high protein

Balsamic Pork Ribs with Cabbage & Apple

I’m not that into pork. Well except for bacon. Ok, and ham off the bone. Oh yeah, I love baby back ribs as well. Did I mention pork belly. How good is pork belly!  Soooo maybe I don’t mind a bit of pig in my life, I was mistaken. These are easy and delicious and the “cabbagey” (that’s definitely NOT a word) apple goodness underneath is awesome! You are going to LOVE it. If you want your ribs to really crackle up on top you might want to score them before you cook them, rub a bit of salt on them and then whack them under the grill for 10 mins after they are cooked.

salt & pepper to taste

1 tbs honey

1 tbs smoked paprika

1 tbs olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

1/4 red cabbage, shredded

1 lge green apple, cut into large cubes

3 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

4 pork spare ribs

Preheat your oven to 160C. In a bowl mix the oil, paprika, honey, balsamic, garlic, salt & pepper. Add the ribs and mix well to coat then set aside. In a baking dish add the cabbage and apple, pop the ribs on top and drizzle over remaining marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 2hrs. Remove foil and increase temperature to 220C for 20 mins. Remove from oven and serve.


Protein Chocolate (vegan. paleo. nut free)

I have a confession. I am eating waaaaayyyyy too many treats. Like seriously. Way. Too. Many. I ate all these chocolates in one day. That’s not a lie. I wish it was. Yeah they are ‘healthier’ than a Mars Bar but the whole lot!? In one day. I’ve gotta reel that $hit in. I wrote a post a while back about my take on HEALTHY TREATS and I still stand by that but, I know myself and I will end up in a full sugar-junkie tailspin if I don’t get a lid on this now. It’s time.

I am getting back to basics and am going to have a little sugar detox like the one I did HERE just to get me feeling back on track. I am going to get back into doing some regular INFRA-RED saunas at my chiropractor. I find these make my skin feel amazing, they help me unwind and calm myself and they are the perfect way to help relax tight muscles and detoxify. I wrote about the benefits of those bad boys a while ago but had to stop while I was pregnant & breast-feeding due their serious detoxing ability.

1/2 cup chopped cacao butter, melted
1/4 cup coconut oil (or ghee)
2 heaped tbs raw cacao
2-3 tbs rice malt syrup/maple syrup/honey (make them as sweet or bitter as you like)
2 tbs gelatin (Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate green canister) or protein powder (optional) I use ONLY NUTRITION brand
OPTIONAL- Few drops of peppermint oil (or orange oil)

Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil together then set aside to cool slightly. Add the cacao and mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Add remaining ingredients and whisk it all together until smooth. Pour into chocolate moulds or into a baking paper lined tray to set as a “bark” that you can break up once it has set. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hrs to set then just try and eat one piece. I dare you. Baby G managed to get her mits on one of these before I demolished the rest.


Italian Slow Cooked Chicken

I noticed that I have been posting a lot of sweet treats lately & contrary to how it may appear, I don’t just live on cake & bliss balls. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to, but I don’t.  Truly. Sweets are DEFINITELY my fave thing to make but veggies, meat, fruit & eggs is actually what my life generally looks like, it’s just more often than not, not blog-worthy. Actually maybe I will do a day-on-my-plate post anyway, just so you can see the less-than-exciting mess that usually ends up on my plate….. Or that I end up eating off the floor after Baby G has thrown it there. Anyway, back to the chicken. This is the goods. The olives & artichoke make it a little bit fancy so you can totally serve this biz to someone special & they’ll never know it actually only took you about 15 mins to prepare. You’re welcome.

Good dose of salt & pepper
1kg chicken thighs
1 X 400g tin diced tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red/white or rose wine
2 handfuls shredded kale or spinach
2 tbs seeded mustard
250g pitted Kalamata olives
200g artichoke hearts

Preheat oven to 150C. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, mustard, half the olives and wine to YOUR CROCKPOT and mix together well. Add the kale and mix to cover.

italian chicken prep

Add in the chicken thighs and give it a good stir. Pop the lid on and cook for an hour. After an hour add the remaining olives and artichoke hearts and cook for another hour uncovered then dig in. You could also do this in a slow cooker if you fancied, I am just obsessed with my new LE CREUSET CASSEROLE DISH.

italian chicken close

Food, Fitness, f45 & a Whole Lotta Ab’s!

