Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Forty-Four

I can’t believe it’s been a full week since we were on holidays. I’m not finding it hard to be back into normal life though because every part of the holiday was perfect in its own crystalline quality and exists as a beautiful memory of experience and emotion. I can’t wait to share our photos with you in some future posts, but for now there was a lot to be grateful for in our week of returning to normal life. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Forty-Four:wk 44 saladMonday: Today we landed back in Brisbane! I was grateful to Mum and Jess for meeting us at the airport with big hugs and congratulations. When we got home we discovered that Mum had sewed me a beautiful Halloween apron and she and Dad had created cute and spooky Halloween decorations for us! I’m grateful that they were so thoughtful when they heard that we weren’t able to stay for Halloween in the USA.wk44 apronTuesday: Back to work today! I was grateful to catch-up with my workmates and congratulate our two new dads in the office. There is so much to celebrate in life when you remember that the ordinary is always extraordinary.

Wednesday: This afternoon I was grateful for pushing myself just a little and making it to the gym for a run. I’m trying to keep my holiday exercise streak alive and tonight’s 8km run was absolutely perfect. So was the aftermath of lying on the couch watching Ice Road Truckers and nibbling on some Hershey’s Kisses 😉wk 44 treesThursday: I had the most lovely surprise today when my friends at work Jess and Chris brought me back a huge and lovely arrangement of flowers to congratulate Chris and I on our engagement. I am so grateful and touched that they would give us such a lovely gift of well-wishing.wk 44 flowersFriday: Today Jess and I resumed our Friday lunch dates – I missed them while I was away and I was grateful to talk about holidays and weddings and all the good things. After work I went for a sweet and sweaty Friday night run before getting back to my kitchen for a serious baking session! I am so excited for all the wonderful holiday and summer foods coming up – and to create recipes inspired by my holidays to share with you all. wk 44 granolaSaturday: This morning Mum and Jess and I made our return to the farmer’s markets where we feasted on gluten free bagels and coffee and stocked up on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. I was grateful to spend a few hours with my ladies to start the weekend. Fuelled up on bagel I had a fast and brilliant 10km run and spent a few hours in my kitchen. Tonight Chris and I joined the family for some Halloween fun! We got dressed up (I make a very convincing witch apparently) and spent a few hours having spooky fun with kids of all ages with Dad’s exciting Halloween display. I’m so grateful to have a family who really gets into the spirit of celebrations of all kinds. It was so much fun on a Saturday night. wk 44 cupcakesSunday: Today I had a well-deserved sleep in before a short sunny walk and then – brunch! Caroline and I enjoyed a brunch date in the sun at our corner cafe before she had to get back to marking high school home economics assignments (no fun!). I was grateful for a few hours of talking and catching up. This afternoon I have an important date with my couch, and then perhaps a little more work in the kitchen 😉 wk 44 brunch

Also this week:

Mexican Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake | gluten free

Bittersweet with a hint of spice this dark Mexican chocolate cake is topped with clouds of sweet, chocolate-ribboned meringue. An impressive gluten free cake that is simple to make that awakens every dark chocolate dream you’ve had.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love chocolate paired with spice. One of my favourite chocolate memories (everyone has those, right?) is lying on a bunk bed in a tiny little hostel room in New York with my best friend Casey talking about our adventures of the day while we devoured the (then) newly released Lindt Chocolate with Chili. That trip to New York was the first time I was really awakened to the thought of pairing chocolate with all sorts of spices, and how each spiced creation can be greater than the sum of its parts. We sampled chocolate with chili, divine milk and white chocolates spiked with cardamom, and seashell chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon. A whole new world was opened up to me.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhen Casey threw a Mexican themed family dinner a few weekends ago, I knew it was the perfect time to create a spicy, sweet chocolate treat. The bottom of this cake is a fudgy chocolate cake with a hearty dose of hazelnut meal for texture. An otherwise beautifully dense chocolate cake it is made unique with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Enough cinnamon so that it both complements the dark chocolate, but also so that it stands out as a key ingredient. I added just a touch of cayenne pepper so that I could taste a mild sparkling of heat – this is still dessert after all! You could leave the cayenne out entirely for a milder spiced treat.

