Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Is it the end, or the beginning?

With Clean Eating March days from being complete, I have started to reflect on the month that was.

I won't lie, the fruitarian way of eating is not for me.  Whilst I love my food mainly raw, I do love baked pumpkin and sweet potato.  I also like the choice of being able to have some gluten free grains every now and then, quinoa mainly.

So, whilst it's been fun coming up with new recipes, I'm really looking forward to eating the things I love.
This month has taught me that whilst I am definitely a plant based enthusiast, I can't, and won't, classify myself as anything in particular (raw, fruitarian, e.t.c).
I love the freedom that this gives me, and whilst I prefer and crave mostly raw foods, I'm not restricted to just that.
Like I've said before, life is short, so there's no point in feeling like you're missing out!
This brings me to the subject of coffee.  
I was really expecting that I would go through some sort of withdrawal when I stopped, but surprisingly there were no headaches, no moodiness, no wanting to kill everyone is sight, it was actually a non-event!
Therefore, I am back on coffee come the end of March, not because I need it, but because I like it.  I love the social aspect of it, and I really, really, love the taste.
No judgement from my inner self (who is mostly quiet a harsh critic), so it must be ok :)

I hope everyone else who has been on this journey, has taken something useful away from it.  Regardless of how strict you followed the rules, or how many times you gave in to habits that you were trying to change, you are still a winner in my books.  First and foremost, you took a step in the right direction, and that means the most.  
But I hope that the end of March doesn't mean the end of your journey, and to help you along, I hope that this post and the recipes in it, keep you inspired and eager to keep going.  Not to mention the changes that you have seen in yourself, your body and your mind.

I have a special guest for today's post.  She's another very inspiring lady who I have discovered on Instagram.
Whilst I haven't met her in real life, i just feel her positive vibe through her food.  It's infectious!

Electra is a born and bred 23 year old Melbourne girl and like most Melbournians, she is a self-confessed foodie. 
She is currently completing a Masters in Organisational Psychology and in her free time she hangs out in the kitchen (when she should be studying) creating a mess so her real estate family and gym junkie boyfriend have an incredibly LeanELicious meal to come home to. She also enjoys going for runs, walks with friends, lifting weights and bikram yoga.
And now for the o.h.m questions!


1. What is your eating philosophy?

I have always strived to make healthy food choices. I believe that what we put in our bodies is one of the most important choices we make. I notice that when I eat fresh, clean, healthy produce my body rewards me – I am happier, I feel lighter, I feel more energetic and I have a more positive outlook. When I eat heavily processed, indulgent, cheeky meals I am often grumpy, guilty and unmotivated.

2. When and why did you decide to eat this way?

Growing up I played sport at an elite level and a good diet was a crucial component to my development as an athlete. However over time I slowly began to notice that my stomach would bloat and often felt weird after meals; yet it wasn’t until I was curled up on my bed in a ball on the verge of tears that I realised I had some extreme changes to make. My first trip to the doctor resulted in me being prescribed medication which I felt was a ‘band-aid’ solution and I wanted to heal my stomach, not ‘band-aid’ it. So I skipped the meds, grabbed my laptop and started researching. For me it started with cutting out difficult to digest grains (think wheat flours, pasta (I’m half Italian!), bread, wraps, rice, noodles – all my favourite carbs) and all processed foods (goodbye dairy milk chocolate, café muffins and my favourite Yoplait yoghurt). It was hard but once I noticed how much better I was feeling I was more motivated to stick with it.

3. Have you noticed any changes since changing your eating philosophy (if any)?

It has been the most incredible journey and every day I am learning new things about food and its relationship with my body. I listen to my body more than I ever used to. Last week was the first time in 3 years that I was able to say ‘I have healed my stomach’!! It was the greatest feeling of achievement. It hasn’t been easy being so ‘boring’ with my food choices and most people don’t understand why I can’t just eat a pizza and have a glass of wine. My brother thinks I just live on lettuce but anyone that follows my instagram knows that is definitely not the case. I am more creative and open minded with healthy foods and whilst I don’t think I could ever be 100% raw or 100% vegan or 100% paleo etc., I aim to incorporate principals from all of these healthier styles of eating and create whatever my body is craving – which is usually amazing salads, smoothies and whole foods.

