Christmas seems to be a day that we all overeat on rich and heavy foods, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many options for some of the traditional foods that we are used to with a twist that will not leave you feeling deflated after already deciding your New Years Get Well Resolution goal only a few days away

To start …………. go for some tasty Canapes

Sugar Snap peas filled prawns with Sweet Chilli and Lime

Crisp Baby Vegetables with Babaganoush

Fresh Oysters with lemonade fruit vinegarette

Rice Paper rolls with (skinless) Bbq Duck (buy one from your nearest chinese bbq shop and char sui sauce

Whole Baked Ham and salad  yep bake it and clove stud it but cover in grain mustard over the usual bourbon and honey or maple syrup glaze. Serve it on a bed of fresh rocket with figs and freshly steamed or bbq asparagus no oil needed

Turkey A seriously healthy option but again its what you serve it with. try making a tasty Thai Turkey Curry just like chicken but easy on the coconut milk and it can be made the day  before with a cucumber yogurt if you want some heat. If you insist on the roast make a quinoa stuffing instead of bread

Roast Vegetables You don’t have to miss out on these babies, however go easy on the spuds, peel sweet potato, pumpkin, beetroot, parsnip, onions and garlic head cut in half and a few baby potato,s in a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roast until golden

The Grande Finale

Mango and Lime Granita so easy and everybody love mango

Baked Fetta wrapped in vine leaves with fresh herbs

Chewy Meringue with whipped coconut cream and fresh berries

Dark Chocolate and whole orange pudding with Christmas spiced ricotta cheese

Berry Jelly with Champagne sorbet

Do most of the Prep work the day or evening  before so your not slaving away all day

And here is Cheers to a great Christmas day of food that will get you on track, Happy Cooking and remember drink  your favorite in moderation or spritzers or vodka with low sugar mixers and fruit infusions why not add some spiced kumquats to your vodka and soda

If you are serious about a new years resolution program contact me for your free consultation, remember 80 percent of weightloss is food related not to mention the beauty and lifestyle benefits of a healthy diet

Red Ladies Velvet sexy christmas holiday costume

Red Ladies Velvet sexy christmas holiday costume (Photo credit: xubangwen)


Capsicum annuum ripe fruit

Capsicum annuum ripe fruit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Jalapeño Peppers

This feisty little Spanish pepper is chock full of nutritional goodness including a wealth of vitamins A, C and K, some of the B complex, a small amount of E as well as capsaicin, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc


If you can stand the heat, then you most definitely want these spicy hot little beauties in your kitchen as they boast some profound health benefits as detailed below:

Anti-cancer properties Due to its high concentrations of vitamin C (one single pepper has more than a day’s worth of the recommended dosage), jalapenos have extraordinary antioxidant capacities that can combat damaging free radicals and markedly slow down cell degeneration.  Capsaicin is particularly powerful in the fight against prostate cancer as it induces the bad cells to undergo apoptosis and quite literally, kill themselves

 Bone health Due to their gamut of internal minerals, jalapenos can play a vital role in developing and maintaining strong and healthy bones

Heart health Capsaicin has been shown to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and aid in healthy blood clot formation. Vitamins A & C are important bioflavonoids that strengthen the blood vessels

Immune system Vitamin C is a champion prizefighter when it comes to combatting bacterial and viral infections, or at the very least lessening the symptoms, of the common cold and influenza.  The heat in jalapeno peppers provides wonderful relief from nasal congestion

Migraine relief Capsaicin is a long-known home remedy for migraine relief.  Capsaicin inhibits Substance P, a neuropeptide that is considered a main brain pain transmitter


Antioxidant abilities Jalapenos are laden with vitamins A & C, both of which have widely known and revered antioxidant capabilities and can combat cell damaging free radicals and promote younger more supple looking skin, more structurally sound and lustrous hair and stronger nails less prone to breakage


Metabolism booster Capsaicin is the very compound in jalapenos that actually gives them their notorious heat.  Eating jalapenos, in fact, slightly raises the body’s core temperature, increases the metabolic rate and thus assists with weight loss.  Also, that same fiery heat has been shown to decrease appetite


