A Re-Examined Life

Canberra girl’s mission to live a more natural, sustainable life.


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Any-kind-of-seasonal-fruit-you-like Cake with Vanilla Cream

Peaches

I’ve made a cake that is far too delicious not be shared, and is perfect for anyone who has an abundance of homegrown fruit and is a bit over making jam 🙂  The first version I made was with nectarine, and the second was with peaches and raspberries.

The vanilla cream part of the recipe only came about when making the peach and raspberry version, this was because (a) I was looking to make an Australian themed something for Australia day and decided on a peach melba version, and (b) I actually cooked it for too long and was worried it would be a bit dry.  Turned out the cake wasn’t dry at all, but the vanilla cream (which is basically unfrozen, soft-as-you-like-it ice cream) is amazing, so this is one time when I am very glad I overcooked the cake.

Just as a side note, for those who don’t know, peach melba is an Aussie desert named after the famous Aussie opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba. A peach melba consists of peaches with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.  I have no idea why the guy who invented this dessert went with this particular dessert, but I have to say, if this is what someone made in my honour, I might be a bit disappointed, it is not the prettiest dessert I have seen, a couple of examples below….  I’m sure it tastes really nice :).

 

But anyway, back to my delicious cake.  This recipe is for the peach and raspberry version, but you could use nectarines, plums, or apricots, and then in the winter I think it would be delicious with apples and/or pears, but with those fruits I would lose the vanilla and add cinnamon instead.

I am a huge fan of vanilla, I use it all the time, but vanilla essence from the shops has sugar, and often other unpleasant stuff in it.  In the past I’ve made my own vanilla essence, (it’s super easy – you just soak vanilla beans in vodka) but it takes forward planning as you need about a month’s worth of soaking time.  So I’m also a huge fan of the a vanilla bean grinder, which is 100% vanilla bean in a salt grinder, you can purchase them in the shops, or you could make one yourself 🙂  My recipe here uses the vanilla bean grinder, if you are using vanilla essence you will probably use about 1 tspn every time I use a few grinds.

Cake ingredients

4 large ripe peaches 

Vanilla bean grinder

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

80 grams softened butter

½ cup honey

1 large egg

½ cup sour cream (or you can use plain yoghurt)

3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour

3/4 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

¼ teaspoon bicarb

¼ teaspoon good quality salt

What to do 

You want to “marinate” your fruit (actually, I believe the ‘technical’ term is macerate, but to me the word sounds nasty, so I would rather marinate.  You are very welcome to macerate yours).  Chop the fruit and put it in a bowl with the sugar and a few good grinds of the vanilla bean, and set it aside for at least 2 hours, but you can leave it longer.

Turn that butter into cream using an electric beater and then add the honey, egg and a few more good grinds of the vanilla bean and mix it all up.   Add the sour cream and any liquid that is at the bottom of the marinated fruit bowl.

Combine all your dry ingredients and mix them, quite gently,  into the wet stuff.  Pop the batter into a prepared cake-tin (you will probably have to use some anti-sticking stuff, I have found that just “having a chat” does not seem to prepare the cake tin enough).

Now you want to add the marinated fruit all over the top of the batter, and then kind of press it in a bit with your fingers.  Chuck this loveliness into the oven, keep it low to avoid overcooking (ahem), around 150c fan forced is good, and cook it for about 40 minutes, but check it after 30, the old clean knife trick will work. Once cooked let it cool in the tin as you need the fruit to ‘set’ a bit before taking it out or it will fall apart.  Now get making your vanilla cream.

Vanilla cream ingredients

Thickened cream – be sure to read the labels and buy the one thickened with gelatine.

vanilla bean grinder

maple syrup – to taste

Whip up your cream and then slowly add your vanilla and maple syrup until it tastes delicious.  Start with a couple of grinds of the vanilla, and about a tablespoon of maple syrup and just keep going until you are happy.

The combination of this cream and cake is magic 🙂

p.s. you may note the absence of photos of said magical cake, well that is because every time I have made it, I have been too busy eating it to remember to take a photo, and by the time I remember, there is no cake to be photographed.  So, I would be very happy if you could please take photos of yours and post them in the comments for me 🙂

 

 

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Yeah… baby

I am pretty excited that I have found some time to write a blog.

Last week, one of my gorgeous friends held a this-is-not-a-baby-shower-baby-shower, (she called it a pre-baby lunch), she also requested that no one bring her presents.  But, as if that was every going to happen!

So I decided to get busy making some baby products,  I had so much fun making these, and I am pretty chuffed with the end result.  I just wish I had been into making this stuff when my little ones were younger.  My Google search returned plenty of easy, Steph-proof baby products you can make.

Speaking of being Steph-proof, I thought that, given how fabulous these baby products I made are, that you might start to think that I that this whole “I am not naturally good at all this “making natural stuff from scratch” business is made up.  So I want to take a moment to show you what didn’t make it into the this-is-not-a-baby-shower, baby-shower-gift-bag.  I decided to put some sweet treats into the bag, but the “it doesn’t get more simple than these 3 ingredient” cookies, (that I have actually made before mind you), didn’t make it into the bag.

“They” didn’t make it into the bag, mainly because I didn’t end up with cookies.  I ended up with a cookie.  A half burnt, half raw cookie.

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Yep, she’s a beauty.

But let’s now leave that behind me, and get on with the good stuff that did make it into the bag.

I did manage to get some delicious chocolate fudge into the bag.  I made my favourite, simple-as chocolate fudge recipe, that I use from the gourmande in the kitchen website.

 

 

 

 

What also did make it into the bag were these little beauties

IMG_0794

 

For the little baby I made nappy cream, and baby oil, and for the mummy-to-be, some bath salts (hopefully she will manage to find some time to use them!).

They are all in recycled jars, the baby oil and the bath salts are in maple syrup jars, and the nappy cream is in a pesto jar.

The nappy cream uses coconut oil as the base, (and actually, if you haven’t got time to make this cream, you can just use plain coconut oil as your nappy cream).  Coconut oil has (look out, I’m about to get clinical) antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, or for those who are not as clinically minded as I am, it basically means, that when it comes to healing skin, coconut oil is the business.

The baby oil uses olive oil as the base, olive oil is the king of skin moisturizing, and it also contains antioxidants which, which help keep skin young.  (now most people only start to consider how to keep their skin looking young once they already have old-looking skin, this kid is going to be way ahead of the game).

The bath salts use magnesium (epsom salts) as the base.  Magnesium deficiency is a serious issue in our society today, (statistics say 68%, or 2 out of 3 people suffer from magnesium deficiency).  One of the best ways to replenish magnesium in your body is through your skin, either using magnesium oil, or soaking yourself in it in a bath.   Magnesium baths can provide a bunch of health benefits including reducing inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps, managing headaches, and improved circulation.

All the products contain:

Calendula – anti-inflammatory and antiseptic super powers, assisting tissue regeneration.

Chamomile – antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic super powers.  It is also considered to be hypoallergenic, which basically means it can help neutralise skin irritants.

Lavender – is pretty much good for everything, but to narrow it down to a few things, it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal, pain relieving, calming, and relaxing super powers.

If i was selling this stuff, it would be my “Mum’s and Bub’s Super Hero” range…..

Here’s how to make them:

Nappy Cream

3/4 cup of organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon of calendula tea

1 tablespoon of chamomile tea

1 tablespoon (or more) of organic corn flour

20 drops of  Lavender essential oil

I put the coconut oil into a glass jar and sat it in a saucepan of water over a low heat, once the coconut oil had melted I added in all the tea leaves and left it on a very low heat for about 3 hours.  Don’t let the water in the saucepan boil, and keep an eye on it, you will need to top it up.   When the time is up, remove from the heat and strain the oil through a colander to remove all the tea.  Set aside the coconut oil to harden (you can put it in the fridge speed up the process).  Once the coconut oil has solidified, add in the essential oil and corn flour combine.  Then get out your stick blender and whip it up so its nice and creamy.  Stick in the jar –  you’re done.

Baby Oil

1 cup of organic olive oil

1 tablespoon of calendula tea

1 tablespoon of chamomile tea

1 tablespoon of dried lavender

Pretty much the same as above, chuck all the ingredients into a glass jar and pop it into a saucepan of water, over a low heat, for about 3 hours.  When the time is up, strain it, stick it in the jar and yep, you are done.  (A note on this one, as olive oil has such a strong scent, dont waste your lavender essential oil trying to get this one to smell like lavender, it wont work).

Bath salts

Epsom Salts

1 tablespoon of calendula tea

1 tablespoon of chamomile tea

1 tablespoon of dried lavender

Lavender essential oil

Stick all the dry ingredients into the bottle, filling it up to about 3/4 full, and give it a good shake.  Put in about 20 drops of essential oil, and give it another good shake.  Then fill the bottle to the top with dry ingredients, and shake it some more.  That is it.

Here is a picture of the back of the bottles with my cute labels listing out all the ingredients.

IMG_0795

What baby products are you making?


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Slow Food Part II – The Greatest Ever List of Wholefood Eating Establishments from Around the Globe

Last week I was lucky enough to go on a holiday to the south coast, and I had a fantastic time, but I did struggle when it came time to eat-out, as finding a place to eat that sold something that wasn’t covered in batter, or deep-fried in hydrogenated vegetable oil proved quite difficult.

Here in the Berra we are very lucky, as there are more and more food establishments with a whole-food focus opening up around the place.  I figure there are probably places at the South Coast, but I just didn’t know how to find them.  So that got me thinking ……  I would like to get together a list of whole-food eating establishments around the world…. yes – the world.  I decided it’s best to get a list that covers the entire globe so that when I am off travelling the world, as I am sure to do, I can easily locate wholesome eating establishments, that way I will be able to pack more clothes and less food 🙂

So I’ve started putting together a list, but I would like to keep adding to this list FOREVER….. So, can I ask you to please add your favourite places from around the globe in the section below?

First I thought I would list out a few of my faves for you to check out, and then after that, is the list.  The list is already quite long, seriously, this is going to be the longest whole-food-eating-establishments list EVER.   (Unless you are really bored and hard-up for things to do, I wouldn’t suggest reading this already-massive-and-soon-to-be-even-massiver list from start to finish, you can just do a page search and hopefully find the location you are looking for).

Maple + CloveRealm Park, 7 Burbury Close, Barton

Open Mon – Fri 7am – 3pm and Sat – Sun 7.30am – 3pm

I love this place, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I am happy to eat everything on the menu. And basically that means I am happy to eat their sweet options because, in addition to serving locally sourced whole-foods, they also have a refined-sugar free menu. Yay. They also have lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Food Co-op cafe – 3 Kingsley Street, Canberra City

Open weekdays for breakfast 8am – 11am and lunch 12pm – 2pm

100% organic, always Vegan and usually gluten-free.   Always super, super cheap – lunches are a flat rate of $6 for non-members or $5 if you are a member. They keep their prices down (and reduce waste) by providing one lunch option each day, and you wash your own dishes. You can also pop in next door to the co-op shop where they stock a bunch of organic produce, the majority of which is naked (as in no packaging), once again to reduce waste.

My rainbow dreams cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson

Open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri 8.30am – 5.30pm and Tues, Sat and Sun 8.30am – 4pm

Vegetarian cafe with gluten-free options, owned and operated by students of Sri Chimnoy who was an Indian meditation teacher, their ethos is to “serve food that is nourishing to both the body and soul…”.

As Nature Intended – Belconnen Markets

Open Tues 11am – 4pm and Wed – Sun 8.30am – 6pm

Organic, vegetarian and gluten-free options. The cafe sits inside the organic grocery store which has a comprehensive stock of organic fruit, vegetables, groceries and beauty products. This is a great place to take the kids as there is plenty of room outside for them to run around and even little boxes of toys and books for them to play with.

Sweet bones Bakery – 8/18 Londsdale Street, entry via Eloura Street

Open Monday – Saturday 7.30am – 4pm and Sunday 8.30am – 3pm

These guys sell all organic, vegan deliciousess with lots of gluten-free options, their coffee is organic fair-trade is roasted locally. They have multiple menus you can choose from – all day breakfast, light meals, burgers and salads, south of the border, smoothies and juices, and of course their famous baked goods.

Red Brick EspressoShop 4/35 Curtin place, Curtin shops, Curtin

Open Mon – Fri 7.30am – 4.30pm, Sat 7.30am – 4pm, Sun 8am -2pm

These guys are coffee roasters who sell seasonal coffee. They are coffee experts, which you will experience when you taste their coffee. They also have a fabulous whole-food menu with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Mrs Sackville – 21 Eastlake Parade, Kingston

Open Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday 9.30am – 3pm

From Mrs Sackville’s menu “Mrs Sackville believes strongly that contented animals, able to indulge in their natural behaviours, provide us with better quality products….” All animal products sold are free-range, organic, or biodynamic. Her bacon is also free of preservatives and she has gluten-free and vegetarian options available.

And here we go with the list….

The Greatest Ever List of Whole-food Eating Establishments From Around the World. 

Australia

ACT

Canberra

  • A Bite to Eat – Shop 8 Eggleston Crescent, Chifley Free range and organic products are used where possible, plus they make all their cakes daily on site. Lots of Gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • As Nature Intended – Belconnen Markets Organic whole-foods with vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Autolyse and – 5/21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon.  They hand make sourdough and pastries without any preservatives.  They also have a menu of lovely whole-foods with vegetarian and and gluten-free options.  They also have a cold-pressed juice bar at 2/21 Lonsdale Street Braddon.
  • Deeks Bakery and Cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson and Hodgson Crescent, Pearce shops, Pearce. Whole-foods, 100% gluten-free with vegetarian and grain-free options
  • Double Shot Cafe – 7/18 Duff Place, Deakin. Whole-foods menu with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options
  • Eighty Twenty Food – 1/18 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Whole-foods with gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Elemental Cafe – 54/30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Paleo cafe using locally sourced ingredients. 100% gluten-free with vegetarian options
  • Food Coop Cafe – 3 Kingsley Street Canberra City. Organic, Vegan and usually gluten-free whole-foods with organic food coop
  • Local Press – 81 Giles Street Kingston. Whole-foods with gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar free options.  They also now sell locally made whole-food raw treats from fuel well.
  • Maple + Clove – Realm Park, 7 Burbury Close, Barton. Whole-foods, gluten-free and vegetarian options, refined-sugar free
  • Mocan and Green Grout – 1/19 Marcus Clarke Street, New action South, Canberra. Seasonal Whole-foods made from locally and sustainably produce, these guys even have a compostable kitchen waste system which feeds into the neighbourhood’s community garden.
  • Mountain Creek Whole-foods – 14 Barker Street, Griffith. Organic, vegetarian with lots of gluten-free and dairy-free options. They also have an organic supermarket.
  • Mrs Sackville – 21 Eastlake Parade Kingston. Organic, locally sourced whole-foods
  • My Rainbow Dreams cafe – Dickson Place, Dickson. Vegetarian whole-foods with gluten-free options
  • Paleo Perfection – 121/2 Trevillian Quay, Kingston. 100% Paleo friendly cafe which means lots of organic ingredients and 100% free from gluten, grains, peanuts, soy, refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. Selling snacks and beverages
  • Quizine – 17 Botany Street Phillip. Whole-foods – fast-food style with vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Red Brick Espresso – Shop 4/35 Curtin place, Curtin shops, Curtin. Locally roasted coffee and locally sourced whole-foods
  • Sweet Bones Bakery – 8/18 Londsdale Street, entry via Eloura Street. Organic, vegan whole-foods with gluten-free and raw food options available
  • Thr1ve – Canberra Centre (opposite Supabarn), Bunda Street, Canberra City. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Vspot Cafe -Crnr City walk & Petrie Plaza, Canberra City. Vegetarian/vegan whole-foods – Gluten-free and raw food options available
  • A.Baker – New Acton Pavilion unit 2, 15 Edindburgh Avenue Canberra. Seasonal whole-foods made from local produce, as the name suggests they bake their own bread on site. Gluten-free and vegetarian options available.
  • Elk and Pea – 21 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Whole-foods with some organic options, and lots of gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Ginger Catering – Village Centre, National Arboretum Canberra. Whole-foods produced using seasonal, local and sustainably grown produce. Some organic produce with plenty of gluten-free and vegetarian options
  • Sage – Gorman house Arts Centre, Batman Street, Braddon. Whole-foods predominantly sourced from the Sage Farm which grows organic, sustainable produce. Gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • The Ridge organic restaurant – Farrer Shops, Farrer Place, Farrer. Organic, whole-food restaurant where the entire menu is gluten-free with the exception of “regular” bread that is available. Lots of vegetarian options.