 About a month ago I met the awesome Nina Studenko. Super-mum, all round amazing woman & owner of f45 Stafford & Newstead and was lucky enough to be asked to be an ambassador for them. Whoop Whoop!
I had heard a LOT about this f45 craze and because I was doing a heap, ok a bit, alright maybe once a week, of HIIT training at home anyway I thought I’d give it a crack. I’ll be fine…. Ah no. Not fine. Not even slightly fine. Dying. Death. I am literally drowning in my own sweat. Aaaaannnd of course then I became addicted because not only does it appear that I love pain, I also love results & fun and this team bring it in spades. PLUS, I figure if I keep going I am going to wake up with ab’s like Nina….. Hopefully by tomorrow. That’s how it works right? RIGHT?
So here’s the lady behind the ab’s to tell you all about her food, her life & how the hell she got that body. I’ll have what she’s having!

1. Tell us about Nina in a nutshell-

Happy, fun, determined, caring and an observer.

2. You are built like a real athlete, I mean seriously, those ab’s!  What is your fitness background?

Thank you! Fitness background is a bit of everything. I LOVE variety. It’s important for me to continually shock my body that activate and wake up different muscle groups – for me this is the key to my definition and symmetry.
Currently I train 5-6 times a week with a focus on F45 training and throw in a little bit of gymnastics, crossfit, running and yoga into the mix.

I competed in Body Sculpting last year in the Figure division so traditional weight training played a massive part in my training to achieve the required physique.

Over the past few years I have kept things exciting with Crossfit, Triathlons, lots of running up to the half marathon length. I absolutely love the conditioning side of Crossfit which is why F45 is so appealing to me. I find I respond really well to HIIT training and in the last year my body has physically gone through so much change.


3. What’s a day in the life of an F45 owner look like?

  • Alarm goes off at 4:15am
  • Out the door at 4:30am
  • Coaching 5:15am-8:30am
  • Training 9:30am
  • Admin 10:30am-12pm
  • Coach lunch time sesh 12:30pm
  • Admin until 3:30pm
  • Mummy duties from 4pm
  • In bed by 10pm

4. Why f45 & why do you do what you do?

From the moment I tried F45 training for myself, I fell in love! F45 stands for Functional 45 (minute sessions).  The style is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and this training style is right up my alley. It is fast, furious, tough, intense and gets results!

The results I have seen over the past year amongst members is nothing short of amazing.  The variety keeps our members guessing and my favourite part is the fact that the body is continually shocked because sessions are not repeated.  I love that there is a focus on both cardio and resistance – so many people focus on either one or the other in their usual routines whereas the importance of both is showcased with the programming.

F45 is innovative and HQ are continually changing things up to stay ahead of the game and remain the leaders in HIIT training worldwide.


5. Talk us through a day on your plate?

After competing last year I got into the habit of eating a lot of white meat and fish and a ton of leafy greens and veggies.  My diet since then has remained very similar, although I obviously allow myself treats now.  Essentially though I exclude gluten and minimise grains as my body doesn’t respond well to these.

Breakfast:  Chicken or salmon and green veggies + avo (zucchini, beans)

Lunch:  Turkey with green veggies (zucchini, beans) + sweet potato.  If I am eating out during the week I will usually go for a nutritious meal or healthy salad from somewhere local.

Dinner:  White fish, steak with green salad and veggies

Snacks:  Protein drink, coffee, protein bar

Weakness:  Coffee (i drink too much!)

6. What is your nutrition philosophy?

Eat the foods that benefit your body – do what works for you and makes you feel your best and allows your body to perform at its best.

For me, it is high protein, low carb.  I feel my best when I eat healthy meals that are unprocessed.  I feel that sugar can easily become something my body relies on and craves, so I try to limit this where possible.

7. What is the best piece of nutrition advice you could give?

Very similar to the above – Your diet should include things that allow your body and mind to perform at its best.

I also place huge importance on balance – so eating healthy most of the time, but allowing yourself a treat. I am a clean eater, but I also allow myself things that I enjoy that are not necessarily apart of my meal plan.  I like cheese and I like wine and I like chocolate.  I also grew up eating delicious Spanish and Russian dishes so whenever we have a family get togethers I cut loose.  This is how I treat myself.

I think it needs to be noted that everyone is different and I will always consider my members and their lifestyle, work schedules etc. when advising about diet and nutrition.  I don’t follow or suggest my members follow a specific diet, because I believe it is important to eat wholesome foods that haven’t been altered or processed.  As a general comment though, I really believe that we all need to take time out to listen and learn how to read our bodies, how it’s feeling and then educate ourselves on what this means.

8. What’s your fave food?

My grandmothers silverbeet, smoked ham and egg pie.