Jalapeño peppers are green at harvest and while still half-ripe.  It is not until they are fully ripe that they turn that scorching crimson red color.  They can be eaten raw, baked, fried, sautéed or blended.  When picking them up in the produce aisle, be sure to look for peppers that are solid, smooth, shiny and wrinkle-free

Pickled jalapeños make for wonderful snacks on their own, or, as a tangy, tasty topping for your favorite nacho platter

Jalapeño poppers are always an appetizing party pleaser with their ooey gooey insides of either reduced fat cream cheese, ricotta or cottage.  For an interesting and slightly healthier variation, you can lightly coat them in beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs or wrap them in prosciutto and bake them in the oven.

As for main courses, the sky is the limit.  Jalapenos are used in hundreds of luscious dishes; everything from tomato, cucumber and jalapeno pepper summer gazpacho to pineapple and jalapeno pork chops to lime-Jalapeno chicken.

You can surprise your friends, family, try Dark Chocolate Mousse, sorbet, Bickies and Bread with specks of baked  jalapeno

Interesting fact about Jalapenos:  They were the first pepper ever to be launched into space on the NASA shuttle!


Immature jalapeno capsicum annuum var annuum

Immature jalapeno capsicum annuum var annuum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Studio shot of an organic Honeydew me...

English: Studio shot of an organic Honeydew melon grown by delbosque farms USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Health Benefits of Honeydew Melon

Honeydew melon is rich in vitamin C, several essential B vitamins such as folate, thiamine and niacin, in addition to copper, iron, fibre and potassium


This sweet, juicy fruit is a delicious and highly nutritious addition to your food repertoire due its numerable health benefits including but not limited to preventive measures and the treatment of certain diseases such as

Alzheimer’s disease B vitamins, as present in honeydew melon can slow or stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce shrinkage of the brain.  Folate deficiencies can greatly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease so you definitely want to munch on honeydew as a tasty source of folate

Anti-cancer properties Only second to cantaloupe, honeydew melon has one of the highest vitamin C values, and vitamin C is a crucial antioxidant that stimulates tissue repair and regeneration and can help prevent certain types of cancer including bladder, breast, cervical, intestinal, lung, pancreatic, prostate, stomach and throat cancers, as well as leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Constipation Due to its fair share of fibre, honeydew melon can help ease constipation

Diabetes Honeydew melon has a decent amount of fibre, which can slow down glucose absorption, and if eaten in moderation, can be beneficial for diabetics

Eye health Honeydew melon contains an important antioxidant carotenoid called zeaxanthin which helps protect vision by absorbing harmful blue light rays and preventing older age-related macular degeneration

Heart health The plethora of potassium in honeydew melon is extremely good for the heart and has been proven to help normalize blood pressure and regulate the heart beat.  Vitamin C‘s known antioxidant abilities fight off cell damaging free radicals that can otherwise inflame cells and lead to cardiovascular disease.  The B vitamins break down a body byproduct called homocysteine, which can ultimately lead to clogging of the arteries.  The wealth of fibre in honeydew can help lower one’s LDL cholesterol level over time

Immune system Vitamin C is a champion prizefighter against numerous infections and viruses such as the common cold and influenza and it fortifies the immune system as a whole

Pregnancy Folate has been found to help prevent neural tube defects in unborn babies

Serotonin production B6 is vital to serotonin production.  Serotonin is a crucial neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood and sleep.  B6 is a great natural supplement in the treatment and prevention of sleep issues and mood disorders in consult with a physician, of course


Healthy skin The wealth of vitamin C in honeydew melon (one cup contains half of the daily recommended amount) is essential for healthy skin collagen. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that combats cell damaging free radicals in the body.   Copper assists in healthy skin cell regeneration.  Regular ingestion of honeydew melon can result in smooth, more elastic and younger looking skin


Honeydew melon has only 120 calories and no fat per one cup serving.  It is a wonderful alternative to empty sugary snacks and will leave any weight watcher feeling full and satisfied.   The good amount of fibre in honeydew melon (1.4 grams per cup) helps keep the body and bowels cleaned out, flushes out toxins and increases your chance of more steady, healthy weight loss


They contain more nutrients when ripe and less when overripe, so best in summer months

Honeydew melon can be eaten in its natural state or as a juice or

juiced and a fantastic baby food

Honeydew melon cubes are the perfect companion fruit in mixed fruit salads.  They also make a lovely side dish to a healthy breakfast of egg whites and whole-grain toast

Blend a batch of refreshing Greek-style cucumber and honeydew melon soup for a unique meal on a hot summer’s day, ultra refreshing

A hot and sour melon spaghetti salad for a different approach

You can also make a tantalizing honeydew melon ice cream, gelato, smoothie or sorbet

For a summer garden party or private nightcap, shake up a honeydew melon cocktail or agua fresca

“Honeydew, that’s the money melon.”  ~The Simpsons

The leaf of a Honeydew en ( Cucumis melo en ) ...

The leaf of a Honeydew en ( Cucumis melo en ) plant. This particular leaf is from the Honeydew-Tam Dew variety. {| align=”center” style=”width:80%; background-color:#f7f8ff; border:2px solid #8888aa; padding:5px;” |- | Camera and Exposure Details: Camera: Nikon D50 Lens: Nikon Nikkor ED AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G Exposure: mm (mm in 35mm equivalent) f/8 @ 1/125 s. |}Category:Taken with Nikon D50 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



To help with a hangover We need to replenish our bodies with a few of these elements to get rid of the following side effects, here s why we feel like that…………………………..


TO HELP TAKE THE STRAIN OFF OUR LIVER Cysteine is an amino acid that breaks down hangover causing toxin “acetaldehyde which depletes glutathione in the body.


REPLACE THE NURTITIENTS THROUGH FLUID LOSS Potassium and certain body salts are lost which are necessary for healthy nerve and muscle function they are depleted after drinking. Alcohol


REPLACE ENERGY through loss of glycogen which the body turns into glucose and is excreted through urine causing fatigue, weakness and lack of co ordination vitamins such as b and c also need replenishing


REPLACE BODY SALTS THROUGH FLUID LOSS Sodium contains the main 5 electrolytes including others that are lost during urination. Just as extreme physical activity deplete the body so does alcohol


REPLACE WATER is what the body is mostly made of and severe alcohol consumption will lead to severe dehydration, the body will attempt to take water from the brain to replenish lost moisture causing that thumping headache

Now here’s a good recipe to help fix that

  1. drink lots of water
  2.  if you can get some coconut water it will also help replace electrolytes Gatorade will do the same job
  3. follow it up with some fresh berries, banana and yoghurt
  4. Then tackle this recipe below and you should be well on your way

Corn-fed chicken breast and vegetable omelette

Hangover Omlette 22

4 serves or 2 for burley big blokes


2 eggs or (9 whole quail eggs as a substitute for the chicken eggs, if you can get hold of them, they are lower in the bad cholesterol so a much better choice for your health, after all alcohol is full of bad cholesterol already)

1 egg white

1 cooked skinless corn fed chicken breast or thigh finely chopped

2 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of cracked black pepper

1 cooked potato, sliced

1 tomato, chopped

1 small head of broccoli, chopped

1 whole avocado, sliced

3/4 cup shredded, organic mozzarella cheese

¼ Bunch flat leaf parsley

5 ml canola spray


Preheat grill to 200˚c.

Whisk egg white with salt and water, fold in beaten whole eggs  (If using quail eggs, just lightly beat them together) add cracked black pepper. Coat a non stick frypan with canola spray and place over medium-high heat. Add chicken, broccoli and tomato and cook. Stir often. Add potato and cook for one minute, place in small bowl and cover.

Wipe the pan with paper towel. Coat with cooking spray and place over medium  to high heat. Pour in the egg mixture and top with the cooked vegetables. Cook for two minutes or until the bottom begins to set. Add the sliced avocado mixture and the cheese. Place under a hot grill and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the cheese melts (test the middle with a knife to check the omelette is cooked all the way through) continue cooking if required until set.

