Rev up your week with this super shake

Sometimes toasted sprouted bread, or muesli, or fruit and nuts just seem like bird food. Sure, they’re tasty and do actually keep you full far longer than a piece of Vegemite toast and butter, but that said, I like to have a breakfast packed with goodness.

And good this shake is, Happies. Amazingly good if the truth be told. It’s got pretty much every super food in there that you could ever want in your body, all whizzed up into one delightful milky treat. Well, rice or oat or soy milk, rather than dairy milk, but if you prefer the stuff from cows, please adapt accordingly.

It’s at this point in time where I usually give you a visual aid to help in knowing what I’m talking about and what you should be recreating. But in this instance, I thought it best to skip this step because said shake looked a little like spew in a glass, and no one ever wants to drink spew in a glass. Except maybe Charlie Sheen. So, you’ll just have to imagine a wonderfully tasty smoothie that’s made like this…

Drop a frozen banana, some rolled oats, a sprinkling of chia seeds and flax meal , cinnamon, and some rice, oat, almond or soy milk into a blender until it looks about the right amount for 1 person. Or ten if you want to feed the family. Then, pour in a tiny drizzle of flaxseed oil. Now, push ‘whiz’ and blend all these scrumptious little ingredients into a smooth drink before pouring into an epically big glass and guzzling it down. Yep, it really is that easy.

This for me, Happies, is my idea of heaven in a glass. It’s such a wonderful breakfast or mid-morning snack as it really does keep you full for hours. Plus, the wonder ingredients like chia seeds, flaxseed oil and rolled oats all have superpowers, so you know, you’re going to live longer and be generally more healthy because of it.

So, next time you’re staring into the fridge wondering what to have for breakfast, skip the white bread with vegemite and butter and try this instead. Or not, it’s entirely up to you, of course.

Tell me Happies…

What’s your favourite smoothie recipe?

What’s your typical breakfast?

Do you like the sound of this?

Stay Happy,

Yx

Sunday Best: ‘Give me a hug’ lemon stuffed chicken

Sometimes you just need your food to give you a big, warm, lemony hug to tell you that everything is going to be OK and that life is, indeed, as glorious as you think it is. Even when you’re having a bad day. Or, at least I do. It’s not emotional eating, or at least, I don’t think it is, rather finding comfort in the most basic of things – sharing a delicious meal with the person you love most.

So, when I finally got a few hours to cook something from the heart, rather than a slipslopslap mid-week meal (although, to be fair, my man spends far more time in the kitchen than I do during the week, but hey, he’s got a lot more time on his hands) I thought nothing is more warming, comforting, delicious or hug-enducing than a lemony roast organic chicken served with my nutty tabbouleh, homemade hummus and roast vegies. YumYumYum!

Here’s what I’m talking (but in real life, it looks and smells a thousand times better)…

 Now clearly, as I peruse some of the recipes I’ve previously posted on this blog, we LOVE to eat chicken. And while I have explored the idea of going vegan thanks to Alicia Silverstone and her Kind Diet, I’m not quite ready yet. But, if you are a vegan and want to try something deliciously new on the non-carnivorous front, I highly recommend my nutty tabbouleh, as it’s super nutritious and really, really tasty.

But to start, I marinated the entire chook with garlic, paprika and oregano. Simply mix these three ingredients in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil to form a nice paste, and spread it all over the chicken. I took the marinade under the skin of the breasts as well, only because I don’t eat the skin and wanted the flavour on every morsel, rather than just the outside.

Next, I chopped a lemon into quarters and put half of it inside the chicken, squeezing as much of the juice as possible into the cavity as I went. The other half I simply popped on the baking tray to roast and get all sticky and yummy and gooey.