9. My perfect relaxing weekend would be….

Spent somewhere by the beach – we are so spoilt for choice in QLD, so up or down is fine.  Get a work out in at the local F45 studio or go for a run, get some breaky + cawfeeee, head to the beach for some vitamin SEA, head to the local shops to trawl through the shops, lunch, more beach time.

10. My favourite things are…

My son Alastair and my family, my friends, and girlfriend catchups and of course my business. Work is not work anymore and this is such a gift.


11. My go to meal when I just CBF (Can’t Be Fu$ked)….

Nandos chicken tenderloins or Guzman y Gomez Chicken salad!

So now you know all about Nina and you should definitely go and give this f45 bizzo a whirl and sign yourself up to their FREE 14 DAY TRIAL. See you there!!

Crockpot Pulled Pork (paleo. gluten free. dairy free)

Best. Pulled pork. Ever. I’m not sure if that is a completely correct statement but for the amount of time it takes to prepare versus your return on investment in that process it really comes up trumps. You can probably give this a whirl with beef, lamb or chicken thighs too if that’s what spins your tyres. This freezes really well if you have leftovers and is a great versatile protein source that you can toss through a salad, pop in a wrap, have with veggies, served for brekkie with some poached eggs, just eat it straight out of the slow cooker…. I won’t judge, people do it….. I’ve heard.

250g tomato paste

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup coconut aminos/ tamari/soy sauce

2 tbs sweet paprika (smoked is fine too)

1/2 tbs garlic powder

1/2 tbs onion powder

1/2 cup honey

good whack of salt & pepper

1 cup filtered water/chicken or veggie stock

1 boneless pork leg or shoulder

Add all the ingredients except the pork to the slow cooker and mix well to combine. Take the pork & trim any excess fat. A bit is fine but too much will just turn to slop so chop it off, whack it in the oven and make some pork cracking! Roll the pork around in the slow cooker mix to coat then pop it on low and let it go for 8-10 hours.  I put mine in before I went to bed and woke up with my dinner ready to go…. Once its done just use a couple of forks to shred it all up then dig in. I served mine in some lettuce boats topped with guacamole & kraut.



Caramel Protein Bars (paleo, vegan)

You’ll never guess the secret ingredient in these bars….. Seriously, it’s weird, even for me. It’s a sneaky veggie. Cauliflower. Yep, I’m serious. Told you it was weird. Weird, but strangely delicious and quite frankly I am LOVING the fact that this has veggies in it so hard right now. I mean it’s basically a salad now. Right? Pass me that tray of salad.

300g steamed & cooled cauliflower

200g raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hrs then drained

200g medjool datess

Dark chocolate (for dipping)- I used Lindt 90% but you can use this recipe to make your own if you prefer

2 tbs mesquite powder (optional but delicious)

2 tbs tahini

2 tbs rice malt syrup/maple syrup/honey/coconut nectar

1/2 cup Only Nutrition Vanilla Protein (or protein of your choice)

Add the dates, cashews & cauliflower to a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except the dark chocolate and process again until it forms a dough. If it’s still a bit wet, add an extra 1/4 cup protein at a time until you get to a ‘bliss ball’ type consistency. Press into a baking paper lined tray and pop in the freezer to set for 1-2 hrs. Once the slice has set you can melt your chocolate and pop it in a bowl for dipping. Cut the slice into bars, dip in the chocolate and place back into the freezer to reset. If you have leftover chocolate, you can do a second dip because let’s face it, one layer of chocolate is never sufficient. If you can’t be bothered with the dipping bizzo you can just pour the melted chocolate on top before you slice it into bars. I store these in the freezer to maintain a good consistency….. and to hide them from myself.


Choc Cranberry Protein Bombs (vegan, primal, clean eating, gluten free, dairy free)

There’s balls all over place. Where ever you look. Balls & more balls. All shapes, all flavours, some with nuts, some nut-free, some are loaded with protein. Everyone is on the ball-train and why the hell not? They are fast, delicious and a cracking snack on the go. So. Many. Balls. And ball jokes. Obviously I am talking about BLISS BALLS so let’s clean up this ball chat and go and make some shall we. Seriously, you lot need to get your minds out of the gutter.

1 cup cranberries (or dried berries of your choice)
1/2 cup nut butter (I used ABC, you can use tahini or coconut butter for a nut-free version)
1/2 cup ONLY NUTRITION raw choc protein (or protein of your choice. You could also use nut flour instead)
1/2-1 tsp fresh finely grated ginger
3 tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup hemp seeds/coconut/chia seeds

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until they all come together and your dough is ‘rollable’. Is that a word?



Roll into any size ball that takes your fancy then pop them in the fridge to set for a couple of hours before demolishing. These store well in the fridge or freezer.


