Strawberry Jelly (paleo/GAPS)

I love strawberries and I especially love it when I can pick up a box of beautiful ripe strawberries at a fraction of the price they are sold at in supermarkets, local and direct from the grower. On the weekend I picked up a big box of strawberries (roughly 3kg) for a bargain price and it didn’t take long to put them to good use. Some strawberries were quite soft (hence the bargain price) but others would last a good few days so I washed those and put them in containers to enjoy fresh over the week that followed. With the remaining strawberries this is how I used them once washed and de-stemmed.

  • Laid some out in single layers on a baking tray and froze before transferring to zip lock bags to use for smoothies and fruity dream nice cream.
  • Sliced some and placed them on 2 baking trays that had been lined with baking paper and dehydrated them in the oven (on lowest heat setting) for a couple of hours. I then made a granola (using oats, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and cinnamon – combined and roasted until golden brown) and added the strawberries to this for a low fructose breakfast option for hubby.
  • Ate an abundance of them fresh 🙂
  • Sliced some and added to homemade kombucha, left the bottles for a few days in the pantry to second ferment and then transferred to the fridge.
  • And finally made these delicious strawberry jellies. This recipe is inspired by Jo Whitton from Quirky Cooking. She shared a strawberry jelly pie on her blog a while ago and this recipe is similar to the filling that she using for the pie with a couple of alterations to the quantities and cooking method based on what worked well for me. Click here to check out Jo’s recipe.

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For a easy healthy snack, dessert or breakfast (yes… admittedly I’ve even had this for breakfast) option this is a great recipe to have on stand by when strawberries are in season. Complete with gut healing gelatin, naturally sweetened with fresh strawberries and even kid approved.

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh ripe strawberries, washed and halved
  • 25g gelatin (I used great lakes – the red canister)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Choice of sweetener (optional – I don’t add any because find its sweet enough without any but if using just add to taste. Choose honey for a GAPS and paleo/primal approved recipe or rice malt syrup or stevia for a low fructose version)
  • Optional garnish: fresh strawberries (half to one per serve) and a few mint or basil leaves

Thermomix Instructions

Add 300g strawberries to thermomix mixing bowl along with gelatin, cinnamon, water, lemon juice and sweetener (if using) and heat for 3 mins / 80 degrees / reverse / speed 1.

Add remaining strawberries and cook for an additional 2 mins / 80 degrees / reverse / speed 1.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then pour into serving bowls or glasses and transfer to the fridge to set for 2 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh strawberries and mint or basil.

Non Thermomix instructions

Add 300g of strawberries,  gelatin, cinnamon, water, lemon juice and sweetener (if using) and heat in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes until the mixture is quite liquidy (is that even a word) and the strawberries are broken down. Add the remaining strawberries and simmer until these strawberries are just softened.

Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then pour into serving bowls or glasses and transfer to the fridge to set for 2 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh strawberries and mint or basil or topped with coconut cream.

Grain free sushi

Since making this sushi and taking it to work for lunch I’ve had a quite a few requests to share the recipe so here goes, a perfect healthy summer lunch.

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Ingredients

500g raw cauliflower florets

.5 – 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Sea salt

1 tablespoon tahini (this helps the rice to stick together)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (to make your own click here)

3 nori sheets

Your choice of fillings, for example

120 – 150g cooked shredded chicken, tinned tuna or smoked salmon (or omit for a vegan option)

1 carrot or cucumber

half an  avocado

60g raw rocket (or baby spinach for a milder flavor)

Tamari and chilli sauce (to serve)

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Instructions

Heat a fry pan over medium high heat and add coconut oil

Meanwhile to make your rice put the cauliflower florets in the thermomix mixing bowl and chop 10 sec / reverse / speed 4

(if not using a thermomix you can chop the cauliflower using a food processor or box grater)

Tip the cauliflower rice into the fry pan and lightly fry for 4 to 5 minutes

Remove from heat and stir through tahini and a pinch of salt

Let that cool while you prepare your remaining ingredients

  • Combine the chicken (or tuna, or salmon) with the mayonnaise
  • Chop the carrot in thermomix 3 seconds / speed 5
  • De seed, peel and slice the avocado
  • Roughly chop the rocket or baby spinach

Put a nori sheet on the bench and top with a third of the cauliflower rice, spreading it on the half closest to you and out to the sides. Layer a third of the filling ingredients across the middle of the rice and starting with the edge closest to you, tightly wrap the roll to the end. Repeat with the remaining 2 nori sheets and filling. Cut the rolls into round pieces ready to serve with tamari or chilli sauce.