To serve Cut the omelette into half or quarters depending on how many you are serving and sprinkle with flat leaf parsley,

  1. And if all else fails
  1. A little alcohol can help level the blood sugar levels to make you feel better after plenty of water of course, here’s a fantastic Bevvie

Bloody Mary

1 serve

1 cup ice cubes

1 ½ tablespoons vodka

2 teaspoons lime juice

A dash of Worcestershire sauce

A dash of Tabasco sauce

125 ml tomato juice or half a cup (vegetable juice)

Celery stick to garnish



English: Photo by Gila Brand. This is my own w...

English: Photo by Gila Brand. This is my own work. Jerusalem artichokes (cooking in a pot in Jerusalem) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jerusalem artichoke is high in two essential minerals: potassium and magnesium. Potassium is a mineral that helps your heart to beat properly, keeps your blood pressure in the healthy range and assists healthy muscle function decreasing muscle spasms and strain. Magnesium is essential for heart health and correct muscle function.Its high in Iron so a great choice for a vegetarian diet and one of the highest sources of immune enhancing inulin

Other benefits include


Aids Digestion due to its high Fibre content

Helps Diabetes Inulin helps keep blood sugar stable , like Globe artichokes they are high in inulin and are beneficial for individuals who have diabetes

Healthy function of your liver Iron is an essential mineral that enables your body to produce healthy red blood cells and transports oxygen to every part of your body. A Jerusalem artichoke supplies 28 percent of the 18 mg of iron that you need each day in just a 1-cup serving. Iron is also important for maintaining your immune system and helps protect against harmful germs, bacteria and other substances. Additionally, a diet high in iron can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals

Helps cure hangovers it’s really high in electrolytes, replenishing the bodies energy

Immune System Iron is an essential mineral that enables your body to produce healthy red blood cells and transports oxygen to every part of your body. A Jerusalem artichokes contain more iron than any root or tuber vegetable. It’s important for maintaining your immune system and helps protect against bad germs, bacteria and other substances
Reduces Risk of Cancer Due to the Inulin which supports healthy bacteria in your stomach and colon

Reduces inflammation and viral cough and cold due to anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E. These vitamins together with flavonoid compound like carotene helps scavenge harmful free radicals

Weight loss

Fibre which the little gem contains much of, gives you energy, adding Jerusalem artichokes to your diet may help you boost your metabolism


High Fibre content ingested with lots of water gives skin new softness and radiance. Additionally, keeping your skin  hydrated will help to diminish lines and wrinkles, and eliminate pimples and blackheads


My Favorite way to eat Jerusalem artichokes is Raw leave the skin on just clean well

soups  like a very waxy potato like texture to cook

salads  they are similar to water chestnuts in texture when consumed raw

roast like other root vegetables, they have a waxy, nutty type flavour when cooked

pesto  I prefer them raw and my favourite way to eat them is to treat them like a nut and use them as a substitute for them in dishes like that

So next time you see them don’t walk past pick them up and add some more variety into your diet today 

Jerusalem artichokes

Jerusalem artichokes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The nutritional value of corn in plentiful and there is a good reason it has been grown for centuries by different cultures. As a complex carbohydrate, corn gives a sustained amount of energy but is low in fat.


Aids digestion The insoluble fiber present in corn doesn’t break down in the digestive tract and thereby helps to bulk up stools and retain more water, making it easier to pass through the intestines

Prevents birth-defects The folic acid, a B vitamin which is abundantly found in corn, is known to prevent neural-tube birth defects that causes fetal brain and spine deformations. Eating corn can help pregnant women meet their folic acid requirements, which is most important in the first month of pregnancy

Energy As a complex carbohydrate, corn gives a sustained amount of energy. Corn has a low glycemic index, causing a slow rise in blood sugar levels and a steady and consistent release of energy

Regulates moods The folic acid found in corn is suspected to reduce homocysteine levels, which are found in larger amount in people with depression, especially when taken with other B vitamins.  The effect folic acid has on homocysteine levels also has been linked to the prevention of heart disease


Low in calories  With only 125 calories per cup, corn has a low calorie count while benefiting energy levels, making it an ideal food choice when trying to reduce weight


Face scrub Corn meal makes for an excellent face scrub against oily skin. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and combine with corn meal to make a paste. Massage into the skin gently, staying away from the eyes, and rinse thoroughly.


