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Summer Tips #4

29/02/2016 8:27 PM

Special Summer Time

I know that Summer is officially over for another year as of tomorrow and looking out the window, it seems as though the wet weather is here already!

It is however, still very warm for most parts of the country and I'm sure this rain is just a temporary blip in the weather and we can still look forward to some sunny days throughout March.

Hopefully you have already been making the most of the Summer weather, but if not, I encourage you to do so. 

Spending time outdoors with family and friends is what Summer is all about. If you can take a few days off, plan a mini-break and explore some of the bushes or beaches that NZ has on offer. If you don't have the time or means to take off for a few days, organise a picnic or BBQ, you will be amazed at how such a simple task can help you to really appreciate your surroundings. 

This weeks recipe is ideal warm or cold. Serve it with a salad and you have an easy portable picnic meal.

Garden vegetable & goat's cheese quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 deep 24cm blind-baked pastry case

Filling

  • 40g butter 
  • 85g courgettes, sliced at an angle
  • 85g beans, stringed, halved lengthways and sliced
  • 85g fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 300ml milk
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 110g full-fat soft goat's cheese, sliced
  • 3 small vine tomatoes, quartered

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 170C. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and cook the green vegetables and onions for 5 minutes, stirring until starting to soften. Tip the milk and flour into the pan and stir over the heat until it thickens to a smooth sauce. Cool for 5 minutes or so, stirring to stop a skin forming.

  2. Beat the eggs into the sauce and generously season. Pour into the pastry case and scatter with the goat’s cheese and tomatoes.

  3. Bake for 40 minutes until the filling is set, turning golden. Cool for a few minutes before taking from the tin. Serve with a green salad.

    Enjoy!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

summer Tips #3

22/02/2016 1:39 PM

Keep up or begin an exercise programme

While the warm weather and the long light evenings are still around, it's the perfect time to get outside for a walk or run around the block. 

Exercise is important in keeping ourselves strong and healthy and for good heart health. 

Working out in an air conditioned gym is always a good option at this time of year, particularly if you work out during the day. Try starting a new class to keep up the motivation. 

Alternatively, a stroll around the block after your dinner is a great way of staying in shape and helping you wind down and get a good nights sleep.

 

This weeks recipe is a great side salad or add a bit of protein such as chicken breast to make it a main meal. Leftovers make a delicious lunch.

 

Moroccan pomegranate & roast veg salad

  • 2 small kumara, cut into chunks
  • 2 red onion, roots kept intact, cut into wedges
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 110g pomegranate seeds (or dried cranberries)
  • 50g light feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, line a large baking tray with baking parchment. In a large bowl, toss together all the veg with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the baking tray. roast, turning once, for 40 mins until tender and starting to char.

  2. Once cooked, allow to cool for 10 mins then toss with the spinach leaves, pomegranate seeds, feta and vinegar.

     

    Enjoy!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Water Safety

10/02/2016 10:09 PM

Water Safety is something that has been on my mind lately as the news has unfortunately been full of tragic water deaths and near misses this summer. 

The Kiwi Summer is generally spent in and around the water, no matter where in the country - it's just what we do!

So, I went to watersafety.org.nz to check out some of the top tips for keeping safe around the water, here they are:

1/ Be Prepared:

 - Learn to swim

- Set rules for safe play in the water 

- Always use correct equipment and check the weather and water conditions. 

2/ Watch out for yourselves and others:

- Always pay attention to others in and around the water, particularly children. 

- Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present. 

3/ Be aware of dangers:

- Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all signs and flags. 

- Don't enter the water after drinking alcohol.

4/ Know your limits:

- Challenge yourself within physical limits and experience.

- Learn ways to rescue others without endangering yourself. 

Stay Safe!

This weeks recipe is a bit of a treat but it is perfect for a picnic lunch or dinner

Summer sausage rolls

  • 2 large skinless chicken breast
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 rashers streaky bacon, thinly sliced
  • 4 sundried tomato, chopped
  • handful basi leaves, chopped
  • 375g/13oz pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 25g sesame seeds
  1. Whizz the chicken and garlic in a processor until the chicken is minced. Tip in the bacon, sundried tomatoes and basil. Pulse for 5 secs to just mix through. Season well.

  2. Roll the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface and cut in half lengthways. Spread half the chicken mixture along the middle of one of the pastry strips, then roll up the pastry, pinching the ends together to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut into 2.5cm long pieces. Repeat with the remaining pastry strip. Can be frozen, uncooked, for up to 1 month.

  3. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan. Place the rolls on a large baking sheet. Brush with the egg, then sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 20 mins until golden.

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Summer Tips

2/02/2016 2:42 PM

Stay Cool and Hydrated

We are back!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year and are now making the most of this lovely warm weather that we are having. 

This weeks tip is to remember to stay cool and hydrated. 

