Three Unexpected Ways With Coconut Oil

It’s the standout health product of 2012 but coconut oil does much more than add delicious flavour to your food. Yep, it’s a damn good beauty product, too. Here are three totally unexpected ways to get more oil in your tank.

1. Use it to fight frizz and deep condition your hair. 

Coconut oil leaves other leave-in conditioners for dead. Seriously! Simply grab a teaspoon of oil and warm it in your palms before applying it to your ends. Comb the oil through and leave on your hair overnight or in a top knot throughout the day. The longer you leave it in, the better. When it comes time to rinse it out, use a sulphate and paraben-free option as they’ll be less drying in the hair. Oh, and if you’re suffering dandruff in this cold, dry weather, massage it into your scalp as well.

2. Slather it on as a moisturiser.

Image courtesy of Ellen Rowlands/Pinterest

Your skin absolutely loves oil. Especially when it’s all natural, cold-pressed and smells like a Caribbean vacay. Again, warm the oil in your palms before slathering it evenly all over your body. Leave it a few minutes to dry and carry on with the rest of your day. Heaven!

3. Use it to combat candida.

Image courtesy of mindfuctory.com

Alright ladies, let’s get down to business. If candida keeps creeping up on you and you’re over those chemical-laden suppositories, try this all-natural alternative: gently heat 1 tablespoon of coconut so that it’s a liquid and pour into a small bowl. Now, add 1-2 drops of pure tea tree oil to the bowl and stir. Place the mixture into the fridge (or freezer if you need it quickly) and let it set hard again. Once hard, remove the mixture from the bowl and insert like you would a tampon. Repeat for a few days or until symptoms subside.

Tell me Happies…

How do you use your coconut oil?
Any of these ways interest you?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx

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I made this, you should too: Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana

By special request from the Hubs, I recently made this vegan eggplant parmigiana. You see, Happies, when we’re eating a whole stack of veggies like this (think: eggplant, tomato, onion, mushroom and carrots) we don’t really like mixing anything with it. Especially dairy. We just want to enjoy all the gorgeous nutrients and goodness of nothing but vegetables and a few herbs, nuts and, if you really want added crunch, some corn crumbs, too.

Here’s the dish in question (minus the nuts or crumbs)…

And here’s your shopping list…

3 x large eggplants, sliced into circles, salted and left in colander
3/4 x bottle of red wine
1/4 x cup of balsamic vinegar
10 x tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 3 large cans)
4 x carrots finely chopped
2 x cups of cooked and soaked beans. I used butter and kidney beans.
3 x brown onions, finely chopped
2 x garlic gloves, finely chopped
6 x flat mushrooms, finely chopped
1 x bunch of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
1 x twig of thyme
4 x dried bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Nuts or corn crumbs for top

And here’s how I made it…

1. Pop your tomatoes, red wine and bay leaves in a large saucepan and bring to boil. Turn down heat and cook for 3-4 hours with the lid off so that the sauce reduces and gets all thick and rich.

2. Now, wash the salt off your eggplant and cook it off in batches on a griddle pan or simple fry pan. I used a little oil, but you can grill them for an oil-free alternative. While you’re here, set the oven to 180 degrees.

3. Add your onion and mushrooms to a fry pan, along with the thyme and salt and pepper and cook right down. Slowly add the balsamic vinegar until it’s slightly caramelised and coating the onion and mushrooms.

4. Now, prepare your beans by puréeing them with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. I use my trusty hand-held whizzer – it works a treat.

5. Finally, it’s time to assemble. Put a layer of your rich tomato sauce at the bottom of a baking tray. Follow up with eggplant, onion and mushroom mix, basil, carrot and beans. Keep repeating until the tray is full. On the final layer, sprinkle corn crumbs over the top of the mix and put tray in the oven for 45 mins. Once you pull it out, sprinkle some crushed raw almonds for added flavour.

6. Serve with a green salad of mixed leaves, avocado and sprouts and drizzle with balsamic vinegarette. Yum!

Troubleshooting

1. Try to remove as much moisture from the eggplant as possible by salting and cooking so that your bake isn’t soggy.

2. Don’t be afraid to reduce your sauce to a point of it being really thick. The carrots and moisture from the other elements of the dish will thin it out so it’s lovely and juicy, without being watery.

3. Taste every element individually and make sure they each have enough flavour. You want every layer to sing on its own, but them come together as an choir at the end for perfect balance of flavours.

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Finally! The Lasagne Recipe You’ve All Been Waiting For

Tell me Happies,

What do you think of this recipe?

Stay Happy,
Yaz xx

Three Reasons To Eat Sour Cherries

Considering Dr. Oz is from my fatherland, it’s no surprise that his love for sour (or tart) cherries is bang on target with mine. You see, Happies, in Turkey (where he and my dad are both from) they are a big deal. They drink them, eat them and ahem, cherish them, knowing these sour little fruits are packed with goodness.

Image courtesy of foodinjars.com

While it’s sweet cherries that you see tumbling onto the floor at the grocery store around Christmas time, it’s the sour cherry that has slowly been building a loyal fan base behind its back.

Here’s why…

1. Studies have shown that sour cherries have a lower GI than their sweet friends, as well as higher levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants. What does this mean for you? Well, they are bouncing with healthy benefits that help fight free radical damage (making your insides and outsides look and feel younger) as well as ward off winter colds and keep you full for longer.

2. Inflammation is one of the key causes of pain and sickness in the body. Sour cherries have been shown to reduce this. The secret lies in an enzyme held in the cherry that assists in muscle repair and pain relief. Amazing!

3. While the sour flavour isn’t for everyone, I honestly believe that they taste good. Health benefits aside, these tart little cherries can be juiced, dried or eaten fresh. Add them to your morning muesli or throw them into salads, fruit salad or, of course, a juicer. The hardest thing for us here in Oz is getting our hands on the fresh ones, but if all else fails, dried ones are available at most health food stores.

For a special treat, why not make a sour cherry pilaf?

Soak a handful of dried sour cherries in water and set aside. Alternatively, you can buy a can of sour cherries if need be.

Now add a small dollop of coconut oil to a hot saucepan. Then, add one cup of rinsed (and pre soaked) brown basmati rice and stir to coat in the oil. Let it cook through for a few seconds, before pouring in two cups of stock or water. Bring to the boil, cover, and turn down the heat. When cooked, remove the lid and cover it in a tea towel to absorb excess moisture. Don’t stir the rice! Leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes before stirring in your sour cherries and some slivered almonds. Serve with finely chopped mint and a side salad.

Yum, right? What do you think of the sour cherry?
Have you tried them?

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

Happy Moment: Let’s Laugh. At Ourselves.

There’s nothing more humbling than the ability to laugh at yourself. Not take yourself too seriously and stop. Think. Listen. And realise that things really aren’t always that serious. Don’t you think?

Right now, I’m in a relatively busy work period (hence the posts not streaming in their usual free-flowing way) and about to embark on one of the biggest projects of my career.  But instead of getting all caught up and stressed, I’m really making a conscious effort to take every moment, project and day as it comes. It’s hard to do, I think.

So, when all else fails I laugh. I laugh at myself for being so caught up in ‘busy-ness‘ and I laugh at this, which a friend posted on Facebook the other day and sums it up just perfectly.

While I’m all for inspirational quotes and not holding onto possessions, there’s nothing like poking fun at yourself to bring you back to normality. Don’t you agree?

Tell me Happies…

Do you laugh at yourself?
What do you do to bring you back to normality?

Stay Happy,

Yaz x

Sexy Recipe: Spice Up Your Food and Your Love Life

Today is my first wedding anniversary (hooray!) and rather than donning my fluffy slippers, I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to slip into something more comfortable and concoct a ‘Sexy Salad’ recipe for my beautiful husband.

While oysters, figs and chocolate are all known to boost your libido, CBS recently did a little piece on some lesser known foods that stir things up. Three of my favourites include strawberries, almonds and avocado.

Here’s why:

1. Avocados keep your heart healthy, which in turn gets bloods flowing to every area of your body.  *Wink*

2. Almonds are packed with Vitamin E, a vitamin that’s not just good for your skin, but your oestrogen and testosterone levels, too. The short of it: eat almonds if  you want to increase your passion, fertility and sexual health.

3. A study back in 2008 found that men ‘totally dug’ chicks that wore red. Luckily for us then, strawberries’ red colour appeals to the opposite sex. Add the fact that strawbs are also high in folic acid and you have yourself one seriously juicy fruit.

And here’s a recipe that does all three of these ingredients justice… Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Mixed Greens, Crumbled Nuts and Balsamic Reduction.

You’ll need:
1 x punnet of strawberries
1 x large handful of baby spinach
1 x large handful of mixed greens
1 x large handful of soaked, crushed almonds
2 x avocados, chopped into slices
1 x fresh buffalo mozzarella ball (optional)
1 x large glug of extra virgin olive oil
1.5 x cups of balsamic vinegar
1 x teaspoon of raw honey

To make, simply…

1. Wash and chop the strawberries and throw them in a bowl over the mixed green and spinach.
2. Blend your soaked almonds so they’re nice and chopped.
3. Make your balsamic reduction by adding the balsamic to a pan and bringing to the boil. As soon as it reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until it’s half reduced. Then, add the honey and until it’s syrupy and sticky and take off heat.
4. Place avocados and cheese over the greens and pour over balsamic reduction.
5. Kiss the cook because it tastes so good.

Tell me Happies…

Do you like the sound of this recipe?
Want to make it?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx