Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Crisp shredded summer vegetables come together with a spicy-creamy dressing in this fresh summer salad that is the perfect side for any of your summer meals.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeSummer has firmly established its humid grasp on Brisbane and our appetites are changing in response to the longer days and warmer nights. When people in Australia talk about the weather, we aren’t just being polite and passing time. The weather here is a living, breathing entity unto itself. An afternoon thunderstorm can bloom in a clear blue sky and bring a city to its knees; the streets become canals and suburbs become islands. A long, clear stretch of blue skies and hot days with no relief cracks the land and drives stoic farmers to tears. Here in the land down under we are in tune with the weather because this wide, red land demands that we are.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeI try to live in tune to the seasons, try to tailor what we eat to how our appetites respond to the weather outside. Our thunderstorm last week heralded the beginning of our summer season. The days have been reaching for higher and higher temperatures and come nightfall we aren’t craving our usual weekly rotation of pasta, rice, and mashed potatoes. Our bodies are ready for bright summer vegetables in large quantities, we are ready for clean spicy flavours and the crunch of freshness.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeIt’s time to bring out bright, brash, bountiful salads to pair with Chris’s fish and my chickpeas and this one delivers on flavour, crunch, and substance – and it’s midweek-after-work-easy too! All things that are a must have for summer sides in our house. First you shred some carrot and zucchini (super easy with a julienne peeler), add some finely sliced capsicum and green onion, toss through roughly chopped coriander (or Thai basil if you aren’t a coriander fan – Mum…) and then anoint each portion with the spicy red onion, lime juice,and coconut milk dressing. A perfect combination of flavours, heat and spice, cool and crunchy for the stormy summer ahead.

If you are cooking for younger, or more delicate tummies you can reduce the red curry paste or just use a sprinkling of curry powder instead. If you want to make this ahead simply leave the salad and dressing separate until serving. This vegan, gluten free, clean salad is perfect for every member of the family (and bikini friendly too, ahem) and will be on high rotation in the Thoroughly Nourished house all summer long.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeShredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing

Serves 2 generously, easily multiplied | Gluten Free | Vegan

Note: I served my vegetarian portion with some chickpeas and extra macadamia nuts, while Chris suggests some panko crusted baked chicken breast.
Also, note: this recipe makes a large quantity of dressing. If you do not use the whole amount (we certainly didn’t) it will last up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. It also makes an excellent marinade for chicken breasts.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum
  • 2 stalks green (spring) onion
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts

Method

  1. Julienne (or very thinly slice) carrots and zucchini and place in a large bowl.
  2. Thinly slice red capsicum and green onions and add to bowl.
  3. Roughly chop coriander and add to vegetables. With clean hands (or salad servers) toss everything until well mixed.
  4. To make dressing: whisk together light coconut milk, lime juice, crushed garlic, and red curry paste.
  5. Pour desired amount of dressing (see note) over salad and sprinkle with macadamia nuts. Serve immediately.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Do you try to keep your eating in line with the seasons? What is your body craving right now? I think mine might be a little confused by all the wonderful treats my Northern Hemisphere friends keep making because I am craving peppermint after seeing this post today!

Don’t forget Thoroughly Nourished Life has a home on Facebook now! Come and join me to talk about all sorts of yummy and inspiring things from all over this wide web world of ours.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan|Gluten Free

Prepare for your house to smell like Christmas. These warmly spiced, roasted nuts are liberally seasoned with maple syrup and all your favourite holiday spices. Use your favourite combination of nuts and share with friends, give as gifts, or devour them while watching your favourite Christmas films.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Every Christmas Mum fills a big timber bowl with nuts in the shell, and throughout December we crack open our favourites (hazelnuts and almonds for me, walnuts for Mum, and Brazil nuts for Jess) as a quick snack or couch and TV dessert. Last year she also introduced a seductively spiced and sweetened roasted vanilla cashew mix into the house. Very dangerous. So dangerous that I had see if I could make them myself. I am happy to report that you can make delicious spiced nuts at home.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I made these nuts for a recent get-together with friends, and there were no leftovers to take home! I was happy to hear reviews from friends on the spot, and I just knew I had to share them with you all as we head into the holiday season. Not only are these nuts coated in holiday favourite flavours of maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg, they are also coated in raw sugar crystals for extra crunch, and just a kiss of salt to bring all the flavours together. Each bite is full of crackly salt and sugar glaze, spices, and the earthiness of roasted almonds and cashews.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A note about nuts: I used a combination of cashews and almonds, but you should use three cups of your favourite combination of nuts. Hazelnuts and almonds would be perfect with this mix of spices too. Just ensure that you choose nuts of a similar size so that they roast evenly. If you choose nuts of very different sizes (say pistachios and Brazil nuts) one nut will likely burn and the other will be undercooked.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier, which makes it a perfect time-saving gift or holiday snack. You warm the nuts in the oven and roll them in spices and maple syrup. The heat helps everything to absorb into the nut. After cooling your nut mix you sprinkle it with a final coating of salt and sugar and roast it for the final time. Your house will smell like Santa’s kitchen as the cinnamon and nutmeg start to dance with the heat. Mouth-watering territory.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I am planning on cooking up big batches of Maple Spiced Roast Nuts for Christmas gifts and party favours. Now that I know how easy (and addictive) these home made sweet, salty, spicy nuts are to make I can’t wait to try out some different flavours to share with my friends and family.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts

Makes 3 cups | Vegan | Gluten Free

Note: you can use 3 cups of your favourite combination of nuts in place of the cashews and almonds if you wish.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons raw sugar.
  3. Spread nuts in one layer across the lined baking sheet and cook for 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the nuts from the oven and place in mixing bowl along with the spices. Mix well to coat nuts.
  5. Pour maple syrup over the nuts and mix again to coat nuts well in spices.
  6. Spread nuts out in a single layer on the lined baking sheet again, pour over any maple syrup and spice mixture that may have pooled at the bottom, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Once nuts are cool, reheat oven to 200C (400F).
  8. Sprinkle remaining salt and sugar over nuts and roast in oven for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking up and packaging for gifts, or storing for up to two weeks in an airtight container in a cool place.

Maple Spiced Roast Nuts | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Seven

This post is coming to you a little later than usual because my weekend was packed! I was ‘Out to Live’ and I have come back feeling nourished: mind, body, and soul. The time away from the screen was worth it because I feel refreshed and ready to launch into some seasonal celebrations and share some delicious recipes with you all. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Forty-Seven:

roasted nuts

Monday: I love it when Monday nights end with a sweat session with my sister and tonight we headed to a Body Pump class together after work. I was grateful for the activity after sitting in my office chair all day and grateful to have Jess to giggle with (we are both so uncoordinated) and support each other when we challenged ourselves with heavier weights, or the harder moves.

Tuesday: I am going through some major long run withdrawals at the moment and I’m not doing the Cadbury Half Marathon again until 2016, so today I started having a look to see if there were some shorter races closer to home that had something a little different about them. I have found a race series on the coast that looks amazing, and 10km will be a good distance to work up to again and concentrate on getting faster! I am grateful that I have a strong, healthy body (once my iron levels are up again) and the opportunity to have fun with running.

Wednesday: this afternoon the skies turned black. After a long, muggy day the storm was coming in. Bolts of lightening struck the airfields across from my office and the streets quickly became rivers. I was grateful to make it home safely to Chris, and to spend the night listening to the rain.

blue skies

Thursday: today after work I got to pick up two very important parcels from the airport – Mum and Dad!! After nearly three weeks in New Zealand they made their way back home and I was so happy to see them! I was so grateful to see them and to hear that they had a wonderful holiday. The photos that I have seen have made it clear that Chris and I need to get to New Zealand soon!

