I owe my life to bullet journalling right now. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with things to do, journalling is a great way to organise your thoughts and get things done.

But ‘Bullet Journalling’ is another way of to do listing your life.¬†So I have always been a bit of a list maker but lately I have been trying to complete my lists that day.¬†The other thing I have been doing is instead of using a normal book, I have taken to writing up my lists on small square pads of paper. Sometimes of the sticky note kind. If its not square its okay too.. ¬†Because they are disposable I figure I have to do everything on the list in the moment rather than keeping it in a book that I don’t open. The smaller the better, as it helps me to condense what I need to put down, into the smaller space. Even my colleagues have noticed I do this with patient energy and protein requirements.. sometimes there is a trail of post it notes after a day at work… which I stick in my work journal.

Try it. Or read about it here and don’t. Your choice!

Bullet journalling, I owe you.


#winter, DIY, Easy Recipes, Healthy dinner ideas, Home cooked, Money Saving

When you don’t really feel like cooking

Lately its been quite crisp and the wintery weather has made me feel like warm food.

Last month I posted a mexican bowl as some of you will remember. I probably make this about once a month but the mixture lasts awhile if you add a couple of beans and other extras to it. It freezes nicely too which is handy when you have a mid week work disaster and can’t cook, just get it out and defrost it. This recipe is a healthy source of protein and iron, and the addition of the legumes, rice or vegetables plus salad provides a valuable source of fibre.

1 pack of lean, reduced fat/heart healthy mince, about 600gms
1 tin of red kidney beans, or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 white onion, diced
1 Mexican seasoning mix (or if you don’t have any or don’t want to buy it, you can use a mix of paprika, cumin and chilli powder, I would use equal parts cumin and paprika and a small amount of the chilli powder)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons water

Gently cook the onion until soft. Add in the seasoning mix or herbs and the mince. Cook mixture until brown. Add in the tomatoes and water and simmer..

To Serve – my favourite suggestions

  1. bake a plain potato – leave the skin on and make a cross mark in the top. Heat in the microwave or oven it if you have time – when cooked, top with some cheese and the mix. Enjoy. You could also use a sweet potato cut in half, with some of it scooped out – like a souped up potato skin. Alternatively, you could get a large courgette – halve it lengthwise and scoop out a small canal in the middle – add the mix, top with vegetables of your choice and add some grated cheese – and bake in a 180deg oven for 15 mins.
  2. in a small bowl place a cup of cooked brown rice. top with 1/2 cup of the mince mix, and about 1 tablespoon of chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, 1 tablespoon of rinsed and drained corn kernels, coriander leaves, grated tasty cheese and a generous dollop of natural yoghurt. Top with sriracha sauce.
  3. Make nachos  Рbut especially serve the mince with corn chips and a freshly made guacamole Рtake one ripe avo and mash it with a squeeze of lime, chilli flakes, and a tablespoon of finely chopped red onion -assemble and serve. Enjoy with friends!
    For more recipes including a lasagne recipe from the Womens Weekly NZ site click  Here  or the Foodtolove.com.au site  Here
#winter, Easy Recipes, Home cooked, Mid week lunches, Money Saving, Prepare ahead of time, Soup

on saturdays we make soup

Its been hard to find the time to sit down and write. In between work and gym, I’ve been doing some online studies. I am doing an online Diploma of Business and Entrepreneurship which has been good so far and gives me some good things to think about outside of hospital life. I’ve still been cooking but just not writing so much. So today I’ve decided to share my usual Saturday morning routine when I’m at home. Lately on Saturday mornings I’ve been making soup.

Here are my top four go to soup recipes for you… I’m going to put these into an PDF recipe booklet with some of my top healthy veggie bowl recipes and will share that link soon.


1. CARROT & LENTIL (aka LIVE BELOW THE LINE soup) Рa classic soup recipe you need if, like me you are trying to eat well but on a budget. I did this back in May when I did the Live Below the Line Challenge where you try to feed yourself on less than $10 a week or $2 a day. It was interesting but I kinda felt comforted by the simple flavours of this soup, so its become a regular recipe now.

You’ll need:

1 cup of red lentils
2 cups water, with a stock cube added
2 medium carrots, grated roughly
1 diced tomato
1 diced onion


Place all lentils, onion and stock in a medium pot and bring to the boil until lentils are soft and well cooked. This should take about 20 mins. Then add in the carrot and tomato and bring to the boil. Simmer on for another 10-15 and then serve with salt and pepper.



