heavenly, healthy chocolate (sweet potato) brownies

sweet potato brownies_lifelovetravelfood

A recipe by request and this is one I’m more than happy to share. In high school, chocolate brownies were my signature dish. I made them so often, I got seriously sick of them and even back then, the amount of sugar and butter in them made me feel a bit ill!

Enter the sweet potato brownie – vegan, dairy-free, wheat-free (can be gluten-free too) egg-free and refined sugar free. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it… to give you an example, I made these for my Dad, brother-in-law and husband, and didn’t tell them what was in them until AFTER they all declared they liked them. And I promise you, none of them sugar-coat their feelings about my healthy cooking – they can all be BRUTALLY honest! So let’s get to it – if you make them, please let me know and tag me on Facebook or instagram cause I’d LOVE to get your feedback!

Sweet potato brownies
Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella

sweet potato brownies_lifelovetravelfood
YES! It even LOOKS like a real brownie!
@lifelovetravelfood

 

What you’ll need…
500g sweet potatoes (about two medium)
* 20 dried, pitted dates (or 12 medjool dates)
* 100g ground almonds
* 100g oats (use gluten-free oats for a fully gluten-free brownie)
* 6 tbsp x raw cacao powder
* 2 tbsp x melted coconut oil
* 3 tbsp x pure maple syrup
* a pinch of salt

for the icing…
2 tbsp x coconut oil
* 2 tbsp x almond butter (or pure peanut butter)
* 2 tbsp x maple syrup
* 2 tbsp x cacao powder

Now what…

Pre-heat oven to 180oC (fan forced). Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks and place in a steamer to cook for around 15-20 minutes or until really soft.

If using dried dates, soak in boiling water for 10 minutes then drain and discard the liquid.

Once the sweet potato is cooked, add to a food processor along with the dates and blitz to combine. Add the remaining brownie ingredients and blitz again until well combined (mostly so the oats have combined well).

Place into a lined baking pan and cook for about 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Check them after 35 minutes as you don’t want to overcook them.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about ten minutes – don’t skip this step because the brownies need time to cool and stick together.

While the brownies are cooling, make the icing by simply melting the ingredients in the microwave and stirring well to combine. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, then into the fridge for a further 15 minutes to firm up.

sweet potato brownies_lifelovetravelfood
You’re welcome
@lifelovetravelfood

Remove the brownies from the pan and leave to cool completely before icing. Spread the icing on top, cut into squares and try not to eat the entire batch in one sitting.

sweet potato brownies_lifelovetravelfood
Two pieces missing… for quality testing purposes of course
@lifelovetravelfood

* This recipe is originally by Deliciously Ella – I have just amended the recipe as I found the original too sweet but I definitely cannot take credit for these amazing beauties!

ENJOY!

Love Dan xx

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become a (grocery) label addict

I am a label addict. I love my brands. Not clothes, shoes or handbags (although I wouldn’t say no to some genuine LV luggage or a Chloe handbag if one was on offer). Grocery labels. Yeah, my early twenties-me would be disgusted that I now spend more time perusing the back of tins than I do flicking through Vogue (of which I’ve had a copy on my coffee table for three months and haven’t even opened it).

Picture this – you decide to be amazing and make something from scratch so you know exactly what’s in it… until you realise all your so called natural ingredients are full of additives, stabilisers, sugar, salt and other random things. It kind of makes you wonder why you bothered cooking from scratch in the first place! Grocery shopping can be expensive and labels are SO confusing so it pays to know what you’re looking for when trying to eat healthy.

I have been a label addict for years now so I know which brands I love and which ones make me angry. Almond milk, for example, is one of the most overly processed things out there and often contains more added sugar than almonds – whaaaat?! I’m so passionate about it, once I even had a disagreement with a very snotty barista , who took offence when I asked what almond milk they used and it was a brand I didn’t like. But that’s a story for another time. And he was very rude by the way!

So, I’m here to give you just some of my favourite pantry brands and for the record, I am NOT getting paid by these brands (I WISH). I’m recommending these because I have done my research and read the labels to find the best, most natural options out there for a healthier, happier pantry.

