Honey-roasted Almond Butter

March 9, 2011 § 11 Comments

In the spirit of posting recipes like a champ, here is that drool-worthy almond butter recipe that I promised you. Please note the duration between aforementioned promise and delivery <one week. Win!

I also have a small confession to make…

This batch was really obstinate. After 1 hour, 200 expletives and a smoking food processor later, it STILL did not cream like the first lot. I stood over it as it skidded about in the barrel, refusing to release its precious oils, alternating between gentle coaxing ‘Come on! You can do it! Almost there!’ and explosive bursts of insults ‘You call yourself a gourmet butter!? I shoulda made PEANUT!’.

It was immune to my attacks, and I eventually admitted defeat. (Not the first time Almond butter has gotten the better of me!)

I’m pretty sure the reason for the semi-fail was to do with roasting time. Please roast your nuts properly before processing! I became much too impatient and removed this batch from the oven prematurely, and I think that spelled nutty disaster.

I know this recipe can be great, because the other day when I made it it worked a treat. So just keep yer mitts out of the oven and you’ll be cleaning almond butter from your ears in no time! (It’s a whole body affair).

Honey-roasted Almond Butter

(Inspired by, and adapted from Ashley’s Roasted Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter)

  • 3 c raw almonds (pesticide free if you can!)
  • 4 T organic honey
  • 1 T extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 t celtic sea salt

Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a tray with baking paper and add almonds, coating with 4 T honey. Bake for ~15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Watch them like a crazed hawk as they can start to burn in an instant, if not given enough attention (high maintenance baking).

Invest in colourful, fun-sized jars; arrange casually on bench. Oh hey, camera!

Pull out your almonds, but not too soon! They will be a huge sticky conglomeration of lurrrve. Allow to cool for 10-20 minutes, or until rock solid. Speaking of rock solid, I should warn you that at this stage the nuts will be…rock solid. Grab a spatula, put your back into it, and chisel the nuts off the paper. Place in food processor and blend for around 15 minutes, until it has gone through the various stages of compliance (better explained here).

You will know when it is ready. You’ll hear a dainty little almond-like sigh of defeat, and the butter will become smooth, shiny and drippy. At this stage, add the coconut oil, salt and cinnamon and whiz to combine.

Spoon into a worthy vessel and debate whether you REALLY wanted to send this off to a friend/family-member/co-worker.

Didn’t think so.

:D

Enjoy your night! x


Happy International Women’s Day & raw banana pie recipe.

March 8, 2011 § 14 Comments

I’m generally a punctual, reliable and downright conscientious individual.

With recipes however, an evil dark side lurks. You may have observed that promised how-to’s tend to evaporate into oblivion and are never spoken of again.

It’s certainly a pet reci-peeve of mine, and thus I blog before you today with all good intentions of nipping this ghastly habit in the bud.

My peace offering:

Raw choco-banana pie!

I originally made this raw banana pie to share with my man on Schmalentine’s day, and a couple of you have since requested the recipe.

The bad news is, I decided to include a big hit of raw cacao in my newest batch to make it a rich, chocolatey affair. I’m sorry to do this to you; I understand that you may just be repulsed by such an idea…:)

Simple, pantry-friendly ingredients:

BASE:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds & pepitas, mixed together (can just use almonds if you prefer)
  • 1 T raw honey
  • pinch (~1/8th t) celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon.

FILLING:

  • 2 medium-sized frozen bananas
  • 1 T raw cacao
  • 1/2-1 t raw honey, to liking

Place the 1/2 cup of nuts into your food processor and pulverize for around one minute until relatively fine. Then add 1 tablespoon of raw honey, salt and cinnamon to mixture and process until combined. Spoon your base mixture into a small crock lined with baking paper (mine was about 20cm in length and 10cm in diameter) and press into sides to make the crust.

Then add frozen bananas (chopped into chunks) into your processing beast and whir until ice-cream-like. Add cacao, and honey if desired. Dollop into crust.

This would be extra saucy topped with fresh strawberries, but alas none were to be had.

I lined my crock with paper, but you could definitely forego it and just eat it as is with a spoon. In fact, please do that.

Freeze for around an hour, and you have yourself the makings of a good night ;)

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You may or may not know that it’s also International Women’s Day today. In fact, it’s the 100th anniversary!

I am so incredibly thankful that I’ve grown up surrounded by strong, intelligent and inspiring women in a society in which gender discrimination is, for the most part, considered unacceptable. I have never been confronted with warped notions as to things I could or could not do as a female. I’ve been at liberty to express myself in whatever way I see fit, and enjoy the complete satisfaction of knowing my sex will never determine my destiny.

Historically women have not been so fortunate, and were forced to contend with damning scientific theories (ie. blood being diverted to the uterus for pregnancy thus lower brain capacity), marital domination, sexual atrocities (especially in times of war and unrest) and an array of painful and ridiculous fashion options (i’m thinking corsets, lead-based face powder and the modern stiletto!).

We live in fortunate times.

My mother is highly intelligent, vibrant and independent, raising the Bonne Santé gal solo – no mean feat.

Dad’s partner and my awesome step-mother, with a PhD in feminist theory, has informed my education more than any class or tut, expanding my vocabulary from the moment we met and supporting me through my awkward teenage years and beyond. Thanks to her, I am an unapologetic and empowered wo-man.

Needless to say, many amazing women exist in my life, and incidentally, the blog-world is FULL of them!

Which women have inspired you in your life? What do you like best about being a fierce and ferocious wo-man?!

 


Dietary tweaks.

March 6, 2011 § 10 Comments

Ahoy there!

Mooorrrrning has brroooooookkkeeennnnnnn!

I actually wrote this post about a week ago and it’s been sitting in my drafts giving me the stink eye ever since. It’s kinda tough because it involves some new dietary stuff, so roll with me here.

**************************************************************

I’m going to be extremely self-indulgent today and write a post squarely centered on myself. Oy, the spotlight.

In doing so, I’m less concerned about satisfying my engorged ego than shelling out some real-life experience that could assist others on their own road to health.

Y’all know that my fetish for all things nerdy and nutritional manifests itself in the constant revision of my diet, exercise regieme and lifestyle – I’ve always appreciated that finding a true healthy balance involves a lot of trial, error and evolution. I want to discover a way of being that satisfies not only my ideological viewpoint, but also nourishes my physical and spiritual health.

Being a self-declared fence-sitter (or perhaps just painfully open minded) means that i’m always keen to see things from a different perspective and have never wanted to lock myself into a specific diet or become caught up in dogma.

Experimenting is how I plan to eventually gain enough wisdom and first-hand experience to advise people as a qualified Naturopath/holistic wellness…person (some letters after the name would be nice!) and I’m a firm believer in the fact that not every diet works for every body.

I’m beating around some dense thicket here but basically the gist is, I’m being open minded about my health and the advice as given to me by my naturopath and other people whom I respect. This currently involves a little shift in what i’ve been known to eat.

For example:

That, my friends, is an egg. It may the the first egg to grace the halls of Bonne Santé.

Because I am writing in crazy, staccato, illogical mode right now, I’ll break it down…

Main Point: In the spirit of experimentation, I want to see how adding a few foods I previously considered to be unnecessary/sub-optimal back into my diet makes me feel.

Please note: These eggs are from a local grower who has a small-scale hobby farm and lets his hens roam freely, eat natural food and lay eggs where they wish. The carton came with a little newsletter that is written monthly to update buyers on the farm, hen-related-happenings and even the health of specific named chickens! I am confident that no harm comes to these animals and they are being treated with love and respect. That being said, I still grapple with the overriding philosophical question as to whether we are ever entitled to ‘own’ and use for our benefit, another living creature. In this sense, I cannot defend the choice to consume eggs and must sit with my internal conflict. I also wish to point out that I am in no way intending to eat meat again – I understand it’s value in a lot of diets and as always, cast no judgement, but for me I feel better energetically without it. I cannot reconcile with eating dead animals and although some may feel that eating any animal product is to be complicit in their worldwide abuse, I’ve chosen to simply see how I go.

