Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Nine

My belly is happily full of crumble cake and sweet potato and spinach salad and I am sleepy from a day spent out under a tree canopy picnicking with my family. Now I am slow cooking some beef ribs for Chris and experimenting with a new eggplant recipe to share with you all this week. There has been a lot to be grateful for just today, and the rest of the week has been just as wonderful. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Nine:

mango smoothie with granolaMonday: Today when I got home and got to work on a new project that I am working on, and that I will reveal soon. I was so grateful for the opportunity to take part in this venture and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

Tuesday: I had some cupcake making to do tonight! Even when they aren’t for me to eat, I do love making cupcakes and I am always grateful to have a chance to make something that is going to be part of someone’s celebratory occasion. And there were leftovers, so I got to make the guys at Chris’s work very, very happy with some chocolate cupcakes.

Wednesday: Today I was grateful for the morning hours. I woke up super early (I’m changing up my running schedule) and went for a 9km run at the gym, then came home and decorated some cupcakes for a job that I needed to deliver on the way to work. Even though my commute was awful this morning, I had a great start and some mad endorphins to be grateful for and to keep me smiling all morning through.

cupcake 25-2Thursday: Tonight we watched the final episode of Parks and Recreation (no spoilers I promise) and I still wish I could live in Pawnee, Indiana. I’ve never even been to Indiana, but Pawnee seems like a perfect place to live. It’s always sunny, there are lots of national parks to go hiking in, and there is a heavy emphasis on breakfast foods. Plus, who wouldn’t want Leslie Knope as a boss? That is one sassy and inspiring lady. I am grateful for all the laughs and ‘aaaawwws’ this show has given Chris and me.

pumpkin and brown rice bowlFriday: Today I went for another awesome long run before work. I am actually enjoying running on the treadmill at 5am because they show an hour of CBS ‘This Morning’ and I get to catch up on what’s happening on the other side of the world while our work is waking up. I am grateful for their company while I am running away. Then I made my way to work and had an awesome breakfast featuring my new latest creation ‘Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola’. I was grateful for lunch out with my friend Jess. Friday lunches are the best weekend starting point!

granolaSaturday: Today I started my day off with a long walk by the water and then I headed over to spend some time with my Dad and Molly! Molly and I snuggled while Dad fixed the brakes on my car and then we washed my car until he was shiny and new. I am grateful for Dad’s help and expertise and that I got to spend such a lovely morning with him.

Molly helps with the carSunday: Sundays must always start with a walk, and it always gets the day off to a wonderful start. Then Chris and I joined my parents and Jess on a picnic with my cousin Carmen, her husband Colin and their gorgeous little boy Taj. I was grateful to see some of my family who I don’t get to see very often. We are planning more visits in the future, and I am grateful that I have such wonderful family close by. I was also grateful for the follies of some fellow picnickers and their attempt to barbecue about 4 kilograms of bacon. So much smoke, and seriously, who wears gloves to barbecue (they all had matching ones?) but it was good free entertainment for us :)

Also this week:

  • My friend Matt (married to my friend Lynn) has a wonderful new inspirational podcast called ‘Bent On Better‘. If you like interviews with everyday, motivating people who are trying to make their lives, and the lives of others, better, you will really love ‘Bent On Better’. Keep your ears open for someone you might know coming soon….
  • On Friday I finished the final cookie from the perfect dozen cookies I made last Sunday and they were still perfectly chewy. You have to try my Pumpkin, Oat, Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies soon. Chewy, gooey, chocolate chip goodness.
  • Need something exciting for breakfast tomorrow? My Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut, and Date Granola is a quick and easy way to refresh your breakfast and bring a little healthy sprinkle to your morning meal.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free

