Monday, 18 December 2017

Getting Up Again

Today I had yet another expensive counseling session with a lady who specializes in my specific form of messed up. The amount of cash I have to fork over to get better is dismaying. It makes one wonder how much we want to be healthy.

I've spent the last three days hiding in my room surrounded by slowly-emptying jars of peanut butter, candy wrappers, wedges of cheese. Watching comedy specials and vapid rom-coms so that I don't have to notice how much damage I am doing to my body. Sneaking upstairs into the kitchen when roommates aren't around, and scurrying back when they appear, head and arms down in the hope that they won't smell the despair.

What day is it today? I've lost so much time trying not to exist, even as I expand outward in infinity. 

Work comes as a relief; a chance to be away from food for some hours, to force myself out of this funk. But even there there is cake and chocolate and bread, and it's the last thing I want but I want it because I'm too far gone now.

Counseling helps, but the only one that can fix me is me. I have to want it and earn it through my actions. I have to decide to give myself a big old hug and promise to be kind and loving to this one and only body and soul. I know I can, but I don't know why it's so hard. But I know it won't always be. Tomorrow I will get up and fight again.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Parsley Green Smoothie

So you've finished garnishing your soup with a sprig of parsley, and it was a great addition to your meal - but now you have a whole handful of fresh parsley that you don't know what to do with. It's just sitting in your pantry drying out. What to do with it? One great option is to add them to your green smoothies!

Not only do fresh herbs add a nice depth of flavour, but the health benefits are immense. In particular, parsley is packed with vitamin K and vitamin C, and contains a good amount of Vitamin A, too. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, can help flush out toxins and can also help regulate blood pressure.

Parsley is particularly relevant to Junk Free June as it contains high levels of essential volatile oils, including myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit growth of cancerous tumors.

This herb has a nice light flavour, perfect for healthifying your smoothies without sacrificing the taste. Of course, it also looks a little gross, but how else could you tell it's so good for you?

Parsley Green Smoothie
Serves 1

1 ripe banana
1/8 avocado
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 cup milk of choice (I used soy milk)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth (note that the parsley doesn't blend so well and won't combine properly).


Only five more days left of Junk Free June! Thank you so much to all who have helped me raise money so far. It's been so fulfilling to work towards such a worthwhile goal. I'm not finished yet, though! I've almost reached my fundraising target, and I'm giving it one last push. Please don't forget to donate to my campaign, if you can, via my profile. The winners of the various prizes will be drawn July 1st!

Thank you all, and hang in there for the last week (and hopefully beyond)!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Matzo Ball Soup + PRIZES!

Happy Friday everybody!

I'm happy to announce that the exam period for me is officially over. For those of you still pushing through, good luck! Keep it up, you'll get through this! Make sure to take breaks to so you don't burn out!

I know I personally don't feel able to let myself take a break unless it's justified. Cooking is one thing I use as a 'legitimate excuse'. Dinner is a good time to de-stress, especially if cultural soul food is on the menu!

My Jewish grandmother would insist there's no problem that can't be fixed with a bowl of chicken soup. Add matzo balls and you never had any problems in the first place.

This chicken soup super quick, easy and cheap, the perfect comfort soup for a cold night.

For you non-Jews who have no idea what matzo is, I highly recommend trying it with matzo balls. Matzo balls are a kind of dumpling, made with matzo meal. Matzo meal, or matzo (unleavened bread, basically a cracker) can be bought at any Jewish synagogue. These dumplings are wonderfully fluffy and just one of the best things ever. Seriously, try it. This particular part of the soup does require some forethought since the matzo mixture needs to sit for a while in the fridge, but it's so worth it. If you find yourself in need of chicken soup right now, however, this is also wonderful with noodles or gnocchi.

This time, I had the privilege of making my chicken soup with Best Bones Broth organic chicken broth! Bone broth is extremely good for digestion, is great for your hair and nails, and helps fend off infections such as the flu. Best Bones Broth can be found at Naturally Organic, Huckleberry Farms, IE Produce, Scarecrow, and Mt Eden Commonsense Organics.

With homemade or store-bought chicken stock, this recipe only costs about $1.50 per serving - now that's student budget material!

Matzo Ball Soup

Serves 3

250g boneless skinless chicken
1 carrot
1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 parsnip
4 or so cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup matzo meal (or about 2 1/2 sheets matzo, ground in a food processor or blender)
2 eggs
2 tbsp chicken fat (from chicken broth if you made your own) or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
Parsley (optional)

Mix the matzo meal, eggs, choice of fat, baking powder, salt and onion powder (if using) in a bowl, and leave in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
When ready to cook: Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and, using your hands, form walnut-sized balls with the matzo mixture, dropping them one by one into the boiling water. These will fluff right up! Cover the pot and leave to simmer about 30 minutes.
While the matzo balls are boiling, dice the chicken and chop the vegetables into bite-sized chunks. Place them in another pot and cover with the chicken stock. Add the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
When your matzo balls are done, scoop them out one by one with a slotted spoon and place them into the soup.
Take the soup off the heat and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Boom! Easy, cheap and yummy 30 minute dinner :)


So much has happened since I last posted! Thanks to my wonderful sponsors, I have many prizes to give away to those who donate to the NZ Cancer Foundation via my profile.

Those who donate $5 or more will go in the draw to win a bag of ZeLi's Classic Caraway Sauerkraut! Sauerkraut is a probiotic and is very good for aiding digestion.