Just look at those chocolate peaks. Yum. Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAlthough this cake looks very complicated, and it will certainly impress your eating audience it is very simple to make. There are two main parts to the cake and each is quite easy. Once again this sweet and sinful treat is greater than the sum of its parts. The bottom layer is an easy melt and mix chocolate cake. Super simple. Once your chocolate cake is baked and cooled slightly you make an easy meringue topping with melted chocolate folded through and then gently plop it on top and slide the cake bake into the oven to crisp up the meringue a little. Simple, but truly delicious and inspired.

The meringue is crispy sweet on top, and beneath the crackly surface it is fluffy, sticky and sweet and slightly under-baked with pockets of melted dark chocolate.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis is the cake you make when you want people to realise that gluten free baking is just as delicious and exciting as gluten-full baking. This is the dessert you make when you want to impress and treat your dinner guests, workmates, or beloved to something special. I can imagine this would make a delightful birthday cake with a large scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream, or just some simple whipped cream. Or, eaten out of the container when you come home a little tipsy from too much sangria at your friend’s Mexican-themed family dinner party….

No judgement. Just bittersweet, spiced chocolate deliciousness. Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mexican Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

Gluten free | Serves 8 – 10 | Preparation Time: 30 minutes | Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Tip: make sure your bowl for making the meringue is very, very clean and dry otherwise your egg whites will not whip.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 45 grams buckwheat flour
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 55 grams hazelnut meal
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 125 grams butter, chopped
  • 100 grams good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

For the meringue

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and butter an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin very well. Line the bottom with baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, rice flour, hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper (if using). Whisk until no lumps remain.
  3. In a large microwave-safe bowl place chopped butter and chocolate. Microwave in 30 second bursts and stir well with a metal spoon in between bursts until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from microwave and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Lightly whisk eggs and add to the melted butter and chocolate along with the sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes back with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
  6. Remove cake from oven and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the meringue.
  7. Increase oven heat to 220C (430F).
  8. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, alternately use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl. Whisk until firm peaks form.
  9. Add caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and beat until stiff, glossy peaks have formed.
  10. Place half the meringue mixture into a large clean bowl. Add half the melted chocolate and briefly fold through. Only about 3-5 folding movements to maintain the marbled effect. Spoon swirled meringue onto the cake.
  11. Repeat with remaining meringue and chocolate.
  12. Baked in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the meringue is firm on top.
  13. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Nine

Wow! We have been running on all cylinders this weekend! So many great things going on, so I am just getting a little time to sit down and reflect on all that there was to be grateful for this week. Here’s a sneak peak: only one week to go before we leave for our holidays, there was a lot of visiting with friends and family, and of course, a lot of food happening in the house. Here’s my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Nine:wk 39 meringueMonday: Chris and I have a Monday night ritual. We meet at home, head to the gym, and then come home and eat a healthy dinner while watching a few episodes of ‘Ice Road Truckers’. It’s daggy, but it’s our story and I am grateful for every day.

Tuesday:  Tonight I checked in with the Thoroughly Nourished Life Facebook page and discovered that 300 people had liked my page! I am grateful for each and every one of my readers and followers. You all keep me inspired to keep creating and sharing gluten free sweet treats and vegetarian meals. I am grateful for you gracing me with your presence, and it gives me a glow to see my little corner of the interwebs grow. Thank you.wk 39 followersWednesday: This week there were three full days of meetings. Not fun. But, awesome fuel for my running. Since my iron infusion over a fortnight ago my body has started to come back to life. When I am low in iron I find it really hard to get enough oxygen in and running feels like I am moving through molasses. Tonight when I jumped on the treadmill I could feel that the run was back in my blood and I flew through intervals for nearly 7km. A great midweek boost and I am grateful that my body is back on fire!

Thursday: Today was our last day of full-day meetings for the week. Despite the fact that we were bogged down at a meeting table all day, the team did manage to get in a few giggle and I was grateful when my boss expressed his gratitude for the work I put in to make sure we were prepared.wk 39 basilFriday: Tonight after work I treated myself to a hair cut and colour! I don’t make the time to get my hair done very often (seriously, about two to three times a year is all I manage) so I was grateful to catch up with my wonderful fairy godmother/hairdresser and I walked out feeling like I was on cloud nine. The feeling continued when I caught up with my best friend Caroline for dinner, dessert and a long night of talking. It still feels like we are those primary school girls lying on bunk beds and talking about life. I am grateful that 16 years later I still have her in my life.

Saturday: This morning I woke up super early and headed out for a run – 8.5km I finished feeling strong! Then I came home in a cleaning frenzy – I am grateful for this little cottage that is all ours and I love keeping it clean. Then my Mum, Mormor, Aunty Lone and cousin Grace came to visit. We visited my little local coffee shop and I enjoyed a delicious chai latte and then I headed back home for a day of recipe testing and photography (got some great treats coming up for you all in October!). I was grateful for a nourishing day from beginning to end.wk 39 saturdaySunday: I slept in a little today and it was so great to lie in bed and just feel my body relaxed. I fuelled up with some toast, jam, and tea and then headed out for a run. Today I powered through 10km! I haven’t managed that distance in months. This iron has got me runnin’ runnin and I am so grateful! Today was more recipe testing and some quality time with Chris while the rain poured down outside. A great end to the weekend.wk 39 cakeAlso this week:

  • My friend Lynn celebrated her 30th birthday this week so I made cake!
  • Spring is here and all the green things are calling so I made a hearty, spicy salad.
  • I rounded up 6 of my favourite gluten free, vegetarian salad recipes to get us all in the mood for the warmer weather.

What are you grateful for this week friends?

Six Salads Perfect For Spring Lunches

Sometimes I make myself a little sick by eating too much cookie dough, or buttercream, or ice cream, or…anyway, you know how it goes. Luckily I am also just as in love with big green leafy things, nutty grains, and fresh food straight from the earth, or the farmer’s market. Now that spring has come barrelling in here with an explosion of green from the earth and skies so blue they make your heart ache when you are trapped inside an office, it’s time to break out some of my favourite lunch box salads!

Here, in no particular order, are six of my favourite spring-perfect gluten free and vegetarian salads! Green is always in fashion darlings 😉Six Salads for Spring | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Number One: Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad. Big, green, fresh and full of all of my favourite flavours. Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Two: Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Mustard Dressing. Crispy, crunchy and sweet with a mustard and yoghurt dressing. Fill me up!Apple Celery Walnut Salad 1Number Three: Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad. Hearty quinoa salad with a generous dose of exotic spice and sweet roasted pumpkin. Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Four: Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts – you can’t go wrong.Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Five: Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs. This is a great dinner salad: nutty brown rice pairs with fresh seasonal vegetables and protein-rich drippy soft-boiled eggs.Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Six: Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad. Sweet, plump fresh berries paired with salty grilled haloumi in a hearty quinoa based salad. My new favourite and it practically sings of spring!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | www.thoroughlynourishedlife.com

There you have my six picks for a healthy, gluten free, vegetarian spring lunch. Make your colleagues jealous and pack a big luscious green lunch today!

Tell me, dear readers, what’s your favourite salad combination? Or what’s something weird that you love in salad? Mine: I loved tinned, vinegary beetroot and sometimes I sneak a few pieces onto the side of my salad no matter what else is in the bowl!

