Oct 31, 2010

Snap. Crackle. Pop.

Ok so here it is as promised - the CHOCOLATE CRACKLE RECIPE from Heaven.

It's an adaptation of a recipe I got from an online course I've been doing for almost a year now.

1 cup buckwheat
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut
6 tbsp cacao
4 tbsp agave syrup

Soak the buckwheat overnight in a bowl of water (make sure it's well immersed), then rinse it well when you bound out of bed! And dehydrate until it's crunchy (usually about 12hrs; if you don't have a dehydrator you can use your oven on 45 degrees).

Throw all your ingredients into a bowl (like my 'bowl'? Having recently moved house you come to slowly realise what you do and dont have in your kitchen. Note to self; buy a big mixing bowl).

Melt your coconut oil over a hot bowl of water, and then mix all the ingredients together. This is my favourite part. The smell of chocolate starts to take over... the sound of wet and dry ingredients merge making sticky sounds... mmm childhood no?

Once well incorporated, TASTE TEST! I think this is my favourite part! A good cook always taste tests (but make sure you leave some to put into patty pans)!!
If you're taste buds want it sweeter, add more agave. If they want something chewy through it, add some raisins. EXPERIMENT! And then spoon your delicious mixture into little patty pans and refrigerate to set!

(Take to college and watch the girls melt) :)

Oct 29, 2010

The Lure of Fasting

So I was going to write up a recipe for a childhood fav of many - delicious, crunchy, smile-on-ur-dial,
CHOCOLATE CRACKLES I made the other day for the college girls... or possibly show all the photos from the dinner I made Brock for his birthday... but right now I feel the urge to write about something completley different (sorry girls, recipe next post I promise).

I just read an article posted by Gena from Choosing Raw (my favourite blogspot hands down) titled

"The Lure of Juice Fasting"

- appropriate title having succumbed to it myself on previous occasions. I've even written about the benfits of juicing here and when I feel it's right to be drinking more juices here, and then how I went on one juice fast here, here and here.

It's an intersting topic of debate it seems - Is juice fasting "good" or "bad"? Is juice fasting NECESSARY?
And since I began dabbling into RAW foods last year, the concept has always intrigued me. I was an advocate you could say. But I also felt like an imposter. Surrounded by like-minded people, the "raw community" are usually all for juice fasting. It makes sense; their diets are usually already so clean that fasting is easy(er). Yet something about it was always hard for me. For many reasons I felt juicing was great; some beneficial - I wondered how I would feel? Perhaps my skin will clear? Perhaps my digestion will improve? Will my energy levels soar? Etc etc etc. And all those reasons are great, and valid, and were enough to give it a try. Numerous tries. But I know some of my reasons, disguised by good intentions, were not so well intended.

But back to JUICING. On a very basic level, the benefits of juicing are HUGE. I've read alot about it, spoken to people about it, listened to others about it, and tried it myself. It can be liberating, cleansing, uplifting. But it can also be painful, tiring, and very tough. It all comes down to the individual and what their diet was like to begin with - in my opinion.

I believe that if an individual eats wholefoods in their most natural state; sprouts and sprouted nuts and seeds, organic fruits and vegies, pure water, pseudograins such as quinoa, buckwheat, and millet, seaweeds, cold pressed oils, good fats, superfoods, etc to obtain optimal nutrition, and chooses NOT to eat processed, refined, synthetic foods, then juice fasting shouldn't NECESSARILY be necessary. If however the diet in discussion is one high in refined processed foods and lacking quality wholefoods then yes, I believe juice fasting (even for a day) would be of some benefit. However, and perhaps ironically, going the whole hog and juicing for weeks straight from a meat/dairy/acid diet I would not recommend (unless of course it was in conjunction with a series of colonics - another can of worms I could write about for ages). Yet these people would no doubt benefit more wouldn't you think? Once they're past the first hurdle at least.

Personally, there was always something about juicing that didn't quite gel for me. Was it willpower - or more a lack of? Was it the lengthy time it took in preparing my juices that got to me? Or the difficulty in seeing everyone around me eat solid foods whilst I had told myself I wasn't allowed too? I wanted to be the girl who could fast for weeks and weeks and look AMAZING, feel SENSATIONAL, and be BOUNDING with energy. Perhaps living amongst the chaos of Sydney makes it tricky, and if I were out on retreat in the middle of the desert of Arizona it would be easier, but whatever the reason/s, juicing for extended periods of time is hard for me to do.

Then reading Gina's post this morning, I thought perhaps it's my bodies way of protecting itself as I can relate to Gina here:

"I’m also on the slender side, and tend to lose weight without too much difficulty if I don’t eat plentifully enough. I don’t think my system would stand up well to nearly nonexistent levels of fat and protein for days at a time."

And for other reasons here; a quote that I could have written myself:

"given my psychological history, skipping meals is a minefield I’d rather not tread upon... A raw foodist friend once tried to explain how fasting helps you move “beyond food,” and to detach yourself from eating. For numerous years of my life I ate sporadically or not at all. The last thing I need is to prove that I don’t need food, emotionally or psychologically. I do need food, but not in a way that’s bad. Realizing this has been one of the major accomplishments of my adult years."

"...she did enjoy the feeling of detachment from physicality, sensuality, which is truly the emotional promise of a fast. This hit home with me, because I believe it’s what so many anorexics seek out, and find, with starvation. Let’s file this under “reasons I don’t think former anorexics ought ever to get too involved with fasting.” But let me also say that, as alluring as that feeling of ethereality might be, I’d like to remind all of my readers that the feeling of solid, grounded, nourishment is sweeter in so many ways. Newman writes, “I wasn’t thinking about food. I wasn’t thinking about drink. I wasn’t even thinking about sex. The appetites that rule me every single day were my slaves, for once. By that third day I wasn’t craving anything. I was free.”

As liberating as it may feel to not be thinking or feeling about food, drink, sex or anything for that matter... it is also extremely numbing in every sense. I can see how that may appeal to alot of poeple, myself included, but having been there I know it's not a particuarly nice place to be in, and one that can also be very hard to get out of. It's ADDICTIVE. And this is where my not-so-beneficial reasons for wanting to fast step from.

"You won’t hear me deny that weightlessness, lightness, emptiness, and cleanliness are all appealing physical sensations. They are, and I wonder if I’ll ever have a day when I don’t sometimes cast an eye backward and yearn for those feelings again. But they’re risky yearnings, and they strike me as inhumane in the deepest of ways."

All that said, I do still yearn to fast. Alot. But is it the healthiest thing for me to be doing given my past? Probably not. Will that stop me in the future? Again, probably not entirely. But at least now I feel I have a better understanding of my (sometimes erratic) thoughts and acknowledgement of how I function (again, albeit sometimes erratic).

Crazy. Does what I wrote even make sense? Who knows. It's taken me a good few hours of thinking and pondering and staring out the window to finally get that out of my head and onto the screen so even if it doesn't make sense, I'm not fussed. I'm used to feeling a little confused :)

Anyways, I'll be sure to post up the Chocolate Crackles recipe over the weekend so be sure to check back. Until then, enjoy the last of the Friday sunshine :)

Oct 26, 2010

Keen-Wah what??

Detox DAY 10 and feeling GREAT!

Just a quick check in and another delicious brekkie I had at work this morning -

Quinoa (soaked for a day and a half)
Chia seeds (soaked for 10 minutes or so)
Dried figs (3 of these, soaked overnight)
Almonds (few of these babies soaked overnight also)
Banana (fresh and sliced)
Flaxmeal (sprinkled ontop)

If you've never heard of QUINOA (pronounced KEEN-WAH) check it out here. If you;ve never eaten it before, you're sure missing out. Quinoa is actually the seed from a plant that is closely related to leafy green vegetables such as spinach and beets. A nutritional POWERHOUSE it is incredibly high in PROTEIN, as well as iron, calcium and magnesium. It's got a beautiful nutty taste and goes well with either sweet or savoury.

Oct 21, 2010

Chewy Chia Cereal on Detox

So I'm onto Day 5 of my DETOX and so far so good. I had a few niggly bowel issues at the start of the week but they now seem to have gotten their shit in order - pardon the pun.

So here is a quick and easy recipe I've been having each morning that anyone can make. It's what I'm currently eating for brekkie but it can be made anytime when the urges for chewy chia goodness arise.

My Chewy Chia Cereal

1 Tbsp chia seeds (high in omegas, as well as calcium, protein, and iron, assisting in moving things through the digestive tract)
1/4-1/2 cup of filtered water

Soak the chia seeds in water, stirring, for about 10 minutes minimum to allow the seeds to come mucilagenous - meaning they will thicken considerably and the water will turn to a gel. You could also experiment with juices or COCONUT WATER in place of water.

Then choose your toppings!
I've got:

Sunflower seeds (omega fatty acids)
Pepita seeds (omega fatty acids)
Goji berries (complete raw protein, high antioxidants)
Raisins (for chewy goodness)
Buckwheat (soaked and sprouted, full of protein)
Cinnamon to taste (antiinflammatory, great for circulation and energy)

Probably a tablespoon of each, more buckwheat, less cinnamon of course.

Maca, cacao or carob are also great, protein powder can easily be mixed in too, but on DETOX I'm not eating any of these.

Then mix it all together

I also added a teaspoon or two of flax meal and sliced a banana on top


Wondering why it's not in a pretty bowl? It's my take-away-brekkie that I eat when I get to work.

Speaking of which... gotta run! Have a great day!

Oct 17, 2010

Juice in a bag

What weird wild weather we’ve been having lately here in Sydney!?! Chronic winds, FREEZING temperatures, yet beautiful sunny skies!

So to go with it – a NEW (WEIRD and WILD) thing I tried this week.

Brock surprised me with this –

It’s a juice/smoothie in a bag. I suppose it’s perfect for anyone SERIOUSLY on the go. Cant eat lunch? Grab a juice. Cant wait for a juice? Grab it in a bag! It’s 100% organic ingredients made me smile from ear to ear, but when I ripped it open and began slurping it down while ordering fruit and veg for the shop, the taste wasn’t amazing. Dare I say I prefer my own juices.

I've also started a DETOX this morning. I decided I wanted to do one only yesterday so I've got my herbs, a few interesting recipes up my sleeve and will be following it for 15 days. I'll keep you posted on how I go and in my next blog will share a yummy RECIPE for a quick brekkie that anyone can make.

Until then... Green love and white light

Oct 12, 2010

A (biased) wedding meal to die for

I feel like I've soooooo much to play catch up on it's like I'm talking to a girlfriend who I havn't seen in MONTHS!

So, the reasons for my absense from blogging in a week and a half... there's the moving out of ONE home, BACK home to mums for a week then into the NEW home with Brock. All in 2 weeks. It's been stressful, busy, EXCITING, fun, and we're still unpacking and getting everything in order. I'll be sure to post some pics up when it's all pretty and complete but here's one of our sunny backyard -

Then there's work - at the health food shop I love - my boss came back from her 2 month honeymoon so I got a well deserved break last week (which beautifully coincided with moving house so not really a break), but back to work this week - 7days straight too! But I can't complain; if I wasnt working I'd probably be visiting the girls to say hi :)

College is back so I've been trying to organise myself there. I've got clients, assignments, presentations and weekly work to keep up with. Seeing the girls again is awlays nice. I LOVE our class - we've become a sisterhood who know one another upside down and inside out. Like family :)

And then last Friday, Brock, Berry, and my sisters Nikki and Lisa all piled into the car for a 6hr ROADTRIP out to Narromine in north west NSW for our step-sisters wedding. It was out at our step-dads pub/hotel which meant we were the ones organising it all. GREAT FUN but alot of work. Although it was kinda cool laying out table settings and blowing up balloons knowing you were the ones who would be appreciating it all a few hours later.
The same with the food. I was preparing the meals for Brock and I. Which meant we could have anything we wanted and that it was gonna taste UNREAL!

And so, my creative juices were flowing for a few weeks prior. What to make? Of course DESSERT got me the most excited but let's start at the beginning...

Mum was the one to come up with an entree idea as she made me a quick, easy, delicious one for Xmas in July. And so she replicated it -

Sliced cucumbers topped with an avocado mash, tomato and onion relish and alfalfa, garnished with zucchini strips, black pepper and drizzled with olive oil.

Our main dish was an Asian-inspired salad. Brock and I wanted something different to what we would normally have and after discussing ingredients, I came up with this -

Shredded cabbage, carrot, corn, cauliflower, snow pea sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, cashew nuts, coriander, and chilli flakes mixed with a dressing of olive oil, soy sauce, fresh lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Perfect textures and contrasts of salty and tangy with sweet corn and carrots.

And then DESSERT... usually my speciality if I do say so, and even this time, I impressed myself. I kept it simple so I didnt have to take too many ingredients away with me, and made a DELICIOUS, smooth, creamy, SOFT, sweet layered parfait pudding I'd like to call...

Choco-Coco-Nana Pudding.

I began with sliced bananas, then a banana and cacao blend. Topped with a date and almond crumble, then a coconut layer (made from coconut flesh, coconut water, soaked cashews and coconut oil). Ontop of that I layered more banana slices and fresh blueberries, then a chia-coconut water mix. More banana-cacao mix, more coconut mix, more bananas, blueberries, and cacao nibs.

It was AMAZING! Brock and I did get a few looks from other guests as to what we were so thoroughly enjoying. Wedding fruit cake was dessert for the rest of the troops. Not so exciting.

The wedding was alot of fun; after a black out and disappearance of photos from the photographers memory stick... we all danced the night away singing and laughing before happily hitting the hay after a very long day.

Ooh, one last thing, the buckwheat pizza Brock and I had almost 2 weeks ago that I promised to show you guys photos of...

Topped with fresh rocket and avo, with side salads to boot! We ate it on the carpet in front of the fire watching a move on TV.

Next post - who knows what I'll write about but I promise it wont be far off!