I think our granola jar is going to be empty very, very soon. I can’t get enough of this spicy, honey, crunchy, munchy, nutty granola! Oats and buckwheat make friends with pecans, coconut, and dates for a healthy, gluten free breakfast that will help you nourish your mornings.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have become very fussy about what I share with you here on my precious internet home, which is why this post is coming to you today instead of yesterday. I had a muffin recipe all ready to go, and they were good, but just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t going in the bin, they have been stashed in the freezer for quick snacks throughout the week. But I don’t want to share just ‘good enough’ recipes with my big internet Thoroughly Nourished Life family. I want to share the tastiest, the most nourishing, recipes you get excited to step into the kitchen to make. A Thoroughly Nourished diet is one that makes you inspired to eat delicious, healthy food every day with a liberal sprinkling of sugar to keep life sweet. So, no more ‘good enough’ food – just thoroughly nourishing, thoroughly inspiring food for every time of day.Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTuesday night, after my average muffin effort I knew I had to get back into the kitchen to make something truly amazing so I didn’t lose my kitchen mojo (it’s that little sparkle in every baker’s step). As I was getting breakfasts and lunches ready for the next day I realised that I didn’t feel like my usual oatmeal and fruit, or yoghurt and fruit combinations. I’m not usually an exciting weekday breakfast eater. I stick to those two combinations on rotation and just adjust the fruit to suit the season. So, it’s time to shake things up, time to have another Thoroughly Nourished option: bring on the granola! One of the reasons I stopped eating store-bought granola/muesli is that the gluten free options are Expensive (yes, with a capital E) – my favourite gluten free brand is $10 a box. Not happening.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe result of breakfast boredom + frugality + Nourished Life necessity = Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola. This granola is addictive, and if you squint, it’s kind of like eating a spicy, nutty, coconutty cookie. The buckwheat kernels become toasty and crunchy in the oven, and are a nice addition to the typical oats.  Dates are caramel in fruit form, add some roasted pecans and toasted coconut curls and this is one indulgent and naturally sweet and healthy breakfast sprinkle. Because that’s what granola is: healthy breakfast sprinkles!

I am the only granola eater in our house (Chris is solidly sworn to the toast and peanut butter tribe) so I didn’t want a giant jar of granola that would go off before I had the chance to eat it all, or got bored and moved on to something else for breakfast. So this is a petite jar of granola. Perfect for a week or two, depending on how many granola lovers you have in your house. If you are making granola for more than one or two, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It also makes a great gift!

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeA few important notes:

  • If you are using pecans or coconut that are already roasted you should add these at the end of the baking time when you stir in the dates.
  • If you like your granola extra chunky then do not stir your granola during baking time. Press it down with the back of your spoon and just check to make sure it isn’t burning at regular intervals (see recipe below).
  • If you don’t like pecans or dates feel free to switch them out for your favourite nut and dried fruit combination! Let me know what combinations you try!
  • If you want to make this vegan, you can swap the honey for maple syrup.
  • If you can’t find the buckwheat, feel free to leave it out or substitute another 1/3 cup of rolled oats.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan option | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat groats (uncooked buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips (or shredded coconut)

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oats, buckwheat, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, and spices until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, honey and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. During the last ten minutes of cooking stir in the dried dates and coconut and return granola to oven.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free

These Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies are soft and chewy with oats, studded with dark chocolate chips and toasted walnuts, and warmly spiced with cinnamon and ginger. A perfect dozen cookies just waiting for your cookie jar.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I just want a small batch of cookies. An appropriate number of cookies to keep in a house with only two people who are trying to maintain the illusion of eating healthily most of the time. You know what I mean. But in the midst of all that healthy eating do you ever come home from a long day at work following a morning workout and just want to eat cookies? I do, and I know you do too. These cookies are coming to our rescue. These cookies are our midweek cookie friends. No need to deal with 24, 36, 48 cookies in the cookie jar – this recipe makes a perfect dozen. Just the right amount to keep around the house for a treat or two during the week, or a sweet surprise in your darling’s lunchbox.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou know I’m a fan of oatmeal cookies: we’ve had them chewy and studded with dried blueberries, and crispy with caramel chips. But I think these pumpkin and spice oatmeal cookies are my favourites ever. Ever. They are chewy, super chewy, and I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator for maximum chewiness. And they are filled with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to bring warmth and compliment the brown sugar sweetness of these cookies.

Science time: the moisture content of these cookies is increased by the use of brown sugar, and only the yolk of an egg. There is no need for a full egg, just the egg yolk. Egg yolk protein once cooked makes for a denser, fudgy cookie. These two ingredients (brown sugar and egg yolk) are also the tenderisers, the moisture-boosters, in our perfect chewy oat cookies. Choosing baking soda as the leavening ingredient reacts with the acid in brown sugar and allows for the cookies to rise, but keeps them dense rather than cakey. So brown sugar + egg yolk + baking soda = dense, chewy, fudgy oatmeal cookies. Yay cookie science!

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd then come the mix-ins. Gluten free quick oats bind the batter together and give extra chew. But the best bits, the most scrumptious, hunt-through-the-batter bits are toasted walnuts and dark chocolate chips. You could of course use milk chocolate, but the dark chocolate stands up well next to strongly flavoured toasted walnuts and the spiced cookie dough. And they just feel a little more indulgent. If you are going to make a tiny, every day kind of treat, you should make it as indulgent as possible. Enjoy this perfect dozen cookies for your next midweek cookie treat.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free | Makes 12 cookies

Notes:

  • You need to chill this dough for an hour before baking. This is important to obtaining the perfect texture.
  • To make pumpkin purée: peel and chop about 3/4 cup pumpkin. Place in a microwave safe bowl with a small amount of water and microwave in 2 minute bursts until the pumpkin is soft all the way through. Cool completely and blend until smooth.

 

Ingredients

  • 30 grams buckwheat flour
  • 30 grams sorghum flour
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup gluten free quick oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Method

  1. In a small bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, quick oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat butter, brown sugar, and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin and beat until well combined.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add whisked dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.
  5. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Chill dough for at least an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  8. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on lined baking sheets. Leave space for spreading.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. The centres will still be soft (this makes for chewy cookies). Remove and cool completely on baking sheets.
  10. Store cookies in refrigerator for maximum chewiness for up to four days.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Eight

It’s late Sunday afternoon and I am writing this lying on the living room floor with a big mug of green tea (and a few cookies) beside me. Tonight we are planning on having lazy leftovers and watching our new favourite (How to Get Away with Murder – fabulous). I love quiet Sunday nights before a busy (and blessed week). This past week has been quiet, and we have needed it. The rain was a perfect curtain of quiet drawn around us and gave us the opportunity to recharge our batteries. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Eight:

recipe planningMonday: Today we had the pest control man come to our house, and it made me think how lucky we are to live in the first world where we can protect ourselves and our families from pests and annoyances. I know it seems like a small thing, but it just reminded me to be grateful for living here in the first world in a comfortable house with everything I need right at my finger tips.

Tuesday: Many of the vegetarian dishes I cook don’t really tickle Chris’s taste buds, so I end up eating leftovers for a few days. Growing up in a house where there was hardly ever leftovers, I love them! I am always grateful when I come home from work and see that I have leftovers from a recipe I have been trying for myself, and leftovers from a meal I have cooked for Chris. This means more time for reading and snuggling! I am grateful for leftovers, and for loving a man who enjoys them too.

leftoversWednesday: Some nights cookie dough is the answer to spread sheet fatigue and commuter traffic exhaustion. Some nights I come home, and I just don’t have the energy to get to the gym and I need to come home, make cookies, collapse on the bed, watch West Wing and just hide away from the world. I am grateful that when I listen to my body it lets me know what I need, and when I listen to it, I wake up the next day with the energy and vigour to keep achieving my goals. Some nights you just need cookies and blankets. Be kind to yourself everyone.

Thursday: After a run on the way home, I curled up in bed with a stack of cookbooks searching for more inspiration. I have so many pages of recipe ideas, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start! I am grateful that I have this little space on the internet, and for all my beautiful readers. Your support means so much to me, and your comments are what keeps me tying my apron on and getting into the kitchen every day.

stormFriday: Tonight I headed over to Mum and Dad’s to spend the night! Mum made her delicious cheesy mushroom omelettes, and we all curled up by the TV after dinner to watch Better Homes and Gardens. I was grateful for puppy kisses from Molly and for Toby showing his affection by deigning to sleep on my bed. I was also grateful to spend some time relaxing with Mum and Dad and seeing how their ‘empty nester’ projects are going (looking forward to our next family lunch in their awesome new outdoor entertaining area).

the squishy faceSaturday: This morning the rain was still driving down and so we vetoed the markets (we don’t own a boat!) and instead the three ladies (Mum, Jess, and I) headed to the supermarket and cruised around together doing our shopping. I was grateful to share this everyday chore with my favourite ladies and to just spend time in their company. They make the rainy days disappear. In the afternoon Chris and I watched ‘The Theory of Everything’ (so beautiful) and snuggled in bed while the rain continued to sweep over our little house by the bay. I was grateful to be cosy inside with my love.

mango smoothieSunday: This morning the storm had cleared. After two days of raining non-stop, when I woke up this morning the sky was starting to clear and I could see our precious bay again. To show my gratitude and to revel in a little sunshine, I put on my walking shoes and headed out for a long, long walk. Then I came home to a thick, creamy, mango smoothie made from Mum and Dad’s mangoes (huge, huge crop this summer) and got into some recipe planning for an upcoming project. I am grateful for a slow Sunday before we both head back to work tomorrow.