Apologies some of the pictures are really small but if you want to read the labels in more detail, just click on the photo.

Oh and here’s some motivation to keep on reading, I’ve got a discount code for you at the end for one of my favourite brands 🙂

Tinned tomatoes – Annalisa: This is a pantry must-have for me. I am NEVER without a few tins in my pantry! Frustratingly, I have not found an Aussie brand that doesn’t contain salt, sugar or some kind of preservative so, I choose Annalisa and the best part about these is they often come on special so I stock up when they do!

Annalisa tomatoes_lifelovetravelfood
100% tomatoes. No added salt or preservatives.
Image from Woolworths online

Tomato paste – Leggo’s or Aldi organic: This should be 100% tomatoes. Nothing else. The brands I choose are Leggo’s ‘no added salt’ or Aldi’s organic range. Aldi features a lot in this post. Aldi is coming up with the goods!

tomato paste_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Just tomatoes!
Top image from Woolworths online

Coconut milk and cream – Ayam: This is one of my absolute favourite brands. Just coconut and water – as it should be. I will admit, it is expensive, and have recently discovered the Homebrand version is just as good so I may be converted! And just for the record, I prefer to buy the full-fat version of coconut milk and cream – otherwise you’re just paying for more water! One negative on the Aldi front… I bought their coconut milk and cream and to be honest, I found the taste really awful. They’re good on the ingredients  but not so much on taste.

coconut milk_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Coconut and water people, that’s all it needs to be!

Curry paste – Ayam: I wish I could say I always make my own curry paste. I know it tastes SO much better when I do, but honestly, I do NOT have the time! So, my brand of choice is again, Ayam. I can pronounce and understand all the ingredients, it does contain some palm oil and a little sugar, but all the other ingredients are herbs and spices and genuine curry paste ingredients, so I’m ok with that.

Curry paste grid_lifelovetravelfood
Not perfect, but for convenience and taste, this brand is my pick
Images from google

Noodles – Pandaroo: These brown rice noodles (I can only find them at Woolworths in the Asian section) are my favourite! 100% brown rice – how good is that?! I’ve recently discovered black bean noodles and sweet potato noodles – I just love when there’s only one ingredient!

rice noodles_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Brown rice only!

Peanut butter – Sanitarium natural peanut butter: Step AWAY from the nasty peanut butters! Ugh, there are SO many additives in ‘regular’ peanut butter! Especially sugar – yuck! I make my own, however Sanitarium does a great 100% peanuts version. Yes, that’s all peanut butter should be! It’s usually found in the health food section, if it’s not with all the other disgusting sugar-salt-chemical filled spreads!

peanut butter_lifelovetravelfood
100% peanuts. NO SUGAR!!
Image from Woolworths online

Coconut water / poppers– H2Coco: I love coconut water for smoothies and rehydrating if I’ve had… umm… a few too many drinks the night before. My
go-to brand is H2Coco, because it’s 100% coconut water and it tastes delicious. They also have flavoured varieties which are great if you like things a little sweeter (I’m not a massive fan, personally) again, all natural and no additives. I am lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for H2Coco but I PROMISE you, I was a fan before we started collaborating.

H2coco_lunchbox_lifelovetravelfood
H2coco lunchbox range – all pure and full of goodness
Image from H2coco

If you’re looking for kids juices/poppers for lunch boxes, H2Coco has just brought out a lunchbox range. I would never, and will never, promote something I don’t believe is good for my son, so I am happy to spruke their poppers range. H LOVES the H2Melonwater one (100% watermelon juice) and the little coconut water poppers. My personal favourite is the coffee coconut water, and for all you chocolate lovers out there, there’s a healthy chocolate one too – tastes like chocolate milk without the tummy ache afterwards!

Desiccated coconut – Aldi: Not exactly something you’d think you need to read the label of! But most supermarket brands have additives in them so I was thrilled to discover the Aldi brand doesn’t! It’s always in a bit of an obscure place, not with the flours and sugars – I usually find it on top of the freezer section.

coconut_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Good for you Aldi! The best brand I’ve found!

