Thoroughly Nourished Finds.

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Yeasted baked buttermilk doughnuts. Be still my heart. These will be undergoing a gluten-free makeover soon!

Adding these places to my travel destinations list, oh and spotting the place my Mama is from (hi, Aarhus!)

Chocolate. Bourbon. Cream. Pie. Boom.

Shortbread Strawberry Crumble. I can’t wait until the season starts, I’m already stocking up on ice cream!

I finally bought ‘All the Light We Cannot See‘ after months of hearing great reviews. I know what I’m doing next weekend!

A sad but important story. It’s okay to not be okay and it’s okay to ask for help.

These are sensible enough for walking, but shiny enough to let you know it’s PARTY TIME!

I need more polka dots in my life. Obvi.

I’ve told you before: I’m scared of going to prison (for what? Crimes of the crumb?) but fascinating by ‘stories from the inside‘.

Women in science! I can’t wait to read this new book highlighting 52 amazing lady scientists – rock those lab coats my brainy sisters!

What interesting or delicious things have you found around the web this week?

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins | Gluten Free

Soft and sweet miniature banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chip muffins make the perfect afternoon snack. These tiny sweet treats are super simple to make, and healthy too!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy afternoon pre-gym snacks have been a little lacklustre lately: carrot sticks, celery sticks, plain rice thins – not exactly the sort of power snack that inspires a powerful workout after riding a desk all day. The key to a successful afternoon snack I feel is a combination of a few elements: something slightly sweet (to get over that 3pm slump); something healthy (to support my health goals); and something light but still filling (to stop the tummy rumbles but not weigh me down).

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese adorable little bites contain all of my favourite pre-run nibbles: crunchy creamy peanut butter, sweet ripe bananas, and oh-so-nice milk chocolate chips. Yes, chocolate chips are a perfectly acceptable pre-run nibble on occasion. And when paired with protein and healthy fat packed peanut butter and complex carbohydrate containing banana in my mini muffins they are just the cherry on-top of a healthy little nibble. You can leave them out of course, at your own risk….

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins are super quick to make too. I whipped these up on a busy Tuesday night so that I would have running fuel for the rest of the week. They also make a great quick and easy breakfast. Simpy grab a few mini muffins and some yoghurt or fruit and you have a great on-the-go breakfast. If you are making these for kids who go to a no-nut policy school you can simply substitute the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter, or use two extra tablespoons of yoghurt instead.

Get out that mixing bowl and spoon tonight – you are only twenty minutes away from a sweet healthy treat for your lunchbox tomorrow!

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Gluten Free | Makes about 24 mini muffins | Best eaten within two days | Freeze leftovers tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 1 large banana, well mashed
  • 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt (or plain, natural yoghurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spray a 24-hole mini muffin baking tin with baking oil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat together mashed banana, yoghurt, egg, oil, vanilla extract, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips (reserve a few for dotting onto the top if you’d like) and stir until distributed through batter.
  6. Divide batter between holes of mini muffin tin. Fill only to 2/3 of the way to avoid the muffins spilling over the top.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then tip out to cool completely.

Banana, Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twenty-One

Today we have spent the morning celebrating my sister’s birthday. We sat in the sunshine and enjoyed family and food for a few hours and now we are at home with some quiet space between our wonderfully busy weekend and the next week. I’m feeling full and sleepy and lazy, and I’ve just indulged in that greatest of all weekend treats (the Sunday afternoon nap) so I need to take a moment to reflect on all I am grateful for this week. Without further ado, here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twenty-One:

24-05 winter morningMonday: Tonight Chris and I had an errand to run. Instead of taking the car we left our wheels behind and took a lovely long walk instead. It was a relaxing way to start the week and I was grateful for the conversation and the company on a Monday night.

Tuesday: Today my interview about gluten on my friend Matt’s podcast came out! I am grateful that Matt asked me to be a part of his podcast again and to talk about a topic that is important to me. I love talking food and health science and helping to clear up confusions that people may have over the sometimes conflicting messages people receive about health and food. I am so grateful Matt gave me the opportunity – and we had so much fun too!

