Coconut, oats & chewy, sweet toffee flavours...it must be ANZAC Day!
Your new favourite alternative to beer nuts
A hug in a mug!
Have you tried acai berry yet? It's pronounced "ass-eye-ee" (heehee) and is native to Latin America. It's not a super sweet berry, but it's deep indigo colour packs an antioxidant punch - basically like blueberries with extra oomph! I first tried acai in Brazil, where they often make acai bowls by blending the frozen puree with banana and popping toasted granola on top. In Australia, frozen acai puree is becoming more accessible - try the freezer section of your health food shop and some specialty supermarkets stock it in bags of 100g single serve packets alongside other frozen berries. You can also buy acai powder, which you can blend with ice for the same effect. This is my acai chia cup, great for brekky or a sweet snack.
- 2 Tbs chia seeds
- 3/4 cup milk of choice
- 2 tsp pure organic maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 100g frozen acai puree
- 2 tsp raw cacao powder
- Stevia (optional)
- Delicious toppings of your choice
- Soak chia seeds in your milk of choice with maple syrup and cinnamon
- Pop in the fridge, stir after 15 mins, then leave for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight
- Make the acai layer when you're ready to serve. Blitz frozen acai puree with raw cacao powder and stevia to taste
- :)Pour the acai on your chia gel and top with anything crunchy/chewy/delicious. I used Inca berries, coconut and a little bit of almond butter. You could also use buckwheat buckinis, chopped nuts, pepitas, cacao nibs, goji berries, fresh fruit etc etc
Sorry, but I'd like to address the jellyphant in the room.
Why load up on artificial sweeteners when you can get the benefits of gelatin the natural way?!
Gelatin (normally derived from beef - sorry vegos!) is a reasonable source of protein (though you wouldn't be eating enough at once for it to be a solid source in a meal) and epic for healing the gut. It's awesome for helping ease joint pain, plus it supports healthy skin, hair and nails. Gelatin is largely an amino acid compound of glycine and proline. We don't get quite as much of these amino acids in our diet as others because they are most abundant in the bits of animals we tend not to eat every day (but woohoo if you do!) - bones, organs, fibrous bits and pieces.
You might be familiar with Jell-O/Aeroplane Jelly crystals, and they have the gelatin powder that will do all of the above. They also have a bunch of crapoodle in them that will do more damage than good (I'm looking at you, artificial sweetener/sugar/colouring/etc). But there are plenty of ways of use natural, unflavoured gelatin powder, available from your health food shop or iHerb online if you search for the brands "Now" or "Great Lakes". Here are a heap of ideas from Wellness Mama. Of course, if you don't want to use gelatin powder, you can chow down on some liver or make a batch of bone broth (I'll do a recipe at some point...but start with getting a heap of marrow bones from the butcher, chuck it in a heavy soup pot or slow cooker, cover with water and simmer for 12-72 hours). Sometimes I even add extra gelatin to my bone broth!
Or, you can make my homemade jellies. Ramp up the flavour by using strong tasting juices, essential oils, honey etc.
- 1 cup fruit juice (I like using pomegranate, fresh OJ, carrot & lemon & ginger....you can even use kombucha, blitzed bananas, blitzed watermelon, brewed chai tea, coconut milk...)
- 3Tbs gelatin powder
- 2Tbs - or more to suit your taste - honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup or sweetener of your choosing
- Pour all of the liquid into a saucepan and add the gelatin. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes until the mix becomes a gritty, solid mess (yum)
- Turn the heat on low - you don't want your mix to boil because it'll break the structure of the gelatin and the final product won't set. The goop with start to melt and soon turn to liquid
- Stir, stir, stir until the liquid is really shiny and you can't see any gelatin particles. I suggest having a little brush on hand with some warm water to brush down the sides of the saucepan
- Have a taste to see if the mix is sweet enough. If not, add some more of whichever sweetener you're using
- Have some silicon cupcake patty pans, or silicon ice trays, on hand. Chocolate moulds work well, too! If they're wibbly wobbly, pop them on a sturdy baking tray for easy transport to the fridge
- If you want to add bits to your jellies, like the goji berries in my jellyphants, pop a few in the bottom of each mould (you can add them to the liquid in the saucepan if you want to re-hydrate them a bit more). You can use fruits here, too! Just don't use pineapple or kiwi because they're not great mates with gelatin. You can also use coconut shavings, inca berries, buckinis...
- Use a pipette or a spoon to evenly distribute the gelatin mixture among the moulds
- Pop into the fridge and leave to set for a few hours
- Pop the jellies out of their moulds and put into an airtight container. They'll keep at room temp but I tend to keep mine in the fridge. They'll last a good couple of weeks in or out of the fridge!
I'm home alone this ANZAC Day which makes baking dangerous, so I thought I'd share with you five healthy recipes for ANZAC biscuits you can try in your own kitchen and then tell me how delicious they were! If you're not familiar with ANZAC bickies, you're either not Australian/Kiwi or you were deprived as a youngster on April 25. ANZAC bickies are traditional fare to munch on on April 25, when Aussie and Kiwi troops (aka, ANZACs) landed at Gallipoli in 1915 (WWI, folks). There was much bloodshed and it's a super important date on the Australian and New Zealand calendars. To be frank, I don't know why we celebrate with ANZAC bickies, but I think it's because they are made from simple ingredients that kept well back in the day and perked up the troops a bit.
Hold up. Let me Google it.
"The army biscuit, also known as an Anzac wafer or Anzac tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat as porridge.
The popular Anzac biscuit is a traditional, eggless sweet biscuit. Ingredients include rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water."
Well, I was close.
So whether you like your ANZACs chewy, crunchy, dipped in tea or ground up and sprinkled on some yoghurt, here are five healthy recipes to help you get your fix this ANZAC Day. Also, when you're making these, why not spend a moment to, you know, think about how lucky you are and reflect on how brave some people are to put their lives at risk so that you can enjoy yours? ;)
1. I Quit Sugar Sugar Free ANZAC biscuits Replaces the gooey golden syrup with rice malt syrup! http://iquitsugar.com/recipe/sugar-free-anzac-biscuits/
2. The Healthy Chef's Paleo, Gluten Free ANZACs Lots of variations - including quinoa ANZACs!! Teresa Cutter has you sorted. http://www.thehealthychef.com/2014/04/anzac-biscuits/
3. Lola Berry's ANZACs with a twist Sweetened with nanas (...as in bananas, not your grandma) and maple syrup. If you have Lola's The 20/20 Diet Cookbook, the recipe is in there, too. https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/food/recipes/recipe/-/21728631/anzacs-with-a-twist/
4. Quirky Cooking's vegan ANZAC biscuits Easy peasy Thermomix recipe that includes tips for ingredients you can swap in/out. http://quirkycooking.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/anzac-biscuits-vegan.html
5. Cook Chew Conquer's ANZAC cookies...two ways Buckwheat ANZACs that are nut-free and nasty-free! AND a paleo take on the classic ANZAC using coconut flour. http://www.cookchewconquer.com/2014/04/anzac-cookies-2-ways.html#more
Mama Sprout and I are eating a lot of "alkalising" foods lately, so I thought I'd bust some gin & tonic cravings and give our guts some love by whipping up a refreshing lemonade. This baby will do wonders for you. FACT.
Alkalising Lemonade (serves 1)
- Zest and pulp of half a lemon (or just the juice of a whole lemon, if you have a magical lemon tree that is full of fruit and aren't paying extortionate prices for the suckers!)
- Half a lebanese cucumber, skin on (about half a cup or so)
- 5 big/10 small mint leaves
- 2 tsp stevia granules (or honey or agave syrup if you're that way inclined)
- Sparkling mineral or soda water
- Roughly chop the lemon (pips removed), cucumber and mint
- Pop about 1/3 cup ice into the blender along with a splosh of just-boiled water - this'll help the ice slush up so you don't bust your blender!
- Pop the lemon, zest, cucumber, mint and stevia into the blender and blitz until the ice has turned into a slush and you don't have any chunks of ingredients. If you find you have a chunky monkey on your hands but your ice is slushy, add a wee more ice and hot water and blitz again. If your ice isn't slushifying, add a dash more hot water.
- Have a quick taste of the slush to see if you need to adjust the flavours
- Pour into a glass to about two thirds full, then top the glass up with cold sparkling water. Give it a gentle stir and enjoy!
For even more alkalising oomph, you could add a tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll! In Australia, Grant's does a good quality spearmint flavoured chlorophyll.
Why this refresher is so good for your tum, skin and general wellness:
Not only is this stunner virtually calorie free (if you use stevia as your sweetener), it's packed full of alkalising properties. Lemons and cucumbers, and liquid chlorophyll, have an alkalising effect on the body. Yes, those sour acidic lemons are actually alkalising! Why should you think about consuming alkaline foods? The body should maintain a pH of just above or below neutral (6.8-7.2), but if we overdo it on foods that lower the pH (acidify), it means we're not functioning optimally and instead start creating an environment where disease can thrive. You can also create a bodily environment that is too basic/alkaline....but unforch, we're more likely to swing the other way because acidifying foods are generally more delicious and associated with larger portions (sugar, MSG, yeast, artificial sweeteners, refined grains and predominantly most foods that are classified as naughty). So, the body likes to be just alkaline (about pH 7.3) and is constantly trying to reach equilibrium by drawing nutrients from the food you eat which in turn acidify or alkalise your blood. If your food doesn't contain enough nutrients to get to that slightly alkaline state, the body starts to draw from its backup reserves like your bones - not good when these reserves are used up and there's nowhere else to resort to! This is when chronic diseases are like "heck yes!" and they start setting up shop in your bloodstream.
I'll go into alkaline foods in a different post, but here's a snapshot of some of the best alkalising foods you should add to your plate/cup/sometimes I eat things straight from the pan so if you do that too, that's cool just make sure these foods are in your pan: Spinach, cucumber, broccoli, kale, lemons, tomatoes, avocado, cabbage, celery, ginger, garlic, sprouted breads...