A Healthy Apple Crisp.

Apples are in season here in Australia and comfort food is on the menu- that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

I swear this pregnancy is making me crave desserts like there's no tomorrow (because in three more months there won't be- all the days will run together).

In the spirit of comfort and hibernation, I pulled out a recipe my Mom wrote down for me and I think it originally came from my late Grandmother. Rest her soul, she loved to cook with butter and sugar so I thought I'd put a slightly healthier spin on the ole' recipe.

I've replaced refined sugar with coconut sugar, flour with quinoa flakes and butter for coconut oil (there is still some debate about coconut oil at the moment so don't be too quick to ban it from your pantry.) You can stick with butter if you like or go half and half.

Other ingredients you can add to up the superfood factor are flax or chia seeds and almond meal. Pump it up!

[recipe id="3138"]


Slow Cooker Fig Paste, so easy to make and absolutely decadent on any cheese platter, on toast or even over vanilla Ice Cream! You can't screw it up.

All you need are 12 figs, jam setting sugar, and a slow cooker.

Our neighbours have a crazy-ginormous fig tree that spills over onto our side of the fence. This year the yield is out of control. We've had to net both sides to keep the fruit bats and possums from stealing our haul.

Until we moved into our house I had never eaten a fresh fig. The sweetness and complex taste is something I couldn't have imagined (Fig Newton Cookies have lied). Once you pick them though, they don't last long. I've been eating figs whole, putting them on oatmeal, in smoothies in cakes but wanted to do something with a big batch- thus my hunt for a paste recipe.


Fig Fail

This recipe failed due to user error (aka it was my fault, aka there nothing wrong with this actual recipe itself). I mean, this process is difficult. Doing it on the stovetop is as delicate as making caramel. Have you ever tried that? Me neither. too hard.

I'm always seeking out ways to cut down on kitchen time. I LOVE food but life gets busy, ya know? (Do you like artwork? I've been making lots.) I scoured the interwebs for a crockpot friendly fig recipe to no avail. What's this? A niche that needs filling? It's like a bloggers dream. Ha, seriously though. Every single February since I posted this recipe, it goes bonkers on the search engines.

I'll end the suspense and get down to the recipe. Here are the results of my experiment. It's easy. You can't ruin it. The end result might be a little more like a jam consistency than a paste but no less DELISH.

Leave a comment and let me know how this worked for you!

Slow Cooker Fig Paste

All you need for figgy goodness

[recipe id="2846"]


Pancakes. Usually something I have once a year on my birthday but lately, my daughter has been bugging me to make them daily.

I usually make a sugar-free version with wholemeal flour but today I went a step further and added a vegetable. Pumpkin. It adds a sweetness and moisture our regular hotcakes have been missing.

This recipe is simple and makes lots so you can stick the leftovers in the fridge and nibble on them for a few days.

If you’re feeling a little rebellious- add a couple dark chocolate chips to one side of the pancake after pouring batter into the pan.

Want to try Bondi Chai? Want a discount? Use code ROO2016

[recipe id="2685"]

Brought to you by Bondi Chai

Public Service Announcement: Pumpkin is an AWESOME dessert food.

Americans reading this are like "duh!" The Aussies reading this are squishing their faces in disgust- I know the look well (I've introduced plenty of them to Pumpkin pie).

Upon moving to Australia, seven years ago, I was pumped to see my favourite squash on menus all around town. On pizzas, in salads, even in veggie lasagne. Shortly after I learned that Australians typically view pumpkin as a savoury vegetable (only!)

Come on people, it's not like I'm making broccoli pie. Even zucchini bread is sweet. Amiright?

Keep An Open Mind- Carrot Cake Contains A Vegetable.

One thing we Americans love is adding spice to our jack-o-lantern-inspired desserts. Ever heard of a pumpkin spice latte? (Americans, feel free to eyeroll but you cannot deny the tastiness).

Unlike our Australian cousins, we Yanks usually bust out the fleshy, orange treats in Autumn and Winter. Since I'm having my sixth hot Christmas in a row I wanted to bring the spicy, pumpkin love to a hot weather dessert. We want as little oven use as possible.

Speaking of oven use, if you're like me you always have punkin' puree in the freezer. If you can't get your hands on an overpriced can of imported puree (via David Jones American foods section) make it yourself with this SUPER easy method. (You'll never eat the canned junk again.)

Bonus: I get to use the free samples I scored from Bondi Chai in this yummy recipe. I dig their brand because it's all natural, locally made and healthy enough for kids. Keepin' it real in my adopted country. Investigate BC's website here.

