Banana Berry Nice-Cream

Since spring has finally sprung in Australia and the weather is warming up, I thought it was time to play around with some yummy healthy nice-cream recipes for you all to enjoy.

When I’m trying to create healthy treats, the last thing I feel like doing is messing around with loads of ingredients, and making the recipe too complicated. If I make it too complicated, I know the chances of me making it again are slim. I also want you guys to be able to make it yourself without having to spend a fortune on heaps of ingredients. That’s why this particular ‘nice-cream’ only includes 4 ingredients! As usual, I got Chris to taste test this one for me, and thankfully he gave it the tick of approval. So not only is it super easy to make, but also tastes delicious.

Enjoy!

Banana Berry Nice-Cream (serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 tsp honey

Method:

Pour the almond milk into a blender, followed by the bananas, strawberries, and honey. Blend mixture until smooth, and transfer to a container. Allow the mixture to freeze for 1-2 hours. Be careful not to freeze it for too long, otherwise it will become icy and hard. You want it to be a nice, soft, creamy consistency. Serve with some fresh fruit, or toppings of your choice and enjoy!

If you guys loved this and want to create something similar, check out my recipe for mango and raspberry sorbet, over in the recipe column.

Let me know in the comments if there are any other healthy treats you would like me to create – especially heading into summer!

Don’t forget to click ‘follow blog’ so you never miss out on a post from me.

The Healthy Mermaid x

What I Eat In A Day, And Why

I have a lot of friends ask me what type of foods I eat in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so I thought it was about time I write a blog post about this topic, and provide some insight into what I typically eat throughout the day, and why.
When I first started my health and fitness journey, I thought the only way to lose weight was to go on a diet and exercise like crazy. Yes, I was THAT person who thought that carbs were the enemy, and I had to stop eating bread if I ever wanted to get the body I always dreamed of. You live, and you learn! While nutrition and exercise are key in creating a healthy body, I have come to realise that no particular food should be considered ‘the enemy’. Obviously everyone is different, and certain bodies react differently to different foods. It’s important to find what works best for you, and unfortunately that can mean a lot of trial and error. When I tried cutting out carbs, I was not enjoying my meals. I never felt satisfied after I ate, which led me to binge and over eat on weekends. This was not healthy, or maintainable.
I feel as though I have finally found a healthy balance for myself. I like to think my diet consists of 80% healthy foods, and the remaining 20% I keep for pasta, cheese, and wine. Some weeks it’s more like 60/40, but hey, that’s life! Nobody is perfect, so please don’t ever beat yourself up for indulging in treats here and there. I also believe a workout should never be punishment for something you ate. Part of being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to find activities you love. That could mean yoga, running, lifting weights, or hiking, just find a workout that doesn’t feel like a chore. I have days myself where I don’t feel like doing my Kayla Itsines workout, or I don’t feel like going to yoga. I don’t force myself to do it, instead I might go for a walk and listen to some music. Just get your body moving, and do something that you find enjoyable.
Sorry for my little rant. I know you’re probably all thinking ‘just hurry up and show me pictures of food’, but I think these things are important to remember. There is no ‘quick fix’ to living a healthy and maintainable lifestyle.

OK, OK, I’ll finally get to it. Here is my ‘What I Eat in a Day’

 

Breakfast: I have been obsessed with smoothies for a while now, and I’ve been having one for breakfast nearly everyday for about a month. I get in these weird habits of having the same thing for breakfast, first it was chia puddings, then oats, and now I’ve moved on to smoothies. I generally go with things that are easy, and don’t take too long to prepare. This smoothie was pretty basic, but it’s delicious and fills me up. I also had a green tea when I first woke up, but I was too sleepy to bother taking a photo of it.

CHOCOLATE PROTEIN SMOOTHIE:

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 banana 
  • 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds

I know some people find avocado in smoothies a little weird, but it makes the consistency so creamy! It also means you’re adding a great source of healthy fats to your breakfast, which helps keep you fuller for longer. I always add chia seeds to all my breakfasts, because they are a great source of fibre. A little trick I’ve learnt, is to add chia seeds to your water throughout the day, as it helps keep your appetite satisfied.

 

Snack 1: Sometimes for my morning snack I’ll have a piece of fruit or something, but I was feeling pretty good after my breakfast so I decided to just have a coffee with almond milk. I find a coffee is good snack for me when I know I’m going to do a workout after. I don’t drink pre-workout, so a caffeine hit is always a good way to give me a bit of a boost.

