August 26, 2011

Pink rice krispy treats

Sweet, sticky and party friendly, these marshmallow krispy treats are a true skinny treat. Whilst high in sugar, the treat is low in fat and satisfies your sweet cravings. Just stick to the one treat only rule!

6 cups of rice bubbles
1 packet of marshmallows in pink and white
2 tablespoons of low-fat margarine
I small block of milk chocolate

Melt the marshmallows and margarine is a bowl using the microwave; this won't take long. Mix in rice bubbles until all combined. Press mixture into a greased baking tin and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut into squares using an oiled knife or cut out shapes using oiled cookie cutters. Decorate with melted chocolate drizzles, pearly drops or sprinkles.

August 23, 2011

when drinking, moderation is the key

What is wrong with this picture? There is no question that alcohol consumption is an easy way to gain weight. Empty calories and an inability for your body to burn fat means that regular overconsumption of alcohol will have negative effects on your body. But do you really have to give up drinking alltogether?

Like any treat foods, drinking should be treated with moderation. A glass of champagne typically contains 100 calories, which isn't disastrous. If you have three or four however, you have consumed equal to one meal. Cocktails made with sugar and mixed spirits can contain a much higher energy content and should be a special treat. The key is to keep your consumption to less than two or three drinks and watch the sugar content per glass.

Another trap in gaining weight after drinking is choosing poor eating habits. Downing a greasy kebab or cheese-loaded piece of pizza after a night out is a big mistake and can be the primary culprit to weight gain. Especially as alcohol prevents your body from burning excess calories consumed.

Remember to keep your drinks to a minimum and factor them into your daily calorie consumption. Go easy on the carbs in your evening meal and skip dessert on the nights you want a few drinks. Also squeeze in some exercise where you can, including going out dancing with your friends! This will help burn off the extra calories.

August 22, 2011

coloured birthday cake candles

Do you love these coloured candles?! I found them for my birthday cake last year and they looked so fun on my heart-shaped vanilla cake. Yummy!

pavlova - the perfect skinny sweet

Use low-fat yoghurt instead of cream and top with fresh rasberries and grated dark chocolate.

red velvet cupcakes

These little beauties are red velvet cupcakes I made for my sister-in-law's birthday. I used the Nigella recipe from her Kitchen Cookbook. Again, I substituted half the butter for more buttermilk, just estimating by watching the consistency. I also used low-fat cream cheese for the icing. I decorated with sweet little flowers made from icing, I found them at Coles.

Engagement Cakes

Rasberry cake with buttercream icing and white chocolate

Ok so no, this is not a skinny cake, but I think for special occasions, it is okay to indulge in some buttery icing! This beautiful cake was from Jocelyn's Provisions in Brisbane. It tasted as gorgeous as it looks.... I still have a piece in my freezer :) I think it looks particularly nice with the pink roses on top.

Lime margarita cupcakes

Yes, these cupcakes really have tequila in them. And they taste amazing! Even my 80-year-old grandmother had one :)

I used the recipe found here but substituted half the butter for extra buttermilk to cut down the fat.

cupcake sandwich

If you are a cupcake addict (I mean really, who isn't!?), try transforming your cupcake into a cupcake sandwich. Instead of icing your cupcake, slice it in half and ice in the middle. Decorate the rim with sprinkles for a sweet touch.

I found Tori Spelling had the same idea! Check out her lovely website here.

LC's carbless pizza

A huge pizza fan, Lauren Conrad whipped up a carbless pizza to satisfy her italian cravings. This principle can be applied to many of your favourite 'carb-heavy' recipes and I have been doing this for many years.

Take nachos for example. A great substitute to corn chips (even better than baked corn chips!) is cauliflower. Steam the cauliflower in the microwave with a little water and arrange on a tray. I think it tastes best if you cut the cauliflower into quite small bite-sized pieces. Top with a jar of salsa, which is virtually calorie free and packed with antioxidants. Sprinkle the dish with a little low-fat cheese or cottage cheese. Bake for 10 mins to toast.

August 21, 2011

what is manuka honey?

Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand from the flowers of the manuka tree and is known for its exceptional health properties. All honey contains hydrogen peroxide, promoting antibacterial qualities. Active Manuka honey contains a high level of non-peroxide antibacterial components. It is this non-peroxide activity that gives active Manuka honey its natural health benefits.

Boosting Energy

The sugar content of Manuka honey makes it a great natural source of carbohydrates, which provides strength and energy. The glucose in Manaka honey is absorbed very quickly by the body, providing an immediate boost of energy. Energy levels are maintained by the low glycemic index of honey, which stops hunger from developing.

Boosting the Immune System

Research has shown that Manuka honey stimulates the immune response of white blood cells, preventing infections such as sore throats and the common cold.

