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Posts from the ‘Snacks’ Category

Maple, Orange and Poppy Seed Cookies.

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For those of you with my eBook, A Nourishing Kitchen, you’ll notice these pretty little stars are just a little familiar. It just so happens that they are the first cousin of my favourite recipe in the book, Lemon & Poppy Seed Cookies, with a subtle difference: their shape and flavour. Some of you may already have discovered this recipe in our December newsletter. Well today we decided it was time to share these babies with the world. So, without further ado, I share the recipes for cookies that are very close to my heart (and taste buds).

Go pop the kettle on peeps and take a load off, it’s time chillax.

Maple, Orange & Poppy Seed Cookies
Prep time: 1 hour including resting and cooking time.

1.5 cups cashews, ground to meal
1 cup arrowroot/tapioca flour (plus a little extra just in case)
½ cup coconut oil, melted
Zest of a whole orange (or at least 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 egg, lightly whisked
¼ cup of maple syrup (or rice malt syrup)
A good pinch of salt

Turn on the oven to 155*c

Combine the cashew meal, arrowroot flour, salt, poppy seeds and orange zest. Mix in the coconut oil, syrup and egg. I tend to use my hands here to work it to a dough-like texture. If you find the mixture too dry add a little extra oil, if too wet add a little extra arrowroot.

After combining the mixture into dough, pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill and solidify to ensure easy rolling.

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll it out until it is very thin (mine are about ½ centimeter). If it sticks to the paper you will need to add more flour. Using a cookie cutter, cut your desired cookie shapes and place onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Keep following this process until you have finished your dough.

Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until golden. Check them at 15 minutes and thereafter every 7 or so minutes – they will burn quickly given the nut composition. Once out of the oven allow them to cool on the tray for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Any remaining biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for a week or two.

No one should go without lamingtons on Australia Day – so from us to you, a Lamington recipe.

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Gudday mate!

For all of our international friends, January 26th is Australia Day and on this particular day we tend to celebrate all things Aussie. Snags and prawns on the barbie, lamb chops grilled to a crisp, creamy coleslaw, pavlova, cool beers…and lamingtons. If any one tells you being healthy is boring, that you miss out on all the fun stuff, tell them to come and see me – I’ll set them straight! In fact, I’ll start right now by sharing this guilt free lamington recipe (guilt free if you don’t eat the whole tray, that is). So hop to the kitchen, whip up some lamingtons and indulge the healthy way. Happy Australia Day Aussies, I can’t wait to see your creations!

Australia Day Lamingtons.

Makes approximately 16 lamingtons.

For the cake:
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup almond meal
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup rice malt syrup or sweetener of your choice
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of vanilla pod

For the icing:
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao
3 tbsp almond milk
3 tbsp rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
+
1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut

To make the cake, preheat your oven to 160C. Grease a 20cm x 30cm baking tray with a little coconut oil and line the baking tray with paper, the oil will help the paper adhere nicely to the tray.

Melt and combine the coconut oil, rice malt syrup and vanilla extract. Beat the eggs with a whisk until thickened, foamy and creamy. Gradually add the coconut oil mixture while still beating the eggs, then add baking powder and the tapioca and almond meal. Fold all ingredients through carefully. Pour into prepared baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden and a skewer comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Once cool, trim the edges off the sponge cake and cut into 4 equal strips lengthways and then into small squares (I used a ruler to ensure the squares were even, and they were just under 4cm wide). Pair up the sponge squares so one sponge sits on top of the other.

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At this point you can either fill your sponge with Raw Raspberry Vanilla Chia Jam  or simply fill with chocolate icing (I think the chia jam sets these lamingtons apart from their plain and boring cousins 🙂 You will need no more than a teaspoon of filling, too much and the lamingtons will slide apart.

To make the chocolate icing simply combine the coconut oil, cacao, almond milk, rice malt syrup and vanilla and stir until smooth. Spread dessicated coconut onto a clean plate. Now it’s time to get messy. Use a butter knife to spread a layer of chocolate icing over all sides of the sponge. Then dip and roll in the coconut, covering all sides. Set aside on a wire rack, if it’s a warm day I’d advise putting them in the fridge to set slightly.

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Guest of the Month: How to be your most fertile self, by Dr. Nat Kringoudis (plus a Super Fertile Slice recipe!)

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Hormones can do crazy things to the best of us ladies – one minute we’re as cute as pie/butter wouldn’t melt in our mouths, the next we’re full of irrational arguments (come on ladies, be honest), banging headaches, tender breasts and abdominal pains. Now it’s no secret that I’m (currently) childless but that doesn’t mean fertility should be any less important to me, or those of us who are not currently looking to make babies. Being fertile is a whole lot more than kids – it’s about being at your optimum health.