 

Lunch: I always need a carb/protein based lunch after I’ve worked out. Especially if I’ve had an intense session, I need something super filling. These were Falafel Whole Wheat Wraps, filled with lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumber, hummus, cheese, and BBQ sauce. I don’t have the exact recipe for the falafels, I just kind of throw all the ingredients together and hope for the best. But they were made out of chickpeas, garlic, lemon, parsley, cumin, and flour. I also made the hummus myself out of leftover chickpeas, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and sesame seed oil – normally you would use tahini paste, but I haven’t been able to find it in Indonesia, so I use sesame seed oil instead. Once I figure the exact measurements for both, I will post the recipe for you guys.

 

Snack 2: I don’t know about you guys, but I always need a snack to tie me over before dinner. Blue Dinosaur bars are my favourite snack at the moment. They are DELICIOUS! You can buy these from most health food shops in Australia, and online. I brought a bunch back with me after my last trip home, I’m quite sad because now I only have two left. This Lamington is by far my favourite. It actually tastes similar to a proper Lamington. The great thing about Blue Dinosaur, is that all of their bars are made out of 100% natural ingredients. If any of my Aussie friends want to try them out, I also recommend the Sour Cherry, and Brazilian flavour, they’re the bomb!

 

Dinner: Chris and I try to keep our dinners pretty simple, so we quite often make dinners that include a source of protein, with salad or veggies. I’m not a massive meat-eater, and steak is not my favourite, but I have always struggled with low iron levels so Chris makes sure I have red meat a couple of times a week (he’s a good husband!) Living in Indonesia means we do eat out a lot, because it’s cheaper than buying groceries. If we eat out through the week, we still try to eat somewhat healthy, we’ll often opt for Sushi because it’s light and delicious. However, we generally will make something a bit heartier later in the week like a curry, or a pasta.

 

Dessert: I probably shouldn’t call this a dessert, because to me it’s more of a late night snack. I was feeling a little peckish after dinner, and there’s something about watching TV before bed that makes me want a snack. It’s a tough habit to break out of. But I have found having a green tea after dinner, and some Loving Earth chocolate (100% natural) helps subside any sweet cravings. Don’t get me wrong, come Thursday night I generally will want, and have, a glass of red wine while we watch the latest episode of Suits. As long as I don’t over indulge, I don’t find this to be a problem.

I also should note, that I try and drink between 3-4 litres of water a day. Hydration is so important, and if you’re feeling hungry even after you’ve finished a meal, it could be because you haven’t had enough water. I keep a bottle of water on me when ever I can, otherwise I would honestly forget to drink water. 

At the end of the day, I think the key to a healthy and balanced lifestyle is simplicity. The best advice I’ve been given is – ‘workout, eat well, be patient, and your body will reward you. It really is that simple!

The Healthy Mermaid x

I Had Another Weird Yoga Experience

I hadn’t been to yoga in about a month, so I thought I better set my alarm early and get my butt to my usual Tuesday morning class. When I got to the gym, I found out that a new yoga class had replaced my regular one. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, and was keen to bust out my inner Yogi (a girl can dream).

My usual class is generally very small, I don’t think I’ve seen more than 7 people in it. This class wasn’t small, it was full. Very, very full! I was immediately intimidated. The only yoga classes I’ve ever taken have been here in Indonesia, so I really have nothing to compare them to, aside from the gorgeous yoga girls I secretly stalk on Instagram. What I’m about to tell you could very well be a normal occurrence in a yoga class. Like I said, my yoga knowledge is pretty much zilch!

Now it’s important to understand that obviously being in Indonesia, the class isn’t taught in English. I generally have no idea what the instructor is saying throughout the class, so I just watch and copy what everyone else is doing. The first exercise commenced, I watched and followed as she raised one arm up very slowly. I then watched as the instructor, along with everyone else, placed their thumb on one of their nostrils. The next thing I knew the ENTIRE class started exhaling air out of their free nostril, quickly and repeatedly. This went on for a good solid 10 Minutes, as we kept switching arms and nostrils, exhaling loudly. Still sitting, we then raised our legs and arms straight out in front of ourselves, balancing just on our bums, as the entire class started breathing heavily again. The ‘hee hoo, hee hoo’ went on for what felt like an eternity, it was so loud, that for a minute I thought I was in a Lamaze Class. If I didn’t feel so uncomfortable, I probably would have started laughing.

Now, I’m not judging because this could very well be totally normal, and a common yoga practice. But for me, it was weird and I had no idea what was going on. Thankfully the heavy breathing eventually subsided, and we made our way into yoga poses I was actually aware of.