Herb Crusted Cutlets

Heeeeyyyy!!! Happy New Year everyone. So I’m sorry it’s been a while between recipes, to be honest I think I just needed a bit of time to get my kitchen mojo back after a pretty wild last half of the year. Anyway, I’m back. You’re back. Let’s do this. 

Now, let’s talk. How good is lamb. Seriously. That’s a statement, not a question. You know lamb is the delicious little morsel that broke the 15 year vegetarian in me? Yep, 8 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder was the beginning of my soirée back to eating red meat. The smell of that deliciousness in the oven at a friend’s place had my vego stomach doing backflips and high kicks wanting to get on board. So get on board I did, I started listening to my body again and it’s been thanking me ever since. It’s what I needed. That’s not to say it’s what you need….. Except for these cutlets. Everyone needs these cutlets. 

1 tbs seeded mustard

2 tbs fresh chopped mint

2 tbs fresh chopped rosemary

Salt & pepper- a good whack

2 tbs melted coconut oil

10 lamb cutlets

Add all the ingredients except the cutlets to a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon onto the cutlets to form an even crust on one side and set aside. The coconut oil should set a bit on the cold cutlets to help it all stay put. Heat a large frypan to med heat then place the lamb, crust-side down, onto the pan. now you can spoon some extra crust onto the other side. Cook for about 3-4 minutes before flipping over gently using a spatula to keep the crust intact.  Cook for another 3-4 mins on the other side before removing from the pan.

That’s it. Done. Eat. Enjoy.



Pesto Base Quiche

So I am 17.5 weeks into this pregnancy & so far things are pretty good. I had a bit of that fab old fun they call ‘morning sickness’ all day, every day up until about 10 weeks where I spent all day feeling really hungover (& mighty pi$$ed off it wasn’t even the result of some great champagne) and couldn’t stomach anything I cooked or stand the smell of things like my beloved coconut oil! Since then I have been well, no weird cravings yet & I am back on board with coconut oil and at the stage affectionately referred to as ‘the too many pies’ stage of pregnancy…… I don’t really look pregnant, just a bit fat or like I ate 7 pies for breakfast. It’s hot.

This baby won’t make you look like you just ate 7 pies, is super easy, super tasty, & makes a fabulous brekkie, lunch or dinner option. You can add any fillings you like for a high protein, low carb feast and can jam as many veggies in as you like.


1 cup PESTO (you can use any type you like)
1 cup flaxseeds, ground
2 tbs coconut oil/ghee

10 eggs
1 zucchini, grated
Extra 1/2 cup pesto
Anything else you would like to add to your quiche, I added sliced capsicum & sweet potato chopped into small cubes

Preheat the oven to 180C. For the base, add all the ingredients to the food processor & mix well until completely combined. Press into a greased tart tin or springform tin so that it covers the base & up about 5-8cm on the sides. Pop it in the oven for 10-15 mins until it is just firming up then remove & set aside.

Add the eggs, pesto & zucchini to a bowl or food processor & mix well to combine. Add any other ingredients you like now and stir through. Pour onto the pre-baked base ensuring the egg mix does not come up higher than the tart base on the sides. If you have extra mix left you can pour it into some muffin tins and make some mini fritattas. Turn the oven down to 160C and pop the quiche in for 45mins to 1hr or until it is firm in the centre. Once you take it out of the oven, allow to cool for at least 30mins before slicing.

Thai Beef Burgers

We have sold our house & moved into a rental house that has the WORST oven in all of the land…. Who am I kidding, the entire kitchen is what my nightmares are made of. The only saving grace is the gas cooktop, even though only 3 of the 4 burners work. Anyway, back to the oven. This thing is tiny but that isn’t the worst part. The worst part is that the thermostat in it is obviously broken….. Which we learnt the hard way…. A few times. This sucker will turn anything to charcoal within about 5mins if you set the temp to more than 120C. Any recipe that involves an oven for the next 6mths comes with a warning “I have no idea what temp this was cooked at”. Lucky for you, and me, this can be chucked in a frypan or on the BBQ, phew.

1kg beef mince

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs grated ginger
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbs coconut aminos (you can use soy sauce or tamari)
Zest & juice of 1 lime

Pop all of this in a big bowl & mix well. Get your hands in there and make sure everything is well combined. Shape into burger patties of whatever size you like, I made big ones & this made about 6. Heat a frypan & add about a tbs of coconut oil, and cook these bad boys. We had ours with lettuce wraps instead of buns with my homemade Lime Mayo tomato sauce, avocado & sauerkraut. It was the bomb.