Six or so months ago, I made the executive decision to discount the advice I had been given by my gynecologist (the advice was that the contraceptive pill was my ONLY option in terms of sorting out my hormone issues long term) and booked in to see Dr. Nat Kingroudis of The Pagoda Tree. Within a couple of months of seeing Nat my hormones rectified themselves and my body reached a happy equilibrium, the natural way and the pharmaceutical company lost it’s monthly sale. Now I’m not saying the pill isn’t for everyone, but please be your own healthcare advocate. Make sure you know what you’re taking and why you’re taking it and whether or not it is the most suitable option for your own personal needs. Western medicine can often be very one eyed, I’m simply encouraging you to broaden your view.

Without further ado, I am so very excited to introduce Dr. Nat Kingroudis to you all today.

How to be your most fertile self.

Tell us about what you do.
Where do I start!?  Ok well, I’m a Dr of Chinese Medicine (Herbalist and Acupuncturist), a natural fertility educator, speaker and author.  I’m also the producer and co-host of Healthtalks, the web health series.  I am the owner of The Pagoda Tree, Melbourne’s home of alternative therapies for fertility and health!  Oh and I’m a mum and wife!!

What are the top 2 misconceptions in your industry?
The fertility industry is riddled with misconceptions.  My mission is to change the way people view the word ‘fertility.’  Fertility isn’t just about babies, but having a thriving reproductive system free from issues like PCOS and Endometriosis or other hormone imbalances.

One of the two big misconceptions is that if you have such conditions (PCOS/Endo etc) that you will have issues falling pregnant.

The other is that the pill is entirely safe – so many women have troubles whilst on and then after coming off the pill, it’s insane but we’re living at a time where these a pill for this and a pill for that and women seem to find comfort in that.  Unfortunately that isn’t necessarily a safety net!  So helping women be well informed and understand their own health better is my goal.

What can you offer someone who is not geared towards making babies?
Everything!  I created my Debunking Ovulation ecourse by default.  But what I realised is that I needed to reach out to young women to help them understand their bodies better and to help create awareness around alternatives to treatment of gynecological problems.  Band-aid approaches that the current medical models use, just don’t work!

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine differ from western medicine in terms of what it offers for fertility?
Much of what western medicine offers around fertility is an approach of fixing symptoms and not the root cause.  They know only to use the pill or invasive surgery as the solution for almost all gynecological issues.  Reality is, the pill isn’t actually solving anything but rather putting a big band-aid over the problem and of course when problems are left untreated, they manifest and only become bigger problems once the blanket is lifted.

Understanding the root cause of illness is key.  Symptoms are just signs, nothing more – in fact I often find symptoms more useful than blood tests!  If we can figure out what our bodies are actually telling us, then we can treat the root cause – which is most often gut health.  i.e acne, period pain, irregular menstrual cycles, PMS etc are all signs the bodies hormones are imbalanced.  The pill will never ‘rebalance’ hormones but rather, do the complete opposite.  We know that if a woman has had hormone imbalance before taking the pill, the imbalance will be far worse when she stops taking it.  This is treatable in most instances and the key to solving help problems long term.

What are your top 3 health tips?
1.  Be in bed by 11pm – the body rejuvenates most before midnight.
2.  Stress less – work out exactly what’s worth stressing about and why.  Chances are, it’s not worth the bother.
3.  Eat for wellness.  Let food be thy medicine!

What is an ideal ‘day on your plate’ for optimum fertility?
I’m an egg woman.  Breakfast generally revolves around eggs in some form.
Lunch is very often a soup or stew or some fish with greens and fermented foods thrown in for good measure.
Dinner is mostly fish with veggies or roast veggies with organic grass fed meat.

My principles are:
+ Protein and therapeutic fats at every meal
+ Always organic where possible
+ If it doesn’t serve me, I go without!
+ I limit grains and avoid gluten at all costs.  Both place a lot of load on the gut.
+ Keep sugars to a minimum.

maca slice


Favourite “fertile” recipe?
So basic and so delish, not to mention all the maca is there to balance hormones!

The Super Fertile Slice

Makes 1 small slice tray

2 cups of medjool dates
1 cup of buckinis
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
½ cup goji berries
1 tbs maca

For the topping
The darkest rawest chocolate you can find.  I love the blackout variety.

In a food processor or thermomix, combine dates and coconut.  Once combined, add in buckinis and goji berries and only blitz a few times to mix through.  The base is best rough.

Press into a small baking dish or loaf tin lined with baking paper and allow to set in the fridge.

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler until runny.  Pour over the top of the slice and allow to set.

Note: Loving Earth is a great place to look for buckinis and maca.

What are your thoughts on the effect of stress on our bodies?
This is the modern day illness.  Stress is a huge factor in regulating hormone function.  It affects how the thyroid and adrenals work.  Typically our adrenals are designed to release cortisol in short bursts when stressed.  But stress wasn’t supposed to be a constant run in the background type of daily occurrence – our bodies are set up to cope with stress like “there’s a freakin’ huge grizzly bear over there so run for your life” kinda thing and the response is that the body shuts down, the blood gets rapidly sent to your arms and legs (away from your internals) and you can run like the wind.  But when we are in a constant state of stress, the adrenals go into over drive – producing much more cortisol which affects progesterone since both cortisol and progesterone compete for the same receptor sites in the body and cortisol will always win.  The end result of this is high oestrogen levels, which go on to cause all kinds of issues like infertility, menstrual irregularities, amenorrhea and hormone disruption.  It’s especially important for women to understand how this affects them and their long-term health – right through to menopause!

So you see – stress is a disaster!

When life gets hectic, what do you do to help yourself relax?
Getting out into the sunshine with my family is one of my most favorite things to do!  I also really enjoy being social – so to relax I might have a dinner party!  Might sound like I’ve gone mad when I say such things but I find it super relaxing!

Tell us about your gentle body cleanse, and why it is so important. How does it differ from other cleanses out there?
Ha!  I’m glad you asked!  I never intended my gentle body cleanse to go as crazy as it has!  It’s a vegan cleanse which I don’t generally advocate for a long term vegan diet simply because there are key elements in meat that aren’t found in anything else necessary to balance hormones – but it can be good to give the digestive system some down time so it’s focused around several elements.;

Cleansing the liver and the gut via supplements, probiotics, a cleansing drink and eating very easily digested foods.  It is literally like a good old chimney sweep for the gut!  What I find is on the back of the cleanse, peoples gut function is improved, they feel great, have more energy and continue to maintain a new level of wellness.  It’s super!

What is one thing you do for your health every single day without fail?
Eat for wellness.  We are in control of what we eat – nobody else can perform this task.  I aim to constantly fuel my body for wellness.  And the other thing I do everyday – kiss my kids.  Does wonders for the soul!

Berry Delicious Ice-cream with Macadamia Crunch.

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It kind of goes without saying – if you’re feeling hot, make this and eat it quickly before it melts. If you’ve not yet been introduced to the world of banana ice cream you really must get with the program 😉 Your loved ones will have no idea it is not in actual fact ‘ice cream’ and your insides will love you for nourishing it. If you’re on social media, do please share your gorgeous creations, I’d love to see them. Tag it #theholisticingredient so I can easily find it and congratulate you for taking the plunge into this purpley jar of deliciousness.

Berry Delicious ‘Ice Cream’ with Macadamia Crunch

It helps to have a high powered blender to make this ‘ice cream’, you will simply need a little more patience without, that’s all. If you are without maqui berry, never fear, it’ll be very scrumptious with blueberries alone.
Serves 2 hot and hungry people.

2 bananas, frozen
1/2 cup blueberries, frozen
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
1 heaped tablespoon maqui berry*

Throw the bananas, berries and maqui berry powder into your food processor or blender. Whizz it up to a smooth, ‘soft serve’ consistency, but be careful not to over process as the ‘ice cream’ may start to melt. You may need to stop and start and push the banana back down onto the blades but persist, you will get there! When it’s just done, throw in your macadamias and combine very quickly, but only so that they spread through the ice cream – you want the crunch so don’t keep blending.

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* Maqui berry can be purchased online or via many health food stores.

Crunchy Cashew Caramel Chew – the raw, vegan ‘cuppa companion’.

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Looking for some Christmas cheer in your lunchbox or with a cuppa over the festive season? Well you can be rest assured this recipe takes no more than about ten minutes to make – the patience is in the chilling time.

I was rather excited about this little creation. It ticks the right boxes – the crunchy texture, the protein component and the nutritional rawness. A word of warning, I recommend you store it in the freezer. Too long out, the coconut oil melts and you may instead have muesli – mighty fine muesli, but muesli nonetheless.

Crunchy Cashew Caramel Chew

Ingredients

1 cup raw cashews, chopped
¾ cup coconut flakes, coarsely chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup coconut nectar
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons lucuma powder
1 teaspoon vanilla powder

Optional
70grams Loving Earth Caramel Chocolate (if not caramel chocolate, dark chocolate would be delish!)
Seeds of ½ pomegranate.

Method
Mix together all the dry ingredients. Warm the coconut oil so it melts and stir in the coconut nectar. Combine with the dry ingredients. Don’t be afraid to chop the mixture more finely if you can see that it is unlikely to hold once cooled. Line a slice tin with baking paper (I used a tin that was 28cm x 18cm). Press mixture firmly into the tin and pop into the freezer for approximately 30 minutes.

Whilst in the freezer, gently melt your chocolate in a small dish over simmering water. Remove the slice from the freezer. Sprinkle the pomegranate over the slice then drizzle with the chocolate. Pop back into the freezer to set for another 10-15 minutes. Remove and slice. As previously mentioned, this slice is best kept in the fridge or freezer to ensure it holds it’s form.

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Choc-mint and banana popsicles… Paddle Pop 2.0!

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Choc-mint & banana popsicles.

What does one really need to say about these, except maybe “make them”. These popsicles are delicious, simple to make (even easier than walking all the way to the corner store) and significantly, nutritious.

For the popsicles:
1 large banana (or 2 small bananas)
1 cup full fat  natural or Greek yoghurt (I use Greek five:am)
½ cup full fat coconut cream (I use the canned Ayam brand)
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 large handful of mint (go for your life with the mint, the recipe can handle a lot).

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into popsicle makers, pop in the sticks and place in the freezer overnight.

For choc top:
100g block of Loving Earth raw mint dark chocolate
2 heaped teaspoons Loving Earth coconut oil/butter

Once the popsicles are frozen you are ready to get dipping! Prepare a tray lined with baking paper that will fit into your freezer.

To melt the chocolate, break up the bar into pieces and melt in a bowl with the coconut oil over a saucepan of lightly boiling water. Do not allow any water to hit the chocolate. Once melted I transferred the melted chocolate to a narrow jar that would allow me to quickly dip in the frozen popsicle tip (you could also pour the chocolate over the whole popsicle, knowing that you will have plenty of chocolate to do so).

To remove the popsicles from the popsicle makers, run luke-warm (or even hot) water over the base for a few seconds to help ease them out. Then dip them very quickly into your chocolate. Once dipped the chocolate should freeze quickly. Place it on the lined tray and back into the freezer..or devour!

Beetroot, quinoa and chocolate muffins.

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Yesterday I posted this recipe on Instagram and it created rather a lot of interest (to say the least). I’m not altogether suprised given I admitted to these being the BEST gluten free muffins I’d ever tried. As bias as you may believe I am, I am happy to stand by that statement because let me tell you, they are GOOD. Thank you to Loving Earth for featuring this recipe on their website yesterday and for sharing the chocolatey love with the world. I had said I would send this out in a newsletter today however my ‘to do’ list is a little beyond reasonable, so rather than make you all wait with baited anticipation over the weekend, here it is!

By the way, if you’ve made the Quinoa Chocolate Cake on this blog, you’ll understand why. The recipes are almost identical, with a couple of adjustments here and there. If you’ve not made that cake, make it, soon!

A chief taster, making sure they're not poisonous ;-)

A chief taster, making sure they’re not poisonous 😉

Beetroot and Quinoa Chocolate Muffins.
Makes 10-12 muffins
These muffins are made with cooked quinoa (rather than quinoa flour). It is therefore super moist and dense and has an intense chocolate flavour (which suits me because I LOVE dark chocolate). If you prefer your chocolate a little less intense perhaps try with a little less cacao. I chose to make these entirely in a blender – super easy and super successful!

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup coconut sugar (if you have a low sugar diet, don’t be afraid to reduce this to 1/2-3/4 cup)
1 cup cacao powder
3/4 cup raw beetroot, grated
3/4 cup organic butter, melted (you could also use coconut oil though do know it will a lot more dense and heavy)
1/3 cup coconut milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon celtic or himalayan salt
Seeds of one vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence)

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with baking paper.

Rinse your quinoa thoroughly. Bring the quinoa and water to the boil on your stove. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the stove, lid on, for a further ten minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it sit to cool.

Combine the coconut milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender. Add 2 1/3 cups of cooked quinoa, butter, grated beetroot, coconut sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cacao powder. Blend again until combined.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer is removed clean. I recommend checking them at 20 minutes to make sure the tops are not burning If burning place a piece of baking paper over the top of the tray. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack.

Those I haven’t eaten I have frozen for a rainy day. They are of course AMAZING fresh out of the oven, but I like to extend the pleasure of my creations 🙂