As weird as the first part of the class was for me, it ended up being a really intense workout that went for about an hour and a half. I pushed my body to limits that I didn’t think was even possible, and my muscles are still aching as I type this. Each and every yoga class I go to, I am still so impressed by what my instructor and fellow classmates are able to do with their bodies. For anyone who thinks yoga ‘isn’t a real workout’, I urge you to take a class, I promise you it will totally kick your arse!

Even though I started the class feeling intimidated and uncomfortable, I’m really glad that my usual class has changed. Sometimes we need to be pushed out of our comfort zones so we can prove to ourselves that we are capable of more.

Also, if there are any yogis out there, please tell me if what I experienced was normal or not. It would be much appreciated. And if it’s not normal, at least I know what I’ve gotten myself into for next week.

The Healthy Mermaid x

Family, Friends, and Most Importantly… Food!

I’m sorry for my absence, but I took a few weeks off to travel back to Australia and visit my family and friends. I am currently settling back into Indonesian life, but I wanted to share a little insight into my recent trip home.

When I arrived back home, everybody kept asking me what I wanted to do while I was here. I realised that my main response always involved food (what else is new!) I generally lead a very healthy and balanced lifestyle, so when I’m away I do like to stay somewhat active, whether it means walking around and checking out the sights, or jumping at the chance to do a boxing class with my besties. However, I definitely don’t stress about what type of foods I’ve eaten, or how many glasses of wine I’ve consumed. Because at the end of the day, holidays, and life in general are meant to be enjoyed.

Now don’t get me wrong, Indonesia is full of amazing exotic foods, but sometimes, there’s just no place like home. And let’s be honest, there’s no better way to spend time with your family and friends than over a delicious meal. I guess you never realise how good you have it until you move away. So, I decided that I MUST try to eat at as many places I could manage. That’s when ‘Project Eat My Way Through Newcastle’ was created.

Because I’m an avid believer that ‘life is all about balance’, I wanted to include a mixture of great health food cafe’s, along with hearty comfort foods. I couldn’t possibly write about every single place that I went to during my visit, so sadly I had to narrow it down to my absolute favourite places to eat around Newcastle, and the Hunter.

First up is Core Espresso, which is located on Darby Street in Newcastle. My friend Sam recommended this cafe to me so we decided to go there for brekkie after our BUF Girls Boxing Class. This cafe definitely delivered the goods! I ordered a Long Black with almond milk, followed by a Nutella Chia Pudding. Oh. My. God. It was amazing. Not only was the chia pudding itself delicious, it was topped with fresh strawberries, banana, granola, and the most important topping of all… Nutella! The menu at Core Espresso is every health foodies dream. They also accommodate to any dietary requirements, and offer almond, coconut, and macadamia milk as dairy replacements. It is a great little cafe right in the heart of Newcastle, and I can’t wait to go back and try more off their menu.

Core Espresso Girls Buf Session

My Husband, Sister, and Brother-in-law ended up at Peterson House for an unplanned lunch one Sunday afternoon, after someone (me) left their handbag in Maitland so instead of heading out to Nelson Bay for lunch, we found ourselves in the Hunter Valley. Peterson House is located in the beautiful vineyards of the Hunter Valley, so you get an amazing view with your lunch. I have been to Peterson’s a few times in the past, and the food and service has always been outstanding. Not to mention, they also have a chocolate shop next to the restaurant. I ordered a Beetroot & Ricotta Gnocchi with cherry tomatoes, feta, and roasted almonds. I’m a sucker for any sort of pasta dish and always carry high expectations, this one did not disappoint. My sister also ordered the same meal, and was equally impressed. After lunch, we moved to their outside deck where they now have an oyster bar. Even though we were full from our lunch, we couldn’t not order a little seafood platter, and another cheeky glass of bubbly. The seafood was so fresh and tasty, we enjoyed it happily with our glass of champagne while listening to a local band play.

Peterson's House Peterson's House 2

The Little Nel Cafe which is in Nelson Bay, was one of my favourite finds. Chris and I decided to have breakfast here one morning before we hiked up Tomaree Mountain. Similar to Core Espresso, The Little Nel offered loads of vegan and gluten-free options. I went with their Acai Plate, yes that’s right, not and Acai Bowl, an Acai PLATE. This was the most original take on the super trendy acai bowl that I’ve come across. The acai itself was in the form of a mousse, which was then topped with a coconut cloud, puffed black rice, quinoa, and nut granola. It was incredible! At first I thought that the rice was a weird extra, but it worked so well and added a nice crunchy texture. The coconut cloud was probably my favourite part, and I would love to know how they did this. It was icy and refreshing. With our bellies nice and satisfied, we were able to conquer Tomaree Mountain.

