Columbus Coffee's New Paleo Options

Columbus Coffee have just introduced their Lifestyle Favourites* range, full of healthy food options. This range caters to gluten free, refined sugar free, raw, dairy free and Paleo diets. There are multiple locations across New Zealand with each cafe having at least two cabinet options available and some will also have cooked kitchen menu options available too. 

For those wanting to dine in perhaps for a Sunday brunch I would recommend the Paleo Crepes with Mixed Berries & Coconut and Paleo Breakfast. They also have a large selection of cabinet options which you can choose to eat dining in. You're spoilt for choice with cabinet items like the Chia Bircher, Bliss Balls, Chia Seed & Coconut Pudding, Paleo Egg Wraps, Thai Chicken Stuffed Kumara (Sweet Potato) or Mushrooms, Mexican Meat Muffin, Raw Carrot Cake Pops and Paleo Bacon & Egg Muffins^. All perfect to grab and go also.

Check out the options I've tried below:

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Paleo Breakfast

This dish is built using free range poached eggs, salmon, portobello mushrooms, cress, fresh tomato, avocado and spinach.  It's beautifully presented with an abundance of food. If you're hungry, this is the dish that will be sure to fill your belly. It's full of good fats such as eggs, avocado and salmon to keep you fuelled for the day. 

Paleo Crepes 

Made with a combination of tapioca, almond and egg, these Paleo crepes will fool you as they taste like the real deal. They're refined sugar free, served with berries and honey for natural sweetness. They're perfect when you're wanting something a little more sweet for breakfast. 

Chia Seed & Coconut Pudding 

There's nothing better than when two of my favourite meals are combined and this Chia Seed & Coconut Pudding is dessert and breakfast in one. This is perfect for when you're wanting to treat yourself to a something decadent without feeling guilty. It's vegan, dairy free and gluten free. 

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Paleo Bacon & Egg Muffin

Their Paleo Bacon & Egg Muffin is a great snack option when you're feeling peckish and is a perfect match with your morning coffee. These mini muffins are like the inside of a bacon and egg pie with a fresh addition of pesto and tomato. I like to make these for myself for breakfast so it's nice to see them in the cabinet of my local cafe. These are dairy free, Paleo and gluten-free. 

Bliss Balls 

The bliss balls are made using a variety of fruit and nuts such as dates, sultanas, orange zest, walnuts and almonds. These ones were rolled chia seed, pumpkin seeds and goji berries. 

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Let me know in the comments below which of these you're most looking forward to try and if you've already tried them, let me know your favourites! All comments below go in the draw to win a $40 Columbus Coffee voucher so you can try out their new Lifestyle favourites for yourself. 

^Options from the range may vary from cafe to cafe and across seasons. Prices may also vary.

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Hubbards Hot or Cold Muesli

Whether you like muesli or porridge, Hubbards has got you sorted. Hubbards have just launched their new Hot or Cold Muesli*. These are perfect for the weather is being indecisive - you can easily whip up a hot bowl of grains or be satisfied with just the added splash of milk. 

There are three specially crafted blends which include, Date & Maple, Blueberry & Cranberry and my favourite, Ancient Grains & Coconut. Over the last two weeks I've been trying them out I've fallen in love with the Ancient Grains & Coconut flavour. This mix is jam packed with super food ingredients such as puffed quinoa, buckwheat, millet, linseeds and pumpkin seeds. It also only has 3g sugar per serve. You can find them on your local supermarkets shelves among their already flourishing muesli goodness on offer with a RRP $6.49.  

In collaboration with Hubbards, I've come up with some delicious ways that you can have your morning muesli, whether you like it hot or cold! 

Cold

If you'd like to go down the cold route, you can simply add chilled milk to your muesli bowl. I've been testing out my new Vitamix Professional Series 750 and have even been making my own fresh nut milk (see my recipe for Macadamia Nut Milk here). Early last week I tried out the Date & Maple flavour with freshly made macadamia nut milk and sliced banana. 

For the cold version below, I wanted to create something that used muesli but in a way more appropriate for Autumn/Winter. I decided to pair my muesli with Honey & Cinnamon Poached Pears which gives a little more warmth to the dish. To construct this I smeared Homemade Coconut Yoghurt around the outside of the plate and added a dollop of it in the center. On top of the dollop I piled some Ancient Grains & Coconut muesli, topped it with the Honey & Cinnamon Poached Pear and drizzled it with the the leftover syrup. You can find the full recipe for this dish here

Hot

Porridge is a favourite of mine in the winter and Hubbards have made it quick and easy with their new Hot or Cold Muesli. In the mornings I simply add the muesli to a bowl along with some coconut milk (you can use regular milk - or even water if you like) and pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds on high. Ta da you've got a delicious bowl of creamy porridge! To finish it off I like to add some extra coconut milk, sprinkling it with coconut sugar along with a sliced over ripe banana. If you prefer the more traditional method, you can add your muesli to a pot to create a porridge. 

For the hot version below, I combined two of my favourite meals - an acai bowl and creamy rice pudding - which I now call a Porridge Bowl. I took the Blueberry & Cranberry flavour and added it to a pot of coconut milk, coconut sugar and vanilla to make a creamy porridge. I poured the warm porridge into a bowl and decorated it like a beautiful acai bowl with sliced banana, blueberries and lightly toasted coconut. Check out the full recipe here.

I'm kind of in love with creating Porridge Bowls lately and it's been my go-to lately for breakfast. It's so fun to top with different toppings each morning for slightly different flavour variations. If you try this out, be sure to #arieats on Instagram so I can check out your creation.

Win a year of breakfast with Hubbards

Thanks to Hubbards you could win breakfast for a year! Simply head on over to this post to find out how to win and don't forget to add the #arieats to your comment for brownie points. 

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The Collective Greek Scoff'rs

Snacking just got easy with The Collective's Greek Yoghurt Scoffr's. The Collective have completely changed the way I've looked at yoghurt with their premium NZ made dairy products. The scoffer's are a good source of calcium and a source of protein as well as being vegetarian (no gelatine ion them) and gluten free. The Collective use all natural ingredients with their scoffr's which means no nasties or numbers will be found on the ingredients list.  They come in two sizes - 150g snack size with the spoon along with a 400g sharing size. The 150g size retails at $2.79 each and can be found at all good supermarkets including Countdown and New World. 

After hearing that I hadn't tried out their Greek Yoghurt Scoff'rs, the team at The Collective sent me five vouchers to pick myself up one for each flavour. I ended up getting 3 x Date, Cacao + Chia 1 x Berries + Chia and 1 x Coconut, Lime + Chia which were purchased from my local Pak N Save. The other flavours included Mango + Chia (not a huge fan of mango) and also Manuka Honey + Chia (I'm slightly iffy with honey).

REVIEW

I am so so in love with these yoghurts. If you follow me on Snapchat (@arianaomipi) then you'll know I've been snacking on these often over the last week. I like to have them occasionally post-workout and sometimes I treat myself to one of these while catching up on my favourite programmes at night as I relax. 

The Greek Scoff's come loaded with a mini spoon inside the lid making it perfect to eat anywhere, anytime. I personally love this added convenience. The first obvious thing I noticed about these greek yoghurts is how thick and creamy it is. To me, it has that delicious natural taste without that overwhelming tang I've found in other greek style yoghurts or probiotic yoghurts. Each yoghurt is packed with chia seeds which are a great source of fibre making for a super fulling snack. 

The date + cacao flavour is my favourite. The compote is super delicious and to me, takes like a bliss ball. The berry flavour is equally as delicious. If you like flavoured yoghurts, you'll be a fan of this flavour. I like that the compote is seperate which means you get to dictate your ratio of compote to greek yoghurt. As for the coconut + lime flavour, it was my least favourite. I feel like this didn't really have that same feel with the compote that I really enjoyed with the other two flavours. It seemed a lot more watery which I would assume was due to the lime juice which I felt cut through the yoghurt rather than added to it's creaminess. 

The only downside of this product for me is the added cane sugar. Although over half the sugars in their scoffr's come from lactose (milk sugars) and the rest from fructose or honey (fruit or honey sugars from the compote) there's still an addition of the cane sugar. I feel like these yoghurts have so much potential to be so much better for you than they are. I love the combination of date, cacao and chia as dates are something I use often to naturally sweetened my almond milk or smoothies. Had it been sweetened with just dates or even stevia instead of sugar, I could see myself eating these everyday instead of ocassionally post gym and as a wee treat. 

WIN THE ENTIRE GREEK SCOFF'RS RANGE

Thanks to the team at The Collective, you have a 1 in 5 chance to win the entire Greek Scoff'rs range! Simply let me know which flavour you're most looking forward to try in the comments below and you're into win!

Vitamix Professional Series 750 Launch

If you know me well, you'll know that I obsess over appliances. I am always interested in new and innovative appliances that make life that just that little easier and are also easy on the eye. I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the Vitamix Professional Series 750 which was held at the Sapphire Room in Ponsonby Central. Upon arrival, demonstrators were set up creating different smoothies. I opted for this green smoothie which contained pineapple, kale, mint and ice - It was delicious! I was greeted with a familiar face when I saw Belinda from nzgirl along with health food bloggers Kim from Kimmithgone and Sunniva from Raw Till Four. 

The new Vitamix offers full variable speed control which adjusts from 0 - high. It provides precise control and ultimated processing capabilities. Whether you're wanting to make something cold or steaming hot, chunk or silky smooth - you have the control. In addition to that there are five pre-programmed settings for smoothies, frozen desserts, hot soups, puree and also a cleaning cycle allowing for consistent results and simple cleaning. The new Vitamix is built with a 2.2 horsepower motor yet is quieter as the enchanted airflow management reduces the noise of the blend by 10 decibels. The new design also has a wider, BPA-free, 2L container. The new compact design means it fits under most kitchen cabinets so home chefs can keep Vitamix proudly displayed and more readily accessible. 

The Vitamix Professional Series 750 has an RRP of NZ $1595 and is available in select premium retailers nationwide from 1st May 2015.
See your nearest stockist here or check out www.vitamix.co.nz.

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A beautiful lunch created by Megan May & the Little Bird team using the new vitamix 

We were treated to a delicious lunch created by the expertise of raw and vegan food, Megan May. Megan owns my the widely loved Little Bird Unbakery. You'll find these located in multiple locations across Auckland including Kingsland, Ponsonby and the newly opened Britomart. 

Megan spoke to us about how Vitamix is an essential appliances used across all the Little Bird Unbakeries and demonstrated how to make various elements of the food we were about to be served in the Vitamix Professional Series 750.

We were first served canapes. These consisted of seed/nut crackers topped with cashew mayonnaise, sprouts and herbs along with a spicy Vietnamese spring roll. The spring roll packed a lot of heat whereas the crackers were a great combination of smooth and crunchy textures. 

For the main we had an option of Gnocchi or Tacos. I opted for the Taco however Belinda from nzgirl was kind enough to share some pumpkin gnocchi with me. I was impressed by the gnocchi dish. As it was placed on the table I was convinced that there was beef on her plate however I had mistaken it for oyster mushrooms. According to Megan, the Taco dish is one of the most popular menu items at the Little Bird Unbakery. Megan demonstrated how to make the taco shells using fresh corn and flaxseed meal. She processed these along with onion, water salt and lime juice in the Vitamix blender until it was almost smooth before popping it into the dehydrator. She then cut out little circles to produce a soft taco shell. She even showed us how to use the Vitamix to create your own macadamia and cashew nut cheese. It replicated the same texture as parmesan and was sprinkled on our tacos. 

My favourite dish of the day had to be Cacao Hazelnut Tart which we were served for dessert. This literally had me wanting to lick my plate. Megan spoke of how previously, she would have to use both a food processor and a Vitamix to create this dessert however with the improvement of a wider container the entire recipe could be crafted using only the Vitamix. 

Goodie Bag 

We were gifted beautiful goodie bags filled with treats. We also had the opportunity to fill up little bags with fruit and vegetables provided by the team at Ceres Fresh Markets. I grabbed a whole lot of lemons, lime, green apples and a knob of ginger. In my goodie bag, I was lucky enough to be gifted a Little Bird Unbakery Cookbook. I had wanted this for a long time but it was bit out of my price range ($60). As well as that, there were products from Ceres Organics & Ecostore, a tea towel Ali Davies as well as a few treats from Vitamix. 

Hell Pizza Killer Bananas

HELL Pizza have created a health conscious dessert that packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. At only $4, each frozen banana is dunked in rich Belgian Chocolate and coated in crunchy hazelnuts or popping candy for the adventurous. I've seen a lot surfacing social media lately about these treats handmade in NZ and had to try them out for myself to see if they were worth the hype. 

First Impressions

I tried out the hazelnut version which I found to be a more a health conscious treat. I had been sitting for a while as I bought it on my way home from being in town (a 15 minute drive) and the day was warm. I was slightly worried it may have melted but the chocolate shell stayed solidified. Because of this, when I bit into it the banana was soft like ice-cream. It tastes like the outside chocolate shell of a Ferrero Rocher with the crunch of the nuts but the smoothness of the chocolate paired with the creamy texture of Nice Cream. These are definitely a go-to option if you're out and about wanting to treat yourself.

Deconstructed

Let's take a look at what HELL Pizza Killer Bananas* are made of and the health benefits each ingredient has. 

Image credit: Ari Eats, KitchenThymes, Ari Eats

Image credit: Ari Eats, KitchenThymes, Ari Eats

CHOCOLATE

Chocolate has and always will be a crowd pleaser but it can be a guilt-free treat from time to time as it does have a variety of health benefits. Not only is cacao considered a super-antioxidant but it's also labeled a mood boosting food that promotes feelings of joy and may help prevent mild depression. 

BANANA

Creamy, rich, and sweet, bananas are a favourite food for everyone from babies to oldies. They're naturally sweet and can help you curb your sweet tooth. They're a great source of potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. 

Hazelnuts 

Hazelnuts and chocolate are a match made in heaven, just think Nutella or Ferrero Rochers - yum! Hazelnuts have many health benefits as they're rich in dietary fibre along with being a great source of copper, manganese, vitamin E and iron. 

BE INTO WIN!

You could win a $50 voucher to spend at HELL Pizza, you could even pick yourself up some Killer Bananas (only $4 each!). To be into win simply let me know what topping you would have on your Killer Banana? Hazelnuts, popping candy or something completely different? Let me know in the comments below! 

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My Simple Evening Skincare Routine

Caring for your skin is so important - in fact, it is your largest organ. If we don't care for our skin by removing our makeup each night, our pores can become clogged creating a home for those pesky pimples. We all know our skin care repairs as we sleep (isn't that why it's called beauty sleep) but we fall asleep with our makeup on it can stop our skin generating the essential vitamins and moisturizers it needs to revitalize itself. That goes for eye make-up too which can cause irritation, it can transfer onto your pillow and get into your pore too! Eeeek!

All it takes is a few minutes at the end of your day to get your face nice and clean so you wake up with fresh, healthy, break-out free skin. I like to keep my skincare routine nice and simple. These are the products I use in my evening skincare routine: 

OIL CLEANSE

1. Simple Micellar Cleansing Water $11.99

When I found out micellar water was set to be among 2015's beauty trends I knew I had to try it out for myself to see what the hype was about. This particular brand (Simple) is well known for their products catering to sensitive skin so I knew the Simple Micellar Cleansing Water would be the right one for me. It's made of triple purified water and contains vitamin C, B5 and B3. B5 is a provitamin B5 and draws moisture in to plump and promote the regeneration of skin cells too.

This has quickly become my new FAVOURITE oil cleanser (I was using Kimmithgone Hemp Seed Oil but smashed it on my driveway accidentally) and an essential step to my evening skincare routine. If I've had a long night out on the town and just want to go to bed, this product is my saviour because I can take off my makeup from my bed using cotton pads as it's rinse free and doesn't leave residue on your face. It's perfect for removing makeup gently including mascara and eyeliner. I have even put it on the end of a cotton tip to remove a failed wing eyeliner effortlessly without disturbing the rest of my makeup.

CREAM CLEANSE

2. Trilogy Cream Cleanser $43.90

This is my holy grail cream cleanser and despite having various others this is the one I ALWAYS reach for and repurchase - I use it every night and most mornings. I first tried this out when my Mum owned it. I would find myself sneaking into her bathroom to use it so it was no surprise when she gifted me one for my birthday. It's a one-step cleanser that removes dirt, makeup and oils from my skin yet it feels so much smoother, softer and refreshed! I think it may be the rosehip and evening primrose that I adore adore so much. I also love the amber apothecary influenced design with the modern classic feel.

3. Olay Regenerist Face Cleaning Brush $34.99

I use this brush in conjunction with my Trilogy Cream Cleanser. It's battery powered and with each rotation it gently clears away any dirt, left over makeup and oil out of my skin after I oil cleanse. It leaves my face clean, exfoliated and primed for hydration. It's water proof so sometimes I even use it in the shower. It's super simple to use and cleans deep into your skin so you can say goodbye to acne prone skin. I'd say it's a more affordable dupe to the Clarisonic Brush (their Mia version retails at $239!). 

TONE

4. Tailor Hydrate $48.50

This product is natural, cruelty free and environmentally friendly making it a great choice ethically and for my sensitive skin. I was first sent the Tailor Hydrate as a gift but never though much of it so I didn't try it out for a long time. Once I did, I fell in love almost instantly. I had mistakenly been using it as a gel toner (as it was labeled Tailor Mist hence why I've put it under the tone section) but it's actually a hydrating serum. It's formulated to soothe and protect the skin and provides long lasting hydration deep into the skin which will help create plumping and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines. I've definitely noticed it's calming powers as I always feel so relaxed after I've put it on. 

MASK

5. Skinfood Mud Masque $13.99

There is nothing more relaxing than a mud masque at the end of the day to relax whether I'm having a bath or lounging on my bed watching new episodes of Dance Moms. This was one of the first mud masques I ever tried and I had a great first impression which has lasted through time! From the second you pop this mask onto your face you can feel it working into your pores and pulling out all the toxins. This masque even uses natural Rotorua mud which is know to health various skin conditions. Although I often change up which face mask I use so I can say that the Skinfood Mud Masque is comparable to both the Tailor Masque ($33.75 off the Tailor website) and the Glam Glow (which retails at $98 in Mecca Cosmetica). 

HYDRATE

6. Pure Fiji Serum $79.00

I never knew the price of this product until I searched it's for the purpose of this blog and it's liquid gold! This serum really is incredibly though. Everything from it's elegant white glass with gold leaf print screams luxury and the product itself will not disappoint. I wear this serum to bed every night. It has an antioxidant blend of Virigin Coconut Oil, Diol Oil, Sikeci Oil, Macadamia Oil and Passionfruit Extract. This supercharged serum boosts the hydration and cellular water flow to firm, smooth and rejuvenate your skin. In fact, your skin's epidermis is moisturised for 24 hours! It's practically a face lift in a bottle. 

WIN $100 MAC^ GIFT CARD + PAMPER PACK valued at over $170!

Simply leave a comment below letting me know which of the products from my Simple* Evening Skincare Routine you'd most like to try! 

^ Gift card can be redeemed for a different beauty/makeup store. See all the terms and conditions here

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Where To Eat - My Top 3 - New Plymouth

New Plymouth is filled with beautiful scenery - look one way and you'll see the stunning mountain, look the other and you'll see the sea with it's small crashing waves. With WOMAD this weekend, I've had various requests for recommendations of must-see eateries in New Plymouth. I wouldn't say New Plymouth thrives on the eating-out culture however that's beginning to change with the introduction of new and innovative eateries serving delicious food. I've lived here my entire life and had the chance to try out most places. These are my top picks that I would recommend to friends, family and followers.

BARE THRILLS

Bare Thrills is a newly established health food cafe in the heart of New Plymouth city. With a large variety of cabinet food, ready to takeaway or an extensive nutritious salad menu to choose from you won’t be able to walk away empty handed. Open weekdays from 7am – 4pm you can get your early morning coffee fix choosing from a range of milks including almond or coconut (they also use Kokako Aotea which is fair-trade and organic) or pop in for a late lunch salad which includes beef from Meadow Farms.

Click here to read more about Bare Thrills on the eating out section of Ari Eats. 

SNUG LOUNGE

Snug Lounge is a relaxed environment serving food Japanese style food from the yakitori grill. The most popular feature of Snug Lounge is that they offer an all you can eat menu called Chow Down which is $29.5 per person. It includes the accompaniment of Asian-style coleslaw, egg noodles and rice. You can then pick from the grilled and kushiage sections of the menu and they bring these out in rounds until your belly is all full. Open Tuesday - Saturday from 4pm till late and just recently Friday lunch also. 

Click here to read more about Snug Lounge on the eating out section of Ari Eats. 

MOMO SUSHI

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Momo Sushi is the number one place to get your sushi fix in New Plymouth. There is a varitey of sushi including tofu baskets filled with rice and pork, cucumber + cream cheese California rolls and my favourite the vegetable spring roll. Depending on whether you’re choosing to dine in or takeaway, you can grab a plate or container. You can then take a pair of tongs and choose the pieces you’d like as you pay per piece. The pieces range from $1.50 to $2.50 depending on your selection. My favourite part about Momo Sushi is their selection of complimentary accompaniments which you add toward the end. These include Japanese mayo, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and more! This place is popular with work goers as it’s open 9.30am – 4pm weekdays and also 12pm – 2pm on Saturday.

Click here to read more about Momo Sushi on the eating out section of Ari Eats. 

WANT TO SEE HOW I RATE OTHER NEW PLYMOUTH LOCATIONS? 

Although these are my top places that I would recommend to friends, family and followers I have been to most places in New Plymouth. You can check out my Zomato account by clicking the button below to see my profile where I rate, review and add photos of everywhere I eat out wherever that is in New Zealand. You can even follow me on there too and join my food journey. 

view my food journey on zomato!

Is Stevia The New Black?

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I discovered Stevia early last year while partaking in a low carb/Paleo diet. It is widely used by those following that way of eating as it contains zero calories and carbohydrates as well as being a great low GI option for diabetics.

I came across the brand Natvia which has quickly become my go-to sweetener containing Stevia. It is a product that uses 100% natural ingredients and has a unique blend of both Stevia and Ethrithol. This is due to Stevia naturally being 300 times sweeter than sugar. The blend allows for a spoon for spoon substitute making it great for cooking and adding to your morning coffee.

I was also recently gifted this Stevia terrarium last week (see above!) which I'm incredibly excited about. I can't wait for it to grow more so I can get creative in the kitchen and use Stevia Leaf as a natural sweetener in future recipes.

fun facts about stevia

  1. Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant (a herb in the Chrysanthemum family), it's native to Paraguay
  2. It has no calories, no carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index (making it great for diabetics)
  3. There is a compound (called Glycosides) in the leaves which accounts for Stevia's incredible sweetness. The crude stevia leaves are reported to be 10-15 times sweeter than table sugar but the refined extract is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. 
  4. No chemicals, alcohols, solvents or enzymes are used at any stage of the extraction and purification process. 
  5. It has been approved by FSANZ (Food & Safety Australia New Zealand) for use in food and beverage products since 2010. 

I've noticed mainstream brands starting to incorporate Stevia into their products, particularly beverages. Here are a select few beverages which contain Stevia as a natural sweetener that I've tried recently.

PEPSI NEXT

Pepsi Next is a new soft drink using the natural sweetener, Stevia, to reduce the amount of sugar in the drink. You'll still get the real cola taste with the added benefit of 30% less sugar than regular Pepsi. I was sent a bottle of Pepsi Next in a media kit to try out. I must say, despite the 30% less sugar, it still has the real cola taste. The rest of my family (who drank the bulk of it) didn't recognise the difference in taste to regular Pepsi. It will be available in 600ml, 1.5L and 2L. These are available in New World and Countdown stores across New Zealand.

RED SEAL HOT OR COLD TEA

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Red Seal just launched their new Hot Or Cold Range of summer fruit teas late last year with a select few flavours containing stevia. These can be served hot or cold making them ideal for iced teas without the loaded sugar for sweetness. I have one every day - usually in the morning to boost my energy and wake me up. I pop a tea bag in into my water bottle the night before to allow full flavour. They come in boxes with 20 unbleached teabags in multiple flavours including Blood Orange, Strawberry & Rhubarb as well as Peach & Pineapple. These are available at supermarkets across New Zealand.

JUST JUICE 50% LESS SUGAR

Just Juice introduced their 50% Less Sugar range back in 2012 making them one of the first to use stevia in fruit drinks in place of fruit sugars. They substitute half of the fruit juice with water and add stevia to naturally sweeten the juice without the additional fruit sugars. These have quickly become a favourite in our house in an effort to make better choices. We were always fans of Just Juice as they don't add refined sugar to their fruit juices. These come in 1L Tetra brix and 2.8L bottles and are available at supermarkets across New Zealand.

Have you or would you try any of these? Let me know any other products that you know of that use Stevia to naturally sweeten their products in the comments below - I'd love to try them out too!

To be into win a $350 grocery voucher to your supermarket of choice, leave a comment below and you'll be in the draw!

Summer Entertaining: The Better For You Edition

When I imagine summer, I think hamburgers with patties straight off the BBQ, sausages in bread, Magnums and lots of L&P. I've decided to come up with a selection of drinks, food and desserts that are Better For You options to inspire you to make better choices this summer. When constructing this post I thought about what I'd serve to my guests if I had them over during the summer and this is what I came up with.

DRINKS

Image credit: Khloe Kardashian / Moochi 

Image credit: Khloe Kardashian / Moochi 

One of my favourite drinks lately has been this Detox Water. It's perfect for this hot weather to keep you refreshed. Using a combination of lemon slices, cucumber, mint and filtered water this is a great way to make your water a little less boring. Even Khloe Kardashian thinks so.

My favourite alcoholic beverage over the summer has been Lemon & Lime Long White Vodka. I'm not a big alcohol drinker but these are tasty! They're created using a combination of vodka with naturally flavoured sparkling water. Not only that, but they have no added table sugar but are sweetened with NZ sourced apples along with lemons from Keri Keri and limes from Hawkes Bay. The thing I like the most about these is the premium ingredients reflects in the product. It's natural, fun and delicious!

You'll have your friends fooled with this Strawberry Iced Tea. I use to be an addict of the Raspberry Passion Iced Tea from Starbucks until I found out how much sugar was in it! Not only is this a great way alternative but I use the Red Seal Strawberry & Rhubarb Tea and naturally sweeten it with Stevia.

CANAPES 

Image credit: Ari Eats

Image credit: Ari Eats

A great low carb alternative for your traditional burger are what I like to call Hamburger On A Stick. You use all the elements of a traditional burger but in bite size pieces to make this creation. I like to use an angus beef mince meatball, half a cherry tomato, bocconcini, egg circles and lettuce. These have quickly become a favourite of all my guests and I've been loving the different kinds of combinations that can be created.

A simple canapé option which has quickly become one of my favourite snacks are these Cucumber Salmon Slices. They are a slice of a cucumber topped with sliced smoked salmon along with a mixture of cream cheese, lemon juice and dill. Alternatively, you could swap out the cream cheese for any sort of mayonnaise such as the Cashew Mayo  with the addition of dill and capers or my favourite combination, Avocado Mayo.

Another one of my favourite canapé options is this Kumara Rosti, Beetroot & Goats Cheese. I make the rosti in muffin tins and top it with baby beetroot, creamy goats cheese and fresh mint making them a perfect bite size meal.

DESSERT 

Image credit: Pinterest

Image credit: Pinterest

Who needs sugar loaded Lemonade Ice Blocks when you can devour these Berry Yoghurt Pops instead. They are sugar-free, very low in fat and and also are a tasty treat that everyone will love!

For something a little more fun, try out these Berry Fruit Salad in Coconut Bowls. These are one of my favourite things over the summer. I like to use season fresh berries and top it with my favourite yoghurt. The novelty of eating the fruit out of a coconut bowl makes this dessert just that little bit more fun.

Kickstart Summer with Symbio

This past week the sun has been warming my skin and I’ve come to realise how close the summer months are. I’ve recently fallen off the wagon with my eating and as a kickstart to get me back into my normal routine I’ve decided to join the Symbio Summer Feel Good Challenge. Symbio have challenged New Zealanders to consume their yoghurt every day for 14 days and are so confident you’ll feel good that if you don’t – you’ll get a refund.

I personally would only consume their Natural Unsweetened version. I feel it’s the most beneficial yoghurt as it contains no added sugar. It’s a great way to mix up the flavouring too as you can easily add vanilla beans, berries and honey for a delicious flavouring.

I wanted to create a delicious recipe for all those who wanted to join this Symbio Summer Feel Good Challenge and created these Berry Yoghurt Pops. They use only 4 ingredients are a simple way to have your daily intake of probiotic yoghurt – even frozen the probiotics in Symbio survive. I’ve made these with mixed berries as well as strawberry flavoured ones. You can check out the recipe for these here.

While I was photographing these Berry Yoghurt Pops they started to melt with the warmth of the sun. I popped them back into the freezer and they didn’t really ‘function’ as ice pops anymore however paired with almond milk and a banana they worked perfectly in a morning smoothie!

As I’ve already started this challenge I made up a big batch of my Chocolate Buckwheat Granola last week. We’ve been serving it with Symbio’s Natural Unsweetened Yoghurt and fresh berries for breakfast and occasionally dessert – it’s become a family favourite substituting Coco Pops for the kiddies! You can even made a parfait layering the granola, yoghurt and berries – yum! Check out the recipe here.

If you join the challenge check out a few of my past where you can use Symbio’s Natural Unsweetened Yoghurt. Use as a topping alongside strawberries, cinnamon and honey on my 2 Ingredient Banana Pancakesand also as the cream component in my Low Carb Butter Chicken recipe on cauliflower rice.

If you try any of my recipes out – don’t forget to #arieats and let me know how your Symbio challenge is going through my Facebook page orTwitter.

Like this post? Check out recipes, eating out and more here.

Where To Eat - Date Night – Auckland

Whether you're going on a first date or you're going on a date night with your significant other, choosing a place to eat can be daunting. Inspired by Rexona's empowerment of New Zealand women being visible I've compiled a list of my favourite eateries in Auckland, perfect for date night. Rexona wants you to not sweat the small stuff - you can spend less time worrying about where to eat and focus on the more important aspects of the night.

These are  a selection of my favourite date night locations including two restaurants, two dessert eateries and two fast food joints.

Ostro is my number one go-to date night destination. You'll find a selection of my favourite dishes including Line Caught Tahitian Tuna with garden peas, wasabi mayo, karengo and pea shoots, Ostro Stecca Bread with seaweed butter and Fresh Fries with fresh herbs. I've sat in this restaurant at night, perched up on the second story it overlooks the water through crystal clear glass and I can tell you it instantly sets a romantic scene when the night falls and the waters reflection picks up all the city lights. For date night, I'd create a neutral toned makeup look paired with long lashes like my favourite XOBeauty lashes in The Romantic and Kylie Jenner lips using one of my favourite brown nudes.

Ebisu is my favourite Japanese restaurant in Auckland! You'll find sushi, sashimi along with their signature Wagu and Karitane Crayfish dishes and more. Perfect for those wanting to experience well executed Japanese cuisine. It's my favourite location for a bold red lipstick like my new Limited Edition MAC Salon Rouge and LBD - don't forget to use Rexona's Invisible Dry to feel confident and reassured that you're protected, free and clean of marks.

Milse | Ari Eats.png

Milse is a luxurious dessert shop located in the pavilions down at Britomart. Desserts in jars, mousse cakes, macarons, hand-made chocolate and even gelato on a stick line the wall of the small alley shop to takeaway. You can get a table for two and order of their A La Carte menu which contains deconstructed desserts using skilled techniques making Milse an experience like no other. I've always found it to be a perfect venue to conclude a date night or even to start one off.

Giapo is the most innovative ice-cream parlour in New Zealand. Here you'll find edible bespoke cones decorated in white chocolate and freeze dried raspberries along with edible cups rimmed with hokey pokey pieces. Each ice-cream is delicately created and topped with complimentary adornments such as macarons, truffles, brownie and more. A true gastronomic delight which I would indulge in after a movie date at Event Cinemas in Gold Class wearing my favourite Sass & Bide jeans and a Bassike tee.

Burger Burger has quickly become my favourite burger joint in town. Even the pickiest of eaters will be spoilt for choice with the option of choosing a 'bunnuce' which is a lettuce bun along with the options of charred broccoli and kumara chips as sides. They also use my favourite milk, Lewis Road Creamery, in their shakes. Located in Ponsonby Central this venue has a very casual and relaxed atmosphere. I'd wear my Cabo Nights Playsuit from Chiffon Boutique and pair it with my white Jeffrey Campbell platform sneakers.

Fish Smith is a fish and chip shop with an upmarket edge. Here you'll find fresh salads and grilled fish available for the health conscious along with the classic beer battered fish, chips and even their signature Fish Dog.  For me, date night would involve Fish Smith takeaways on the beach or heading down to Silo Cinema on a warm summer evening wearing my Designer Brands Lavish Lip Gloss in Coral and my Lonely Rose floral dress from Coco + Dawn.

This post was made possible thanks to the new Rexona Stay Visible which I've put to the test for the last month. It's been a recent addition to my date night essentials. I even did a sneaky last minute shave and sprayed the deodorant and it didn't sting! Whether I'm wearing a LBD or a white sweater it's kept my blacks black and whites white, free and clean of marks.

DIY Lewis Road Creamery x Whittakers Chocolate Milk

By now, you've most likely heard of the chocolate milk craze that was created through the collaboration of New Zealand's best milk and New Zealand's favourite chocolate. Lewis Road Creamery's Fresh Chocolate Milk is an indulgent chocolatety treat that combines Lewis Road's Premium Whole Milk with Whittaker's 5 Roll Refined Creamy Milk Chocolate to deliver a delicious, velvety chocolate milk like no other.

ORIGINAL

I was sent some of this product and fell in love instantly. If you're a Whittakers chocolate lover you'll immediately recognise the signature taste from your very first sip. This product is the only chocolate milk in New Zealand that uses real milk chocolate and that is reflective in it's quality and taste. 

For those of you who don't know, this is what the original LRC x Whittakers Chocolate Milk looks like. It comes in the traditional LRC bottle however is slightly modified with a golden cap and brown typography including the Whittakers logo. 

This product has been liquid gold, selling out seconds after hitting shelves. Not only is this product hard to get your hands on - you may find yourself cringing at $6.49 per 750ml bottle and if you're from the south island, you won't even see these in your local supermarkets!

If you're eager to try this out or just craving the taste again I'm going to help you create your own! You'll get the same rich creamy chocolate milk nestled in the original bottle with this faux version.

RECREATED

FRESH CHOCOLATE MILK

You will need only two ingredients to recreate the original  - Lewis Road Creamery's Pure Organic Milk (750ml) either non-homoginised like I did otherwise you can just get homogenised along with a 250g block of Whittakers 5 Roll Refined Creamy Milk Chocolate. If you were wanting to go for a better option with less sugar you could use Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana instead. 

Check out my recipe for Faux LRC x Whittakers Chocolate Milk here. I used a full block of Whittakers 5 Roll Refined Creamy Milk Chocolate (minus two - three lines which were nonmed in the making) in the recreation showcased without the addition of cocoa. 

STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE MILK

I also did a Strawberry Chocolate Milk version using Whittakers White Chocolate and fresh strawberries which you can find the recipe to here. In the recipe I do use an addition of strawberry powder for colour and concentrated taste. 

Paleo Inspired Chocolate Treats

If you're a chocolate lover like me, then chocolate will also be your favourite comfort food and go-to guilt-free treat. Sovereign are all about empowering New Zealander's to take charge of their health and wellbeing. After being inspired by their #lifetakecharge mantra I'm sharing with you my top 5 Paleo inspired chocolate treats. These treats are a great way to satisfy your chocolate cravings without over indulging.

I'm a huge lover of dark chocolate - Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana and Pana Chocolate's Eighty are my favourite. I make sure to consume chocolate with levels of at least 70% cacao to gain from it's many benefits. Not only is cacao considered a super-antioxidant with it's high ORAC score but it's also labeled a mood boosting food as cacao contains the amino acid tryptophan, which leads to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of joy and may help prevent mild depression. The small levels of caffeine found in chocolate may also influence our mental state by keeping us focused and alert.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Who would've thought putting avocado and chocolate together made for such a delicious dessert?! I first saw this combination in Luke Hine's recipe book last summer and have been recreating my own version ever since. This is a rich and creamy mousse that is so perfectly complimented with the addition of fresh strawberries. I like to use the widely loved Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana for this recipe but have also made this using Pana Chocolate's Eighty.

Paleo Chocolate Truffles 

If you're like me and love the thought of bliss balls but hate dried fruit such as dates, these chocolate truffles will be your new favourite treat. Using only 5 Paleo pantry staples, this is a fool proof recipe that can be kept in the fridge until ready to eat. I love altering these by substituting the vanilla essence for peppermint essence and rolling in desiccated coconut or orange essence and rolling in a combination of orange zest and cacao.

Chocolate Beetroot Brownies 

Replicating the texture and taste of my favourite Chocolate Mississippi Mud Cake you'll have your friends and family fooled when you reveal the secret ingredient in these brownies - beetroot! This has been a huge hit in my family with little fingers constantly sneaking slices. Although this recipe isn't strictly 'Paleo' I couldn't help but add it to this list. It's a great whole foods recipe containing many Paleo pantry staples. You can even make these into cupcakes or a cake and top them with my Avocado Chocolate Mousse or Raw Nutella recipe depending on your preference.

Creamy Cacao Smoothie

Sometimes I just want a quick chocolate fix. Not only is this smoothie quick and easy but it's rich, creamy and delicious! I like to freeze my bananas and often change up my nut butter and top with the same nuts. This has been my go-to smoothie lately as I've been eating less cooked breakfasts with the warmer months approaching. The glass rimmed with coconut was inspired by a smoothie I saw on Mondays Wholefoods Instagram and I feel like it's going to to be a compulsory addition to any smoothie I make it the future.

Chewy Cacao Cookies 

Nothing smells better than fresh cookies out of the oven. They'll have you feeling like a kid again in your attempt to devour them before they're even cooled. These moreish cookies pair perfectly with a glass of almond milk straight from the fridge while watching reruns of your latest favourite TV series in bed. This recipe makes quite a few cookies so I wrap a few up with string and gift them to friends. Not only do I avoid inhaling them all in one go but who doesn't appreciate a home baked gift?

If you try out any of these recipes don't forget to #arieats and if you like this post click here for more recipes, eating out reviews and more!

I Love Pies - Family Feeds

My family are huge lovers of pies and after seeing my blog post I Love Pies - Meal For One they were all eager to try the I Love Pies range. A month or so ago when in Auckland I caught up with the team at I Love Pies and they kindly gave me a selection of their pies to take home to share with my family. I chose three of their Family Pies and paired them three different accompaniments that I thought best complimented the flavours. 

My parents use to buy the Irvine's Pie range for my younger siblings which made me cringe. The Irvine's range is crammed with nasty additives you want to stay away from unlike the I Love Pies range which contains real ingredients like you'd find in your kitchen at home - free range meat, fresh vegetables and herbs, no preservatives. The pastry is also made from scratch using real butter and sour cream. It's a unanimous decision that I Love Pies is now a family favourite, here to stay!

Angus Beef Mince & Mozzarella Cheese

Mince & Cheese pie is a widely loved kiwi classic. This flavour was very popular in my household and was devoured within minutes. Nestling inside this pie you'll find Tasty Angus beef mince, cracked black pepper and vegetables among the hunks of mozzarella cheese. The addition of real mozzarella cheese makes this pie just that little bit more special. As you can see from the photos below, the mozzarella just oozed out when I cut into it - yum! 

I paired this pie with Heston Blumenthal's Thrice Cooked Chips. As we all know Mince & Cheese pie and fries make the perfect duo and I can guarantee you that this combo tastes better and than a Georgie Pie combo. If you want to go with a better option you could even make Kumara Chips.

I Love Pies - Angus Beef Mince & Mozzarella Cheese | Ari Eats

Free Range Chicken, Leek & Mustard

If you're a chicken lover and enjoy the taste of a hearty chicken soup then this is the pie for you. The combination of tender pieces of free-range chicken, sautéed leek with Dijon mustard and a hint of thyme encased in hand-made pastry really showcases the unique charachter of this chicken pie making it a stand out. I'm not the biggest fan of chicken pie the same way I'm not the biggest fan of chicken burgers - it just doesn't feel all that authentic to me - however I did enjoy it. 

I paired this pie with my Simple Slaw (Paleo Coleslaw) recipe as you can never go wrong with the duo of chicken and slaw. The slaw gives the creaminess of the chicken pie added texture with a fresh tangy crunch. 

I Love Pies - Free Range Chicken, Leek & Mustard | Ari Eats

Angus Beef Steak & Caramelised Red Onion

This pie is my favourite of the lot. The flavours are delicious and a little more mature than your traditional steak pie. I feel like this pie is more suited to an adult palette, perfect for a Sunday lunch with friends accompanied by a glass of wine. The Angus beef steak is slow cooked until tender and combined with red onion caramelised in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar with a hint of rosemary.

I paired this pie with my Cauliflower Mash recipe which is my favourite alternative to potato mash - you'll have everyone fooled. For a lighter approach you could alternatively make a side salad. A few weeks ago we had a work lunch and Mum served a slice of this pie with a gorgeous home-made fresh spring salad of mesclun, goats feta, cherry tomatoes and a light balsamic vinaigrette.

Now try it out for yourself

You can find these pies at Farro and selected Countdown Supermarkets nationwide. 

Follow I Love Pies Facebook and Instagram page to keep updated on new products and other fun stuff. 

Stay tuned as I definitely want to try out more of their range including their dessert pies and ready-to-cook sausage rolls!

I Love Pies - Meal For One

I was delighted to find I Love Pies in Farro when visiting Auckland. I was taken by the gorgeous and creative aesthetics of the packaging and knew I had to learn more.

Although my food is usually influenced by a ketogenic and/or paleo lifestyle I will at times find myself craving things off plan. I believe that if you're going to eat off plan, eat the cleanest version of the meal possible and go for the better option.

What I discovered was that these gems contain ingredients like you'd find in your kitchen at home - free range meat, fresh vegetables and herbs, no preservatives. The pastry is also made from scratch using real butter and sour cream.

In this post I'm sharing with you I Love Pies two Angus Beef small pie variations. I picked both these pies up at my local Countdown Supermarket in New Plymouth. 

Review

The thing I adore the most about these pies is their incredible taste and the quality of the ingredients used. Not only is the meat filling in both pies substantial but the flavours are delicious! 

The signature pastry heart on top of each pie reminds me of the handcrafted pies my Grandma would make leaving a sense of homemade.

I'm a family of one and often the labour of making my own pie can be quite tedious. I find these single serves are perfect for a quick and easy meal as all you need to do is pop them in the preheated 180° C oven to heat for 20 minutes.

These pies have been my go-to treat to satisfy my cravings of heading down to the bakery as the winter chill comes in. They're a much better alternative than a quick fix drive thru at Maccas.

You obviously have to limit your consumption of these and can't have them on a daily basis otherwise you'll soon find it a wee difficult to get out of the front door. 

Angus Beef Mince & Mozzarella

This is definitely guaranteed tummy satisfier - especially for us kiwis. It's hard to resist a good mince and cheese pie, especially when they've turned gourmet with Angus Beef Mince & Mozzarella.

This pie is filled with tasty Angus beef mince, cracked black pepper and vegetables, topped with mozzarella cheese. 

The beef in this pie has been ground finely to provide a silky texture combined with the melted mozzarella that oozes out. If you like delicate flavours with a traditional pie feel then this one is for you.

Angus Beef Steak & Rosemary

My personal favourite comes in the form of hearty steak chunks coated in a delicious gravy rich enough to tame the hunger of the most avid meat lover.

This pie is filled with slow cooked tender Angus beef steak with a hint of rosemary. 

I love how uncomplicated this pie is. It's real, simple and hearty - perfect for the winter. I'd eat these once a week if I could! If you like the taste of real chunks of meat in your pie then this is pie for you!

I left this pie in the oven for a little bit longer (35 minutes) - I may or may not have forgotten about it. I think I actually prefer it like this. The pastry was crisp, flaky, yet still soft. 

Now try it out for yourself

You can find these pies at Farro and selected Countdown Supermarkets nationwide. 

Follow I Love Pies Facebook and Instagram page to keep updated on new products and other fun stuff. 

Stay tuned as I'll be posting more on the I Love Pies range including their Limited Edition and Family Pie range.

Forage & Graze

Forage & Graze was created by Cara and influenced by the combination of a Gluten Free & Paleo lifestyle. The products are handmade in New Zealand and loaded with unrefined nutrient-dense whole food ingredients and also contain no refined sugar, no grains and no dairy. 

I was grateful enough to receive a variety of goodies from the Forage & Graze range to review. I was interested to see how I would find this range. I have always been more of a cooked breakfast kind of girl having never been very fond of cereals and had no interest in swapping trail mixes with girls who had packed them for school lunch.

Review

My favourite by a long shot was the Wild Mixes closely followed by the Biltong. I pretty much adore everything in this range however the addition of the Biltong in the Wild Mix added an unique and surprising combination of flavours.

They're the perfect on-the-go snack to take with you on road trips or as a mid-afternoon snack. They're also vacuum packed which ensures fresh, moist and delicious goodness! I was so in love with these I pretty much devoured the three packets within 24 hours - hence the lack of photos. I promise I'll pop photos of these products up the second I try them again! 

As for the Granolas - I received one of each.

In my Ecology Acacia Bowl I paired the Forage & Graze Berry Good Granola with fresh sliced banana, chopped strawberries and a sprinkling of blueberries. I poured over home-made vanilla and cinnamon macadamia nut milk sweetened with dates. It made a great Paleo friendly alternative to your traditional grain filled muesli. You'd be surprised at the flavours and textures that are replicated. Personally, I'd take this Granola mix over muesli any day of the week!

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I used the Forage & Graze Maple Pecan Perfection Granola as part of my upcoming Paleo Apple Berry Crumble recipe. The combination of nuts and seeds made it a perfect topping and the Maple flavoured paired well with the maple stewed fruit. 

I served them in my Stevens Simply Sky Blue Ramekins and added a scoop of home-made Coconut & Vanilla Ice Cream using my new The Smart Scoop by Breville. Alternatively, I'd suggest using Nice Cream or Oob Organic Ice Cream.

Now try it out for yourself

The amazing Cara from Forage and Graze has set-up a generous discount code which allows you to get 20% off each product from their entire range by entering the code ARIEATS at the checkout until Wednesday 11th June, 2014. 

You can check out their range here and if you've already tried out their products, let me know what you think of them in the comments below!