 

 

 

 

Setting Goals for 2016

Wow are we already a week into 2016?… I don’t know about you but I keep writing 2015 and then having to cross out the 5 and replace with a 6.

I hope you all had a great time over the holiday season and had a great Christmas and New Years. I was lucky enough to take a week off work and while it went too quickly (doesn’t it always), I had an enjoyable time catching up with friends and family and doing a lot of relaxing… it was nice not to race off anyway and just take each day as it came. I slept in a lot.. which is unlike me, had the opportunity to read (and finished) a couple of books, caught up on some odd jobs around the house and enjoyed leisurely days at the beach (and even have a tan to prove it).

That being said, I’m happy to be back on track, setting goals and planning out some exciting things for 2016, yep sweet 16 is gonna be a sweet year. 🙂

The New Year often brings an influx of people setting big ‘New Years Resolutions’. The word resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something” and have you noticed that many New Years resolutions are often related to behaviours of the previous couple of weeks/months. Overeaten or slacked off over the holidays may result in a resolution to lose weight and get fitter, spending too much money on partying and buying gifts may result in a resolution to make more money or save money.

Instead of setting resolutions, I prefer to set goals. A goal is defined as “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”, and to me that seams a lot more positive.

I spent a bit of time early in 2015 (it didn’t quite happen in December or January) thinking about what I wanted to achieve and typing out 6 specific goals, adding pictures and then printing and putting on the pin up board in my study. It was a visual reminder of what I was aiming for and it was nice to tick each item off the list as I achieved them and to reflect and celebrate them at the end of the year.

Achieving goals, some snapshots from 2015

This year I have taken it a step further.. I typically divide my goals into a few different areas, this year being Health, Relationships and Career. Health includes things like nutrition, fitness and other (sleep, stress management), relationships includes spiritual, partner, family and friends, career includes goals about my current jobs, current and future study. Within these areas I have listed a few goals, why they are important and some action steps to help me achieve that goal.

For example under health, sub category fitness you might have a goal to ‘attend a yoga class once a week on a Monday night at (insert location here)’. Your why could be ‘to increase flexibility, better manage stress or improve core strength to do headstands’. Some action steps could be

  • Encourage a friend to join come along
  • Keep yoga mat by the front door
  • Schedule the class time into diary as a regular appointment
  • Download a yoga app to follow at home if can’t attend the class

Can you see how this goal is SMART? For more on SMART goals, check out this blog post. But in brief a SMART goal is one that is

  • S pecific: the goal includes the day and time, how frequently, the location and the why. Think about who, what, where, when and why. Feel free to add something in your goal relating to the what ifs, for example if you can’t attend because your on holiday will you do yoga at your hotel?
  • M easurable: how are you going to measure your accomplishments. Perhaps with increased flexibility or just seeing that your marking off in your calendar each time you attend a yoga class. For goals related to money, this is a bit easier to track, you may have a certain monetary goal in mind or a level of commission that you want to reach.
  • A ttainable: is the goal reasonable enough to accomplish? If you rarely run but decide that in March of 2016 you want to run a marathon well its not (for me anyway) very attainable. Better off to set a goal of running 5 kms by a certain date and being specific about when and how you will train each week.
  • R elevant: for me doing yoga is relevant but running a marathon doesn’t interest me, it might be the opposite for you. If you set a goal that isn’t important (or of interest) to you then you are less likely to achieve it.
  • T imely: and finally the goal is timely. It outlines when the goal will be achieved (each fortnight). Other goals may have a deadline instead, for example ‘I will complete the couch to 5km challenge and by June 2016 will compete in a 5 + km fun run.’

