Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thankyou Santa Claus & A Raw Start to the Day

Hope you have all had a great xmas with your loved ones.  I have personally been enjoying the break and the company of my sister and her family who arrived from Melbourne last week.  I have also been enjoying my new chairs which I have Santa to thank for.   As part of a collection of items passed on from my late grandmother I decided for xmas to have two of her chairs recovered in textiles by  Clothfabric - have you heard of them? If not, they are a small independent company based in Sydney, Australia who like doing things the old fashioned way.  They screenprint by hand and use an array of natural fibres such as hemp, organic cotton and linen which is naturally stylish.  Click here to find out more.   I only have one deliberation -  should I keep the arms of the chairs  the original colour as I have considered changing them?  Anyone got any thoughts?????  The fabric here is banksia.  I was instantly drawn to this print as I love this native plant for the same reason cloth do - its strength and resilience...  two amazing qualities that I respect and desire.   I think the end result was worth every penny and even more special is their individual status which I so openly love and admire.

  Continuing on the natural theme is our breakfast in recent days.  Raw Buckwheat!  Initially I was skeptical due to thoughts of a gritty palate but I was surprised to discover, not so.    The boys eat their serving with natural yoghurt + a drizzle of maple syrup and I prefer mine with almond milk, cinnamon & coconut. Add to it whatever you like to make it taste your way and consider this an easy way to add some raw goodness into your day and keep your tummy happy.  Click here for other ways with buckwheat if this one doesn't take your fancy.


    Raw Buckwheat with Almonds & Berries
    Serves 2

    1/2 cups buckwheat, soaked overnight
    1 Tbs Pumpkin Seeds, soaked overnight
    1 Tbs Sunflower Seeds, soaked overnight
    2 Tbs Almonds, soaked overnight

(click here for why you should soak)

    Serve with:

    1/2 - 2/3 cups blueberries, washed (or your choice of fruit)
    Splash of almond milk or a dollop of yoghurt
    Sprinkle of shredded coconut and cinnamon
    Add a drizzle of maple syrup if you like it a bit sweeter

    Place the buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds in separate bowls and fill each           
    with filtered water (up to three times as much as the ingredients) 
    Leave to soak overnight
    The following morning combine the buckwheat, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a sieve and rinse      
     under a running tap (use your fingers to move it around and remove any sticky residue) then put aside to drain
     Rinse the almonds in the same manner then chop roughly before adding to the rest of the mix
     Spoon into bowls and add a splash of almond milk, your choice of fruit and a sprinkle of shredded
     coconut and cinnamon

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Dandechino & Merry Xmas To All & A Happy New Year Of Course

Wishing everyone a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.  I am looking forward to taking some time out to enjoy the company of my loved ones and those very special little people who make xmas so magical again.  Xmas always inspires my inner creative soul to explode and we have loved wrapping and creating some little extra  pieces around the house whilst sipping on my newest thing - the dandechino.

Have you heard of dandelion root tea?  This herbal infusion can be bought from most health food stores and is made from roasted dandelion root.  Crazy thing is it has a very similar appearance and taste to coffee.  You see a good cup of coffee is my one vice in life.  It became so after I had children.  Stuck at home day in day out I felt like going out for a coffee made me feel like a part of the world that existed beyond the perimeter of my house and and unfortunately it has now become a pure habit.  I have known about dandelion root tea for a while now however just hadn't bothered to try but I know that caffeine wreaks havoc on my blood sugar levels and as a sufferer of PCOS this is not helpful at all.  So with an
indulgent couple of days ahead this little fella is going to be by my side.  Who knows I may even convert some family members.   I can only try right!!  You can find out loads more about dandelion root tea here and also find some lovely variations here that I am certainly going to try when I stop cooking for xmas but essentially all you need to make a dandechino is:

1) brew some dandelion tea*,
2) froth your choice of milk
3) add a sprinkle of  unsweetened  chocolate powder and voila!!!

* Roasted dandelion filters bags can be purchased from most health food stores.  A word of advice - read the label to ensure there isn't any preservative or added flavours and check they haven't been genetically modified as well.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Giving, Sharing and Saying Thanks with Honey Ginger Cantuccini

Can somebody please tell me where the last 12 months have gone?  As the year draws to a close it is time to say thanks and be gracious for all the year has given us.  As my husband and i look toward the start of school for our eldest son next year we can't help but feel our lives and his are moving way to quickly.   Over the course of last week we baked many batches of biscuits to share and say thanks to the teachers and carers that have helped shape our sons growth and development over the years whilst in care and, of our many batches these "little nooks" as the Tuscans would refer were our favourite by far.

We also took part in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and shared the honey almond cantuccini above with Amanda from Easy Peasy Organic, Steph from Bondville and Yasmeen from Wandering Spice which was great fun especially when parcels of cookies started arriving by mail instead of bills....  I love that and so did my two prize taste testers!!!  To make these simply omit the glace ginger in the recipe below and replace with finely chopped almonds instead.  

Honey & Ginger Cantuccini
(inspired by Maria Speck)
Makes approx 44 small biscuits

1 3/4 cups spelt four
1 cup lightly packed almond meal
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup finely chopped glace ginger
1/2 cup cold press olive oil
1/2 cup  raw honey
2 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chocolate for topping if desired.....

Whisk together the flour, almond meal and salt in a large bowl
Then scatter in the ginger
Make a well in the centre of the dry mix
In another bowl whisk the olive oil, honey and vanilla until thick and syrup like
Add the wet mix to the centre of the dry ingredients and combine using a rubber spatula just until a soft dough forms
Do not over mix
Then cover with a clean cloth and let sit at room temp for 30 mins

Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 150 C or 300 F
Line a baking sheet with baking paper

Lightly sprinkle the bench with almond meal
Cut the dough in the bowl into four  equal pieces
It will be soft and sticky so briefly knead each piece to smooth and form into a log shape that is about
7 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide
Add more almond meal if needed
Repeat with the remaining dough then place the logs onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving approx 2 inches between

Bake the logs until small cracks show in the top and they are just starting to brown approx 25 - 30 mins
Remove from the oven and carefully slide off the baking sheet onto a wire rack to cool for roughly15 mins
Leave the oven going

Once cooled place the logs on a cutting board and then take a sharp serrated edged knife and cut each log diagonally in 1/2 inch thick pieces.
Place the slices upright on the same baking sheet you used previously and return to the oven
Bake the cantuccini until it feels dry to touch at the cut sides and the edges just start to brown approx 15 mins
Transfer the cantuccini to a wire rack to cool completely before drizzling with dark melted chocolate if you wish

We made cards that said"thankyou for making me shine"

gift wrapped our biscuits in some pretty boxes for safe transport

and nibbled on some of our creations of course........
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Socca and a Fresh Bean & Brocolli Salad

I first came across Socca in a cafe years ago and then was pleased to rediscover it after this post over at My New Roots a little while ago.  It is my most favourite thing at the moment because I can pile whatever on top and it tastes good no matter.  Granted it does pay to soak the batter overnight or during the day for the benefit of your digestion but seriously that is nothing to be concerned about.  I have seen a number of recipes for this all of which are similar.  Feel free to add some herbs or spices to the batter for something a bit extra.   I would recommend making the salad before the socca to allow the dressing to mingle with the other ingredients.


Makes approx 3 x 7 inch soccas

1 cup chickpea or besan flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 Tbsp cold pressed olive oil
Ghee or coconut oil for pan

In a large bowl, sift the chickpea flour, salt and pepper (sometimes I just dump it in and use a whisk to combine all the ingredients)
Whisk in the warm water and olive oil then let sit with a cover overnight or all day if you can otherwise aim for min 30 minutes.

Preheat a suitable frypan in the oven at 225 degrees celcius or 450 F
Remove the frypan from the oven and add a knob of your chosen oil
Pour a steady stream of the batter into the pan to your preferred size
Bake for 8 - 10 mins or until the pancake is firm and the edges are set
When done, flip the socca over and continue to cook for a few more minutes under your grill or until it have browned nicely.

Remove from pan and place on a plate 
Spread with a layer of hummus and top with Bean and Brocolli Salad as per below.
Add  few shavings of parmesan reggiano and soaked pepitas. 

** I have made these successfully by cooking as you would a normal pancake in frypan on the stove top.  I find this the quickest approach when cooking for a couple of people.   

Bean and Brocolli Salad
Serves 4 as a side 

150 grams brocolli, grilled (spray with a little olive oil and pop under a pre heated grill and cook until florets are looking a little charred approx 5 mins)
1/2 cup berlotti beans, ( i used canned on this occasion for convenience but soaking and cooking your own is superior)
1/2 dozen cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters
1/4 buch each of mint and italian flat leaf parsley
4 x green olives, sliced
2 T lemon juice
1 T cold pressed olive oil
salt and pepper for seasoning
2 Tbs pepitas (preferably soaked)

Hummus and Parmesan to serve

Combine the  lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a jar and shake to combine
Then place the first five ingredients in to a bowl before pouring over the dressing

Stir to combine and allow the flavours to mingle whilst you cook the Socca.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Add a Litte Colour to Your Plate

Ramp up the colour on your plate and get more fruit & veg into your day as a result !!

Start the day with a fruit salad

Lunch on Sourdough with Hummus, Roasted Sweet Potato and Watercress

Snack on Strawberries and Date Paste - one of my boys favourites.  

Date Paste

1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight in filtered water then washed and drained
1 cup fresh dates, pit removed
1/2 cup cocnunt water
1/4 cup carob powder
1 cup young thai coconut meat

 Dine on Roasted Cauliflower with Apple and Cranberries.  Recipe here

And don't forget to add a side of greens.  Can you ever get enough.  

Others Ways to Slip a Bit of Colour in Your Day

Beef up casseroles, soups and stews with extra vegetables
Swap out dessert for a piece of fruit

Add a side salad of greens, tomatoes and avocado to your pizza

Consider fruit smoothies for breakfast or if you're game go green as per here or here

Stuff your sandwiches sky high with greens and bright salad such as carrot, grated beetroot, alfalfa sprouts, red onion, tomato or avocado.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Little Pumpkin Semolina Bites

These were gobbled up as an afternoon snack and then served well in the lunch box the next day. Don't feel limited to making little mini ones as I would happily serve these for dinner or lunch alongside  guacamole, cherry tomatoes or homemade tomato sauce, natural yoghurt and a salad.  Another option I would happily enjoy would be grilled vegetables  piled on top of a larger pancake seasoned with salt, pepper, herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Just go with whatever you have on hand.  Feel free to add herbs to the mixture although my boys aren't into herbs so I generally omit them or do some plain and some with herbs for my husband and I.     

Little Pumpkin Bites
Inspired by Vegetarian - its not all bean and tofu
Makes approximately 30 small

2 cups (250 gms) coarsely grated pumpkin
1/4 cup milk (60 ml) 
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 tsp  baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated cheese
(your choice of herbs finely chopped if you wish)

Place the pumpkin and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat
Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook stirring occasionally for 6 - 7 minutes or until soft
Remove from the heat and mash the pumpkin with a fork 
Set aside to cool to room temperature 
Sift the semolina and baking powder into a separate bowl
In another bowl, combine the cooled pumpkin mixture with the eggs and whisk into the flour to make a smooth batter (should be the consistency of smooth cream)
Stir in the grated cheese and your choice of herbs if using
If necessary add a little extra milk, a tablespoon at a time and season to taste

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat
Lightly grease the pan with your choice of oil (i use ghee)
Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the batter into the frying pan to make pancakes about 4cm (1 1/2 inches) in diameter
Cook on each side for two minutes or until golden brown
Repeat with the remaining mixture, oiling the pan in between each batch
Cook pancakes on a plate and serve with mashed avocado and tomatoes

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Oaty Pear & Millet Muffins

Oaty Pear and Millet Muffins
Makes 12

2 large eggs
1/4 cup rapadurra sugar
2 T almond butter
3 1/2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for topping
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup of grated pear

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius (350 fahrenheit)
Line a muffin or cupcake pan with paper liners
Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until well mixed and increased in size
Add the almond butter, melted butter and vanilla, mixing well to combine
In another bowl combine the millet flour, quinoa flakes, rolled oats, pinch of sea salt, baking powder and baking soda
Add these dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly ensuring not to overmix
Gently stir in the grated pear
Divide the mixture among the set out paper liners, topping each with some additional oats
Bake the muffins for 20 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
Allow to cool on a wire rack and then eat!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Roasted Cumin Cauliflower & Charmoula

The cauliflower is possibly underrated in many ways despite its offerings of versatility and taste.   As an excellent source of Vitamins C and K, a good source of vitamin B6, folate, fibre, manganese and omega 3 fatty acids the cauliflower is possibly a "must get into more" food.  To make the most of cauliflowers vitamin C content consider adding raw florets to salads or as a side to dips however, if lightly steamed is your preference then pureed cauliflower makes a nice substitute for mashed potatoes.  My personal preference is lightly roasted as above with a splash of olive oil and seasoning.  

Roasted Cumin Cauliflower & Charmoula
Serves 4 or 6 as a side

1 cauliflower, separated into small florets
3 Tbs Cold Pressed Olive Oil
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 185 degrees celcius
Separate the cauliflower into small florets
Place in a large bowl along with the cumin seeds and garlic
Add olive oil and work through with hands to evenly coat the cauliflower
Place in a large roasting dish and place in oven
Cook for 15 – 20 mins or until slightly tender
Turn oven setting to grill
Continue to cook the cauliflower until a nice golden brown colour is achieved (approx 5 mins)

Charmoula Dressing
Makes 1 jar

Adapted from Alice Hart - Vegetarian

1 small bunch coriander (leaves only)
1 small bunch basil (leaves only)
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
75ml cold pressed olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
2 small garlic cloves crushed
½ tps paprika
1 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 T honey

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped
Add more olive oil if appears to thick and season with cracked black pepper

Keep covered in the fridge for up to one week

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Be Better By Choice- Quinoa & Berries for Breakfast

  The idea for this post was inspired by a client of mine. We have shared a very fun and interactive relationship in the kitchen.  Our work together has focussed on "being better" and has included the preparation of nourishing, quick and easy meals that will give her body what it needs to prepare for conception and grow another human being.

 We started with her first meal of the day - Breakfast.  We swapped out the processed breakfast cereal and its nutritional claims for that matter and opted for a nutrient boosting breakfast consisting of - quinoa, organic natural yoghurt, blueberries, goji berries, walnuts and shredded coconut.  After a quick lesson in "how to prepare quinoa" - see here, a natural and more satisfying breakfast is now her break of day staple and an overall better choice.

 From a fertility perspective this breakfast offers an array of vitamins and minerals both necessary for and valuable to conception, hormone regulation, sperm production, quality and quantity.   Overall however, eating a wholesome, nutrient rich and unrefined breakfast as such will give the body nourishment to do great things with no matter what stage of life you are at.

So Be Better by Choice!  Make better choices toward better health gradually and find a routine that works for you. If you require any assistance with this then click here or if you have any ways to share on how you have made your start to the day better I wold love hear from you.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

On My Plate....................

Did you know that whilst you are sleeping your metabolic rate slows by 5 percent  
and that eating breakfast literally breaks the fast to kickstart the  metabolism to its normal being???

Well I say any excuse to eat but thankfully it's true so consider breakfast a great thing to do every day.  The green smoothie is everywhere so if you haven't had a try yet then start here for a dose of raw goodness.  

Green Smoothie
Serves 2

1/2 buch organic kale, washed (leaves only)
1 mango
1 large banana
1 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup filtered water (add more for a thinner consistency)
1/2 cup ice ( i like mine cold!!!!!)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth.

Don't be frightened away by a green smoothie with thoughts of "yuck"  The mango and banana in this  green smoothie make it very tame and far from hard core .  The peanut butter also rounds out the flavour of the greens so I encourage you to give it a go and suck up all those valuable vitamins and minerals in their raw state.  I figure if the kids drink it it can't be to bad. Chill factor is a must for me so don't forget to  cool things down by adding ice to the mix especially now that the weather is heating up in the  Southern Hemisphere (well in some places at least)

Poached eggs are a no brainer for breakfast.  They are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and iron.  Choose organic pastured eggs if you can find them for the reason that pastured eggs come from chickens that are free to roam and forage for insects meaning happier and healthier chickens and therefore eggs.  Any readers on the Sunshine Coast can get pastured eggs from Rawganix Farm who attend the Kawana Farmers Markets every Saturday morning from 7am - 1pm

If you are into your toast then consider adding a slice of wholegrain sourdough toast for some slow release carbs on the side.

P.S - for all my friends out there planning for pregnancy take note that eggs are rich in choline ( a chemical similar to B vitamins) that is essentially important for women and their reproductive system.  Overall everyone can gain numerous benefits from the humble egg that offers an abundance of benefits that see it back in favour all over again as a fabulous nutritional storehouse.

We've had a run of eating raw lately and this zucchini bread served us well in many ways right from breakfast through to dinner.  My favourite way to enjoy this is with some sweet cherry tomatoes atop some lush green avocado along with a twist of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.   It's easy to prepare but a dehydrator is required however I would think a low temp oven would suffice and give a similar result albeit not raw. The flaxseeds give this bread an earthy subtle nutty edge and offer their services as an excellent source of fibre, protein and magnesium in addition to being a good source of vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and selenium.  More so, flaxseeds are rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids in particular alpha lineolic acid (ALA).  Needless to say flaxseed in any form is great for the skin, relief of constipation, blood glucose stabilisation and has been studied extensively for it protective effects on women's health.  You can purchase flaxseeds both whole and ground from most supermarkets and health food stores.  Whole seeds are best stored in an airtight container in a cool place for several months whereas ground seeds do need to be kept in the fridge.  

Some other ways to get the benefits of  flaxseeds include
 these spelt pikelets 
Sprinkled over  the top of natural yoghurt, vegetables or as an addition to your favourite smoothie in the mornings.

Find the recipe for raw zucchini bread here   

I do have a tendency to refer to my slow cooker as a best friend for good reason.  The convenience of being able to prepare a large quantity of healthy food for freezing comforts and reassures me that we are not going to starve in busy times.    So convenient and  so cheap!!  I must add not to be shy here so throw in whatever needs using up if you wish.  Personally I think a smidge of cream or natural yoghurt would go nicely with this dish as well.  Also I tend to go a bit heavier on the ground spices as I find that  store bought and pre ground means they tend to be less intense.

Chickpea and Vegetable Curry
Adapted from Slow Cooking - Anthony Thompson
Serves 4 - 6

2 large onions, roughly chopped
1 T grated fresh ginger
4 T cold pressed olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
400gm fresh or canned tomatoes chopped
2 crushed green cardamon pods
6 cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
200g sweet potato, chopped roughly into chunks
3 carrots halved lengthways
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 broccoli broken into small florets
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
250g bag baby spinach, washed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season

Blend half the onion and the ginger to a smooth paste in a mini food processor and set aside
In a large frypan, cook the remaining onion in your choice of oil with the garlic and cinnamon over medium heat for 8 mins, until onions have softened but not coloured
Spoon the mix into the slow cooker and add all the remaining ingredients except the fresh herbs and spinach
Cover and cook on low for 6 - 8 hours until the root vegetables are tender
Turn the heat to high, fold in the coriander and spinach and serve

For the flatbread follow this recipe here and adapt by omitting the sesame seeds and thyme and add a 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander and 1 -2 fresh red chilli's finely diced.  It's always nice to have something to dip with.

Blueberries are considered to be one of the top anti ageing foods so add a cup a day to keep your mind young, improve short term memory and protect against mental decline.  Now that summer is approaching blueberries are everywhere so stock in and reap the benefits from this low sugar snack.     I think blueberries are good any time of the day as are cherry tomatoes with a smidge of cheese that will help keep blood sugar levels on par and assist with the assimilation of important vitamins and minerals also. 
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin & Corainder Falafels

This recipe comes from my most favourite cookbook at the moment - Vegetarian by Alice Hart.  Just when you think you have every cookbook you could possibly need along comes another one to add to the collection.  With these I have made a few adaptations merely because i had a bunch of dill I wanted to use up and no parsley on hand as the original recipe calls for.   I have made these three times now and on each occasion there has been variation - so get creative.  They are wonderful in the lunchbox, when friends gather as part of a platter or as breakfast alongside some alfalfa sprouts and avocado.  On this occasion I have paired them with some heirloom tomatoes, natural yoghurt and chilli flakes. 
  This is my type of food!

Pumpkin and Coriander Falafel
Inspired by Alice Hart
Makes about 16

500g pumpkin, deseeded and cubed
2 T cold pressed olive oil
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained well
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ tsp bicarb of soda
1 small bunch coriander, leaves only chopped
1 small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley (I used dill)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice half lemon
Salt and peeper to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius (400 Fahrenheit)
Toss the pumkin with 1 T olive oil and season well
Spread out on a baking tray and roast for approx 35 mins until soft and carmelised
Set aside to cool.
Place the well-drained chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic, bicarb, herbs and gound cumin and coriander
Pulse the machine, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides with a spatula
Continue until a rough pasted is formed.
Tip into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper

Crush the roasted pumpkin with a fork until very roughly mashed and add to the chickpeas.
Fold everything together
Chill for 30 mins if you have time

Scoop dessertspoonfuls onto a baking sheet line with non stick baking paper and space out well.
Spray or lightly brush, drizzle remaining olive oil and bake for 15 – 20 mins  or until golden underneath.

If not browned on top turn oven to grill for a short period and brown but keep any eye on them as they could burn quickly.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kids are Snacking On............

Sneak sneaky with the greens but they are none the wiser and the added natural peanut butter tends to round out any unusual flavours.   Kids brains and nervous systems are built on fat so there is no shying away from good fats in our household.  Almond milk is a good base for smoothies and pairs well with many fruits.  Check out another favourite combination here and for homemade almond milk venture to this recent post for how to instructions.  You can buy almond milk at most health food stores however they tend to be more water than almonds and may also contain synthetic vitamins.  Organic full fat cows milk is just as good here as a substitute.  For anyone living on the Sunshine Coast I should add that Nude Food Organics at Kawana grind natural peanut butter on site with no extra additives.  The above green smoothie serves 1 - 2 depending.  Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

When it comes to berries any type will do.  When we eat good raspberries I daydream of owing a farm with acres and acres filled with berry bushes.  Red berries contain the phytochemicals: lycopene and anthocyanins.  Lycopene is a very potent antioxidant and helps protect against skin damage from sunlight [1]  Berries get a good wrap for their association toward reducing the risk of cancer, improving circulation and contribution toward helping reduce elevated cholesterol.  Be mindful of strawberries however as they make the dirty dozen list for one of most contaminated foods.  It is very important to therefore wash non organic strawberries thoroughly.  I generally do this by adding a spoon of cider vinegar or bicarb of soda to a tub of water.  There are of course commercial washes available on the market as well if you prefer.

Two litte piggies sharing some berry love!

What about some good quality full fat dairy. Growing children need yoghurt and I don't mean the cartoon packaged variety, I mean good whole milk organic yoghurt that you have to spoon out of a big tub.  Barambah offer a lovely creamy natural yoghurt that is easy to eat and not overly tart.  Organic full fat dairy products are a must on my shopping list.  Most commercial low fat and skim milk products are highly processed and can be difficult to digest which is largely due to milk solids that give a reduced fat milk product body [2] 

The boys favourite three ways to enjoy yoghurt at home and in their lunchbox: 

  Fresh date shredded (as pictured)
  Goji berries and sultanas
Blueberries (or any berry) with shredded coconut and a splash of pure vanilla extract

Spelt flour tends to be my preferred choice as a baking flour.   From my own observations, it behaves in a similar manner to wheat flour and tends to be easier to digest as well.  These days spelt flour is widely available in most supermarkets in either a whole or white spelt preparation.   We like to make pikelets regularly around here and i do like to add ground flaxseed to the mix for some added nutritional benefits.  Where ever I think I can sneak it in i do and to date I have had no complaints.  The above recipe makes approx one dozen.

To prepare the mix:

Combine all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients
Mix with a hand held mixer and let the batter stand for 30 mins if you have time
Heat a medium size heavy based frypan and brush with some ghee
Drop tablespoons of mixture into the pan and wait for bubbles to appear on the surface then flip and cook other side for half a minute or until browned
Repeat with remaining mixture
Place cooked pikelets on a plate covered with foil to keep warm 

Top with natural yoghurt mixed with some vanilla extract and your fruit of choice.  

[1] Koch, M (2011), Laugh With Health, Renaissance Publishing, Australia
[2] Blereau, J (2010), Wholefood for Children, Murdoch Books, Australia
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Raw Buckwheat Crispies

I like to make a big batch of these and store them for future use.  They are easy, versatile and store well  for long periods of time.  They  add a wonderful crunch to biscuits and are just as good ground to flour for use in pancakes.  Me personally, I like them as pictured alongside some poached pears whereas the boys think they are pretty neat sprinkled over some homemade beet ice cream with orange.  I should also mention they aren't bad with almond milk either.  If you don't have a dehydrator don't worry, simply set your oven to its lowest temp possible and cook until dried and crunchy bearing in mind that cooking time will be less than in a dehydrator due to temperature variations.  

Buckwheat Crispies
By Ani Phyo
Makes approximately 2 cups

2 cups buckwheat groats

Soak the groats  in a large bowl with three times the amount of water added overnight
Rinse well the following morning by placing the soaked buckwheat in a strainer and rinsing under cold water then drain

Spread evenly on a dehydrator tray and dry at 40 degrees celcius  (104 degrees farhenheit) for 3 – 5 hours or until completely dry
Mix them around every now and again to ensure even drying

If using your oven set it to its lowest temperature possible and bear in mind that drying time will be shorter and they will not be considered raw due to the likelihood that the oven will be a higher temp 

Store the buckwheat crispies in an airtight glass jar for several months

To Poach Pears (my quick way)
Serves 2

1 pear, sliced evenly, seeds and core removed
1 cinnamon stick 
1 star anise

Place pear slices into a small heavy based saucepan with about a 1/4 - 1/2 cup water 
Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and gently cook over a low to medium heat until soft approximately 10 mins
remove the cinnamon stick and star anise and spoon the pears over buckwheat crispies, oats or yoghurt

i like to reserve the poaching liquid for use in cakes and muffins for added flavour

To serve: 

Spoon a layer of yoghurt into a glass followed by a layer of buckwheat crispies, then poached pears and repeat before topping with coconut, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of poaching liquid or maple syrup

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nut Pulp Pate on a Raw Platter and in Wraps

2 cups nut pulp (leftover from making nut milk)
1/2 cup coriander leaves
3 Tbs Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 T Cold Pressed Olive Oil (or other cold pressed oil)
1 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well chopped and a pate consistency. 

Serve as part of a raw platter or wrap in lettuce, kale, or cabbage leaves.

To mold the pate for a platter, line a ramekin with glad wrap and pack as much pate into the lined  ramekin until firm and full to top rim.  Then gently pull on the glad wrap to remove the pate from the ramekin and serve alongside your choice of accompaniments.  Below I have raw kale chipotle chips, tamari almonds,  raw zucchini bread and linseed crackers of which i shall post details for in the coming weeks.   

 For wraps add your choice of mixed salad such as chopped olives,  tomatoes, carrot, zuchinni and avocado along with a portion of pate. Add a sprinkle of Mexican seasoning if you want extra flavour and wrap. 

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The Beauty of Almonds & How to Maximise the Benefits

Almonds - what isn't there to love about these little bundles of energy.  Today thanks to a better understanding of the complex relationships between food, health and nutrition we now know that eating the right type of fats in moderation doesn't actually make us fat in fact, research has shown the opposite effect with numerous studies finding the right fats can be beneficial toward aiding weight loss and cholesterol levels just for starters.

When it comes to almonds they are a great provider of those good fats, especially the monounsaturated kind.  They are versatile, tasty and a complete source of protein that gives animal protein a run for its money in terms of nutritional value and economy.  To gain the greatest advantage from  these great providers do as Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions suggests and soak almonds overnight in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt before drying gently in a warm oven or dehydrator.  By doing this, enzyme inhibitors that can prevent the absorption of valuable vitamins and minerals are removed or reduced.   The traditional practice of soaking and drying nuts as the Aztecs once did, can improve the digestibility of nuts, seed and grains and as an added bonus this practice facilitates  an extended storage life and a lesser concern  for rancidity.    It is thought that skinless almonds are easier to digest and make for better use in recipes however I prefer to leave the skin on mine.

Crispy Almonds

4 cups almonds
1 T sea salt
filtered water to cover a couple inches about as they will swell overnight

Mix almonds with salt and water and leave in a warm place for a minimum of 7 hours or overnight
Drain in a colander or sieve
Spread on a baking sheet and place in a warm oven (40 degrees Celsius or 104 degrees Fahrenheit) or dehydrator (same temp)  for 12 - 14 hours, stirring occasionally until completely dried.
Store in an airtight container.

Further on from this the calcium content of almonds is excellent and makes a great alternative to regular cow's milk.  Nut milk is easy to make and keeps in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.   Please see below for further instructions on how to do this.  Almond milk is enjoyable on its own, in smoothies or as I prefer, with oats in the mornings (see below).   Homemade almond milk is superior to store bought which unfortunately tends to be more water than almonds and I believe it can also contain synthetic vitamins.

Homemade Almond Milk

1 cup of almonds soaked overnight
3 cups filtered water
1 fresh date, seed removed

Soak one cup of almonds in water overnight, or for at least 8 hours
Place the almonds in a sieve and rinse under a tap of running water
Place the rinsed almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of filtered water and one fresh date (stone removed)
Blend on high speed until smooth and looks like milk
Line a sieve with a muslin cloth and set over a bowl
Slowly pour the nut milk into the lined sieve to filter out the remaining nuts
When the majority of liquid has been filtered through gather up the muslin and squeeze to extract the final amounts of liquid  
Reserve the pulp for another use (will be posting a use for this shortly)

Almond Milk and Date Porridge
inspired by Alice Hart

Serves 4

200g rolled oats
500 ml fresh, homemade almond milk (as per above)
4 fresh dates, pitted and sliced
50 gms pre soaked almonds, sliced thinly
2 medium size bananas, thinly sliced
shredded coconut to serve
a drizzle of maple syrup

Soak the oats in half the almond milk overnight in the refrigerator
The next morning, place the soaked oats into a medium size saucepan along with the remaining almond milk
Heat gently, stirring constantly for a few minutes until the porridge turns thick and creamy
Remove from stovetop and divide into four servings
Top with chopped dates, banana and shredded coconut

Koch, M, (2011), Laugh With Health, Renaissance Publishing, Australia
Fallon, S, (2001), Nourishing Traditions, New Trends Publishing, Washington

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Hey There, I’m Sherilyn the creator of Wholepromise. This is where I venture outside of being a mum, wife and Fertility Nurse Specialist. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld, Australia and am spoilt by year round access to Farmers Markets offering a plethora of local, seasonal and organic produce. In all Wholepromise is my style of food, it’s the food I want my boys to appreciate and it’s the food that makes me happy. Styling and photographing it is just another bonus.


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