You’ll need:

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water plus an extra 2 cups for later
2 stock cubes
2 medium carrots
2 diced onions
1 Tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 diced tomato
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
2 Tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Method: In a medium pot, gently sauté the diced onions in a small amount of olive oil. When they are translucent, add in the ginger and turmeric powder and fry together for a minute. Add in the tomato paste, the stock, and the lentils.
Boil this for about 15-20 minutes then add in the carrots and tomatoes. Boil steadily on a medium heat and then reduce the heat. Add parsley and season to taste.
Serve hot.
PORK AND FENNEL MINESTRONE – This totally reminds me of a Bourke street bakery sausage roll. Next time I should pop a puff pastry lid on it.


150gms pork sausage or mince seasoned with salt and pepper and rolled into smaller than teaspoon sized meatballs
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, bruised and toasted
1 bunch of parsley
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tin of diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini chopped
1 cup elbow pasta


Dice the vegetables and finely chop parsley and its stalks
In a medium pot, gently sauce the onion and fennel seed. Add in the celery, carrot and cook until soft. Then add in the meatballs, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and zucchini.

Cover with stock and add in the pasta. Bring to the boil until the pasta is cooked.

Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.


Super easy to make, I’m sure we all have a recipe for this.

1 butternut pumpkin (about 700gms) cut into large squares and skin removed
2 cups water
1 stock cube, vegetarian
3 – 4 slices of fresh Ginger or 1-2 cloves Garlic (you can choose your own adventure here)
1 x 400ml can light coconut milk


Place the pumpkin cubes into a large wide based pot.
Boil the water and dissolve the stock cube in it. Pour over the pumpkin and cover with lid. Depending on how much pumpkin you use, you may need to add more water, but be careful not to add too much or the soup may end up a bit watery.

Boil water until the pumpkin cubes are soft. Cool for 30mins.

Blend or use a hand mixer to puree the pumpkin. Replace in the pot and put it back on the stove. Add coconut milk and gently heat until warm but do not boil as the coconut milk might split.

Serve topped with crunchy croutons, smashed crackers or dry roasted edamame beans.

ALL SOUPS WILL SERVE ABOUT 6 so invite your friends around ūüôā



Tonight I assembled the best meal ever!!

This week for me has been pretty good but like most people this time of year, I feel like life is pretty constant. 

This evening after gym I decided to cook myself something awesome and healthy, I’m trying to improve my veg intake but I hadn’t cooked anything. I was also late home and a bit hungry. I knew it was a risk going to the shops a bit hungry so I decided on salmon before I got in there. 

So a quick excursion to the shops and I came home with: 

2 salmon fillets (skin on)

1 small (400gm) bag of pre packed Woolworths new (red) potatoes, the ones you can cook inside the bag. 

1 small (150gm) bag of baby spinach 

I had a bunch of asparagus and some broccolini and mushrooms in the fridge 

Step 1. Super tired and felt like I should have bought some sushi instead (hungry!) but decided this would be a time trial and prepared myself mentally. The first thing I did was put the potatoes in the microwave and set it to cook for 8 minutes. 

Then I washed the asparagus and broccolini and trimmed the stalks. I sliced two mushrooms and placed them into the non stick pan with a drizzle of rice bran oil. After tossing these around for a minute I added water and a lid to steam cook them. When the stalks were really green and the mushroom soft I transferred them to a casserole dish. 

Then, I washed the fish briefly under the tap and placed it on some paper towelling on a plate to dry it. Once it was dry, freshly cracked rock salt was added to the skin side. 

The same pan for the veggies was used to cook the fish – I used a little rice bran oil to cook this in, just so the skin can get crispy. You could use EVOO instead, but we have rice bran oil for its multipurpose nature. The fish took about 10 mins, I can’t say exactly how long but I think the microwave beeped a few times so it must have been at least 10 mins – I saut√©ed the skin side first until crisp then turned it to either side before flipping it over. 

Spinach & Walnut salad – I did this one a while ago but I should mentioned it again here – take the leaves of spinach and wash and dry them. Place in a small salad bowl. At this point I was thinking,”I’m almost there, plus I may have lunch for tomorrow which is a bonus !

In a small sauce pan heat 1 tablespoon of rice bran oil. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of walnuts or enough to cover the base of the pan. Heat on medium high until the aroma from the nuts is releasing, this recipe smells really good when you are making it!  Take the walnuts of the heat when they are changed in colour or a bit toasty. Place on top of the spinach leaves after cooling for 10 mins. Drizzle with balsamic or red wine vinegar and one teaspoon of honey drizzled ontop. Mix well. 

On your plate, arrange the salad leaves in a small mound in the centre of the bowl, add mushrooms and asparagus to the sides and a couple of new potatoes. 

Top with the salmon and season to taste. 

