Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Breakfast for dinner has to be one of the greatest inventions of the modern world, and a lifesaver for busy after work dinners or lazy Sunday nights. Fritters are the perfect choice for a breakfast styled dinner: all the happiness of a stack of pancakes (minus the sugar) with a satisfyingly savoury styling (plus the bonus of vegetables).

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These fritters made an appearance on our table early this week and they have already become a favourite. They are a blank canvas for whatever toppings you most desire but, if you want my honest opinion, you need to make the balsamic roasted tomatoes as a chic breakfast-for-dinner take on sloppy diner grilled tomatoes. These tomatoes are the window dressing that spice up the soft, cheesy fritters. They only take 30 minutes to roast in the oven (plenty of time to make the fritters and assemble a salad) but they taste like they have been blistering for hours. The trick is to coat them lovingly at a high heat in balsamic vinegar and oil, and to choose small, sweet tomatoes. The heat from the oven will bring forth the sugars stored within the tomatoes. When you pair the sweet tomatoes with the tart balsamic vinegar you create a fritter topping that will have you craving more. If you end up with leftover tomatoes, try them stirred into freshly cooked pasta and topped with a shower of cheese, or top your morning avocado on toast with a pile of these sweet and tart gems.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Parsley isn’t the most loved of herbs, and not my favourite, but I love this slightly outmoded curly leaf for its bright green, flamenco curled leaves and clean, slightly grassy taste. When parsley meets cheese (in this case ricotta and cheddar) magic happens – there is a reason Mama always said to stir parsley into your cheese sauce. Then the whole lot is spiced up with a decent dose of fresh ground black pepper – my favourite ingredient for adding spice to any meal.

These fritters are my offering for Weeknight Nourishment this week. Breakfast for dinner is the first thing that comes to mind when I am trying to think of a quick dinner that both of us will enjoy, and fritters are the ultimate in breakfast for dinner that still includes vegetables and feels slightly grown-up. The batter comes together easily, and if you don’t have parsley in the fridge, just throw in whatever herbs you have at hand. I serve mine with a salad, and some crispy bacon on the side for Chris. And bonus – leftovers make great lunches.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Makes 8 fritters and about 2 cups tomatoes (both easily multiplied)

For serving: a runny poached egg would take this meal to the next level and for omnivores perhaps add some crispy bacon.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup low fat smooth ricotta
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar
  • Cooking spray (spray olive oil in our house)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and spread tomatoes out in one layer. Pour over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gently shake baking sheet to ensure all tomatoes are coated. Bake for 3o minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes start to split.
  2. While tomatoes are cooking: in a medium mixing bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl whisk together ricotta, eggs, and milk.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
  5. Add parsley and cheddar to batter and stir gently to fully combine.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking oil.
  7. Place heaped tablespoonfuls of batter onto pan two at a time, allowing room for the batter to spread.
  8. Cook for 3 minutes on the first side or until small bubbles have risen to the surface of the uncooked side. Flip fritter and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm while cooking the remaining batter.
  9. To serve: Place fritters on plates, spoon over roasted tomatoes and their juices. Try serving with a green salad and some butter avocado.

Parsley Ricotta Fritters with Balsamic Roasted Grape Tomatoes | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Thoroughly Nourished Finds – Cookies, Comedians, and Cartoons

I spend way too much time fooling around on the internet, to be sure, but I am never short of a funny, interesting, or thought-provoking link to send to a friend. Today I’m going to share with you the latest links that have made me laugh, inspired me, or helped me think about how to live a more nourished life. If you’ve found something funny or interesting to share, leave me a comment and a link below!

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Make ‘em laugh!

I think you all know by now that I like a laugh, and most of you have probably picked up that I am a feminist too. These comedians bring some humour to the fight for equality for both sexes. I especially love Amy Schumer and Tina Fey’s points. Tell your own story. Lift up your fellow ladies.

Think/inspire

Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe and all the trappings of life are pressing in on me. Becoming Minimalist has 12 simple ways to create more space every day.

Maybe Mickey (or one of his incarnations) wasn’t meant to be in love with Minnie, but Mike instead. Check out these illustrations for an updated and different gender view of the traditional mouse coupling.

30 isn’t all that far away, so I am keen to learn as much as I can in the next two and a bit years. This article on Thought Catalogue has 35 lessons to learn as you get closer to 30. I need to practice more of numbers 1, 8, 13, and 26.

I’m still learning about balance in my life and diet, but this article from The Greatist articulates perfectly the philosophy of balance that I admire in people like my sister. Who knows how to eat just one cookie and really enjoy it.

Get hungry

After seeing ‘Tex Mex from Scratch‘ featured on Jennifer’s ‘In My Kitchen‘ update I knew I needed to have it. This is ultimate Chris food and I can’t wait to cook him up some dry rub ribs and get my hands on a slice of chocolate meringue pie!

It must be the season for American food because I made this Buttermilk Fried Chicken for Chris tonight and I can tell it will be on heavy repeat all summer long. Perfect picnic food for omnivores.

You know I am all about the sweet, stackable breakfast food. A few years ago my grandmother entrusted her old waffle iron to me. After this all buckwheat waffle recipe came to light a few weeks ago I know exactly what I am going to christen it with once I dig it out of storage.

My copy of Joy the Baker‘s new cookbook is currently winging its way across the ocean to my eager hands. I can’t wait Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream to celebrate long summer afternoons, or a Mint Chocolate Chip Cake for my brother-in-law’s birthday. There is always room for some homemade decadence in the Thoroughly Nourished household.

That’s it for my list for now! Back to recipes on Wednesday. In the meantime, if you’ve found something you’d like to share, leave me a link below.

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Two

Can you believe we are at week forty-two of the year? I am in denial that this year has gone by so quickly. Summer has already rolled around again and Christmas decorations are popping up in stores. I am ready for some summer time relaxing, and for getting into the Christmas spirit, but let’s not rush things, okay? Let’s just take the next few weeks of spring to relax in the fresh breezes, revel in the delicate green produce, and take big walks to wash winter away. Here is my spring-filled Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-Two:

Monday: Today I was grateful for delicious leftovers for lunch. I love unpacking my lunch box when I have something healthy and tasty to break up the day. When I got home tonight I was grateful to crawl into bed with Chris and get lost in ‘The Goldfinch’ for a few hours.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tuesday: This morning I woke up to a sky filled with streaks of rain clouds the sun struggling to peek through. It was a refreshing way to start the day, and I managed to double up on runs when I came home from work in the afternoon. I was grateful just to be moving after being stagnant in my office chair all day.

rainy run

 

Wednesday: This morning I woke up late. My body was not happy with something. I managed to drag myself to work, but within a few hours I was back in bed under the covers. I was grateful when Chris came home later in the evening, bundled me into the car to get some dinner, and then brought me home to lie in bed, eat sushi and watch The Mindy Project. Laughter and love are the best medicines.

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Thursday: Today we had a big important meeting at work so I convinced myself to just get into work and take it from there. I did make it halfway through the day before my body gave out. I was grateful to my colleagues for taking over for me and insisting that I go home and get some rest.

Friday: I didn’t even bother getting out of bed today. After visiting my doctor it turns out that my iron levels are again at basement level (and I eat so much spinach! Come on body keep up your end!) and I have gastritis. I am grateful for the excellent health care I have available to me and my doctor for taking good care of me. Tonight Chris and I had dinner with Mum and Dad. I made butter chicken and rice for the omnivores and vegetarian stir fry for myself. We sat talking and laughing late into the night. I am grateful that my parents and Chris get along so well.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Saturday: Today was filled with lots of adventures. I started my day with a visit to the markets for breakfast with Mum, Jess and Casey! After finding some perfect watermelon and sweet corn, Casey and I made our way to Good Food and Wine festival. We spent a few hours nibbling on samples (stayed away from the cheese with this tummy at the moment), purchasing yummy bits and pieces (the best peanut butter, and jam with whiskey for me – if you can have whiskey for breakfast…) and talking up a storm. This afternoon I took Chris into Oktoberfest in his full costume (he looked awesome) and I was grateful that he had a great time with his friends consuming plenty of beer and pretzels. I went for a run and then snuggled up in bed with some new cookbooks and re-runs of VEEP.

Sunday: This morning I had a sweet sleep in and a take it easy morning. I am off to have lunch with two dear friends and spend some time out in the bayside sunshine this afternoon. I’m also doing some writing and planning this afternoon. Grateful for Sundays indeed.

Also this week:

Mocha Banana Muffins

I believe that if you can eat chocolate for breakfast you should, and if that chocolate happens to be healthy, paired with coffee, and baked into soft muffin-y form then all the better. If you have bananas languishing in your fruit bowl at the end of the week, some cocoa powder, and a few eggs, then you are well on your way to a healthy weekend breakfast treat.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This weekend I am going to the Good Food and Wine Show with my friend Casey, but beforehand we are meeting with my Mum, sister, and friend Bree at the Farmer’s Markets for breakfast and coffee – you know, to pre-fuel for our day of eating samples of myriad delicious things. So, healthy, gluten free, chocolate and banana muffins were my pick for a breakfast treat. Paired with a cappuccino from my favourite coffee shop we will be ready for a day of touring the halls of the convention centre in search of nibbles of cheese, and new gluten free products.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

You are going to love these muffins. Quick to assemble and put in the oven, you can make them in the morning and serve them fresh to your family for breakfast, or you can mix them up while dinner is cooking and have fresh treats for the whole family’s lunch boxes. This recipe would make a great baking project to make with little ones who are just learning to bake. A few simple steps, some measuring (a great way to learn maths – it certainly helped me), and a delicious result! All you need to do is mash bananas (a great job for little kids too), mix in yoghurt and eggs, and add to some gluten free flour with a handful of chocolate chips (because, sometimes you need chocolate chips in your breakfast). Bake them for 20 minutes and voila! Mocha Banana Muffins for the whole family to enjoy.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Mocha Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly frozen for up to 2 months

Note: if you don’t need these to be gluten free, use 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) plain flour in place of the hazelnut meal, sorghum flour, and white rice flour.

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, well mashed
  • 2/3 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt (or plain natural yoghurt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together mashed bananas, yoghurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla essence until thick and smooth.
  3. Dissolve coffee powder in water and add to banana mixture along with brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together hazelnut meal, white rice flour, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and stir gently until well distributed.
  7. Divide batter evenly between muffin papers.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies

I believe that sometimes you accidentally meet people who are part of your tribe. Somehow the magic strings of the universe are pulled the right way and you cross paths with people you are meant to be friends with. Sometimes you don’t know that you are meant to be friends right away, and sometimes there are signs posted by the universe to alert you. Like these cookies. These chewy oatmeal cookies were a big delicious sign from the universe that I have found one of my tribe, a new friend, here on the internet in Lynn from Fresh April Flours. (Hi Lynn and Matt!)

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

And when Lynn posted these cookies a few weeks ago I knew it wouldn’t be long until a gluten-free version would be baking in my oven. When the cinnamon and butter scent started wafting through the house I knew the universe had sent me the right way. If you are looking for the perfect chewy, gluten-free, oat cookie you have found the answer. Lynn added molasses to her cookie recipe for maximum chewiness and dense sweetness, but I couldn’t find any in my local supermarket, so I swapped it for golden syrup. I was happy to find that it had the same outcome! I also managed to find Bob’s Red Mill Wheat Free rolled oats finally! When you make these cookies please ensure that you use rolled oats, not quick oats, for chunky, chewy cookies. And make sure your oats are gluten free for the sensitive stomached among us.

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I switched out raisins for dried blueberries in my recipe, but followed Lynn’s suggestion to plump them up in water before adding them to the dough. Each bite of these gems is filled with oats and sweet plump blueberries. Even before I baked them I couldn’t stop eating the dough (you know I’m all about that delicious dough). Soft, chewy, spicy, sweet – these cookies have it all. You need to make these soon, they are the perfect after work snack, morning tea pick-me-up, and home made treat to share. For maximum enjoyment find a friend (new or old) and bring a plate of cookies to share. The universe says so.

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies

Adapted from Fresh April Flours

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 30 cookies | Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) white rice flour
  • 80 grams (1/2 cup) brown rice flour
  • 80 grams (2/3 cup) sorghum flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 200 grams (1 cup) brown sugar
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3 cups gluten free rolled oats

Method

  1. Place dried blueberries in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Leave for 10 minutes to soak. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, sorghum flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl use a wooden spoon (or handheld mixer) to cream butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and beat until well incorporated. Add golden syrup and beat until incorporated.
  5. Add flours and beat until completely mixed. Add oats and blueberries to the dough and mix well.
  6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to two days.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking and preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  8. Line two baking trays. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into 2.5cm (1 inch) balls and place on baking trays about 5cm (2 inches) apart.
  9. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on your oven) or until the edges are cooked and the middles are still soft.
  10. Allow to cool on trays before storing in an airtight container for up to five days.

Chewy Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers

Sometimes I distract myself from what I am doing in the moment by remembering meals from long ago. I recall the taste of stracciatella gelato from a holiday in Italy, or the stuffed cabbage rolls my grandmother used to make, or perhaps that cookie I nibbled in a cafe high up in a New York skyscraper a few years ago. Just last week I was recalling the exact heat of the sunshine and the lap of the water against the piers when I sat in a restaurant in Sausalito with a German girl I met at the bed and breakfast I was staying in. Two strangers in one of the best cities in the world we had banded together for two days of wandering. A short ferry ride from San Francisco we ended up in the dreamy town of Sausalito. After admiring the little shops and sidewalk flowerbeds spilling over with spring blooms we ended up at one of the many great restaurants that crowd along the seashore.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Not only were we treated to views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of San Francisco, the food was also stunning. My eyes were immediately drawn to a couscous stuffed capsicum and when it arrived at the table, pearls of giant couscous spilling from the scarlet casement, I knew I had ordered right. Perhaps that is where my capsicum/pepper stuffing obsession began.

This is my early summer ode to that long ago spring day. Sweet long peppers (I think these were either banana peppers or Sonora chili peppers) are opened and stuffed with a millet, black bean, tomato and spice filling and then baked in the oven to soften the flesh and bring out the natural sweetness of the pepper. If you are looking for a make ahead dish to impress dinner party guests, this is your answer. The filling can be made up to a day in advance, and on the day you only need to assemble the peppers, leave them to soften and blister in the oven and then serve them with a fresh green salad to the delight of your guests. And this recipe will delight your guests, so chic, so colourful, and gluten free and vegan so it pleases many palates. If you are serving this to omnivores, some roast chicken would be a great accompaniment.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Millet has an unfortunate reputation as food for the birds, and I for one would love to see this small ancient seed have its time in the sun. The yellow grains are easy to cook and provide decent amounts of important minerals such as copper and magnesium. Millet is so versatile, and in this dish the millet is combined with tomatoes, black beans, onions, herbs and spices for a hearty stuffing that contrasts well with the sweet roasted pepper. You could even serve the filling by itself with a crispy green salad if you do not have time to roast the peppers.

I can’t wait to make these again for a dinner party and share them with friends and family. Add some wine and some travel stories and you have the makings of  a great summer evening.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers

Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 4 | Leftovers will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat: place on a microwave safe plate and cover with paper towel. Heat on high for two minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large banana peppers (or medium red capsicums instead)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 400 gram tin crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 400 gram tin black beans

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Wash and dry peppers well. Cut peppers from stem to tip and carefully remove seeds and white ribs from the insides. Leave the stem intact. Lay peppers on a lined baking sheet until required.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy based sauce pan, over medium heat. Fry diced onion, crushed garlic, paprika, herbs, salt and pepper until onions are translucent.
  4. Add millet to pan along with crushed tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and cover with lid. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until millet is firm but not crunchy.
  5. Rinse black beans well and add to the millet mixture. Stir well.
  6. Remove millet mixture from heat. Spoon stuffing into prepared peppers.
  7. Place peppers into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are soft and wrinkled.
  8. Remove from oven and serve with a large green salad.

Black Bean and Millet Stuffed Peppers | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-One

This week has been a learning experience. There were definitely moments where I did not act with the kindness and grace that I should have. I am not grateful for the way I act in moments like this but I am grateful for the lessons I learn (like, I need to just take a step back sometimes and not take everything so personally) and for the love that Chris shows me even when I am being less-than graceful. I’m not perfect, I never will be, but I am learning how to be a better person every day. Here is this week’s Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty-One. 

Monday: We had a public holiday today! Which means I am grateful for long morning walks, pancake brunches, Scrabble matches, cupcake baking, and snuggling up for a long afternoon nap. Oh and Chris made his amazing mashed potato so Monday night came to a delicious end.

blueberry pumpkin pancakes

Tuesday: Back to work today. I was grateful to start the working week with a sweaty plyometrics workout and then go for a slow run under the full moon sky with Chris when we got home from work. We ended the night with a new favourite TV show and a new favourite quick and easy dinner.

gnocchi

Wednesday: Today I was grateful to be able to share some delicious vanilla cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream for October work birthdays. I was happy that my co-workers enjoyed them and for the smiles on their faces as we enjoyed some sunshine and sweet treats.

Thursday: Today when I got home from work I just had nothing left to give. I was grateful that Chris and I decided on a low-key night of reading in bed with big bowls of stir fry. I have finally started reading ‘The Goldfinch’ and I am hooked! So beautifully written, and sometimes there is nothing better than a thick book of a story well told.

Friday: I knew today was going to be long and hard so I made sure to get up a charge my batteries and nourish my soul with a morning run before work. With thirty-five documents to get out the door I was grateful for a lunch break with my friend Jess to break up the day and despite the fact that it was an 11 hour work day I felt like I had accomplished something. After work I headed to my sister Jess’s place to help her make a wedding cake. I made a gluten free bride’s cake and together we put together the chocolate cake that Jess had been busy making all week. She is awesome at making smooth chocolate ganache too. I was grateful for a night filled with sisterly catch-ups after a long day.wedding cakeSaturday: This morning I woke up with the sun (I need to get better at this weekend sleep in thing I think), so I went for a big run down by the waterfront and celebrated the sunshine. I let it soak into my bones and burn out the tiredness. Chris and I went out looking for furniture and electronic stuff for the new house after I got back. Holy moly was that overwhelming. I am not exceptionally good at making decisions and so I got a little snappy at poor Chris. In the evening we went out for dinner to celebrate Chris’s grandma’s birthday. We had such a great time catching up with all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins and Aunt Grace even made the cake gluten free so I could enjoy a slice! I can’t wait to get the date, almond, and chocolate cake recipe off her to share with all of you!

jacaranda

Sunday: This morning started off with another big walk along the water. I love going real estate dreaming down by the water on the weekends. After a morning of talking with Chris and creating some recipes to share with you all this week, we are going out tonight to see Bill Bailey (Chris’s second favourite comedian after Ricky Gervais) and get some laughter happening to end the week!

harbour walk

 

Also this week:

Weeknight Nourishment: Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi

It’s funny how as you grow up you become more and more grateful to your parents for the everyday things they did to take care of you. Every week I find at least one thing that I never had to really think about when I was younger because Mum and Dad used to do it, or it was just part of the routine of the house. Taking out the garbage? Dad’s job while ‘the girls’ did the washing up. Cleaning the bathroom (ick)? One job each every week on a Saturday. Getting dinner on the table? Whoever got home first and thought up something that would suit most of the taste buds at the dinner table.

Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi  | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Now that I am out living with Chris, I have control over what goes onto the dinner table every night. It’s liberating. It’s scary. I am grateful for all the years Mum and Dad (and later Jess and I) put dinner on the table every night after a long day at work. Chris will eat almost anything, and will trying everything once. These attributes make him the perfect boyfriend for a food blogger! But in the midst of trying new baked things, or coming up with tasty salads, there are also the ‘everyday meals’. The ones that we can make quickly after we get home from work and running and before we collapse in front of another episode of our latest TV binge show (we love you Mindy).

Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi  | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Everyday meals are important, and for me the key to these weekday dinners is a meal that is full of flavour, high on health, and doesn’t undo all the good work we have just done in our workout. Also, these meals need to be gluten free and have meat added to them for my omnivorous other half. So, I am introducing a new weekly feature here on the blog: Weeknight Nourishment. These weekly meals will be easy to throw together dinners that take 45 minutes or less and will easily suit the gluten free, vegetarian (occasionally vegan), and omnivorous family.

My first Weeknight Nourishment meal is super easy. If you are searching for a quick and healthy dinner than you can have on the table in 30 minutes (including unpacking the grocery bag of ingredients) then you are in luck. First we get a pot of water on to boil. Then we cook a bag of gluten free gnocchi. Then we blanch our broccoli florets. The whole lot is then tossed together with onion and almonds that have been sauteed with chilli and garlic. The final flavour boost is from bright shards of lemon zest and torn basil leaves. Divide the gnocchi into bowls, and shower each with some parmesan cheese. Easy, healthy, flavoursome, weeknight dinner = done. Throw that takeaway menu away – now you can make a quick and healthy dinner in your pyjamas!

Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi  | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 4 |  Approximate (per serving): 340 calories (1428 kJ), 10g fat (2.5 g sat. fat), 13.5g protein, 45g carb

Serving notes: I served Chris’s gnocchi with some Italian country sausages that I baked in the oven. Grilled chicken would also work well here.

If you do not require this to be gluten free, you can use wheat-based ready-made gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams ready-made gluten free gnocchi (I used Simply Wize)
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 1 large head) broccoli florets
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 long red chilli, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
  • Small handful basil leaves, torn
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons (30 grams) grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of well salted water to the boil. Cook gnocchi according to packet instructions.
  2. Once gnocchi are cooked, remove to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.
  3. While gnocchi are cooking heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Saute chilli, garlic and almonds until garlic is softened. About 2 minutes. Once cooked, set aside and keep warm.
  4. Bring water to boil again and add broccoli florets. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until bright green. Remove immediately and add to bowl with gnocchi.
  5. Add onion mixture to gnocchi and broccoli. Add sliced spring onions, torn basil leaves, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste, and toss it all gently together.
  6. Divide between bowls, top with grated Parmesan.

Tell me dear reader, what are your weeknight favourites? Anything you would like me to feature on Thoroughly Nourished Life?

Chilli, Basil and Lemon Broccoli Gnocchi  | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Blueberry Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes

Long weekends and pancakes go together like pancakes and maple syrup. Or pancakes and honey. Or pancakes and golden syrup. Or pancakes and – I think you get the point. Long weekends are my favourite time for making a pancake breakfast. I can take a long walk down by the water and think about how we are doing as a world and a species at the moment, and realise that even though there are some big rifts in the fabric that binds us all, that there are things that each of us can do every day, and in the moment, that can effect change on a small scale. Like taking the time to make our families a pancake breakfast and sit down together to talk about how important it is to extend a hand of kindness, or to lift someone up when they are low.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

One of the best things about a long weekend pancake brunch is that you are eating pancakes on a Monday. Monday pancakes taste the best, because its like you are cheating on your other Monday morning breakfasts and treating your tummy to some holiday goodness. Holiday Monday brunches also mean more time to patter about in the kitchen, taking care that each pancake is cooked to perfection, and then revelling in some newspaper time between bites of these cakey, pumpkin-spiced, blueberry-bursting, pancake  towers. And these pancakes are gluten free so everyone in the family can enjoy them!

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These pancakes are puffy and fluffy for several reasons: puréed pumpkin, baking powder, brown sugar, and an extra egg white. Once you bite into the soft crumb you notice the spices. I love the combination of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger especially with pumpkin and blueberries. I don’t like my pancakes overly sweet because I enjoy accessorising my pancakes with different kinds of sweeteners – usually jam or golden syrup – and because I have found that sugar in a pancake doesn’t give as much sweetness as a syrup added at the table. For these pancakes I poured golden syrup over my stack and let the sweetness trickle through.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

For my northern hemisphere friends, these are the perfect way to welcome a season of pumpkin laced goodness, for my southern hemisphere pals we can use that extra pumpkin puree that is lurking in our freezers….or is that just me? If blueberries aren’t in season where you live, you can leave them out, or replace them with chocolate chips, dried fruit, or even some chopped pecans. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy these little treats for breakfast soon!