Yogurt – Farmer’s Union or Tamar Valley: I’m a big advocate for buying plain, Greek yogurt and adding your own fruit/flavours too. Sugar is WAY too high up on the flavoured yogurt ingredient list for my liking. And this way, you’re not committing yourself to 1kg of one flavour! Add some pure vanilla, berries, banana, fresh mango – endless options and much healthier choices. The brands I’m recommending are my favourite for ingredients AND taste. Oh, and buy full cream – low-fat has nasty added sugar and natural yogurt is often very tart and not as enjoyable (but that’s my opinion!) I have recently started making my own yogurt and my clever friend T taught me how to make it without having to use the yogurt makers own packet mix so it’s cheaper and healthier – win!

yogurt_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Based on taste, these are my two favourite brands (which are also affordable!)
Images from Woolworths online

Breadcrumbs: Let’s be real here. It’s just bread, blitzed up. Well, it SHOULD be. Have you ever read the ingredients for store-bought breadcrumbs? Some isn’t even vegetarian which is incredibly concerning! Take five minutes (not even) out of your day and blitz old bread in your food processor and chuck this into a zip lock bag in your freezer. Breadcrumbs on hand 24/7. Or, use oats! Oats make a great binder too.

Microwave packet rice: The convenience of rice cooked in 90 seconds is incredibly appealing. There are brands out there that are 100% rice (although most have stabilisers and salt in them), however for the amount you get in a packet, they’re expensive! So, next time you make rice for your curry, make double and once cooled, freeze it in a zip lock bag and pop it in the freezer. When meal time comes, break off enough for your meal into a bowl, add a tiny drizzle of olive oil (I do this with brown rice as it can get a little dry) and zap for 60-90 seconds in the microwave. Done!

Rice malt syrup – Pure Harvest: Probably one of my favourite supermarket brands. I LOVE their products (not sponsored, I swear!) because they’re all natural. When I discovered rice malt syrup, it revolutionised my cooking and my health. I substitute it in baking for golden syrup. I put it in baking instead of sugar (and use about 1/3 of the amount of sweetener). It is amazing.

rice malt syrup_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Probably one of my most highly recommended products for eating healthy – get on it!
Image from Woolworths online

Nut milks – Pure Harvest: I have nothing against dairy or cows milk. I buy it for my husband and for H (I never buy supermarket-branded milk as the farmer’s get more money from sales on the branded milks) however for me, it leaves me a little bloated and uncomfortable. So, I jumped on the nut milk bandwagon a good five years ago and throughout this time, have trialed a LOT of bad products. My preference is almond milk, but I also buy coconut milk as it’s delicious in my greeñacolda smoothie (I’ve linked the recipe here for you!)

As I mentioned above, SO many brands are one or two per cent nuts, they have added sweeteners, preservatives and other rubbish. Sure, it’s best to make your own but I do NOT have the time, patience or $$ for that! So my favourite for both coconut and almond milk is Pure Harvest. Yes, it has a little organic rice syrup in it (they do have an unsweetened almond milk, but it has less almonds in it… I don’t understand why!) but it has the most almonds and I can understand all the ingredients!

milk_grid_lifelovetravelfood
Top pics – the almond milk I prefer
Bottom right – the coconut milk I like
Bottom left – a gross brand I will not name, with disgusting random, unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients!

A few more tips…

* If sugar is high on the ingredients list, avoid it!
* If you can’t pronounce or understand most of the ingredients, don’t eat it.
* For the majority of your shop, try to stick to the outside of the supermarket – fish, meat, fruit, vege etc
* Stock up on your favourite brands when they’re are on special – I have a slight obsession when it comes to this one. To the point that when rice malt syrup was half price one week, B had to physically show me my ‘collection’ in my pantry and explain that I already had a six to 12-month supply and it would surely come on special again closer to when I run out.
* Fancy trying the H2coco range? You can get 25% off from h2coco.com.au by using my discount code ‘H2lunchbox’ – you’re welcome, enjoy and you can thank me later!

This is by no means a complete list so if you have any questions about what other brands I recommend for your favourite foods, drop me a message below, I would LOVE to chat pantries (had to make sure I didn’t forget the ‘r’ in that one!!) with you!