Want to try Bondi Chai? My readers get a discount use the code RooS2016

Best part? These little balls are chuck full of healthy protein. If I don't scarf them after the gym or during an afternoon sugar crash I intend to give them away as little gifts to friends and neighbours.

I'm excited to bring a little American Christmas goodness to OZ this season. If you don't tell anyone about the certain 'ah-hem' vegetable in this recipe I betcha they won't even notice but then you won't get to watch them squirm. Enjoy!

[recipe id="2374"]

PB bars

Errrmaaahhhhgaawd this is indulgent and damn delicious.

Lucky for me (and you) it's high-protien, full of healthy fats and vegan to top it off. I'm not vegan but I can get down with the cuisine.

Bonus: No baking involved! (Does anyone else feel like once the oven is introduced the recipe becomes a gamble?)

Peanut butter and chocolate have to be the best dessert combo hands down. If it's sweet and salty I'm usually ALL IN. When I was a kid my Dad and I would scarf peanut butter cups and chocolate peanut butter swirl ice cream. Side note: Dad, make these. (Don't worry, no one will think you're a liberal).

So how did this recipe come about? I recently bought an app called Hippy Lane- vegan treats 'with edge.' I found them on Instagram- their account is absolutely stunning. The recipes are drool-worthy, easy to make but the ingredients are pretty dang expensive (and that's saying a lot coming from me because I usually have no problem splurging on healthy ingredients or anything else for that matter) and not super easy to source in basic Aussie supermarkets. I was tinkering around with some of her recipes with what I had in my pantry. Good news- you probably already have these ingredients in your home (I had everything except cashew butter).

Caution: Exercise self-control because these are RICH. MMMMmmmm.

[recipe id="1874"]


Nothing more glorious than loaded fries- without guilt

These oven baked fries are perfect when you're feeling naughty but your diet hasn't been nice. Good thing the silly season has come to a close.

The oven-baked french fry recipe belongs to my Aunt Nanette (she's the best home cook I've ever met) and you'll be amazed that not a single drop of oil is used.

Then I treated those little bad boys just like they were nachos- using all fresh ingredients so to be as healthy as possible.

Pro Tip: spray baking dish or use wax paper to assist with melted cheese clean up (if you don't end up gnawing it all off yourself).

Tell me you don't want to eat your screen right now.

Oven baked fries using egg whites and salt only!
Melted cheese rocks my world


Cheese pull-ease!

Low-Fat Loaded Fries



Cooking Directions

  1. Slice potato lengthwise (skin on) into wedges. Thickness will depend on your preference. That's what she said (why are food descriptions always so sexual?)
  2. Toss (see what I mean?) wedges with the frothy egg white until evenly coated.
  3. Lay evenly (I can't even stop now that it's in my head) on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper.
  4. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake at 220C/ 435F for about 35 minutes. The one thing to keep in mind is that these need to be cooked on high heat- timing is a fine art and it depends on the thickness of your taters. It took me a few attempts to get these juuuust right.
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked through, transfer to a baking dish and add cheese.
  7. Broil for 2-5 minutes until gold and bubbly. Remove from oven and add your toppings.
  8. Smashed avocado with lime juice, shredded lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and finally top with Greek Yoghurt and sprinkle with cumin.
  9. Serve with extra lemon or lime wedges.
  10. PS (If I had coriander/ cilantro at home I would have added heaps of that too).


I haven't done a lot of food posts of late and now I'm spamming you with them, sorry. Perhaps it's because my enthusiasm for cooking has been sputtering. Probably because I've been putting my passion into other projects.
But it's all good! This recipe is awesome for summer, and can be spiced up with some cinnamon for those of you who are in winter (sorry fellow Americans, this is the one time of year I get to gloat about Australian weather).
Bonus: You can get rid of those icky brown bananas.

Maple Banana Chia Coconut Pudding


You can throw this all together however you want but I'll tell you how I made it.

Cooking Directions

  1. Blend bananas, syrup and vanilla with a stick mixer or blender. Obvs I used my Kambrook because *Love*
  2. Add coconut milk and mix well
  3. Slowly add chia seeds, stirring as you go
  4. Place in coldest spot in the fridge (the back) until set.
  5. If you want to make extra sure your seeds get an even blend, stir after 15 minutes of being in the fridge then leave alone for an hour or so.

Eat up! (if you don't it will start to turn brown) Yummo!

Seriously though- my toddler asked for more 'and a big spoon' after she finished.