This made two salmon fillets and enough potatoes for tomorrow’s lunch! Operation get LEAN has officially begun with that wonderful receipe ! 


Jill x 


DIY, Healthy dinner ideas, Salads, Summer eating, What to eat when

Brown Rice Vermicelli Salad… Vietnam dreaming

Its been super hot in Sydney lately and I’m not able to take the heat!! ¬†Having to wear an air cast in the heat is not so comfortable either – I’ve had it on for three weeks now and am starting to get a bit more used to it.
I have started a bit of pool walking so thats been really nice in between physio and developing recipe content from my couch.¬†So I have been staying out of the heat and I posted a few simple leaf salads last week, but I decided to up the anti today and try to make a favourite salad of mine – Vietnamese vermicelli salad ( or BUN Bo – ¬†which translates to ¬†lemongrass beef .. ) but with a twist instead.¬†So normally this is a beef or pork dish, and traditionally chicken mince is not really used. But it was on special at the shop so I decided to use it. If you’re a traditionalist and you would like the original recipe using steak, click on this link¬†here¬†from Taste.com.au to check it out.

Also, I am sort of craving a bit of Vietnamese food, mainly because I am supposed to be on a trip there right now. Due to an accident whilst attempting to run a trail in the National Park in Waterfall a couple weeks back, I was grounded by my Dr and had to stay behind. My awesome team left yesterday and I am looking forward to their updates. You can read more about my group who are on the trip here that raised $40,000 for primary school education programs in Cambodia and Vietnam and see my own page about why I was involved here Рand then make this for your family or friends Рits economical, refreshing, and yum!

Vietnamese chicken mince vermicelli salad
Time: allow about 60 mins, you may need one helper in the kitchen

Meat – organic chicken mince 400- 500gm pack – if the organic is too expensive any (free range or other) chicken mince will be suitable
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/2 cup coriander leaves
1 spring onion, white and green part, sliced and chopped
3 Tablespoons Fish sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce
White pepper 1/2 tsp

Mix these ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for 10 mins for seasoning to soak in.

1 x200gm packet of pandaroo brown rice vermicelli
3 lettuce leaves, shredded
1/2 cucumber, cut into sticks
2 carrots, spiralised

1/4 cup fish sauce
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoon lime juice  (1 lime)
1 clove garlic
1 small chilli, deseeded and sliced (I didn’t have this so I used chilli jam)
3 tablespoons grated palm sugar

Topping (for the table, to serve 4-6 people)
1/2 cup Mint
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 cup shallots, sliced and fried (or you could use prep prepared ones from the asian grocery store), for sprinkling
Put these into small dishes and place on the table.

Step 1.
Prepare the pandaroo vermicelli according to directions on the packet. Drain and wash with cold water., for a few minutes until the heat of the noodles reduces or place in a bowl of iced water for 5 mins.
This will prevent the noodles from becoming soggy and help them to stay nice and crisp. Drain and set aside.

Step 2.
While the noodles are cooling, take the mince which has been marinated and stir fry in a hot pan or wok. I used rice bran oil as that is the oil I use at home predominately and also the fish sauce in the meat has a strong aroma. Sunflower or another vegetable would also be a good one to use.¬†I¬†wouldn’t¬†use EVOO for this salad as the heat can be quite high and if its a nice grassy one, it might not complement the fish sauce flavour. Cook the mince in batches (I had to do two separate ones), until it is light brown. Cooking the mince in batches can reduce the water that comes out of the meat and gets it a bit brown rather than soggy but that is my preference for the meat to be dry and little crispy. Place in a dish and set on the table.

Step 3. Salad Plate
In a bowl or on a plate, placed shredded lettuce, spiralled carrot and cucumber sticks next to each other.

Step 4.  The dressing
In a small bowl combine 1 chopped garlic clove, fish sauce, chopped chilli and brown sugar. Add lemon juice to taste (I added extra as I like more of that, and wanted to have a less salty overtone). Its important to taste the dressing as you make it so you can adjust it to your taste.

Step 5. Assembly
In your bowl, layer the brown rice vermicelli at the bottom and add the lettuce, cucumber, and cooked meat pieces., Top with the mint leaves and peanuts and shallots, and the spoon over 2 teaspoons of dressing. Mix your bowl up, ensuring the dressing covers everything well, and enjoy!!!