Love Dan xx

heavenly bliss balls

lime and coconut bliss balls_lifelovetravelfood

I’ve been a bliss ball fan for AGES now. They’re one of the easiest, quickest, most delicious snacks going round (pun TOTALLY intended). The following recipes are little people friendly, do NOT taste the least bit healthy and freeze perfectly (meaning tastiness is always on hand).

TIP. Wet your hands with a little water when rolling into balls – it makes a smoother ball (hehe!) and also stops the mixture from sticking to your hands.

I hope you love them! Please tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lifelovetravelfood as you know how much I LOVE seeing your creations!

Lime and coconut bliss balls
Makes approximately 15 bliss balls, or 30 mini ones. Recipe adapted from Pintrest – sorry I can’t tag the original creator, I always try to where possible.

lime and coconut bliss balls_lifelovetravelfood
Lime and coconut bliss balls – proceed with caution… they are addictive!
@lifelovetravelfood

what you’ll need…
1/2 cup dried, pitted dates
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews (can substitute any nuts)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
juice and zest from four limes
1/4 cup desiccated coconut, for rolling

how it’s done…
Pour boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for ten minutes. Place the almonds, cashews and coconut in a blender and blitz for a few seconds – I made mine quite powdery with a few nutty pieces so it was a nice smooth but with a bit of texture. Drain the water from the dates and add to the nuts with the lime zest and juice. Mix to combine then roll into balls. I make 1/2 tablespoon sized ones for grown ups and teaspoon sized balls for mini people. Roll in coconut – I didn’t do this with the mini sized ones, mainly because I was paranoid H would choke on it cause he inhales them so quickly!

Best kept in the freezer.

Choco-nut bliss balls (with an option to make these mocha bliss balls or slice)
Makes approximately 20 bliss balls. This is a lifelovetravelfood original (which means I made it up as I went along… I really hope I can remember it!)

Choc-nut bliss balls_lifelovetravelfood
Mini version for H
He LOVES them!
@lifelovetravelfood

what you’ll need…
1/2 cup dried, pitted dates
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds (again, feel free to use whichever nuts you prefer)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds and pepitas
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tsp instant coffee (optional – NOT little people friendly!)

how it’s done…
Pour boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for ten minutes. In a blender, blitz the nuts, seeds and coconut for a few seconds. Don’t blitz for too long as you’ll blend again with the rest of the ingredients.

Add the melted coconut oil, vanilla and cacao powder. If using the coffee, add to the blender along with the drained dates. Blitz until combined. Roll into balls – I make 1/2 tablespoon sized ones for grown ups and teaspoon sized balls for mini people (H does not eat the coffee flavoured ones!)

I have also done this recipe as a slice – exactly the same method, I just stirred through 1/2 cup puffed brown rice cereal at the end and pressed into a lined baking tray, froze then sliced into squares.

The slice and bliss balls should be kept in the freezer.

raw mocha slice_lifelovetravelfood
The mocha slice version
@lifelovetravelfood

Peanut butter chocolate bliss balls
Makes approximately 15 bliss balls or 30 small ones. Recipe originated from Pintrest – again, not sure where I found this one, sorry! I also don’t have a photo of these… I checked back through my instagram feed and can’t see when I last made them! Must be a sign that I need to make these again soon!

what you’ll need…
1/2 cup dried, pitted dates
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (only use the one made from 100% peanuts – there doesn’t need to be anything else in it! Sanitarium does a good one, available at the supermarket – check the health food section and read your labels!)
1 tsp vanilla

how it’s done…

Pour boiling water over the dates and leave to soak for ten minutes. Drain the dates then place all ingredients into blender and process till well combined. Roll into balls and freeze. Couldn’t be easier!

 

my favourite smoothies

Perhaps I’m writing this blog post in the wrong season but even during winter, I LOVE smoothies for breakfast. They’re easy, portable, quick, filling, healthy and delicious. So this quick blog post is all about sharing my three favourites that are on constant rotation in our house.

My favourites smoothies_lifelovetravelfood
@lifelovetravelfood

I prep mine the night before, placing everything (minus the chia seeds and frozen bananas) into the blender and into the fridge. That way, we just whizz it up in the morning and we’re good to go. You can add sweetener to these like 1 tsp of rice malt syrup, maple syrup or honey, however I find they’re sweet enough with just the banana. Yum – I hope you enjoy!

