Eight Gluten-Free Sweet Treats for Father’s Day

It’s time to celebrate our Dads and I have eight perfect, gluten free recipes that are the perfect way to say thank you to your Dad! Come Sunday morning I will be sitting down in a sunny spot sharing some cake with my Dad to say thank you for all the love he shows me every day in so many little ways. I’m grateful to be your daughter and grateful for all the ways you have shown me to live my life so that I can be proud of myself at the end of every day. I love you Dada. P.S. Yes, there will be cake on Sunday!

Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Don’t be fooled by the name, these fluffy, sprinkle-speckled, gluten free cupcakes are perfect for any occasion! Make a batch for your Dad and watch him smile!Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Every peanut butter loving dad’s dream! These bars are over-the-top peanut butter flavour made even more special with the addition of chocolate chips. And your dad will love that he can freeze and defrost the leftovers – if there are any!Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies

Want to wow your dad and any other guests? Try my gluten free Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies! This one is for when you need to make a statement and you want to give your dad the best of both worlds: fluffy spiced cake and cookies!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Cake Batter Puppy Chow

Making sweet treats or snacks for a crowd this Father’s Day? Make this super sweet and festive Cake Batter Puppy Chow and you’ll be the crowd favourite for sure!Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Orange Layer Cake

This is a simple but substantial gluten free layer cake and the orange flavour is perfect for a morning celebration. Make sure you garnish it with your dad’s favourite coloured sprinkles!Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Chocolate Chip  Zucchini Cookies

All dads love chocolate: it’s scientific fact. Your dad won’t be able to resist eating these chewy, chocolaty, gluten free double chocolate chip cookies! For bonus points: serve them in a quirky cookie jar that you can refill for him!Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Passionfruit Curd Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream

My Dad has planted a new passionfruit vine and I can’t wait until it fruits so that I can make these with homegrown passionfruit! These gluten free cupcakes are a hit with my family every time I make them, and they are the perfect sweet thank you for my Dad this weekend!Passionfruit Curd Cupcakes with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Vanilla Celebration Cake

And now, the cake that you make when you want to pull out all the stops for your dad: Vanilla Celebration Cake. This classic gluten free cake is two perfectly fluffy white cake layers sandwiched with sprinkled vanilla buttercream. It’s classic, and perfect for celebrating your awesome dad!Vanilla Celebration Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A very Thoroughly Nourished Life happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Thank you for all that you do for us!

8 Gluten Free Treats for Father's Day

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Five

We are back in our own home now. Mum and Dad returned safe and sound and full of wonderful stories from their two weeks in Singapore, so we have returned to Casa de Amy and Chris. Mum and Dad’s house will always be my family home, but returning to our own house has made me realise just how much this place has become home over the past two months. There really is, no place like home. Here’s my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Five:wk 35 cupcakesMonday: Today we celebrated the wedding of one of our managers at work! I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and we surprised him after our morning meeting. I am grateful for these moments of celebration at work, and the happy occasions when we get to pause and share the great things happening in our lives.

Tuesday: Today I joined a group of workmates to celebrate the last day for one of our staff members. He is off to do great things and have adventures and I was grateful to share lunch with him one last time. Tonight after work Jess and I got our konga on and danced and cardio-boxed to to music. I think all the laughing counts as extra ab work!wk 35 breakfastWednesday: Tonight I headed to the gym for my run and ran into my brother in law while he was working out! It was nice to see a friendly face at the gym and I’m grateful that I live close enough to my family to have tiny moments of connection in my every day agenda.

Thursday: Today Molly and I were treated to the most beautiful sunrise on our walk. The sky was painted in vivid gold and pink and it was worth the early hour for such a gorgeous show. wk 35 sunriseFriday: Today I heard that one of my favourite authors loves my muffin recipes! What an honour to be fuelling the mind that brought me some of my favourite books! Tonight Jess and I had a big baking job on. We walked our respective dogs and then got into our work. I love watching Jess create beautiful fondant cakes. She is so talented at sculpting sugar into charming shapes and objects. Tonight’s project was for a dear friend’s daughter’s baby shower and we had a great time creating something marvelous for their special occasion. I’m grateful that I get to work with Jess on some of these cakes and create something special to help people celebrate. The stress is worth their smiles.