I don't know about you, but I have certainly found it too hot to even be outside at times due to the hot weather that we have been having. The peak times to avoid being outside is between 11am and 2pm and I know that this is when most people are out and about particularly on the weekends. If you are out and about during these times, make sure you stay in the shade as much as possible, lather on the sunscreen, wear a hat and a lightweight long sleeve shirt. 

It is also very important to stay hydrated in the hot weather. Fill up a plastic drink bottle and drink and re-fill it a couple of times a day. Keep it in the fridge to make it extra refreshing. If you get sick of the taste of water - try adding sliced fruit or vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes or cucumber.

This weeks recipe is a super simple and light pasta dish

Summer salmon pasta

  • 350g penne pasta
  • 2 Salmon steaks, about 175g/6oz each
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • handful basil leaves
  1. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, adding the salmon to the water 6 mins before the end of the cooking time.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan, then cook the pine nuts until toasted. Add the pepper and fry until softened. Tip in the mushrooms and stir until they start to soften, then add a ladleful of the pasta water.

  3. When the pasta is cooked, remove the salmon to a plate, then drain the pasta. Fork the salmon into flakes and add to the vegetables along with the pasta and the basil leaves. Season with pepper and lightly toss together before serving.

    Enjoy!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Christmas Season Tip Number 3

15/12/2015 9:56 PM

Christmas Season Tip #3 - Take time out

Christmas is a very busy time of year with an increase in social engagements, pressure of wrapping up work before the end of the year, and shopping at the busy malls!

As it is a busy time of year, make sure you take time out for yourself in order to avoid burning out and ruining your break by getting sick. This is a good time to take some vitamins and supplements and increasing your water intake. 

Don't feel like you have to accept every party invite either - listen to what your body is telling you and if you are tired, have a night off the social scene and get an early night. Or, go to the party for a short time only and still get an early night!

This weeks recipe is a great one for entertaining at home

Spinach cob loaf


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

  2. Cut 4cm off top of cob loaf to form lid. Scoop bread from centre of loaf, leaving 1.5cm edge. Tear or roughly chop bread pieces.

  3. Squeeze out any excess moisture from spinach, discarding any liquid. Combine spinach, onion, mayonnaise, sour cream and soup mix in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Spoon mixture into loaf. Top with lid. Cover with foil. Place on prepared tray. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Arrange bread pieces in a single layer around loaf. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until bread pieces are lightly toasted.

  5. Serve with extra crackers and cut vegetables if desired. Enjoy!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Christmas Season Tip Number 2

7/12/2015 8:35 PM

Christmas Tip #2 - Cut the gift list

Christmas time can be a daunting and sometimes stressful time when you copious amounts of gifts to buy for family and friends. It's hard to think of what to get people, it's tough on the wallet and the shops can be a real nightmare!

For friends why not get together for a nice meal before Christmas - go somewhere a bit special to mark the occasion.

For families try limiting gifts to children only or do an adult secret santa. Put each name into a bucket and each person draws out one person and they get a gift with a limit of $100 (or whatever limit you like). This is what we do in our family and it works well as we each get a nice gift to open without the huge expense of buying for everybody. 

I hope this helps you to save time and money over the Christmas Season!

This weeks recipe is a nice light summery meal

Parmesan Chicken

  •  1 egg white
  • 5 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 400g new potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 140g frozen peas
  • good handful baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  1. Heat grill to medium and line the grill pan with foil. Beat the egg white on a plate with a little salt and pepper. Tip the parmesan onto another plate. Dip the chicken first in egg white, then the cheese. Grill the coated chicken for 10-12 mins, turning once until browned and crisp.
  2. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 10 mins, adding the peas for the final 3 mins, then drain. Toss the vegetables with the spinach leaves, vinegar, oil and seasoning to taste. Divide between four warm plates, then serve with the chicken. Enjoy!
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Christmas Season Tip Number 1

30/11/2015 1:19 PM

Christmas Season Tip #1 - Eating Sensibly at parties

Well tomorrow not only marks the start of Summer but also the Christmas Season. The year has flown by, but this is always my favourite time of year!

You may find that the next few weeks before Christmas are filled up with Christmas parties and end of year functions where it is easy to over indulge on all your seasonal favourites, so I have put together a small list of tips to help you to stay on track.

1. Eat a snack before going to a party so hunger won't rule your food choices. For example, have a yoghurt, a piece of fruit or even a trim milk coffee.

2. Indulge moderately - what's the point in going to the parties if you are going to depreive yourself completey? Just take small portions and eat slowly.

3. Avoid guilty pleasures that you can have anytime such as chips or chocolate. Instead go for your seasonal favourites such as fruit mince pies or fruit cake.

