Raw Meal Monday: Curried Carrot Salad

The humble carrot.

Yep, the vege once credited to keeping your eyes in check, and now, thanks to a recent 10-year study conducted in the Netherlands, the vege that fights off cardiovascular disease better than any other, is back in a big way, Happies.

While carrots are available all year round, their time to shine really is summer (or autumn) when they’re at their most spectacular. As well as being the mad heart disease soldier, carrots are also credited for their micronutrients, which are known to fight cancer as well.

Super high in Vitamin A, carrots are one vegetable we should all incorporate into our diets at least 2-3 times a week. But hey, I’m sure I’m not the only one who moves the carrot bag to one side to avoid the dreaded grater (or am I?), but once you taste this curried carrot salad, all that risky grazed finger avoidance suddenly becomes worth it.

Here’s what you need:

Curry powder
Raw almonds
Fresh mint
Extra virgin olive oil
Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
Red lentils – soaked overnight and uncooked

And here’s some inspiration…

And here’s what you need to do…

1. After soaking your lentils overnight, rinse them a few times and tip into a large bowl.

2. Now, pour a handful of sultanas into a bowl and cover with water while you compile the salad.

3. Next, grab your carrots (I use about 3 carrots to feed 4 people) and grate them using the large grate setting, rather than the tiny one. When finished, tip into the bowl with the red lentils.

4. Finely chop your mint and chuck in the bowl, before using a food processor to finely chop your almonds. When done, throw them in too.

5. Drain your sultanas and pop them in with the other ingredients, and go on to make your dressing. For this, simply mix 3-4 tablespoons of curry powder with equal parts oil and vinegar and stir well. Mix the dressing through the salad and munch, munch, munch!

Stay happy (and healthy),

Yaz xx

Drink This: Year of the Dragon Smoothie

Happy Chinese New Year!

To celebrate, I’ve been inspired to create my own Year of the Dragon Smoothie recipe (after stumbling across a similar idea for the chilly northern hemisphere), that not only tastes delightful, but is sure to bring prosperity and happiness into your life as well.

The recipe is based on the Five Elements Theory, which looks at the five seasons and allocates different elements, health issues, directions, tastes, tissues, and emotions to each – all of which are then used to create optimal health in Eastern medicine.

As it’s summer here, the corresponding element is fire, and the organ of trouble is traditionally the heart, so it’s imperative we all give our hearts a little more love at this time of year. It’s also a time to treat yourself to bitter taste sensations, and all this is made even better by the fact that your tongue is the sensory organ of the moment.

Best of all, in my opinion, is that the key emotion allocated to fire (and summer) is joy. Hooray! So with that, I present you with my Bitter Year of the Dragon Smoothie that is guaranteed to get you smiling, and maybe even falling in love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Mint leaves (green herb good for heart health)
Raw cocao (bitter taste, incredibly delicious)
Raw almonds (rich in Omega Fatty Acids and good for heart health)
Chia seeds (also high in Omegas, fibre, and protein for energy)
Fresh Baby Coconut – water and flesh (high in potassium, super hydrating, incredibly delicious)
Blueberries (incredible antioxidant, great for your skin, heart, overall health)

And here’s a pretty visual…

To make, throw everything in the blender and whiz. DRINK! SMILE! LOVE!

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Live in Melbourne? Like arty things? Read this…

There’s something to be said for really well edited, arty markets that make you want to browse, rummage, and part with your hard earned cash. They are such a gorgeous way to spend the weekend and when you come home with a sack full of goodies and a happy belly full of dangerous market treats, you know you’re onto a good thing. 

When I was in New York, there was an abundance of incredibly cool, second-hand and new markets that saw me laze away my weekends dreaming of shipping containers rammed with homewares and art. 

Unfortunately, this didn’t eventuate (practicing the art of downsizing and all that) but now, it looks like there’s a similar thing happening here, that’s much closer to home.

Enter stage left: The Upmarket, Melbourne’s newest artistic venture that sees stallholders of all varieties coming to sell their wares at reasonable prices. Think gorgeous hand-made art, pretty homewares, music and tasty food. It’s all about design here, Happies, not an electronic toy store in sight. Hooray! 

If you live in Melbourne, or plan on heading there soon, you can find The Upmarket every Saturday at Middle Park Primary School between 10am-4pm. The next market is on the 4th of Feb and you can get more info at their website http://theupmarket.com.au/.

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

Eat This: 2-minute Green Goddess Nutty Spread

I’ve recently become a little engrossed in the prospect of making my own sauces. BBQ, Nutty Green Spread, and Tahini Delight are some of the most recent additions to our kitchen, all of which I’ll be sharing with you over the coming days.

The first, however, has to be my Green Goddess Nutty Spread, which acts like a pesto but can also be added to salads, sandwiches, pasta, rice, and any other grain on the planet. I made it on the weekend for my sister’s baby shower and tossed it through some wholegrain pasta, added some balsamic roasted tomatoes, Spanish onion, and baby spinach to the bowl and it was a huge winner, or so the bowl told me once it was licked clean.

Here’s a visual of the shower, and a close-up of the food. The pasta dish is the one is the massive white bowl at the back…

Here’s what you need…

2 x bunches of fresh basil
1 x bunch of mint
1 x handful of almonds
1 x handful of walnuts
1 x small piece of feta or goats cheese (optional)
1 x lemon
3 x good glugs of olive oil

This is quite similar to a pesto I’ve made in the past, but the addition of feta cheese made this spread so creamy and tasty and delicious you’d think it was far naughtier than it actually was.

To make the mixture, simply place the nuts in the blender and whiz for a few seconds, then, throw in the remaining ingredients and slowly pour the oil in as you blend. Let it thicken and liquidise to your desired sauciness. Bottle, serve, or sell it. It really is that good.

Stay happy,
Yaz xx

Oh my goodness! I’m back, and alive, and…

HAPPY. Very happy.

If you’re a regular reader of The Happiness Cocktail, I’m sure you’ve noticed my absence over the past month or so. Wow, what a whirlwind I’ve been on. The past month has seen me depart New York, farewell my friends in Asheville, share a gloriously romantic Christmas with my sparkly new husband in Hawaii, and return back to Sydney, where it appears I have a far busier life than I ever remembered.

Of course, returning from 9 months overseas will create a buzz among your family and close friends. There’s a frenetic energy that zaps around you, with everyone wanting to get their fair share of the fun. Including me. I’ve been running around, catching up, moving house, arranging work, and very quickly forgetting the importance of slowing down, taking time for myself, and that feeling of freedom I experienced when overseas.

I think that’s why ‘life’ can sometimes swallow you whole. We’ve all had those moments of feeling like you literally have nothing left to give, nothing to offer anyone else, and not a single spare second in the day. I certainly have. But I’ve also felt the flip side of that where I removed myself from ‘life’ and was completely free from responsibility and work, and selfishly spending my days doing whatever I (or my husband) wanted.

Sure, this isn’t always possible. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do on a long-term basis, so your happy place, I think, lies in being able to slow down, switch off, say NO!, and breathe throughout your daily life, rather than frantically trying to tick 10 things off your daily to do list, or run away completely (although I highly recommend that too).

As a result of realising how hectic life actually is, I’ve made it my resolve to slow down this year, work smart not hard, and always take time for myself. You should, too.

And, that’s what you can expect from The Happiness Cocktail in 2012. More tips on slowing down, eating right, being kind to your body, and best of all, remembering that you’re not Superwoman (or Superman) and no one expects you to be.

Happy New Year, Happies

Yaz Trollope xx (Yep, I’ve changed my name now that I am ‘with husband’ so if you see me popping up either here on on Twitter, don’t wonder who I am – same Yaz, different surname.)