Soak your nuts and love your guts

Nuts, they're everywhere you look, (at least everywhere I look), in energy balls, as a replacement for flour, as a good protein replacement for meat, to get you through that 3pm slump....and yet, I've been working with a lot of clients lately who have said they feel nuts don't work for them.  Raw nuts are just a winning healthy snack, loaded with protein, healthy fats, fibre and important minerals like selenium, calcium, magnesium & zinc. However, nuts also contain natural chemicals that can interfere with the absorption of these nutrients. Raw nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients properly. Eating large amounts of raw nuts can put extra pressure on poor old gut (which is already stressed out from living in the 21st century) and so often people complain of bloating, fatigue, heaviness and nausea. So what’s the answer? Activate them!

What are activated nuts?

Activated nuts have been soaked in water and salt for a period of time, which starts off the germination or sprouting process, then cooked or 'dehydrated' at a low temperature (under 100). Soaking increases the nutrient value of the nuts along with breaking down the problematic compounds that help enhance their digestibility.  It's not difficult or time consuming, remember I am a lazy baker and a busy mum, so I hurl those guys in a bowl of water, throw in a teaspoon(ish) of salt, forget about them for 24 hours, then drain them off and lay them on an oven tray to cook at around 100 over night.  Only problem arises when you forget they are in there and turn the oven on higher to cook something else.  We've all done it...; 0 )

So get soaking and activating.  Your guts (and nuts) will thank you for it. 

 

 

 Don't look too tasty here but just you wait....

Don't look too tasty here but just you wait....

Ginger Balls

You want to have more energy?   Stay longer up the mountain (or out in the ocean)?  Well cut out processes sugar and move onto energy balls.   These are full of protein and slow release energy.  Your muscles will love you.  So, ask for a blender for Christmas (your nutribullet will die doing these) and make in bulk.  Bust these out at Xmas parties, in little packets for the teachers, or keep them in the freezer and just pop a ball in your mouth whenever you need a little treat.    Below are my 3 favourite recipes....but I have more....

Please be aware you do not have to stick to these quantities, I am very loose with my balls.   Oh and store in freezer and then take out half an hour before eating. 

Ginger Balls

-400grams activated cashews (soak overnight in water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt) 

-2 teaspoons of ground ginger

-6 dates (pitted and soaked)

-2 tablespoons of cranberries

-100ml of water to pour in slowly (you may not use it all)

-100grams desiccated coconut to roll in

Put rinsed cashews, ground ginger, dates, 1 tablespoon of cranberries and small amounts of water into  mixer, mix until all is ground up. 

Roll into little balls the size of a large cherry tomato in your hand, sneak a piece of the dried mango into the bottom then roll in desiccated coconut which you have emptied onto a plate. 

Put in a container in freezer and then take out half an hour before eating

Cranberry Snowballs

-2 tablespoons of cranberries chopped finely

-200grams ground almonds

-2 tablespoons activated cashews

-4 soaked & pitted dates

-Tablespoon cinnamon 

-Tablespoon Vanilla 

-1/2 cup water

-1/2 cup desiccated coconut

In mixer put ground almonds, soaked dates, cinnamon, vanilla & cashews.  Slowly pour water in to help them blend but don’t add too much as you don’t want it to turn into a paste. 

Add chopped cranberries and roll into balls the size of a large cherry tomato. 

Roll in desiccated coconut

Peanut butter balls

Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls

-1.5 cups peanut butter (homemade, just blend peanuts in blender for 5 mins)

-2 cups oats

- 12 Soaked Dates OR 1/4 cup date syrup 

-1 teaspoon vanilla burbon paste

-Chopped dried apricots

-100ml water (or more, just check on consistency as you blend) 

In mixer put peanut butter, soaked dates, & vanilla.  Slowly pour water in to help them blend but don’t add too much as you don’t want it to turn into a paste. 

Add chopped cranberries and roll into balls the size of a large cherry tomato. 

Roll in desiccated coconut 

Put in freezer and then take out half an hour before eating. 

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Not-so-shit paleo bread recipe

Let's be honest here, bread without gluten is pretty average.  I recently was so excited to share the local GF pizza with my parents.  To my deprived pallet it was the best thing since sliced bread (see what I did there).  They dip in and out of gluten, it's not their best friend, but it doesn't affect them in the same way as me so they can have the occasional real pizza.  They broke it to me that in a blind taste test they wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the box it was packaged in and the crust itself.   My point here is that once you have been without a certain food for a long period of time your tastebuds change.  My client this morning was so excited to tell me that a peppermint tea satiated her post dinner sweet craving now, and that's only 4 months into working with me.   SO! For all you gluten eaters out there, don't expect this to taste like your freshly baked loaf from the local patisserie, but for anyone who has been deprived for a fair while, you'll love this, topped with Anita's Pate (recipe to come) and a bit of Ed's Salsa (recipe to come).  And it's full of protein and fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium.   So there baguette. 

Seed and Nut bread 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons activated sunflower seeds chopped plus extra for sprinkling

3 tablespoons activated pumpkin seeds chopped plus extra for sprinkling

1 tablespoon black or white chia plus 1 tablespoon extra for sprinkling

1/3 cup activated almonds chopped 

1.5 cups almond meal

3 tablespoons LSA

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons coconut flour

6 eggs

1 tablespoon apple cider vinega

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon salt 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Greace a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Mix the sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds in a large bowl.  Stir through the almonds, almond meal, LSA, baking soda, and coconut flour.  Add the eggs, vinegar, coconut oil and salt and mix well to combine.  The mixture will resemble a batter rather than a dough.

Pour the dough into the prepared loaf tin and smooth out evenly with a spatula.  Sprinkle the extra seeds on totp. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  (You will need to do a skewer test because this bread is much denser than regular bread and won't sound hollow when you tap it) Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out. 

I usually slice this up and freeze half of it so I can grab a piece out each day for toast.   Now I didn't invent this recipe, I stole it from somewhere but have no idea where, if it's yours please let me know and I'll credit you! 

Best ever healthy GF pacman flapjack recipe

I've always felt children are like small drunk adults.   They close-talk loudly about themselves, spit food as they talk, knock things over, dance whenever music comes on, fall over often, and frequently wet themselves.  Mine don't wet themselves any more, unless they are in full winter kit and can't get it off in time.  And even I'm guilty of that.  Oscar (9) is all skin and bone, so much so that when the Parisian neighbour (age 8) punched him this summer he bruised his knuckles and screamed loudly (in French) for an hour.  It was the first time I've heard Oscar talk in rapid French. I think he was explaining how it wasn't his fault his ribcage was so strong. Or he may have been telling him ribs were his favourite food.  Either way, there's no padding on that wee frame.    I digress, he is ALWAYS hungry.  His feet are almost the same size as mine (40) and his legs are as long as his sisters.  He eats as much as his dad, but moves more, I calculated this summer he needs at least 6 hours of full activity a day - 4 hours mountain biking, 2 hours in the pool.  Then I have an angel on my hands.   So without further ado I present to you my number one filler for him, flapjack.  He isn't totally Gluten Free but I used GF oats for this so the whole family can pick at it.  You can use normal oats though.  And as I always say, I'm a rubbish baker, so rest assured this recipe is 100% failsafe, if you muck up the quantities or change things around to suit you it will still work and you'll be the Queen (or King) of the house for at least 3 minutes. 

Ingredients

  • 150g ready-to-eat stoned dates
  • 100g organic butter
  • 3 generous tbsp honey
  • 50g ready-to-eat stoned dried apricot, finely chopped
  • 50g chopped toasted almonds or walnuts or both or any nuts you fancy
  • 3 tbsp mixed seeds
  • 50g raisins
  • 150g GF porridge oats

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Line an 18cm square tin with baking paper. Melt the butter & add to dates into a food processor and process until they are finely chopped and sticking together in clumps.

  2. Put the butter & honey & dates into a saucepan and heat gently. Stir until the everything is blended together. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread level.

  3. Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until golden brown. Remove and cut into 12 pieces. Leave in the tin until cold. Store in an airtight container (although I never have enough left over as you can see from this pick my monsters got to it before I could)

Pacman Flapjack

Cutting down on Sugar (with the help of a Winning Cookie Recipe)

Oh that beast, processed SUGAR - responsible for everything bad that is happening in your life.   Honestly, it is.   Anyway, you all know you shouldn't be eating it so I'm not going to preach to you any more about it, there's a million articles out there about how it destroys every cell in your body (and brain) and causes cancer, I'll leave you to do the research.  Today, I am going to offer you two of my many sneaky tricks when it comes to getting it out of your life.

The first,  lie down.  When you crave sugar it is very often because you are tired.  So take 10 minutes to put your feet up, get a herb tea and one of the delicious treats I'm sharing with you below.  I hear you shouting silently at me 'I don't have time to lie down'.  Make time.  It will change your life.  Turn off facebook and you'll have more time.  

So, my 2nd sneaky trick.  Before you crave it,  replace it.  If you know you are going to crave it around 3pm, make sure you have sweet veggies for lunch, carrots and sweet potato, and then, be ready with some dark chocolate, full fat yoghurt with banana and nuts, or chia seed pudding (recipe to come) or these cookies.  LET YOURSELF HAVE A TREAT.  Your body is talking to you so don't ignore it.  And then you won't be trying to push that annoying voice out of your head that is screaming at you to eat sugar.   

So I stole this recipe from The Real Food Forager, so good.  

GF,DF Killer Cookies (even the kids love them)    

Here we use shredded coconut to give the texture and softness of an oatmeal cookie. We add the raisins to give the sweetness and they come out chewy, moist and delicious.  

Raisins Add Sweetness and Nutrients

Raisins add sweetness and nutrients. They are a concentrated source of energy, vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. In addition, they are packed with polyphenols, anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, and other phyto-nutrients. They are high in minerals, particularly iron and potassium.

Raisins also contain resveratrol, which is an anti-oxidant, that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Studies suggest that resveratrol has been found to have protective action against cancers like melanoma, colon and prostate, and diseases such as coronary heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease and viral/ fungal infections.

If the cookies are too sweet, next time you make them use less honey — but keep the raisins as they pack a good nutrient punch! They are very sweet, but paired with the coconut fat from the shredded coconut, they will be balanced.

Ingredients

  • 1 organic apple cored and peeled 
  • 2 eggs, pastured if possible
  • 3 tablespoon honey 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (wean yourself off adding this in as you kill the baddies making you crave sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins (use organic raisins as grapes are heavily sprayed)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour 
  • 1/2 cup almond flour 
  • 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Equipment

  • Food processor 
  • Cookie sheet with parchment paper

Instructions

  1. In the food processor process the apple until it is pureed with some small chunks
  2. Add the eggs, honey, coconut sugar and vanilla and mix
  3. Add the almond flour, shredded coconut, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and mix until just combined (not processed)
  4. Add the coconut flour in small increments until you get a firm batter (you may not need it all)
  5. Mix in the raisins
  6. Place a tablespoon of the batter onto the cookie sheet
  7. Fill the cookie sheet
  8. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the cookies and with a spatula flatten the cookies so that they are all even
  9. Bake at 180 degrees for 14 to 18 minutes until they are golden on top
  10. Cool on a rack
  11. These freeze well if you have any left over

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
For 15 – 17 cookies

 OK so they may look like squashed dried up old dog turd but they taste bloody good 

OK so they may look like squashed dried up old dog turd but they taste bloody good 

Bananarama Bread

I am a rubbish baker.  I like to blame it on the fact I lost my glasses toboggoning home drunk on my birthday last season.  Well not blame it on that, but because it's too expensive for me to buy new ones here in Swiss,  I can't see the ingredients properly.  But if I'm 100% honest with you it's because I hate following recipes.  When I'm cooking it's a meditative process for me, I like imagining a taste in my head and then thinking what ingredients will make it taste like that.   I usually win on the cooking front, but very rarely when baking.    That is why this GF DF Banana Bread is a winner every time. (That said not even this filter can hide the fact I may have left it in slightly too long.)  It is SO resilient, last time I substituted one of the cups of almond meal with coconut flour AND  dropped it as I took it out of the oven, and still managed to get those little folk in the house to eat it.  How rad is that!    Another reason I love it is because Oscar has a mad sweet tooth and this helps satiate that, if I can get a piece of this into him he forgets he asked me for an ice cream (every day) when he gets off the school bus.   I also really love it because my best friend Senka gave it to me, my Nana always made me banana loaf (old school styles) and I gave this recipe to my mum (she uses half carrots, half bananas) so I think of them when I bake.  Which makes me feel good.  

So here you go, here is the worlds easiest banana bread recipe stolen from Senka, god knows where she stole if from so sorry if it's yours and we stole it.  But we love it so you should be stoked! 

Mix in one bowl

4 eggs

3 ripe bananas

1/4 cup honey 

1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk 

1 T vanilla (I just hurl a pile in)

Mix in other bowl

2 1/4 cup Almond Flour

1/2 t sea salt

1/2 t cinnamon 

2 t baking soda

Combine and bake for 35 - 50min on whatever heat you normally bake for (about 175 maybe? Don't ask me I burned it last time...maybe you could let me know.) 

 

 Best ever easiest ever banana bread

Best ever easiest ever banana bread