Wednesday, 31 October 2012

FYM transformation challenge WEEK 9 & Spring Carnival

2 weeks to go!!! Whoop! Whoop! Well in actual fact the Fit Yummy Mummy program I follow, the Transformation Challenge ends in 11 days!!! On Oscar's 5th birthday in fact 11/11. It has been great however for the last 3 weeks with my neck and lower back issues, I haven't been working out to the full capacity I would HAVE like to! Never mind, I don't want to start to complain because.....

I know that sounds harsh but if I'm not making an excuse, I'm complaining about something and that has got to stop. Sure I get it when my body tells me I can't do the normal training stuff but when I am feeling better, I opt to sit on the couch, eat crap and get stuck in my rut. So it's time to lift my game and even though I only have 11 days to go, I'm going to give it all I've got!


  • I'm giving up or limiting ALL my "no added" sugar foods
  • Never missing a workout
  • Running twice a week
  • Practising my yoga every day

And of course all the other stuff a mother of 4 and CEO of this household does :-) JUST DO IT! I say. Seriously, no one else is going to do it for us! We are all busy, we ALL need to make time for things that really matter to us the most.

Today was my first official "I'M BACK" moment of working out. Completed the Transformation Kit workout hence my photo above. I was pumped!!! There is no reason why I should sabotage my progress thus far and go back to my old habits. What for?

Having said that a beautiful girlfriend of mine just posted on Facebook Progress NOT Perfection. Thanks for the reminder sweetie. I love you dearly Xx

PWOS (post workout shake)
180 Nutrition coconut protein drink PWOS

Mietta and I were out this morning, another sensational sunny day and finished the October yoga challenge which I really enjoyed!

I've been really inspired by some posts on Facebook and especially Instagram, there are challenges happening there all the time. You all know me by now, challenge should be my middle name. There was this awesome skipping Youtube link I posted on FB, how cool is this? Then there was the yoga challenge and another awesome yoga person who did a handstand. I haven't done one in over 20 years!! He has inspired me, so I may just practise them.....

Spring Carnival fascinators 

All in all, it's been a busy last couple of days since I last posted. Amongst planning another birthday party, there is the Melbourne Cup next Tuesday so I am attending a luncheon here locally. My gorgeous fashion designer Barb was kind enough to make my fascinator this year, to go with my electric blue shoes of course.....Frida Kahlo inspired head pieces.

What are your thoughts of my Frida Kahlo inspired fascinator??? I'll make sure I take a full picture next week with my entire ensemble.

You can place your orders NOW and for further styles and queries please get in touch with Barb via her blog or Sunshine and Daydreams Facebook page as there are many more beautiful pieces to view. If you have already got this years fascinator please make sure you put your order for next Spring Carnival 2013 or need a "party season" Flapper style head piece? This is the place to go!!!!

Our dinner menu this week....

The weather has been so amazing lately, we have been cooking on the BBQ. Although tonight's bolognese sauce was done in the one and only wonderful Chefs toolbox sauté pan. I love the fact I can even serve it directly on the table from the stove top!!!

Our kids are loving these frogurts and fruit ice pops. Simply blend whatever fruit you have with yogurt and place in your moulds. They think it's Christmas!!!!

Okay my beautiful peeps, off to catch some much need sleep. Much love to you, until we meet again.

Xx Dani

Friday, 26 October 2012

Home made pizza's and Chefs Toolbox sensation

How was your week?

We had a great one as it just's now the weekend!!! YIPPEE!!!!

Not much happening our end, having said that Oscar's 5th birthday is coming up so I am prepping for that. It falls on Remembrance Day 11/11 so he's asked for an M&M's cake. Great. Shouldn't be too difficult, I hope!?


You'll see my new companion that helped achieve this crusty, super tasting pizza!!!!

Pear fruit salad porridge with cinnamon

Remember this post when I attended my first Chefs Toolbox party (with girlfriend Janet) and I fell in love with the cooking style these wonderful products proclaim? Guess who made it's way into our kitchen this week???

Ta da!!!!

This is any cooks best friend, whether you are a busy Mum like me, a novice in the kitchen or someone who likes to challenge themselves with the gourmet. The Chefs Toolbox Como Advanced Sauté pan is the most versatile piece of cookware available on the market!

This beauty can be used on the stove top or in the oven, I've used it for sautéing, baking, stewing, braising and even frying. I can't wait to do a roast in it and one of the slow cooking recipes found on their website.

It also has an extensive 10 year warranty, comprising the latest in non-stick technology, it makes for very healthy cooking with only the smallest amount of oil (if any) required. Now that's what I call value for money. 

Diameter: 28cm
Height: 7.6cm
Length: 40cm
Volume: 4L
Thickness: 5mm base; 5mm sides

Anyways, the reason why I love it so much is pictured below....the first picture is my Jamie Oliver saucepan (which I use to do my stove top porridges every morning). Last week I accidentally didn't stir it for a few minutes and this is what happened to the bottom of the pan. I had to scrub and scrub until all that burnt porridge was removed.....

Picture 2 is the porridge cooking in the CHEFS toolbox ALL BY ITSELF!!! I didn't have to stir it, I just placed the lid on it and went about my normal morning duties. What a life saver!!!

Picture 3 when I scraped all the porridge out and picture number 4 is the effortless washing up I had to do. Now that's my kinda of cookware!!!!

I have been doing my yoga moves and FYM workouts however have modified them a little for my neck and lower back issues of late. Here are some pics of my yoga moves.....

Morning snack
yogurt with fruit

Mixed platter of focaccia bread, dips, crackers, strawberries

We went to a play centre with Oscar's Kinda group today and managed to stay warm and out of the wet and cold day we had today. Disaster! Sunny and warm days last week and now punishing us again with our cold, wet and wintery days.

Afternoon snack
180 Nutrition coconut protein drink smoothie (added a banana)

CHEFS toolbox cont.....

Back to the amazing CHEFS toolbox sautee pan, it's cooked most of our meals this week. Here are our tuna burgers, which I typically shallow fry or oven bake. In this instance, I used the non stick surface power and placed the burgers directly inside the pan and gave them a quick browning, then placed the lid on and they cooked on top of the stove for 10 minutes! Easy peasy lemon squeezey!!!

Tuna Burgers
1 tin of tuna in brine or olive oil (reserve oil to cook burgers)
1 small onion
1 grated carrot
2 garlic cloves
1 cup cooked quinoa (or use rice, breadcrumbs etc...)
1/2 cup mashed potato (or try sweet potato)
2 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients together and shape into 12 rissoles (you can use flour or breadcrumbs to lightly coat). I typically let them set in the fridge for 30 minutes if not you can cook the rissoles in your preferred oil and cook until golden brown on both sides. Serve with a fresh salad or vegetables.

Ham and pineapple home made pizza's

I simply followed my other pizza recipe found here.

Go like Janet's Facebook page and check out Janet's website here and any further info you may need about this amazing product! I love it, so I don't need to sell it you! I've got it and have cooked all of our meals in it this week. Super practical and so easy to clean. I love my Jamie Oliver cookware but I have moved on.....

Have a sensational weekend until we meet again.

Xx Dani

Monday, 22 October 2012

Another birthday and FYM challenge week 8

Seriously too much birthday cake, I have literally exploded! As much as I tried to make them supportive....I didn't really succeed this year! I figure we eat clean 80-90% of the time, we really need to enjoy these special moments even though I am determined to bake a choc zucchini/carrot cake next time! With no sugar of course. 

Yes, Adrian's birthday was another success in the cake department. I went with a lemon butter cake heart theme this time with his favourite lemon icing.

Adrian really loves lemon tasting desserts especially lemon meringues!!! Me not so much but I must admit I do enjoy putting lemon in most of the dishes I cook these days. It just adds zest and such a good flavour! My Mum puts it in almost everything!!! So I simply mixed some lemon rind in the butter cake mixture (didn't use as much sugar! and made my own self raising flour with baking powder and plain wholemeal flour) and did the lemon icing as well. There were 2 pieces left over, that's how delish it was!!

Here we all are, trying to squeeze into the picture.

For dinner, I made something quick and easy. We had left over steak rump which I shredded and added all the ingredients I had left in the fridge and pantry that would make a kinda Mexicana beef taco style dish. So here it is....

Mexican beef taco's in cos salad shells

Olive oil
Shredded cooked beef steak
1 finely diced onion
2 sliced/chopped carrots
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 can corn
1 can peas
1 jar of Mexican salsa
handful of olives
cos salad

Gently fry onions, carrots and mushrooms until soft in olive oil. Add beef, salsa sauce and corn, cook for a further 5 minutes. Just before serving add cooked peas and sprinkle olives in the mix. It's done, super quick as most things are cooked except for the onions, carrots and mushrooms.

Instead of the greasy taco shells (even though I do love them dearly) it was so fresh and crisp tasting serving them in the cos salad shells/cups!

I didn't buy these specific ingredients to make this dish. I simply go through my left over fridge/pantry ingredients when we have a low budget food week (and I promise I will share my meal planning ideas with you REALLY soon) and I google for ideas, inspiration or through the years I have learnt what flavours work together. This meal would have been under $15 for the 6 of us and with left overs the next day.

Today I managed to fit in a run with my gorgeous life saving friend Celeste (who I borrowed the love heart shape tin to make within the hour!) and ran 3kms with a slight stitch but not that severe! Perhaps it's more in the mornings that I get the stitch and my body not warming up? Who knows? I am still working it out. Keep you posted!!! I am really determined to complete a marathon now, even though the back of my mind I'm still thinking why am I doing this? Because I love it! There is something about running that is kinda cool (still could be doing other cool stuff within that time, mind you) but you know what I mean. Once I set my mind on something, there is no stopping me!

FYM Workouts

My FYM challenge ends in a couple of weeks (on Oscar's birthday in fact 11/11) so I have been quite good with my nutrition however limited with my workouts as my neck hasn't been quite the same. Also with my lower back after the 6km run on Sunday, something with the stitch and lower back muscle isn't gelling. Having said that, it's only my body not used to this type of fitness.

I am taking things easy and only doing what my body can do, at this stage. Still happy following the program and linking with my beautiful FYM girls!!! Love them dearly!

Sending you all my love and hope all is well with you and your families. I look forward to touching base with you real soon and love reading your comments. IT MAKES MY DAY!!!

Xx Dani

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Run Ballarat fun run and meeting Steve Moneghetti

Hi everyone, it's been a pretty hectic couple of days. From Mietta's birthday to my first ever fun run, it was amazing!!!

Here is Adrian and I, ready to rock and roll at 7:30am. Adrian kicked off at 7:40am for his 11km run while I stuck around and went to do my 6km at 8:20am.

Mr Adrian & Mrs Daniela Stevens

Of course, minutes after I completed the run which took me 37 minutes (yes I ran 5kms with a flippin' stitch!!!) I saw Steve Moneghetti's at the finish line and thought here is my opportunity to take a picture with one of the worlds most famous and legendary Olympians!!! I did it just for you, my beautiful blog readers! Most certainly I did it for myself as well. My first official fun run, was most definitely a day I will mark off as being a memorable one!

Olympic legend Steve Moneghetti and Dani Stevens

My beautiful friend Anita made it all the way from Melbourne and she too completed the 11km run with Adrian (he did it in 55mins). I am so proud of the both of them and especially Adrian for doing his first fun run (no training by the way) with me also. The Ballarat Base Hospital raised over $160,000 which is a phenomenal amount, I can't wait to do another one!!!

Anita, me and Adrian

Which reminds me, we got chatting and I think I am going to do a marathon before I turn 40!!!??? That's right people, you heard it here first! Or maybe I wrote it on Facebook, or hang on was it Instagram? Anywho, I am so pumped and really want to do this the year I turn 40. So I figure if I train for the half marathon next year at Great Ocean Road well then that will prep me for the big 40km and run a kilometre for each year I was born. Gosh I am sentimental or rather mental? One way or the other, I am determined and I hope to get this stitch under control otherwise I 'aint running in this much pain, what for?

Oh yes, before I go I must share this huge front cover page of our local newspaper. Can you guess who it is???

The Ballarat Courier Run Ballarat front page featuring Dani Stevens

I was pretty stoked!!! I would like to give a special thank you to all the crew at The Courier, the lovely Serena, Fiona, Jeremy and Andrew the editor, for featuring me in Saturdays newspaper. You're the best!!

Thanks everyone for reading, following and for all your love and support. It means the world to me!!!

Xx Dani

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Busy birthday weekend ~ Mietta turns 3

Hello everyone, I thought I'd touch base as it's been a few days. Having said that I have been flat out on the other social media's, however for those that aren't on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter I thought I'd make a quick post to let you know Mietta had a lovely 3rd "star party" birthday.

More photos to come, I thought I'd share her 3 little layered chocolate mud cakes that I baked in tin cans! Amazing concept and I got the idea from a website I can't for the life of me find now, however here is a similar one I came across.

Here we all are gathered around the 3 little cakes....

All in all, a great day! Lots of fun and Mietta was dressed up in her Aunty's hand made princess tutu's which she wore all 3 colours at one stage. It was hilarious!!! Here she is proud as punch holding her 3 little cakes!

Birthday table with my little star poem.....

And of course like Mama's 1st pose in this post :-)

Okay, sorry this post is short and sweet but I will update more as I have heaps on the Ballarat Fun Run and of course my darling husbands birthday!!!

Goodnight everyone

Xx Dani

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fit Yummy Mummy transformation cont...Week 7

Yes, 7 weeks have gone past since I registered for the Fit Yummy Mummy transformation challenge. As much as I wanted to bulk up and increase my muscle definition, I have dropped the ball a bit. I hope to change all that soon. It really does depend on this neck scenario as I am hesitant to buy a heavier weight or kettle bell as I know I would use it, even if I am still feeling a little sore. Having said that, I haven't been up my chin up bar since my friend Jackie from Crabtree Fitness Professionals and my Chiro recommended me to take it easy. So thanks for that!

Please for any women that are struggling with their post baby weight, give FYM a go! The special offer I have on my blog entitles you to 50% off the fat loss ebook and to trial ClubFYM for 30 days FREE!! It's fantastic!! It's the only way I have been able to maintain my body after 4 kids and only takes me 15 minutes per day!!! I have been following this program exclusively for the past 5 years! That's why I am so passionate about it and how much it has transformed our/my life!!!

Yoga on the hand has been simply beautiful!!! Very challenging but so relaxing for my body even though I have the kids jumping around me. I look forward to going to my first official yoga class in the next few weeks.

Here's a snapshot of the last couple of days movements on Instagram...

It's very tricky yoga, all the moves look so easy but as soon as you are in the moment for a minute or kinda go, oh okay this is really working my core! I'm typically really rushed so I look forward to a class on my own very soon. I really need to work on my flexibility as day 16, I should be laying on my back flat!!! That wasn't going to happen anytime soon, especially when Zali climbed onboard!

Eggs sunny side up with salmon, spinach, feta and cucumber

Morning snack
180 Nutrition (coconut protein powder) frozen raspberry yogurt swirl

Chicken salad with white bean dip

My beautiful girlfriends Celeste (made the white bean dip) and Kelly (made the salad) came over and we all made lunch (I only provided the roast chicken!) the bean dip was simply divine so I had to drizzle it on top of my salad :-) Thanks girls! Another fab catch up, as usual.

I then had to rush out for some errands before picking up our boys and had to take a picture of Mietta and Zali! Seriously! They couldn't be any more different! I'm glad at least I get a bit of a look in with Zali as Mum told me when she got back from Serbia, that Zali was a spitting image of me when I was a baby! Yippee!! Now people won't think I'm "just" the nanny!!!

Afternoon snack
Corn thins with avocado and tomatoes

Chicken mushroom ragout served with cous cous

I did have on our meal planner a beef ragout but it needed to be cooked slowly and we got home pretty late so I threw this together instead!

Chicken tenderloins
2 leeks
500ml chicken stock
splash of white white
1 tsp tarragon

Sautee leeks and mushrooms until soft, add mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add chicken pieces or tenderloins, sprinkle tarragon and cook until golden brown. Add spinach with chicken stock and simmer until spinach wilted. Add salt and pepper.

That's a wrap from me my beautiful people. I have Mietta's 3rd birthday on Saturday, picking up my Mum from Melbourne tomorrow a fun run on Sunday and the love of my life's birthday on Monday!!! WHOOSH!!! It's gonna be a fab weekend!!!!

Enjoy the next couple of days and you know you can also catch my updates via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!!!

Love to you all!!!!

Xx Dani

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Run Ballarat I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!

Hello my beautiful people, what can I say?? The fun run is this Sunday and I am a tad excited!!! There are over 3,000 people participating and I just can't wait for the vibe on the day. My gorgeous friend from Melbourne will also be joining me, so I am super excited about that. She is my role model. She just did a half marathon in Melbourne on Sunday and completed her first ever marathon in Paris this year!!! You know who you are number 56184!!! I'm so proud of her!

Maybe one day, I too will complete a half marathon (if I ever overcome this stitch of mine) who knows? Might even complete a marathon. Watch this space.....

Run Ballarat fun run to help raise money for The Base hospital

I am also happy to be doing this run for such a wonderful cause. We are regulars at The Base hospital ER section, if it's not one of our boys falling off a motor bike and cracking his head open, it's the other one falling off his skate board with the same injury. Lucky, they have a tough Mum! 

I have been a little slack with my fitness this week. Minor neck issues and keeping motivated have kept me away from what typically drives me and my "no excuses" attitude. I will get over this head space. TRUST ME!! Nutrition has been great, no more cadbury chocolate to report!

I must say the yoga challenge is fabulous and I am loving that movement every day. 

Overnight soaked muesli

Morning snack
Yogurt with fruit salad

Fritatta sausage pizza

Turkey sausages

Chop ingredients and start sautéing mushrooms and sausage, beat up eggs, add chopped vegetables, feta into egg mix and pour into frypan. Allow base to cook and then place under pre heated griller until toppings are cooked. Really quick, under 10mins!!!

This is simply our version of a crustless pizza, using the eggs as the base but really it's a combo of an omelette and fritatta but I make it look all fancy like a pizza and the kids love it!!!

Afternoon snack
180 Nutrition coconut protein drink

Coconut and split green pea curry with steamed brown rice

This was my take away dinner as I went to the hairdressers this evening.

1pkt green split peas
onion finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
1 can of crushed tomato
2 cans of coconut lite cream/milk
1 fresh garlic minced
spices (curry, tumeric, corriander, moroccan)
Olive oil
S&P to taste

Dice vegetables and fry with spices, add can of tomatoes, peas and cook for 10mins. Add coconut milk/cream and simmer until peas are soft. Serve with rice.

NB: I washed and soaked my peas overnight with 1tsp of bicarb soda, this helps quicken the cooking process

So sorry for the rushed recipe process and steps, I really can't wait when I have more time to document my passion for food. I will endeavour to link as many recipes to what comes close to mine as possible (just for those that need measurements etc). Thanks so much for coming past, it means the world to me. Even more when you leave a comment! So please, don't be shy!

Have a sensational week and as always, can't wait to touch base with you again.

Xx Dani

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fit Yummy Mummy Challenge - Week 6

Hello everyone, I hope you are all travelling beautifully and have had a fabulous week.

I have been blown away with yoga lately. I have never been to a class, sure I have stretched in some kind of yoga movement before but I am really getting into this October Yoga Challenge on Instagram and the kids are loving it too. I would highly recommend those on Instagram to come participate as it's been such a wonderful experience for all of us here. Click on my Instagram + ME link on the right side of this page and check out growsoulbeautiful.

This is called the tree pose and I was fortunate to practise first thing in the morning and late afternoon. I love the fact that our 7 year old, Noah was such a fabulous photographer who suggested I do these poses outside in our backyard!

I have done my Fit Yummy Mummy exercises from the Transformation Kit this week in conjunction with these yoga poses as stretches or warms up before my actual workouts. I have still been very slack with increasing my weights so when I was doing my DB swings I knew it wasn't challenging me. So I really need to make these next couple of weeks count if I want to increase more strength and muscle definition. I can't believe week 6 is nearly ending and we only have another 3 weeks until the challenge finishes!!!

For those interested in following me and the workouts, the offer I have on my blog is a 50% discount to the FYM ebook which also includes a 30 day free trial at Clubfym. So click on the links and come check it out!

Strawberry pear porridge

I make this type of porridge most mornings as it's super quick (under 10mins) and I typically have the staple ingredients in the pantry ready to go!

1 can of pears (no added sugar)
10 fresh strawberries slice
vanilla essence

Pour all juices and pears into a saucepan
Add strawberries and oats
Pour milk
Add cinnamon and vanilla essence
Stir frequently and....
Cook until creamy and fluffy

Morning snack
PWOS 180 Nutrition coconut protein drink
Yogurt granola

Here is the fabulous recipe I based my granola bars on the other day. Please note that I just used what was in my pantry here and didn't specifically buy the ingredients to make this granola. I also didn't use any sugar.

The beautiful people at Kamalaya Koh Samui were kind enough to give me the recipe (which they posted on Facebook) to their granola bar. Thankfully YOU HAVE the measurements for those that know I still DO NOT measure anything. I hope you enjoy them!!!

Tuna salad

Afternoon snack
Hummus dip with wholemeal crackers, veggie sticks and 2 hard boiled eggs

Burgers served with salad, eggs and wholemeal bread

500gms of both beef and pork mince
1 clove of garlic minced (I usually add an onion but I was out!)
grated carrots & celery (or whatever vegetables I have in the fridge)
a handful of fresh parsley and oregano herbs chopped
wholemeal bread soaked in milk
sprinkle of curry powder
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients into a bowl and shape into burgers. In this case I simply placed them in my casserole dish with a layer of baking paper (parchment paper) even though my dish is a fantastic non stick one, it still helps with the washing up process :-)

Well I do hope you all enjoy the next few days and have a fabulous weekend. I look forward to seeing you again real soon.

Xx Dani

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The fun is over, back to reality!!!

Yes, our kids finally went back to school and as sad as I am at least I have our 2 girls to play with during the day!!!!

We had heaps of fun these last couple of days from beach hopping, to movies, play dates and shopping in Melbourne!!! Oh how I love to shop in Melbourne!!!

Here was my dilemma over the weekend when we went to a good friends wedding on Saturday.....I needed to brighten up my black dress and add a splash of colour!!!! These were my options.

Which colour do you think I chose?

I love staying in hotels and especially waking up to the breakfast buffet!!!!!

I ate pretty clean, managed to fit in all my workouts however did binge on some "non" clean food these past few days. However today is a brand new day and as my girlfriend said, it was the school holidays so I had to indulge more frequently than usual.

I also have to remember that I AM on a 10 week FYM challenge, so I didn't want that to hinder my progress, success etc....never mind another 4 weeks to go so I'll ensure I am a bit more diligent than usual.

Completed the workout from the Transformation Kit  and I don't know why but I am not a huge fan of the step ups!! Until I can get outside and do them properly on our bench, it's the sinking sensation I feel when I do it on our bed that annoys me. It's my only area to work out when it's wet and for the kids not to see me and jump around me!

180 Nutrition coconut protein shake

Mixed berry porridge with a dollop of natural yogurt

Morning snack
Granola AKA muesli bars

Mietta and I had all of these ingredients that we pulled out of the pantry and what do you think we made???

I'll post the recipe tomorrow and the outcome of our bars as I am ready to jump into bed, literally!!!

Salad sandwich

I was so happy that I got a sms from Celeste last night to go for a run as I managed to do a 3.8km "quick" run with a stitch again, which is totally annoying so I'll keep soldiering on!!! The run is in 22 days!! Gosh, that has gone quick!!!!

Afternoon snack
PWOS 180 Nutrition coconut protein shake
Feta basil dip with crackers and cucumber

Mushroom bolognese sauce served with raw brocollini

Ahhhh yes as for my shoes, they were the Elvis "blue suede" shoes. They just looked fab with my fluorescent tangerine nail polish.

Here's a snapshot of the past few days......

Over and out beautiful peeps, until we meet again.

Xx Dani