Blueberry Pumpkin Buckwheat Pancakes

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 8 pancakes | Leftovers keep well wrapped in the freezer up to 2 months

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free, simply use 170 grams (1 1/4 cups) plain flour instead of the first three ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams almond meal
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinammon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 punnet (~3/4 cup) fresh blueberries
  • Favourite topping for serving

Method

  1. In a large bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, almond meal, rice flour, spices, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, egg, egg white, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until no lumps remain.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop portion out pancake batter onto pan. Use the back of the scoop to encourage the batter to spread into a circle. Remember to leave plenty of room between pancakes for spreading and flipping. I cooked one pancake at a time on a small pan but to speed up the process use a larger frying pan.
  6. Dot the uncooked top of the pancake with a few of the fresh blueberries.
  7. Cook pancake for three minutes on one side. Small bubbles will begin rising to the uncooked surface. Once most of these have popped, flip the pancake and cook for another two minutes on the second side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.
  8. Once all pancakes are cooked serve with your favourite toppings.

Blueberry Pumpkin Pancakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tell me, dear readers, what are your favourite long weekend breakfasts? Your favourite pancake toppings?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty

This post is coming a little later on Sunday than usual because we are currently enjoying the lazy Sunday afternoon of a long weekend! A long weekend was the perfect reward for the week that proceeded it. Even amidst the multi-day meetings there was plenty to be grateful for and moments to treasure, and here it all is in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Forty:

Monday: Today I was grateful to make plans with Casey to attend the Good Food and Wine Show that is coming to town in a few weeks. I can’t wait for a Saturday filled with catching up with one of my best friends, eating exciting, new and delicious foods, and perhaps sipping a little of the good stuff with our lunch.

Dinner bowl

Tuesday: Tonight Chris and I went for our run along with water, which is exactly what I needed after sitting down in meetings all day. I just needed to breathe in the night air, and let go of all the stress while talking to Chris. I was grateful for the beauty of the night sky and the harbour lights.

Wednesday: This morning I got up early and ran in the wash of the morning light painting the sea yellow, orange and pink. I was grateful for a special start to the day. Tonight I was grateful for a visit from an unexpected someone: one of the possums who lives in our garden let me get close enough to take some photos after I surprised him while I was going out the back door. I rewarded him with some carrots.

Possum

Thursday: Another day, another meeting, but I was rewarded after work tonight with another walk along the water with Chris and our weekly takeaway dinner treat. After running around all day I was happy and grateful to put my feet up and make the most of a quiet evening in with Chris. Also, we totally felt like competent car owners after changing the headlight in Chris’s car together.

Friday: Tonight I went for a run after I left the office, and then I got to work making a cake for a friend’s birthday. I was grateful for snacking on some of the leftover white chocolate while Chris and I relaxed and binge watched our new favourite show – The Mindy Project!

asparagus salad

Saturday: This morning I went to the markets to meet up with Mum for some breakfast and it was soul nourishing to talk to Mum about life, love, and the beauty of a well made cappuccino. When I got back from the markets I went for a run, and then Chris and I went out for a night of parties! We caught up with a bunch of friends and soaked up the last of the afternoon sun and then headed to another friend’s apartment to finish off the night. I was grateful for all the fun surrounding us and Chris had such a wonderful time seeing old friends who are now our family.

Vegan Smoothie

Sunday: Today has been full of all the good things. I started Sunday with a walk along the waterfront and a quick green smoothie breakfast before I headed over to see my family! Mum, Dad, Jess, Trent and Molly were all enjoying some delicious coconut macaroons when I arrived (going to get the recipe from Mum very soon). I was grateful to enjoy a morning tea with Mum, Dad, and Molly after Jess and Trent left. My parents are so crafty and it was inspiring to see the Halloween decorations my Dad has created and the new quilting projects Mum is working on. Tonight Chris and I are tucked up in our cottage by the water with a horror movie (save me!) and big bowls of juicy watermelon – and we get a whole day off tomorrow too! Lots of gratitude for a long weekend Sunday night.

Also this week:

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