I also want to add an important point here, whatever your goals, think about how you might celebrate when you achieve your goal. It gives you something fun to look forward to especially if the going gets tough and you feel like giving up.

Another thing I am embracing this year is to pick a focus word. This focus word is what you want to think of when making goals throughout the year. Some examples are Simplify, Balance, Success or Action. Pick one (and yes it can change – more on that below) that is important to you and ask yourself throughout the year “will this goal/purchase/decision help me to achieve __insert focus word here __ this year?”.

At the end of 2014 I decided enthusiastically that 2015 was going to be my year for ADVENTURE (focus word), with plans for a big overseas holiday and more… however a few days later my husband had a motorbike accident that landed him in a back brace for 3 months, restricted activities and off work for nearly 6 months. Perhaps I spoke to soon but that wasn’t quite the adventure that I had in mind. So instead in January I reviewed and changed my focus to something more relevant at the time.

For this year my focus word is NOURISH, I’m dedicated to healing my gut and am going back to a lot of GAPS principles to do this (more on this in another post). I’ve also chosen a second word HAPPINESS, I was going to choose adventure again but I’ve decided that happiness was truer for me. While this year is already shaping up to be full of exciting adventures, I also want to focus on finding, making and being happy in the smaller things, everyday.

Sorry for such a long post but I hope you found it helpful.

Many best wishes and I hope that you achieve your goals this year :-). Lets make sweet 16 the year to turn those dreams into a reality.

Some of the many inspirational people I had the opportunity to meet in 2015

I’d love to hear from you. What have you got planned for this year? What works for you, do you set and review goals or set new years resolution? What is your focus word.

Have a healthy happy Christmas

In the lead up to Christmas I have already shared with you a few of my favourite Christmas recipes and today I will be sharing some tips to have a healthy Christmas.

Typically its that time of the year where we all (ok most) tend to over indulge but just because its Christmas time doesn’t mean that we should top off a filling main meal with half a Christmas pudding, three serves of ice cream and a litre of eggnog. And then there are leftovers for the next 2 days so that’s ‘gotta be eaten’ and not to mention all the pre-Christmas events that you ‘have to attend’ and ‘have to drink champagne’.

Stay healthy this Christmas with the following tips.

  • To avoid one day blurring into 4 weeks, plan when/if you will indulge and focus on consciously eating healthy in the lead up to and after your celebrations.
  • Start Christmas day with a light but filling breakfast containing healthy fats and proteins instead of simple carbohydrates. Green smoothies are a great option especially in summer or eggs with sautéed greens if your expecting a white Christmas. Click here for my favourite green smoothie recipe and for extra protein add a free range raw egg or 1 tbsp. of gelatin.
  • I talked about this point in last year Christmas post but its still just as important, know your non-compromise foods. This is especially important if, like me, you have food allergies and/or an autoimmune condition and the consequences of eating certain foods is quite dangerous. Big allergy offenders are typically gluten, dairy, fructose, corn, nuts or seafood. Know your NO foods and stick to it.
  • That being said if your not allergic to gluten or sensitive to fructose for example and eating the Christmas pudding (that your Grandma makes once a year) is worth the bloating that you may experience afterwards then go for it. Just be aware of the consequences.
  • Support digestion (and detoxification) by starting your day with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV). You can also drink 1 – 2 tsp of ACV with 1/4 cup of warm water just before a heavy meal to help stimulate the stomach acid to break down your food. In addition you can serve a side of fermented vegetables and eat a couple of tablespoons of it with your first few mouthfuls of your meal.

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  • Hydrate… with water. It will be a Warm Chrissy this year in Adelaide so ensure that you have plenty of water on hand and if your feeling  tad hungry, first have a glass of water, as thirst is often confused as hunger. If you struggle to drink water, give it a flavor boost by adding slices of fresh fruit (berries, lemon, lime and cucumber are delicious and refreshing) and alternate with kombucha spritzers (half kombucha, half soda water) or iced herbal teas. Herbal teas can also support digestion and fend off sugar cravings.
  • If drinking alcohol then choose wisely. Vodka, gin (check to make sure its not grain based) and some rums are your healthiest spirits and can be combined with low/no sugar mixers like kombucha or soda water with a squeeze of lime (or a drop of food grade citrus essential oil). Or enjoy a glass (or 2) of dryer styles of wine like pinot noir or sauvignon blanc. Have St Marys Thistle and Vit. B supplements on hand to support detoxification the following day if you go a little overboard.
  • If your not hosting, share the love by taking a plate of something healthy to share like a salad and a healthier dessert. Then if the supplied options are very limited you won’t go hungry. I know someone who love dessert but often can’t eat typical restaurant dessert so always packs some dairy free dark chocolate in her handbag when going out for dinner so that she doesn’t feel left out when everyone else is ordering dessert.
  • Incorporate fitness into your day. So many gyms are available 24/7 these days so you can hit the gym if you want but there are also plenty of workouts that can be done at home (or at a park) without any equipment. Alternatively encourage the family to all go for a walk after Christmas dinner (bonus – it will help digestion), play a game of backyard cricket and if there are kids there, keep them away from TV screens and get involved in a game of hide and seek or tag (bonus – they’ll sleep better).
  • Get back on track. If you have been eating clean for a while now but decide ‘stuff it, I’m going to eat and drink anything I want on Christmas day (hello stretch pants)’, then just remember that Christmas day is just that.. one day, so aim to get back on track the following day.
  • And most importantly HAVE FUN and enjoy each others company.

 

Merry Christmas

RanaSig

Also see posts

Whats on the menu this Christmas?

Have you already got your Christmas menu planned? No… perhaps your still deciding. Well then maybe I can help you decide with these recipes, a few from my own recipe collection and my favourite bloggers.

Given the weather that we had in Adelaide this past week (around the 40 degrees mark) I suspect it will be quite a warm Christmas in which case my latest shared recipes will be perfect because they don’t require any baking and can be made in advance.

 

However if you are looking for something a little more traditional then I’m sharing with you some of the best Christmas recipes from some of my favourite bloggers and recipe creators.

Nibbles or entrée

Main course

Something sweet

Drinks

 

Hope you enjoy choosing your menu

RanaSig

 

 

Raw carrot chilli with guacamole

Probably far from a traditional Christmas recipe but definitely one you can enjoy any time of the year, especially when its too hot to cook. I made this recently for a family dinner where each family brought a salad and/or dessert to share. Perhaps you’ve already seen the dessert that I took, my choc mint matcha slice.. I’m actually renaming it to Naughty but nice choc mint slice… wordy, maybe, but it’s catchy and more Christmas like.

This recipe is based on one that I tried at the Real Food Revolution in Adelaide this year and absolutely loved. I was able to find a recipe online (see original here) but have modified the quantities and made it thermomix friendly. My recipe also contains a lot more carrot (ok I like carrots a lot) which bulks the recipe out.

This recipe is very versatile, I really like it as a salad, partly why I increased the carrots and use less sauce, but you could also use this as a dip or filling in tacos or burritos (it has a great Mexican flavour to it).

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Ingredients

The chilli

  • 100 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 100g raw almonds, soaked for 8 hrs or overnight (rise and drain before using)
  • 400g carrots (about 4), roughly chopped
  • Half a red capsicum (optional – I leave this out if not in season)

The sauce

  • 150g sundried tomatoes (soaked or drained)*
  • 250g water*
  • 20g olive oil
  • 50g tamari
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • .5 – 1 tsp chilli (start with less, you can always add more)
  • 1 – 2 drops Doterra oregano essential oil (optional)

*I buy tomatoes that are sun dried naturally and don’t need to be stored in oil. Because they are dried I soak them in the water and then add the tomatoes with the water they’ve soaked in to the mixing bowl. If you are using tomatoes that are in vegetable oil (nasty inflammatory stuff), just drain off the oil before adding the tomatoes to the mixing bowl.

Guacamole

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • Small handful parsley
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste

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Instructions

Add all the chilli ingredients to the thermomix mixing bowl and chop 8 seconds / speed 5. Scrape down bowl and chop for a further 3 – 5 seconds to get desired texture. Set aside in a large bowl.

Add the sauce ingredients except the essential oil to the mixing bowl and blend 20 seconds / speed 8. Add more water if necessary. In order to avoid an overpowering oregano flavor carefully add one drop, mix at speed 2, taste test and add more if necessary. This oil is strong so to prevent accidentally adding too much, you can use a toothpick to add the oil instead.

Stir the sauce through the chilli, depending on your taste preferences and if you are using as a dip or a salad you may not want to add the full amount. Any leftover sauce can be served alongside this dish or used the following week in salads, on bacon and eggs or as a pizza/pasta sauce (be creative).

To make the guacamole, rinse out the mixing bowl (optional) and add the parsley and chop 3 seconds / speed 7 then add the remaining ingredients and puree for 3 – 5 seconds / speed 5.

Serve this salad topped with guacamole or in a bowl alongside.

Enjoy

RanaSig

 

 

 

Naughty but nice choc mint slice

This is an absolute fav and perfect for that occasional treat. Its full of healthy fats (so important for healthy hormones) and can be stored in the freezer which helps if your tempted to eat it all in one sitting. I initially made this for a family catch up before Christmas and after browsing a couple of recipes and finding that most were quite high in fructose decided to make my own recipe and use my thermomix. If you don’t have a thermomix you can make this in a high powered blender or food processor but you may have to increase the time stated for each step. Don’t worry, its worth it :-).

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Ingredients

For base

  • 100g raw almonds
  • 50g shredded coconut
  • 30 – 50g dates (fresh or dried)
  • 20g coconut oil
  • 20g raw cacao powder
  • pinch of sea salt

For filling

  • 80g coconut oil
  • 100g canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup (about 160g) raw cashews pre-soaked for 4 hours or overnight (drain liquid off and rinse before using)
  • 1 tsp matcha powder (I use matcha maiden). This is optional but is what gives the slice the pretty green tint.
  • 50g rice malt syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 4 – 6 drops of doterra peppermint oil (if using another brand ensure it is safe for consumption and be aware that you may need to increase the quantity)

For chocolate topping

  • 50g coconut oil
  • 25g raw cacao powder
  • 50g rice malt syrup

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Instructions

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper, I used a tray that was about 25 x 15 cm
  2. Add all base ingredients to mixing bowl and combine 20 seconds / speed 7, stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with spatula and combine for a further 10 seconds
  3. Transfer mixture to the lined tray, spreading out evenly to cover the base. Place in freezer while you make the filling
  4. Rinse the mixing bowl then add all the filling ingredients except the peppermint oil. Blend at speed 7 until you achieve a smooth creamy texture. I recommend 4 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to scrap the bowl with the spatula
  5. When you are happy with the texture, add the peppermint oil, start with 2 drops, combine for a few seconds at speed 2, taste test and repeat until you are happy with the flavour. I thought 5 – 6 drops was perfect. You don’t want the peppermint to be too over powering
  6. Now you can smooth the filling over the base and return to the freezer
  7. Rinse and dry the mixing bowl well. Depending on the temperature your coconut oil is stored at you may want to add the coconut oil first and melt at a low heat before adding the cacao and rice malt syrup.
  8. Once coconut oil is melted, add the cacao powder and rice malt syrup and stir to combine, about 10 seconds / speed 2
  9. Providing the filling has started to set, carefully pour the topping evenly over the filling, gently tilt the tray to spread to the edges.
  10. Return to the fridge or freezer and allow to set for a further 30 minutes or until ready to serve*.

I typically make this, allow it to set, cut into pieces and store in the freezer until I’m ready to serve which may be a couple of hours later or 1 – 2 days. If you do this, just remove from the freezer about 20 mins before everyone tucks into it to allow it to defrost.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

RanaSig