4. What is your favourite dish to cook?

I LOVE my homemade raw-nola (raw buckwheat, activated almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds, shredded coconut and medjool dates smothered in blended dates and a bit of coconut oil).

5. What ingredients are a must-have for your fridge/pantry?

ALWAYS fresh fruit and veg. My staples are frozen bananas, mangoes, berries and fresh veg for super salads. You will also find seaweed for sushi, tamari, extra virgin coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and quinoa in my pantry. My biggest tip is to make sure you have some activated nuts and date balls on hand for those times when you need a healthy snack. It’s all about being prepared for those moments when you’re in a rush.

6. Juices or smoothies? What do you prefer and what combination?

I love juices but smoothies will always win (it’s also so much easier to clean the blender when you’re on the go). I have a green smoothie most mornings made with kale, spinach, frozen banana and mango, pea protein, maca powder and a green powder. However my most favourite smoothie is frozen banana, raw cacao, coconut yogurt and medjool dates blended super thick and creamy.

7. Sweet or savoury?

Sweet – but always healthy! Date balls, granola, smoothies, fruit, tomatoes or pumpkin with my pesto zucchini pasta, sweet potato chips, acai bowls…all pretty damn sweet!


True to her word, she has created a delicious dessert recipe for us.

My Easter Chocaholic Treat
Serves 4

There are 4 layers to this delicious chocolate treat with 3 parts: the crunchy base, then a smooth choc mousse, then in the middle is a coconut and banana layer, then the choc mousse again.

Ingredients

Crunchy Base 

4-6 Medjool Dates 
¼ Cup of Almonds or Hazelnuts 
2 Tsp Raw Cacao Powder

Choc Mousse 
2 Ripe Medium size Bananas 
2 Ripe Avocados 
¼ Cup of Raw Cacao Powder (loosely packed) 
2 Tsp Dark Agave Syrup 
Opt: pinch of cinnamon or tsp vanilla extract

Banana Layer 
2 Ripe Medium size Bananas 
4 Tablespoons of Coconut Cream (organic)

Method

Line 4 ramekins with baking paper. In a food processor or Vitamix pulse dates and almonds/hazelnuts until nice and crumbly. Dive mixture between the 4 ramekins and press into the base so it is nice and compact.

Rinse the food processor and place all ingredients for the mousse and blend until smooth and creamy (no lumps). Place half the mixture in a bowl to the side for the last layer. Spoon the other half of the mixture evenly between the 4 ramekins. Make sure it is a nice even layer.

Rinse the processor and blend the banana and coconut cream until smooth for the middle layer. Gently layer this banana layer on top of the choc mousse. Spoon the final layer of choc mousse on top of the banana layer.

Place the ramekins in the freezer for an hour to firm up. You can leave them in as long as you want. Before eating pull out of the freezer an hour before or place in the fridge. Peel off baking paper.

Before serving top with cacao nibs and if you want some drizzle blend 4 tablespoons of coconut cream with 3 teaspoons raw cacao powder.

Enjoy!

Tip: If you have trouble layering the mixture, place in the freezer after each layer for 10 minutes to firm it up.

That sounds and looks amazing!! Thanks so much Electra for sharing your amazing recipe.  If you want a dose of inspiration, follow Electra on IG: @leanelicious.

So what has the past two weeks looked like for me food wise?  Here's a peek.

Salad Bowl with Satay Sauce
Serves 1

Ingredients

Salad
Use whatever veggies you like/have on hand.  Here's what I had:

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/4 cup red onion
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint chopped
1/2 cup grated purple carrot
1/2 cup grated orange carrot
1 cup snow pea sprouts
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/2 tomato chopped
1/3 avocado
1 tsp hemp seeds

Satay Sauce

Flesh from 1 young coconut
3 TBS coconut water
1 TBS peanut butter
1 TBS almond butter
1 tsp grated ginger
1 TBS maple syrup
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp tamari

Method

Salad

Arrange your veggies in a large bowl, topping with the avocado and hemp seeds.

Sauce (Makes about 1/3 cup)

In high speed blender, add all your ingredients and blend until smooth.  Add more cayenne pepper if you like it extra spicy.

Serve your salad with your satay sauce on the side.

Crunchy Asian Salad with Sweet Tamari & Sesame Dressing
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup shredded chinese cabbage
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup of bean sprouts
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup red capsicum slices
2 TBS red onion diced
1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
1/4 cup of fresh mint chopped
2 TBS sunflower seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 TBS tamari
1 TBS maple syrup
1 TBS unhulled tahini

Method

Mix all your veggies and sunflower seeds together in a large bowl.
In a small container with a tight fitting lid, add the tamari, maple syrup and tahini and shake until it emulsifies.  Add to salad and mix thoroughly with your hands.
Top with sesame seeds and serve.

This next salad is turning out to be one of my faves of the last fortnight.  I just love the texture and flavour combination. 

Kale & Fennel Salad with Dried Figs & Creamy Avocado Dressing
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 stalk curly kale
2 stalks tuscan cabbage*
1 cup of shaved fennel
4 dried figs
1/2 avocado
1/2 live juiced
splash of ACV
Himalayan pink salt to taste

Method

Chop your kale finely and add to a large bowl, along with your fennel and finely chopped dried figs (save one fig for garnish).
Blend the avocado, lime juice, acv and seasoning using a hand held blender until smooth.
Add to the salad and mix thoroughly with your hands.
Top with remaining figs and serve with a side of fresh orange wedges to increase iron absorption.
*tuscan cabbage is a type of kale in case anyone is wondering and looks like this:


Watermelon & Tomato Salad with Basil
Serves 1 as a light meal

Ingredients

3 cups watermelon cubes
2 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes halved
4 basil leaves sliced thinly 
2 tsp evoo
1/2 lemon juiced
Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Arrange the watermelon, tomatoes and basil on a plate.
Drizzle with evoo, juice and sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Serve immediately otherwise the tomatoes drop too much water and it becomes a watery tomato mess!

Zucchini, Broccoli & Kale Salad with Enoki & a Creamy Lemon Dressing.
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini spiralized 
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup broccoli florets sliced
1 cup enoki mushrooms
2 tablespoons shallots
1 TBS hemp seeds
1/3 cup unhulled tahini
1 lemon juiced
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove
2 TBS diced onion
Himalayan pink salt to taste

Method

Place your zucchini, spinach, broccoli and enoki in a large bowl.  
In a high speed blender, add your tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic and onion.  Blend until smooth, adjust seasoning.
Pour over salad (makes about 3/4 cup so you'll have some left over, bonus!).
Use your hands to mix thoroughly, place on serving dish, top with some extra dressing, and sprinkle on hemp seeds and shallots.
I used the left over dressing of this salad to coat chunks of pumpkin and sweet potato, which I then slow roasted in the oven. The finished product was then added to a salad for my work lunch.  
This particular mix was from bottom to top: mixed salad greens, shredded red cabbage, red capsicum, baby spinach, the coated roasted pumpkin, avocado, kale, dried figs and topped with hemp seeds.  I used more dressing over the top of it all and it was delicious!!
This is how I take my food to work.  It is the easiest, most convenient way for me and it fits a lot in.  
I love how you can see all the colours and ingredients, they don't end up getting gross and wilted, I think because they are all tightly packed and have no where to move!!
Get yourself a jar and try it out.  You can probably recycle some glass jars or purchase some at an op-shop near you.  If you are in Australia, I recommend this place.  They have a great range and fast delivery.  I've also seen some at Kmart for $2!



