Healthy Christmas recipes

Four days ’til Christmas! I’m definitely getting very excited about the festive celebrations now! For me, Christmas time means family time. We eat way too much delicious food, spend quality time hanging out and create many lasting memories. There’s nothing more important in my … Continue reading

Mango, macadamia and basil salad

Twas the week before Christmas and the celebrations had already begun…

As there has been a lot to celebrate this past week, including finishing my double degree, last night good friends joined me for an early Christmas dinner. We’ve spent the last four years of university together and are now ready to graduate and face the ‘real world’. It was an evening filled with delicious food, fabulous drinks and even better company.

Celebrating in style

We started the celebrations in style as it’s not everyday you finish two degrees. Nibbles included goat cheese camembert, Mary’s Gone Crackers (my favourite crackers), Sicilian olives, fresh strawberries and macadamia nuts.

Christmas spread

Following the nibbles, we feasted on Christmas Dinner. The menu consisted of:

  • Chicken skewers with a spicy peanut sauce
  • Mango, macadamia and basil salad
  • Paprika sweet potato, parsnip, basil and lime salad – made without the chicken
  • Quinoa, chickpea, coriander and avocado salad
  • Wild caught king tiger prawns
  • Raw vanilla macadamia cream fruit tart
  • Christmas chocolate bark

All of these recipes will be posted this coming week so you too can hopefully enjoy them come Christmas Day! I’ll also be posting ideas on how to festively set the table for Christmas Day, including a way to keep the your guests entertained and create memories whilst you dine.

Here’s the first of the Christmas recipes for you to enjoy… Mango, macadamia and basil salad. This salad really complements seafood, especially prawns, as it’s very fresh – in both colour and taste.

Mango, macadamia and basil salad

I absolutely love the vibrant colours in the salad. Summer to me always signifies mangoes – growing up in Cairns they were definitely a staple in our household throughout the season.

The shallots, basil and chilli lend this dish a Christmassy feel in terms of colour whilst the macadamias provide a delicious crunch.

Fresh, vibrant salad

This salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two days.

Mango, macadamia and basil salad

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe mangoes, diced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, washed and finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely sliced
  • 1/2 chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Place mangoes, basil, macadamias, shallot and chilli in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Stir through lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

How will you be celebrating Christmas in style this year?

Raw coconut mango macadamia mini cheesecakes

As it was my good friend’s birthday last week, I invited her over for dinner (and dessert!) to celebrate. Birthdays are a special occasion so I decided to make individual raw coconut mango macadamia cheesecakes as the birthday cake.

By keeping all the ingredients simple the three main flavours of coconut, mango and macadamia were able stand out.

Base ingredients

The base ingredients, dates and macadamias, provided sweetness and a crunch to the cheesecake.

Base – ready to be set

I didn’t grease the muffin tins as it wasn’t necessary to. When taking them out to serve just manoeuvre a sharp knife around the edges and gently lift out.

Beautiful colour filling

As the mango lends a natural sweetness to this creamy filling no sugar is required. If you’re using frozen mango I recommend allowing it to defrost before using to prevent this layer from taking on an icy texture.

Coconut filling

Coconut and mango are a match made in foodie heaven so it was a no brainer for the top layer to be coconut flavoured.

Birthday cake!

These mini cheesecakes will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks in a sealed container.

Raw coconut mango macadamia mini cheesecakes

Makes 8 mini cheesecakes

Ingredients:

Base
  • 1 cup raw macadamias
  • 4 fresh medjool dates, pitted
Mango filling
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup mango, fresh or frozen, plus extra for decoration
Coconut filling
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 fresh medjool dates, pitted

Method:

  1. Process base ingredients in a food processor for 3 minutes or until well combined.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly and press into muffin pans. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Place all mango filling ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix. Process for 3 minutes or until at a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour on top of frozen tart bases and smooth out to the edges with a spoon. Place in freezer for 1 hour, or until hardened.
  5. Place all coconut filling ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix. Process for 3 minutes or until smooth.
  6. Place on top of mango layer and smooth out to the edges with a spoon. Place in freezer for 1 hour, or until hardened.
  7. Serve with extra mango and enjoy!

Note:

  • This can be made as a large cheesecake, but you may have to double the mixture.

I’ll be posting the main course this week, however you can see the photos on my Instagram account @emmalaurenfood and my Facebook Page Emma Lauren Food Blog.

Green smoothies

After travelling through Europe and New York for the last four months of 2012, I needed a bit of a detox to get my body back working at its optimum. I decided to introduce green smoothies into my morning ritual to ensure I started my day off the best way possible.

Don’t worry, I am sure many of you are thinking ‘why would she want to blend up vegetables and drink them for breakfast?’. I’ll have to admit, when I first heard about green smoothies I was skeptical too.

However, I’ve been having one-a-day since the start of this year and I have noticed so many improvements in my energy, health and mental clarity. The green smoothies are also rich in chlorophyll which purifies the blood, enhances the immune system and rejuvenates the body.

I like to start my day off with a glass of lemon + warm water, followed by my green smoothie. The glass of lemon + warm water acts a natural detox for your body and aids with digestion, which is important so your body can absorb as many nutrients as possible from of the food you’re eating.

Preparation of the goodness that goes into my daily green smoothie

I use a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday to mix up the flavour and to keep it interesting.

Mango and acai powder

Mango and acai powder

Frozen mangoes are a staple in my smoothies as they ensure a creamy consistency instead of a grassy one.

Acai powder (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) comes from the acai berry which is one of the most antioxidant rich superfoods. I also use aloe vera juice as it assists with skin rejuvenation and overall detoxification of the body. Both can be purchased from most health food stores.

Final result. Green goodness!

As you can see, once all the ingredients have been blended together it is vibrant green in colour. It makes you feel healthy by just looking at it!

It is best to drink it immediately or to store it in a glass jar (see photo below) until consumed before the end of the day.

Green Smoothie

Serves 5

Ingredients*:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 1 cup mint, leaves only, wash and pat dry with paper towel
  • 2 green apples, cored and chopped
  • 2 passion fruits, pulp and seeds only
  • 1 cup celery, washed
  • 1 cup broccoli, washed
  • 2 cups mango flesh, frozen
  • 1 TBSP acai powder
  • 2 TBSP aloe vera juice

*See notes below

Method:

  1. Add water, baby spinach and mint to the blender. Start blender on a low speed, mix until smooth.
  2. Add apples, passion fruit, celery and broccoli, and gradually increase the speed.
  3. Add mango, acai and aloe vera juice, and blend until all combined. Serve and enjoy all the goodness the green smoothie has to offer.
  • Note: the green smoothie can be made with any ingredients to suit your taste buds. Additions/substitutions I commonly use are:
    • Water for coconut water
    • Baby spinach leaves for kale, lettuce and/or bokchoy
    • Mint for parsley, coriander and/or basil
    • Fruit: pineapple, kiwi fruit, watermelon, blueberries, paw paw, banana, avocado, lemon, berries, any fruit really
    • Vegetables: zucchini, ginger, cucumber
    • Avocado – this also makes the smoothie creamy

Extra made for me to take to university

I always ensure I make extra so I can take it to university or work for a snack throughout the day. I take it in a glass jar over a plastic bottle as it’s easier to clean and it does not leach any chemicals.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I haven’t been asked a question about it or been given a strange look from someone whilst drinking it in public. When I explain what it is, so many people are really interested and intrigued to try it.

Have you ever had a green smoothie? What are your favourite ingredients for it?