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan

This fusion of flavours creates a bowl of creamy, savoury broth filled with zucchini noodles, quinoa, corn and spring onions that will have you begging for seconds. And it’s perfect for weeknight meals – you can have this gluten free, vegan meal on the table in under 20 minutes!Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOur new neighbourhood smells good. Not just like night breezes stirring jasmine into the air good, but like ‘I want to eat whatever our neighbours/the people down the road/that amazing looking restaurant is making tonight’ good. In less than five minutes no matter what we are craving Chris and I can find cuisine from all over the world. There is a cluster of shops down the road from us that are all Korean: coffee shops, supermarket, barbecue, and amazing takeaway. Then there’s the larger intersection that is suburban dining bliss with cuisine from India, various Chinese provinces, Japanese (not just sushi), and a random Italian restaurant. Our neighbourhood smells awesome. But, being mostly reasonable people (unless there happens to be chocolate ice cream in the house), we try to limit our takeaway and dining out to once a week for the good of our wallets and our wardrobes.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLiving in this divine smelling neighbourhood has made me more interested in combining interesting flavours and branching out from my usual Mediterranean/Australian slanted cooking. I’m taking baby steps to find new ingredients in not only our local big chain supermarket but also in the little ethnically themed grocery stores that are all over our neighbourhood. I’m inspired to take the new flavours and marry them with old, comforting familiar flavours – and give them the Thoroughly Nourished Life healthy twist.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis weekend started some new flavour adventures with my acquisition of some white miso. I’ve only rarely had miso soup in the past (sometimes it is neither gluten free nor vegetarian) but I found a brand in our local store that fits my requirements! I was inspired to create my own version of this recipe that would be perfect for umami craving nights when takeaway tempts from outside the door.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI used zucchini noodles for that all important slurp factor, fresh sweet spring corn, heapings of garlic, and added some quinoa for garnish and extra protein. This soup was ready in under 20 minutes and the flavour combination delivered big time! Tahini contributes a creaminess without the heaviness of cream and with the added health benefits of being high in calcium and other nutrients. Miso is the ultimate background umami and savoury flavour: deeply satisfying and hits all the flavour buttons we are searching for when sometimes we crave not-so-good-for-us foods. I slurped up a big bowl of zucchini noodles and savoured the creamy, savoury broth with its garnish of quinoa, spring onions, and sesame seeds. I can’t wait to make this again!

This soup is really adaptable to whatever you have in your fridge too. If you don’t have leftover quinoa you could use leftover rice or millet. If you have omnivores in your house this would go wonderfully with some cooked, shredded chicken. Just get ready to slurp up your zucchini noodles and beg for more!Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2 (easily multiplied)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste (ensure this is gluten free)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cob of corn
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa (or other leftover grain)
  • 1/3 cup chopped spring onions (about 1 spring onion)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

  1. Use a julienne peeler or vegetable spiralizer to turn your zucchini into long thin ‘noodles’. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Crush garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Increase heat to medium. Add miso, tahini and water and cook until miso and tahini are dissolved, about three minutes.
  4. Add zucchini noodles and cook until they start to soften, about three or four minutes.
  5. Chop kernels from the cob of corn and add to the broth. Cook for another two minutes.
  6. Divide between two bowls and garnish with cooked quinoa, spring onions and sesame seeds.

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce

Spicy roasted sweet potatoes cosy up to puy lentils under a perfectly runny poached egg and a herbed lime and avocado sauce. This heavenly, protein rich, vegetarian bowl is perfect for lunch, dinner, or a lazy weekend brunch!Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I think every meal would be better if we just ate breakfast food. I mean, avocado on toast, cereal with icy cold milk, granola parfaits, oatmeal, and poached eggs on pretty much anything, are among the best foods ever created. So, in this meal I attempt to mash together several breakfast favourites with some adult things called vegetables – and give it a decent heaping of vegetarian protein too!

