent.

It’s funny. Even when you aren’t actually invisible, sometimes it sure can feel like you are.

Pear and Nutella Tart

Pear and Nutella tart
Pear and Nutella Tart

The other day I noticed a few tired-looking pears residing in my fruit bowl at home. Plus I had recently been given 3 massive jars of Nutella for my birthday from a few friends who know how much I love baking and chocolate.

This formed the perfect equation to make a pear and Nutella tart:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large pear
  • 1 jar of Nutella (don’t worry you’re not going to use the whole thing in this recipe!)
  • 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry

 

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lay the sheet of pastry on a tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until slightly golden and flaky.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the pear into thin wedges.
  3. Once the pastry is cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Use a spatula to spread some Nutella onto the cooled pastry base. Arrange pear slices in a pattern on top of the Nutella.
  5. Return tart to the oven for another 15 minutes or until the pears are cooked and the pastry is golden.

Remember sharing is caring, so share your completed tart with friends and loved ones!

PEARS + NUTELLA = HAPPINESS 🙂

 

 

 

 

Being A Tourist in Your Own City: Spontaneous Adventure with Friends

Hey all, it’s been a while! I thought I might do something different today and share a little travel story with you (emphasis on the word ‘little’).

So the past week I was moping around the house, panicking that my uni break would soon come to an end and that I had hardly done anything with my free time.

Luckily, a friend of mine was thinking the same thing and so we decided that the next day we would head into the city with no plan except to take pretty photos with a few other friends.

Essentially, we were going to be tourists in our own city.

So here is a little photo diary of that day. Enjoy, and I challenge whoever reads this to do the same and head to the centre of their city (no matter how many times you’ve been there) and just explore areas you’ve never been to or seen before. Maybe it’s just looking at a famous landmark at a new angle like I did. 🙂

Yummy Thai food for lunch :)
Yummy Thai food for lunch 🙂
I always love the trees in Hyde park
I always love the trees in Hyde park

DSC04825

Gooey, Guilt-free Chocolate Pudding for One

Chocolate pudding straight out of the oven....notice I was lazy and mixed the batter in the ramekin itself...
Chocolate pudding straight out of the oven….notice I was lazy and mixed the batter in the ramekin itself…

So final exams are coming up for uni and it’s no secret that I’m stressing. When exam period rolls around I normally find myself eating a lot of junk, craving sugar and carbs to get me through all the studying. However, the other day whilst raiding the fridge and pantry for anything containing chocolate, you guessed it, there was none in the house. The only thing I could find was a tin of cocoa powder…and I wasn’t that desperate to eat cocoa on its own.

Luckily I had a light bulb moment and went straight to the fridge to get out that half-empty jar of tahini that was lying at the back of the shelf. You see my light bulb moment involved remembering an episode of Masterchef that I had watched the previous night. I was so amazed by Matt Preston’s Flourless Nutella Cake that he showed the contestants during Masterclass. It only had 2 ingredients– eggs and Nutella!  #mindblown.

So in serious need of a chocolate-hit, I experimented with the idea of using tahini, an egg and cocoa powder (along with a few other ingredients) to make this delicious and fairly healthy chocolate pudding containing no butter, no flour and only a tiny bit of sweetener.

CHOCOLATE TAHINI PUDDING

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons hulled tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sifted icing sugar (alternatively, for an even healthier version you can use honey or your favourite sweetener but you may have to adjust the quantity you add to achieve the desired sweetness.)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and place in a small ramekin or baking dish (alternatively, you can mix the ingredients in the ramekin itself if it’s big enough in order to save on the washing up…just don’t do so if serving to someone else as it’s not the prettiest looking thing having pudding batter stains on the sides of the ramekins)
  2. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the outer part of the pudding is cake-like and the middle is still goey when pierced with a skewer or toothpick.

Variation

If you want a chocolate cake instead, just keep the batter in the oven for longer–simple!

Upside Down Mini Cake Pops

ImageLast week I decided to make cake pops for the very first time and I’m quite happy with my first attempt (if I do say so myself). These cake pops make cute little gifts for friends and if you’re too lazy (like me) or don’t have time to make the cake or frosting from scratch, simply use store bought. You can easily find boxes, mini cupcake cases and toothpicks from your local $2 store if you want to give these little morsels as gifts.

This is the recipe I used, honestly I kind of went by feel instead of measurement so if you’re replicating this recipe you may have to adjust the quantities a little.

INGREDIENTS

  • approx. 1/2 a small store-bought vanilla sponge or madeira cake (I used madeira and found it was a little sweeter than normal cake pops..so it really depends on your tastebuds)
  • approx. 4 tbsp. store-bought vanilla frosting
  • 200g white chocolate melts
  • few drops of your favourite food colouring

METHOD

  1. Use a fork to break the cake into crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the vanilla frosting with the cake crumbs and stir until the mixture forms a wet looking dough. (You should be able to easily roll the mix into balls, and if not add more frosting or cake crumbs until you reach the desired consistency).
  3. Roll the mix into balls the size of a $1 coin. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, use a microwave to melt the white chocolate. Once melted, add the food colouring and stir.
  5. Take the cake pops out of the fridge and use a fork to gently lower them into the chocolate to cover. Remove from chocolate and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  6. Once the chocolate has set, carefully remove the cake pops from the tray and transfer to mini cupcake cases. Gently pierce a toothpick into each cake to complete the cake pop look.

 

Laziness and Fruit

Laziness and Fruit

Although I try my best to get the recommended 5 veg & 2 fruit a day, there are times when I’m a tad lazy or forgetful when it comes to eating fruit. Often it’s because some fruit (eg. Kiwi, melon, oranges etc) require slicing and then the dreaded job of washing the chopping board and knife, which can be a bit of a pain when you’re in a rush during the week.

My solution: cut a selection of fruits on the weekend and store them in your fridge in individual air-tight containers. That way, you can effortlessly prepare a delicious fruit salad anytime during the week.

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles..

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles..

So I started uni a few weeks ago and was absolutely shocked by my timetable (one day I had 3 classes from 11am-5pm with absolutely no break !) Luckily I had baked a few of these oat-packed cookies the previous day. Surprisingly they managed to fill the void in my stomach as I rushed from one building to another (must be all that oaty-goodness)

I made 2 cookie flavours: Choc Chip & Cranberry and Double Chocolate.

CHOC CHIP & CRANBERRY COOKIES

1. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius/ 130 degrees fan-forced. Line oven trays with baking paper.

2. Combine 90g rolled oats, 150g plain flour, 150g raw sugar, 90g choc chips and a handful of cranberries in a large bowl.

3. Melt 125g butter in a microwave-safe bowl (obviously in the microwave). Fold butter into dry mix. Add 1 egg and combine.

4. Using a tablespoon of the mix, roll into balls and place on lined trays. Flatten with the back of a spoon.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden (it really depends on how temperamental your oven is)

VARIATION
For double choc-chip cookies, discard cranberries and add 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder to the dry mix. For a slightly healthier version you can also use wholemeal flour for the cookies instead of normal plain flour.