better butter, butter better

try saying that 3x times fast.

this recipe for homemade super creamy almond butter tastes better than a bought one. it also costs about half the price so your tastebuds and your hip pocket will thank you.

2x ingredients. that’s all. plus a high speed blender or food processor. i’m not sure why i thought it would be so difficult. or maybe i was just lazy. either way, even sceptics will agree, this DIY butter is better.

let’s do this.

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ingredients

2x cups of roasted unsalted almond

1-2 tsp of pink rock salt (to taste)

method

pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius and roast your almonds for 10-15 minutes, flipping them over at the halfway mark. let them cool on the tray and then add the almonds and salt to the blender/processor.

*note that it will need to be able to sustain up to 10 minutes without overheating.

you’ll need to scrape down the sides with a spatula to loosen the mix every couple of minutes. once the almond butter is smooth and creamy, you can chuck it in a jar and sprinkle on some extra salt, storing it in the fridge for up to 3 months.

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eat it on toast. eat it out of the jar. lather it on your body.

you do you.

cara x

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beat the slump (morning muffins)

muffins get a bad rap.

full of refined sugar and empty kilojoules that when paired with a extra large coffee first thing in the morning can lead to disaster sooner rather than later. not a great way to start the day when cortisol (stress hormone) levels are already high.

but there’s a reason why muffins are so popular. the convenience of this hand-held snack means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. so what’s the answer?

by using almond meal as the base, these babies are full of protein, fibre and vitamin e. add in some antioxidant rich berries and you’ve got yourself a low GI snack that won’t see your blood sugars rocketing from one end of the office to the other.

this recipe takes all the best things about the muffin and makes them better. take a look.

ingredients

2x cups almond meal (make your own, it’s cheaper and by keeping the skin on you get extra nutrient)

1x cup desiccated coconut

1/2x cup coconut cream

3x tablespoons honey (locally sourced and organic)

3x whisked eggs (local and free range)

1/2x tspn baking powder

1/2x tspn natural vanilla extract

pinch of pink rock salt

pinch of cinnamon

1x cup of mixed berries

method

preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray with baking paper. put the almond meal and coconut into a mixing bowl and combine. then add the coconut cream, honey, eggs, baking powder, vanilla and salt. fold the all the ingredients until just combined, gently stirring through the berries. pop the mixture into the muffin tray (it should make 10) and place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes until crispy on top.  leave the muffins in the tin for 5 minutes before placing to a cooling rack. sprinkle with cinnamon and eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

cara x

 

fruit and nut slice with all things nice

i love chocolate.

yeah, i know. not exactly a mind blowing blog post starter but stick with me. for those of us out there with a penchant for the sweet stuff, there has to be a healthy alternative. too often mainstream chocolate is chock (get it) full of sugar and additives, making them high in kilojoules but low in nutrients.

so, what’s the answer?

my cadbury inspired fruit and nut slice! with craisins and cashews this crunchy creation tastes (and looks) better than the original. better yet, all the ingredients are rich in micronutrients making this a nourishing post-dinner or pre-workout treat that takes less than 5 minutes to make.

sold yet?

ingredients

6x tablespoons of nut butter (i use mayver’s crunchy peanut butter)

3x tablespoons of melted organic coconut oil

3x tablespoons of locally sourced honey (this has antimicrobial properties specific to your region!)

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract

3x tablespoons of raw cacao (i prefer a stronger taste but if you don’t, take it back a notch)

a pinch of pink rock salt

1/2 a cup of roasted cashews

handful of craisins or similar fruit i.e currants or diced apricot

method

roast the cashews in the oven until golden. it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes and then chop roughly. combine the nut butter, oil, honey, cacao, vanilla and salt into a bowl and then toss in the craisins and cashews. give it a stir and then add to the mixture. pour the whole thing into a lined shallow baking dish and chuck it in the fridge until set (usually a couple of hours). cut into slices and serve.

… and that’s all folks.

cara x

you’re not as important as you think you are

this title is a bit of “click bait,” i’ll admit. but there’s method to the madness. meaning, it’s a deliberate hit to your ego so that you sit back and question yourself.

because this is a question and lesson i desperately needed this week but failed to find until it was too late. and now, here i am with acute tonsillitis and a weekend of lying in bed instead of attending a yoga retreat i’ve been looking forward to for a good 3 months.

so, let me get to the point.

my body was giving me hints waaaaaay before i lost my voice and developed glands the size of golf balls. but i wasn’t listening. i had too much to do at work. only i could do it. it had to be done now, by 5pm, tomorrow. deadlines!

i was too important to take time off and recuperate…. or that’s what i liked to think.

the reality? i have amazing work colleagues who would have helped pick up the load, if i had bothered to ask for help. instead, i kept on, “keeping on.” it was only when i turned up to class and my students told me that i looked like shit (thanks, guys) that i took a step back and realised i needed to chill the fuck out.

sadly, we are so programmed to believe that in order to prove ourselves in the workforce we have to be “hard” workers. hard workers who push ourselves to the brink. hard workers who rack up hours in excess of our actual paid rosters. this idea that replying to emails all night and all weekend is normal and expected is so damaging. when do we switch off? how is ignoring pain, fatigue and illness considered the hallmark of success? is it worth it if it’s at the expense of our health and happiness?

and here we come to the irony of the title of this post… you are, in fact, really important.

so important that you should start putting yourself first. i’ve said it once and i’ll say it a thousand times… self-care is not selfish. i guarantee the world will not implode if you take a sick day. looking after yourself doesn’t make you weak. it makes you smart. healthy workers are happier works, who are in turn, more productive workers.

so, if you’re unwell, stay in bed. if you have a family dinner, turn off your phone. work can call someone else in. the email can wait. i promise.

put it this way… do you live to work or work to live?

cara x

have your cake and eat it too

cake or cookie?

neither. this recipe is actually a healthy hybrid. part gooey chocolate chip cookie, part velvety cake this baby is packed with fibre, protein, antioxidants and most importantly no nasties, so it’s a surefire hit for those late afternoon munchies.

ingredients

1 1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 tsp pink rock salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 tbsp organic maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp nut butter of your choice

1 egg

1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate/cacao nibs

method

preheat the oven to 160 degrees and line a loaf tin with baking paper. in a mixing bowl, stir the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. in a separate mixing bowl, whisk the coconut oil, maple syrup, almond butter and vanilla extract until well combined. add the egg to the wet mixture and whisk for until it’s light and bubbly. fold through the dry ingredients until the whole mixture is just combined. add in the chopped chocolate or cacao nibs and stir.

the mixture should be quite wet, resembling a cake more than a cookie. pour it into the lined loaf tin and flatten out, making sure the mixture reaches the edges. bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden on top and around the edges.

let it sit in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to crisp up.

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that’s it.

cut into slices and store in an airtight container for up to three days (like it’s going to last that long!)

cara x

pash me

now i’ve got you sucked in with my witty title, you’re at my mercy. and by mercy, i mean i’m going to gift you an amazing recipe for raw passionfruit slice. so who’s really the winner here?

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*disclaimer* this slice was a spontaneous “look what’s in the fruit bowl of this place I’m house sitting” kind of thing. hence the recipe below being a bit vague. i legit just chucked stuff in until it looked and tasted good. i encourage you to do the same… go crazy.

base 

a good handful of almonds
10x dates (ish)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

filling

1 cup natural coconut yoghurt (i used cocobella)
2-3 tablespoons of locally sourced honey
3 passionfruits (plus extra for topping)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

method

use a food processor for the base, making sure that it’s sticky enough to hold together. press firmly into a tin lined with baking paper and pop in the fridge to set. 20 minutes should do it.

the filling can all be put in the same bowl. give everything a stir and then pour on top of the base, smoothing the top.

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chuck the whole thing in the freezer for a couple of hours or until set. it should then be fine to be placed in the fridge for ease of stuffing in one’s mouth.

(if you wanna get fancy, cut it into long slices and use some extra passionfruit pulp on top).

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do i get a kiss now?

cara x

be my squeeze? (lemon bliss balls)

who doesn’t love that sour hit you get from a squeeze of fresh lemon?

the tartness and the burst of citrus on the inside of my cheeks reminds me of the sour warheads i used to get from my primary school tuckshop.

this recipe is an ode to my childhood. also, i just had a shitload of lemons.

ingredients

100gm almond meal (i make my own, it’s easy and much cheaper)

45gm desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling)

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons (it really depends on how much zing you like)

1/2 teaspoon good quality organic vanilla extract or bean

2 tablespoons organic, locally sourced honey

method

chuck it all in a food processor. ta da (i’m so clever).

roll the mixture into balls and then coat in the extra coconut.

store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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these little babies are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. perfect for a 3pm pick me up.

cara x

purna yoga, peeps

it’s finally happening, homies.

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i am going to be running yoga classes and they will be based around the key principles of purna yoga.

wtf is purna yoga i hear you say? well, let me explain in 140 characters or less… LOL, that was a joke but seriously, have a read.

purna in sanskrit means complete. and as such, involves not just asana (physical postures) but a wide variety of techniques to address physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.

for me, this is super important as wellness is about treating the whole person and purna yoga allows me to fulfill my dharma (life purpose).

so, what does this look like on the mat?

in my beginners or foundation program, the asana will be based around level 1 poses with sustained holds and a flowing sun salutation sequence. hands on adjustments and a focus on alignment will enable students to develop strength, open energy channels and refine movements.

there will be pranayama practice (the use of the breath to connect the postures) and meditation to help control the mind and nervous system.

and why should i try it?

because i honestly believe that it will change your life for the better. calming the mind and soothing the body through movement and breath. i am here to help you any way i can. give me a call, send me a text, write on my wall, hail me down in the street, knock on my door? (maybe don’t do that, that’s a bit weird).

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other important stuff

classes commence on monday the 31st of july.

when: 7pm

where: pure, traralgon

come and try. if you hate it, i won’t hate you (promise).

cara x

 

don’t have a cacao, man.

remember when 4 ingredients was THE cooking book of the decade?

it was simple, it was fast and even the gastronomically challenged could make something… well, for me, the idea of any recipe being 4 ingredients or less is still really attractive and has lost none of its lustre. why? because of the simplicity. making food and the art of cooking accessible to everyone is one of the things i am most passionate about as a nutritionist in training. whilst shows like masterchef and my kitchen rules have amped up interest in niche food products, a lot of it is out of reach of the average family.

nutrition starts at home and these super simple bikkies are a simple food swap that taste great whilst also providing lots of the good stuff (antioxidants, iron, fibre, magnesium and key minerals).

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ingredients

2x mashed over ripe bananas

1 cup of steel cut rolled oats

1 teaspoon locally sourced honey

a handful of cacao nibs (i didn’t measure just kind of chucked them in until it looked good?)

method

pre-heat your fan forced oven to 160 degrees. mash the banana in a bowl and then combine the oats. add in the honey and cacao nibs and you’re done. (woah, that was hard…not). roll into tablespoon size balls, place on a tray with baking paper and flatten slightly.

cook for approximately 10-15 minutes. you can pop a little ghee on with a pastry brush if you want a nice brown crispiness on the top.

cool on the tray for 5 minutes and then move to a rack.

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lastly and most importantly, EAT!

makes 10

super yum, nutrient dense and most of all, simple.

cara x

 

 

 

badass banana bread

girl loves a good alliteration… and banana bread. mostly, banana bread.

but what i love most? baked treats that don’t send my blood sugar levels sky high, only to come crashing down harder than my hopes of that guy i liked ever calling me back.

but i digress. this dessert (or breakfast if you’re me on a monday) is full of the good stuff. protein, fats, fibre and antioxidants. too good to be true? nope. and i’ll let you in on the secret.

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ingredients

1 1/4 cups GF plain flour

2 tsp GF baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2/3 cup LSA meal

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

2 free range organic eggs

1/2 cup good quality oil

3/4 your choice of nut mylk

1/4 organic honey

1 cup mashed banana

125gm your choice of berries

1 tablespoon chia seeds

method

pre-heat oven to 180 degrees (10 degrees less for FF) and line a loaf pan with baking paper. sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl then stir in the LSA and coconut.

whisk the eggs, oil , mylk and honey in a jug then add the banana. stir into the flour mixture until just combined. stir in the berries gently (fun fact, if you coat them in a little flour they don’t tend to sink as much).

spoon into the pan and sprinkle with chia seeds. cook for around 45 minutes. it should be golden brown with a nice crust on the outside. use a skewer if you’re an amateur.

if you have left over mixture like me, make a baby cake that you’ll pretend to share with someone but really just eat the whole thing yourself… what?

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eat well, homies.

cara x