Chris’s Fried Rice

Sixteen months ago something wonderful, someone wonderful, happened to me. You see him quite regularly around here: the tall, ginger man with a talent for technology, making bacon disappear, z-snapping like no one else, and making me laugh. That would be Chris. If he thought he’d caught me with our first date (fancy restaurant, ice cream, sipping whisky in one of my favourite places in Brisbane) then he knew he had me on our second date. He picked me up and drove me to his grandmother’s house and we all had fried rice together, talked about tennis, and after dinner Chris took me for a long walk along the harbour. I can’t imagine how intimidating, annoying, and puzzling it must have been for him to have to make dinner for a vegetarian gluten free date. Did I mention that I didn’t tell him about any of my food issues until we sat down at the restaurant for our first date and there was nothing Amy friendly on the menu? No? Well, you can just add that to the list of reasons I admire Chris. He handled it without a blink, and hey I did get a second date didn’t I!

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Fast forward to today. We have gone from dating to living together and we even bought a house (and are patiently waiting for it to be built!) together. I may dominate our kitchen by the bay, but when given the chance Chris is a great cook. He makes the best scrambled eggs; fragrant spaghetti bolognaise (trying to convince him to make me a veggie version soon); and inventive hot dogs. One of the things we love the most about each other (and I have this confirmed by Chris) is that we both love to eat. Last night, the first day back at work after a long weekend, Chris stepped into the kitchen to recreate our second date meal. Simple, nourishing, soul-warming, like all the best love stories. I was happy to sit and talk to him, play sous chef when needed, and just reflect on how content and happy my life has become since this man pulled up the bar stool next to mine.

This fried rice comes together easily after a long day at work and yields plenty of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Chris filled it with plenty of fresh vegetables and we seasoned it simply with soy sauce and sweet chilli. The egg omelette added some protein and Chris served his with some chicken drumsticks while I sprinkled some chickpeas over mine. This meal is perfect for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. It can even be vegan if you leave out the omelette – perhaps some firm tofu is more your style. Gluten free people, just make sure your condiments are gluten free, and then go ahead and serve yourself a large bowl of this goodness.

Pro tip if making this for your potential significant other: take him/her for a romantic walk after dinner and whisper sweet nothings in his/her ear. Another date will surely follow.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Chris’s Fried Rice

Serves 4-5, even more as a side dish.

Gluten free. Vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • ½ medium capsicum, diced
  • ½ medium head of broccoli chopped into florets
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped into chunks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • Extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
  2. Place rice and water in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook for ten minutes on high. Stop at five minutes and stir.
  3. Once the rice has finished cooking spread across a large baking tray lined with baking paper and place in the oven to dry out for 10 minutes. Remove until needed.
  4. While rice is cooking prepare vegetables.
  5. Heat a small non-stick frying pan and spray with cooking oil. Whisky together eggs and add to heated pan. Allow to cook into a large sheet of omelette.
  6. Remove from pan and thinly slice into squares. Set aside until required.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add spring onions and capsicum and sauté until softened, about two minutes.
  8. Add rice and soy sauce and stir well.
  9. Add remaining vegetables and chopped omelette to the pan and stir through the rice. Cook until broccoli is slightly softened and rice is heated through, about five minutes.
  10. Serve with extra soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce.
  11. This will keep well in the fridge for two to three days.

Chris's Fried Rice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Tell me, dear reader, what was the first meal your significant other made for you? Or, what dish would someone have to make to steal your heart?

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

The past three weekends have been majorly food-centred: weddings, birthdays, Easter…to be truthful it’s been going on for the past two months…or maybe there hasn’t been a break since Christmas… In light of the season of skinny jeans and tight sweaters I am feeling the need to lighten up a little.

Let’s have a little more balance around here readers, a few weeks of salads and complex, vitamin-filled nutritious stuff, shall we?

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

I’m not talking crash-diets, fad diets, or paleo anything; rather, I am talking about reducing my dessert every night habit to a once a week treat. I am talking about increasing my incidental exercise, squeezing in a few more weights sessions, and being more mindful in my food choices.

Don’t worry, this is not about to become a weight loss blog – I have a coconut ice recipe coming your way on Friday – I am just getting back on track to a thoroughly nourished life in the most delicious way possible of course.

This salad came at the beginning of the Easter feasting. Luckily, because I ate more than my fair share of brownies, cookies, and peanut m&ms… This Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale salad is filled with crunchy green kale leaves and raw capsicum, soft baked sweet potato and salty cashews. Everything is coated in a spicy thai-inspired dressing that soaks into every fold in the frilly leaves. I felt bright and light and full after finishing my lunch. The protein from the chickpeas and cashews keeps you full for hours. You could add some leftover cooked quinoa for a bigger protein boost and to make this a more substantial meal for dinner.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten Free

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad

Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Serves 2-3. 

If you do not like kale try another dark leafy green or even baby spinach would work. To make this vegan replace the honey with agave syrup.

 Ingredients

  • 1 medium bunch of kale
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Thai  Seasoning
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400C). Peel and dice medium sweet potato. Spread out on a baking paper lined baking tray and roast for 30 minutes or until soft all the way through when pierced with a toothpick. Remove sweet potato from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Rinse kale well and pat dry with paper towel. Cut thick rib out of each leaf and then roughly chop the leaves. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Chop capsicum and cucumber into a large dice. Place into bowl with kale.
  4. Rinse chickpeas well and add to bowl.
  5. Once sweet potato is cool add to kale mix. Toss all ingredients well.
  6. To make dressing place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk vigorously.
  7. Add dressing to bowl and toss well so that all is coated.
  8. Sprinkle cashews over the top and serve.
  9. This salad will last well overnight in the fridge but will become softer as the dressing soaks into the leaves.

Spicy Thai-Inspired Kale Salad | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Vegan | Gluten FreeChris is definitely not a kale fan, which is fine by me because I get it all to myself. Are you a kale salad fan? No? 

Anyone else trying to lighten up a little after Easter feasting?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Sixteen

I am so grateful for the long weekend. Plenty of time to catch up with family and friends, which is why this blog is coming to you just before dinner on Easter Sunday night. Chris and I had a busy four days and we are looking forward to some relaxing tomorrow, and another short week ahead. Here I present my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 Week Sixteen:

Monday: Today I was grateful for a fast run after a long day in the office chair. I was also grateful to come home and make dinner for Chris who, even though the recipe was a bit of a flop, ate it all up and told me how delicious it was. Grateful to have someone always in my corner.

Tuesday: Today I was in the office early and I was grateful to escape for lunch with my friend Jess who came back from her honeymoon today! It was wonderful to catch up over sushi and sit out in the sunshine for a little while. I was also grateful to go grocery shopping with Chris. Even the most mundane of tasks are fun when you love spending time with the person you are with.

Wednesday: We kicked off the evening with our usual walk and talk. I am grateful that these have become a tradition. And it’s a good thing we snuck in some exercise tonight before I started doing some baking for both of our workplaces because I had to ‘test’ the buttercream (several times…). I am grateful for our little kitchen by the bay, however frustrated I may get sometimes.

mocha cupcakes

Thursday: Today was my darling friend Caroline’s birthday! To celebrate we all met up for dinner (Thai – yum) and then watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Grateful to celebrate my best friend’s birthday and spend some time catching up with the people I care about. Also, I am grateful for Chris Evans. Sorry to my Chris, but I am grateful for Captain America (it’s the costume).

Friday: Today we slept in, which felt super luxurious because it was a Friday, and then I went for a run, did lots of baking (and salad making – come back tomorrow for a recipe!) and went home to see my parents and spend the night with them. I was grateful to watch a British murder mystery with my Mum and lounge about with Molly and the cat at my feet.

IMG_2183

Saturday: Today I slept in (again!) and then went for a big walk around the neighbourhood. I was grateful for the exercise because in the evening my darling little sister hosted an Easter dinner party for our adopted family and there was so much good food. I went over early to help (really watch Jess and peel potatoes) with dinner and visit my “fur niece” Storm. Jess made a delicious hazelnut flourless chocolate cake, I brought along my Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookies, and Casey provided some rocky road ice cream. I am so grateful to have a selection of friends with varied interests who can all gather around a dinner table and laugh and good-naturedly argue with one another and just revel in each other’s company.

The gorgeous Storm

The gorgeous Storm

Sunday: Today Jess and I started the morning with a big walk. Another good idea because today was all about the family and when my family is involved feasting comes along too. I was grateful to spend some quality time with my little sister, she balances me out, and also grateful that she and Dad helped me to wash my car (gotta keep my new baby shiny!). Then we headed over to my Aunty’s house and ate yummy food (I brought along my Melt and Mix Brownies – made with gluten free flour: easy, decadent, and always appreciated). I am grateful for my family. Each one of them brings something special to the table and our loud ragtag bunch keep one another on their toes.

Tonight Chris and I are going to have toast for dinner and lie around watching science shows (we are the cool kids…) and the next couple of weeks might be spent running in repentance for the number of Easter eggs I managed to eat….

Also this week:

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

Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookies

Some of my earliest memories are of making cookies. Four year old Amy standing on a stool watching Mum make her famous chocolate chip cookies after she had put Jessica down for a nap; seven year old Amy and four year old Jess getting their hands dirty rolling dough into balls while making melting moments with Dad from his old Navy cookbook. Staying overnight at our Mormor’s house the scents of a faraway Denmark would be conjured as we made biscuits whose recipes were only carried in Mormor’s memory. As we got older we took over the kitchen in the afternoons and made the classic cookies and biscuits that had become a tradition in our biscuit tin. Perhaps that is why cookies are the first thing I want to cook when I step into the kitchen. When I am sad a batch of chocolate chip cookies is the cure. When I am happy whipping up delicate sandwiched creations are a celebratory experience.

Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cookies are a celebration: of Easter, of time with family, and of chocolate and sprinkles and the fact that it’s okay to be frivolous sometimes. These are chewy cookies studded with sweet white chocolate chips and showered with a confetti of coloured sprinkles. The dough is rich with vanilla and almond extracts. One request: remember to chill the dough because this stops the butter from melting as soon as it comes into contact with the heat from the oven and therefore prevents the cookies from spreading too much. It seems like a pain, but really it gives you time to clean the kitchen so that you can enjoy your cookies without having to worry about the dishes. These are also great to make with the little ones. Soon enough they’ll be grown and making them for you!

Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookies

Gluten free. Makes at least 24 cookies. I used ‘Dollar Sweets’ Sprinkles because they are gluten free!

If you do not require these to be gluten free you can use a total of 2 cups of plain flour in place of the almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and sorghum flour.

Ingredients

  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 70 grams almond meal
  • 70 grams brown rice flour
  • 75 grams buckwheat flour
  • 75 grams sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup multi-coloured sprinkles
  • 200 grams white chocolate chips

Method

  1. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper and set aside until needed.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl beat butter, sugars, vanilla and almond extracts until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in sprinkles and chocolate chips until completely distributed.
  6. Cover bowl and chill dough for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Place heaped tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Leave at least 6cm between the balls of dough as these cookies will spread during cooking.
  8. Once you have used up all the dough return the trays to the refrigerator for another 20 minutes. This is the time to preheat the oven to 160C (320F).
  9. When the oven has heated to the right temperature bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Rotate trays halfway through baking time.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  11. The cookies will keep for four days in an airtight container.

Sprinkle and White Chocolate Cookie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cookies always feature at our family celebrations. Do you have a family cookie recipe that is handed down through the generations?

Ten Recipes Perfect for Easter Baking

We are planning a quiet Easter weekend filled with family and friends and feasting. Luckily I come from a family of cooks and bakers so I know there will be plenty of delicious dishes filling the tables at whichever house we are at. I am crossing my fingers hoping that my little sister makes her chocolate caramel slice on Saturday night and I know that my Aunt will have a table groaning with salty antipasti, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit and oh so much cheese for Sunday lunch. The most nourishing thing about each of these occasions will be the company surrounding me.

I will be bringing baked goods to these occasions (did you really expect anything else?), so if you are looking for a little inspiration, here are my top ten recipes perfect for Easter baking (and sharing), and come back tomorrow for a quick, cute gluten free cookie recipe that will be welcome in any Easter basket.

Ten: Lemon Cream Cheese Pound Cake - this bundt is simply stunning displayed as the centerpiece of your Easter brunch.

Nine: Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream  - pack a basket of these and share the happiness.

Banana Cupcakes 1

Eight: Peanut Butter Lindt Ball Filled Chocolate Cakes – a sweet and salty surprise inside!

Seven: Violet Crumble Brownies – oh do make these. Better than a Crunchy Easter egg in my opinion…

DSC00961

Six: Coconut Blondies (gluten free) – these tummy friendly treats will disappear very quickly, trust me…

Coconut Blondies (gluten free)

Five: Chocolate Chip Doughnuts with Chocolate Glaze (gluten free) – miniature doughnuts perfect for some Easter fun. Try using pastel sprinkles on top!

photo 1 (8)

Four: Espresso Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cookies – not easy to say, but easy to make and super easy to eat!

DSC01568

Three: Ricadonna Cupcakes with Ricadonna Buttercream – add a little sparkle to your Easter lunch with these bubbly cupcakes!

Ricadonna Cupcakes

Two: Citrus Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free) – this tall pretty cake looks impressive but is simple to make and the bright cream cheese frosting is worthy of licking the bowl.

photo 1 (5)

One: Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream - dress yourself up in your fanciest Easter bonnet and bring along some fancy cupcakes too!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Plenty of sweet inspiration for your Easter baking. Come back tomorrow for some pastel sweet treats, perfect for last minute baking, or making with kids!

Tell me dear reader, what are you making for Easter? Or have you been cooking up a storm for Passover instead?

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

The Easter Bunny is my spirit animal. I have sound reasoning for this proclamation. Firstly, he eats a balanced diet of carrots and chocolate – totally my style. Secondly, he hops around all the time burning off calories to make room for said chocolate. Thirdly, he shares his chocolate treats with others spreading happiness.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Okay, so maybe it isn’t quite sound reasoning, but I think if you are looking to a beloved holiday creature for guidance you could do worse than the big bunny. Also, if you are looking for a chocolate treat to make and share with your family and friends this Easter weekend you could do worse than these cupcakes.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cupcakes are here to make your Easter delicious and easy. The crumb is fluffy and moist. The batter comes together easily. If you have school kids at home on holidays these chocolate cupcakes would make a great baking project, with adult supervision of course. If you have really little ones perhaps you could do the beating and the baking and then get them to help with the decorating.  The hidden beauty of these cupcakes is that they are gluten free, which means everyone at the table can enjoy them. I will be bringing a big batch of these to our family Easter celebrations and watching them disappear very quickly!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Gluten free | Makes 30 small cupcakes (or 12 large cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes – baking times will vary from those listed below)

Adapted from Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days

Ingredients

  • 70 grams butter, softened
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 55 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk minus 1 tablespoon at room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 30 holes of three 12-cup (1/4 cup capacity) small cupcake baking tins with cupcake papers. See note.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and both sugars until pale and creamy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  5. Beat in vanilla.
  6. Beat in flour mix in three additions alternating with milk and beating until just combined after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  7. Spoon mixture into prepared baking tins filling each cup 2/3 full.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops spring back into place when gently pressed.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating (see below).
  10. Enjoy. These cupcakes will last about 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 120 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 4 cups gluten free icing sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method

  1. Beat butter until pale and smooth – about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and glossy. This should take about 3 minutes. Be patient and persevere because this will result in smooth, fluffy frosting that will have you begging for more.
  3. Spoon into piping bag and decorate as desired. Alternately spread thickly on top of cupcakes with a butter knife.
  4. Decorate with small candy-covered Easter eggs or other decorations.

IMG_2089

Tell me, dear reader, how are you celebrating Easter? Anyone else identify with the Easter Bunny as their spirit animal?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Fifteen

This week was amazing and busy with adventures, which is why I am delivering this Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 a little late. So much life to live and so much to be grateful for. Here I present Week Fifteen:

Monday: Grateful that when I got home after a full and busy day (including run, meetings, and paperwork) and find Chris waiting with snuggles and a new television show for us to watch together and relax. We are both admirers of Neil deGrasse Tyson and his new show Cosmos is fascinating for two science nerds like us. Romance: our way.

Tuesday: Up this morning before the sun and grateful to head down to the harbour for a run. The autumn mornings make it tempting to stay in bed, but the call of the footpaths near the bay draw me out of bed most mornings. Grateful to have a beautiful place to run.

Sunrise 4_8

Wednesday: Tonight I was so grateful to go for a walk with Chris after work. I hope our Wednesday walks become a tradition. We get to talk about anything and everything and being outside while the sun goes down strips away the stress of the day. I was also grateful for a surprise visit from Chris’s parents. Short but sweet.

Thursday: Sometimes we have difficult conversations, well maybe not difficult but challenging, and I am not always good at computing my feelings and opinions right on the spot. That is why I am grateful to Chris for giving me hugs and time to think about things and letting me express my opinion when it comes to me. Also, I am grateful to Dad for rescuing me in the driveway and helping me get my trillion shopping bags into the house.

Friday: Today I took myself out of the office for lunch. I picked up some sushi and drove to a local park and sat in the sunshine just listening to the silence. Then, I made use of the swing set swooshing up and back and dangling my head back to get a better view of the sky. I am grateful that I took that opportunity because it reminded me how free I felt as a child, and how I can recapture that now as an adult.

In the park at lunchtime

Saturday:Today was filled with celebration of family. Mum and I headed to the markets early in the morning for some breakfast and found some beautiful produce for the week ahead. Then I got in a quick run before we all headed down the coast to celebrate the wedding of two dear friends. Congratulations Bree and Justin and thank you so much for inviting us to be part of your special day. I am so grateful to be able to bear witness to two wonderful young people promising their lives and love to one another. Also grateful for dancing, lolly bars, and watching the sunset with a cool drink in my hand.

Bree wedding

Sunday:This morning I shared a wonderful morning walk with my sister. I was grateful to catch up with her and burn off some of the cake from last night! I was also grateful to do some Easter baking and make some perfect gluten free chocolate cupcakes (stay tuned for tomorrow’s post). Then in the evening Chris and I headed to a new (to us) Turkish restaurant and caught up with our closest group of friends. Grateful for all the love today.

Easter cupcakes

Also this week:

It’s been a little quiet round here, just working out some space and housing issues and then I will be back in the kitchen with a vengeance!

Currently…Haloumi, Date, and Almond Salad

Here at Thoroughly Nourished Life I am currently:

Thinking: I wish I could have a vacation to Los Angeles in the early 90s. With Richard Gere. At the Beverly Wiltshire. With a credit card I didn’t have to repay. Yes, I am watching Pretty Woman. The rest of this list will be peppered with references. My apologies.

Enjoying: The combination of salty, squeaky haloumi, sweet dates, and vinegary dressing. Perfect for a mid-shopping lunch date at a fancy Beverly Hills cafe.

Haloumi Date Almond Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Feeling: Satisfied after a flavoursome dinner salad that was a little naughty (fried haloumi anyone), a little nice (spinach, almond). and thoroughly nourishing.

Wearing: In reality? A pair of jean shorts that Chris hates, a singlet with a mustard stain (please don’t judge), and a cardigan (pre-Autumn continues). In my Richard Gere fantasy? Probably this dress, because, who wouldn’t?

Needing: More dates, almonds, spinach and haloumi so that I can make another batch of this salad next week. Also, one of these to follow. And a bubble bath while listening to Prince (or is that the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince?).

Haloumi Date Almond Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Wanting: This Pretty Woman print for our new home. And to go and pick at the leftovers of this Haloumi, Date, and Almond Salad that are currently residing in my fridge.

Planning: What I am going to bake over the Easter long weekend. Large bowls of salad will be required to counteract the forecast sugar consumption. I may also be planning on binge-watching Pretty Woman and singing ‘Wild Women Do’ on my long weekend runs.

Drinking: A cup of green tea. Every morning. Every night. All day. It keeps me going.

Haloumi Date Almond Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Haloumi. Date, and Almond Salad

Gluten Free. Vegetarian. Serves 2.

Inspired by Shutterbean’s Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium red salad onion
  • 1 tablespoon seeded mustard
  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous pinch each salt and black pepper
  • 75 grams haloumi
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 120 grams baby spinach leaves

Method

  1. Thinly slice red salad onion and mix with seeded mustard, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside until needed.
  2. Slice haloumi into small squares bout 2cm square and 0.5cm thick (about the size and thickness of a scrabble tile)
  3. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add haloumi and almond. Fry, stirring occasionally until the haloumi is browned on both sides.
  4. Place baby spinach leaves into a large salad bowl. Add haloumi and almonds and pour over onion dressing. Toss well until everything is coated in the vinaigrette.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Now, currently I am finishing my cup of tea and off to fantasise about a shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. Wild women do, and they don’t regret it.

 

Midweek Mantra: Do it Every Day

When you have a dream, a vision, or a soul-shaking idea of what you want your life to be you are awakened to the gap between your current location and your planned destination. We are bombarded with success stories of people who have changed their lives, moved to faraway places, landed their dream jobs, or made radical lifestyle changes. We see the headlines, the big leaps that they have taken, the most daring acts of their journey. We don’t see the everyday slogging away that makes dreams into reality.

We see the ‘end of season reveal’, not the hour after hour spent on the treadmill or the meal by meal fight to eat well. We see the ‘New York Times Bestseller’ interview, not the days of staring at a blank white page and then the hours spent filling it with words, editing, manipulating, and creating.

It’s so easy to think that in our immediate gratification, instant data, and cheap fame society that creating something, changing your life, is just as easy. When we sit down to confront the real work of it, to take the giant leap, we realise that it isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t going to be immediate and there actually aren’t any huge leaps, just small steps and consistency of action day after day.

I struggle with this myself. Chris had it right when he reflected to me the other day that it seems that I want to do all the things. I want to write books, I want to blog, I want to teach people about a healthy lifestyle, I want to cook, I want to pursue further education. My problem is that there are so many things that I want to do with my life that I get exhausted by the thought and then end up doing nothing. All of these goals appear to need big leaps. I keep forgetting that it is the everyday action that will get me there in the end. Write a little bit every day and by the end of the year you will have many thousands of words to mould. I need to change the routine that leaves little time or head space for writing. I need to cut out the non-essentials and bear down on the creative moments that give me the most pleasure.

The same is true of any goal: if you want to run a marathon you need to train every day, if you want to lose weight then you have to work on that every day, if you want to build something you need to work on that every day.

Whatever dream or goal you have in mind you need to make it part of your life every day in a small but substantial way. One step at a time towards your destination.

Tell me, dear reader, how do you work towards your goal every day, whatever that goal might be?

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

I made these cookies before I went to a wedding. Because naturally, when one is going to an event where there is going to be amazing food, amazing wine, and then amazing cake, one really needs to eat cookies before one goes. Possibly not. However, Jessica did point out that they are small, therefore they could be considered a snack food, and everyone knows that you should have a small snack before you head out to an event so that you aren’t hungry and therefore angry, and don’t overeat the appetisers and/or bread basket.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I know that you should really snack on something healthy like an apple and some nut butter, or some low-fat Greek yoghurt. That’s what sensible Amy does on normal days, but there are some days, like a Saturday where your awesome and unintended sleep in gets interrupted by your alarm for an appointment, and then you show up at said appointment to find out that they meant to call you and cancel. Three weeks ago.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Still, no big fuss. Just go home via the supermarket, pick up some buckwheat flour and chocolate chips, remember that you have some egg dregs leftover from your sensible Friday night dinner of egg white omelette and make yourself some cookies. Three cookies disappeared while I was getting dressed and glammed for said wedding. Mental health snack: sensible. Then you really should proceed to eat the bread roll (because for goodness sake they actually found you a gluten free one) with butter (of course); lick the plate clean when they bring you an amazingly tasty dinner; and then dance with your significant other like a crazy person (Pulp Fiction has nothing on us). Then, definitely remember to have a cookie before breakfast on Sunday while you are trying to make bacon for your slightly hungover significant other in a mildly hungover state yourself. Couch time for most of the day: sensible. Note: I did also go for a cookie-fuelled run in the afternoon. Perhaps not sensible, but definitely required.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cookies are chocolate in the best way. The dough isn’t overly sweet so the cocoa shines through. The milk chocolate chips are little bursts of sweetness among the darker dough. The reason these are called pebble cookies is because they are soft and slightly crumbly and fit in the palm of your hand, smooth and full of chocolaty promise before you gobble them down. I dare you to stop at just one.

 Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat flour and rice flour with the equivalent weight of plain flour.

Gluten Free. Makes 18 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 75 grams buckwheat flour
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl use a wooden spoon to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, yolks, and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, buckwheat flour and rice flour.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips until well distributed.
  7. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays, allow room for a small amount of spreading.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges are firm. The middle may still be soft. This is good otherwise your cookies will be overly hard.
  9. Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life