Saturday: This morning Molly and I headed out into the morning for our last walk together before Mum and Dad come home. Then Jess and I met up for a sister walk and talk (I think our mouths and legs move faster when we are together) and shared a cup of tea before we got on with our day. I was grateful to start the weekend with a sweat and natter session with Jess. Then I had a busy day of recipe testing and photography before indulging in an afternoon nap while the rain fell outside. wk 35 lunchSunday: A very special flight arrived this morning and Jess and I were there to pick up the precious cargo: Mum and Dad! We enjoyed a family breakfast together at home while they entertained us with stories from their travels. I am grateful they had a wonderful time. I love hearing all their tales and watching their faces light up as they relive the memories. I met up with my friends Caroline and Josie for lunch and we were joined by our dear friend Laura who is visiting from Canada! She hasn’t been home in two years, but just like it does with old friends it only felt like yesterday since we had sat across the table and shared our lives. I was grateful to get a moment with her while she is here. Come home soon Laura!wk 35 fruit market haul

Also this week:

Tell me, dear readers. what are you grateful for this week? Share it in the comments below, or let me know on Facebook, or Twitter!

Thoroughly Nourished Finds.

bike

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free

Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Now you can eat your favourite sweet treat for breakfast in a healthy, gluten free form. Grab those carrots and let’s get baking!Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comCarrot cake is high on my list of favourite cakes. It’s right up there with coffee and walnut (my absolute favourite), funfetti, and orange and poppy seed. But, alas, I cannot eat cake for breakfast anymore and so, these muffins came into existence. I wanted the classic flavour of carrot cake but packed into a portable, and healthy, breakfast item. When it comes to carrot cake there are a few points of importance that must be achieved:

  • Moist crumb
  • Spiced with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
  • Sweet, but not too sweet
  • Studded with tasty bits and pieces

These four important points provided my guide posts for the perfect healthier version of carrot cake in muffin form.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comA moist crumb isn’t always easy to achieve when you are trying to create a healthier version of a baked good, but we have four ingredients working to ensure our healthy muffins aren’t hockey pucks: apple puree, oil, Greek yoghurt, and a touch of brown sugar. These four ingredients work together to weave a magically moist but still healthy muffin. Moist crumb: check!

My healthier muffin is spiced with my favourite warm and welcoming spices: cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. These are the holy trinity for carrot cakes in my opinion, and each brings a little something special without overpowering the others.Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comKeeping baked goods healthy but still tasty requires smart use of sweeteners and natural sugars to back them up. These muffins are still sweetened lightly with some brown sugar and maple syrup, and the apple puree provides a background of natural sweetness too. I don’t like my breakfast baked goods too sweet, so these are lightly sweetened. If you want a special treat, serve them warm and spread them with honey for extra sweetness. Or perhaps a little cream cheese for that true carrot cake touch.

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Now, I understand that the inclusion of, and variety of nuts included, in a carrot cake is a controversial issue (or is that just my circle of friends?). Are you a walnut person? A pecan person? A no-nut person? There is room for all in this healthy carrot cake muffin recipe. If you like pecans, simply substitute them for the walnuts. If you don’t do nuts in your perfect carrot cake, then leave them out. Simples. Similarly the issue of dried fruit. My Mama is not a fan of the sultana, and it is not welcome in her baked goods. Because I filled her freezer with these muffins so that she has quick, healthy snacks when she gets back from holidays, I left out the sultanas. But I would totally add them in if I was making them for myself…

I made these on a Sunday morning before heading out for a big walk under a cloudy grey sky. When I returned they made the perfect morning snack with a big cup of sweet tea. They are fluffy and light. No dense, dry, or gluey gluten free muffins here. These rise up tall and proud and beckon you back for ‘just one more’ every time you think you’ve eaten your fill. I hope there are some left by the time Mum and Dad come home…Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Healthy Carrot Cake Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 20 muffins | Best eaten on the day of making. Freeze leftovers well-wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Note: If you do not need these to be gluten free you can replace the first four ingredients with 250 grams plain flour.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 60 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple puree
  • 3 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (2 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped, reserve 2 tablespoons for topping muffins if desired.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and spray 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with cooking spray. Make sure you coat them very well to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, apple puree, rice brain oil, yoghurt and eggs.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Add carrots and walnuts to the batter and stir until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin cups. Fill to about 3/4 of the way. This will ensure nice tall muffins.
  7. Baked for 15-20 minutes, rotating trays halfway through cooking time. Bake until tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing and cooling to room temperature.

Someone else wanted in on the carrot cake muffin action too!Toby Carrot Cake Muffins

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Four

We are halfway through our stay-cation/house-dog-cat-sitting for Mum and Dad, and there is something about this house that will always be home, no matter how long Chris and I live in our own home. I’ve been enjoying my morning walks with Molly, cuddles with Toby on the couch, and being three minutes away from my sister. I will be happy to get back to our own home next week because this feeling of home, true relaxation and shelter, is what Chris and I are creating for ourselves in our new home. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Four:

Monday: Today I headed home to Mum and Dad’s place to house sit for them for two weeks. When I went in to put my clothes away I found that Mum and Dad had left Chris and I a little gift pack on the bed: fresh towels, beautiful soap, and our respective favourite chocolate treats. It was such a sweet thought. I’m grateful that I am able to do something little to help Mum and Dad while they enjoy their holiday in Singapore. I will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude I have for all they have done for me.wk 34 home hotelTuesday: Today was a super active day! Molly and I went for a walk in the morning, I stopped past the gym for a run on the way home, and then Jess and I went to a Konga class and sweated it out to the music together while making complete fools of ourselves. It was so much fun! I was grateful to spend a night with my little sister dancing and squatting and crunching and lunging and laughing all the while.wk 34 walks with MollyWednesday: Tonight Molly and Toby and I had a night hanging out alone while Chris stayed at our home. We watched Murder She Wrote, lounged about on the couch, and just had a relaxing evening. I was grateful for a Wednesday evening relaxation session.

Thursday: Tonight Chris and I had a Deadliest Catch marathon. We love this show! Although neither of us harbours any fantasies about running off to the Bering Sea to catch shellfish, we do love watching the adventures of these fishermen and we’d both love to visit Alaska someday! I was grateful for virtual adventures with Chris – talking about faraway places just makes me more excited about our upcoming holiday!wk 34 breakfastFriday: Tonight on my way home I stopped for a run. I really didn’t feel like running tonight so I bribed myself to just get through 5km. I stopped at 8km because Chris called and asked if I was ever coming home! Sometimes you just have to get started on something to remind yourself that you are capable, and that you love doing it. I was grateful for the reminder from my body tonight.  wk 34 sushi dateSaturday: Today was a golden day from beginning to end! This morning I walked Molly and then headed over to have a walk with Jess (sister this time) before we went out for a sisterly movie/shopping/lunch day together! We bought ourselves a few new things (watch out NYC fashion police here I come!), had a great sushi lunch, saw Trainwreck (recommended), and laughed and talked and just completely relaxed. It was nice to take a day our where I just let myself enjoy every second of life. I came back on Saturday night feeling drop dead tired (what is it about shopping that is so exhausting?) but completely refreshed. I’m so grateful that my sister is my best friend too, and that we had such a wonderful day together free from stress.wk 34 lunchSunday: Today Molly had a walking date with our neighbour and they both came back sweaty and smiling so it was a success. I got to lie in bed a while longer, make carrot cake muffins, and curl up with a New York guidebook and ease myself into the day. I went for a long walk around my old streets, baked so many cupcakes I made myself sick on buttercream ‘testing’, and spent some time planning our time in New York (six weeks and definitely counting). I am grateful that we are going on this trip and preparing ourselves for an adventure!wk 34 muffins

Also this week:

Thoroughly Nourished Finds.

{via}{via}

  • Whiskey? Check. Salted caramel? Check. Now in milkshake form – hand me a straw!
  • I was always a Jane girl myself. I need to read this soon.
  • Expressing gratitude can shift your outlook on life. Another on my must read list.
  • Frozen Hot Chocolate – the best of both worlds!
  • Tacos that combine two of my favourite food cultures? Yes please!
  • I’m for brownies. And these brownies are just the cherry on top.
  • Food is culture, and we need to save some of the tastes of the past so we don’t lose important touchstones.
  • The perfect peak-of-summer cake with so many delicate flavours working in harmony.
  • Chris and I love watching ‘The Strain’ (I spend most of my time with my face hidden, but it’s a good show) so I was fascinated by this exploration of the science behind Del Toros vampires.
  • We’re counting down the weeks until we leave for the USA and looking for restaurant recommendations for the places we are visiting – thanks to Sweetest Menu we’ve got Washington D.C. covered!
  • We’ve loved learning about Uranium in this fascinating 3-part documentary: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.
  • One of my favourite authors (she spins original fairytale/historical fiction tales) has just released her newest book – this is my plane-read pick!

That’s it for me! What have you found entrancing on the web lately dear readers?

Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free

Moist, darkly sweet banana bread studded with chewy, sweet dates and toasted almonds. This is a classic banana bread recipe with a healthy twist.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comMost Sunday mornings I am up and about just after sunrise. I start the day with a run, usually a smoothie or a yoghurt and fruit bowl, and some time alone with a book as the day begins. But some Sundays, my body just craves a later, slower start. This past Sunday I ignored my alarm clock, rose at about 9 and pottered around in my pyjamas eating banana bread and lazing around reading until lunchtime. Slower Sunday mornings are important for nourishing the soul.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI cut this banana bread into thick, decadent slices, and gobbled two of them down with cups of sweet green tea. I have made quite a few loaves of banana bread in my time, but I think this might be one of my best – and it’s mostly healthy too! There is no added fat in this loaf, instead it is kept moist by Greek yoghurt, eggs, and almond milk. Most of the sweetness in this loaf comes from the natural sugars in the banana, and rich, dark, local honey. I love the way honey and banana are natural partners in baked goods, and in this bread they mingle to create a sweetness similar to the dates that stud each slice. Honey and banana are joined by their good friend brown sugar, which increases the moistness of the banana bread. No fat? No problem in this flavoursome bread!Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI used a combination of my favourite wholemeal gluten free flours to create this loaf: buckwheat, brown rice, white rice, and sorghum flour. These flours are high in fibre, iron, and rich in antioxidants and in combination they create the perfect moist crumb. Each bite of this banana bread is moist and decadent, and between mouthfuls of sweet cinnamon and banana flavoured dough, there are bits of crunchy toasted almonds and chewy dried dates. This is a classic banana bread with a healthy twist, and lots of add-ins to keep things interesting.

I loved each bite of this banana bread, and it was hard not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting! Luckily I’ve stashed most of it in the freezer for my next lazy Sunday morning, or my next farmer’s market breakfast.Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Banana, Date, and Almond Bread

Gluten Free | Serves 8 | Leftovers can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas (~1 1/4 cups mashed)
  • 6 tablespoons (75mL) Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup honey (local is best)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or your choice of milk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 55 grams brown rice flour
  • 55 grams white rice flour + 1 teaspoon extra
  • 55 grams buckwheat flour
  • 55 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Mash your bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the Greek yoghurt, honey, brown sugar, vanilla essence, almond milk, and eggs. Whisk until very well combined.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  5. In the empty dry ingredients bowl mix together toasted almonds, chopped dates, and extra 1 teaspoon white rice flour until dates and almonds are coated. This will stop the mix-ins from sinking to the bottom.
  6. Add dates and almonds to the batter and mix until distributed.
  7. Pour batter into prepared loaf tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out and cool completely before slicing thickly and serving.

Banana, Date, and Almond Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Three

I think we should have four day work weeks every week. I could do with a little break on Wednesday, it certainly left me motivated for Thursday and Friday this week. Daydreams aside, this week was really wonderful. I feel like we hit our stride at home and everything just worked. There was a lot to be grateful for in this week’s Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Three:wk 33 mantraMonday: Today I went for a run in the morning and then stopped in to see my specialist on the way home. Unfortunately I need to go back in for some more iron therapy, but I am grateful that I have healthcare providers who take such good care of me and make sure I get what I need.

Tuesday: Tonight I received the following message from my sweetheart nerd: ‘My brethren have given me access to the portal where the might shall beg for mercy. In the world where ability with a mouse and keyboard is mightier than any muscle. It is the chosen land where I thrive…Onward to the internet!!!!’. Yes. We finally have the internet at home again. I am grateful that my sweet man can enjoy the land of his people once again and that I can finally blog from the comfort of our new lounge!wk 33 strawberriesWednesday: Today was People’s Day at the EKKA and our Brisbane Show Holiday! I made good use of my midweek weekend and started the day with a run, made and shot three recipes for a new magazine article, and then went to the movies to see ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess, and Chris. We had such a great time and I was grateful to end the day feeling like I had made the most of the whole day. It’s a true blessing when you love every minute of the day from beginning to end. Also, Chris took some new profile pictures for me and I was so grateful and surprised to discover his hidden talent behind the camera! I’m grateful that he supports me, and my passion for the blog, and will help me whenever I ask.wk 33 portraitThursday: We had a pretty quiet office today with a lot of people out or on training, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between my colleagues and I as we got our work done with plenty of laughter and jokes sprinkled in for good measure. I was grateful tonight too for an interesting documentary on the Amish. I am fascinated by their way of life.

Friday: Tonight Chris and I got down to some serious planning for our holiday – it’s coming up so soon! And yes, I am totally counting down the weeks! I am grateful that we have the opportunity to go on an adventure together and I can’t wait for all the exciting moments that await us!wk 33 saladSaturday: This morning Mum and I had breakfast at the local cafe (the best chai latte I’ve ever had) and then went for a girl’s morning shopping trip! We had fun trying on some new clothes and gathering the last things Mum needed before she and Dad head off to Singapore (tomorrow morning!). I even managed to find some new things. While we were saving up for the house I didn’t buy any new clothes so it felt good to treat myself a little. After my great morning with Mum I went for a run and then spent the afternoon doing the last bit of unpacking and organising and made Chris a big roast chicken dinner. I was grateful for an absolutely wonderful Saturday spent with two of my favourite people.

Sunday: I had a big sleep in this morning and then spent the morning hours pottering around making Chris cupcakes for work. I was grateful for a slow, sun-soaked start to the morning – and for surprising myself with a 9.5km run this afternoon! wk 33 sunday lunch

Also this week:

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Bright sweet strawberries contrast salty pan-fried haloumi, crunchy peppery rocket, and creamy pistachios in this hearty but light vegetarian, gluten free salad.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comYesterday was People’s Day and the Brisbane EKKA Show Holiday (for non-Aussies, that’s the agricultural show that comes to our city – we get a day off!) and I was happy to fill my day with bright shiny things that did not include battling crowds to buy showbags, stare longingly at the famous strawberry ice creams, and feel exhausted by humanity at the end of the day after finally finding my car again. Instead, I started off with a run, made and photographed three new recipes, saw ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess and Chris, updated my profile photos, and watched an interesting documentary. Now that’s my kind of day off. As we lay in bed last night, drifting off to sleep, I felt like we had distilled the weekend into a perfect 24 hours. I think I could get used to a midweek-weekend every week of the year!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis luscious power house salad was one of the recipes I worked on yesterday. I was so tempted to eat the whole bowl as soon as I had photographed it – and it wasn’t even 10am yet! Every part of this salad is a talented and tasty ingredient on its own. Together they are showstopping.Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet, plump winter strawberries are the first starring ingredient. I am enchanted by our strawberries at the moment. We are at the height of winter berry season and the strawberries are sweet deep rubies on sale in large quantities wherever you turn. I’ve never put strawberries into a savoury application before, but I loved these cherries in my salad earlier in the year, and after cramming a few kilos straight into my mouth I wanted to celebrate these strawberries in their very own salad. Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet strawberries are complemented by salty grilled haloumi in the best way possible. Every sweet bite is met by a partnering step of salty, umami in a dance that dazzles tastebuds – it’s this combination that had me running back to the kitchen for seconds last night! Peppery rocket is a great background and quinoa keeps this salad hearty. The finishing touch: sweet and creamy pistachios, which provide the perfect occasional crunch and surprisingly hold their own against the bold strawberries and haloumi. To tie all of these together I’ve tweaked one of my favourite vinagrettes: based on balsamic vinegar and sweetened with just a touch of strawberry jam! Trust me, it works deliciously!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.comI’m not going to wait for our next public holiday to make another big batch of this moreish salad! I might not be able to have a four day week every week, but I can conjure up my own sunshine by filling my lunchbox with delicious Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad.
Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 3 as a light meal | Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