Let’s start from the bottom, shall we? I piled some leafy greens into the bottom of my bowl because the fresh crunch of baby spinach is the perfect background to the key players in this bowl, and it picks up all the drippy egg leftovers, crispy collateral damage from the sweet potato and leftover avocado herb sauce.Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe next layer is our roasted sweet potatoes. These are cut thick, rolled in olive oil, cumin, and ground coriander, and then roasted until soft and sweet. Puy lentils pack a major nutritional punch here too. Did you know just 1 cup of these babies has 18 grams of protein and over 30% of your daily requirement of iron! Take that Popeye! I cook my lentils with a few bay leaves and some dried thyme to boost their naturally earthy flavour.

Now for the sauce. This creamy avocado sauce brings everything together. It’s tangy, and smooth, and creamy and sharp and the perfect foil to sweet potatoes and lentils and a runny, drippy-centred poached egg. I slathered the leftover sauce on everything I could find after I had finished eating this dish – crackers, roasted potatoes, quinoa salad – everything. You could even use it as a super smooth guacamole dip all by itself! Now that’s an idea for Friday night dinner 😉Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd the crowning glory of this bowl is a gloriously wobbly, golden, ready-to-burst poached egg. I don’t profess to be the best poached egg maker on the planet, so I don’t have a fool-proof method. My top tips are: use really, really fresh eggs; make sure you add some white vinegar to your water (it helps coagulate the proteins); and use a tea cup to slide the eggs into the water. As per usual, Jamie Oliver does a great job of teaching us how to do it and gives three different ways to achieve poached egg perfection.

Transport yourself to the best little bistro ever and make this in your own kitchen today!Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato (~400 grams)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup Puy lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups baby spinach (or other baby greens)

For the sauce

  • 1/2 large avocado
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Also:

  • White vinegar or lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel sweet potato and chop into long finger-sized pieces. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle over olive oil, and sprinkle on coriander and cumin. Use clean hands to mix it all together so that the sweet potato pieces are all coated in the oil and spice mixture.
  3. Bake sweet potatoes in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until soft in the middle when poked with a fork.
  4. While potatoes are baking, cook your lentils. Rinse lentils well and place in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of cool water and the bay leaves and dried thyme. Bring water to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the lentils are al dente: firm but cooked all the way through. Once the lentils are cooked, drain well and set aside until needed.
  5. While the lentils are cooking and the potatoes are baking, make the avocado sauce. Place avocado flesh, lime juice and coriander in a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place a medium saucepan filled halfway with water over a high heat and bring to the boil. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar (or lemon juice) to the water and let it remain at the boil.
  7. Assemble your bowls before you cook your poached eggs.
  8. Place half the baby spinach in each bowl. Divide roasted sweet potatoes between the bowls and top with a serving of lentils. Drizzle over avocado sauce.
  9. To poach your eggs. Crack the egg into a tea cup. Create a whirlpool in the water and slide the egg into the centre. The whirlpool should help to swirl the white around the yolk. You can use a slotted spoon to assist once the egg has started cooking a little. Cook for 3 minutes then remove immediately with a slotted spoon and perch atop your layered bowls. Devour immediately.

Roasted Sweet Potato, Lentil and Poached Egg Bowls with Avocado-Lime Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Three

I think we should have four day work weeks every week. I could do with a little break on Wednesday, it certainly left me motivated for Thursday and Friday this week. Daydreams aside, this week was really wonderful. I feel like we hit our stride at home and everything just worked. There was a lot to be grateful for in this week’s Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Three:wk 33 mantraMonday: Today I went for a run in the morning and then stopped in to see my specialist on the way home. Unfortunately I need to go back in for some more iron therapy, but I am grateful that I have healthcare providers who take such good care of me and make sure I get what I need.

Tuesday: Tonight I received the following message from my sweetheart nerd: ‘My brethren have given me access to the portal where the might shall beg for mercy. In the world where ability with a mouse and keyboard is mightier than any muscle. It is the chosen land where I thrive…Onward to the internet!!!!’. Yes. We finally have the internet at home again. I am grateful that my sweet man can enjoy the land of his people once again and that I can finally blog from the comfort of our new lounge!wk 33 strawberriesWednesday: Today was People’s Day at the EKKA and our Brisbane Show Holiday! I made good use of my midweek weekend and started the day with a run, made and shot three recipes for a new magazine article, and then went to the movies to see ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ with Mum, Jess, and Chris. We had such a great time and I was grateful to end the day feeling like I had made the most of the whole day. It’s a true blessing when you love every minute of the day from beginning to end. Also, Chris took some new profile pictures for me and I was so grateful and surprised to discover his hidden talent behind the camera! I’m grateful that he supports me, and my passion for the blog, and will help me whenever I ask.wk 33 portraitThursday: We had a pretty quiet office today with a lot of people out or on training, and I really enjoyed the camaraderie between my colleagues and I as we got our work done with plenty of laughter and jokes sprinkled in for good measure. I was grateful tonight too for an interesting documentary on the Amish. I am fascinated by their way of life.

Friday: Tonight Chris and I got down to some serious planning for our holiday – it’s coming up so soon! And yes, I am totally counting down the weeks! I am grateful that we have the opportunity to go on an adventure together and I can’t wait for all the exciting moments that await us!wk 33 saladSaturday: This morning Mum and I had breakfast at the local cafe (the best chai latte I’ve ever had) and then went for a girl’s morning shopping trip! We had fun trying on some new clothes and gathering the last things Mum needed before she and Dad head off to Singapore (tomorrow morning!). I even managed to find some new things. While we were saving up for the house I didn’t buy any new clothes so it felt good to treat myself a little. After my great morning with Mum I went for a run and then spent the afternoon doing the last bit of unpacking and organising and made Chris a big roast chicken dinner. I was grateful for an absolutely wonderful Saturday spent with two of my favourite people.

Sunday: I had a big sleep in this morning and then spent the morning hours pottering around making Chris cupcakes for work. I was grateful for a slow, sun-soaked start to the morning – and for surprising myself with a 9.5km run this afternoon! wk 33 sunday lunch

Also this week:

Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies | Gluten Free

Can’t decide between cake and cookies? No need to choose, my Snickerdoodle Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is decorated with Snickerdoodle Cookies! You get the best of both worlds in this tall, fluffy, gluten free, spiced cake!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comI shared this cake in the latest issue of Yum. Gluten Free Magazine and I couldn’t keep it to myself! You all deserve some more snickerdoodle-y goodness in your lives! The cake layers are spiced with snickerdoodle-like quantities of cinnamon and brown sugar and studded with chocolate pieces (because obviously the only thing that makes a snickerdoodle better is some chocolate…). These layers are stacked and coated with sharp and cool cream cheese frosting and then decorated with actual snickerdoodle cookies!

As with my other gluten free cakes, this fluffy, moist-crumbed creation doesn’t rely on strange gums or additives for its bounce, just the right combination of flours, and Greek yoghurt. I seriously suggest looking for the flours I have listed in the ingredients. I found mine in my local grocery store and they are even cheaper at some health food stores. Delicious science!Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com(side note: if anyone wants to start a drinking game with the amount of times I use the word snickerdoodle in this post, I feel okay about that.)Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.comThis cake is pure, brown sugar and cinnamon celebration. You start by making a very simple cake with a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon in the batter (pro-tip: lick the spatula after you’ve finished). Then make a batch of super simple snickerdoodles that start from a base of butter and cream cheese, which adds some extra softness to these cookies (for more snickerdoodle science see Lynn’s informative post). Once the cake and cookies are both cooled you whip up a batch of my easy, by oh so moreish cream cheese frosting and unite the divide. Cookies lovers and cake lovers, no longer do you have to war – there’s something here for everyone!

When you are looking for your next over-the-top celebration cake look no further!
Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Cookies

Makes one two-layer 8-inch round cake | Serves 10-12 | Gluten Free

Prep time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40 minutes (not including time for cakes to cool)

Note: If you don’t need this gluten free you can swap out the flours for 280 grams of plain flour.

I would recommend making the cookie dough first as it needs to chill for an hour. While the dough is chilling you can make and bake the cake layers.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams sorghum flour
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 egg white (from large egg) at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 100 grams chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Frosting

  • 250 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons pouring cream (or milk)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease two 8-inch round cake tins with extra butter. Line the bottoms with circles of baking paper. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl) cream butter and sugars on a medium-high speed until it reaches a light and creamy consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and egg white one at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
  5. Beat in almond extract.
  6. Turn mixer speed to low and beat in a flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the yoghurt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. After the last addition, beat until smooth.
  7. Divide mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Level tops and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Switch the position of the pans every ten minutes. Cakes are done when the tops are slightly golden and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Check the cakes at 30 minutes, and then decide if they need the extra ten minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  9. To make frosting. Beat cream cheese briefly to loosen it up, about two minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  10. To assemble cake. Place one layer on a plate or serving dish and frost with 1/3 of the frosting.
  11. Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting. Use a large flat-bladed knife or a frosting palette knife to make this easy.
  12. Decorate with cookies (recipe below). Store in fridge, covered for up to three days. Sit at room temperature for fifteen minutes before serving.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients

  • 45 grams butter, softened
  • 30 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 100 grams caster sugar and 2 tablespoons extra
  • 1 large egg
  • 35 grams sorghum flour
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat together butter, cream cheese and caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and beat well until incorporated.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together sorghum flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  5. With mixer on a low speed add flour mix and beat until combined.
  6. Combine remaining two tablespoons caster sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl.
  7. Chill dough for an hour.
  8. Take rounded tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into small bowls. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Leave about 5cm between dough balls for spreading.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are just firm. Remove and allow to cool completely before using them to decorate the cake.

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Snickerdoodle Chocolate Chip Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life | thoroughlynourishedlife.com

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-One

The first week in our own home felt like finally coming home. Coming downstairs in the morning and realising that we own this little patch of the earth is still a little surreal, but as the boxes slowly disappear and the bookcases are stacked with volumes I fall more in love with our little house everyday. I am grateful for this place, and so much more in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-One:wkMonday: Today I had to go home early so that the builders could finish some painting and plastering re-work, and I had the unexpected delight of Mum coming over for a quick lunch. I was grateful to see her and to be close enough now that our family can come over for an unplanned visit.

Tuesday: I am so glad to have our own dining room table again! For the past week Chris and I have really been enjoying sitting at our table for dinner while watching something on TV and just chatting about how our day has been. The ritual of gathering at the table is very important to me and I am grateful to have this everyday ritual back in our lives.wk 31 bookWednesday: Tonight after work I headed off to the gym for a hard workout. 5km of intervals and a challenging full body weights circuit. It felt so good to challenge my body like that! I am so grateful to my body for stepping up to the challenge and letting me have some fun with my workout.

Thursday: Tonight Chris and I headed back to IKEA (one more time….) to pick up another bookcase (I’m thinking of opening a library branch from our living room) and some other house things that we forgot about. I also spent some of the night trying to untangle our electricity and gas providers issues. I was grateful for some really helpful people on the phone who sorted out our issues with not too much trouble.