Now that the chicken was ready, I set it on top of a metal rack in a baking tray with a small amount of water at the bottom to keep it moist and help the skin get super crispy. I then chucked in some roughly chopped carrot, sweet potato, garlic and onion to cook alongside the chicken before placing it in a 180 degree oven for around 1hour 25 minutes. But of course, it depends on the size of the bird, so do the only skewer test to make sure it’s cooked all the way through before taking it out to rest.

While the chicken was baking I pulled out a large handful of parsley, some cashew nuts and a small handful of almonds and threw them into a food processor. Well, it’s more that mad little chopper that comes with the Breville Handheld Whizzer and if you don’t have one of these already, I HIGHLY suggest you get one right away. There super cheap and make everything from smoothies (with the handheld bit) to finely diced salads (with the chopper bit). Awesome! Once they were in there I seasoned with some whole peppercorns and rock salt and whizzed away, until all the ingredients were blended into the lovely little nutty tabbouleh – the perfect accompaniment to this dish.

Finally, I scooped a few spoonfuls of hummus onto the plate that we’d prepared a few days before, before pulling the chicken out and serving everything up for us to enjoy. Mmmmm!

For me, roast chicken is the ultimate pick-me-up meal and something we should all indulge in when we have a spare hour or so. It really is like a big, warm, lemony hug for your senses, and for that, it’s worth every minute of preparation and all three smoke alarm set-offs.

Tell me Happies…

What’s your ‘give me a hug’ meal of choice?

Have you got a secret roast chook recipe?

Do you have a Breville Handheld Mixer? If not, get one IMMEDIATELY.

Stay Happy,

Yx

Wrinkly wisdom: Why old people really do know best

Happies, meet Rose, the 98-year-old glamour featured on The Huffington Post who has stolen my heart and run away with it to some place with lots of fuchsia lipstick and fabulous belts.

Of course, Rose lives in New York, where all the stylish elderly people live, and as she shared her story with Ari Cohen about how she hates having her photo taken and how the way to remain happy in life is to enjoy every moment and be happy with what you’ve got, it invited me remember my own glamorous grandma, who shared so many insightful tales with my sister and I growing up.

I’ve always had a soft spot for people older than me. And by older, I mean about 40 years older. They have a knowledge of life that I, as a mere 27-year-old, would have no comprehension of. I especially like it when they drink tea and eat sandwich soldiers, but that’s a whole other story.

Like Rose, my grandma was a truly glamorous woman. Her perfectly curled hair, her adorable outfits…it seriously was like a scene out of Mad Men. But beyond her appearance, she was a truly inspirational spirit who always saw the best in every situation and remained positive throughout even the toughest tribulations.

To Rose, and G’Ma Joan, and all the other people much older than me out there, I salute you. And on behalf of a large proportion of youngsters, we love your wisdom and know that even when you scream at us for making too much noise at the Paddington Bowling Club, or nearly hit us with your walking stick when you’re getting on the bus, we understand that, yep, you really do know best. Especially when it comes to bright lipsticks, beef stroganoff and baked desserts.

So, I ask you this, Happies. Next time you spot an elderly person struggling to carry their shopping, or see them sitting alone in a park looking lonely, take the time to say hi, thank them for being so damn awesome and tell them they really do know best. Because they do. Don’t they?

But before you do, tell me…

Do you have a soft spot for the elderly too?

Don’t you just LOVE Rose?

What memories do you have of your grandparents?

The reason why New York women suddenly look so good

I have a newfound respect for women with three children, Happies. For the past ten days, I have been in New York juggling my three babies (being PRIMPED, The Happiness Cocktail and shopping) and have failed my middle child disastrously. Like most middle children I know, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, but there is a part of me feeling a little guilty for not posting here for so long. So now, I’m going to make it up to you.

If you’re yet to visit New York, you may not be aware that they like to do things quickly. There is absolutely no time for slow movement, slow talking, or slow results. So it’s really no surprise that the latest fitness craze taking the city by storm is a fast-acting, fat burning, ballet bar cradling technique that allows those wealthy Upper West Side women to shake their post-Christmas pudding butts into shape. Stat!

