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Winter Wellbeing Tip #11

18/08/2015 7:56 PM

Winter Wellness Tip #11 - Kick the sugar habit!

I know that this may seem impossible at times, particularly when the waether is cold and rainy outside and you get a moments break in the afternoon - theres nothing better than a hot cuppa and something sweet! 

However, it may be time to think twice about this seemingly harmless habit. I have just finished watching 'That Sugar Film' and it was shocking to realise just how much sugar we are consuming, particularly hidden sugars in food that we think are heatlhy; not to mention the health effects this is having on us. One of the basic side effects is poor immunity.

I'm not saying to never eat sugar, I for one would struggle with that, but maybe think twice about reaching for that sweet afternoon snack and instead reach for something more natural such as a handful of nuts. Save the sugary sweets for special occasions and stay healthier for it. 


This weeks recipe is a lovely slow cooker beef dish which you can prepare before work and by the time you come home it will be ready to serve up.


Slow Cooker Beef

1 medium onion, sliced
900g cubed beef stew meat (about 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 red capsicums, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low-sodium beef stock
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly chopped dill and/or parsley
Hot boiled egg noodles or potatoes, for serving

Spread the onions in the bottom of an 8-cup slow cooker. Toss the beef with the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place on top of the onions. Top with the capsicum and garlic. Stir together the stock, paprika, tomato paste and caraway and pour over the beef. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender, either on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Uncover and let stand at least 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over egg noodles or potatoes.


Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #10

11/08/2015 9:12 PM

Well, last week I was beginning to think that the worst of the Winter weather was behind us - but this week has brought another cold snap and some strange happenings like heavy hail in Auckland!

Because of this extra cold weather and the fact that we are not quite in Spring yet,  I have decided to carry on with a few more Winter Wellness Tips.

Winter Wellness Tip#10

Take a break!

Yes, a holiday on a tropical Island sounds like bliss right now and some lucky people are doing just that I'm sure! However, for those of us that aren't lucky enough to be able to fly off somewhere warm - it is important to take a break from time to time. Taking time out to do something for ourselves is important in keeping ourselves stress free and happy. Often we don't realise that we are stressed, however symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite or trouble concentrating could be signs of stress and a sign that we need to take a break so take notice of what your body is trying to tell you.

This weeks recipe looks slightly unusual at first glance but give it a go and you will see that it is surprisingly good!

Bacon and pumpkin pizza


  •   400 g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, chopped   
  •   1 medium red onion, thinly sliced   
  •  1 x 3 second spray(s) oil spray   
  •  1 medium pizza base, thin   
  •  150 g tomato-based salsa   
  •   6 slices of Bacon, excess fat and rind trimmed   
  •  80 g light cheddar cheese, or reduced fat tasty   
  •  12 individual black olives, drained, pitted, sliced   
  •   50 g rocket leaves   


  • Preheat oven to 200ºC.

  • Combine pumpkin and onion in a medium bowl. Spray with oil and toss to combine. Bake vegetables in oven for about 20 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Increase oven temperature to 220ºC.

  • Place pizza base onto an oven tray and spread with salsa.

  • Arrange pumpkin, onion and bacon over top. Sprinkle with cheese and olives.

  • Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until base is crisp and cheese is melted. Scatter with rocket and serve.


Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #9

4/08/2015 9:17 PM

Winter Wellbeing Tip Number 9


This is the last of the Winter Tip Series, but don't worry because I will continue to post some Winter warming meals in the coming weeks for you to try while putting all of the previous tips into action!

This weeks Tip: Save your Skin

Cold air, wind and heating will all dry your skin out, particularly when you are in and out of different conditions throughout the day. 

A good SPF moisturiser for your face is beneficial to protect from those UV rays which can still cause damage even with the sun isn't shining. 

It's not only your face that is exposed and can dry out in the cool weather - make sure you take care of your hands as well by applying a good quality moisturiser regularly throughout the day. 

This weeks recipe is a hearty classic and this recipe makes a good sized pie so will feed a large family or can be frozen for those days that you don't have time to cook!

Shepherd's Pie


1 kg potatoes 
30g butter 
2 tblsp milk 
1 tblsp oil 
1 large onion, finely chopped 
1 kg lamb mince 
1 carrot, finely chopped 
2 tbsp plain flour 
1 cup vegetable stock 
2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce 
1 cup frozen peas


1. Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks. Cook in a large pan of boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potato well and return to the pan over low heat, and stir to evaporate any excess water. Remove from the heat, add the butter and milk, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season with salt and cracked pepper. Preheat the oven to moderate 180C.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and just beginning to colour. Add the mince, increase the heat and cook until browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon as the meat cooks.

3. Add the carrot to the pan and cook for a few minutes until just tender. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly. Add the Worcestershire sauce. Bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the gravy thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the peas and transfer the mixture to a 2L ovenproof dish.

4. Spoon the mashed potato onto the meat mixture and spread out evenly. Use a fork to swirl the surface. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the potato is golden.


Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #8

27/07/2015 8:09 PM

Winter Wellness Tip Number 8:

I hope everyone has been keeping well and warm. It feels like the weeks are flying by, before we know it we will hit the warmer weather again!

This weeks tip is: To Quit Smoking

This is a very difficult one but also an extremely important one. It is one of the best things that you can do for your health. Smokers are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections which tend to be more prevalent in Winter months. 

If you require support to quit smoking  - look up They have some great resources available. 

This weeks recipe is a simple one but really tasty and quick to whip up for either lunch or a light dinner. To make it a more filling meal, add a bowl of soup.

Cheese, spinach, tomato and bacon toastie


  •  1 tsp canola oil   
  •   4 slices of Bacon   
  •   3 cup(s) baby spinach leaves, (90g)   
  •  180 g wholegrain bread, (4 x 45g each)   
  •   1 small fresh tomato, vine-ripened, thinly sliced   
  •  42 g cheddar cheese, (2 slices)  
  • 1. Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook bacon, turning, for 2–3 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. 

  • 2. Reheat pan over high heat. Cook spinach with 1 tablespoon water for 1–2 minutes or until wilted. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Cover spinach with extra paper towel and press with the back of a large spoon to squeeze out excess liquid. Discard paper towels.

  • 3. Preheat a sandwich press. Place two slices of bread on a flat surface. Top each with bacon, wilted spinach, tomato and cheese. Cover with remaining bread slices. Cook for 4–5 minutes or until toasted and heated through. Serve.
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #7

21/07/2015 10:44 AM

Winter Wellness Tip Number 7: Rest Up

The tip for this week comes after we had a well deserved few days off in the Wintery Wonderland of Queenstown where it even snowed for us! (Yes, this is a novelty for an Aucklander!)

You don't always need to go away on holiday for a break or a rest, although it is nice!

Try to get plenty of sleep, around 8 hours per night, and don't burn the candle at both ends. If you become run down you are more likely to get sick. 

If you find it difficult to get to sleep at night, try to limit your time in front of the television or on your phone, as these devices can over stimulate us if used too close to trying to go to sleep. Try reading a book last thing at night instead to relax. 

This weeks recipe if a really simple, one dish meal that is quick to throw together. It also makes for great leftovers to take to work the next day.

Sweet chilli chicken


  •   600 g skinless chicken breast   
  •  2 tbs soy sauce   
  •  1 tbs honey   
  •   2 clove(s) fresh garlic, crushed   
  •   1 tsp fresh ginger, grated   
  •   600 g  potato, (preferably desiree), unpeeled, sliced   
  •   1 medium red onion, thinly sliced   
  •   2 bunches of fresh asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 4cm lengths   
  •  4 tbs reduced-fat French dressing   
  •  1 tbs sweet chilli sauce   


  • Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting pan with non-stick baking paper. Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger. Toss to combine.

  • Place the potato and onion over the base of prepared pan. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Place the chicken on top of the potato mixture and bake for a further 20 minutes.

  • Add asparagus to pan and bake for 10 minutes or until chicken is brown and tender. Cut chicken in half horizontally.

  • Combine dressing and sweet chilli sauce in a bowl. Serve with chicken and potato bake.


Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #6

14/07/2015 8:57 AM

Well we have had a cold frosty blast hit the country this past week, I don't think anyone has been spared and snow has been falling in some unusual places! Make sure you stay wrapped up warm wherever you are in the country. 

Winter Wellbeing Tip #6: Stay Hydrated

Try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Try hot water with lemon if its too hard to drink cold water on cool Wintery days; or if you don't enjoy plain water try adding, lemon, lime, cucumber or mint leaves to a jug of water and drink that throughout the day. 

This weeks recipe - Winter Fruit Salad

This recipe makes a tasty healthy dessert as well as a lovely accompaniment to your morning muesli with a dash of greek yghurt.


  • 600g good-quality ready-to-eat dried fruits (such as prunes, pears, apricots, figs cranberries)
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • mascarpone or Greek yogurt, to serve


  1. Tip the fruits and 700ml cold water into a large saucepan. Add the honey and vanilla, scraping the seeds from the pod into the pan. Bring to the boil. Stir well, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tea bag. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  3. Discard the tea bag and vanilla pod, tip the fruits and liquid into a non-metallic bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Stir, then leave to cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #5

7/07/2015 4:02 PM

Last Thursday marked the middle of the year - times flies, it will be Christmas before we know it! But lets not dwell on that thought for now. 

Our Winter Wellbeing Tip #5 is to dose up on vitamins and minerals in order to stay healthy and ward off the Winter ills. While supplements are an easy way to do this, I also encourage you to get vitamins and minerals by eating a range of leafy greens and red and yellow vegetables. 

This weeks recipe can easily be adapted to include leafy greens as well whatever red and yellow vegetables you have on hand or feel like. 


Quinoa with Stir-Fried Winter Vegetables


  • 200g quinoa
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, cut into thin sticks
  • 300g leeks, sliced
  • 300g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 100g sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • juice 1 lemon


  1. Cook the quinoa according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a wok or large pan, then add the garlic and quickly fry for 1 min. Throw in the carrots, leeks and broccoli, then stir-fry for 2 mins until everything is glistening.
  2. Add the sundried tomatoes, mix together the stock and tomato purée, then add to the pan. Cover, then cook for 3 mins. Drain the quinoa, then toss in the remaining oil and the lemon juice. Divide between warm plates and spoon the vegetables on top.
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #4

30/06/2015 1:13 PM

This weeks Winter Wellbeing Tip is probably going to be one of the hardest that I am going to share with you...

Winter Wellbeing Tip Number 4 - Keep Exercising

It's hard to get up early to exercise when it's either pouring with rain or when there is a frost outside. It's also hard at the other end of the day when it's still raining and cold and dark by the time you finish work!

However, it is important to keep active during the Winter months in order to stay healthy. 

There are lots of options in terms of exercise; you could join a local gym (not so cold inside!). Classes are a great option to stay motivated. It's also a good idea to go pack a gym bag and go on your way home as once you are home, it's much harder to leave again. 

Another way to stay motivated is to exercise with a friend so that you can keep each other on track.

There are a number of exercise apps that you can download and use in the comfort of your own home. You Tube also have some great workout videos. You just need some time to trawl through them. 

Keep up the good work!

This weeks recipe:

Winter Salad - this is delicious as a side for grilled chicken or steak but it is also equally delicious as a meal in itself. I like to add some feta cheese to increase the protein in it. Leftovers also make a great lunchbox item!


  • 1 butternut squash, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 red onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 4 parsnips, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (try garlic or basil infused)
  • 1-2 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 small ciabatta, roughly torn into pieces (tomato and olive ciabatta works well)
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, optional
  • 225g bag leaf spinach
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard


  1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put the vegetables into a large roasting tin, drizzle with half the oil and season to taste. Roast for 20 mins, turning once in a while until softened. Drizzle with the honey. Scatter the torn ciabatta and sunfl ower seeds over the top and return to the oven for a further 5 mins or until toasted.
  2. Put the spinach into a large bowl and tip in the vegetables and ciabatta. Whisk the vinegar, mustard and remaining oil together, season to taste and toss into the salad until the spinach wilts slightly. Serve immediately.
Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #3

23/06/2015 2:49 PM

Another week down and it's only getting colder and wetter, reading the paper today, it seems that last night was the coldest night that the country has had in years!!

