The Whole Pantry: a quick review (and a chocolate nut butter cups recipe)

So, so, so very good.

So, so, so very good.

Confession time: I’m a little bit (OK, a lot) obsessed with Belle Gibson and her stunning app, The Whole Pantry, which is available on iTunes and Android.

I first discovered Belle a couple of months ago through the website of another of my favourite wellness girls: Melissa Ambrosini. I was immediately captivated by Belle’s message, and her spirit and determination. At only 12 years of age, Belle moved out of home because she wanted to experience more out of life. A few years ago, Belle was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, which was the catalyst for her realisation that she needed to focus 100% on her health, which meant discovering a whole new world of clean eating. It was also the trigger for the creation of her hugely successful The Whole Pantry app, which was launched in August of this year.

The Whole Pantry is the first of its kind. It is a collection of lifestyle, health and wellness advice, and enticing recipes. All of this goodness is accessed via an elegantly designed interface. The Guides section of the app reads like a who’s who of the health world, with contributions from David Wolfe, Nat Kringoudis and Lola Berry, to name just a few. The app truly is a one-stop-shop for all things health. If you haven’t already, I can’t recommend enough that you download the app.

OK, onto the recipe. Boy, oh boy, will these babies change everything you ever believed about the world chocolate. Not only are they melt-in-your-mouth good but, because they are loaded with nutrients, your body will thank you for eating them.

The Ingredients

(Makes eight serves)

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2.5 tbs. maple syrup
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: a tablespoon of maca, mesquite or lucuma powder for extra nutrients.
  • 1/4 cup of raw nut butter (I like peanut butter)

The Method

  1. Whisk the cacao and salt through the melted coconut oil and maple syrup so no clumps are present.
  2. Pour 1tsp. of chocolate mixture into mini muffin cases and pop them in freezer for five minutes (or until firm).
  3. Remove from freezer and spoon a dollop of nut butter into the centre of each chocolate.
  4. Top each chocolate with 1 tbs. of chocolate mixture and leave to set in fridge or freezer for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Laura

Easy creamy cauliflower soup

Take the chill out of your bones with this meal.

Take the chill out of your bones with this meal.

I know that Winter is technically over but, if you are unlucky fortunate enough to live in chilly Melbourne, where the cold weather can drag on, you are probably still looking for meals that will warm you from your head to your cute little toes. (Actually, scrap that last part – toes are weird-looking creatures. Always.)

Cauliflowers are in season right now, and I’m a big believer in seasonal eating. That is, eating what is currently growing in your area, rather than food that has been grown in some far-flung country and shipped to you in cold store. Eating seasonally and, hence, locally, helps to ensure your diet is varied, supports your local economy, helps the environment and keeps you connected to your food. It’s completely crazy that we can buy asparagus any day of the year! This is an area where we can vote with our dollar and it will count. If the big guns, like Coles and Safeway, notice that we aren’t buying oranges that come all the way from California, they’ll stop importing them, and start supporting local farmers instead. OK, rant over (for now).

This cauliflower soup is the perfect meal for when you are looking for something that ticks all of the boxes: quick, tasty, nutritious and cheap. It only requires 10 minutes to chop the veggies (15 if you are a slowly-does-it kind of chopper) and 30-40 minutes of simmering, depending on how finely you chop everything up.

The Ingredients*

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vegetable stock powder
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Enough water to cover everything
  • 1/2 cup of milk (I used quinoa and chia seed milk, which added a nice flavour, but any type will work)

* Makes five serves.

The Method

  • Saute the onion and garlic in the coconut oil
  • Throw in the rest of the veggies, the stock powder and the water
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-40 minutes
  • Let it cool for a few minutes before blending it up
  • Put the soup back on a low heat and stir in the milk
  • Season to taste

I froze the leftover soup in containers so that I can grab it out during the week for quick work lunches. It’s the soup that keeps on giving.

Enjoy!

Laura

 

Why acai will rock your tastebuds (and your health)

Way too many antioxidants for one photo.

Way too many antioxidants for one photo.

Like so many superfoods, acai has been somewhat hijacked by the marketing arms of companies who are trying to convince us that their sugary processed products are actually good for us, which means it is sometimes regarded with a fair dose of suspicion. You see the word ‘acai’ plastered all over the packaging of things like sorbet, smoothies and biscuits. My experience of these products has been that in most, if not all, cases the amount of acai is a) negligible and b) irrelevant because the product is so full of other junk that I can’t see how you’d get any benefits from eating it.

Anyway, less processed-food ranting and more acai loving! Acai (which is a berry that is found in the Amazon) has earned its spot in the superfoods hall of fame because of its off-the-chart antioxidant levels (500% more than the humble blueberry). And we all know how important antioxidants are because who doesn’t want to protect themselves against those pesky free radicals?!

Acai is very good for your heart because it is thought to help lower cholesterol levels and it improves blood circulation. It’s also a good source of fibre and it helps keep your digestive system on track through its powerful detoxification abilities. The other main benefits of acai are that it helps keep you looking young (thanks to our friends, the antioxidants) and it gives you sustained energy. It’s clever little berry, that acai!

You can find acai at any good health store or online, and it comes in a couple of different forms, with the most common two being powder and frozen blocks. Both options make great additions to your smoothies but if you’re looking for a way to create a healthy, nutrient-packed dessert, then the frozen blocks are your ticket to guilt-free treats. You can use them to make acai bowls, which will (as the title of this post says) rock your tastebuds and your health.

The Ingredients (makes two serves)

  • Two bricks of frozen acai
  • A handful of frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 an apple
  • Some chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp. Manuka honey
  • 1/4 cup of chopped almonds
  • Three tbsp. of hemp or chia seeds
  • A little bit of apple juice or coconut water so you can blend everything together

The Process

In a blender, whizz up all of the ingredients except the fresh strawberries, almonds and chia seeds. Just add the apple juice (or coconut water) a little at a time to make sure your mixture doesn’t end up too runny, then scoop it into two bowls.

All you need to do now is sprinkle on your hemp or chia seeds, the almonds and strawberries. Serve immediately and enjoy at any time of the day – yes, this is so good for you that it can be eaten for breakfast.

Dessert for breakfast? It doesn’t get much better than that!

Laura

Super spelt pizza (and a GIF!)

I'm getting hungry just looking at this photo!

I’m getting hungry just looking at this photo!

You guys, guess what? I made a GIF! Well, if you’re into technicalities, I asked a wonderful soul to make it for me, but who’s into technicalities? Not me. I have put it at the end of the post so, if you’re super keen to get your GIF on, you can scroll right on down there and have a look. Otherwise, the post starts….

…now!

Spelt, otherwise known as hulled wheat or dinkel wheat (which is my favourite name, for obvious reasons) is an ancient wheat species from the fifth millennium BC. That’s some old fibre, right there!

This old-as-the-hills grain is packed with goodness in the form of manganese, protein, copper and zinc. The best bit? People with wheat sensitivities sometimes find that they can eat spelt. I suspect this is because it has avoided the inbreeding that we humans have subjected other more common forms of wheat to. Or maybe it’s just because it is a grain we haven’t saturated our diets with yet and thus our bodies haven’t built up an intolerance to it. Either way, I’m a huge fan of the stuff.

So, because I want to share the spelt love, here’s a pizza recipe for all of you lovely folk who love pizza (and who doesn’t love pizza?!).

The Dough

Goodness gracious, big balls of... dough.

Goodness gracious, great balls of… dough.

This is what’s in the dough (these measurements will make two bases, so you can chuck one in the freezer for another time):

  • 3 cups of wholemeal organic spelt flour (plus a bit extra to use during the kneading phase)
  • 2 tbsp. of almond oil (plus 1 tsp. extra to coat bowl)
  • 1 tsp. of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. of Manuka honey
  • 1 cup of warm water with yeast dissolved in it (refer to yeast packet for instructions)

To make the dough, just combine the spelt flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the yeast mixture, oil and honey. Use a round-bladed knife in a cutting motion to mix until the mixture is combined. Then use your hands to mould the dough into a ball.

Next, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface then knead until it is smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with a little bit of the oil. Place in the prepared bowl and turn to coat in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place so that it can rise. It will take about 30 minutes and the dough should double in size.

Once the dough has risen, knead it with some extra flour and roll it out so that it is about 1cm thick.

Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and then take it out so that you can put the toppings on.

The Toppings

The ingredients.

A chopping board full of goodness.

  • One handful of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of sliced button mushrooms
  • Half an eggplant (sliced and roasted with olive oil, sea salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper)
  • A couple of sliced spring onions (keep the green part to sprinkle on top once the pizza is cooked)
  • 3 tbsp. of pesto (the one pictured is Botanical Cuisine’s Basil and Kale Pesto, and it is to die for!)
  • A pinch of truffle salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup of feta

Spread the pesto on your base and then layer the remaining ingredients on top, finishing with a sprinkle of the truffle salt.

Put it back in the oven for 10 minutes and you are cooking with gas… or electricity, if that’s more your style, you 21st century person you!

The GIF!

PizzaAnimation

Laura