Fact: Any dinner with melted cheese on it is immediately satisfying and delicious.
Before I dazzle you with this veggie-licious lasagne let me tell you about my latest favorite kitchen appliance. My Kambrook Mix and Store Stick Mixer.
Kambrook was generous enough to hand out these nifty little bad boys out to every blogger at an event I went to (no strings! how nice!) and I'm in love with it so Imma tell you about it.  (Also happens to have been the same day I ended up on TV NBD. #whataham).
Long Story: I recently mangled my Breville Stab mixer in my rushed attempt to blitz up my own mayo for the first time (brave, I know) but the dang thing would not fit into the mouth of a mason jar it was far too wide, so I transferred my egg/ oil mixture to a bowl where half of it splattered upon first whirr. Finally I tried using the chopping bowl the mixer actually came with but unfortunately that was designed for the chopping blade hence the little metal part on the bottom of the bowl. Crrrrrrunch it went on the metal knob.
Short Story: I broke my Breville mixer because I’m an idiot.
Would you look at this!!  The Kambrook one not only fits nicely into a Mason jar it’s even dishwasher friendly. (My previous one was not). Yus!
I love this thang.
Get to the point: So why in the world do I need a stab mixer to make lasagne? Because I upped the healthy factor with a layer of homemade pumpkin puree instead of a layer of cheese. It’s so easy you won’t even believe it. 

Seriously, it’s going to take me longer to type out the instructions than it will for you to make this meal.
Here’s the story behind my recipe for a healthy veggie lasagne with hidden pumpkin puree.
It’s always a race against time to use my organic veggies from Aussie Farmers Direct before they wilt into oblivion.
I thought a lazy nice way to utilize a bunch of them without being too hippy-ish would be to layer them in a lasagne (the Italian in me always comes out in a pinch). I had a large organic eggplant and a half of a pumpkin sitting around but I didn’t want to go through all the work of slicing and roasting and peeling for my 'sagne so here’s the deal with the prep:
All you have to do is place the pumpkin in about a baking tray with about an inch of water, pulp side down, and bake at 175C for 45 minutes to an hour (I don’t even worry about pre-heating just shove it all in the oven as soon as you turn it on). When the pumpkin is done (test by sticking a fork in the thickest part), scoop out the insides and blend with a fab stab mixer while it’s still warm. Give it up for the Kambrook ya’ll! Sorry I do love it. The fact that it was free kinda makes me want to marry it but I'm #taken.
Slice the eggplant, skin on, and layer them with salt in a colander to drain out some of the liquid. You can totally skip this step if you don't have time.
Puree done and eggplant salting I sliced up a few organic tomatoes, grabbed my favorite go-to jar of canned tomato sauce, some instant lasagne sheets and and some shredded mozzarella cheese and got ready to chuck down all the layers.
Easy. Healthy. Naughty-tasting. The kids will eat it.

Slightly Healthy Veggie Lasagne with Pumpkin Puree



  • 1 jar Your favorite tomato sauce
  • 1/4 Cooking Pumpkin or Butternut Squash
  • 1 Large Eggplant (or zucchini)
  • 1 box Instant Lasagne Sheets
  • 1-2 Cups Mozarella Cheese (depending on how cheesy you feel that day).
  • 2-3 Tomatos Sliced
  • A few pinches Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions

Pumpkin Puree

  1. Place pumpkin skin up, in a baking tray. Fill with water until the pumpkin is about 1/2-1 inch submerged.
  2. Bake at 175C for 45-50 minutes or until a fork slides through middle easily.

Prep the Eggplant

  1. Slice into rounds.
  2. Layer Eggplant and salt in a colander and allow water to bead out onto the eggplant.
  3. Dry/ wipe excess salt and water off the eggplant rounds and you are ready to layer.
  4. Lightly coat the bottom of your baking dish with a spoonful or two of sauce and build the layers from there.

Layer the Lasagne: This is the order I used.