Improves Digestive Health

A healthy digestive system is essential for general well-being. Manuka honey stimulates the growth of probiotics, which is the good bacteria in our intestines. The presence of these good bacteria in the body helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.

Antibacterial Activity

Manuka Honey has additional antibacterial compounds not found in other types of honey. This antibacterial action can help to clear infections.


The antioxidant activity of Manuka honey protects against free radical damage. Free radicals are formed from many sources including radiation, pollution and naturally from metabolism within the body. Manuka honey’s antioxidants fight and neutralize harmful free radicals, which may otherwise cause cell damage and accelerated aging.

Anti-inflammatory Action

Manuka Honey has a potent anti-inflammatory action, which can be utilized to treat sore eyes, sore throats, irritated skin and sunburn. Modern medical research has confirmed that this bioactivity works on burns and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

cheat's cheesecake bites

When I was younger, I never understood the fuss about cheesecake. My partner, however, adores the dessert and as they say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, I endevoured to make one. What I did realise about cheesecake was its potential to be high in protein and relatively low in fat. As most cheesecake recipes use ricotta or cream cheese, it is fairly easy to replace these with skim versions.

Since I made my first cheesecake a few years ago, I have created many different flavours and enjoyed eating them all. It is always popular at dinner parties and family members always rave about the creamy texture. Here is my delicious blueberry cheesecake, served with a side of French champagne of course!

The only downside to a cheesecake is the time required to make one. While not a difficult cake to make (gelatin and those complicated ingridients are not needed, despite what recipes say), you will need time to bake the cake and allow it to adequately set to make sure your finished masterpiece doesn't ooze out onto the bench during its final reveal.

When I am craving my new favourite dessert and time is not of the essence, I whip up a batch of cheesecake cookies. Sweet and tart, these cookies always satisfy those cravings and take mere minutes to make.


6 shredded wheat biscuits
Low-fat cream cheese spread (I don't use the fat-free version as I find the flavour quite comprimised in this instance)
Manuka honey
Toasted flaked almonds

Assemble the biscuits and drizzle with honey, allowing the topping to soak into the biscuits for a few minutes. Dollop with cream cheese and drizzle with more honey. Sprinkle with flaked almonds for the finishing touch.

- Replace honey with creamed manuka honey.
- Replace honey with rasberry jam, topping the biscuits with fresh rasberries.
- Replace cream cheese with low-fat ricotta and mix in some cinnamon.

August 18, 2011

skinny scones

Whip up a batch of these scones for a delicious morning tea snack. Serve with sugar-free jam and low-fat ricotta.


* 500g wholemeal plain flour
* 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 2 teaspoons caster sugar
* 25g reduced-fat margarine
* 300ml buttermilk
* Handful of sultanas
* 1 egg, beaten, for an egg-wash (optional)
* 1 x large baking sheet
* 1 x 6cm fluted scone cutter


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7 and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Put the flour into a bowl with the bicarb, cream of tartar and sugar.
2. Rub the margarine into the flour to resemble damp sand and then pour in the buttermilk and sultanas, working everything together to form a dough. Try not to overmix.
3. Lightly flour your work surface. Pat the dough down into a round-edged oblong about 3cm thick, then cut out scones with a fluted or round cutter.
4. Arrange the scones close together on your lined baking sheet, and brush with beaten egg if you want a golden finish.

Cook for 12 - 15 minutes, by which time the scones will be dry on the bottom and have a relatively light feel. They will also be brown on top.

Remove them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 12 scones.

August 15, 2011

Nigella Lawson's waist-reducing banana cake

As Nigella puts it, "due to a widening waistline and an inability to stop eating cake I challenged myself to find a cake that didn't taste low fat."

Here is what she came up with...

Low-fat Banana Cake


* 1 cup wholemeal flour
* 1 cup plain flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 3/4 tsp baking soda
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup brown sugar
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup skimmed milk
* 1/4 cup canola oil
* 3 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
* 1/2 cup sultanas
* 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Heat oven to 180/Gas mark4. Line a 20cm spring-form cake tin.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
3. Place brown sugar, egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add oil, milk, mashed banana,vanilla extract and sultanas and mix until well blended.
4. Gradually mix in flour mixture until just moist.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Serves: 12

Bethenny's Margarita

Cocktails can be packed with calories and once you have downed a couple, you have consumed the equivalent of one whole meal. That is why it is a good idea to look for low-calorie options to cut down on the sugar content of your drink.

Try Bethenny's Skinnygirl Margarita

What you'll need:

* 2 oz of Clear Premium Tequila (count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)

* Tiny splash of Orange Liquor

* Juice of four Fresh Lime Wedges

* A splash of Grand Marnier or BOLS Triple Sec

Combine all ingredients over a glass of ice and garnish with a lime wedge.

Makes one serving.