Those who donate $10 or more will go in the draw to win a 4-chocolate taster pack of Enlightened Edibles chocolates. Enlightened Edibles' chocolates are 85% raw cacao, which is rich in antioxidants and maintains the health benefits which traditionally-made chocolate loses during heat treatment. They are GMO-, wheat- and soy-free, and are made with NZ flower essences and a small amount of organic coconut nectar.

For those who donate $15 or more, we have the previously mentioned Pretty Damn Good For You grain-, gluten- and sugar-free meusli (see the previous post):

And, in addition, we now also have three boxes of Baron Hasselhoff's cookies from their gluten-free, vegan & organic range! The flavours are Mexican chocolate snickerdoodle, hazelnut & orange delicious, and gingernut deluxe!

Thank you to all those who have shown their support, and good luck for the rest of your Junk Free June! Have a great weekend! ^^

Friday, 12 June 2015

Overnight Oats with Tea-Infused Soy Milk and Honey-Roasted Figs

Hi everybody!

Life's been a bit crazy with it being right in the middle of exams and all. Now is the most important time to keep one's health up, but it's hard when there's so little time.

Overnight oats are the perfect breakfast for when you don't have time in the morning.

I also steeped a bunch of chocolate tea into the soy milk I used for this recipe, just to add a bit of flavour. Highly recommend! I used T2 Cocoa Loco. The effect is subtle but it's great. Try it yourself!

Overnight Oats

1/4 cup whole or quick oats
1/4 cup milk of choice
2 tbsp yoghurt
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1 pitted date, chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or mason jar and leave for at least an hour, or overnight. Eat cold or heated up, topped with fresh or dried fruit (e.g. honey-roasted figs), more milk or more yoghurt.

Honey-Roasted Figs

6-8 fresh figs, halved, stems cut off
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup of you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place the fig halves in a baking dish. (If your oven has a tendency to burn things, I would suggest turning the heat down to 180 degrees, else the sugar in the honey is likely to burn.)
Heat the butter in a pan over the stove and whisk in honey. Pour the mixture over the figs and toss to cover.
Roast the figs in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until soft.


The Junk Free June campaign continues! I'm running a little competition, too - all those who donate over $15 go in the draw to win a back of Pretty Damn Good For You muesli! Her muesli is grain-free, gluten-free and sugar-free.

A huge thank you to Pretty Damn Good For You for their support, and thank you to all of you, too.

Happy Saturday, everybody! xx

Monday, 1 June 2015

Apple Crumble Green Smoothie

Another day, another lunch.

Some days, I don't get a lunch break. On busy days like these I like to make myself a green smoothie, so I can drink it quietly during my midday lecture without disturbing anyone. It makes Accounting 101 a little more interesting.

Being healthy shouldn't be a chore - it should be fun and yummy, all the time!

This smoothie honestly tastes like an apple crumble, not green at all. It's like having dessert for lunch. Try it and be amazed!

As a bonus, it only costs about $1.50 to make, and that's even using soy instead of regular milk. Who says healthy living's expensive?

Apple Crumble Green Smoothie

Serves 1


1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 an apple, chopped
2 tbsp dates, chopped
1 cup milk of choice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Throw everything into a blender and blend until combined. Easy!


Note: this recipe only uses half an apple. If having the other half left over bothers you, a good thing to do is make apple sauce. You can mix this with yoghurt or oatmeal, use as a sauce for various savoury dishes, or as a replacement for oil in baking.

Store-bought apple sauce is traditionally made with a boatload of added sugar. This home-made apple sauce is cheap, easy, and much healthier. If you want you can add a dash of maple syrup or honey, but it really doesn't need it.

Apple Sauce

Peal the apple. Place it in a pot with a little bit of water and a dash of cinnamon. Simmer until the apple has gone soft, then mash it, mixing the mashed apple with the remaining water. And that's it!


Thanks for reading! Get plenty of nutrients, and keep warm!

Day One of Junk Free June

Hi all!

Today marks the first day of healthy living for cancer awareness!

It would seem that at the moment, the number one cause of preventable cancer is obesity. We're poisoning ourselves with sugar. So it's fitting that this month, the hot fundraiser for cancer research is a healthy living scheme.

Unfortunately eating well is often hard on a student budget and a student schedule. So, for my first recipe of the month, here's something simple and reasonably inexpensive. This is a good way to use up excess bread - as everyone knows it's cheaper to use things than let them go to waste. The active time (time spent actually doing something) is extremely short. The time in between steps is good for getting other stuff done.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Serves 3

1 garlic clove, minced
120g bag baby spinach leaves
3 cups bread, cubed
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup cheese (a cheddar is best, if possible)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
Oil or butter for the pan

Heat oil or butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the spinach leaves and cook until completely wilted. Take off the heat, and season with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg and paprika in a bowl.
Get a baking dish, casserole dish, or individual ramekins. Place half of the bread in the bottom. Top with half of the spinach and half of the cheese. Place on top another layer of bread, another layer of spinach, another of cheese.
Pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread, and lightly press down with a fork to allow the bread to soak it up. Let sit in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 200 degrees. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes, until the top is puffed up and crispy.


While perhaps not the most gourmet of meals, it's important to have some easy solutions available to stop one reaching for the microwave mac'n'cheese! Balance is key. This one is good because you can customise it with whatever happens to be in your fridge; sausages or mushrooms would be a great addition.

Thanks for reading, and stick around for my journey through Junk Free June! If you can, please feel free to donate to the cause.

See you next time! (*^^*)