4. Stand away from the buffet table to avoid mindless eating.

This weeks recipe is one that is healthy and yummy and is perfect to serve at your Christmas party if you are hosting one, or tak it along to one where a plate is requested.

Beetroot and yoghurt dip with pita crisps


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Spray 1 side of each pita bread with oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Season with pepper. Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. Place, in a single layer, on 2 baking trays. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  2. Meanwhile, process beetroot, onion, sultanas and vinegar until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add yoghurt. Stir to combine. Serve with pita crisps. Enjoy!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Spring Tips #12

26/11/2015 9:23 AM

Spring Tip Number 12 - How to get children to eat their veges...

This one also applies to those of us who find it hard to eat half a plate of vegetables at dinner time or you just need some ideas to increase your own vegetable intake. 

Grow your own vegetables - Vegetables are sure to taste better and be free from any harmful sprays or substances. Getting children involved with this will help them to be interested and more inclined to want to eat them when they hit the dinner table!

Be a role model - Children are more inclined to eat and enjoy vegetables if the adults of the family set a good example by making vegetables a part of every dinner. 

Include vegetables in dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, it is easy to grate in some carrot, zuchini and pumpkin and no one will be any the wiser.

Once children are old enough, it is a great idea to get them involved in the meal prep and cooking process. They are ging to be more likely to appreciate food that they have put time and effort into. 

Good Luck!

This weeks recipe is one packed full of vegetables but is really tasty and can be a side dish, a main meal (just add some chicken or other protein) or a lunch meal

Warm roasted vegetable salad

  • 500g sweet potato, peeled, cut into 4cm pieces

Dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Place potato, sweet potato, garlic and oil in a bowl. Toss well to combine. Place mixture, in a single layer, onto a large oven tray. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes.

  2. Turn potato and sweet potato. Add capsicum and red onion tray. Roast for 15  minutes then add pinenuts to vegetables to roast for a further 5 minutes or until vegetables are browned and tender. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

  3. Meanwhile make dressing. Place lemon juice, oil, mustard and oregano in a screw-top jar. Secure lid. Shake well to combine.

  4. Place rocket, pine nuts and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour over dressing. Toss gently to combine. Serve. Enjoy!

 
 

 

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Spring Tips #11

17/11/2015 7:36 PM

Spring Tips Number 11 - Consider your portion sizes

Often we actually eat far more than what our bodies need and it doesn't help when our brains take time to catch up with our stomachs telling us we have had enough. Usually by the time this happens, we have over eaten!

Another thing that doesn't help is eating in front of the television as it distracts us. I also find that dishing up meals on the bench and then eating at the table also helps as we don't tend to mindlessly pick at dishes sitting in front of us when we have finished what is on our plates. 

Portion sizes that we should consider are:

- A serving of pasta is about the size of a fist

- A serving size of meat is about the size of your palm

- A domino is about the size of a portion of cheese. 

- Vegetables should take up about half of your plate (this doesn't include potatoes!)

This weeks recipe is a quick and easy one that is perfect for the warmer weather:

Spicy chicken couscous

  • 250g couscous
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 large sliced skinless boneless chicken breast fillets
  • 85g blanched almonds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry paste
  • 100g halved ready-to-eat apricots
  • 20g pack 1oz fresh coriander
  1. Prepare couscous with chicken stock, according to the packet instructions. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook the onion for 2-3 mins until softened. 
  2. Toss in chicken breast fillets and stir fry for 5-6 mins until tender. Add the blanched almonds and, when golden, stir in the hot curry paste and cook for 1 min more. 
  3. Add the couscous along with the apricots and the coriander. Toss until hot then serve with plain yoghurt if you like.
Enjoy!
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Spring Tips #10

11/11/2015 9:11 PM

Spring Tip Number 10 - Phytochemicals

 

You are probably wondering what on earth phytochemicals are and why they would be good for you!

Phyochemicals are components of plant foods that help our health. They are naturally occurring in plants and while they are not required by the human body to survive, they can protect us from diseases. 

Some of the possible actions of phytochemicals are, antioxidants, hormonal actions (reduce symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis), stimulation of enzymes, interference with DNA replication (preventing the multiplication of cancer cells), anti-bacterial effects, and physical action (reduce the risk of urinary tract infections)

So, how do we get these phytochemicals? Well they are actually in most foods except for some refined foods. But the best way to get them is by eating a variety of fruit and vegetables each day, especially those brightly coloured ones. 

This weeks recipe is a great way of getting plenty of phytochemicals through a wide range of colourful vegetables

Rainbow Salad

  • 50g crispy noodles
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin ribbons from carrots and cucumbers. Place in a large bowl. Add cabbage, onion, salad leaves and noodles. Toss to combine.

  2. Whisk rice bran oil, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and grated ginger together in a small bowl. Add to carrot mixture. Toss gently to combine. Serve. Enjoy!
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

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