Friday: this morning while I was out for my run I came around the last corner and tripped over on the pavement. I skinned my knees, bloodied my hands, and jarred my elbows but I was so lucky that my injuries are just external. I was grateful that Mum and Dad bandaged me up and made me some breakfast and that I had an easy morning at work. Tonight I was grateful to spend a night with Mum and Dad looking at some of their photos and watching a movie.

fall

Saturday: Mum, Jess, and I made our return to the markets this morning. I was grateful for a creamy cappuccino and stocking up on lots of fresh produce to fuel Chris and I through the week. Then I came home and got to experimenting with some seasonal treats that will be perfect as homemade gifts this Christmas! I was grateful for a long afternoon walk to make up for all the taste testing :) Also, Chris bought me the cutest Christmas decoration because he’s just that sweet!

rudy

Sunday: today is the reason this post is coming to you a little late! I woke up and got out for my run this morning and two dogs ran through traffic when they saw me. Luckily a car stopped to help me and the gentleman got out and called the number on one of the dog’s collars and they were,swiftly returned to their owner. I was grateful for the kindness of strangers. Then Chris and I made our way to the other side of town to celebrate my brother in law’s birthday – Happy Birthday Trent! In the afternoon all the girls gathered for some tea, treats, and linen party shopping. I was grateful to catch up with so many of my friends, new and old, and to get a good lot of my Christmas shopping done. A very lovely, soul nourishing Sunday afternoon.

run harbour

Also this week:

  • I shared my first attempt at gluten free pastry, and a perfect early summer supper.
  • I can’t help myself, the holiday season is here to stay in our house already!

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

Thoroughly Nourished Finds: Merry and Bright

I’ve held back as long as I could dear reader, and I just can’t hold back anymore. I am ready for Christmas. Ready for the baking, the shopping, the shipping, the card making, the wrapping, the dinner partying, the summer running, the carols, the tree, the time with family. Thinking about Christmas, for me, starts before Halloween. I just can’t help myself. As soon as the days start to grow longer and the temperature starts rising to ‘get in the pool now’ levels I am ready to wind down on the work, dial back on the responsibility, increase the merriment, and get into festive mode.

ranunculus

Let’s start with something very merry, and by that I mean a cocktail. Kate from Cookie and Kate created the perfect seasonal sip for by the pool – Spiced Apple Margarita anyone!

Starring stunningly in-season watermelon these Watermelon, Strawberry, and Vodka Slushies from Emma at A Splash of Vanilla would be very welcome among my girlfriends – perfect for a pool date!

Katie from What Katie Ate takes the most beautiful photos (her second book is on my Christmas wish list) and creates the most tantalising desserts. Katie created this delicious Chocolate Pavlova for Christmas – I can tell it’s going to be popular at our house!

Lizzy from Your Cup of Cake created the cutest Reindeer Cupcakes last year, and I’m going to treat my colleagues with these for sure!

I’m hoping to DIY some of our presents this year, and after we received a delicious ‘Cookie in a Jar’ mix last year I am hoping to gift some ‘In a Jar’ presents of my own! BuzzFeed has 24 ideas for jars full of happiness.

We are approaching deep ice cream eating territory very quickly, and my ice cream maker is already sitting on the bench waiting for its next job. I think Chris deserves a big bowl of this Double Chocolate Ice Cream with Cookie Pieces after our next run along the water.

Do you get easily overwhelmed? I certainly do! This article from The Chalkboard gives us permission (and the steps) to Break Out of Overwhelm.

My parent’s mango tree has baby mangoes all over and I need more than ice cream and cupcakes to power me through my summer workout plans – this Mango Coconut Green Smoothie from Kitchen Treaty brings homegrown mangoes and healthy eating together in one delicious glass.

I am enjoying strength training at the moment (Jess and I have been taking Body Pump together and it hurts so good).  This Holiday Rev-Up Workout from Women’s Health Magazine sounds perfect to pump up my metabolism when I can’t make it to a class.

Before Chris and I see the Stephen Hawking biopic ‘The Theory of Everything‘ I will be sure to read the book by his first wife Jane. You can also be sure that we will be re-reading this family favourite while putting up Mum and Dad’s Christmas tree – you are never too old for ‘The Jolly Christmas Postman‘.

Okay, there you have my first post for the Holiday 2014 season. Let this one be merry and bright, and full of nourishing moments.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Gluten Free

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Last week at work I got the news that I am going to be working in one of our other teams for the next two and a bit weeks. The work I am going to be doing isn’t particularly hard, but it requires more focus than my usual position, and is great practical experience in things I only studied on a theoretical basis in my post-graduate study. Naturally, I am nervous as all hell.

I know this weakness in myself. When faced with a shift in focus, a challenge that I know in my logical mind that I am perfectly capable of achieving, my not-so-logical mind takes over and pumps up the anxiety levels.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I wish I could approach work challenges and changes the way I approach challenges in the kitchen: work out the science, be methodical in the creating, put all my heart and soul into it, and see how it goes. Lose or win I have tried my best and (most of the time) the results are yummy, or I learn from the experience and take those lessons into my next attempt.

What I’m saying is, I wish my work-life could be more like pie. Pastry has never been my strong suit, and gluten free pastry has been on the list of challenges that I have yet to attempt with gusto. But, on the weekend, I strapped on my big-girl panties apron, got out my frozen butter, various flours, and got my hands dirty experimenting with a basic press-in pie crust. This summer is going to be the Great Pie Experiment summer, which is going to mean lots of challenges, a few failures, lots of learning, and some leaps of faith. )Also a lot of running and lifting of weights.)

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis tart crust is the best to start with if you are either: a) new to cooking pies and tarts (like moi), b) new to cooking gluten free, or c) afraid of cooking things that fall into category  a) or b). There is no kneading, rolling, lifting, cutting or any such tricky thing involved in this savoury tart. You simply make up the crust, allow it to chill for a while, then press the crumbs evenly into a lined and oiled tart pan. It’s just like making shortbread.

The trickiest thing is getting your crust even along the bottom and the sides, and if you make a few mistakes there, no one will know because we load the center of the tart with fresh summer tomatoes, herbs, and fresh mozzarella cheese. If someone does notice, tell them it’s a rustic summer tart. ‘Rustic’ forgives all inconsistencies.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAfter some time in the oven, the tomatoes will have deepened and sweetened their natural flavour, and the bright soft baby mozzarella will have melted into cheesy pockets. Trust me, you want cheesy pockets in your life. The reward vs. output for this gluten free savoury tart is high. This is a challenge you can win.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSummer Tomato and Herb Tart

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 -6 as a light meal

Note: If you do not require this to be gluten free, just use 140 grams (about 1 cup) of plain flour in place of the first four ingredients.
Note: Xanthan gum is available in supermarkets and health food stores. It helps with the elasticity of the dough.

Ingredients

  • 35 grams sorghum flour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 35 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 50 grams butter, frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 275 grams (about 8 small) roma tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 100 grams mini bocconcini (or firm fresh mozzarella)

Method

  1. Measure your flours and xanthan gum into a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Use a box grater to grate your frozen butter into your flour. This is the best way to get small pieces of butter into your dough. Gently ‘rub’ your butter into the flour until it looks like a course meal. You can use your hands or a pastry cutter to do this.
  3. Add salt and pepper and lightly mix to distribute.
  4. Measure in 3 tablespoons of iced water and stir until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Tip crumbly dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Do not bother trying to knead it all together. Wrap tightly and press into a flat disc. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  7. Oil the bottom and side well of a 7-inch (18 cm) removable bottom tart tin, and line the bottom with baking paper.
  8. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator, tip into the bottom of the tart tin and press dough even around the bottom and up the sides of the tin.
  9. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the bottom looks dry but is still pale.
  10. Slice tomatoes in half and place in partially baked tart shell cut side up. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and dot the mozzarella between the tomatoes.
  11. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have started to blister and the mozzarella is melted.
  12. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving with a large green salad.

Okay dear readers, who is ready for this challenge? What should my next pastry experiment be?

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Six

We enjoyed a short work week this week, and a long weekend owing to the G20 Summit currently happening in Brisbane. While our world leaders (hopefully) talk to each other honestly about the challenges facing the world at the moment, I am grateful for a long weekend to escape from the heat, catch up with my sister (and get in some good workouts), and spend some time reading and thinking the big thoughts. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Six:

Monday: Tonight Jess and I went to a Body Pump class at the gym together. Although we both do resistance training we haven’t taken a class like that in forever. We had so much fun despite all the squats (So. Many. Squats) and limped out of the gym with smiles on our faces. I was grateful to spend a sweaty, smiley, evening with Jess and get the week off to a healthy start.

Mums apples

Tuesday: Molly and I started our day with a beautiful walk around the neighbourhood, and when I got home I felt like I needed to get back outdoors so I got in a run for the day too. I was grateful to spend some time in nature, and with my pup. Nothing busts stress like some exercise (especially with a furry companion).

Molly walk

Wednesday: Today one of my colleagues put in extra effort to help me assist in getting his documents out of the door on time. I sat back for a moment and realised he is always ready and willing to help me with whatever tasks I have on hand, and on top of his own tasks. I am grateful that he delivers documents to me early and gives me time to do my job. I feel very respected when I am working with him, and for that I am grateful.

Thursday: I have been moved to another team at work for the next two weeks and in our meeting today I got the news that I was going to get the chance to copy edit some big documents. I am grateful for the chance to really put my brain to work and experience a different working area. I finished off the day with a quick run at the gym and a relaxing walk with Miss Molly. A great start to the long weekend.

Friday: Jess and I started our day with a heart pumping cycling class and then Chris and I headed out to spend some time with friends. We hung out by the pool for a few hours. The water was such sweet relief from the heat of the day, and I was grateful that we could relax and let all our stress float away. We made our way to another friend’s house for dinner and we had such a great time. They cooked us a beautiful dinner (Chris has competition for his mashed potato championship now) and then regaled us with fascinating tales and beautiful photos from their recent trip to Japan. I was so grateful to spend some time catching up with two groups of our friends, and getting inspired for our own travels.

Pool day

Saturday: After Molly and I took a quick walk around the neighbourhood before the heat of the day got too bad, Jess and I took our favourite class (Body Attack) at the gym. I came home and got into a serious baking mood (to be shared with you all this week) and then Chris and I watched vampire movies and ate dinner on the couch. I went to bed so relaxed and I was grateful for a day where much was achieved that also felt restful.

tart

Sunday: Today started with a hot and sweaty walk in the hot summer sunshine and some hot and sweaty laundry and house cleaning. Chris, Molly, Toby, and I are now very grateful for our air-conditioned house and some entertainment courtesy of Dan Brown and Kate Forsyth. A slow summer day is just what we need before we both have some very intense days at work in the lead up to Christmas.

Also this week:

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Orange Maple Dressing

A girl needs two things she can rely on when the seasons start to change. One – a good cardigan because the weather can turn on its heel between winter and spring (or winter and summer as it happens here). Two – a good cross-seasonal salad. Something that can be made no matter what looks good at the farmers market, or if you happen to be relying on your grocery store because going to the gym with your sister seems so much more appealing than getting out of bed super early after a challenging week at work. It happens.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Now, I can’t help you on the cardigan choices (although these people here certainly know a thing or two) but I can certainly help you with a salad that crosses seasons and can transform refrigerator and store cupboard staples into a meal (or side dish) that satisfies hunger and delights tastebuds. No matter what the season it’s easy to find a bag of carrots, some fresh baby spinach, and a packet of dried lentils. Even in the dead of winter, this salad will bring a little sunshine to your life, or on a blustery, humid summer night a little comfort without weighing you down.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The natural sweetness of the carrots is brought out by some time in the oven with a coating of olive oil and maple syrup. The lentils are cooked with bay leaves and cinnamon; flavours that both reach down into the earthiness of the lentils and give them real flavour and presence in this salad, rather than just being the good, solid backbone of a hearty salad. The dressing pulls everything together and unites each separate, stunning part into bite after delicious bite. The dressing is a combination of olive oil, maple syrup, orange juice and zest, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper, and just a touch of cinnamon.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIf you are searching for a salad that does double duty as a healthy lunchtime meal and a side dish for a family gathering (think of my USA friends preparing for Thanksgiving) then this is the salad for you. For my Thanksgiving friends with tricky to feed guests this salad is vegan and gluten free, which that no matter their dietary constraints, your guests will be pleased. If you are preparing for summer beach season then this salad is perfect for filling your lunchbox. Protein from lentils, healthy fats from walnuts, and the green power of baby spinach will keep you satisfied and help you work towards your summer glow.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRoasted Carrot and Lentil Salad with Orange Maple Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Gluten Free | Vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried Puy lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the dressing

  • Juice and zest 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Place lentils, water, bay leaves and cinnamon stick into a medium saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked, but still firm to the bite. Once cooked, drain lentils and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
  2. While lentils are cooking heat oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  3. Top and tail carrots and cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) thick rounds. Place in a small bowl with maple syrup and olive oil. Toss to coat and then spread across baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are easily pierced with a fork.
  4. To toast walnuts add to carrots in the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Allow to cool and chop roughly into large pieces.
  5. To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously with a fork.
  6. Combine lentils, walnuts, carrots, cranberries and spinach in a large mixing bowl. Pour over dressing and gently toss until everything is well coated.