We have had a busy and productive week here at CleanChem, it must be the influx of people wanting warm outdoor gear.

Winter Wellness is even more imperative when we are busy - who has time to take time off work when we are sick?

TIP #3: - Wash your hands

This may seem obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people forget to do this or don't do this properly. Thorough hand washing is the number one way to stop the spread of germs. Make sure you dry them properly as well as germs love damp areas. 

If you suffer from dry hands after washing, particularly if you are washing them often; keep a tube of hand cream handy to use regluarly. 


This weeks recipe is a delicious vegetarian comfort meal from the Healthy Food Guide Magazine - 

Pumpkin and Spinach Canneloni


  • 750g pumpkin, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 1 large bunch spinach, trimmed
  • 6 spring onions, trimmed, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 250g low-fat cottage cheese
  • pinch nutmeg
  • black pepper, to season
  • 4 fresh lasagne sheets, cut in half
  • 400ml can tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-litre (6 cup-capacity) ovenproof baking dish.

Cook pumpkin in a large saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain, mash roughly with a fork then set aside to cool slightly. Blanch spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Squeeze out excess moisture then chop roughly.

Place pumpkin, spring onions, spinach, cottage cheese and nutmeg in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Mix together.

Spoon 4 tablespoons (1/3 cup) filling in the middle of each lasagne sheet. Fold sheet to enclose filling. Spread 1/3 cup (80ml) pasta sauce in the bottom of prepared dish. Place cannelloni on top in a single layer. Repeat with remaining sheets and filling.

Pour remaining tomato sauce over cannelloni, season well with pepper and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serve with a side of winter vegetables.


Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

Winter Wellbeing Tip #2

16/06/2015 12:21 PM

I hope you all had a lovely week! 

Here is Tip #2 of our Winter Wellness tips:

Eat Well - 

This may seem like a simple thing to do, however sometimes it's hard when you arrive home in the dark to a cold house in Winter to think about cooking a hearty meal. It is so much easier to pick something up on the way home. 

However, by making the effort to cook a meal, particularly one with lean protein will go a long way in helping your immune system to stay healthy. 

Here's a healthy and hearty meal that I cooked for my family last week and it had rave reviews!

Moroccan Lamb with couscous:

  •  1 tbs olive oil   
  •   540 g diced lean lamb leg, (lean), diced (or you could use beef)   
  •   1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced   
  •   2 medium carrot, thinly sliced   
  •  1 tbs Moroccan seasoning   
  •  3 tsp plain flour   
  •  2 cup(s) chicken stock, (500ml)   
  •   1 tsp orange rind, finely grated   
  •  1/2 cup(s) orange juice, (125ml)   
  •  8 individual fresh dates, pitted, halved   
  •  200 g dry couscous   
  •   1 cup(s) no-fat Greek-style natural yoghurt, (280g)   
  •   3/4 cup(s) fresh coriander  
  • 1. Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan-forced. Heat half the oil in a tagine or medium flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook lamb, in batches, for 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl.

  • 2. Heat remaining oil in dish. Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Combine 1 cup (250ml) stock, rind and juice in a jug and gradually stir into onion mixture until combined. Bring to the boil. Return lamb to dish with dates. Cover and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until lamb is tender.

  • 3. Meanwhile, place couscous in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring remaining stock to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour stock over couscous. Stir, cover and set aside for 3–5 minutes or until liquid has absorbed. Scrape with a fork to separate grains. Place yoghurt and coriander in a food processor. Process until smooth.

  • 4. Divide couscous among serving plates. Top with lamb tagine, coriander yoghurt and extra coriander. Serve.

You could try this in the slow cooker as well in order to save time at the end of the day. I would just make the carrots a bit chunkier and put the dates in for the last hour or so. 

Enjoy and stay warm this week!

Posted in Health & Nutrition By Lisa McAfee

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