Also this week:

  • The end of a long summer means there are still bundles of peaches available at the markets, make the most of them in my Peach Apple Crumble Pie – I love this recipe so much that there will have to be a winter version when the nights turn cold and gloomy!
  • Summer also means sweet baby cherry tomatoes, and they make midweek meals a bright delight in my Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa
  • There are always so many interesting links on the internet – let’s talk about them!

Tell me dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free

Sweet roasted cherry tomato sauce spiked with balsamic and a respectful chunk of garlic pairs with light and lovely summertime fresh basil quinoa in a bowl that makes all your summer dinner dreams come true. When summer is throwing her best vegetables and herbs at you in glorious, peak-of-the-season glory you need to heed her call.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have to tell you, I’m really looking forward to moving into our new house. At the moment all we can do is stand at the builder’s fencing and stare through the holes someone has torn into the shade cloth at our little two bedroom townhouse, so close, so close and yet so far. We don’t move into our home until July. July people. But already I am weaving fantasies about the oh so wonderful things we shall do when we move in. Oh the dinner parties we shall throw; the games nights to be had; the tiny, tiny vegetable patch that I am already plotting in my brain (featuring basil and tomatoes of course).

Most of all I am looking forward to my our new kitchen. My Our new kitchen and dining room where we will be able to sit and have dinner together every night. We have an awkward furniture arrangement at the moment which means I sit on the bed and Chris sits at his computer desk. Not ideal.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn our new home we will have a proper dining room table right near the kitchen and I will actually feel inspired to cook more meals like this during the week rather than just on the weekend. Right now Chris and I survive on ‘chuck all the veggies in a pot and add a slab of protein for him and some canned beans for her’ during the week- it’s keeping us healthy and fed, but it’s not really exciting. Only on the weekends do I take the time to make magical delicious meals like this, which for the record only takes about 40 minutes from chopping board to plate. But after a very long commute to work every day I’m just a little worn out during the week at the moment. Our new house also happens to be only 15 minutes away from work – oh yeah I’m a lucky lady.

I can see this becoming a weeknight staple in our new home. It really is so simple, and the most time consuming part of the recipe is waiting for the tomatoes to roast and the quinoa to boil. That leaves you approximately 20 minutes to get everything else prepared and call your special someone to set the table.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn the oven the summer sugars stored in the cherry tomatoes blister into sweetness, and a dash of balsamic vinegar coaxes the juices into a sweet and slightly sour sticky sauce (try saying that three times fast). After your tomatoes have split open and softened in the heat they make their way to the stove top where they are paired with sauteed onions and garlic, a touch of dried oregano and red chili flakes, some tomato paste and chickpeas, and another dash of vinegar. Remember to add every precious drop of juice from the baking pan – this is where the flavour lives! Everything melts into tomato and balsamic caramel around the chickpeas. When your quinoa is cooked you chop a generous handful of fresh basil and stir it through the cooked grains along with a squeeze of lemon juice. I topped mine with black olives, but you could go with a sprinkle of feta instead. This is summertime freshness in a bowl.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRoasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 | Time: 40-45 minutes

Note: if you do not like your food spicy, you can leave out the dried chili flakes.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 500 grams (1 pound /2 punnets) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 fat cloves garlic (or 4 skinny ones), crushed
  • 1 cup chickpeas (400 gram tin, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped olives (optional), to serve

Method

  1. Before starting the quinoa, preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Place on stove over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Once the stock is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and put the lid on the saucepan. Cook, without stirring, for 20 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains with a fork.
  3. While your quinoa is cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Bake your cherry tomatoes in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until most of the tomatoes have burst and softened.
  4. After your tomatoes are cooked, place a medium frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Warm olive oil and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
  5. Add remaining balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, tomato paste, oregano, and chili flakes. Stir until combined and then add roasted tomatoes and the juices that have collected on the pan. Stir until combined. Cook until bubbling.
  6. While the stew is warming on the stove roughly dice the basil leaves and stir them through the cooked quinoa along with the lemon juice.
  7. To serve: divide quinoa between serving bowls and then divide tomato stew between bowls. Top with olives if using.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCome to think of it, that wasn’t too hard at all! So, dear reader, would you like to come to dinner?

Nourished Finds – Midweek Conversation Starters

There are so many fascinating points of view out there, and everyone has a story to tell or an opinion to share. Let’s get deep, let’s talk about everything. Here are some links that have been conversation starters for me lately.

IMG_2409

Get the conversation flowing:

Chris, babe, you know I love you, and you just have to accept that Stanley Tucci will always have a special little piece of my heart. (Who would you choose as your celebrity boyfriend? Obviously Stanley is already taken.)

Read this article about Wild and Cheryl Strayed. The best review/deconstruction I have come across. I can’t believe I have just started reading Wild!

I am so fortunate that I have found the one I am head-over-heels for, but this study has some interesting points on what makes love happen when you deliberately choose to fall in love with someone. And, here are the questions that they asked each other. Dinner discussion points indeed!

National Geographic explores the evolution of our diets, and the fact that eating ‘like a caveman’ can mean so many different things depending on where you make your home. Fascinating stuff. (Also, that paleo doughnut probably isn’t anything like what our ancestors ate…)

It’s not about what you look like in the mirror – an appearance-driven diet can be dangerous, and distract us from our own inner cues for hunger and satiety, which may have long-term effects.

Notorious RBG for Chanel, Mo’Ne Davis for Céline. – yes please fashion industry!

Hacks for better homemade fries a.k.a. ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People 2.0′

22 inspiring Australian women! Politicians, atheletes, movie stars – extraordinary ladies from Down Under!

And some yums from around the internet kitchen:

What have you been talking about lately? Any interesting finds to share?

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free

Sweet cinnamon and brown sugar crumble tops sweet roasted baked fruit inside an almond pastry shell. This is a celebration of the height of summer, and the coming autumn, in the combination of sweet late summer peaches and tart early season apples. I love this crumble topped pie because it means you get the best of both worlds: no need to choose between my favourite summer desserts when they are combined into one delicious dish.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe story of this pie is the story of a happy Sunday. The story of a Sunday that started with a sleep in and a quiet breakfast in the light of my kitchen. I slowly chopped peaches and apples, sweetened them with a touch of brown sugar and tumbled them into an almond crust I had prepared the night before. The extra chilling time for the pastry rendered it superiorly flaky and shortbread textured. I crowned my pie with an oat, brown sugar, and cinnamon kissed crumble and then watched it bubble and brown in the oven before Chris and I headed to lunch.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe sat on the verandah with our friends that have become family, and my family, and ate, drank and laughed long into the afternoon. The feast was not just the food lovingly prepared and shared by all, but the love around the table. You could taste the sweetness of affection long-held, ripened into honey like a late summer peach.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe laughter never stopped, the conversations tumbled on top of one another, and there may have been a minor lychee seed fight between two members at the table (I’m looking at you Jess and Matt…). I sat back with my slice of pie, and looked around the table and felt in my heart, in my heart that never stops racing forward to the next moment, that I had found peace and love in a golden afternoon. Love is sweeter than any pie.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Peach Apple Crumble Pie features a crust very similar to my Linzer Torte crust, but here the tart shell is filled with ripe peaches and an apple and topped with an oat and cinnamon crumble. The shell of the pie is flaky, not too sweet, and spiced with vanilla and cinnamon. The addition of two eggs to this pastry makes it extra rich and helps the gluten free crust to bind and have a flaky rather than crumbly texture. The filling is the simplest part of the pie, merely fruit, brown sugar, and cornflour to help fruit juices released during baking to thicken into a sweet peach and apple sauce. The crumble topping features oats, and more cinnamon and brown sugar. Oh my, I want this crumble on top of everything now! I had to stop myself from eating all of it before it even made it to the top of the pie!

Each bite of pie brings you to sweet peach and spiced crumble pastry heaven. Like mixing your favourite oat and almond cookie with the sweetest summer peach jam. This is the pie you serve to your loved ones with a jug of cream on a bright summer afternoon when all you feel is love and contentment.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peach Apple Crumble Pie

Gluten Free | Serves 8-10 (makes 1 10-inch pie)

Notes: Use very ripe peaches so that your filling will be naturally sweet. You can increase the brown sugar in the filling if your peaches aren’t as sweet as you would like.

Serving suggestion: ice cream, cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yoghurt would go very well with this late summer pie.

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 90 grams white rice flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 125 grams butter, frozen
  • 120 grams almond meal
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the crumble

  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 20 grams gluten free cornflour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 60 grams butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 kilogram (2 pounds) ripe peaches (about 5 large)
  • 1 tart apple (Granny Smith or similar)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free cornflour

Method

  1. Grease a 25 cm (10-inch) removable base tart pan well and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Sift together brown rice flour and white rice flour.
  3. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into sifted flours. Stir gently with a fork and then rub butter into flours until large pea-sized chunks of butter remain.
  4. Add almond meal, caster sugar, and cinnamon to butter and flour mixture. Gently stir with a fork to combine.
  5. Beat together vanilla extract and eggs and add to bowl. Mix until the dough starts to come together into a large ball.
  6. Sprinkle a large piece of baking paper with rice flour. Place dough onto baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out to a circle about 35 cm (12-inch) diameter and 0.5-.0.7 mm (~ 1/4 inch) thick.
  7. Transfer dough to tart pan and gently lift and press into tart pan. If you experience any tears, just patch them with the dough that overhangs the sides. Trim the sides to be level with the top of the tart pan. Place pie base in refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  8. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  9. Make the crumble. Mix together brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornflour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon.
  10. In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave. Heat in 10 second bursts until melted. Stir into your dry ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside crumble until required.
  11. Prepare the filling. Halve peaches and remove stone. Then chop into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares. Halve apple and remove core and dice to similar size. Place fruit in a large bowl. Sprinkle brown sugar and cornflour over fruit and stir gently until well coated.
  12. Remove pie base from the refrigerator. Tumble fruit into the bottom and spread out into an even layer.
  13. Sprinkle crumble evenly over the top of the fruit.
  14. Place pie in the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the fruit filling is bubbling and the crumble is golden.
  15. Remove and allow to stand for a half hour before serving.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Seven

Currently I have a crumble pie baking away in the oven, a cup of tea by my side, and some science podcasts playing on my iPhone. In other words, a perfect sleep-in Sunday wake up before I head off to one of my best friend’s homes for a catch up over lunch. Later this afternoon I’m planning to have a long walk along the bay, and perhaps indulge in some sunset photography. Sundays should count. Often they become about busily getting things done before we all head off to work on Monday, but I want to challenge each of us to make Sundays count. Find a ritual that makes Sunday feel important and treasured in your life. Are you Sunday brunch people? Sunday long runners? What makes your Sunday count? Let’s have a Nourished Life every day of the week. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Seven:

valentines dayMonday: Today was full of lots of wonderful things! My Mum and Dad celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary (happy anniversary Mum and Dad!) and Chris started in a new position at work! I am so grateful that he has been given this opportunity and grateful that other people are recognising the hard work he puts into his job.

Tuesday: Such a great run tonight! I tried a new route and found a whole row of pretty houses to look at while I ran past. I was grateful for the musical talents of a young lady I ran past who was sitting out on her porch practicing her guitar. There is so much hidden talent in the world. Also today, Yum. Gluten Free Magazine featured my Red Velvet Cake recipe on their Facebook page and I had more people visit the blog than ever before! I am so grateful for all the support I have had since starting this little place on the internet.

Wednesday: Holy tired Amy tonight. When I got home from work I didn’t even have the energy to make it through my ‘just 30 minutes’ of exercise. This was the first day all year that I didn’t get out to exercise! I was on a streak for sure, but sometimes you need to just listen to your body and let it rest. I was grateful to Chris for taking care of me, and putting me to bed, and making sure I got lots of sleep.

Thursday: Tonight Chris and I went for a long walk along the water before dinner and watched the seagulls pick their way through the tidal pools. I am grateful for our walks and the talks we have while we are out there. After our walk I got to work on a cake job I had. I was grateful for a chance to stretch my creative wings in a new way, but I am always reminded by these jobs that I am not cut out for a career as a cake decorator!

evening walkFriday: Today I came home to find that Chris had bought me a huge bunch of gorgeous red roses and some of my favourite chocolates (Lindt 85% oh yeah). I am so grateful for the thoughtful man I have in my life, and the way he makes me feel special every day.

Saturday: Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today I started my day with my first Valentine: my Mum! We had breakfast and coffee at the markets and enjoyed long chats about everything. I am grateful that I have a Mum who is also one of my closest friends. Today’s topic of conversation: letting yourself believe that you deserve happiness. So many big thoughts to sort through about that. After a sweaty run and row at the gym Chris and I headed off to see ‘The Kingsman’ and eat our body weight in popcorn and m&ms. This is our sort of Valentine’s Day! Tonight we walked along the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, which is where we ended our first date. I am grateful that Chris and I make Valentine’s Day our own and just let ourselves do our kind of love every day. I am grateful for you sweetheart and the way you make loving easy and extraordinary at the same time.

city 2 14-02-15Sunday: Today I enjoyed an extreme sleep in. I have just wandered into the kitchen and made pie, and we are heading off to see some friends we haven’t caught up with in a while. I am grateful for the chance to see one of my best friends, and my family, and just sit out on the deck on a Sunday and celebrate life.

Also this week:

Tell me, dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Top Ten Gluten Free Treats For Your Sweet This Valentine’s Day

Florists are hurriedly filling their shelves, rose petals dripping to the floor; chocolatiers present rows of gleaming handmade creations for lovers to gift to each other; and restaurant staff starch tablecloths, polish cutlery until it gleams, and cook plates of perfect aphrodisiacs. These are all beautiful ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve always been more of the homemade type. Something made with hand and heart for the one you love. The time is the gift, and love is a verb.

Here are my Top Ten Gluten Free Treats for Your Sweet this Valentine’s Day from Thoroughly Nourished Life:

Two forks and a plate with a massive slice of my Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting would be a sweet end to Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOr how about two spoons and a tub of my Irish Coffee Ice Cream? Chris and I bonded over our love of whisky, so this would be a perfect Valentine’s Day treat.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a vegan salty sweet treat for your beloved? Tahini and Peanut Butter Cookies would be welcomed by anyone – bonus points if you wrap them up in a cute little box with tissue paper!

Peanut Butter and Tahini Cookies | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNeed a little spice in your life this Valentine’s Day? (Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into that kind of blog!) Try my Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

Chai Spiced Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChocolate and Peanut Butter, not since Romeo and Juliet have there been two more meant for each other. Here in my Peanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze, rather more successfully than those teenage lovers, chocolate and peanut butter are united in heavenly doughnut form.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOh so you aren’t going away to a tropical island with your lover for Valentine’s Day? Neither am I, but I’m tempted to bring the tropical home with a batch of Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream. These gluten free cupcakes are also perfect for a Gal-entine’s Day celebration too! Perfect for that Sex and the City / Friends marathon!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHow about some pure, lustful, lush chocolate indulgence? My Frosted Peppermint Brownies are an aphrodisiac for sure….(leave out the mint and candy canes for pure chocolate sin…)

Frosted Peppermint Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIs your sweetheart a cookie monster? I’m lucky that I have found a fellow cookie monster to love, and my Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of our favourite indulgences. Best when paired with binge watching Parks and Recreation.

Even Better Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comBreakfast in bed, or maybe brunch in bed in your plans for this weekend? My Zucchini, Carrot and Walnut Pancakes (with plenty of maple syrup) are a sweet and wholesome start to the day.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Walnut Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd now, for the pull-out all stops, don’t bother going out for dinner, just grab a fork and your stretchy pants and let’s eat in bed, piece de resistance – Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake. It’s over the top, it’s more than over the top. It’s magnums of champagne, 25 carat diamond, a thousand red roses strewn on white silk sheets over the top, but sometimes, that’s exactly what love needs to be.

Chocolate Brownie Cookie Dough Layer Cake 3

And a few more love-ly links from around our internet world:

  • Just in time for our Lady and the Tramp Valentine’s Day re-enactments, Not Quite Nigella gives us perfect Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs. The call it bella notte….
  • Red Velvet is Chris’s current love language, and doughnuts, well of course, doughnuts are the ultimate symbol of love – they look like a hug after all. Lynn from Fresh April Flours combines the two in her delightful Baked Red Velvet Doughnuts.
  • If a jar of Nutella is one of your ultimate couple foods (just add two spoons for happiness) – this Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake from Urban Bakes is the perfect up-your-game treat for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And even if Valentine’s Day isn’t your thing, I hope you have an extra sweet weekend too!

Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies | Gluten Free

Beetroot adds a smoky, earthy background to the dense chocolate of these brownies, and a sweet sharp cream cheese swirl is the perfect decadent finishing touch. Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies are an indulgent gluten free treat perfect for sharing with your special someone.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI wanted to call these heart beet brownies (get it?), but I thought that might be a little too cheesy for you all. If there is a holiday that encourages us towards cheesiness, Valentine’s Day has to be it. I know it’s not really a holiday, and companies make a lot of money off gifts, chocolate, and flowers just for the sake of one day, but isn’t it nice that even in today’s slightly cynically-bent world that we can still find time to celebrate love. The desire for love is universal, and I don’t just mean romantic love. I mean love as in finding someone, or ones, who really see you and accept you just as you are, but are invested in helping you to reach a higher form of yourself too.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAs a wise man once said ‘Love is the only shocking act left on the planet.’ To stand in front of someone, a lover or a friend, just exactly as you are and let all the walls down is difficult. And when that person sees you raw and scarred and shining your own light and finds room in their heart to take you in without asking anything of you in return, then you have found love. I have that love in my life in many different forms, and to be reminded, even one day a year to celebrate those people who let me love them, and love me in return, is a valuable thing.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow, about these brownies. Beetroot is the plant world’s gift to chocolate baked goods. Baked, cooled, and pureed into thick magenta paste and then added to melted midnight black chocolate, beetroot is chocolate’s perfect Valentine. You can’t taste the beetroot here, but it adds a little earthy magic that highlights the slightly bitter notes of dark chocolate. These aren’t brownies for the faint of heart. They are rich, dark, deep in the earth brownies that require coffee and fine plates. Brownies that hit that spot of craving for dark chocolate.

To this deep, dark beetroot brownie batter we add dollops and swirls of sweet and sharp cream cheese. Not so much to overwhelm, but just enough to provide a creamy contrast. Each bite is a mouthful of dark dense brownie with a tiny cheesecake ripple. These brownies are elegantly simple. Decadent enough in themselves to not require any frosting or extra add-ins. They are lush and classic and perfect for a chocolate treat for the one you love.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI took these brownies to a dinner with Chris’s family over the weekend, and we returned with an empty pan. His sister (hi Rosie!) even snuck a container of the leftovers into her handbag before she left. I stood in the kitchen and ate one and a half of these while sipping on a cup of tea. When you feel comfortable enough to start cutting brownie slivers in half in front of people, you know you have found love.

Cream Cheese Swirl Beetroot Brownies

Gluten Free | Makes 20-24 brownies | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Ingredients

  • 400 grams (to yield about 300 grams, cooked) whole raw beetroot, scrubbed
  • 75 mL sunflower oil (or other flavourless vegetable-based oil)
  • 250 grams dark chocolate (I used 75%), chopped
  • 75 grams cocoa
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams hazelnut meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 125 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Wrap beetroot in aluminium foil and bake for an hour, or until beetroot are tender in the middle when pierced with a skewer. Allow to cool completely before peeling. Once cooled roughly chop and use a food processor or blender to puree to a smooth paste (you can add up to 1 tablespoon of water if required).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square tin with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together beetroot puree and oil.
  4. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring well in between bursts, until smooth and melted. Allow to cool and then mix into beetroot mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, hazelnut meal, and baking powder.
  6. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  7. Reduce speed to low and add beetroot mixture. Add dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  8. Pour brownie batter into the prepared pan.
  9. In a small bowl beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar, white rice flour, and milk and beat until smooth.
  10. Place small drops of cream cheese mixture in a checkerboard patter on top of brownie batter. Use a thin knife or skewer to pull gently through the mixture in a zig-zag fashion to create swirls. Don’t overmix as this will ruin the swirl effect.
  11. Place into preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and serving.

Cream Cheese Beetroot Swirl Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Are you a beetroot and chocolate lover? How are you spending your Valentine’s Day?