The technique is called The Nalini Method and I stumbled across its existence while getting my hair blow-dried. Crazy, but true. I was told this is THE new fitness craze taking the women (and men) of New York on a journey that swings between yoga, pilates, barwork, aerobics and strength training. In short, it combines all the best pieces of the exercises we’re already doing, and turns them into an hour of sheer butt-busting fun (and by fun, I mean pain).

While the Nalini Method has been around since 2003, it’s only been at Pure Yoga since September last year. Pure Yoga is now the only club in New York to offer the class, which was created by fitness and yoga guru Rupa Mehta. The results-focussed class goes for one hour, with the instructor coaxing moves from you every second. It’s fast-paced, hard-going and excruciating come about the 15 minute mark. Seriously, my muscles were hurling abuse my way after only a few minutes.

Here’s Rupa doing what she does best…

And now I know why after discovering that Nalini’s mission “is to cultivate a sense of possibility about who we are and what we can become. It’s about discovery, tenacity, and perseverance. The Nalini Method’s classes will challenge you physically and keep you focused mentally.” And my, my does it deliver on its promise.

After signing into the class, I was given a tile with my name on it and guided towards studio 5. The tile had the number 1 tattooed across the top, indicating that my position was front and centre, and that my workstation was already set up.

With only 17 people allowed in the class at one time, it’s tough business securing your spot. The competition is fierce, with women having to book well in advance to ensure they don’t miss out. Once you step inside, you’re greeted by weights, straps, balls, ballet bars, mats…every fitness prop you could possibly imagine.

Voted ‘Top Workout’ by the New York Post, this class is one seriously hard feat, Happies. Each area of the body is worked on, including your arms, shoulders, abs, bum and thighs. This is done through a series of pilates-like exercises that combine weights and said props to make the process even harder. The class is then lead through a series of stretches, which combine the use of the ballet bar as well as yoga moves to help stretch and relax your body. The result? Hmm, let’s see now. Let’s start with a sculpted and stronger physique; longer, leaner muscles; enhanced flexibility and balance; improved endurance and energy; stronger core muscles; increased bone density; increased body awareness and improved posture and alignment. Phew!

I have to say, Happies, this is one of the most intense workouts I’ve done in a long time. While it was pitched to me as more of a ‘yoga’ technique, I’d say it’s far more pilates and weights training than your typical power or Vinyasa-style yoga. But honestly, if I could look like some of the women, in their skin-tight lululemon outfits, after only a few sessions, I’d be signing myself up in an instant. All I have to do now is wait for it to arrive on our shores, until then, it’s back to the yoga mat for me.

Tell me Happies…

Have you heard of the Nalini Technique?
Are you more of a yoga or pilates girl?
What’s your favourite results-driven exercise method?

Signs of Happiness: The best mint tea. Ever.

While my friends might be complaining about the impossibility of getting a good cup of coffee in New York, I’m relishing in the knowledge that the tea here is out of this world.

But there’s one cup in particular I can’t stop thinking about. The flavour was mint – the perfect after-dinner choice especially after consuming a delicious (but seriously heavy) goats cheese, butternut squash and spinach pasta at this little eatery in West Village called Zampa. Heaven!

Here it is…

The taste was out of this world, obviously, but it was more the presentation that made this little cuppa score a place here today. Rather than having the tea in a traditional tea bag, they packed some freshly dried mint leaves into some baking paper and somehow, somehow, it infused and didn’t break. It just seeped into the water to deliver this perfectly tasting delight.

I think this is something you could absolutely try to recreate at home, Happies. All you’d need to do is pack your favourite ingredient into some baking paper and wrap it up into a little parcel like the picture above. Such a cute idea for a dinner party. Love it!

Now, enough with the tea talk, next time I’ll move onto other things, like the new yoga craze taking New York by storm.

Stay Happy,

Yaz x