Corn on the cob  simple and nutritious, is an essential addition to any summer barbecue. A nice dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and herbs will complement the flavors of corn well

Make a refreshing salad out of corn by mixing it with avocado, coriander and tomatoes. This Mexican style salad is great with a dressing make from lemon juice, olive oil and garlic

Corn tortillas are a great way to eat corn. Fill them with your favorite meat or vegetables. I love making them with roasted pumpkin, spicy salsa and crumbled fetta

A soup made with corn and coconut pairs well with prawns or topped with shallots

Use fresh or frozen corn kernels, a can of coconut milk and some salt and green curry paste for flavour. You can eat it blended or chunky

Polenta cornmeal is fantastic with cooked chicken stock and a little parmesan and butter as an accompaniment starch for bowl food and vegetarian option

Cornflour and polenta are great thickeners or bases for gluten free baking

And good old fashion popcorn, popped in a little rice bran oil with roasted cumin and sea salt a delightful low fat healthy snack



Bean sprouts are the first edible growth of a plant and can be grown quickly and easily from dried beans. This makes them an ideal food during times of crisis or food shortage. When selecting beans, be sure to buy beans that are specially prepared for sprouting. Using bulk dried seeds that are not intended for sprouting will result in only a few beans sprouting while the others ferment and ruin the entire batch.With Vitamins A, B, C, and E
Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, All Essential Amino Acids and  making them an excellent choice

Bean sprouts are high in protein, offering up more protein per gram than leafy green vegetables such as spinach or kale. Soybean sprouts are actually 28 percent protein, which is more than meat (19 percent) and eggs (13 percent)


Immune System Bean sprouts contain around 14 mg of vitamin C per 1-cup serving. Vitamin C keeps you healthy by helping your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses

Anti Oxidant fights free radicals that damage your cells. Damage from free radicals can lead to chronic diseases, such as cancer

Low Glycemic Index Sprouts are low on the glycemic index, which means that they will not cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar

Healthy Cells, Tissues and Organs Bean sprouts are naturally high in a mineral called potassium that is needed for proper functions of all cells, tissues and organs. Potassium is an elecrolyte, meaning it helps pass electricity through your body.This process assists your heart beat and makes your muscles contract

Weight loss

Low calories A serving of bean sprouts accounts for less than 2 percent of your total calories for the entire day. If you are trying to lose or maintain your body weight, filling your plate with bean sprouts will fill you up without making you feel guilty

High Fiber Including bean sprouts in your diet may help maintain your weight, since they contain fiber. Fibrous foods, like bean sprouts, take longer for you to chew. Your body will register that it is full sooner, which can prevent overeating. Your body cannot break down fiber, so it sits in your gut and helps move food along, causing you to feel full for a long time after eating


Collagen Your body utilizes vitamin C to make collagen, an important component that helps wounds heal and keep skin strong and taught. In addition to this, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals that damage your cells


Use mung, soy, garbanzo, kidney, pinto,black turtle and adzuki beans

A fantastic addition to flavour some broth style soups to add some crunch to finish

Sensational in stir fries, a great way to add extra protein in a veggie, tofu, black bean and cashew nut and other combinations you may like

Add to wraps, tarts and rolls for texture and variety

Zing up a salad with these tasty treats or why not make a salad with a variety of sprouts i.e soy, mung and lentil sprout salad

A fabulous way to sexy up little party starters, use them in rice paper rolls,a garnish for mini goat cheese tartlets, add to mini salads for a change or simply use in place of herbs to garnish

“Invest in a sprouter today and save on your wallet as well as your waist”


When it comes to cooking you may feel that its more expensive than buying takeaway, In the long run what you save on your health and well-being it is definitely not. If you are smart and with some planning it can actually cost you way less

