Cashew and Coconut Biscuits

These low sugar cashew biscuits are so yummy that everyone who I’ve shared them with end up asking me for the recipe. They are similar to ANZAC biscuits but are made with cashews rather than oats. Despite being low in sugar they are very tasty.

I found the original recipe in a fastPaleo cookbook “Top 10 Cookies of 2013”. They referenced the recipe as being from Kate’s Healthy Cupboard, a website which is definitely worth a visit.

As they contain no flour, the biscuits are very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven. As long as you are gentle they will hold together and as they cool will harden up. Even if you do end up breaking one (they kinda just crumble) you have two options: eat it quickly! Or push it back together and it will set. Personally I would just eat it.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut
  • 1/3 cup rapadura sugar (or other unrefined sugar substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (Honest to Goodness do an amazing vanilla powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk

(My cashews, coconut, rapadura, vanilla powder, Himalayan sea salt, coconut oil and coconut milk all came from Honest to Goodness. They have a huge range of organic pantry items. If you can get them wholesale or through a food co-op in your area they are great value for money too!)

What to do:

Process the cashews and coconut until it resembles somewhere between sand and gravel. The more times you make these biscuits (and it will be more than once!) you’ll get to know how course or fine you like them.

Add rapadura, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Process just until combined.

Pour in melted coconut oil and the coconut milk and mix until it becomes a dough.

Scoop into balls and place on baking paper on an oven tray. Again you can play with the shape and size. I use a big teaspoon worth of mixture. Flatten them down slightly.

Bake at 175 degrees for 10 minutes or until just brown.

Remove from the oven and slide baking paper off and onto a tray.

Wait until they have cooled to move onto a rack.

Store in an airtight container once they have cooled completely.

Share them around. Everyone will love them!

Cashews are high in the amino acid L-tryptophan which is a precursor to serotonin, your happy hormone. They also contain magnesium which helps in many biochemcial pathways including relaxation of muscles but also energy pathways. So next time you’re feeling a bit down, reach for a handful of cashews and give yourself a natural boost!

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Banana, Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream

What you’ll need:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • Toasted coconut

Peel and freeze 3 bananas at least one day before.

Measure 6 tablespoons of coconut cream and freeze for about 30-60 minutes before you intend on mixing the ice-cream. I have learned that my ice cube trays are kindly 1 tablespoon in each cube, just in case you have the same ones. Also handy for freezing lemon juice for when lemons go out of season. I digress.

Add banana, coconut cream, cinnamon, lime juice and zest into a food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Serve into four bowls.

Garnish with toasted coconut.

This recipe originally came from Alexx Stuart from http://alexxstuart.com/ I have made various versions of this recipe but have stripped it back to basics here. If you are looking for many more delicious real food recipes, I definitely recommend Alexx’s wesbite!

The coconut cream will help with the metabolism of sugar by slowing down the process so you don’t get the sugar highs and lows (even though there is only minimal sugar in the banana in this recipe.)

The cinnamon will do the same.

Some people report being able to digest frozen bananas, better than fresh ones. I always freeze my bananas before adding them to my smoothies, except when I forget to. Then I don’t.

Toasted coconut is a great thing to have ready in the pantry. I used shredded coconut in my picture above, but you can also use coconut flakes. Lay the coconut flakes/shreds on a baking tray. Turn the oven onto grill. DON’T LEAVE the kitchen. I did once. Then I saw some towels that needed putting in the laundry. Then I saw there was a load of washing that needed to be folded. Then I smelt smoke as I folded the washing. My coconut was on fire! In my brand new oven. I repeat. Do NOT leave the kitchen while toasting coconut. Anyway, you may need to take it out and toss it around a bit while it is toasting. Toast (but don’t leave the kitchen) until your level of coconutty goldeness is reached. Wait until it has all cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.

The toasted flakes can be used as a garnish for ice creams, other desserts, stir fries, other Asian dishes and much more. I also eat them straight from the container as a snack.

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Spinach Crepes

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Like everything there are many conflicting stories about how to cook your vegetables.

  • They should be eaten raw to get maximum nutrients
  • They should be lightly steamed to get maximum nutrients
  • Boiling is fine as long as it’s not for too long
  • Greens should definitely be raw
  • Greens should definitely be cooked.

I’ll tell you what I know and with your own research and judgement, you can decide.

What makes green vegetables green is the chlorophyll component. This is also the part that takes the energy from the sun, to pass onto us through food. This chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. So similar that there is only one molecule of difference, which is, we have iron in the centre and plants have magnesium. This is one of main reasons green vegetables are so important.

Dr Joel Fuhrman presented a lecture for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and explained about the structure of the plant cell. Inside the cell wall is something called “myrosinase” and inside the actual cell is “glucosinolates”. When these two enzymes combine they have powerful anticancer properties, BUT they must be combined before heating, or the enzyme is denatured (doesn’t work!).

So how do they get combined? If you eat raw it is through chewing. The more you chew, the more they are mixed, the more powerful their effects. If you want to add your greens to soups and stews, the best option is to blend them first. Blending and breaking up of the cell wall releases these enzymes, allows them to combine, then you are free to cook them.

Myrosinase-Glucosinolate System

Image courtesy of Joel Fuhrman

 

Spinach Crepes

I came across this crepe recipe a while ago and thought it would be prefect with the Broccoli and Mango salad I had once on a 3 day raw food detox. (The detox was actually 21 days, I only lasted 3!) I was quite surprised how delicious raw broccoli and mango are together.

These crepes fit perfectly with the theory that blending your greens before eating is a great way to maximise their benefits. It’s also a good way to get more vegetables into the kids (this is called Vegie Smuggling, for more information see Vegie Smugglers website). Even more handy if your child’s favourite colour is green. I think I may try these with shredded beetroot too, for pink or red crepes.

These ratios should feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are!

For the crepes you will need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour, but you can use wheat if you wish, or gluten free)

For the salad you will need

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 small avocado
  • A few chopped dates (optional)

As I was cooking in a stainless steel frying pan, I began by filling pan with water and putting it on the stove on high. (More about this another day).

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping your food from sticking

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping food from sticking

In a high speed blender (Nutribullet works well), blend up the spinach and milk

Transfer to a bowl or jug and mix through the flour

I used spelt flour as it's easier to digest

I used spelt flour as it’s easier to digest

Pour the water from your frying pan and place on low heat. I used the smallest flame on the smallest

Coat the frying pan with your choice of oil: butter, ghee or coconut oil are my choices. I used butter. Because I love butter. Good quality, grass fed, organic butter

Pour in the mixture to cover half the bottom of the frying pan, then move the frying pan around to spread the crepe mixture so it is a thin crepe (not a fat pancake)

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Repeat for the remainder of the mixture

Finely chop the broccoli, slice the mango into cubes and chop the avocado in any way you wish. If you are using dates, finely chop them. Mix everything together in a bowl

Spinach Crepes Recipe (4)  Spinach Crepes Recipe (5)

Spinach Crepes Recipe (6)

When your all crepes are done, add a small amount of the salad and roll like a pancake

Best eaten fresh while the crepes are warm

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

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Why is Apple Cider Vinegar Better than White Vinegar?

Many mornings, particular in winter I begin my day with a cup of tea. Not black tea or herbal tea, but apple cider vinegar tea, sweetened with raw honey. ACV is one of the oldest antibacterial agents known to man. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, has been credited with its first use back in 400BC when he used it with his patients for a range of ailments.

ACV is different from the beautifully ‘clean’ and translucent range of vinegars that you will see on supermarket shelves. These clear vinegars have been heated, treated and processed which robs them of the natural health benefits. Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is unprocessed, which allows the retention of the health benefits such as enzyme function and antibacterial properties. A good ACV can easily be recognised by its opacity, which is created by the “mother”, a cobwebby like substance that preserves the strength and effectiveness of the vinegar.

So what can you use apple cider vinegar for?

Everything apparently. According to Paul and Patricia Bragg’s book Apple Cider Vinegar – Miracle Health System, it can be used for just about anything. In their book, they list a broad range of health benefits from this amazing liquid.

Putting the information in their book together with my prior knowledge, it seems that many of these conditions are alleviated by correcting the pH of the body, which is a huge factor in many health conditions. ACV works by correcting the pH in the stomach and on the skin if used topically, which balances the whole body. (An acidic body over time “corrodes” body tissues and may lead to disease in all systems.)

Natural treatment for indigestion and heartburn

This is the most common reason I suggest ACV. In the Bragg ACV book they explain that swishing ACV in the mouth before meals will stimulate digestive enzymes. Also, many cases of indigestion, heartburn, reflux, gas and bloating are caused by low rather than too high stomach acid. The ACV helps to relieve painful indigestion by helping with the digestive process.

Pharmaceutical reflux medications can have unwanted side-effects such as weight gain, constipation and/or malabsorption syndromes, due to the stomach acid being completely neutralised. Beginning a routine of ACV tea before meals and slowly reducing reflux medication can have immense health benefits. Eliminating potential and suspected food intolerances can make significant improvements in reflux, heartburn and indigestion too.

It may help in weight loss and lowering cholesterol

ACV contains acetic acid, which was found in a Japanese study to aid in decreases in weight, BMI, visceral fat (fat around the abdominal organs), serum triglycerides and waist circumference.

It can make your skin look healthier and more youthful

The pH level of your skin aids in the detoxification process. ACV vinegar helps to normalise this pH level, assisting in detox (see facial treatment below)

Lowering blood sugar levels in Type II Diabetes

In a study published in Diabetes Care people were divided into 3 groups: diabetes, pre-diabetes and normal blood sugar levels. The vinegar was found to increase insulin sensitivity:

  • All three groups had improve blood glucose readings
  • Participants with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25%
  • Participants with pre-diabetic symptoms cut their blood sugar readings by half

Burning and itching of sores, hives, allergic reactions, insect bites

Using apple cider vinegar on any sort of allergy or bite will also relieve the itching, burning and pain usually associated.

Natural relief for fungal and yeast infections, bladder and kidney infection

Athletes foot, jock itch, nappy rash, thrush and the burning and itching caused by urinary tract infections can all be relieved by a dilution of ACV and water. Adding a cup of ACV to a low, warm bath can also help.

Alternative hair rinse

The pH level of ACV is apparently close to that of your hair. It is a popular rinse with many of those who prefer the more natural hair care treatments.

ACV is rich in potassium which is essential for every cell in your body to function. Potassium deficiency can be attributed to:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Dizziness
  • Senility
  • Morning headaches
  • Tired eyes that won’t focus
  • Poor circulation
  • High blood pressure

Other possible health issues remedied by ACV:

  • Mucus
  • Cancer
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Nose bleeds
  • Burns
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle cramps,
  • Detoxification
  • Headaches
  • Gallstones (Bragg’s have a 2 day gall bladder flush to help reduce stones)

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

  1. Pour 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup and add ½-1 teaspoon of honey
  2. Half fill with room temperature or warm water*
  3. Top up with boiling water and sip slowly

*It is important not to put boiling water on honey. The heat can destroy the enzymes responsible for its healing properties. Honey should also never be ‘melted’ in the microwave or boiled. If your honey has crystallised, place the jar in a saucepan of water and heat very slowly.

Apple Cider Vinegar Facial

1. Rinse face with warm water

2. Apply a wrung-out, hot water soaked cloth to the face for 3 minute 3. Soak a thin cloth in an ACV mix (1 tbsp ACV to 1 cup water) and apply this to the face. Cover with another wrung out hot soaked cloth 4. Lay down for 10 minutes with feet elevated (couch, up the wall, bed etc.) this will increase circulation and promote lymphatic drainage 5. After 10 minutes, remove cloths and use a course towel or small face loofah and rub upwards on face. This will remove all the dead skin cells that have been soaking.

According to Paul and Patricia Bragg: “Your skin will look more youthful and will shine like a polished apple with a joyous new life.”

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Fish Curry

Today is a little bit humid. It’s warm, warm enough for shorts and a singlet. But it rained a little while ago.

I’ve been craving coconut milk or cream. I wanted to have a coconut chia pudding for breakfast this morning, but didn’t get myself sorted early enough last night to make it. That recipe will come another day. So I satisfied my coconut cream/milk craving, while using left over fish from last nights dinner, and whipped up this simple fish curry.

I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but it turned out perfectly fine. And as I sit here with my empty bowl beside me, I feel like I could be in some tropical location. Most likely Bali, Malaysia or Thailand. Somewhere with humidity, coconuts and fish.

I will give you the recipe I used, as well as the other ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets (I used Coorong Mullet, because that’s what we had)
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I used a full teaspoon. Turmeric is SO good for you)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp coconut oil for frying

Optional (ingredients I didn’t have)

  • 1 1/2 cups of fish stock
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Finely sliced spring onions

What to do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in pan
  2. Add crushed ginger and garlic, and sliced onion
  3. Once cooked through, add chilli and turmeric
  4. Pour in can of coconut cream and fish stock if you are using it. (As I didn’t have the fish stock, I used Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast with a little bit of water). Add stalks of lemon grass
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has thickened
  6. Add fish fillets
  7. Stir until fish is cooked through
  8. Remove lemon grass and discard. Place fish on bed of rice
  9. If you have fish sauce and spring onions, add at this point, stir and then pour sauce over fish and bed of rice
  10. Serve with steamed greens or just on it’s own!

Sorry I didn’t get a before photo. I ate it too quick!

iPhone 5S 1374

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Recipe – Lemon Bliss Balls

Lemon Bliss Balls

I made these Lemon Bliss Balls to share with people at the first Riverland Health and Wellbeing Festival. Everybody LOVED them. Even those who looked hesitant when we told them there was no added sugar. No sugar doesn’t have to mean no taste!

These balls are perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. You can swap almonds for sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds for a nut-free version.

The ratios of ingredients are only rough estimates. When making these kind of things I stand in front of my thermomix with the pantry and fridge doors open and just add whatever I see. So feel free to alter the ratios to suit your taste.

Try this for starters…

  • 1 cup activated almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 7 medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Dessicated coconut for rolling them in

Mix all ingredients (except coconut) in a high speed blender or Thermomix until well combined.

Roll into balls, and then roll in coconut.

Store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Product of the Month – October – Superfoods for Kidz

Do you have fussy kids?

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Is dinner time a struggle when it comes to vegetables? Do you worry your children aren’t getting enough nutrients?

Nutraorganics has a perfect product for you. Superfoodz for Kidz is a variety of flavoured powders that can be added to any meal to boost the nutritional benefit. We tested some of the flavours (Choc Berry Chunk, Vital Veggie and C Berry Blast) at the Health & Wellbeing Festival and found there’s something for each child’s taste. These fruit and veggie powders can be added to Bliss Balls, muesli bars, home-made ice creams, slices, smoothies and wherever else you can imagine.

The powders are freeze-dried superfoods. Superfoods are foods that have been found to have a higher nutritional content than other foods. They have lots of antioxidants, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (rather than being artificially fortified), phytonutrients and bioflavonoids.

Superfoods for Kidz are available in the clinic for purchase or order online here.

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Superfoods for Kidz is made by Nutraorganics, an Australian-owned, Australian-based company on the Gold Coast. They source only the best quality ingredients and local ingredients if possible.

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