Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Sixteen

This week was all about radical self-kindness. I don’t deal well with stress, and I knew that this week was full of all-day meetings and that this is often a trigger for my stress levels to sky rocket and for my ability for kindness and patience towards myself and others drops. So this time around I chose a path of radical self-kindness. This might sound selfish, but the lesson I learned was that focusing on yourself and your basic needs allows you to approach the needs of others from a happier, less stressed, platform. As Gretchen Rubin said in her podcast a few weeks ago: sometimes you need to treat yourself like a toddler – a cranky toddler. The end of the week was full of sunshine and family, and throughout the whole week there was so much to be grateful for. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List Week 16:

cupcake projectMonday: Today I got a lesson in avoiding passive aggression. I get a demerit point in my fighting style because I am often guilty of being passive-aggressive when I feel like things aren’t going my way. Instead of directly communicating my needs I withdraw. Today I was grateful for a lesson in learning to communicate what I need to do my work, and having someone acknowledge that need. Living with active gratitude is often a humbling daily lesson.

Tuesday: Tonight was a late finish in our meeting and I was grateful that I had taken the time out in the morning for a run at the gym. When I messaged Chris to let him know we were having a late night I got this text message “You are not allowed to cook dinner tonight. Come home and I will organise something. Then we can snuggle and watch Kimmy Schmidt together.” I am grateful for the way he knows how to take care of me when I just need to be cuddled and coddled sometimes.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWednesday: Tonight Chris and I met up with Caroline and Tim, and Michelle and Mani to celebrate Caroline’s birthday! We had delicious Indian food and lots of laughter. It was so sweet to see Michelle’s growing baby belly, and celebrate my oldest friend’s birthday. I was grateful for a night of heart warming time in the middle of a busy week. The lesson here: it’s okay to take a week-night off and just relax with friends for a night.

Thursday: Thursday was a blur of minutes, actions, and emails. I was grateful for my colleagues helping me out all week long by fetching lunches and setting up the drinks and plates for the lunchtime rush. They made my life a whole lot easier the whole week long. I am grateful to have thoughtful workmates.

Friday: Today our meeting finished early and Jess and I managed to head out for a late lunch. I was grateful for the time to decompress and catch up with Jess after a busy week. I also had the opportunity to leave work a little early and I made the most of my escape by going for a long run out in the setting sun. I watched the light bleed across the sky and fade behind the city skyline and let my stress drift away on the cooling evening breeze. I was grateful to capture those moments for myself and get into a great place for the weekend.

sunset runSaturday: This morning I woke up late, well, late for me. After a delicious sleep in I joined Mum, Mormor, and Jess to see Cinderella! Oh my it was fantastic. I am so glad that they didn’t make Cinderella into a wimp, and the story was just beautifully told. I was grateful for losing myself in a fairy tale for the morning, and being reminded that: firstly, there is magic in this ordinary world, if only we care to look, and secondly, the most important things in this world are to have courage and be kind. That’s a lesson we could all learn to live by.

toastSunday: Today I had another sleep in and then spent some time on a long walk up and down our hilly streets before Chris and I headed to Mum and Dad’s for our ‘family lunch’. When I sit next to Casey and we end up giggling about stoma bags (not really a laughing issue, but when you have a dietitian, a doctor, and a doctor in training at the table these are the things that come up), or watch Shane secretly devouring dark chocolate from the fridge, or see Dad and Trent talking about lawn care, or Chris and Mum sharing their latest TV obsessions, I am grateful for this family that has built itself around me. They are my most precious pillars of strength, and they feed me with their love. I am grateful for lazy Sunday afternoons, and all the nourishment they bring.

Family Lunch 19-4Also this week:

  • I made a small batch of cookies with a surprise ingredient from the garden!
  • My friend Lynn from Fresh April Flours is writing a cookbook! Full of delicious puppy chow recipes for every occasion. I can’t wait to start trying them all!
  • Jessica from Sweetest Menu created what might just be the best chocolate and cookie craving buster ever! Her Double Chocolate Cookie Layer Cake is on my list of treat foods to make soon!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free

Chewy, oaty, chocolate chunk filled morsels with a little sprinkling of something from the garden. These cookies are my new small batch gluten free favourite that I make when I need to feel just a little justified at baking cookies at 9 o’clock on a Wednesday night.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI try to keep my treat foods limited to the weekend, apart from a square or two of dark, dark chocolate while drinking tea and watching a little pre-bed television (side note: does anyone else watch House of Cards? Is anyone else completely in love with Claire’s wardrobe?). Now, I am not one for deprivation, but allowing myself a little chocolate during the week and saving my big treats for when I am baking on the weekend makes those indulgences even more special, which is something I have had to learn about how my body, mind, and I relate to ‘sometimes foods’.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBut then, there’s the Wednesday cookie. You know what I’m talking about even if you call it by a different name: #winowednesday ring a bell anyone? The Wednesday cookie is the treat that you know you don’t quite need, but you need it at a deeper level. You need it because you just sat through an eleven hour meeting. You need it because you went to the gym at 5 am and didn’t get home from work until 7 pm. You need it because you want to change into stretchy pants and indulge in some midweek brain-draining television. Enter: the Wednesday cookie.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNow that you know about the Wednesday cookie, you need to know that I have a few rules for my Wednesday cookie indulgences. I want a small batch so that I don’t find myself with two dozen extra cookies after I have had my little treat. I want something rich and truly indulgent so that my cravings are fully satisfied in just one or two cookies. Wednesday cookies also need to be easy to make while you are putting together dinner, which these are apart from a little time chilling (time to eat dinner and wash the dishes). Once the cookies are baked I keep them in the refrigerator – it adds a little extra chewiness; though, I can attest that these are also perfect eaten warm off the tray. Melted chocolate chip smiles make Wednesday nights all the sweeter.

My Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies are filled with dark chocolate chips and chewy rolled oats, and some grated zucchini, you know, so that your indulgence is tempered with a little bit of green too. Because, it’s only Wednesday after all!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies

Gluten Free | Makes 12 cookies

Notes:

  • You need to chill this dough for 20 minutes before baking. This is important to obtaining the perfect texture.
  • If you can’t tolerate oats, you can leave them out, or replace them with quinoa flakes.

Ingredients

  • 40 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams sorghum flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 30 grams cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 small zucchini grated

 

Method

  1. In a small bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat butter and brown sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and milk, and beat until well combined.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add whisked dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.
  5. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix in chocolate chips, oats, and grated zucchini.
  6. Chill dough for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  8. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on lined baking sheets. Leave space for spreading.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. The centres will still be soft (this makes for chewy cookies). Remove and cool completely on baking sheets.
  10. Store cookies in refrigerator for maximum chewiness for up to four days.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Fifteen

The universe has brought me lots of inspiration for introspection this week. I have found some brain-stimulating, soul-feeding points to start doing some work on some areas of my life that need a little work (dealing with anxiety and stress management is a major focus at the moment). The universe has also brought me long walks, heart-thumping runs, leftover Cadbury mini eggs (they are the devil I tell you), and so many chickpea and rocket salads. It’s been a good week. A Thoroughly Nourished One, if you will, and here it is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Fifteen:

smoothieTuesday: Today I am grateful for all the people who are striving to make other people happy. For the writers and bloggers who write about happiness, for the scientists and academics who research happiness, and for the people in the trenches who are sacrificing, intuiting, creating, and working for other people’s, and their own, happiness. I am grateful to learn from them because happiness doesn’t always come easily to me, and it is something I need to work on and I do desperately want to create a practice of in my life. Being conscious of making yourself happy, and working towards it doesn’t lessen the happiness, and doing the work makes it easy to foster in your life long term. I am grateful for those people who inspire me to create happiness in my life and the lives of those around me.

donna hayWednesday: Today I am grateful that Chris and I nearly have a mortgage. A large financial obligation to each other and to a bank might not sound like something to be grateful for, but I am grateful that we have the opportunity to have our own house, to borrow a little piece of earth just for ourselves: to live in, to love in, to offer as shelter and warmth to those we love. I am reminding myself to enjoy every moment we have in our current cottage by the bay, but I will be grateful for the day that the bank hands us our keys and our debt and sets us free into our next adventure together.

granolaThursday: Today I was grateful that I made an effort for myself. I got up a little earlier before work to fit in some strength training, and then after work I took a walk as the sun settled down for the night. I got home and I was grateful that I made the effort to do what I had promised I would do for myself.

pumpkinsFriday: Tonight I am grateful for Chris getting me dinner while I was busy working on a baking job. I just needed to get thirty things done at once and he took the time to take care of me while I was busy taking care of business. He reminded me to stop, relax for a moment, let the anxiety go, and just take care of myself. I am grateful for his gentle reminders to just enjoy the moment we are living in.

Saturday: Today was a day of pure relaxation. I started the morning with a visit to the markets with Mum and Jess (and some of these muffins baked as a loaf) and stocked up our fridge with autumn’s bounty. After the markets I went for an awesome run, and Chris and I picked up one of my birthday presents (a tripod for my camera!) and had the most glorious three hour nap. I am so sorry to my friends who have kids or have to work on weekends, but I was grateful for that three hour indulgence snuggled up in bed with Chris for an afternoon. Tonight we binged on House of Cards – if you haven’t watched this show yet: you need to get on it!

saladSunday: This morning autumn crispness filled the air while I strode up and down the hills and along the harbour. I was grateful to take the time out to start my day. Then I headed over to visit my Mum and Dad and wash my car. Dad and I had a wonderful few hours just chatting away and working on making my baby shiny again. I am always so grateful for his help, and Mum has been so hard at work on a new quilt for me. I was grateful for an afternoon of baking and just getting ready for the week ahead.

Also this week:

Thoroughly Nourished Finds – Reads for the Weekend

Autumn leaves

  • If you only read one article from this list, please make it this one. Providing bad information and misleading people with sensationalist claims is never okay, and when they are facing life-threatening illness it is inexcusable. I respect everyone’s choice in their journey, but please be smart and safe, and listen to real science.
  • South Korea is the world’ capital of plastic surgery. The New Yorker took a closer look at going under the knife in the homeland of Psy.
  • ThankList sounds like an amazing way to show gratitude, and increase civility. I’m going to start thinking about my own ThankList, beyond the circle of amazing people I get to talk to everyday.
  • Is it wrong that I am super interested in prisons? Also, my biggest fear is going to prison. Must’ve been a convict in a former life. This look inside America’s toughest federal prison is a sad, but very interesting read. Lesson: the first step should always be true justice.
  • This story about Norway’s Halden Prison stands in stark contrast to the above story.
  • Make ravioli – it’s on my list, and it just got easier with this gorgeous recipe and video from Snixy Kitchen and Bojon Gourmet
  • You know I love chocolate chip cookies, now Cate has taken them to a whole new level. Say yes to salty-sweet!
  • Faring Well takes the most beautiful photographs, and writes from the heart. I love this latest pasta recipe and reflection on her last six months.
  • I’m really good at stress. Like A+ good. I’m hoping that incorporating these stress-relieving yoga poses from The Greatist into my bed time ritual will bring me some peace.
  • A new favourite podcast! These bite-size lessons in how to be Happier from Gretchen Rubin have me pondering my own life and the fostering of happiness. Perfect for listening to and reflecting on during my commute.

Have a wonderful weekend all! I hope it is filled with discussion, gratitude, and a chocolate chip cookie or three!

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan

The crisp, cool weather has finally arrived and you need a homemade breakfast that will warm you up and keep you energised with healthy, good for you whole grains, nuts and seeds with a sprinkling of sweetness to keep the autumn chill at bay. My Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa and Blueberry Granola is your new seasonal breakfast favourite (and you can have chocolate for breakfast!).

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeDid anyone else read the ‘I Spy’ picture books as a kid? They were a hot commodity in my school library, and had to be patched and repaired by the librarians as they passed from hand to hand and generation to generation. I always feel like eating granola is sort of like playing ‘I Spy’. How many goodies can you spot in each spoonful? If you look closely at my new favourite granola recipe you will see delightful morsels in every bite!

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI’ll go first! I spy with my little eye something beginning with B! Buckwheat! Whole buckwheat groats make up half the grains in this granola mix. The heat from the oven crisps them up and gives this breakfast a crunchy base and buckwheat is high in slowly digested carbohydrates, protein, iron, zinc, and selenium. Did you spot something beginning with A? That would be the almonds! Coated in spices and maple syrup they boost the protein and healthy fats, including Vitamin E, which is important for healthy skin, eyes, and hair. And what about the letter S? Seeds! Of three different kinds: chia, pumpkin, and sunflower! A triple-treat of vitamin-boosting, fibre-containing, cholesterol lowering delight!

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe buckwheat base is boosted with gluten free rolled oats, but you could use quinoa flakes if you do not tolerate oats. The oats, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are tossed with cinnamon-spiced cocoa and then mixed with a kiss of maple syrup and olive oil for sweetness, stickiness, and crispiness. An important note: If you like your granola extra chunky then do not stir your granola during baking time. Press it down with the back of your spoon and just check to make sure it isn’t burning at regular intervals (see recipe below).

The chocolate here is subtle, but feel free to throw in some dark chocolate chips for an extra sweet chocolate boost. I gave a jar of this to Mum as a chocolate alternative for Easter, and even if you are over chocolate (is anyone ever over chocolate, really?) for a little while, a cheeky little cocoa treat at breakfast is just the thing to warm you up at the start of leaf change. Serve it with yoghurt and a little fruit for a quick breakfast, or grab a handful as a healthy snack on the go. This Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola is sure to become a favourite in your house too.

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat groats (uncooked buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oats, buckwheat, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. Once cooked, remove from oven, stir in dried blueberries, and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Crispy Buckwheat, Cocoa, and Blueberry Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Fourteen

The Easter long weekend is one of my favourites with four beautiful days to fill with family time, long walks, and extra snuggles. This year we are enjoying an endless summer; I can’t remember April being this warm for years. These unexpectedly hot days are sure to come to an end but I am enjoying them while they last. Here it is, the Easter long weekend Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Fourteen:

rosesMonday: I’m going to miss afternoon runs bathed in sunset light when the days shorten for winter, but I am grateful for all the runs I have enjoyed this summer. Even though I am excited about our new home, and the exciting opportunities that it presents, I will miss our proximity to the water. Got to be grateful for these months by the water while they last!

Tuesday: There are days when you can run, and run, and run until you are breathless. Days when you can just keep going without concern for your body and mental health. Then there are days when you just need to slow down and really breathe in all that is going on around you and all that you have to be grateful for in your life. I am grateful for some time for reflection in the middle of my week. It makes finding the road ahead, and seeing the path you have already tread, so much easier.

Wednesday: The days when we have our quarterly reports due out are always a little bit more stressful than I would like, so I was grateful that today went so smoothly, and so grateful for my wonderful team ensuring that everything was ready and out the door on time so that we could all relax before our long weekend. And that’s my little cubicle-life fairy tale for the week.

brownie bites

Thursday: The last day of work before a long weekend makes me feel like a little kid awaiting that final bell before school holidays start. I was grateful to play Easter Bunny today with some eggs that my boss had generously bought for us all to enjoy. I was also grateful to enjoy a lunch treat with my friend Jess. What a great start to the long weekend.

Friday: Today Chris and I drove up to Toowoomba to visit with his parents. I really enjoy driving with Chris, we have time with no distractions to just talk about anything and everything. Ruth and Jim took us out for a delightful lunch at the lookout. The mountains were covered in mist and it was a magical view from our table. I was grateful for the time with Ruth and Jim and for a wonderful lunch.

misty mountainsSaturday: This morning I enjoyed a trip to the markets for breakfast with Mum, Jess – and Casey! We talked and ate our way around the markets and I was grateful for the time with my favourite ladies. The rest of the day was devoted to running, Easter baking, and watching more ‘House of Cards’. I cannot get enough! I was grateful to have a quiet night of baking treats and staring at the beautiful roses I found at the markets this morning.

 

Sunday: Happy Easter Sunday! This morning I went for a lovely walk by the water and then Chris and I joined my family to celebrate Easter Sunday with a family morning tea. There were treats galore and plenty of laughter too. I was grateful for some fun with my family, and to indulge in some delicious Easter treats (and so.much.cheese). Chris and I indulged in a long afternoon nap when we got home. I am always grateful for a Sunday afternoon nap – there’s just something so indulgent about sleeping while the sun is still up and knowing that you can leave your responsibilities behind for a few hours.

Monday: Today I greeted the day with a 12km walk along the harbour – and I got the great news that Yum. Gluten Free Magazine released their April edition today featuring three recipes from Thoroughly Nourished Life – I am so grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with the Yum. team again.

yum gluten free

Also this week:

  • I am getting off to a healthy start with this week by making another Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche – lunches solved for three days at least!
  • Last minute Easter treats were no problem with these intense little sweets – and they’ll be perfect for anytime you need a bite-sized indulgence.
  • Today the April issue of Yum. Gluten Free Magazine is available for download (or read it for free online), and it features three Thoroughly Nourished Life recipes – including one completely new recipe!

Brownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free

Fudgy,dark chocolate brownie bites topped with creamy sweet white chocolate buttercream are the perfect last minute gluten free sweet treat for weekend celebrations. In under an hour you can have them on the table or wrapped up to give to the ones you love!

Brownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTomorrow is Easter Sunday and these tiny double chocolate treats are my contribution to our family morning tea. I made these as an Easter gift for Chris’s parents, and they were so quick and easy and full of my favourite sweet flavours that I just needed to make them again! I based my brownie bites on my favourite melt and mix brownie mixture. These brownies are based on melted chocolate and butter with a simple dump and stir method, which yields a chewy brownie, and they feature a double-chocolate dose with the addition of cocoa powder to the mix. Double chocolate? Double yum!

Brownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhite chocolate buttercream is my new favourite buttercream. I could (and have) eaten this sweet, caramel, fluffy frosting until I feel sick. The pure sweet blankness of white chocolate buttercream contrasts with the slightly bitter dark chocolate brownie bites so well. These might be tiny treats, but they make an impact. Each little cake is just enough to satisfy any chocolate cravings that your Easter eggs might not have satisfied. And they are just so cute!

If you look closely at the sprinkles on top of my little brownie bites, they are tiny little pink rabbits, blue birds, yellow chicks, and green eggs. I loved these pastel sprinkles when I saw them at the cake shop a few weeks ago and I was so excited to use them in my Easter baking. If you need a last minute treat for the table, try these delicious triple chocolate treats, and if you have kids who want to help make Easter gifts these are perfect for little hands. I hope everyone has a sweet holiday with plenty of time with their families. Happy Easter to you all.

Brownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBrownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream

Gluten Free | Makes about 24 bites | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Ingredients

For the brownie bites

  • 125 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 40 grams hazelnut meal
  • 40 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs

For the frosting

  • 85 grams good quality white chocolate
  • 120 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and grease a 24 hole mini muffin pan.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  4. Divide brownie batter evenly between holes in the tin.
  5. Bake until tops of brownies bounce back when lightly touched, about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Allow brownie bites to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.
  7. To make the frosting. Melt white chocolate and allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Beat butter in the bowl of an standmixer (or in a bowl with a handheld mixture) until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add cooled white chocolate, icing sugar, milk, and vanilla essence. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  10. Frost and decorate brownie bites as desired. I used a piping bag fitted with a small star tip.

Brownie Bites with White Chocolate Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Sweet roasted butternut squash and fresh zucchini are baked in eggs mixed with herbs and garlic for a flavoursome, filling, and healthy meal. Try a generous serving of this crustless quiche with a crunchy green salad for an easy gluten free, vegetarian dinner or weekend brunch.

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLast week was all about this cake, my sister’s ultra decadent chocolate caramel slice, my Mum’s sweet and chewy pavlova, and a few big slices of a special cake I am going to share with you next week. Therefore, this week is about leafy greens, wholegrains, and smart snacking. Life is all about balance. Once upon a time following a week like last week’s birthday week palooza I would have restricted my eating severely, exercised until I dropped, and beaten myself up for enjoying and embracing the feasting and decadence. This year, I made a bargain with myself: I could eat whatever I wanted for my birthday week so long as I didn’t serve myself a heaping plate of guilt afterwards. Striking this deal with myself encouraged me to be truly present with these treats: to taste every dollop of cream, absorb every crunch of fried polenta chips, and admire each swirl of chocolate buttercream on my fork. At the end of the week I felt…not a drop of guilt, not an ounce of beating myself up. I enjoyed every single bite of risotto, sip of champagne, and bowl-licking session. Balance.

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAt the end of the week I stocked our fridge with my favourite fruits and vegetables, bought a giant sack of quinoa, and made sure we had an abundance of healthy snacking options (almonds for the win) and a few healthy indulgences (you can’t take my Lindt 90% away ever). The weather this week has been cool and rainy, and my body is craving comfort. In the spirit of keeping things balanced but comforting I whipped up this vegetable filled crustless quiche and served generous slices of it alongside a green salad. Eggs mean comfort to me, and when they are combined with sauteed onion and garlic and a blend of fragrant thyme, oregano, and rosemary, they satisfy and celebrate the first chilled hands and comfort food craving of winter.

I know this flavoursome, vegetable-filled dish would be a welcome addition to any Easter brunch table, and I’ll be making another one to guarantee healthy, delicious, protein-packed lunches all next week.

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche

Serves 2-3 generously | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Ingredients

  • 600 grams butternut squash
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel butternut squash and cube into dice-sized pieces. Place on baking tray and bake until butternut squash is tender. This should take about 30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. While the pumpkin is roasting, peel and dice red onion and crush garlic.
  4. Preheat oil in a small frying pan and saute onion and garlic with dried herbs, salt and pepper until onion is translucent. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Dice zucchini into dice-sized pieces. Gently mix pumpkin, onion and garlic mixture, and zucchini together until well combined. Tumble into a small baking dish (about 10 by 7 inches).
  6. Beat eggs with salt and pepper and pour over vegetables. Gently tap the dish on your bench to get rid of any air bubbles.
  7. Sprinkle cheddar over the top of the mixture. Bake until set, about 40-45 minutes.
  8. Serve with a crunchy green salad. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for up to three days.

Butternut Pumpkin and Zucchini Crustless Quiche | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirteen

Yesterday was the last day of my birthday week. When I got home from celebrating my birthday with a gaggle of family and friends I was warm inside and out and enjoyed an evening nap before a quiet night. So much food, so much sunshine, and a wonderful warmth in my heart. My year of 28 is off to a wonderful start. So my list is coming to you a day late this week. Let me take a moment to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone for all your sweet messages and comments wishing me happy birthday. You are all incredibly sweet, and I am grateful for each and every one of you. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirteen. The birthday week edition.

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMonday: This morning my sweet friend Jess from work had organised a surprise morning tea for me! She convinced me that there was a meeting happening down one end of the building and when I stepped into the room – surprise! It was so unexpected and I am grateful that all these people took time out of their workday to come and have some cake and sing me happy birthday. And I am grateful to have found a friend like Jess. In the afternoon Chris and I went to inspect the model of our home for the first time! It was great to be able to walk through a very close replica of what our home will look like, and it was a reassurance that we had done the right thing. I can’t wait to move in now!

birthday walkTuesday: Today was my birthday! 28 sure got off to a good start. I went for a quick walk in the morning, kissed Chris goodbye as he headed off to work, then headed over to Mum’s place to start our day. Mum and I visited my grandmother for a cup of tea and to say hello, and then we made our way to the Woolloongabba Antique Centre. This is one of my favourite places in Brisbane. I love sorting through all the treasures, and finding old pieces of beauty hidden away. I tried on a 50s evening gown (pink and gold lame`- just beautiful), the taxidermy fox below (I fell in love with his cute face – no I didn’t buy it), and bought some antique forks for food styling. Afterwards Mum and I had a gorgeous lunch in a little cafe/bar nearby. It was the perfect day with my darling Mum, and just how I wanted my 28th year to start. When I got home Chris arrived with a big bunch of flowers, and blocks of my favourite chocolate. I am grateful that I have so many sweet people in my life.

birthday flowersWednesday: Back into the fray this morning and I was grateful to come home for an interval run before relaxing with Chris and listening to the rain fall in sweeping waves on our roof. A dark and stormy night by the bay is the perfect way to ensure great midweek sleep.

Thursday: My project tonight was making cupcakes for a dear friend’s twin boy and girl! I had so much fun decorating the cupcakes in purple and blue. I was grateful for the chance to stretch my creative muscles and just have some fun with wild colours in the kitchen. And I got to help them celebrate their sixth birthday!

the foxFriday: Friday lunch with Jess this week was the perfect start to the weekend. I got a free salad from Sumo Salad (my Friday lunch addiction) for my birthday and we sat out in the sun talking until we had to go back to work. Tonight Chris and I picked up our takeaway dinner (sushi!) and then laid in bed binge watching House of Cards. I am obsessed. I was grateful for the relaxed ending to the week. It’s so important to have a ritual that helps you to separate from work on a Friday afternoon. Mine: turning up the music loud in my car and driving with the windows down all the way home. It makes me feel like I’m 18 all over again. Instant relaxation.

raspberry and chocolateSaturday: I started my morning with a run before meeting up with Mum and Jess for a great morning at the markets. This afternoon Chris and I went to his cousin’s engagement party. It was lovely to see everyone gathered together to celebrate the new adventure these two young people are about to start. Afterwards Chris and I joined another of his cousins and his girlfriend for dinner. I had the most exquisite mushroom risotto and we enjoyed a walk through the city just laughing and laughing into the night. I was grateful for a night where I felt so alive, and I didn’t have to think about it.

Sunday: This morning started with a long walk by the water. I knew there was going to be a lot of sugar involved at lunch time, so I had to be prepared. My wonderful family and some of my closest friends joined Chris and I for a long sunny lunch. We talked and laughed and ate so much cake. When I looked around at all these people from different areas of my life, all gathered together for one afternoon, I felt so grateful for each and every one of them. My heart is full.

Also this week:

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic-Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free

Creamy, curried pumpkin soup will keep out the autumn chills. My Curried Pumpkin Soup is heartily spiced, and the roasted garlic flavoured millet is the perfect compliment. This meal is healthy, hearty, easy to prepare, and the perfect way to warm up at the start of the season.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe first pot of pumpkin soup in autumn is a precious celebration in anticipation of what the season will bring. Autumn is the season of true bounty. We get the best of the final blush of summer – the ripest stone fruits, the sweetest final watermelon harvest, the juiciest tomatoes begging to be made into passata; and we also get the first harvest of the hardy fruits and vegetables that will see us through the cold winter months – creamy sweet potatoes, the crunchiest apples, sweet heavy grapes, and pretty smooth-skinned butternut pumpkins.

My Mum has made a version of this curried pumpkin soup since I was a child. Coming home from school on rainy winter days to a pot of gently bubbling soup and thickly buttered bread was a childhood delight, and something that still warms me down to my soul as an adult. Soup is pure comfort. And making soup from my Mum’s recipe is an extra layer of warmth. I know this soup is going to appear on our table frequently throughout the coming season. I have been coming home to leftovers of this soup since I made a big pot on the weekend. When I walk through the door, I know I am coming home to a bowl of comfort.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMum uses a curry powder mix, but when I ran out and was at home on a rainy Sunday craving this soup, I didn’t want to venture to the shops so I broke the mixture down to its essence and put my own twist on a family tradition. My soup is a little spicier than Mum’s owing to my inclusion of chili powder. If you don’t want the soup too spicy or you are serving it to little kids, you can leave out the chili powder and I can promise you the soup will still be just as flavoursome. The chili powder is joined by ground dried coriander, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and black pepper for a fragrant bouquet of flavours. Along with your spices, butternut pumpkin, carrots, and onion, and a good quality vegetable stock are all you need to create this soup for dinner tonight. The millet is a filling addition, and the roasted garlic and thyme add a soothing element to the spicy soup. If you don’t have or like millet you could use quinoa or rice to the same effect.

Get ready to snuggle up with your beloved and a bowl of soup, and rest happily in the comfort that these bowls are full of thoroughly nourishing ingredients that will keep you healthy all winter long. This soup is creamy, but there is no cream required: butternut pumpkins bring their own special creaminess when simmer low and slow. Millet, as we’ve spoken about before is a buttery ancient seed that provides good amounts of iron and other minerals. This soup is the healthy comfort food answer to lengthening autumn nights, long runs in the drizzle, and a craving for comfort.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic-Thyme Millet

Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 4 generously | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
Reheat gently over a low heat, or in the microwave in short bursts

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 1 kg (2 pounds) butternut pumpkin
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 3 teaspoons dried ground cumin seeds
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4-1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 4 cups reduced salt vegetable stock

For the millet

  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 3/4 cup dried millet
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Peel and de-seed pumpkin and chop into cubes (about 2.5cm/1 inch). Peel and dice onion. Dice celery and carrot.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over a medium heat. Add crushed garlic, onion, celery, carrot, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black powder, and chili powder. Saute until the onions are become clear and the spices are fragrant.
  3. Tumble in your pumpkin cubes and stir until everything is well mixed.
  4. Add vegetable stock and bring soup to the boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook until pumpkin is very soft and is disintegrating in the stock. This will take about an hour.
  6. While the pumpkin is cooking preheat your oven to 180C. Wrap garlic in aluminium foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cloves are softened. Allow to cool.
  7. Rinse millet and place in medium saucepan along with vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Keep covered until ready to serve.
  8. Once soup is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Alternately you can puree this soup in a blender. WARNING: ALLOW SOUP TO COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE BLENDING. DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP. Reheat over a low heat on the stove top.
  9. Mash roasted garlic together with fresh thyme and olive oil. Mix through millet.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of millet and extra fresh thyme if desired.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life