24-05 reading lunchWednesday: Tonight Chris and I indulged in one of our favourite TV shows: Deadliest Catch. Although neither of us has the wish to actually become a deep sea crab fisherman (or fisherwoman) there is something romantic in the idea of harvesting from the depths of the ocean in such a time-honoured way. I’m grateful we had a night to just relax and binge on tales from the high sea.

Thursday: Today we celebrated my friend Lynn’s cookbook! I’m so grateful I met Lynn last year (online) and that we have become friends. She inspires me to push myself harder in blogging and chasing down my writing dreams, and come October we get to meet in real life too!

Friday: My legs were ready and rested for tonight. After work I hopped into the gym  and ended up surprising myself with a 10km run! What a great way to get into the mood for the weekend and shake off the cobwebs from the week. I was grateful to move my body and feel so great as the kilometres flew by. After my gym session I had a great time in the kitchen making Jessica’s cake!

24-05 morning walkSaturday: This morning I started off with a long walk by the bay and then Chris and I spent some time together doing errands. It’s in those moments of grocery shopping or waiting in line at the bank with him that I am grateful for our love and our true companionship, any time together is a great time. In the afternoon we headed to Jess and Trent’s home for her birthday party! There were so many of our favourite people there and I was grateful to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and so grateful that people made it out to celebrate Jessica’s birthday, she had a wonderful night.

Jess and Trent May 2015Sunday: In the morning hours Jess and I went out for a walk with Miss Storm. I love our morning walks together; I am so grateful for the time just the two of us and we talk about anything and everything. My heart is always lighter afterwards. The rest of our family turned up for brunch and we spent the morning hours talking and eating and just enjoying being together. I am grateful for this lazy Sunday and the deep sense of peace after time with my family.

Also this week:

  • We started off our week with warm, creamy, hearty pasta – a new healthy and delicious winter favourite.
  • I tried out one of Lynn’s puppy chow recipes to celebrate her new book!
  • I found so many interesting things on the internet this week – and I shared them with you!
  • I made this salad for Jessica’s party, and then promptly forgot it so now I have pasta salad for the rest of the week (and it’s delicious)

Thoroughly Nourished Finds.

Love. Cancer. And Love. Just Love through it all.

And now Professor Jeff Sharlet showing us all how Instagram should be used.

Just. Look. At. All. The. SPRINKLES!

I love cupcakes, and y’all know I’m one of those feminist types, but a Cupcake Feminist? Equality through food does sound tasty.

Joy, you made my heart go thumpa-thump with your Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

I cannot wait to read this anthropological memoir about the wives of Park Avenue.

I’m so excited for the release of Kavin Kwan’s new book! I loved Crazy Rich Asians so much!

I was on my friend Matt’s Podcast this week! We talked about gluten and whether going gluten free is the best thing for everyone!

Any weather is ice cream weather. Snixy Kitchen has me swooning over her Chamomiles Honeycomb creation.

I love lamp. Specifically this lamp. Time to start saving my pennies!

Oh Kate, you must stop on by sometime and sip Frozen Blueberry Margaritas with me!

What interesting or delicious things have you found around the web this week?

Celebrating The Chow Down with Cake Batter Puppy Chow!

Sprinkles! Sugar! White Chocolate! It’s time to celebrate with some Cake Batter Puppy Chow! Sweet, crunchy, and over the top delicious – and it’s gluten free too!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis is one of the most festive recipes I’ve ever made! Look at those sprinkles! And I’m in a festive mood today because we are celebrating my friend Lynn’s cookbook: ‘The Chow Down’. Lynn is the owner, baker, photographer, recipe writer, and general awesomeness-maker behind the wonderful blog Fresh April Flours. Her first book is filled with over 20 puppy chow recipes for every occasion – and I can’t wait to try them all! ‘The Chow Down’ is currently available for pre-sale (get your copy today) and will be officially released on June 1st. If you head over to Fresh April Flours today you can buy the book, or enter Lynn’s giveaway competition – and see her first video!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBecause Lynn is such an amazing lady a few of us have come together to throw her a little blog party featuring our own interpretations of her famous Cake Batter Puppy Chow! Leah from Grain Changer has created red, white, and blue Patriotic Cake Batter Puppy Chow ahead of the US Memorial Day Holiday; and Cate from Chez Catey Lou used her Cake Batter Puppy Chow as a crunchy sweet topping for chocolate ice cream.

And me, well I’ve chosen to enjoy this dessert – breakfast hybrid in the ultimate dessert-breakfast way. Piled into delicious little bowls and topped with ice cold milk. Oh yeah – brea-ssert.

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd this little treat is so dangerously easy to make. Following Lynn’s recipe I used a crunchy, plain cereal (I couldn’t get Chex here in Australia so I used this gluten free cereal from Freedom Foods). The cereal is coated in a mix of melted white chocolate and butter, vanilla and almond essences, sprinkles, and a dusting of sweet powdered icing sugar. The result: the most moreish, nibbleish, can’t-stop-won’t-stop snack-dessert I’ve ever tried. So easy, so popular at parties, and so customisable too! I can’t wait to make a Christmas-themed batch later this year!

Lynn, my sweet friend, congratulations on the launch of your first book. You have worked so hard to make this dream come true, and we are all so happy for you! Dear readers, head over to Fresh April Flours today to enter Lynn’s Giveaway, watch her video, and BUY a copy of her delicious book!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCake Batter Puppy Chow

Gluten Free | Makes about 5 cups | Store leftovers in an airtight container at temperature for up to a week.

Note: use good eating white chocolate not chocolate chips because you need a smooth, consistent melt.

Try different colours/shapes of sprinkles for different occasions! Make this recipe your own!

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups gluten free cereal (like this)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 250 grams white chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sprinkles
  • 1 cup gluten free icing sugar
  • Milk, to serve, if desired

Method

  1. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with baking paper or aluminium foil. Set aside until required. Also ready a large, lidded container.
  2. Measure cereal into a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Place butter, white chocolate, almond extract, and vanilla extract into a small saucepan. Melted butter and chocolate over a low heat, constantly stirring, until smooth. Once the mix is smooth remove from heat.
  4. Pour chocolate over cereal and mix carefully until cereal is coated.
  5. Put coated cereal into lidded container along with sprinkles. Tightly close lid and shake gently, but thoroughly, until the sprinkles are mixed completely throughout the cereal.
  6. Add icing sugar and put the lid on, shake to coat.
  7. Spread puppy chow over the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy! Serve as a sweet treat snack, or pour ice cold milk over and enjoy as a special breakfast or dessert!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Winter is here, come inside and try my newest healthy comfort food dish inspired by one of my childhood favourites. Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta is a hearty but healthy dish perfect for the cooler days ahead.

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhen I was in primary school I had three favourite dinners: steak with mashed potato; roast beef with gravy; and chicken in mustard sauce. The last of these generally involved a large amount of chicken breast diced and seared with a large dollop of mustard then more cream than is legal poured on top and bubbled and reduced to thick creamy goodness. Gah. Now this girl is in deep with her vegetarian life (and has loved it from day one) but sometimes a girl craves a good creamy pasta dish. This girl also craves the feeling that she hasn’t completely blown her daily run with merely a bite of her dinner, so into the kitchen this girl goes. I should really stop talking about myself in third person. It’s getting weird.

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI feel like winter can be a big creamy, baked, cheesy, trap when you are trying to eat more healthfully. On dark-skied days when the rain clouds hang low, and your nose is at a constant drip during a chilly run you don’t feel like coming home to a big crunchy salad. At least, this girl doesn’t (there I go again). At least, I don’t (better). I feel like coming home to a big bowl of something hearty and warming. A meal that will stick to my ribs (I have always hated that visual), fill up my chilly tummy, and send me drifting off into dreamland. But, I also want to wake up the next morning feeling good about how I nourished my body the day before, and leave some room for a square or two of after-dinner dark chocolate. The secret: you can have both. You can have a hearty, creamy dish and nourish your body with healthy whole foods.

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe secret to this creamy dish: almond milk. Just the barest touch. We go deep into the comfort flavour pool with mustard, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and onion to satisfy every corner of your tastebuds and merely finish the dish with a splash of almond milk. You could use dairy or soy if that is what you have at hand. Mushrooms make this meal substantial and bring their own earthy sweetness. Mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, mustard and creamy almond milk are a match made in heaven. Add some al dente gluten free pasta shells, broccoli blanched in the pasta water, and baby rocket wilted at the final moment and your bowl is filled to the brim with feel good comfort food.

I enjoyed this with a side of Orange is the New Black and my favourite blanket draped over my knees. I am old. I am cold. But, I am no longer hungry.

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCreamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Vegan option: leave out Parmesan cheese or replace with your favourite cheese-substitute | Serves 3

Note: If you are the calorie counting type you might be interested to know that a third of this recipe (a decent serve) comes in under 400 calories.

Ingredients

  • 180 grams (6 ounces) dry small shape gluten free pasta (I used shells)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or dairy/soy as per preference)
  • 1/2 tablespoon gluten free cornflour
  • 2 large handfuls baby rocket leaves
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve (if desired)

Method

  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook as per packet instructions.
  2. While you are waiting for the water to boil peel and finely dice onion, and peel and crush garlic.
  3. When you have added the pasta to cook. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
  4. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are softened.
  5. Add balsamic vinegar and mustard and cook until vinegar is reducing.
  6. Whisk together almond milk and cornflour until smooth.
  7. Turn heat to low and add almond milk, baby rocket, and a decent pinch of salt and black pepper.
  8. Cook over low heat until almond milk is reduced and sauce is thick.
  9. In the last two minutes of pasta cooking add broccoli florets to the water to blanch. Drain pasta and broccoli well and add to the reduced sauce. Stir gently until everything is well coated.
  10. Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Creamy Mustard, Mushroom, and Broccoli Pasta | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twenty

This week our house settled in for a slow down when Chris and I both ended up with colds. We settled ourselves in bed with our new buddy Netflix, lots of blankets, and chocolate (it really is the cure). I always find it amusing that Chris and I have very different ways of dealing with being sick. He likes to hibernate and sleep, no outside contact, just the computer for company. I like to sweat it out, take big naps, drink plenty of water and pound down a few kilos of vegetables. I guess opposites attract and our methods combined mean we are both feeling much healthier quickly. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to rest and hibernate and that our co-workers were so understanding. So, here it is, my slowed down Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twenty:

Wk 20 cupcakeMonday: I have a secret love of reading about neuroplasticity. A strange love for sure, but since I first learned of the concept in university it has been an interest of mine. Today I was grateful to start a new book by Dr. Norman Doidge who wrote one of my favourite books (The Brain that Changes Itself). There’s so much to learn in this world, and my access to learning is one of the things I am most grateful for.

Tuesday: Tonight when I got home from work I headed out into the cool night air for a slow run. I was grateful for my own little night song: the water in the bay was black as the sky above and the stars burned milky white. It was a beautiful way to wind down on Tuesday night.

Wk 20 SaladWednesday: Tonight I was grateful for some time to practice photographing food with my new photography toys. I’m still learning how to make the most of all the great new tools my family got me for my birthday, but I am always grateful for a challenge and there’s nothing better than learning a new skill.

Thursday: Chris and I were both under the weather tonight so I was grateful that we just laid in bed all afternoon and had an amazing nap. I think sleep is definitely key to getting better quickly.

Wk 20 CookiesFriday: Today there was no getting out of bed. I am grateful that my work was understanding and I could have a day off to sleep off my cold. I was grateful for a day in bed with a few episodes of Nashville and some serious snoozing.

Saturday: Today was filled with soul-nourishing moments. I started the morning with a breakfast date with my Mum and then dropped Chris off at an all-day buck’s party extravaganza, and then I had the whole day to myself in the kitchen. I tested out two new cupcake recipes, and then made a big pot of this spicy soup for dinner. I was grateful for a cloudy day of pottering around and trying out some delicious new recipes (I’ll be sharing my exciting project with you all soon).

Wk 20 MuffinsSunday: Today I had a big sleep in. Chris and I laid in bed and talked for an hour before we finally rolled out of bed and enjoyed a slow breakfast while watching some truly awful reality television (Flipping Ships anyone?). I was grateful for a slow start to the day with my Christopher.

Also this week:

  • I celebrated winter light and produce with my new pear and feta salad.
  • Snacks for the coming week are taken care of with some vegan, gluten free, apple muffins.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Gluten Free | Vegan

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little baked treats are made of. In my house, spice reigns supreme especially when the nights grow darker and winter deepens. Warm yourself by the oven and make a batch of my Ginger and Apple Muffins to share with some sweet friends.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWere you taught the ‘what little girls are made of’ rhyme as a child? I remember hearing ‘sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what little girls are made of’ now and again as a little girl. As a grown woman, I like to think that I have grown up to be a good mix of sugar and spice, but I just know my personality errs on the spicy side most of the time. Oh, and I have a surprisingly salty vocabulary (that’s what comes from being an ex-Navy cook’s daughter) that comes in handy from time to time (especially when you forget to use a tea towel to grab a sheet pan out of the oven…

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten FreeWhen it comes to baking I am definitely a spice lover. Opening each different jar or grating and grinding the fresh spices instantly whisks me away. Spices connect us to other places and times. The scent of cardamom is my Danish grandmother’s kitchen where abelskiver are cooking on the stove. Cinnamon is the bakery in New York where my best friend and I recovered from a long flight. And ginger, ginger is my Mum dunking gingersnap cookies into ice cold milk on a summer afternoon. Ginger is home.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese muffins are for cold mornings in the kitchen, tramping around in stocking feet and brewing strong black builder’s tea, chopping dusky skinned apples and waking up slowly to the aroma of ginger and brown sugar warming in the oven. These Ginger and Apple Muffins are damp and sweet from brown sugar and golden syrup and studded with chunks of tart apple. They bake up tall and generous and make a house smell like home. Invite someone over, anyone, these muffins are gluten free and vegan so everyone can enjoy them, or eat them alone with only a book and the slow-rising sun for company.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger and Apple Muffins

Vegan | Gluten Free | Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil e.g. grapeseed)
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 2 medium apples (Sundowner are my favourites)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12 cup muffin tin with baking papers.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together almond milk, oil, golden syrup, and brown sugar until smooth and well combined.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Quarter and core one of the apples, and chop into cubes. Mix into batter until distributed.
  6. Divide batter between muffin papers.
  7. Quarter and core the second apple. Cut into thin slices and place a few on top of each muffin.
  8. Bake muffins in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove. These are best eaten the day they are made, but can be wrapped in plastic wrap (once completely cooled) and frozen for up to two months.

Ginger and Apple Muffins | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Let the winter light in. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts in a salad that’s all about celebrating the nourishment of winter produce.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I eat chocolate like it’s my job. Sadly, it’s not my job, and sadly a woman cannot live on chocolate alone. (Although, I am willing to give it a try!) Because woman cannot live on chocolate alone, and this one cannot afford to keep buying new pants if she did live on chocolate alone, there is the salad. I am all about the salad as you know by now. And, as you know by now I’m not talking about your backyard barbecue iceberg lettuce and pink tomato species. I’m talking about Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBig, fat, juicy, hearty salads full of grains and interesting greens, and crunchy, nibbly bits that you want to save until last. I’m about the salty and the creamy and the crispy fresh bite. I’m about salads that leave you full after you eat them, not wondering where your second course is. This is my latest Big.Fat.Salad. Our base: hearty, protein-packed quinoa. Our interesting green: handfuls of peppery baby rocket. Our crispiness: sweet, seasonal Bosch pears with their golden skin left on. Our crunchy nibbly bits: roasted walnuts. Add some salty feta and a maple, mustard and verjuice dressing and you have the perfect winter salad.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have tasted so many incarnations of the fruit, nut and cheese salad. In fact, if there is one on the menu it is often the first place my tastebuds go. I have fond memories of a beetroot, apple, candied pecan and goat cheese salad on a blustery afternoon in San Francisco; pear, walnut, and blue cheese salad at the Coronado in San Diego; and oh so many in between. There are myriad incarnations of this simple but delicious formula, and this mix is my latest obsession. The addition of quinoa makes this a suitably substantial lunch salad, or a hearty but light dinner. Open up the curtains, and settle in for season, let the winter light in and make some Big.Fat.Salads.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 2 (easily multiplied)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 4 cups baby rocket leaves
  • 1 large Bosch pear (you can substitute another variety if these aren’t available)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons verjuice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Place washed quinoa into a medium saucepan with vegetable stock and place, uncovered, over medium-high heat. Bring quinoa to the boil. Once it is boiling, cover with a tightly fitting lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook without stirring for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then fluff grains with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking preheat oven to 180C (350F) and spread walnuts over a baking sheet. Cook for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and allow to cool.
  3. Make the dressing: place all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  4. Once the quinoa is cool assemble the salad. Place rocket and quinoa in a large bowl. Quarter, core, and thinly slice pear and add to the bowl. Add dressing and toss well to combine.
  5. Portion salad onto plates and sprinkle over toasted walnuts and crumbled feta.

Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Nineteen

I cannot believe it’s Monday morning again already! Last week was so full of celebrations and amazing things that the days flew past. I was reflecting on something I read recently ‘the days are long, but the years are short’. I think that reflecting on what I am grateful for everyday helps me to see what I have achieved each day, or a special moment that has brought me pause among the busyness of life so that I really see the day before it goes zooming past. So if you can, take a moment during the day when you can sit quietly, commuting makes this easy sometimes, and just let yourself really remember something good or special that happened to you during the day. Here is what I have been reflecting on, and grateful for, this week in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Nineteen:

sprinkle cupcakeMonday: Monday night power run tonight! I felt so well rested and ready to move that I got in 8km to start the week. I am always grateful for a run that leaves me sweaty, short of breath and smiling. I remember the days when running wasn’t high on my agenda and I am grateful for this body and the way it makes a celebration of movement now.

Tuesday: Today I had a big chat to Mum at lunch time while I was at work. I’m not always the best at picking up the telephone so I’m trying to make more of an effort. I was grateful to talk to her about this and that and all in between and just take a mental break from work.

big fat saladWednesday: Today was Chris’s birthday! Everyday I wake up next to this wonderful man and I am grateful for the day he came into my life, and all the days we have spent together since. He is my greatest adventure and best friend and I am grateful that his heart rests with mine.

Chris and Amy birthdayThursday:  Today I found out that a cinema in the city is playing Monty Python and The Holy Grail! My Dad and I love Monty Python so I booked us in for a Dad-Daughter date! I can’t wait to share some laughs with my wonderful Dad in a few weekend’s time. I’m grateful that I live so close to my parents so that we can spend moments like this together.

Friday:  Tonight Chris and I headed out the movies (Gold Class ooh la la) to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was so so good! We lay back and enjoyed our fancy date night and laughed and wondered at the movies. I was grateful we could treat ourselves and enjoy a night out together at the end of the week and to celebrate Chris’s birthday.

sconeSaturday: Today was packed with great things! The morning started with a market trip with my ladies, and then a heart-racing 9.5km run. When I got home Chris and I headed out to get his beard all fancied up for his birthday party tonight (he’s a hipster, but in a totally not-ironic way…). We got home and I entered a cupcake making frenzy; when the icing sugar settled I had two successful recipes and lots of cupcakes to share! Tonight we headed to our friend Nick’s place to enjoy Chris’s birthday celebration. Laughter, board games, and frosting smiles followed. I was grateful that my darling had a good time with his friends for his birthday.

Sunday: This morning was not my finest hour as a human. I stressed myself way out and I was grateful that Chris calmed me down. After some tears and snuggles (I was one tired lady) we headed over to celebrate my Mum (and aunty and grandmother) for Mother’s Day. I will never be able to show enough gratitude for all this wonderful lady has done for me, and my greatest tribute will be to strive to live a life worthy of the love that has nurtured me. After morning tea we headed out to Chris’s parents place for a surprise visit to Chris’s Mum. Because they live two hours away we don’t get to visit as often as we would like. We didn’t tell Ruth that we were coming, but the rest of the family knew. She was so surprised and delighted by our unexpected visit that it was well worth the travel. I am grateful to my (kind of) ‘mother-in-law’ for making me feel so welcomed into and part of their family. I was also grateful to Chris who did most of the long haul driving despite our late Saturday night. When we got home we fell into bed exhausted but grateful for a love-filled weekend.

Mother's DayAlso this week:

  • We celebrated Chris’s birthday with Sprinkle Birthday Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream – there were none left over, which is always a good sign!
  • Mum and Jess and I enjoyed leftover scones for breakfast on Saturday morning. They made the perfect market fuel.
  • My amazing friend Lynn’s cookbook is available for pre-order! More than 20 recipes for puppy chow! I cannot wait to get my copy!