  1. Instant lasagne sheets
  2. Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with S&P
  3. Instant Lasagne Sheets
  4. Pumpkin puree
  5. Eggplant
  6. Tomato sauce
  7. Instant Lasagne Sheets
  8. Rest of the tomato sauce
  9. Cheese- as much or as little as you like. (You can exclude it completely if you are non-dairy or have super willpower.)
  10. Cover with foil and bake for an hour at 175C.
  11. Remove foil and grill/broil for about 3 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Could not even wait to get a good pic before digging in.  Mmmmmm.
Woke up like dis- still looks pretty after a night in the fridge
This recipe was born of a pathetically stocked refrigerator, a dash of boredom and some serious TGIF. Inspired by my friend's article on simplification, I loved the idea of doing some Friday cooking in order to save precious weekend time.
Quiche is a good go-to to have in the fridge because it’s high in protein, easy to make and to store. Daytime sustenance for breakfast or lunch. Good stuff.
I had puff pastry in the freezer but was out of milk- odd. I thought I’d give Greek yogurt a try to replace the milk in my egg mixture and it was this random ingredient which made all the difference! I will never use milk in a quiche again (unless I'm out of yogurt).
Usually I get fancy with my quiches and sauté onions, garlic and other veggies but on this time I took laziness to another level- it was Friday and I was OVER IT after having the flu all week. 
So first things first- I took my pastry out of the freezer to thaw. I had just enough for my square pan so after poking a few holes in it, I baked it in the oven at 200C (400F) for about 15- 20 minutes. Make sure it looks slightly golden because it will cook a bit more with the egg mixture.

Next- a dozen eggs, and two big spoonfulls of full-fat, Greek yogurt (probably about 3/4 of a cup or so). Whisk together until creamy and until the lumps disappear. A dash of white pepper and salt and done egg mixture.

To add a little nutrition I simply chopped up some raw spinach (I used organic stuff from my veggie box) into the pastry once it’s cooled a bit. If you wanna go the extra mile, add some fresh herbs. I have an herb garden literally outside my kitchen door so this time I grabbed a bit of basil to chuck in (last time I made no such effort). 

Now we cannot neglect the cheese, this is a quiche after-all. Use big chunks of feta (or any cheese) and place on top of the spinach. I made sure to stick some in each corner. Don’t worry if little feta ice-bergs poke out of the egg batter once you pour it- that’s the good stuff.

Next- evenly pour egg mixture into the pan, filling in all the nooks and crannies.

Now comes the most difficult part- timing. I've found that lower and longer works best- as in lower temperature for longer time.  This one took about and hour at 150C (300F). Test it by poking a knife into the center- much like a cake if the knife comes out clean it's done AAAAND DONE. Snackalicious.

Lazy, Amaze-y Quiche Ingredients

Cooking Directions

  1. Line a square pan with pastry and poke holes in it. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden. Otherwise, simply grease the pan.
  2. Whisk together eggs, yogurt and salt & pepper
  3. Allow pastry to cool then add spinach and herbs.
  4. Chuck in some cheese.
  5. Pour egg mixture evenly over the spinach.
  6. Bake in the oven for about an hour at a low temperature (150C/ 300F).

It's officially Spring in Australia which means Fall is fast approaching back home in Western New York.

Here's something I tried for the first time last week (who knew ceviche was so easy??) I was in this strange 'in-between' space- missing the Summer I just spent in Buffalo while anxiously anticipating Melbourne's warmer months.

This recipe was inspired by this yummy one I found on Foodgawker- I used different fish and fewer ingredients and it turned out beautifully.

I served my salad over watercress but you can try zoodles, quinoa, rice, noodles or nothing at all. Try topping it with Avocado (I did, but mine was not pretty enough to include in the photo).

This recipe would also be delicious with Mango- and I had good intentions to include one but I 'accidentally' ate it while chopping.

Summer Lovin' Ceviche Salad


Cooking Directions

  1. Slice fish thinly and add the fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, grated ginger and garlic.
  2. Mix well and place into refrigerator for abut 20-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime chop up remaining ingredients for the salad and mix everything together right before you serve.
let's hang on the 'gram
Contact me today to learn more about how website content writing, blog writing services, and more can help you take action and paint a picture with words.

My website copywriting services amplify and communicate your message, call customers to action, establish cohesive branding, get you seen and remembered, reach your audience, step away from the pack, solve problems, gain exposure, foster loyalty and attract your troops. My experience with digital content writing, SEO-friendly content creation, and more, you can count on me for quality content that will help you level up and out of the pack. Website Content Writer Melbourne, at your service.

Dawn Rieniets is both a visual artist and brand copywriter. She uses her MA in English, journalism and sales background to craft engaging brand identity copy for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) globally.

Dawn exhibits artwork independently and with groups; Thou Art Mum and Melbourne and Victorian Artists (MAVA). In her online store, you can find original pieces, wall art prints, and other home decor. A few times per year she accepted personalised and sentimental art commissions for clients.

Dawn creates out of her home studio in Wurundjeri country, the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne.
Copyright © 2010 – 2024 Dawn Rieniets Site built with love by A Lined Design
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram