When in Rome!

Yesterday, my mum and I spent a magical day exploring the ‘bella’ city of Rome Italy.

First order of the day was to head towards the Spanish steps, a place I had been keen to check out for years. We grabbed our little map and were on way.  We wandered through Rome with our jaws at our feet, and of course ended up going in the completely opposite direction to the steps. Mum found some gorgeous ‘Frock shops’ as she calls them, so we really didn’t mind.

The colours of fashion here are bright and beautiful. We continued to walk looking confusedly at our map when we stumbled across a little building call the Colosseum, you may have heard of it. What a pleasant surprise! We walked around the commanding building taking photos and marveling at the stunning architecture and wondering how on such a thing was built with no machinery. Amazing!



We managed to find our way back to our hotel then have a delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant with delightful staff and delicious food. Then we were well and truly ready for a nanna nap.

After our nap we decided to try again to find these Spanish Steps. We followed the map more closely and then we made it. There were people everywhere! The steps where beautiful, though I think I may have built them up to much in my mind as I did not have the reaction to them I thought I would. We had a run in with the police! Apparently shoes are not to be taken off when sitting by the fountain! Bloody dodgey Australians!

The Spanish Steps


Then we found the Trevi fountain. Gorgeous! Just amazing detail in the statues and stunning craftsman ship I had not seen before. Again people everywhere!



The day was getting away from us by then so we head back to our hotel for a late dinner. It is still light at 9pm! Dinner was average at a local pasta chain, lunch was much better. Sleep was required before our next day when we head off on the train to Tuscany!

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Warm Pesto Beef Salad

Keeping with the healthy theme, I have another delicious recipe from my low-fat cookbook. This pesto is delicious and so healthy. Minimal oil, no cheese and no nuts, but still extremely tasty.

Warm Pesto Beef Salad



100 grams mushrooms

1 large yellow capsicum

1 large red capsicum

2 tomatoes

cooking oil spray

200 grams lean beef

1 1/2 cups penne pasta


3 large handfuls basil

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper



Slice the mushrooms. Cut the capsicums into large flat pieces, blacken the pieces under a hot grill. Cover with a tea towel until cool then remove skin and chop.

Spray a pan with oil and cook the beef as desired, rest then slice thinly.

To make the pesto, place basil leaves, peeled garlic cloves and pepitas in a food processor. With the motor running, add the oil, orange juice and lemon juice then season well.

Cook the pasta till al dente. Drain, toss with pesto in a large bowl.

Add capsicum, steak, mushrooms and tomato to the penne and mix well. Serve immediately.



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Healthy Breakfasts

When getting healthy and losing weight, eating breakfast is very important to get your body going for the day.

I thought I would share a few of my quick and healthy breakfast ideas.

These are all great alternatives to boring old cereal and toast in the morning.

Purple Milkshakes


Place 20 grams of quick oats, 170 gram tub of low-fat vanilla yoghurt, 200 mls skim milk and 150 grams frozen mixed berries in a blender and whiz for 30 seconds! Magic, breakfast smoothie.

I call them purple milkshakes as they are purple from the blueberries and thats what my daughter calls them when I make them. Delicious.

These are tasty, filling and will easily get you through till lunch.


Beans with Spinach and Tomato


Heat a small can of baked beans in a small pan, add one chopped tomato and a handful of  baby spinach, heat until spinach is wilted and beans are heated through. Serve on a slice of whole grain toast.

This has heaps of protein and is really filling.


Peach and Blueberry Oats


Cook a sachet of quick oats according to directions using skim milk. When done, smooth and creamy, top with 5 pieces of canned peaches and a handful of fresh blueberries. Drizzle with honey and devour!

The combination of peach and blueberry is divine.


Salmon and Cream Cheese Muffins


Toast one english muffin, (whole grain is best) then smear with light cream cheese and gently top with smoked salmon. Add some cracked pepper and enjoy.

The salmon is a great weekend treat.


I have been enjoying trying some new things for breakfast, it makes it easier to get up in the morning with something to look forward to!



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Cocoa Cake

A friend came to visit this morning, and she always bakes delicious treats when we visit her. In trying to keep on the healthy track, I found this tasty and simple recipe and whipped it up for morning tea.

The recipe is again from my low-fat cook book, it claimed to be brownies, but it really has more of a cake texture. They are a great chocolatey treat when trying to be healthy that you don’t have to feel guilty about.

My three-year old decided to help, what a disaster! She flicked the sieve when it was full of cocoa powder and it ended up every where! All over the kitchen and her! The joys of cooking with kids I guess! We still had a lovely time making cake.

Cocoa Cake



60 grams plain flour

60 grams self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

90 grams cocoa powder

2 eggs

310 grams caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

200 grams low-fat vanilla fromage frais (fruche)

140 grams apple puree

Icing sugar for dusting


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius and spray and line a 20 x 30cm baking tin.

Sift the flours, cocoa and bi-carb in a bowl.

Mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, fromage frais, and puree in a separate bowl till smooth, a whisk will help get the lumps out.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.

Spread in the prepared tin and bake for about 30 mins.

Leave to cool for 5 mins then take out of tin and rest on cooling rack.

Dust with icing sugar before slicing.


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Low-Fat Lasagne

2 weeks after new years and still trying to be healthy, amazing! Usually cave after 2 days!

In keeping with the healthy theme, I have found a really tasty lasagne recipe. To be honest it would be hard to tell the difference between this and the original.

Lean mince and light cheese sauce makes this a tasty healthy option for the whole family.

Give it a try.

Low-Fat Lasagne



1 onion

1 carrot, grated

1 zucchini, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500 grams lean mince

2 cans chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup beef stock

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried herbs

1 packet fresh lasagne sheets


500 mls skim milk

2 tablespoons cornflour

100 grams reduced fat cheese


In a large fry-pan, fry mince and onion in a little olive oil till soft. Add carrot and zucchini and garlic, cook for a few minutes until the mince has browned and veges are soft.

Add tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and herbs. Bring to the boil then let simmer for 15mins.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius, spread a little of mince mixture on bottom of oven proof dish, add a layer of pasta and continue to layer till you run out of mince or pan almost full. Leave the top layer pasta.

To make the cheese sauce, mix a little cornflour with a splash of milk to form a paste, whisk over a low heat while slowly adding milk till smooth. Add cheese and whisk till melted and sauce is thick.

Spread the sauce over the top of the lasagne and bake in oven for 45 minutes. Let stand for 15mins and serve with a crisp green salad.


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Beef Stroganoff

First post of 2013!

I’m not gonna go on about how I need to lose weight this year and get healthy, blah, blah, blah, but truth is, I do.  So over the next few months while myself and my family have a go at under-indulging, I plan to become re-aquainted with some favourite low-fat recipes.

A friend of mine has requested some family meals, so I am going to focus on some healthy family meals for a while, but don’t panic, I’m sure I wont be able to resist sneaking in a little treat now and then.

First up is a Beef Stroganoff based on a recipe from an old book I dug up called low-fat, more than 150 family recipes, it has got some great ideas!

This recipe is healthy, quick and delicious.

Beef Stroganoff



500 grams rump steak, diced

1 onion, sliced

1/4 teaspoon paprika

250 grams mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

125 mls beef stock

125 mls low-fat evaporated milk

2 tablespoons cornflour

3 tablespoons chopped parsley


Cook steak in batches until browned and remove from pan.

Fry the onion, mushrooms and paprika in a little oil until onion has softened. Add meat, tom paste and stock, bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 mins.

In a small jug, mix the milk with the cornflour. Add to the pan and stir until the sauce thickens.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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Low Fat Lemon and Berry Cheesecake

Christmas is nearly here and rush is on to get organised. If you are seeking a healthy option for a sweet treat this cake is for you.

I have made it plenty of times and it is always good. You can use any berries you like, fresh or frozen, i used raspberries and karakaberries as that is what looked good in the supermarket. Blueberries are great in this.

It is a quick easy option when there is already so much cooking to do over the next couple of days. This recipe is a good old Woman’s Weekly classic. Enjoy!

Low Fat Lemon and Berry Cheesecake




200 grams low-fat cottage cheese

250 grams light cream cheese

2 teaspoons lemon rind

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup semolina

1/4 cup self-raising flour

1/4 cup buttermilk

200 grams berries


Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Grease a 20cm spring form tin and line with baking paper.

Beat cheeses, rind and sugar with electric mixer till smooth. and beat eggs in one at a time.

Stir in semolina, sifted flour then buttermilk.

Pour mixture into a tin, sprinkle with berries and bake for 1 hour. Cool cheesecake in oven with door ajar.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, dust with icing sugar and serve.


Posted in Baking, Christmas, Recipes, Sweets | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments