Monday, May 30, 2011

Handy Hubby and Some Very Yummy Almond Butter

My handy hubby is such a gem. For a while now I have wanted a blackboard in our kitchen and finally it has come to fruition and can I say that it has been a blessing with helping to occupy the boys when trying to get dinner on the table in the evening.

Almond Butter was requested today by my eldest. He loves it as a snack alongside crunchy apple slices and it is so simple to make yourself. Then as a little adaptation to the nut butter i had a thought and ended up scooping half the batch of freshly made almond butter into a separate jar and flavoured it with some orange juice and vanilla. To my suprise it was really GOOD! Now my mind has been working overtime with regards to other flavour considerations.

Basic Almond Butter
(makes approx 3/4 cups)

1 cup roast almonds
1/4 tspn sea salt (optional)

Roast almonds in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 10 - 15 mins
Allow to cool slightly and add to a food processor or high speed blender
Process until you reached your desired consistency ( i like a bit of texture still in mine)
Add salt (if you desire) and stir to combine

Orange Sesame and Vanilla Almond Butter

1/2 cup almond butter
2 tbs orange juice
1 tbs tahini
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbs honey

Place almond butter in a bowl and add the remaining ingredients
Stir well to combine
Adjust flavours to your liking and enjoy!

Also i stumbled across the blog "heather eats almond butter" the other evening and i liked her suggestion for quick almond milk. Check it out here. Great for when you are pressed for time.
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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Protein Bars and an Adventure Race

My husband ventured out last evening to do a trial run for his up coming adventure race. He left late yesterday afternoon and arrived home at around 8am this morning looking about 10 years older then when he left. It was tough going,the rain was coming down but they managed to trek approximately 60km through some pretty rugged terrain. The blisters and swollen achilles tendon representing the extent of the physical challenge. Given the physical endurance necessary for these type of events i have always questioned the benefits of store bought protein bars. I mean how could a product that has a list of ingredients that are unable to be pronounced be good for an athlete and their performance. It's got me totally beat! A quick dash to the organic supermarket yesterday morning fixed all that and my homemade version appeared which might i say were pretty tasty and could quite easily double as a snack for afternoon tea. If anyone is interested, more recipes for protein bars can be found over at the green groats. blog.

In other news I was pretty happy to learn that a collection of my recipes had been included in the "100 recipes for a healthy summer" guide collated by Integrative Nutrition. I have recently started studying with the college and am enjoying the course considerably with the hope that it will be a nice adjunct to my role as a Fertility and Women's Health Nurse. Time will tell but so far so good.

Protein Bars (inspred by green groats blog)
Makes approx 8 bars

2 Tbs whey protein
2/3 cup LSA
½ cup oats
2 Tbs honey
4 Tbs peanut butter
¼ cup sultanas
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 Tbs cacoa nibs
2 Tbs cacao powder

Comine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until mixture forms a dough
Scoop mix out of the food processor and press it into a lined slice tray (20 x 30cm) ensuring not to press it down to much (it will only cover about ½ the tray)
Place in the fridge to firm up before cutting into bar shaped slices
Wrap each individual bar in glad wrap before storing in the fridge until ready to use.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Millet Bars

I had one of those days in the kitchen where I used up bits and pieces of things that needed using up and these Millet Bars are an outcome of that. We enjoyed them as an afternoon snack under a picture perfect blue sky and just like the brazil nut balls we made recently these could be adapted in so many ways. I would love to hear any suggestions for other flavour combinations?

Millet Bars
(makes approx 12)

1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tbs unsulphured black strap molasses
2 tbs orange juice
2 cups puffed millet
1/2 cup goji berries
zest of one orange
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbs cacao nibs

Place the first three ingredients in a saucepan over a lowish heat until runny and combined
Add the 2 tbs orange juice to this mix
Place the remaining ingredients in another bowl
When the peanut butter mixture is runny and combined add this to the remaining ingredients
Mix until we combined
Spoon the mixture into a 20 x 30cm tray and press down with the back of a spoon or your fingers until flat
Place in the fridge to firm up
Cut into your desired shape bar and serve as you wish.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Roasted Cauliflower with Cranberries and Apple

My latest thing is cauliflower. Big fresh heads of cauliflower have been popping up at the farmers markets over the last couple of weeks and I am loving it. I came across this recipe in a book call "The Herbal Kitchen". I have adapted it slightly to my own taste and to what I had on hand and i was more than happy with the outcome. It proved to be a delicious lunch had by all - kids included and they asked for more - gee i love that!

Roasted Cauliflower with Cranberries and Apple

(Serves 4)

1 cauliflower (core removed and cut into florets)
1/2 large spanish (red) onion
1 large unpeeled green apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1/2 tspn sea salt
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 cup coarsely chopped sage
2 tablespoons olive oil

(parmesan to serve)

Preheat oven to 185 degrees celcius
Toss the cauliflower, onion, apple, olive oil together in a bowl
Transfer to a baking dish ensuring that the ingredients are spread over a single layer
Bake until some of the cauliflower florets begin to brown (approx 20 - 30 mins)
Stir in the cranberries and bake for an additional 10 mins or until most of the edges of the cauliflower are browned.
Serve with a sprinkling of good quality parmesan cheese if you desire

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brazil Nut Balls

My boys love these and I have to admit so do i. They are a great snack, easy to make, adaptable to what you have in the cupboard and are perfect to take on a day out. They travel well and are easy to eat without to much mess. Usually the consumption of one is followed by a request for another. Would love to hear of any other flavour combinations to try?

Brazil Nut Balls

Makes approx 6 - 8 balls

1/2 cup brazil nuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (soaked for an hour or two)
4 Medjool dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sultanas
3 tbspns carob powder
1 tbspn cacao nibs
zest of one orange
juice of 1/2 small orange

Place all the ingredients except the orange juice into a food processor or vitamix.
Process until the mixture resembles big breadcrumbs
Whilst processing gradually add the orange juice until the mixture comes together and firms up.
(it should be firm and sticky)
Using a tablespoon take a heaped portion of the mixture and roll into a ball
Repeat with the remaining mixture
Place in the fridge to firm up (if you can wait that long)

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sesame and Thyme Pancakes

These pancakes are easy and are great to serve with dips, as a wrap or as a base for scrambled egg, avocado, marinated artichokes and cherry tomatoes as we did this evening for a quick dinner (yes dinner). When making these my preference is to keep them a little thicker when rolling out. I think it makes for a nicer end result especially when serving with dips.

Sesame and Thyme Pancakes
Makes approx 20

250g white spelt flour
200 - 250ml boiling water
1/4 tspn salt
2 tblspns sesame oil
black sesame seeds
bunch of thyme (leaves removed from sprig)

Sift the flour into a bowl and gradually mix in the water until a smooth dough forms
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knead for 2 - 3 mins
Return the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 mins
Divide the dough into roughly 20 portions and roll into balls
Roll 2 balls out a little and brush one lightly with sesame oil
Sprinkle thyme and black sesame seeds onto the oiled pancake
Top with the other flattened pancake
Roll the double pancake out to a 12 - 15 cm round (depends on your preference of thickness)
Repeat with the remaining balls

Heat a frying pan over medium heat
Cook the pancakes one at a time for 1 - 2 mins on each side until firm and some colouring is visible
Stack the cooked pancakes on a plate, covering them with foil whilst you cook the remaining
Keep warm in a low oven or keep in an airtight container until ready to use.
Reheat before serving.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken and Quinoa San Choi Bow

My boys are big fans of rice paper rolls. Whatever I put in them, they eat so they feature regularly. This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. It is delicious, versatile and so easy.

1 cup quinoa
1/2 tblspn ghee
500g organic chicken mince (tofu could also be substituted)
1 medium large knob of ginger
375g water chestnuts,drained and finely chopped
1 cup mushrooms (used swiss browns)
1/2 carrot cut into thin strips
1/4 large red capsicum cut into thin strips
1/2 cup (100ml) tamari
1/4 cup (50ml) maple syrup
1 tblspn sesame oil
5 sprigs of coriander

15 iceberg lettuce cups or rice paper rolls as we did

Rinse the quinoa well and cook using absorption method, using 1 cup quinoa to 1 3/4 cups water by bringing to the boil then reducing to a medium heat to simmer for approximately 12 mins.

Check out this fabulous post if you have never cooked quinoa before.

Heat ghee in a wok over medium heat
Add the chicken mince and ginger, stirring to break up any lumps
Add the mushrooms, carrot, and red capsicum
Add the cooked quinoa, drained chestnuts, tamri and maple syrup, stirring well until combined
Cook until well mixed and vegetables have slightly softened
Drizzle the sesame oil over the mix and stir
Add the chopped coriander

Fill into washed lettuce cups and serve with a wedge of lime or fill a rice paper sheet as follows:

Wet one sheet of rice paper with warm water
When soft and pliable spread out on the benchtop
Place a piece of lettuce on the bottom of the sheet closest to you and top with a couple of tablespoons san choi bow mix
Fold the bottom edge over the fillings, then fold in both sides before rolling away from you
Complete until all ingredients are finished.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

Just when you have no idea where to start:

A little something flutters your heart:

Happy Mothers Day to each and every mum. You are so deserved of a special day that is just about you.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spelt Fillo Pastry

I attempted to make my own Fillo Pastry by following the advice of Theo Kalogeracos. I was given his book sometime ago and i have made reference to it a few times to date. On this occasion it was for his version of Fillo Pastry and whilst I don't think I got it to standard of Theo in terms of thinness I think I did ok for my first ever attempt. It was challenging to get it paper thin without question and I was tempted to put it through the pasta maker but i resisted however I think you could do so quite easily and get a good result. Keeping it the right shape was challenging as a result. Theo does clearly acknowledge this in his instructions - "it takes a lot of practice and its not as simple as rolling ordinary pastry" In other words he says "you don't become Super Yaya overnight!" Ain't that the truth. None the less I can say I have attempted it and will do so again as it was enjoyed immensely in the form of Spanakopita and also with the knowledge that it was made from spelt flour. Would do it all over again for sure.

Fillo Pastry
adapted from Theo Kalogeracos
approx 6 sheets

500g spelt four (white or wholemeal)
25ml white wine vinegar
50ml cold pressed virgin olive oil
1 tspn fine sea salt
300ml cold water
1 tblspn butter
1 - 2 cups extra flour for dusting

Combine all the ingredients (except the dusting flour) in a bowl and mix until it comes together
Knead for 10mins or until a smooth dough ball is formed
Roll the dough ball in extra flour, place in a clean bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut in six even pieces
Knead each piece into a ball
Sprinkle dusting flour over the bench and start rolling one ball at a time using a rolling pin
Roll the dough out one way and, when it is thin, turn it clockwise and roll it the other way
Repeat rolling until the dough is as thin as paper
Place each sheet to one side to air dry and lightly dust both sides with extra flour

I am generally not very good at sticking to a recipe and the above spanakopita is just another example. Whilst I used the Food Safari recipe as a guide I amped up the nutmeg to my liking and cooked off the spinach mix beforehand to save the risk of a soggy wet spanakopita. I also added some roasted artichokes for something to try. In addition to this I didn't brush my sheets of fillo with butter rather preferring to use egg as a wash to ensure a golden finish.
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Spelt Pasta Making

I recently attended a cooking class at the Buderim Ginger Cooking School My participation in this course has certainly not turned me into an italian masterchef but I did gain something really practical and valuable cooking advice by doing so. The thing I love about pasta is the minimal number of ingredients needed to create something delicious. My boys love getting involved in the process as well (even if it is as dough eaters). This is my first attempt at using spelt flour and I was happy with the outcome indeed. I made lasagne sheets however you could create any type pasta type you like based on this recipe and your pasta machine applications.

Pasta (Adapted from the Buderim Ginger Cooking School)

500 grams white spelt flour
4 eggs

To make:

To make the pasta, mound the four on a work surface or in a large bowl
Make a well in the centre
Break the eggs into the well and whisk with your fingers (you can used a fork if you want to)
incorporating the flour as you do so
You may need to add a little chilled water (1/4 tpsn at a time to make a loosely massed dough
When the flour and eggs are thoroughly combined, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface (the dough should be pliable and dry to touch)
Cover with a tea towel and let rest for 20 mins
Cut the dough into manageable pieces and work the dough through the rollers of a pasta machine, making the settings smaller each time until the dough is smooth and elastic and slightly glossy in appearance and not to thick.

* one thing i did learn is to use cornflour to dust the prepared pasta rather than your regular flour. This will avoid a gluggy mess when cooking it and ensure that the cooking water will remain relatively clean as a result.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pure Delight

I wrestled with a young coconut and a hacksaw yesterday to reveal the pure delight from within. The milk was clean and crisp with a subtle flavour and the flesh was as white as snow. Just how they say they should be. The boys drank most of the milk from within and as for the flesh, well the word "more" was constant. Needless to say my plans for the coconut milk and meat were abandoned so i guess I will just have to buy another coconut and get the hacksaw out again. There has to be an easier way?

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Asparagus, Sundried Tomato and Goats Cheese Pizza on Spelt

In our household Friday night is all about Pizza. So casual and easy to share on the back patio as the birds fly home to their nests and the sun goes down on another day and another working week.

A little tip - pizza bases can be made in advance, they can be frozen and thawed when ready to use if that is more convenient.

Asparagus, Sundried Tomato and Goats Cheese Pizza
Serves 4

Basic Spelt Pizza Base

375g white or wholemeal spelt flour (i have used half and half before)
1 tspn honey
1 tspn dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbspn olive oil
225 ml very warm water

Place half the flour, honey, yeast and salt in bowl of a stand mixer and set aside
Comine olive oil and warm water
With the paddle attachment, slowly stir the water and oil mixture into the flour until well combined
Mix in the remaining flour

Change to the dough hook attachment and knead on low for 4 - 5 mins, until the dough comes together as a ball and is smooth and elastic.
If not using a stand mixer, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10mins

Place the dough into a lightly oiled blow and cover with clean cloth
Set aside in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in size

Once dough has rise, use a sharp knife to divide into 3 portions
Shape each into a ball and flatten into a disc
Using your fingers or a rolling pin if you wish, stretch out each disc to a size that suits you.


Tomato sauce for base -

(you can mix up a quick one by reducing down a handful of roughly chopped tomatoes with a couple of garlic cloves, any herbs you may have that need to be used up in the fridge, splash of white wine, salt and pepper for seasoning)

1 bunch of asparagus with woody ends removed
large scoop of sun dried tomatoes
45g goats cheese
1 large ball buffalo mozarella

Preheat your pizza stone in an oven to 225 - 250 degrees celcius
After rolling out pizza base spread tomato sauce evenly over the top
Place the asparagus on top of the base and crumble the goats cheese over
Carefully place the pizza on the pre heated pizza stone and pop into the oven for 10 mins -

(i like to prepare my pizza on a piece of glad bake and also bake the pizza on the glad bake on the stone. It makes it easy to transfer the pizza to the stone and is safer as well)

After 10 mins has elapsed add the sundried tomatoes and continue to cook for another 5 mins or until the base is crispy and some colouring is visible

(i add the tomato's after otherwise they burn to a crisp)

Remove the pizza from the oven and top with shredded buffalo mozarella
Serve with a side of salad

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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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