Greenãcolada
serves two – the new kid on the block, I love this one, it tastes just like a cocktail for breakfast 😉 Recipe adapted from Ashy Bines.

Greenacolada smoothie_lifelovetravelfood
Greenacolada smoothie
I added cacao nibs clearly for instagram purposes only (and they taste yum!)
@lifelovetravelfood

what you’ll need…
2x cups coconut milk (the long-life milk kind, not tinned. I like CocoQuench by Pure Harvest)
1/2 cup coconut water (regular water is fine too)
2 x handfuls fresh baby spinach (frozen is fine)
4 x tbsp oats
1 x cup frozen pineapple (fresh is better if you have it)
2 x tsp greens powder (optional – leave it out if you don’t have it)
1 x tbsp chia seeds
2 x frozen bananas

how it’s done…
Place the coconut milk, coconut water, spinach, oats, pineapple and greens powder into the blender and into the fridge overnight – not necessary, it just makes life in the morning’s much easier plus allowing the oats to soak means they’re easier for the body to digest.

In the morning, or when you’re ready for smoothie-time, add the chia and frozen banana. Blitz until smooth – YUM!

espresso banana smoothie
serves two – I think this is my all time favourite smoothie! Coffee hit first thing… yes please! Recipe adapted from Move, Nourish, Believe.

Espresso banana smoothie_lifelovetravelfood
Espresso banana smoothie
@lifelovetravelfood

what you’ll need…
2 x cups almond milk (I use Pure Harvest brand as it has no nasty additives. Regular milk is fine, just use what you’re used to)
1/2 x cup water
2 x tbsp peanut butter (go for one which is 100% nuts if you can, otherwise, reduce by 1 tbsp)
4 x tbsp oats
2 x shots espresso (or two tsp x instant coffee)
1/2 x tsp cinnamon
1/2 x tsp nutmeg
1 x tbsp chia seeds
2 x frozen bananas

how it’s done…
Place the milk, water, peanut butter, oats, coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg into your blender and into the fridge overnight. Try to make sure the oats are covered by the liquid  to soak to help make them easier for your body to digest. When you’re ready to make your smoothie, add the frozen banana and chia. Blend until perfectly smooth. The BEST!

Espresso banana smoothie bowl_lifelovetravelfood
As a smoothie bowl – just add less liquid
@lifelovetravelfood

mango and cashew smoothie
serves two – the first ever healthy smoothie I made for B that he didn’t screw his nose up at. Winner! Recipe adapted from Deliciously Ella.

mango cashew smoothie_lifelovetravelfood
Mango cashew smoothie
@lifelovetravelfood

what you’ll need…
2 x cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup x water
1/2 cup x raw cashews
2 x large handfuls baby spinach (frozen spinach works great too)
1 x cup frozen mango
1 x tbsp chia seeds
2 x frozen bananas

how it’s done…
Place the almond milk, water, cashews, spinach and mango into the blender and into the fridge overnight. It’s important to let the cashews soak so your smoothie isn’t gritty, and also again, to aid in digestion.

When you’re ready to blend, add the chia and banana then blitz till smooth. So delicious! And hashtag paleo too, if you’re into that!

– – –

So there you go! Three of my favourites! We have a smoothie for breakfast once or twice a week, I LOVE them! And H is really into them too (not the espresso one, obviously!) So if you find you have leftovers, freeze into ice cube trays and either add to your next smoothie or defrost a few cubes in a cup for bubba to have (again, maybe not the coffee one!) Mmm!

Greenacolada smoothie_leftovers_lifelovetravelfood
See?! Green smoothies make H happy too!
@lifelovetravelfood

Tag me on instagram if you make one (or all!) of these – @lifelovetravelfood #lifelovetravelfood.

Love Dan xx

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how to keep organised and tackle the daily grind

Work life balance. Mum life balance. Life balance… everyone is busy, everyone  seems to be looking for that magic tip to help make life seem a little less chaotic. I’m on the eternal search for advice on how to stretch my day that little bit further so I can have more time to relax and just enjoy life!

