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

 

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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

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

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

lentil lasagne

 

just like children, my dad requires some innovation when it comes to meat-free recipes. classic country man, that he is. luckily, this recipe hits all the right spots; heaps of vegetables make it nutrient rich but it still tastes just as naughty as nonna’s.

without further ado…

ingredients

2x grated zucchini

2x grated carrot

1x tinned tomatoes (or if you have cherry tomatoes coming out of your ears… two birds, one stone)

3x garlic cloves

1x tub of ricotta

1x tin organic lentils

1x leek or onion

splash of balsamic vinegar

splash of red wine

sprinkling of cheese

cracked pepper (to taste)

lasagne sheets (fresh is best)

method

preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

cook off leek/onion in olive oil. add tomatoes, balsamic and red wine and allow to cook down.

grate all your vegies and rinse lentils. squeeze excess moisture from the zucchini. add to the tomato mixture and cook for about 10 minutes or until nice and saucy.

chuck in the pepper as well.

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layer the sauce, pasta sheets, ricotta until the casserole dish is pretty much full then sprinkle with cheese and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

ta da. so easy. so delicious. serve with pear and walnut salad and a glass (bottle?) of red, if you wanna be fancy.

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cheers,

cara x

basic bitch brownies

it’s 930pm. i don’t have any flour. and i’ve got the munchies… what’s a girl to do?

thankfully, arman from @the big man’s world, was waiting in the wings, ready to help.

so, without further ado. here it is. 3 ingredient, super simple brownies with no butter, flour, grains or sugar.

ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce (with a pinch of cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup drippy almond butter (i did half/half with peanut butter for some extra crunch)
  • 1/4- 2/3 cup raw cacao powder

instructions

  • preheat the oven to 170 degrees and coat a small loaf pan with cooking spray.
  • in a large mixing bowl, add your applesauce and nut butter and mix well. once mixed, add cacao and mix until fully incorporated and a thick, silky batter remains.
  • transfer brownie batter to pan and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out just clean (be careful not to overcook!).
  • allow the brownies to cool in the pan completely. then once cooled, refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • remove from the fridge, slice into bars and top with optional extras (raspberries, ganache or whatever takes your fancy).

Notes:

  • brownies need to be kept refrigerated but are also freezer friendly.
  • cooking time can vary, depending on your oven.

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ta da! you’ve just made yourself a delicious treat that is full of protein, antioxidants and general awesomeness. let me know how it goes by hitting me up in the comments.
cara x