Why? : Ever since I did my raw experiment at the end of last year, I haven’t been feeling so great. Not that I attribute this to the diet in any way; merely to illustrate a time frame. Apart from being hard-pressed to shake a recurring throat infection, I also find myself snacking like a deranged beggar (esp. after dinner), irritable/moody/heinously wench-like and displaying some worrying patterns of un-healthy thinking about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. Enjoying optimum health sometimes involves not thinking too hard about it, and I don’t want to become so rigid in my eating that it defeats the original purpose – to seize life by it’s man parts and enjoy the hell out of it.

I also want to eat mindfully (both in the not under/over eating sense, and ethically) and give my body what it truly needs so that I can squeeze the most out of every day. If this means incorporating some chicken menses a few times a week, then so be it.

UPDATE: One week later, and I’ve chowed through some happy hen-offerings and mulled things over. I appreciate that eggs are an amazing source of many essential vitamins and nutrients, not to mention a complete protein source and a convenient snack, however they’re still something I’m debating bringing back into my diet. They taste SO RICH to me now, and it’s not necessarily a flavour or sensation I crave. A big HMMMMMMMMMMM to the yolkers.

*****************************************************************

In other news, Notella has officially been usurped. Ousted. Replaced.

Meet my new lickable lover – honey roasted almond butter.

Holy butterballs.

I made a variation on Ashley’s Maple Roasted Cinnamon Butter, and my life will never be the same.

Then I took it up a notch by investing in some blindingly white and criminally crusty jewish sourdough to act as a vehicle for this obscene specimen of butterisation.

I eat bread rarely, but when I do, it’s gonna be freshly-baked, doughy decadence.

MORE INFO ON ALMOND BUTTER TO COME!

Now, I leave you with some pictures from my weekend antics. Mardi Gras themes – parental supervision required.

Peace and man-thongs to you all! x

Transylvanian mixed-bean stir-fry.

March 4, 2011 § 4 Comments

Aloha friends,

I’m currently out getting my Friday night on at a Mardis Gras spin off – Drag queen racing (fo’ real) which is an awesome, light-hearted and potentially hilarious Olympic gay event! I’m especially looking forward to the dainty dune dash and handbag discus!

So in honour of all things colourful, flamboyant and downright kooky, I’m leaving you with a delicious recipe for Transylvanian mixed-bean stir-fry, because beans are frankly more exciting when they’re all dressed up :)

Dressed-up in drag mixed-bean stir-fry

Assemble:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice (cooked in 1 cup water ~20 mins)
  • 1 cup mixed beans (I used canned – kudos if home cooked!)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 petite white onion (or 1/4 regular sized), diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T shoyu (or tamari)
  • 1 T organic honey
  • 1/2 t chilli flakes
  • 3 mushrooms
  • chopped veggies (I used kale, broccoli, carrot, zucchini) with 1/4 c water for steaming

Add rice to saucepan with water, bring to boil & reduce to simmer until liquid is absorbed (~20 minutes). Meanwhile, dice garlic, ginger, onion, mushroom and mountain of veg. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add garlic, ginger, mushroom, onions & cook until translucent/slightly golden (~3 minutes). Add remaining vegetables, wilt and add 1/4 c water and place lid over top. Steam for a few minutes to soften, and allow water to cook off. In a small bowl or cup, mix shoyu, honey and chilli and set aside. When the rice has finished cooking, add your beans to the same saucepan to heat through, and throw in steamed vegetables from the frying pan. Pour over sauce and stir to coat. Serves 2. (I usually add more shoyu while i’m eating, for extra saltiness!).

Bonne Friday to you all!

x

One minute chocolate fix.

February 27, 2011 § 10 Comments

Morning bloginis!

Isn’t sunrise the most perfect, tranquil, refreshing time of day? Morning exercise always starts things off on the right foot (or left, on occasion).

Soak it up.

I’ve got to run and make myself semi-presentable for work, but I thought I’d leave you with a big hit of crack-cao for your early Sunday theobromine fix.

When you want chocolate, STAT!

1/3 c raw cacao

1/4 c raw honey

1 T coconut oil

Mix mix mix.

Add some orange zest, a touch of vanilla and almonds for a decidedly lindt-like experience.

My prescription: pour over pancakes, add to oats, freeze in a bar, spoon from the jar.

Happy Sunday!

 

Notella, by request.

February 24, 2011 § 27 Comments

After months of attending classes on OH&S, appropriate client/practitioner relations (apparently sexy massage is NOT within the scope of Naturopathy) and how to tell a foot from an arm, we have finally landed on the juicy stuff at school.

Nutrition. Herbs. Homeopathy. You name it, we are brewing it up in our big bubbling cauldrons.

The issue is that learning about nutrition, whilst fun and informative, tends to send the whole class into a strange state of culinary nostalgia. Analysing sugars prompts us to recall allllll the iridescent candy we consumed as children, one-upping each other with tales of cookie binges, 10-slice wonder-bread sandwich monstrosities and inevitably, Nutella. Eaten with a spoon from the jar, of course. Occasionally with some bread on top.

Reminiscing about all the ways we used to eat, snort and swim in Nutella got me thinking that I should try to replicate this kiddie-crack at home, with fewer & far more wholesome ingredients.

Presenting my first attempt at NOTella.

Vegan Notella, for the nut-butter enthusiast.

I was really happy with how this turned out, however it does not have quite the same taste & texture as the revered original. Being exceedingly wholesome, palm-oil free and homemade however gives it tons of extra foodie cred for me. The process of making a nut-butter yourself while requiring a little more time and patience is an exciting exercise for the closet Nutella fiend.

You will need:

  • Food processor fitted with the S blade (you cannot do this in your blender, sorry kids)
  • Approx. 4 cups raw organic hazelnuts
  • 1/2 t celtic sea salt
  • 2 T raw cacao powder
  • 2 T (generous) happy local honey or vegan sweetener (agave/maple)
  • 1 t room temperature extra virgin coconut oil
  • Glass jars for storage

Assemble army of raw hazelnuts; novelty spoon optional.

Lay the nuts out on an oven tray lined with baking paper and toast for 8-10 minutes at 200 degrees C. It’s important to keep checking them as they will burn in a snap if you forget about them whilst thinking of more clever veg*n food puns (chick-un, tofurkey…dad joke central).

Why not sterilize your jars while you wait?

After removing from the oven and allowing them to cool, try to de-shell as many nuts as possible by rubbing them between your fingers or a tea-towel. This gets rid of the extra husk and will make for a smoother end result, but don’t get too hung up about it for every second you waste is keeping you from your Notella destiny.

Place the hazelnuts in your food processor beast and begin the epic process of turning solid, stubborn nuts into compliant, creamy butter.

Stage one: quietly confident.

Stage two: minutes have passed and you’re now quietly confident that I’m a lying vegan scoundrel.

Stage three: 8 minutes and 3-thousand side-scrapings later, you remove Bonne Santé from your bookmarks bar.

Stage four: it starts to come together; your minimal faith in my recipe credibility is restored!

Stage five: FIST PUMP! 12-15 minutes of processing and a suspected case of tinnitus from the perpetual whirring later, NUT BUTTER IS FORMED!

It’s important to keep processing even after it starts to look buttery, because it takes an extra couple of minutes for the nuts to release their luscious oils.

To make it more true to Nutella, I stirred in 2 T raw cacao powder, 2 heaping T of organic honey, 1/2 t sea salt and 1 t coconut oil after the butter had formed. I have read that it’s best to delay adding other ingredients until you’ve processed the bollocks out of the nuts because it can mess with the chemical/magical butterisation, but other recipes call for the addition of oils & sweeteners as you go, so I imagine you could get creative. My additions are also not overly sweet or rich, so feel free to amp up the cacao content and get decadent. Yields around 2.5 cups.

Bows recommended.

The perfect gift!

Now, to see if it will last until Nutrition class on Monday :)

Deconstructed vegan taco and other fun stuff.

February 22, 2011 § 2 Comments

Howdy health hobbits!

Random lily for your enjoyment

How awkward are Tuesdays? If Wednesday’s are the armpit of the week, then surely Tuesday’s are the groin. Luckily, today was light on crotch and heavy on awesome!

As you know, I shunned the Pill last week and am a few days into the hormonal battlefield. No landmines have as yet exploded in my face, however I do have a bit of a breakout right now (that I can perhaps more logically attribute to the jar of almond butter I ate last weekend. My bad). I feel quite well in myself, but am staving off visions of acne eruptions, weight fluctuations and the growth of a lady-beard. Stranger things have happened.

Apart from a gross over-analysis of my pill-withdrawl, today was also one of those perfect, beautiful, ordinary days in which I was thankful for such fabulous friends and happy surrounds.

My exceptionally dynamic, vivacious, globetrotting college buddy, Jack, has also started his own blog called Light Minded which you can check out here.  He inspires me daily with his crazy backpacking anecdotes and eternal optimism, so I think his website will definitely be one to watch for anyone interested in becoming a jedi/yogi master (let’s face it, who isn’t?!).

It always excites me to gain more rockin’ cyber buddies.

Speaking of, I also had the opportunity to meet the gorgeous Kate from Green and Juicy today now that she attends my college. (It’s officially the nerdy nutrition epicenter! I love it). My suspicions that we would be like two cacao beans in a pod were confirmed, and I’m claiming it as my first blogger meet-up! She is just as smart & vibrant in real life as on her blog, so if you haven’t already, please head over to G&J for your holistic wellness fix!

Another beautiful college friend also gave me a belated birthday present that took the day up a notch:

I rarely buy jewelery for myself, and somehow manage to receive the loveliest pieces from friends and family. This angel certainly has a special energy and i’m touched by the kindness with which it was given. Thank you Tshu :)

The awesome Caitlin from Roost also showed me a preliminary header-design for the blog today too, so that made my day extra groovy. Can’t wait to pimp the old BS; it’s a little down in the jowls.

What else, what else?

You might like this article about finding motivation in the wee-hours of the morning. Getting out of bed with a purpose is the ultimate way to start the day.

And with that completely indulgent recap of my awesome day, I’ll leave you with my din-wah tonight.

Deconstructed vegan millet taco. (That does not really resemble a taco).

  • 1/2 millet
  • ~1 cup water
  • herbamare (or other herbal seasoning)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • a few organic mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • salad essentials (greens/carrot/cherry toms/cucumber/sprouts)
  • fresh coriander

Place 1/2 cup millet into a saucepan and toast over medium heat until slightly golden. Carefully add 1 cup of water plus seasoning to taste and bring to the boil. Reduce to simmer for approx 30 mins, or until liquid is absorbed (you might want to add more water depending on how dry/fluffy you like it). While millet is cooking, add 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil to a saucepan and bring to medium heat. Add garlic, onion & mushrooms & sautee until soft. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your spoon – then add in your beans. Add cumin, cayenne, salt & pepper and reduce to simmer. Prepare your salad by finely shredding your greens, dicing the carrot & cucumber, halving the cherry toms and roughly chopping the coriander. Plate up millet, bean mix & salad topping with sprouts & more coriander.

This had a nice mexican flavour, but was light, healthy & super tasty! Am I the only one who goes nuts for warm food over fresh salad?

Have you ever had a super-charged Tuesday? What little things are making you happy right now?

x

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