So I thought I’d share a few things that help make MY life easier since going back to work and balancing life as a mummy, working girl, wife, sister, friend, daughter, aunty, and any of the other names I go by.

work_mum_lifelovetravelfood

My ‘sort it out’ basket

I have a basket that I keep in our main living area and anything that doesn’t belong in that room goes into the basket. My shoes from work, H’s jumper from daycare, toiletries I just bought at the shops to go to the upstairs bathroom, bills we’ve just paid that need to be filed.

At the end of the night, I empty my basket, making sure to put everything away properly (as in, not just moving it from one dumping ground to another!) Then I leave my empty basket at the top of the stairs and take it back down the next day. So simple but it’s such a great idea to keep the house from getting too messy. B has even started putting his stuff in it too (doesn’t empty it, but hey, it’s a start!) The novelty of checking what’s in the basket and emptying it out still hasn’t worn off for H so I do need to keep it on the dining table until he goes to bed!

my tidy basket_lifelovetravelfood
Honestly one of the best tips I’ve picked up – my ‘sort it out’ basket gets emptied every night
@lifelovetravelfood

Dinner cheats

I love cooking but after a long day at work, picking up H and doing the dinner, bath, book, play, milk, bed routine and THEN having to think about cooking dinner does sometimes wear a bit thin. I have embraced my slow-cooker – great for hearty winter meals like chilli con carne, pulled pork, curries and stews but there’s only so many of those I can handle so I keep those meals to about once a week.

Another idea is to pre-marinate your chicken (or pork). Not BUYING pre-marinated chicken (which are often full of sugar and other random stuff you don’t need in your life) I mean buying chicken in bulk and making your own marinades. Simple ones like honey, soy and garlic. Or smoked paprika, lemon, mixed herbs and oil. Pop your chicken in a freezer bag, add your marinade, mix it around then freeze. Then when you want chicken for dinner, take it out the night before and let it defrost in the fridge and while it’s defrosting, it’s also marinating. Perfect!

Also, amending your grown-up dinners to be kid friendly makes life a WHOLE lot easier. Not always possible but I will often cook a meal, take some out for H before adding salt, chilli or any other things I’m not keen on him having. For my spinach and ricotta triangles, I will pop the mixture in a wholemeal wrap and bake H’s in that while we have ours in pastry. I add chilli to my curries after I’ve taken out a serve for him. Taking those extra few minutes to make the effort means I don’t have to cook a separate meal for H. Plus it makes our meals healthier as I try to give H wholesome, healthy foods which in turn means we’re eating that too. Win!

cauliflower fritters_lifelovetravelfood
Same fritters, H’s are just mini versions and no chillis or chorizo for him! @lifelovetravelfood
healthy potato mince pie_lifelovetravelfood
No salt and a little less cheese but otherwise, same meal for us all – healthy potato mince pie
@lifelovetravelfood

My best friend the freezer

Embrace your freezer! Buy meat and fish in bulk when it’s reduced to clear or on special and freeze (saves you so much $$ too). Make extra dinner: taco mince, curry, lasagna, spinach and feta pie, san choy bau, burger patties. I TOTALLY understand not loving leftovers but making your meals in bulk and then having one night a week where dinner is pretty much done, I’ve come to appreciate them a lot more.

A little bit each night

Often we save up all the chores for the weekend which means our time off isn’t as much fun and can mean starting a new working week without really having had any down time. By breaking up chores into little chunks and tackling over the whole week, it means I can enjoy my weekend’s a whole lot more.

lifelovetravelfood
Cause this is what weekend’s should be for
@lifelovetravelfood

I might bake some muffins or cookies on Monday night. Do some washing on Tuesday. Clean the bathrooms on Wednesday. Make two dinners on Thursday and Friday I prep H’s meals for the whole weekend (and then it’s all about wine, tv and relaxing!)

helping with the washing_lifelovetravelfood
‘Helping’ with the washing
@lifelovetravelfood