Note: I used white quinoa, but you can use whatever colour you have on hand.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet of strawberries (250 grams)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 180 grams haloumi
  • 6 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While quinoa is cooling, dice haloumi into small cubes. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry haloumi until golden. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature while you make the dressing.
  3. To make dressing: whisk together balsamic vinegar, strawberry jam, olive oil, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Place rocket leaves in a large bowl. Add quinoa, strawberries, pistachios, and fried haloumi. Pour dressing over and toss gently but thoroughly until all ingredients are mixed and coated with dressing.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

A simple bright salad that will add a burst of flavour to your meal whatever you are serving up! Take a big dish of this on your next summer picnic, or serve it next to your roasted veggies in the middle of winter. Whatever the occasion this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean, and Feta Salad is the perfect side dish.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI love complex, multi-layered salads that are meals unto themselves, but sometimes a simple but powerfully flavourful side salad is exactly what you need. When you are using only a few ingredients you want to make sure that you choose the best quality produce and let each ingredient shine by highlighting its best incarnation. For capsicum, that means roasting them until they are soft, slippery sweet pieces. I love roasted capsicum, and golden capsicums are especially sweet after their time blistering in the oven. You could just as easily use red capsicum here if yellow is unavailable, but I wouldn’t substitute green as they are too young and grassy.Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comSweet roasted capsicums find their perfect pairing with salty Greek feta, peppery rocket, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Butter beans are a mild but toothsome protein source and soak up the vinaigrette nicely. This salad is deceptively simple in ingredients, but the flavour is far from meek and mild. This is one stand out side dish. As someone with special dietary needs I often find myself making meals out of the side dishes available, so I take a little extra care when creating side dishes to serve to my friends because I don’t want them to be merely expected offerings, but tasty morsels in their own right. That doesn’t mean slaving over side dishes for hours – you just need to consider a few elements to create the perfect side salad.

My side salad tips:

  • Choose the freshest greens available – try a mix of leaves if you want to boost the flavour even more. This mix here included both baby spinach and baby rocket.
  • Have one super star ingredient and make it shine – roasted yellow capsicums in abundance anyone? Yes please!
  • Sprinkle on something salty – feta, parmesan cheese, toasted nut or seeds – make it interesting and choose a few!
  • Add some protein to keep it hearty – butter beans, chickpeas, quinoa, maybe a few halved boiled eggs? Make your sides simple but substantial.

I think this Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad is my new favourite combination! What’s yours?Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

 

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 3-4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 small yellow capsicums (substitute red if yellow are unavailable)
  • 400 gram can of butter beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups (4 large handfuls) baby rocket leaves
  • 75 grams Greek Feta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and place an oven shelf as close to the top broiler as possible. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
  2. Cut capsicum into large pieces around the core and place skin side up on the baking sheet.
  3. Place sheet under the broiler until the skin is blackened and blistering. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place capsicum into a container with the lid only loosely on. Allow capsicum to cool.
  4. Once capsicum is cooled peel blackened skin off and cut into capsicum flesh into large strips.
  5. In a large salad bowl toss together butter beans, rocket, and capsicum strips.
  6. Crumble feta over the salad.
  7. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

Simple Roasted Capsicum, Butter Bean and Feta Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com