Little Nel Chris and I

This next place I’m going to talk about is mine and Chris’ all time favourite place in Newcastle, and is located on Hunter Street. All of our friends and family will know exactly where I’m talking about… it’s The Happy Wombat. When Chris and I were living in Sydney, every time we could come back to Newcastle for a weekend we would always go to The Happy Wombat. For real, we would go to the Wombat before we went and saw our family. The love is real. This trip home was no exception. We both ordered our go-to’s – Veggie Tacos for me, Chicken Tacos for Chris. Of course we couldn’t eat our tacos without one of their amazing craft beers, which are always on tap. My other recommendations to try at The Happy Wombat, apart from the tacos of course, is the Pulled Pork Sliders, Pork Belly Bites (mouth-watering!), Arancini of the Day, Chilli Squid, and the Cuban Sandwich. It’s actually difficult for me to narrow the menu down, because honestly, it’s all too delicious. Between the food and the service at The Happy Wombat, it’s impossible not to be happy!

Happy Wombat

Another health foodies dream, and another favourite discovery of mine was Clean Eats and Healthy Treats which is located on Stockton Street in Nelson Bay. I was so excited to find this place because their main focus is creating healthy raw cakes and treats. They also offer smoothies, smoothie bowls, salads, and loads of other healthy goodies. I tried their Raw Snickers Cake, I couldn’t believe how good it tasted and how similar it was to an actual Snickers bar. The cake was so good, I HAD to take two more home for later. The other two that I took home with me were a Gooey Caramel, and a Cookies and Cream cake. They were just as yummy. The best thing about these cakes is that they satisfy your sweet cravings without being too rich and leaving you feeling sick after. If you guys are ever in Nelson Bay, definitely check them out.

Clean Eats 3 Clean Eats Clean Eats 2

If you’re looking for a complete cultural experience look no further, because Habesha is where it’s at! Habesha specialises in traditional Ethiopian cuisine and it is a true experience the minute you walk through the door. Because Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten with your hands, Habesha perform a hand washing ceremony before you are served your dishes. Along with your meals, you receive a flat bread which is called Injera, it is a soft and spongy crepe-like bread that you tear off and use as your utensil. The dishes themselves were full of flavour, and packed a punch! Between the four of us, Chris, Sarah, Matt, and myself, we ordered the Miser Wot (Red Lentils), Siga Wot (Beef), Yesega Tibs (Beef), and Ye Beg Alicha (Lamb) – every dish was as delicious as the last. They also have an extensive vegetarian menu which I wished I could’ve eaten my way through. The whole experience was just a good time, and the four of us left with full and happy bellies.

Habesha 2 Habesha

No holiday back home is complete without a night out with your girls. Thankfully for me, my friends are avid foodies just like me. So when it came to decide where we would go, they knew just the right place, Barcito on Beaumont Street, Hamilton. Barcito serves Latin and South American inspired dishes, and also holds an Argentinian BBQ every Sunday. From the cocktails, to the wine, to the food, the girls were right, this place was amazing! Our table was full of Empanadas, Provoleta, Tostados, and Entrana, with delicious sides of Potatoes and Green’s with Puffed Quinoa. Nothing is better than catching up with your friends over some amazing wine and food.

Before I show you the photo from Barcito, I need to mention the lengths we went to in order to snap it. You don’t always have the best lighting in restaurants, but I knew I needed to write about Barcito on my blog, and NEEDED a good pic to accompany the story. So my friends, being the awesome friends that they are, took it upon themselves to help me get that ‘must needed photo’. Erin, Tanika, and Sam all held up their phone torches, while Morgan, who has much longer arms and reach than my little T-rex ones do, snapped the epic food pic. I can’t imagine how we looked to the other patrons and staff, but I must admit it was pretty hilarious how committed to getting the picture we were.

Barcito 3

All in all, I would say that ‘Project Eat My Through Newcastle’ was a smashing success. I would highly recommend trying any of these places if you haven’t already. Not only did I discover great restaurants, but I also realised that great experiences generally are created by great company.

The Healthy Mermaid x

 

 

13 minute Ab Blaster

Abs is probably my favourite muscle group to work out, call me crazy, but I just love the feeling of a good ab workout. So I decided I would create my own little mini ab circuit to share with you all. I’ve designed this workout to hit different sections of your core, giving you a complete ab workout in a short time. It may only be 13 minutes, but trust me your abs WILL be burning!

You can do this workout at home or at the gym. You won’t need any equipment, but I would recommend using a yoga mat if you have one just so you’re a little more comfortable.

