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

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

 

 

 

veg out, vegan style

you know all those lame things you’ve heard about vegan food being boring and tasting like cardboard? well, those are merely the cries of the uninitiated because not only is vegan food delicious, it is simple to whip up a feast for all your friends.

and on that note, here we go…

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cauliflower and parsnip soup

1x whole cauliflower (break into florets)

2x parsnips, chopped finely

2x vegetable stock cubes

1x onion, chopped finely

2x garlic cloves, chopped finely

600ml water

cracked pepper

1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard

method

cook off the onion and garlic in some olive oil and then add cauliflower and parsnip until slightly browned. dissolve the stock cubes in hot water (should just cover the vegetables) and add to pot. crack some pepper over the top and turn up until it starts to boil, then let it simmer until the vegetables are soft. let it cool slightly and the use a bamix/stick blender to until it reaches a delicious puree-like consistency. stir through the mustard and serve!

but wait, there’s more…

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banana brownies

3x medium, overripe bananas

1/2 cup nut butter (i used peanut butter, coz yum)

1/3 cup cacao

handful of cacao nibs

method

preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. smoosh the bananas and combine with nut butter (you can heat it, if it’s a little claggy). stir through the cacao and cacao nibs and pop into a lined loaf tin. cook for about 15 minutes. brownies should still be fudgy. serve with a little raspberry coulis and voila!

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add a tipple of organic red wine (makes the morning after, a little easier on the noggin’) and you have yourself a beautiful night in.

any old school recipes you’re dying to eat but wanna make a little more wholesome? hit me up in the comments and i’ll see what i can do.

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