NSW

Byron Bay

  • Naked Treaties Cafe – 2/3 Marvell Street, Byron Bay.  100% raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free.

Gundaroo

  • Grazing – The Royal Hotel, Corner Cork and Harp Streets, Gundaroo. Fresh, local, sustainably sourced produce. Lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options
  • Capital Wines cellar door – The Royal Hotel, 42 Cork Street, Gundaroo. Fresh, local ingredients including produce picked from the kitchen garden out the back.

Huskisson

  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – Shops 4, 5 ,5, 57 Owen Street, Huskisson.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.

Milton

  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – Shops 8 & 9, The Settlement, Princes Hwy Milton, NSW.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.

Moruya

  • Moruya Health Cafe -11 Church Street, Moruya. Whole-food cafe with vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Newcastle

  • Goodnessme Organics – 617-621 Glebe Road, Adamstown.  Organic whole-foods catering to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free.
  • Momo Whole-food Cafe – 10 Williams Street, East Maitland. Organic Whole-food cafe with gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • Raw Cafe – 33 Hunter Street, Newcastle.  Raw menu catering for vegetarian, gluten-free, and paelo.

Sydney

  • About life – 605 Darling Street, Rozelle. 31-37 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction. 520 Miller Street, Cammeray. 1 Kiaora Lane, Double Bay. 285a Crown Street, Surry Hills. Each of these stores has a natural grocery store plus a whole-foods cafe with lots of organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options.
  • Henley’s Whole-foods – 9/310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi and 38 Mitchell Road, Alexandria. Paleo friendly, with their whole menu sourced locally and sustainably which means it is chemical free. Grain and gluten-free with lots of vegetarian options.
  • Paleo Cafe – shop 5, 310-330 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction. Paleo menu which means often organic, wholefoods, grain-free, refined sugar-free
  • Real Food Connection – 2 Sterling Circuit, Camperdown. Paleo friendly, 100% grain, gluten and processed foods-free.
  • Sadhana Kitchen – 147 Enmore Road, Enmore.  Organic whole-foods and raw foods.  They even have a raw, vegan, gluten-free high tea!
  • Thr1ve – MLC Centre, Shop 28, Level 6 19-29 Martin place Sydney and Shop 5005, Westfield Pitt Street, Corner Pitt St Mall & Market Street, Sydney. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Ungaro Raw – 656 Darling Street, Rozelle.  Raw, organic, food all refined sugar-free.  A big selection of nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan options.
  • Pilgrims Wholefoods – 97 Gerrale St, Cronulla.  Vegetarian Whole-foods cafe with gluten-free options.

Taree

  • Wild Fig Whole-food Cafe – 2 Commerce Street, Taree. Whole-foods with organic and free-range animal products used where possible, lots of gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options.

VIC

Melbourne

  • Thr1ve – Emporium Shopping Centre, Shop 3-026, 287 Londsdale Street, Melbourne. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar
  • Yong Green Food – 421-423 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Predominantly organic vegetarian food using eco-friendly principles. They have an extensive Gluten Free and raw food menu.
  • Monk Bodhi Darma Specialty Coffee and Roastery – 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava. Predominantly organic, vegan/vegetarian free with lots of gluten and sugar-free options.
  • Admiral Cheng-Ho – 325 Johston Street, Abbotsford. Seasonal whole-food menu using mostly organic and locally sourced produce, predominantly gluten-free and vegan.
  • Vegie Bar – 380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.  Whole-foods specialising in vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and raw food.
  • Kinfolk Cafe -673 Bourke Street, Melbourne.  These guys are more than a cafe, they are a social enterprise who give away 100% of their profits to charity.  Their food is seasonal, sourced locally and, where possible, biodynamic, organic, and fair-trade.
  • Green Cup – 593 Chapel Street, South Yarra. Selling green smoothies, superfood smoothies, acai bowls, and superfood snacks.  Vegetarian and and gluten-free options available.

QLD

Brisbane

  • Thr1ve – Shop 9, 215-221 Adelaide Street, Brisbane. Paleo friendly, with locally and ethically sourced ingredients which are always gluten-free with no added sugar.
  • Kunara Organic Cafe – 31/77 Hudson Road, Albion. 95% organic and gluten-free whole-foods.

Gold Coast

Sunshine Coast

  • Kunara Organic Cafe – 330 Mons Road, Forest Glen.  95% organic and gluten-free whole-foods.
  • The Velo Project – 19 Careela Street, Mooloolaba.  Fresh whole-foods with plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
  • Ground Organics – 7/11 Mooloolaba Esplanade, Mooloolaba.  Locally sourced, seasonal whole-foods with plenty of organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options.

SA

Adelaide

  • Red Lime Shack – 158 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide.   Seasonal, locally sourced whole-foods, 100% vegan and dairy-free with plenty of gluten-free options.
  • Enliven Holistic Health Cafe – 467A Brighton Road, Brighton.  Organic cafe with gluten-free, vegetarian, raw food options.
  • Bliss Organic Garden Cafe – 7 Compton Street, Adelaide.  Organic, vegan, locally sourced and seasonal food with plenty of gluten-free, and raw food options.

WA

Perth

  • The Raw Kitchen – 181A High Street, Fremantle.  Raw, seasonal, plant-based whole-foods.  The menu is 100% gluten-free, diary-free and refined sugar-free.
  • Mana Whole-foods – 274 South Terrace, South Fremantle.  Most of the food is made on the premises and is vegetarian/vegan, with organic, gluten-free and raw foods available.
  • The organic Circle – shop 1, Pioneer Village, 7 Albany Highway, Armadale.  Organic, vegan/vegetarian cafe with lots of gluten-free and raw options.  They are also have a microwave-free kitchen.
  • Swan Valley Cafe -990 Great Northern Hwy, Millendon.  Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, raw menu with meals made daily from locally sourced seasonal produce.
  • Health Freak Cafe – 3 locations – Corner Alvan Street & Railway Road, Subiaco.  148, The Esplanade, Scarborough.  Corner Reid Prom & The Boulevard, Joondalup.  Everything is gluten-free and refined sugar-free, with lots of vegetarian options. 
  • Soul Tree Cafe – Shop 6, 3-5 Railway Parade, Glen Forrest.  Wholefood cafe, lots of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and raw food options.
  • Samudra – 226 Naturaliste Terrace, Dunsborough.  Raw vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free menu with dairy-free options.  Ingredients are seasonal and sourced locally including from the biodynamic kitchen garden on site.

TAS

  • Alchemy Cafe -640 Forth Road, Forth.  Mostly organic, 100% gluten-free with lots of vegetarian and raw food options.

New Zealand

  • Little Bird Organics Unbakery – 3 locations – 385 New North Rd, Kingsland.  Corner Summer Street & Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby. 14 Customs Street East, Auckland Central.  The menu is mostly raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and without refined cane sugars or soy.
  • Raw Planet Juice & Raw Food Bar – Shop 2, 3 McLean St, across the road from the sea at Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast. Fresh organic juices, smoothies, superfoods, raw vegan pizza, organic real fruit ice-cream & raw sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free cakes & treats.
  • Revive Cafe – 2 locations – 24 Wyndeham Street, and 33 Lorne Street, Auckland.   Vegetarian, whole-food cafe with lots of vegan and gluten-free options.

United States of America

California

  • Mission : Heirloom garden cafe – 2085 Vine Street, berkeley. Whole menu contains is organic and non-GMO, plus free of processed refined oils, sugars, gluten, grain, legumes.  In addition, their kitchen is plastic and aluminum free to avoid adding any extra toxins into your meal.   
  • Brodo -1st Avenue at 12th Street NYC.  A cafe specialising in bone broth.  They sell whole-food bone broths and soup, all gluten-free, all sugar-free, all dairy-free.  They have a vegetarian soup which can be made vegan and/or gluten-free on request.
  • Hu Kitchen – 78 5th Avenue, New York.  Huge selection of organic, non-GMO foods, non-processed foods. Entire menu is gluten-free, and dairy and grain-free unless noted on the menu. They season with sea salt and pepper and cook with olive and coconut oils only.  Plenty of vegetarian options available.

Pennsylvania

  • 3 Measures Vegetarian Cafe – 15 Broadway, Bangor.  Bakery and cafe, where breads, cakes and pastries are baked on the premises using unrefined ingredients.  That means no refined grains or sugars.


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Easter Sweeties

As I have mentioned before and will no doubt mention again, I am doing my best to avoid all processed sugars and to reduce the overall amount of sugar/carbohydrates I am eating.  So this year I made all my own Easter sweeties, sans processed sugar, but super delicious and so I’m sharing the recipes at the end of this post.

But first, seeing as for most people, Easter is a massive sugar-fest, I thought it was timely to talk a bit more about sugar.

If you haven’t yet seen the the fabulous Australian Documentary “That Sugar Film”, you totally should. It’s very good.

But if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, and until you do, I thought I would pack you up with a few videos you can watch online.   I’ve put in a couple of short ones a couple of longer ones 🙂

This cute little 3 minute video from a 2012 American campaign to try to help people eat less sugar.

Nicole Avena’s 5 minute TED talk – How sugar affects the brain

A Catalyst episode from 2013 – Toxic Sugar?

And lastly another TEDx talk, this time by Dr Robert Lustig called Sugar – the elephant in the kitchen.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that our daily intake of food should include no more than 10% from sugar, and that a reduction to 5% would provide additional health benefits.  5% equates to around 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, current statistics show the average australian is having around 30 teaspoons per day.  Imagine how many teaspoons that increases to over the Easter long weekend!

One of the main reasons for the high sugar intake is the result of added sugars in the foods we buy from the supermarket.  It is currently estimated that 80% of all supermarket-bought foods contain added sugar, and in most cases this is refined-sugars.  Refined sugars, as I am sure you are already aware, contain no nutrition for the body and in many forms are actually quite toxic, one well-known example being our not-friend – high-fructose corn syrup.

As I have mentioned a number of times before, I have a mouth full of sweet teeth, and I am definitely not at the stage of giving up sweet foods completely.  I figure that, given there are a number of sweeteners provided to us by nature that do contain nutrition, I must be meant to eat them 🙂

So, as I mentioned, this Easter I made all my own Easter chocolates.  For the record, making my own was as much about making sure I had chocolate to eat this Easter, as it was for any other reason 🙂

Without question, my favorite natural sweetener is maple syrup. Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, which is heated to remove some of the water content so that it creates that lovely syrup.  Maple syrup contains small amounts of vitamins and almost all minerals, which means our body knows what it needs to do with it.  Just don’t eat too much of it, because when you eat too much sugar/too many carbohydrates, your body knowing what to with it = adding it to your fat cells.

Ok, enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff, here are the Easter sweeties I made this year, each of them super easy and super delicious.

Chocolate Almond Crunch Recipe

Up till this recipe I had been making all my own chocolate from coconut oil, this was first go with cocoa butter and I don’t think I can go back.  It is very delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cocoa butter
  • 1 cup of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup of almonds

What to do:

Melt the cocoa butter in a saucepan over low heat, then stir in the cocoa and maple syrup.  Scatter the almonds on the bottom of a non-stick tray and pour over chocolate mix.  Freeze.  Eat.

These are best kept in the freezer but you can keep them in the fridge but they will be more of a chocolate almond chew than a chocolate almond crunch 🙂

Chocolate Rough Type Things

My comment above about never going back was a bit hasty, I had no trouble going back to these.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut.

What to do:

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat then add the cocoa and maple syrup to taste.  Put the coconut into a bowl and stir through the chocolate concoction.  Place smallish balls of the mixture onto a non-stick surface and freeze.  Now eat.

Carrot Cake with cream cheese or “cream-cheese” icing

Adapted from Donna Hay

For our family celebrations I put my hand up to make an Easter themed dessert, I didn’t want to do anything chocolate as there is always plenty of that around so I decided on a carrot cake, themed so as the Easter bunny eats carrots.  This cake has the added benefit of being grain free to help keep you under your daily carbohydrate limit 🙂  The smell of this cake whilst it was cooking was amazing, and it is without question the tastiest carrot cake I have ever eaten.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 -1½ cups maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 3½ cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon aluminium-free baking powder
  • 400g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sultanas

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to around 160 degrees celsius.  Beat the eggs and maple syrup and vanilla with electric beaters until the mixture becomes thick and basically triples in size, this can take a while, took me around 10 minutes.  Combine all other ingredients into a separate bowl and then fold through the egg mixture.  Pour into a springform non-stick tin and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Cake is ready when a knife/skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cake cool completely in the tin and then refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours.

Top with either cream cheese icing, or if you are avoiding dairy (like me at the moment), this “cream cheese” icing which is what is on my cake, and is surprisingly good:

Coconut Cream Cheese Icing 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup maple syrup (more or less to taste)
  • water

What to do:

Using a stick blender whip all the ingredients, excluding the water, until you have a lovely, fluffy mixture. Add water/coconut oil as required to adjust the thickness.  Add apple cider vinegar/maple syrup as required to adjust taste.

Slap the icing on the cake.  Eat the cake.

That’s enough sweet treats for today 🙂


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Cauliflower – the grain you can want when you don’t want grains.

Cauliflower

When I was growing up (which was only recently by the way) the nutritional guidelines food pyramid looked like this.

Food pyramid

There was also a song, or maybe it was an ad on TV, that told us to “Eat more breads and cereals….”. (Anyone else remember that one?).  And, given that these were the healthy nutritional guidelines of the day, eating more breads and cereals we did.

But recently I’ve learned that eating more breads and cereals probably isn’t the greatest idea, and so I have decided to reduce the amount of grains in my diet.

That is where our friend the cauliflower comes in.  Given that breads and cereals have been such an integral part of my diet for so long, I miss them.  But, luckily the cauliflower (with a little help from some friends) can replicate a number of the grain type foods that i am so used to eating. And they are good, and not just in a “this is good for a grain replacement” kind of way.   

But before sharing the genius of the cauliflower, I’m going to explain a little about why I have decided to reduce the amount of grains I am eating.

Now, I want to be clear, I am not bashing grains (well whole-grains that is, I am definitely going to bash any refined grain that comes near me, but that is for another time).  In my opinion, given that whole-grains come from nature, contain plenty of nutrients AND they taste so good, I am sure we’re meant to eat them. 

It’s volumes at which we consume them that is problem.

Grains, as you are no doubt aware, are carbohydrates.  Plenty of people rant about how bad carbohydrates are, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t bad, mainly because a)our bodies, and brains in particular rely on them for energy to function, and b)vegetables are carbohydrates.

But the thing with carbohydrates is that, although they are essential to our health, they are only essential in relatively small amounts.

I’m going to get technical for a minute…… When you eat carbohydrates they are converted into glucose, this is how your body uses them for fuel.  Any glucose that isn’t used straight away is converted into something called glycogen, and stored in the liver for later.  But here is where it gets tricky. It’s estimated that the brain uses around 120g of glucose a day, and the liver can only hold around 60 – 90 grams at any one time. 

But in our current weston diet, it would be pretty common for most people to be eating over that amount.  So what happens if you end up with more glucose than this? I’m so glad you asked 🙂

An average sized person can store and extra 300g – 400g in their muscles, but the thing about that is, that unlike the glycogen that is stored in your liver, once it’s stored in the muscles it can no longer be accessed for energy, and so there it stays.  So once your muscles are at their capacity the only other place your body can store it is in your fat cells, it stores it there because that is basically what fat cells do, they store excess energy.  And, just like with the stored amounts in your muscles, once that glucose is stored in our fat cells, our bodies cannot access it for energy. So there it stays, and there it is continually added to.

Now, remember that grains aren’t the only food that contain carbohydrates that we eat. Fruit, vegetables, legumes and sugars all contain carbohydrates. But sugars and grains contain a lot more carbohydrates than fruit and veggies so, those are the areas you need to be a lot more careful.

Below is a table showing the carbohydrates per 100g for a bunch of foods.  (I am currently in the process of changing myself from being a “counting everything I put into my mouth” person to a “eating for my health” person, so the table below is not to encourage us to count the carbohydrates we are eating every day, it’s just to give you an idea of the amounts of carbs contained in different foods.)   I wasn’t able to find a conclusive conversion rate for carbohydrates to glucose but some sources said there is a 1:1 ratio, so for now, I’m running with that.

carbohydrates

This glucose storage situation is just one issue for our bodies when it comes to eating grains.  But I am going to leave it there today and jump to the cauliflower recipes.  But if you would like to read more now, Dr Mercola has a very comprehensive article called Lower Your Grains & Lower Your Insulin Levels! A Novel Way To Treat Hypoglycaemia.

Back the cauliflower.

There are plenty of ideas on the internet, in fact there is quite the following for cauliflower, checkout instagram #holla4thecolla 🙂

So far I have made:

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Cauliflower rice, or Crice as I like to call it – super simple – cut the cauliflower into smallish florets and chuck them in the food processor and process until it looks like rice.  Then stick it in a fry-pan, over a low heat,  with a bit of coconut oil and cook it until it is at the required texture, I like mine soft.  This will keep in the fridge for up to a week and I find that half a cauliflower head serves 3 – 4 people as a side.

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Cauliflower pizza base, (the whole pizza didn’t make it into the picture on account of tasty it was) – I use the detoxinista recipe for this – vegan cauliflower pizza crust.

Cauliflower quiche crust (non of my quiche actually made it into the picture, that is because it was even tastier than the pizza) – I use Fresh April Flours recipe – Cheesy Vegetable Quiche with cauliflower crust. I don’t necessarily follow the recipe for the rest of quiche, I just basically use whatever I have lying around.

Next on my list to try are:

What am I missing?  What are else are you making with cauliflower that I should too be making?


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101 uses for garlic

Last time I talked to you about my cold sores and this week I am going to talk about my warts. Yes, cold sores AND warts, I am a picture of loveliness. Well actually I don’t have any cold sores or warts at the moment, and that is because I have found genius ways of getting rid of them.

I have had my fair share of warts over the years and have tried many unsuccessful ways to get rid of them. They always grow back, even the ones I had “burnt” off at the doctor’s surgery grew back. I found the only thing that seemed to get rid of them was time, but warts sure do take their time about leaving, and mine would usually last for at least a year or two.

But that was before I discovered just how cool garlic is.  In the last couple of years I have used garlic to encourage a couple of warts to make a quicker exit. And when I say quicker, I mean in under a week.

My suggestion would be to do this at night, in the privacy of your own home, where it is perfectly acceptable for you to stink like garlic.  All you have to do is get a lovely little garlic clove and take cut yourself a slice. Place this slice over the wart and give the wart a really good rub and get all that lovely wart killing garlic juice all over it, and then cover it with a band-aid.  Leave it on when you sleep and repeat for as many nights as it takes for the little wart to depart. That’s it. Goodbye wart.

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Whilst on the subject of garlic I feel I must pay homage to some of the other things garlic could do for you. In addition to helping food be even more delicious, reducing the frequency of colds and providing many therapeutic benefits including reducing the risk of brain, prostate and lung cancer, garlic may (or may not) be able to do the following:

  • Garden bug repellent – I am sure we have all had our own experience of being repelled by the smell of garlic and a number of little pests are affected in the same way. White flies, aphids, cabbage loopers, squash bugs, are repelled by garlic. You can make a garlic spray and apply to your plants.

Blood sucking pests (Mosquitos and vampires) – as above, but spray on your body in place of your plants.
 Acne – in the same way I have successfully removed my warts, you can remove your pimples. Although, depending on the extent of your pimples, it might prove difficult to try and band-aid garlic slices all over face. The suggested treatment here is to cut open the garlic and apply the garlic juice directly on the pimple/s.

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Glass repair – no really. There are plenty of resources on the internet that swear this is true, so therefore it must be.  Apparently garlic juice is a natural adhesive, super glue it isn’t, but people suggest that it can be used to fill in a hairline crack in glass and hold it together.

splinter Splinter removal – you may recall that I have used bicarb for this process, well apparently garlic will do the trick too.

Fish__Bait_1_preview Fish bait – it seems that fish would prefer a bit of seasoning to go with their food. Word on the street is that catfish, carp and any bottom feeding fish will jump at your garlic worms.

maiden_with_long_hair_clip_art_22283  Hair loss help – some people swear that massaging your head with garlic oil can help to bring back previously lost hair. Worth a try?

lover-clipart-lovers130113   Aphrodisiac – Gone are the days of limiting your garlic intake for fear of offending your partner. The “science” behind this one is that garlic increases circulation to your extremities. I’ll leave that there.


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A bunch of really useful ways to use Manuka Honey

This week I am blessed with cold sores, and when I say cold soreS I do mean the plural.  Half of my bottom lip is covered in them.  Yep, it’s pretty gross, but I actually don’t mind having them all that much as I figure it is far better for the stuff that is coming out of them, to be coming out of me, than it is for it to be staying inside of me.

But today I am not writing today to tell you how gross I am, but to sing the praises of Manuka Honey.

(A side note, for any fellow Canberra’s who might not already know, Manuka honey is pronounced Man-oo-ka, not like the suburb Manuka. I find I have far more credibility when it comes encouraging people to use it now that I am pronouncing it correctly 🙂 ).

Manuka honey is made from the nectar of the Manuka flowers which are native to New Zealand.  All honey contains antibacterial compounds and you can read a detailed article about what makes honey antibacterial at WebMD , but basically Manuka honey contains an extra compound called methylglyoxal (it makes me feel smarter writing about this stuff) which is specific to the Manuka flower nectar, and provides a higher level of antibacterial power.

Not all Manuka honey is created equal as the levels of antibacterial compounds vary, and some honey is more medicinal than others.  Luckily, for those of us who dont know how to tell the difference, an index has been created to identify the level of medicinalness of the honey.  The rating is called UMF which stands for Unique Manuka Factor, and the higher the number the more medicinal it is.  It is thought that the honey needs to have an UMF rating of at least 10 to have be used therapeutically.

Here is a handy table I found on the Dr Josh Axe’s Website.  

So that leads me back to my cold sores.  I find Manuka honey amazing for treating my cold sores.

From my perspective, the main challenge with cold sores (well aside from the uncomfortableness of talking to  people as they either seem to stare right at them, or avoid looking at you completely), is how much they hurt and how long they to stick around.  Mine always hurt a lot and tend to stick around for 7 – 14 days.

I have been using Manuka honey 16+, and it gets rid of the pain the second it touches my skin.  It also significantly reduces the time amount of time they (they colds sores) spend living on your lips. If you manage to get some on at the time where the cold sore is just starting, (and those of you who get them will know exactly what I am talking about here, it’s that itchy burning feeling you get) it can really reduce the length of time it hangs around. I have even had one time where I applied the honey to the burning itchiness and the colds sore didn’t come to life.  But more commonly I find that they tend to be mostly cleared up in about 3 – 4 days which is an impressive improvement on the 7 – 14 days.

You can use Manuka Honey on any kind of skin issue, the only thing limiting you is managing the stickiness of the situation – it is honey, so it is sticky.

Here are some of the ways I use Manuka honey:

  • I use it on my son’s mosquito bites and it always stops them from itching and bothering him (I don’t use it on my own mosquito bites because I don’t get bitten by mosquitoes, lucky me!)
  • I use it when my poor feet get cracks in them  (which is quite often during summer), it stops them hurting and they heal much faster.
  • I use it on my 16 year olds eczema, (when is in a mood to allow honey on his skin, which is a lot less often since he became 16) and it heals a lot faster.
  • Last month I had a splinter which caused an infection on the side of my foot, it was red, swollen and quite hot.  I put Manuka honey on it and covered it with a bandaid, changed the dressing every day for 4 days and by the 5th day the infection had gone.

But you are not limited to using Manuka honey outside your body, there is evidence to suggest there are benefits for inside your body too.

Dr Josh Axe has his top 10 Manuka Honey benefits which include:

  • Digestive issues such as acid reflux
  • Acne & Eczema
  • Staph Infections
  • Burns, wounds and ulcers
  • Tooth Decay & Gingivitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Sore Throats and Immunity
  • Allergies and Sinusitis
  • Beauty Treatment & Health Booster
  • Improves sleep

I’m sure there are more than a bunch of ways you can use Manuka honey and I just don’t know about them yet.  What do you use Manuka honey for?