13 minute Ab Blaster :

  • Toe Taps – 30 reps
  • Russian Twists – 30 reps (15 each side)
  • Mountain Climbers – 40 reps
  • V-ups – 20 reps
  • Ankle Taps – 30 reps (15 each side)
  • Leg Raises – 20 reps
  • Butterfly Kicks – 30 reps
  • Reverse Crunches – 20 reps

1 min break, and repeat!

I’ll give you a quick breakdown of each exercise and how to do them, just in case I have any beginners out there –

Toe Taps:

Lay on your back and raise your legs, lifting from your core try do a sit-up like movement and try to touch your toes.

 

Russian Twists:

Sit down on your mat, lift and bend your legs slightly off the ground. Place your hands together, balancing with your core move your body from left to right in slow fluid movements. You can place your feet on the ground if it’s too difficult to balance.

Russian Twists

 

Mountain Climbers:

Set yourself up in a plank position and raise one leg at a time up to your mid section. Alternate each leg in a fluid motion.

Mountain Climbers

 

V-ups:

Lay down flat on your back. Raise your legs and arms together until they meet in the centre of your body. Try and keep your legs and arms as straight as you can. If you want to make this exercise a little easier, you can keep your legs bent.

 

Ankle Taps:

Lay down on your back with your legs bent. Slightly raise your upper body and slowly slide from left to right tapping your ankles one at a time.

 

Leg Raises:

Lay down flat on your back and slowly raise your legs up and down. To make this exercises easier you can bend your legs, or place your hands just under your bum to make it easier to raise your legs.

Leg Raises

 

Butterfly Kicks:

Lay flat on your back and raise your legs slightly off the ground, keeping them a few inches apart. Keep your arms by your side, and make fast scissor-like movements with your legs, alternating them each time.

Butterfly Kicks

 

Reverse Crunches:

Lay on your back with your hands behind your head, as you would a regular sit-up. With your legs bent, bring them towards your mid section and back down, try not to let your feet touch the ground. To make this exercise more challenging, when you bring your legs up, try lifting your hips at the same time.

Frog Crunches 2

If you want to make this workout more of a challenge, set up a timer and try to beat 13 minutes.

If you would like to see more workouts like this, give this post a like, and don’t forget to hit ‘follow’ so you never miss a blog post from me.

The Healthy Mermaid x

 

Raw Lemon & Coconut Cake

I realise I’ve been a little MIA the last couple of weeks. However, the last two weeks have given me a chance to get very excited about what I’m sharing with you today, and trust me, this is a GOOD one.

As you are all aware by now, I love desserts. It’s pretty much that simple. For a long time now, I’ve been saying to myself that I will make one of my own fancy raw cakes that I see allllllll over Instagram. I am proud to say…I finally did it! I promise you this recipe does not disappoint! As usual, I forced my husband to taste test this cake, he’s exact words were ‘this is delicious’, and, ‘it tastes like one of those Sara Lee cakes’. When your husband reacts like that, you know you’ve got a winner.

So please enjoy the following…

Raw Lemon and Coconut Cake (serves 8)

Ingredients:

Base –

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Filling –

  • 2 cups cashews (soaked)
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 lemon (squeezed)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt

 

Directions:

Firstly, spray a cake pan with coconut or olive oil spray and set aside. To make the base, place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and mix until you get a crumbly consistency. Once blended pour mixture into your pan or dish, pressing down on the mixture in order to spread it evenly and to ensure no cracks.

For the filling, you need to soak the cashews before hand. This is so they become nice and soft, and easier to blend. I soaked mine in water overnight, but I have been told that you can soak them in boiling water and leave for an hour or so if you don’t have a lot of time. To make the filling, squeeze your lemon into your blender along with the coconut cream, cashews, honey, and sea salt. Blend until a smooth consistency. I recommend giving the filling a bit of a taste here, and decide whether or not you want to add a little more coconut or lemon. I squeezed a little more lemon juice into mine just because I love citrus flavoured desserts. Once you are happy with the taste, pour filling over the base spreading evenly with a spatula.

Place the cake in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 4 hours (or until set), to speed up the setting time pop the cake in the freezer for at least an hour, or again, until set. Once the cake is set, serve and enjoy! I served mine with some raspberries, dried coconut, and crushed almonds. Sooooo good!

I think this will be a dessert I stick with for a while now. I loved making it because it wasn’t overly complicated, and I didn’t need to mess around with too many ingredients. It’s basically a great dessert for lazy girls who want to be healthy…AKA, me.

The Healthy Mermaid x