Hope you like it – let me know how you go by placing a comment below.



baking, breakfast, Cardioprotective food, Healthy treats on the run, Uncategorized, What to eat when

Breakfast on the run: Giant Sultana and Oat cookies

Yum – I’m missing these giant sultana and oat cookies I baked for work a few months back for a fundraiser. Sometimes if you don’t have time for breakfast a baked item can be ok occasionally. You just need to watch for the oil or fats used in the treat as they be a super nourishing cookie, which could be a drawback for your diet and your daily fat total can add up quickly before lunch, especially if you are watching your weight, it all adds up.¬†I originally made these cookies for the nurses I work with, as they are always working hard without having had breakfast. This cookie would also suit anyone who is working hard, working out, or learning hard on the schoolyard. With the nurses I work with, a lot of them work long shifts and because they have to put other people first, they sometimes skip breakfast and lunch too.¬†So I got the idea to make a breakfast cookie, but healthy. I used a recipe from the taste website – you can view it here. ->¬†Taste recipe

For this recipe I replaced butter with Meadow Lea buttery cook and bake click here for product info¬†which is better for your heart. I’ve used rice bran oil in the past as well to make these and my Vegan Anzacs and they still always come out on top taste wise. I have no affiliation with Meadow Lea, the Rice bran oil company or Taste. Just saying.

I also added some pepitas and other nuts into the mix like a couple walnuts. You could also add pecans or dates if you like for a fudgey hit.

The verdict: Not bad! I had some nurses comment they were pretty awesome, a couple even went home for their kids lunch boxes.

The fibre content in the cookie from the oats is also very good for hitting the daily fibre requirement to protect against cholesterol and other nasties like bowel cancers.

I call them the cardio protective, healthy cookie. These cookies raised about $200 towards my fundraiser for the cycle for education which is a world vision fundraiser for primary school education kits. You can read more about this if you like via this link.

But yeah, healthy baking can be done and it’s something so many people should know more about. Especially when you feel like you need a healthy treat!




Sushi at home

Today I made slow roasted pumpkin, sun dried tomato and cream cheese sushi. Sushi at home is so easy to make in summer and such an easy meal to make on a budget. ¬†Its a good recipe to make while you are at home during the day, if you are working on a project, or if you are simply chilling, as there are a few steps to do and different stages. At the moment I’m at home recovering from an ankle sprain so I have the time, and a couple of helpers to help me with the cooking. I once had this combination at a great little Japanese restaurant in Randwick and its one of my favourite combinations for vegetarian sushi.

You will need:
Sushi rice (medium grain brown or white rice), cooked and cooled
1 sushi mat
1 packet of nori (seaweed)

Pumpkin, 2-3 large roasted pieces
Sun dried tomatoes, 50gm
Cucumber, sliced
1-2 slices from a block of Philly cream cheese (I used the light one), you won’t be eating the whole block over lunch

Cook the rice according to the directions on the packet and after the rice is cooked, sprinkle the rice with 3-4 Tablespoons of sushi vinegar and leave to cool.

We used 4 cups of rice for 6 people and probably about 1/2 a cup of vinegar.

I would recommend using a small amount of vinegar initially like 2 Tablespoons per cup of cooked rice. This step is best done in the morning, before anything else.

At the same time, I would also prepare the pumpkin. My local shop has pre peeled and cut wedges of pumpkin which are always convenient for roasting. I still have a big bunch of herbs from when my friend Elda the dietitian came to visit last week to see how I was going and showed me her recipe for home made pesto so I used some of the rosemary and sage to make the roasted pumpkin extra fragrant.
I crunched the herbs up in my hands (called bruising), to release their herb oils, and rubbed them onto the pumpkin. With a drizzle of olive oil plus some salt, the pumpkin was ready to go.
I roasted it in the 200deg. oven for about 40 mins, or until it was soft and starting to brown.

Once you have the rice, and the pumpkin ready, and they have both cooled bit, you are ready to roll. Use a clean plate or a chopping board.

Place the nori on the mat then add the rice, about 1/2 cup per sheet.
Use the back of a spoon to spread the rice out over the surface of the sheet, leaving a small space about 2 inches, uncovered. Think of it like an envelope flap.

Once you have the rice evenly spread out on the nori, in the middle of the sheet, place your fillings in a small area about 2 cm. You want to stack it a little rather than spreading it out.

Alternate your vegetables and protein – on this one I put the cucumber down first, followed by the cream cheese, pumpkin, and sun dried tomato.

Once its lined up, you’re ready to roll.

Pull the nori sheet up with the mat and roll it overtaking sure to keep a firm grip on the sheet as you roll it. Use the mat to help you to keep the roll structured. Keep rolling it until the nori flap seals the sushi in.
Cut in half to serve as rolls or into individual slices for share plates.

We also used tomato and onion tuna with sundried tomato and cucumber which was nice, and classic tuna, avocado and tuna and mayo.

We also have made aburi salmon sushi at home with the help of my brother and his trusty blow torch but thats a recipe for another time!