Learning to cook, increasing your confidence and repertoire of dishes will help you cook on a budget. You can learn to cook by ingredients you have rather than by recipe. You buy healthy ingredients that are on special and take them home see what else you have and learn to cook with what you have

Convenience foods are tempting when you’re in a hurry. They are generally less healthy and more expensive. Luckily, you don’t need be a Chef, just start with simple recipes that require a few ingredients and build up a repertoire of these that you can repeat and learn to improvise with what you have. Soon you should find that cooking from scratch is just as quick and easy as preparing prepackaged meals

Shop weekly and shop by yourself with a list of needs, not wants, go to a range of shops and buy dry goods when they are on special, don’t wait until you run out, buy non brand items, check value for money on products based on pr kilo price keep a clean well maintained dry store area.

Buy whats in season and preserve, cook and freeze, dry fruit and vegetables. This will give you variety all year round at a good price. You can specifically ask your grocer if they have any seconds at a reduced price.My locals have 2nds boxes. You can pick up for 3.00 each all you need to do is work with them within a day or two of shopping to save

Grow your own  I live in a sensational climate and grow alot of my own, you can too, just be sure to grow whats suitable to your climate, I grow a lot of edible greens sno pea tendrils, nasturtium leaves, rocket, wintercress, watercress, butter and cos lettuce to name a few and herbs which are costly at the supermarket but have them fresh to pick out of my own garden, now I feel ripped off if I have to buy them,. Choose to grow for your climate, harvest and preserve goods at the peak of the season

Go meatless 3 times a week not only will you save your pocket, you will also improve your health. try adding some of these items into your pantry for some extra variety 

Tofu, Tempeh and other soy products

Quinoa (pronounced KEENwah or kee-NOH-uh)

Whole Grains such as brown rice, barley, buckwheat eat them with these items to get a balance of the correct amino acids, beans, lentils, peanuts and  peas

Legumes or Pulses
Kidney, garbanzo/chickpeas, white, black, pinto, edamame and lentils are just a few of various beans available, again they lack some amino acids so they need to be eaten with whole grains as above

Eggs and Dairy  there are plenty of healthy dishes you can make with these items, Greek style yoghurt is higher in protein and lower in sodium and carbohydrates than other yogurt but higher in fat so not too much (make your own), choose free range eggs they are also higher in protein but again not too many

Buy in bulk and share amongst your friends. Invest in a sprouter, yoghurt maker, food dryer, domestic cryvac machine and extra freezer space if you need too. they will very soon pay for themselves

“So get to it and start shaving away at your budget and your waistline today”


Cass with beach in backroundIn an era where resolutions are thrown around fairly easily with limited commitment NOW is your opportunity to stop and truly start fresh for 2014. As the greatest advocate for all things healthy my New Year’s tips are as follows.


1. Make a commitment to follow what you commit too

2. Make small sustainable changes, a glass of warm water and lemon juice first thing to kick start your liver, if you are a coffee drinker and take sugar, remove the sugar.

3. Get some true balance in life, rest and relaxation are no longer a benefit they are mandatory to having a healthy mind and body

4. A walk each day is better than a huge work out once a week; pick a beach, national park, mountain or coffee strip on the coast to mix it up

5. Above all keep the food balance in check, if it is normally fried make it grilled, if its wine each day try making it a spritzer (with soda). Reduce your red meat intake and ensure you have oily fish at least twice a week. Keep the fruit and vegetables to five serves a day it really is not hard. If dessert is your must have, try cutting it back to twice a week instead of every day. Consider fruit based desserts and treats over refined sugar

6. If you smoke just bloody stop you cannot imagine the damage it does to not only you but to those you leave behind when you’re dead. Sounds dramatic see the statistics.

7.Take control of your garden, we all have a pot with something in it, try the addition of fresh herbs in your diet and maybe the odd pot or two with salad greens, mix it up nasturtium, rocket, watercress, purslane are all good It will not only assist in relaxing you but also helps with the budget.

8. Forget the nightly news and listen to some passive music, it truly helps with the relaxing mode. Let’s face it we live in heaven lets at least try and enjoy it. Happy New Year.

Cassandra Austin