I also take that extra half an hour each night to prep for the next day. Making H’s breakfast – I take something from my freezer stash, pop it in a container and let it defrost overnight. I make all his breakfasts in bulk and freeze – sultana pancakes, blueberry porridge balls, mango oatmeal slice, banana muffins, cheesy vege pikelets, healthy breakfast cake – just to name a few… I told you I love my freezer!

mango oatmeal slice_lifelovetravelfood
One of H’s breakfast options that freezes perfectly – mango banana oatmeal slice
@lifelovetravelfood

I make our lunches, prep breakfast (usually overnight oats or a smoothie – all the ingredients into the blender and then we blitz it in the morning) make up snacks and take out some meat for tomorrow’s dinner. This just means we’re all prepped and ready to go in the morning so we’re not rushing around madly trying to get organised when I’d prefer to use that time to sleep! Half an hour prepping at night = half an hour extra in bed the next morning. Yes please!

toddler meal prep_lifelovetravelfood
What H eats in a weekend! Prepped Friday night so it’s all done for the whole weekend
@lifelovetravelfood

Lay out my outfits for the week

This one sounds weird and is something I’ve only just started doing but I love it! On a Sunday, I will pull out some outfits for my working week and set them aside. Then, each night I will choose one, grab some underwear, jewellery and shoes and lay it out in my bedroom, ready for the next day. It saves me standing in my closet wondering what to wear while B is honking the horn, cursing me for running late. It takes the guesswork out of my morning which can only be a good thing! Seriously, it’s been such a life/time/argument saver!

Keep a list

I love a good list. My phone is full of them! I also hate incomplete lists so by adding something to a list, I want to make sure it gets ticked off! Every time I think of something I need from the shops, an appointment I need to make, a friend I need to message back, I add it to my list. It saves me from having to keep everything in my head and I’ll often write myself a list of tasks for the week so I don’t get too lazy and conveniently ‘forget’ to clean the bathroom or water the plants. Even things like washing my hair go on the list with a scheduled day cause otherwise I put it off and then everything has to be done at once and I feel stressed out for being too busy to wash my hair and shave my legs! Lists make life happen!

I also write down meal ideas – when I flick through a magazine, watch a cooking show, scroll through instagram or just when an idea comes into my head. Sounds simple, but when it comes to meal planning for the week ahead, having some ideas already written down makes it a LOT easier!

– – –

So that’s it! Small but (hopefully) helpful little tips to help get you organised and find a bit of balance in your life. They certainly help me so I I hope you find them useful! Let me know if you use any!

Love Dan x

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life love travel pork – without the life, love or travel bit

I’m loving being in the kitchen lately – even more so than usual! I am obsessed with my beautiful new kitchen with the waterfall island, oven and gas stovetop of my dreams, walk-in butlers pantry – oh I could do an entire blog post JUST on how much I love my kitchen!

But anyway, that’s not what this blog post is about. As promised, here are two recipes by request – both pork (but other meats can be substituted) both dinners, both delicious and both EASY (my number one requirement for dinner’s these days) I hope you enjoy them!

Yogurt spiced pork
Start this one the night before – it works best marinated for as long as possible 

yogurt spiced pork_lifelovetravelfood

What you’ll need…
2 x tsp tumeric
2 x tsp smoked paprika
1 x tsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 x tsp mixed herbs
pinch salt and pepper
4 x tbsp plain Greek yogurt
4 x pork steaks (lamb, beef or chicken would also work)

How it’s done…
Mix the spices and yogurt in a small bowl. Add to a large zip lock bag along with the pork and massage to evenly coat in the yogurt. Leave to marinate for as long as possible – overnight is ideal.

Preheat oven to 180°C and bake pork for 15mins or until cooked to your liking. Serve on top of brown rice and roasted veges; salad with chips or however you like!

Sticky ginger sesame pork meatballs
This one is based on a Donna Hay recipe, made a little bit easier/healthier!