Layered Salad Bowl with Spicy Guacamole
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 cup of chopped cos lettuce
1/4 cup diced red capsicum
1/4 cup diced green capsicum
1 cup of alfalfa sprouts
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
2 TBS chopped red onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
6 pitted kalamata olives sliced
1 medium avocado
handful of fresh coriander, roots and leaves, extra leaves for garnish
1 lime juiced
Himalayan pink salt to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 TBS pomegranate seeds

Method

With a hand held blender, process the avocado, coriander, lime juice, salt and cayenne pepper until smooth.  Adding more seasoning, cayenne pepper if you need to.  Put aside.
In a medium bowl, arrange your ingredients in layers, I layered mine as per ingredients list.
Top with spicy guacamole, and sprinkle on left over coriander leaves and pomegranate seeds.

This next recipe is not raw, but it's definitely clean.  I really hope you like it.

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Patties with Siracha Mayo & Caramelised Onions

Ingredients

Patties
Makes 8 patties

3 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup quinoa uncooked
1 cup finely chopped kale
1/2 cup pecans 
1 TBS maple syrup
Himalayan pink salt to taste

Siracha Mayo
Makes approx. 1 cup

3/4 cup soaked and rinsed raw cashews
1/4 cup diced red capsicum
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt or to taste
1 TBS of Siracha hot sauce (or to taste)

Caramelised Onions
Makes approx. 1 cup

2 large brown onions
1 TBS rice bran oil
1 TBS maple syrup

Method

Patties

Pre-heat oven to 205 degrees celsius.  Line a tray with baking paper and set aside.

Cook your potatoes in your preferred method.  I steamed mine, took a little while.  You could use the microwave if you are pressed for time but I try to avoid it if I can.
Rinse and cook your quinoa until grains are translucent.  Drain water and set aside.
Heat a small frying pan on med-high heat and add your pecans until lightly browned.  Cool and chop into pieces.
Once sweet potato is cooked, mash until smooth.  Add your maple syrup, kale, pecans and quinoa.  Check and add seasoning.
Mould into patties and place on lined tray.
Bake for about 18 minutes, then turn and bake for another 18 minutes.  Once done, leave them in the oven whilst you get your veggies or other accompaniments ready.

Mayo

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until super smooth and creamy.
Adjust seasoning/spice if needed.
Place in a small serving bowl.
This will keep in the fridge for about 3 days in an airtight container.

Caramelised Onions

Heat oil over medium heat.  Slice onions thinly and add to warm oil.  Stir to combine then turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Add maple syrup and cook for another 2 minutes.
Place in serving dish and serve.

I served the patties with some shredded red cabbage which I tossed with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.  Some baby spinach, cos leaves, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, tomato & beetroot.
It was a winner.
 

Before I start on the next lot of recipes I just want to point out something.  They may look like dessert recipes, and undoubtedly, some of them are.  However, they are all packed with good stuff, and apart from the cookies(which should be enjoyed in moderation), can be had any damn time of the day!
If you are trying to stick to food combining, which I try to as much as possible, always have your fruits on an empty stomach.  Not all of the following recipes follow the food combining laws so just be mindful of that.

Fruity Pops
Use a hand held blender for these.
Makes 1 of each

Blueberry and Vanilla

Blend 1/2 cup of blueberries with 1/2 tsp of vanilla exact.

Mango

Blend flesh of one mango 

Pineapple and mint

Blend 1 cup of pineapple chunks with 4 fresh mint leaves

Raspberry and Watermelon

Blend 1 cup of watermelon cubes with 1/2 cup raspberries

Banana Choc

Blend 1 banana with 1/2 TBS raw cacao powder and 1 date

Pour prepared flavours into moulds.  Leave to freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Avocado Ice Cream Pops with Strawberry Sauce
makes 6

Ingredients

2 medium ripe avocados
2 frozen bananas
3 TBS maple syrup
1 cup strawberries
1 medjool date

Method

In a high speed blender, combine avocados, bananas and maple syrup.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Will be a mousse like consistency.
Pour into mould and freeze overnight.
For the sauce, blend the strawberries and date together until smooth.
Once ready, remove pops from moulds, arrange on a plate and pour sauce over the top.
Serve immediately.
I had some left over avocado mousse from this recipe so I made this:

Avocado & Banana Mousse with Pitaya & Passionfruit
Make mousse as above, top with fresh pitaya and fresh passionfruit.  Too easy!

Spiced Persimmon and Pumpkin Custard Pots
Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

2 large ripe persimmons
1 cup pumpkin cubes (the sweetest variety you can find)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending of thickness preferred)
1 date (or more depending on taste)
1 TBS raw pistachios chopped
pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method

Blend persimmons, pumpkin, water, spices and date.  Adjust dates (sweetness), spices and water if required.
Place in serving dish (I used glass jars), and top with chopped pistachios and a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt.

I know the salt sounds like a weird addition but it really works with the flavours.  Kinda like salted caramel, but feel free to leave it out.

Cinnamon and Fig Ice Cream with Date Chia Pudding
Serves 1

Ingredients

2 frozen bananas
3 ripe figs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBS maple syrup (optional)
2 TBS chia seeds 
1/2 cup water
4 dates
goji berries (optional)

Method

Blend your dates and water until smooth.  You may need to add more water if it's too thick. 
Add to chia seeds, stir to avoid seeds clumping together.  Add more water if it's too thick.  You want it to look a little bit runny as the chia seeds will soak up the liquid and turn it into a gel.  If you don't put enough water, your gel will be really thick.
Blend bananas and cinnamon in a high speed blender until it resembles ice cream.  You may need to add a TBS of water to help it along.  Check for sweetness and if desired, add maple syrup.  Blend again if using maple syrup to incorporate thoroughly.
Add your figs and blend until just combined.  
Working quickly, layer your ice cream and chia pudding in a really large glass, top with goji berries and enjoy!

Chocmint Thickshake
Serves 1

Ingredients

Mint Layer

1 frozen banana
1/4 avocado
1 handful baby spinach 
1/4 tsp natural peppermint essence
1/3 cup of water

Choc Layer

1 frozen banana
1/4 avocado
1 TBS raw cacao powder
1/2 scoop sun warrior vanilla protein powder (optional)
1/3 cup water

Method

Blend all ingredients for each layer separately.
Layer in a tall glass and top with raw cacao nibs.
YUM!!

And one last recipe in time for Easter, but you don't have to be in to Easter to have these little gems.  
Best of all, they are raw which by now you should know translates to super easy and super quick.
Enjoy Responsibly ;)

Cinnamon Spiced Chocolate Cookies
Makes 14 small cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews
7 medjool dates pitted
1/4 cup coconut flour*
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
2 TBS raw cacao powder
1 TBS chia seeds
1/2 TBS vanilla extract

Method

Process the cashews and medjool dates until crumbly.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until it resembles fine crumbs.
Roll into small balls, pressing into shape and flatten down to make cookies.
Place in freezer to set for about 15 minutes.  You can eat them straight away but I like mine to be a little harder.
They store well in the freezer in an airtight container.
*I used my high speed blender to make the dessicated coconut into coconut flour.  If you can't do this with your blender, buy coconut flour.  You need this for textural reasons.

So that is the end of posts for Clean Eating March.  I want to say a big congratulations and thank you to all of you who have embarked on this challenge with me.  
I really hope that you are feeling better for it.

Thanks also for those who are reading the blog and following my food on IG.  It's great to get your feedback as I'm always looking to improve.
I have also started a Facebook page (one hungry mami) so come join me and share the love! 
I want it to be a place where people can ask questions, make comments, post their recipes, ideas, feedback, e.t.c.

Next month will be filled with more delicious and clean recipes, and new amazing individuals to inspire us.

Stay gold y'all!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb



5 comments:

  1. Hey! Great post. I was curious what Electra's instagram username was?

    ReplyDelete
  2. HI Hayley

    Glad you liked the post. Electra's IG is @leanelicious. She's great, definitely one to follow x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Brenda! I just did your delicious chocolate cake and posted the recipe on my blog. Thank you for sharing and it turned out delicious. Love all your recipes and inspirational pics. Have a wonderful weekend! XX

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Katrin, thank you for trying out Electra's recipe. You beat me to it!! I saw it on IG and it looks amazing and I love that you made it into one big cake and the way you decorated it. Looks awesome! If you're not already following @leanelicious, please do, she is one talented little lady! peas xx

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