Roasted Carrot and Lentil Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Brown butter is distracting. Chocolate chips are distracting. Add them together and you have double the distraction, and double the deliciousness. In fact, this post has taken me two days to write because every time I get started I remember the container of shortbread bars sitting on the kitchen bench just waiting for me to open it up and devour another crumbly, buttery, dark chocolate morsel filled bar.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My sister and I did a mega-workout morning on Saturday (9km of dog walking, 5km of cycling, and a Body Attack class) and by the afternoon my tummy was craving a treat for all the hard work my body had put in. When my body wants a treat the first thing that crosses my mind is chocolate chip cookies. They are my favourite everything. But then I started thinking about browning the butter, maybe adding some hazelnut meal, and so the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bar was born.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This recipe is the answer to your buttery dreams because in addition to browning a half cup of butter, we also cream another half cup with sugar and vanilla. Double the butter = double the treat = double the happiness. To this beauteous bounty of butter we add a medley of gluten free flours, an egg, and a large helping of chocolate chips (to be honest, I should have added more chocolate chips to my mix because you can never, ever, have enough chocolate chips).

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou then press your mixture into a lined slice tray (steal a little taste test of the dough too – oh boy) and it gets to rest in the fridge for two hours. This ensures the butter chills again and gives your shortbread the flaky, buttery crumble that we expect.

When these bars emerged from the oven I knew I had created the treat my body was craving. Crumbly but chewy, brown sugar sweet but browned butter salty, and studded with semi-sweet dark chocolate chips. These are the perfect treat for when you are resting your weary legs on a Saturday night with a new novel, and a happy dog at your feet.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars

Gluten Free | Makes 24 bars | Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days

Note: this article is a great explanation (with photos) of how to brown butter.

Ingredients

  • 250 grams butter, softened
  • 150 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 75 grams white rice flour
  • 75 grams sorghum flour
  • 75 grams hazelnut meal
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (or more, to taste) dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Place half the butter (125 gram) into a small heavy-based saucepan and melt over medium-low heat. Keep heating butter once it has melted continue to heat it, stirring frequently. The butter will foam a little and once the foam has disappeared keep a close watch of the butter – it should now be a light caramel colour and smell nutty. When little brown specks begin to appear at the bottom of the pot remove it from the heat and pour the butter into a small bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. While browned butter is cooling line a 7 x 11 inch (18 x 28 cm) slice tray with baking paper. Set aside until required.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Beat together remaining softened butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Once browned butter is cooled beat it into batter until fully incorporated.
  5. Beat egg into batter.
  6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix until well distributed.
  8. Press mixture into prepared tray and chill in the fridge for two hours.
  9. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and bake bars for 30-35 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and bounces back when lightly touched.
  10. Allow to cool completely before slicing. I recommend slicing the bars in the tray as it saves you a lot of mess.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These buttery bars are sure to become a favourite in our house, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Five

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The fall was a symbol of freedom and the end of oppression and fear. Although our world is still marked by the blights of suffering, enslavement, war, and, worst of all, indifference to these evils, we can take hope from the past and see that when we do act together to end oppression, fear, and suffering – the human spirit can triumph and set us all free. Now that’s something to be grateful for. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Five:

Monday: Tonight we were faced with another dark and cloudy night down by the bay so I was grateful to curl up with a book in bed and let time pass me by while I was caught up in another world.

the help

Tuesday: This morning I got up and made the most of the early sunrise with a walk by the water. After work I hopped in my car and headed to my parent’s place as Chris and I are house sitting for them while they are away in New Zealand. After a difficult afternoon I was grateful for the opportunity to take Miss Molly out for a walk while the sunset. There is nothing like some puppy love to wash away whatever troubles your heart.

morning walk

molly and me

Wednesday: Tonight on the way home from work I stopped by to see a friend. What was supposed to be a quick book pick-up turned into an hour and half of us baring our souls to each other. We are unusual friends, not close, but closer than mere acquaintances, and we have shared things and supported each other through some hard times. I was grateful to see this beautiful lady and though troubled by her tears, I was grateful she had someone with whom she could share the hurt inside her heart.

Thursday: This morning I got up early and worked out while the sun rose. The cat was very amused by my plie squats and push-ups. This afternoon a light rain swept across our house and so Molly and I curled up inside the house waiting for Chris to come home from work. I was grateful to watch a movie (Easy A – one of my favourites) and do some baking and just take a breath.

vegan salad

Friday: Today I was grateful for my Friday lunch with Jess from work and even more grateful to come home and take Molly on a long walk to start the weekend. While I was finishing up my workout with a few miles on the stationary bike Chris and I caught up on the happenings of the day and planned our weekend.

Saturday: Today Jess and I got to spend some major sister time together. We walked our respective dogs and then went to the gym to try out a Body Attack class. We treated ourselves to a veggie juice while we did our grocery shopping and talked about matters big and small. I was grateful for some good quality time with my little sister. In the afternoon Chris and I drove down to MovieWorld and rode the roller coasters and watched the evening clouds roll in from the highest vantage points we could find. I was grateful to end the afternoon on a really fun note, and grateful that Chris and I might be grown-up but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a child’s amount of joy in simple pleasures such as this.

Sunday: This morning has started quietly, but I was grateful for a sleep in after a week of early risings. This afternoon Jess and I are getting started on some of Dad’s Christmas painting (Christmas 2014 might be the biggest yet around here) and then we are going to have a little family dinner to end the week.

Also this week:

Capsicum, Corn, and Zucchini Savoury Bread

Today I bring you a different take on my love of quick breads – a gluten free, veggie-sprinkled, savoury summer loaf that provides the perfect base for building open sandwiches, or dunking into bowls of chili.

Capsicum, Corn, Zucchini Savoury Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAs you all know, I love a salad for lunch, but sometimes I crave something more solid, more carbohydrate heavy. That’s where this bread comes in. Packed with a confetti of onion, zucchini, corn and capsicum and heavy with spices this savoury loaf takes summer lunching to the next level.

My Mum has always been a fan of open sandwiches (she does come from the land of the famous smørrebrød after all) but as a little kid I couldn’t understand the appeal – I wanted two slices of white bread, butter, and vegemite. Or my Dad’s buttery curried eggs. As an adult though I understand the sophistication of an open sandwich. The appeal of a thicker, more flavoursome bread that holds its own weight in the sandwich situation.

Capsicum, Corn, Zucchini Savoury Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

In addition to a colourful mix of summer vegetables, this loaf is spiced up with paprika, cumin, coriander seed, and dried thyme. A sprinkle of grated sharp cheddar lends a final savoury boost. This bread is denser than your sandwich bread, but still fluffy, and it makes an open sandwich into a meal fit for a queen (or king).

I can imagine taking this to a picnic and laying out a range of options for guests to create their own open sandwiches. I topped mine with sliced creamy avocado and cherry tomatoes, but the options are limitless. A slice of cheese and some ham (for the omnivorous amongst us), avocado and melted cheese, or perhaps hummus and sundried tomatoes. Or you can just eat it plain, or toasted, with a decadent spread of butter. Just how my Mama taught me.

Capsicum, Corn, Zucchini Savoury Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Capsicum, Corn, and Zucchini Savoury Bread

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Makes one 9×5 inch loaf – about 10-12 slices

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely diced capsicum
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 60 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 finely diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup corn (canned, frozen, or fresh off the cob)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9×5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a small frying pan heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Fry capsicum and onion gently until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together brown rice, white rice, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda, spices and thyme.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, remaining olive oil, and eggs until smooth.
  5. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Using a wooden spoon mix in cooled capsicum and onion, cheddar, zucchini, and corn.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and sprinkle reserved cheddar over the top.
  8. Place in oven and cook for 60-75 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If your loaf is browning too quickly you might wish to cover the top with aluminium foil.
  9. Once cooked all the way through, remove from oven, take out of pan and allow to cool completely before slicing.

Capsicum, Corn, Zucchini Savoury Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me dear reader, what are your favourite toppings for open sandwiches?