Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Easter bunny found us.... Raw chocolate and all! wink wink.

Holiday are so much fun- the anticipation of the Easter bunny coming and what he might bring fills our house with excitement and joy (and also a very good lever for bribery.....we all do it I'm sure). This Easter we tried something new- we made our own chocolates, wrapped them in beautiful foil and the Easter bunny was kind enough to deliver them around our garden for a wonderful egg hunt on Easter Sunday morning. How lovely and considerate of him to be obliging to help us raise our children the way we choose to. And at the moment, that means no sugar, no dairy, no crop oils, and no gluten.
raw chocolate eggs filled with chocolate avocado mousse 
Raw chocolate eggs, the big one filled with shredded coconut and almonds
Our family has been milk free for nearly 2 months. I've been making my own almond milk each week and storing it in the fridge. I put it in Pip's porridge and make her 'chocolate' milks with it. She has no idea. Milk just comes out of a jar these days instead of a plastic carton.
We also have been bread free for nearly 4 months, a gradual change that no one actually noticed until I pointed out that I hadn't in fact bought bread for a very long time. Whenever anyone asked for toast in the morning, it was a simple 'oh, we have no bread left, lets have porridge/ eggs/ gf muesli instead.'

Enjoying the Easter egg hunt!

Whenever I tell someone we don't eat dairy, i get the whole 'what about their bones, won't they be calcium deficient and break them' followed by concerned looks like I'm turing into a crazy hippy mother and they want to slip my children a glass of milk etc etc etc.
I feel for the parents of children who are dairy intolerant (SO many out there) who are often filled with fear over their child's perceived lack of calcium because they can't tolerate dairy.
So lets clear up the whole 'dairy is the best source of calcium' fallacy....

I'll start with a very interesting fact.
The USA has the highest intake of calcium. 
They also have the highest rate of osteoporosis. 
Go figure.
This is because it's not the intake of calcium that matters- it's the way we absorb and retain it. Bioavailability is the way in which your body can absorb, use and store a substance.

Building strong bones does not only depend on calcium. You need a a whole range of minerals and vitamins to get that calcium into your bones. You need Vit C, Vit D, Vit K, magnesium, phosphorus to get that calcium into the bones and to make the bony matrix, which is where bone strength comes from.
 So that skim milk you're drinking that's fortified with calcium is pretty much doing nothing to help strengthen your bones. That calcium is not accompanied by ALL the other key vitamins and minerals so it can actually become bioavailable. Your body will just excrete it via the kidneys. In other words you're weeing it all out. What a waste.
But.... if you were to eat some leafy greens- say some kale, which is a high source of calcium and includes a whole range of other vitamins and minerals- Vit D, magnesium, Vit K, phosphorus, Vit C- all needed for calcium bioavailability. You a great source of calcium which is able to be absorbed, used and stored and you can grow it in your own backyard.
Nature is clever. It not only puts the nutrients we need in plant and animal sources, but it also adds all the other vital little bits to make our bodies able to absorb, use and store it. 

Bam. There you go. Dairy myth busted.

Unfortunately in Australia all dairy must be homogenised and pasteurised to decrease the risk of contamination. This is unfortunate because RAW milk, from happy cows free to graze and frolic in paddocks, is a fantastic source of calcium, vitamin A, D and K2! This is milk in it's pure form, straight from the udder, no heating, pasteurising, homogenising. These processes destroy most of the vitamin and minerals that enable calcium to be bioavailable.

If you are going to have dairy I have a few tips. Have it as yoghurt only. The fermentation processes adds beneficial probiotics. Get it from happy cows- grass fed (not grain), organic, humanely raised cows. Always have full fat. Skimming the milk removes what little goodness there was in there in the first place. Five:am yoghurt have a fantastic range of organic yoghurt

There is such an array of other 'milk' choices out there- almond, coconut you can try instead of dairy if you're adamant on having a it in your coffee (please not soy though *gasp). Remember- you can make your own nut milk SO easily, and so much more cost effective than store bought. Look at the labels too- lots of non-dairy milks are loaded with extra sugars, preservatives and nasties. Go for organic wherever possible.

So, now are you wondering what the other great sources of calcium are from non dairy sources?
Well- here is a list-
Almonds, hazlenuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, chia seeds
Salmon, Sardines
Bone broth
Kale, Spinach, Collard greens, figs, dandelion, broccoli, rhubarb, oranges.

I made the kids a banana smoothie yesterday, packed with calcium and lots of other goodies to help them grow big and strong. Pip and Jimmy both LOVED it! 
1 decent sized banana
1 cup of kale (loosely packed)
1/2 full fat coconut milk
1/2 -3/4 filtered water (depending on how runny you like it)
1/2 cup blueberries
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon flax meal.

Whizz up with either a stick blender or your blender/food processor. Add more water if you like, or eat it with a spoon ;)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Pizza pizza pizza

Hi everyone!
Wow, how long has it been between post?! I'm sorry- I've been busy, and let's be real, I've been lazy and preoccupied snuggling with my babes, enjoying the beautiful weather, and forever cleaning my kitchen /never ending housework.
Also, we lost our beloved pooch Turkish after a short illness. He was our baby before we had babies, our most divine, sooky, cat hating, doona stealing, lover of kisses, talkative, smiling, escape artist, loving, fatty fat boy, Turka, Turkey, Turkey Werky, Turkey Boy. He gave us 10 beautiful years of unconditional love, and we miss him dearly. Our dear little Pip seems to be ok about it- she picked a star in the night sky so she can talk to him when she wants. I ask if she misses him and she said 'Nope! It's ok Mummy, we've still got the chooks'. (Yep- we got 4 girls named Rosie 1, 2 & 3 and Rainbow). It seems that kids aren't as emotionally attached to animals as us adults are! RIP Turk

If you follow my Instagram you'll see that I have been cooking, just finding the motivation to sit down and blog it is lacking at the moment. So I have decided to make you all a promise! I WILL blog you a recipe every week. Maybe even twice a week! I'm going to get my butt organised!! 

So- today's recipe is a delicious pizza base, and I say base because you can put whatever you like on the top- as long as it's wonderful and nutritious, and going to nourish your insides ;)
This base is gluten free, grain free, nut free, dairy free, vegan and delicious! It's a soft pizza base, very delicious and nearly fluffy due to the moist zucchini, so be careful with it when removing from the tray.

You can see here I've put some raw, dairy free supergreens pesto (super simple- check out The Whole Pantry app) some roasted red onion, roasted eggplant, fresh sliced tomato, and oven cooked spiced chicken, and topped with dollops of yummy creamy avocado mash. This is pretty much just what I had in the fridge on the day I made it- you could top with anything you like!

zucchini pizza base with sweet potato chips on the side
Zucchini pizza base

3/4 cup grated zucchini
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sea salt
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
3 1/2 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds (optional but an extremely great source of nutrients)
4 tablespoons flax seeds.
3 grinds of pepper (or how much you like) you could also add any herbs or spices you like.


Roast up your favourite veg- or decide what topping you want and pre prepare them.

Preheat oven to 150 C
Line and grease (with coconut oil) a baking tray 

In food processor,  grind up seeds (except flax seeds) until fine. 
Add in zucchini, water, lemon juice, flax seeds and salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.
Spread mix on baking tray in 5 mm thick circle- either 2 small circles or 1 large circle/ depending on how big you want your pizza.
Tip- wet a spoon, or you hands and smooth it out- the water will stop the mix sticking to your hands/spoon.

Cook pizza base for 15-20min, checking after 10 min to make sure it's not burning (every oven is different). The edges will go golden well before the centre. A bigger circle will take much longer than smaller ones ;)
If you find edges are burning and the centre not cooking, turn down your oven by 10-15 degrees and cook for longer.

Very carefully remove from baking tray, and top with toppings of your choice!

Monday, 3 February 2014

Summer salad with quinoa, peach and sweet dukkah chicken

It's really hot here.
We've not had a day under 28 degrees for about 2 weeks.... TOO LONG! Today we're sitting on a cool 35 degrees, with the next 7 days expected to be between 35-40. Delight. The amazing CFA have been doing it tough battling fires that continue to burn in our area. Hats off to these awesome people who are keeping us all safe.

This hot weather has me pining for a refreshingly light salad and simple protein to keep me satisfied. And since peaches and nectarines are in season here I thought I'd throw them in for that lovely fresh sweetness.
The dukkah chicken is also great- since it's baked, you don't need to stand next to a hot pan. Pop them in the oven for 12-15 min and you're done.
This salad is so delicious- the dressing is a light vinaigrette which matches perfectly with sweet peach, creamy avocado and nutty quinoa, and that satisfying crunch of cos lettuce. Top with the dukkah chicken (hot or cold) and you've got a scrumptious lunch or dinner that everyone will love!

Summer salad with quinoa, peach and sweet dukkah chicken

Serves 2

Dukkah chicken

1 chicken breast, cut into 2 cm strips 
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cracked black and white pepper
1/4 cup almonds
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon pistachos 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Grind spices together in spice grinder (or mortar and pestle) until finely ground. Add in nuts and seeds and pulse (or smash up) until chunky. 
Toss chicken through dukkah mix, coating evenly. Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray. Pop into oven for 12-15 min (depending on how thick you've cut your chicken).

Tip- I find using whole spices and grinding them myself gives a better flavour and fills your kitchen with a delicious scent. But pre bought ground spices will do just fine.

Quinoa and peach salad

1 head of cos lettuce (or use whatever you like, spinach leaves, rocket, lettuce will also work well)
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 avocado diced
1 peach or nectarine (or even mango would work well) finely sliced


Rinse and cook quinoa in 1 cup water, simmer gently with lid on until you can see 'tails'- about 12 min. Add more water if it's not cooked and you've run out of water (test a little bit- if it's still crunchy it's not cooked).
Once cooked, spread out on a plate to cool.
Wash and drain lettuce, cutting up into bite sized chunks. Add in avocado and peach.

Vinaigrette Dressing 

(enough for 4 serves, so keep some aside)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of maple syrup/ rice malt syrup
1/2 cup olive oil/ avocado oil.

Whisk together ingredient until combined.  

Add cooled quinoa to salad, drizzle dressing over and toss through salad. 
Plate up salad, and top with chicken and some lightly roasted almonds if you like :)

Clair xx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Turkey burger

We survived! Christmas and New Year are behind us- hooray! Our Christmas was 2 days of non stop eating, family, fun and water! We packed up after Boxing day and headed to the beach (hence my quiet blogosphere!) 
beach fro
New Years morning at the beach
'shameless selfie' 
Get in ma belly


 We had a wonderful time at the beach, eating fresh fish, shark, abalone and crayfish everyday. It was delicious! Nothing beats fresh seafood!

Anyway! Onto my turkey burger recipe! This is very simple, tasty and full of goodness to nourish your body post Xmas/ New Year festivities.... Perfect for a light dinner, and easily refrigerated for lunch the next day, so go ahead and make a double mix. It has a great mix of protein, carbohydrates and fats to perfectly fill your belly and keep you satisfied. Choose your own salads to go in your burger- anything tastes great (more tips below).
Turkey burger on a sweet potato 'bun' with seasonal salad and tahini dressing


Turkey burger (makes 2 burgers)
300gms turkey mince
1/2 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 egg
1/2 carrot, grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch of salt and pepper.
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds ground in mortar a pestle

sesame seeds and poppy seeds to top the burgers.

Feel free to mix up the spices- add extra or omit, depending on your taste.

Sweet potato 'bun'
1 sweet potato, cut into 5mm discs.
1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil to coat

Tahini dressing
1 tablespoon of tahini (sesame paste)
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of water
sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)
Mix all together until well combine. Add more water if too thick.


Preheat oven to 180'
Coat sweet potato in coconut oil, place on lined oven tray and pop in oven for 40min
Meanwhile, make your turkey burgers-

Turkey burger
In a small pan, cook onion and garlic until soft. Put onion and garlic mix in a large bowl and add all other ingredients. Combine well.
With slightly wet hands, shape into two round burger patties with flat tops
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper/ silpat mat.
Top with sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
After 20min have gone by on the oven, pop your turkey patties into the oven. At the same time, remove, flip, and return your sweet potato discs to the oven.

Once time is up (20 min) check your patties are cooked through (please adjust depending on your own oven) remove and plate up sweet potato on the bottom followed by salad/veggies of your choice, turkey burger then a big dollop of tahini dressing. Sprinkle with nuts if you like (I used activated pepitas in the picture)

On my burgers I had grilled zucchini (i used the same pan as the onion and garlic was cooked on), tomato, avocado and spinach, but you can put what ever you like (think cucumber, beetroot, or even some sweet mango, avo and mint goes deliciously with spicy foods)
My garden is over flowing with zucchini and tomatoes so they go in everything I eat at the moment!


Clair xx