 

ginger sesame pork meatballs_lifelovetravelfood

What you’ll need…
Meatballs
500g pork mince (chicken, lamb or beef would also work great!)
1/2 cup oats (or breadcrumbs)
2 x cloves garlic, crushed
2 x tbsp finely grated ginger
2 x tsp sesame seeds
2 x tsp sesame oil
2 x green onions, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
soba noodles, cooked, to serve
baby spinach, to serve

Sticky soy sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 x tsp sesame oil
1 x tbsp mirin
1/4 cup rice malt syrup

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How it’s done…

Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Place the pork, oats, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil, green onion and egg in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Place a large deep-sided roasted tray in the oven for 5 minutes or until hot. Roll tablespoonfuls of the pork mixture into balls and set aside. Pour the oil into the hot tray, add the meatballs and cook for 5 minutes.

To make the sticky soy sauce, place the soy, sesame oil, vinegar, miring and rice malt syrup in a small bowl and mix to combine.

*Note* If you’re making this for the whole family, you can set aside some of the meatballs and bake them separately, without the sticky soy sauce. Drizzle meatballs with a touch of olive oil and add a little bit of mozzarella to stop them going too dry

Remove the hot tray from the oven, add the soy mixture and carefully toss the meatballs. Cook for 15mins or until the sauce is sticky and the meatballs are golden. Serve the meatballs with spinach and noodles.

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I hope you enjoy these – please let me know if you make them! Tag me on instagram – I might work full-time but I’m still obsessed with insta @lifelovetravelfood

 

Six ways I’ve changed since becoming a mum

I was recently tagged in an instagram post by one of my insta-besties, @aliceinhealthyland to share how I’ve changed since becoming a Mumma. I actually thought long and hard about this and I’m pretty darn proud of this list so I decided to share it on my blog.

That plus it’s Friday night and my darling husband has claimed our one and only tv to watch the footy so I thought it was high time I updated my neglected lil blog.

I do not judge. Ok, sometimes I judge but I follow it by putting myself in their shoes and nine times outta ten, I retract my judgement. I don’t know what that mum is going through. I don’t know their child. I don’t know their family life. I don’t know how they’re feeling and above all… I am not them. This has also helped me be less judgemental in all aspects of my life, not just with other mums and I feel I am a better person for being less judgemental. But I’ll be honest, it took becoming a mum and being on the receiving end of unnecessary judgement to make me realise this.

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I never say never. Oooh this is a biggie! I cringe at the thought of things I’ve previously said to mums about what I will or won’t do when I have a baby. Oh shut up in-the-past-me! You have NO idea! I gave my baby a dummy. I sent him to daycare with a runny nose. I baby spam the shizz out of my instagramI went back to work full time. All things I didn’t think I’d do. Never. Say. Never!

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I am (learning to be) more patient. This is a big learning curve for me and something I’m continually working on. I find I make much more rational decisions, am happier with myself and in my relationship when I’m more patient. It’s not always easy but I’m trying. Remind me to keep trying as we edge closer to terrible-two territory…

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My life is fuller. I was worried I’d miss my pre-baby life that was more relaxed, carefree, let me exercise when I wanted to, travel often, sleep in and just be selfish. I was terrified I’d regret having a child. Never in a million years did I think I would love parenthood so much. I love everything (well almost everything) about it. This is exactly where I’m meant to be in my life. I honestly don’t miss my former carefree life. Except maybe the sleep ins…

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Mummy-guilt is real. Do I exercise or spend that time with H? Do I catch up with my friends at night when I’ve been at work all day and won’t get home to see H? Will H remember always being at daycare and develop slower because I’m not there to teach him myself? I battle with these questions every day and I worry I’m not doing the right thing by my child. To live the life we want, I need to work. I envy stay at home mums yet enjoy having a career and a pay check. Are we doing the right thing by sending H to daycare five days a week? OMG can someone please tell me how to ease the mummy-guilts cause they’re killin’ me lately!

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I love my body more. I’m not in the best shape of my life. Heck, I barely remember to brush my hair let alone fit in a gym class. But I have never loved my body more since having H. Not only did my amazing bod house and birth a whole human being (and one with a head circumference in the 97th percentile I might add) but I actually feel better in myself since giving birth. Sure, there are squishy sections and bits that ain’t what they used to be but I’m damn proud of how I look and what my body has been through #mumbodandproud

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Until next blog – sorry for being MIA (AGAIN) but we’re mid-move so things are kinda hectic (surely I will stop having excuses as to why I’m not blogging soon!) Thanks for reading xx