Monique is my foodie counterpart. At 28, she's a serious health foodie and all-round wellness babe hailing from Sydney. She publishes her amazing healthy creations on her blog - so naturally I had to spread the love. She also loves snacking, which practically makes us twins.
Monique's one clever nut - by day she's a high-flying corporate lawyer (sadly, one attribute we don't share), but in her spare time (!) she's completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) to qualify as a clinical nutritionist.
We similarities continue: Monique's started out as a hobby and a way to record her recipe inventions, much like The Fit Foodie. As she learnt more about how to treat her body well, her site evolved into a comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle blog.
She now shares an assortment of recipes, plus hints and tips for enjoying nutritious, easy to prepare, meals along with delicious treats too!
Read more about what makes her tick, PLUS check out her amazing muffin recipe below!
1. HOW DID NOURISH EVERYDAY BEGIN?
I had a really stressed, up-and-down relationship with food when I was younger. I used to be completely carefree (and pretty unhealthy, but hey, I was a teenager!), and then I spent a few years really struggling with an eating disorder, where I lost a lot of weight and was so controlled and anxious, it took over my life. Coming out of that I started to learn to how appreciate food and to treat myself better. And so my food blogging began, under the blog name Cook Chew Conquer. I then commenced studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Medicine) to further my scientific understanding of how we can best nourish our bodies. Now I’m still studying as well as working on a new project – Nourish Everyday – which will be more extensive than my current blog and will hopefully bring nutritional inspiration, empowerment and enjoyment to you all. My new site just went live at www.nourisheveryday.com!
2. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Generally, sunny happy people who don’t sweat the small stuff – I’m a bit of an over-analyser. More specifically, my husband, my close friends and my mother, who all work so hard, show me love, respect and appreciation and who colour my life in a very beautiful way.
3. YOUR DAY ON A PLATE?
- Breakfast: The standard is 2 eggs with veggies and/or a smart carb, like quinoa or sweet potato, though on the weekend I might have some healthy pancakes or a smoothie bowl instead. On office days, I usually pre-pack a breakfast box of hard-boiled eggs with sides, e.g. a breakfast box of rocket, roast sweet potato, cherry tomatoes and eggs.
- Lunch: A jumbo-sized salad, I eat one almost every day. I mix it up constantly, but some of my favourite ingredients are baby spinach, zucchini noodles, avocado, pumpkin seeds, grated cabbage, and olives. And I always top it with some form of protein like chicken, tuna or eggs (if I haven’t had them for brekky), plus healthy fats such as olive oil, tahini and/or avocado. Apple cider vinegar is great in salad dressings and improves digestion.
- Dinner: something from my freezer, such as a yellow curry or leftover slow-cooked casserole, with steamed veg (I’m big on batch cooking as I am kept pretty busy during the week with my corporate job). Failing that, I usually do some kind of omelette containing pretty much anything I have in the fridge.
- Snacks: I’m a snacker – it does come with the territory of extended hours at a desk job, I think. I will usually have a handful of raw nuts (Brazil nuts, walnuts and almonds are my favourites), herbal tea, flaxseed crackers with tahini, veggie sticks and/or a bliss ball or two. I do drink black coffee, but no more than one per day.
4: FAVOURITE WAY TO GET MOVING?
Xtend Barre is super fun and I wish I had time to do more classes. Xtend Barre Alexandria in Sydney was my local, though I’ve just relocated to London so I am going to have to hunt down a new place now! Otherwise, I like to run (both indoors and outdoor, 2-3 times per week), do some light weights and the occasional gym class (pump or spin).
5. THREE THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
I need to give you two categories here.
Inedible: my husband, my iphone, my faithful Marc Jacobs handbag that I use pretty much every day.
Edible: eggs, sweet potato and broccoli.
6. YOUR SECRET VICE
Any kind of dark chocolate, not just the healthy homemade raw stuff! Extra points if it has macadamia nuts. Oh and vegetable chips, like those sweet potato/beetroot/parsnip type ones. I’m not a fan of standard potato chips, but those gourmet veggie ones are delicious.
7. TOP SONG ON YOUR PLAYLIST
I’m a bit of a dag when it comes to music; when I go out for a run I usually listen to ABC Local Radio – well, I don’t think it’s daggy but others might! Otherwise I’m usually dancing/lifting/cycling in fitness classes to all sorts of pop-music remixes, which I secretly also love, as they’re so boppy and help get you moving.
8. YOUR MANTA
At the moment, because I am working full time in a corporate job and trying to cram in everything nutrition-related around the side, I like to refer back to a particular quote: “Don’t give up on a dream because of the time that it will take. The time will pass anyway.” And when that fails… “Just Breathe”!
FINALLY...YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPE
Chocolate, Pumpkin and Hazelnut Muffins
(dairy free, grain free, gluten free, fructose free)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup hazelnut meal
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- Small pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 5 free range, organic eggs
- 1/3 cup rice malt syrup (you can use honey or maple syrup if you prefer, this will yield a sweeter muffin but will mean the muffins are no longer fructose-free)
- 1 cup skinless pumpkin, cooked until very soft
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Approximately 3/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped and roasted*
*I roast my own hazelnuts. Simply place some roughly chopped raw hazelnuts on an oven tray and place in an oven set to 180 C for about 10 minutes. Then, switch the oven off and allow the nuts to cool in the oven (this intensifies the roasted flavour I promise!)
- Preheat oven to 190 C and prepare a muffin tin with liners or baking paper.
- In a bowl sift together the coconut flour, cacao, bicarb soda and salt (it's not essential to sift it but it helps to ensure the batter will be smooth). Then, stir in the hazelnut meal and cinnamon. Set aside the dry ingredient mix.
- In a food processor combine the eggs, pumpkin, coconut oil, rice malt syrup and vanilla. Pulse it all together until smooth.
- Add the dry ingredient mix in to the food processor and pulse again until the batter is evenly combined.
- Remove blade from processor or transfer to a mixing bowl. Fold through the chopped hazelnuts with a large spoon.
- Divide batter evenly between muffin holes (depending on the size of your muffin holes, you should get between 8-12 muffins).
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes until firm to touch (or test with a skewer, it should come out with a few moist crumbs). Cooking time will vary depending on muffin size - smaller muffins will cook more quickly.
- Allow the muffins to cool then they can be iced if desired (see note below). Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for a longer life.
If you would like to ice the muffins as pictured: combine 3 tablespoons coconut oil and 3 tablespoons coconut butter (or a nut butter) over a low heat on the stove until just melted. Remove from heat and quickly stir in 1-2 tablespoons of cacao powder (adjust depending on how intense you want the icing to taste). You can also sweeten as desired using a liquid sweetener like rice malt syrup or stevia. Allow this mixture to cool and thicken up then use to ice the muffins. Top with chia seeds too if you like.
I know what's on my bake list this weekend! Join me won't you? Share your recreations of her delectable muffins using #nourisheveryday.
To find out more about Monique and Nourish Everyday, get social with her below: