All Posts by vitalassurance

Coconut Curried Cauliflower Soup

There’s nothing better then on a Winter’s day, when you are cold right through to the bone, to warm yourself up with a hearty, nourishing soup. The sweetness of the roasted vegetables balances out so nicely with the spice of the red curry paste. This is sure to be a soup that pleases everyone!

Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
300g butternut pumpkin, chopped
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1-4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (depending on your level of spice)
4-5 cups vegetable stock
1 x 420g can coconut milk
seasoning
chilli oil / lime juice (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a tray with baking paper.

Place the chopped cauliflower and pumpkin on the tray and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Season with salt and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cauliflower and pumpkin have softened and begin to brown.

In the meantime, start preparing your soup by heating the remaining olive oil on medium heat.  Add your onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add your carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add your garlic and ginger and stir to ensure they don't burn for a further minute.

Add your turmeric and red curry paste.  Maybe start with 1-2 tablespoons and you can always add more if you prefer it spicier. 

Stir for 1 minute and then deglaze the pan by adding some vegetable stock.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove all the dark bits.

Add your roasted vegetables and the remaining stock.  Bring to a simmer and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. 

Remove the pot from the stove and blend the soup until smooth by either using an immersion blender or transferring the soup to a blender in batches. 

Add your coconut milk to the soup and adjust your seasonings as required.

Serve with a squeeze of lime juice or some chilli oil

Serves 4-6

Roast Pumpkin with Walnut Pesto

I love taking simple ingredients and creating something special.  This garlic roasted pumpkin will absolutely melt in your mouth!! With the addition of the walnut pesto and toasted almonds, it takes the flavours to the next level.  The left over pesto can be stored in a glass jar in the fridge for 4-5 days or can be frozen for 3 months.  It can be used as your sauce to pasta, a dip or a delicious spread in your sandwich.

Ingredients:
1 butternut pumpkin
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper to taste
drizzle olive oil
toasted slivered almonds (optional - as topping)

Walnut pesto:
4 cups basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts
zest and juice of one lemon1/2 cup olive oil, more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of cracked pepper
1/2 cup parmesan (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Prepare a tray with baking paper and prepare your pumpkin by cutting it in half length-ways and removing all the seeds.  Place the pumpkin on the tray skin side down.  Rub the pumpkin with the garlic, season and drizzle with the oil. Bake in the oven for 75 minutes.  The pumpkin should be very soft.

Whilst the pumpkin is baking, you can make the walnut pesto by adding all of the ingredients except for the oil into your food processor (including parmesan if you are using) and pulse a few times to break the basil down.  In a steady stream add the olive oil until it is all blender and forms a loose paste.  Add one tablespoon of oil at a time if you haven't reached the consistency you desire.  Adjust seasoning

Transfer the pumpkin to a tray and top with the walnut pesto and slivered almonds.

Serves 8

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

Every year at Passover I make a batch of macaroons - the kids love them.  They are quick and easy to make and the flavour can be adjusted to your liking.  They aren't too sweet, but are soft and chewy, just as macaroons should be.

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch pink salt


Method:
​Mix your cacao, coconut oil, syrup and salt in a large bowl placed on top of a pot of simmering water.  Stir until it is all melted and mixed together. Mix in your shredded coconut.

Line a tray with non-stick paper and use a tablespoon to shape them into macaroons.

Place in the fridge or freezer to set.

Note / you can add some peppermint or orange essential oil to adjust the flavour.

Makes 20-30 depending on size

(This is a JBT Recipe, check out the programs I offer here)

Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa Porridge is a fabulous, protein rich alternative to an oat based porridge. It's a gluten and grain-free breakfast that is super delicious and nutritious. It’s a great way to use up left over quinoa so next time you are planning a quinoa based meal, make sure you cook a bit extra for breakfast the next day.

Ingredients:
2 cups of cooked quinoa
Your choice of coconut milk / coconut water / rice milk / almond milk / full-fat milk - enough to just cover the quinoa
1-2 tablespoons of sweetener - maple syrup / rice malt syrup / raw honey

Optional extras:
add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
add 1 teaspoon of cardomom powder
add 4 tablespoons of mixed raw or gently roasted nuts and seeds.

Method:
In a pot, mix the quinoa, milk, sweetener and optional extras and heat until it is just hot (but not boiling).

Top with some additional nuts and seeds / chia seeds / coconut / cacao nibs and fresh fruit such as banana or berries.

Serves 4

HotXBun Breakfast Cake

If you are looking for an alternative breakfast to the usual cereals, smoothies and eggs, then this is going to be perfect for you. It has just enough sweetness to make your breakfast feel 'indulgent' without any of the additional guilt that goes with it.  Perfect for when you are entertaining!

Ingredients:

3 bananas
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon ginger, nutmeg & ground cloves
1 orange, juiced
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 cups rolled oats or quinoa flakes
3 tablespoons chia seeds
2 green apples, roughly diced
1 cup sultanas

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

Mash bananas and whisk eggs in a separate bowl.

Add bananas, eggs, oil and syrup to the dry ingredients and fold together.

Pour into a lined baking tin and bake for 45 min or until cooked through

Serves 12

(This is a JBT Recipe, check out the programs I offer here)

Avocado Mayonnaise

We all know that avocado makes an amazing addition to a salad so why not take it that extra step and turn it into a delicious, creamy dressing to make your salads completely irresistible!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ripe avocado
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt to taste

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a processor and whiz until smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust flavours to your liking.

Serving suggestions: 
Serve over your favourite salad, as the mayonnaise in coleslaw, with grilled fish or as a dip.

Add fresh or sundried tomato and some dried Italian herbs for a creamy Italian dressing.

You could sweeten with a little stevia if you prefer a sweeter dressing.

(This is a JBT Recipe, check out the programs I offer here)

Chocolate Honeycomb

There is absolutely no need to miss out on the finer things in life!  Violet crumbles used to be an absolute childhood favourite of mine so this is super exciting to be able to enjoy the deliciousness of the honeycomb and chocolate with every crunch and feel completely guilt-free about it.  This recipe is super clean and will nourish you with every mouthful!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons honey or rice malt syrup
1 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoon bicarb soda
200g dark chocolate melted (try 70 or 85%)

Method:

Line a 20 cm baking tin with non stick paper.

Combine the honey and coconut sugar in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. 

Bring the mixture to the boil, and allow the mixture to gently boil for two minutes without stirring.

Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb, taking care for the mix not to spill over.  Pour into the tin and set aside.

Once the mix has cooled, place into the fridge overnight.

Line a new container with non stick paper.

Roughly chop the honeycomb and place into a bowl.  Drizzle over the melted chocolate and stir to combine.

Press the mixture into your prepared tin and place in the fridge to set.  Slice to desired bars.

Makes 12-16 depending on size

(This is a JBT Recipe, check out the programs I offer here)

Naked Waffles

Sometimes it's nice on the weekend to spend a little extra time and create something special for breakfast. Here's a recipe for a healthy, delicious and nutritious waffle that your family will absolutely love! I know mine does!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk
3 tablespoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut oil or melted butter
pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons coconut flour


Method:

Blend all ingredients together excluding the flour until really smooth, then add the flour and pulse to combine.

Preheat your waffle iron on the lowest setting.  Lightly grease with coconut oil if needed, then add 1/2 cup to the centre and close the lid.

If your mixture becomes stiff whilst cooking the waffles, add a little extra milk (the flour continues to absorb the liquid as its sitting there).

Cook for a few minutes on each side, careful not to burn it.

Serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and some fresh fruit.

Makes 4-8 depending on waffle size

(This is a JBT Recipe, check out the programs I offer here)

Heal Your Body

I have battled for many years with my weight and self-image, and over the years I have jumped around trying all different types of eating styles and methods looking for ways to get my body to respond to how I wanted it to.

What I have learnt is that I have had a love-hate relationship with food, and in actual fact, it wasn't about food at all, but about the way I was feeling about myself. Instead of loving my body and nourishing it, I would feed it a lot of negative talk and self-doubt which would manifest as stress, and therefore would not enable my body to work optimally.

More recently, and especially the past few months, I have tried to release all the negativity towards food and weight and so I wanted to share with you some of my tricks.

1) Don't beat yourself up for what you ate yesterday

No one eats perfectly... including me!! And really, what is the definition of perfect??? Take each meal as an opportunity to nourish your body and feed it with love. It's not serving your body to think about what you may not have eaten correctly and this will not assist you to reach your goals.


2) Practice mindful eating

Sit, chew and breathe with food! Try to remove any distractions, T.V's, phones, computers, iPads etc.... The more we use our senses and appreciate the food that we eat, the more our brain will be signalled that it's satisfied and therefore, we will be less likely to overeat.

3) Enjoy your food

Don't turn an enjoyable experience into a stressful one! Do not allow the negative thoughts of "I should not be eating this" or "I'm a failure and have no control over what I eat." This will increase the amount of stress your body will be experiencing, which in turn will increase your cortisol and potential fat storage.

4) Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations

Affirmations have a really powerful effect that can change your beliefs, behaviours and actions. They can help improve your relationship with food.

5) Stop comparing!

With social media these days we are surrounded by photos of beautiful women and perfect bodies but what you don't know is all the potential photoshopping that is happening in the background to create the image that you have seen.

Also remember, your body and nutritional needs are different from your friends, your sister and even your mother!! What works for one person may not necessarily work for you. Focus your energy on learning to understand your body and what works for you!

6) Are you hungry, or is there something emotional going on?

Learning to identify your hunger signs as compared to eating to satisfy your emotional needs can have a huge impact on your relationship with food.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to identify the differences:

Did you skip a meal or ‘forget to eat’?

What did I eat in my last meal and how long ago was it?

Do you use food as a reward mechanism?

What is going on for me right now?

Always stop and identify what it could be and if you realise that you are not actually hungry, then do something else that is pleasurable.

Go for a walk, massage, hot bath, manicure, watch your favourite TV show with a cuppa, read a book or have a chat with your bestie!

Remember, we only have ONE body. Feed it with the nutrients, love and care it deserves.

Treasure it, love it and it will love you back.

Cheese and Herb Muffins

Making sandwiches for the kids everyday can become boring, so I like to change it up a little. These savoury cheese and herb muffins are the perfect swap and are great as snacks too. Packed with a lot of flavour and goodness, you're kids will absolutely love them. They also freeze really well so it's always handy to have an extra batch prepared and ready to go.

Ingredients:

3 cups Spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
50g butter
3 tablespoons mixed dry herbs (I used rosemary, parsley and oregano)
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1.5 cups Almond milk (or milk of choice)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease your muffin tins and set aside.

Place the flour in a large bowl and using your hands rub in the butter.

Add your dry herbs and cheese and mix.

Add your eggs and milk and mix so that it is all well combined. Be careful not to over mix.

Spoon the mixture into your muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

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