Friday: Today my work friend Jess and I headed back to my house for lunch! We had a great time nibbling on some crustless quiche and talking before heading back to work. I am grateful to be close enough to work that we can have our Friday lunches at home sometimes. Tonight I headed to the gym before Mum and Dad came over for dinner. They were our first dinner guests! I am so grateful for all the help Mum and Dad have given us and all the thoughtful things they do just because. They have taught my sister and I so much about just being good people and I am grateful for those lessons. I made them prosciutto wrapped chicken, mashed potatoes (well, Chris made those because he is the expert), and broccolini followed by mixed berry crumble for dessert. It was such a wonderful night.wk 31 berriesSaturday: I started my morning with breakfast at the farmers market with Mum. The coffee was hot, the breakfast was sweet, and one our favourite performers was on the stage singing away. It was a great way to start the weekend. In the afternoon Caroline came to visit us and we had a great time showing her the house before Chris headed off to spend some time with friends. I went for an evening run and then made brownies (coming soon…) I was grateful for some time alone in the house just feeling myself settle in and the house welcoming our lives to its walls.wk 31 tulipsSunday: Today I slept in. Oh glorious sleep. When I woke up I enjoyed a long walk around our neighbourhood – so many new places to discover! And then I did some photography in our house, which I am grateful to say has fantastic light! In the afternoon Mum, Jess and I headed to Newstead House for high tea on the verandah overlooking the river. The historic house was the perfect spot to wile away the afternoon hours and enjoy some tea and sweet treats. Although the proprietress was rather rude about my dietary needs, the staff was lovely and the venue was absolutely perfect. I was grateful for a chance to dress up and play ladies with my Mum and Jess. wk 31 newstead house

Also this week:

Tell me dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

 

 

Apple, Pear and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free

Long winter evenings call for cosy desserts. Grab a bowl of my gluten free Apple, Pear and Almond Crumble and snuggle up somewhere comfy for the long night ahead. Winter is here, and the forecast is sweet. Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love fruit crumbles, especially in winter. Seasonal fruit roasted in its own juices and a touch of spice until the pieces melt into sweetness, and on top a crispy-edged, biscuit-like topping featuring crunchy roasted almonds and warming almond meal. I love the double almond flavour hit in this crumble topping!

Almonds have secret super powers too that boost the healthy aspect of this crumble! Almonds are super healthy for your heart, with high levels of monounsaturated fats (the good kind of fat), and very high levels of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is important for protecting your heart and blood vessels, and improves skin quality. I love eating almonds as an easy snack, or using them as a topping on my favourite salads. Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis crumble starts with a base of pears and apples mixed with cinnamon, cardamom, a hint of vanilla and a touch of brown sugar. You tumble the spiced fruit into a baking dish and then whip up the crumble topping. I used quinoa flakes, almond meal, brown sugar, and more cinnamon and cardamom. Quinoa flakes replace the traditional oats to ensure this crumble is entirely gluten free, but all the other classic elements are here: brown sugar, spice, and a touch of butter. This is the simplest crumble topping, but it bakes up into an almost cookie-like crust atop the bubbling, sweet spiced fruit. Mmmm. Crispy cookie crumble…..Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCrumbles are the cosiest of winter desserts, and this one is healthy enough to pass for breakfast too. For dessert I topped it with vanilla ice cream which melted down amongst the stewed fruit and mingled with the thickened spiced fruit juices. For breakfast the next morning I topped leftovers with a generous dollop of thick Greek yoghurt. It was enough to fuel me through a day of shopping for a microwave, towels, and frying pans for the new house. Shopping is much more pleasant when you have a belly full of Apple, Pear and Almond Crumble.

There is really nothing complicated about making a crumble, and they are perfect for a family dinner dessert, or even a dinner party. Everyone loves a warm bowl of apple crumble topped with a spoon of cool creamy vanilla ice cream. If you are searching for a cosy winter treat for your family, you can’t go wrong with warm fruit and crispy cookie topping. This Apple, Pear and Almond Crumble ticks all of my boxes for winter dessert: easy to make, filled with spice, hearty, and soul-warming. Trust me, this crumble is sure to become a family favourite in your house too. Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble

Gluten Free | Serves 6-8 | Leftovers keep up to two days in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap

Ingredients

For the fruit

  • 2 large pears
  • 3 large apples
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Juice of 1 lemon

For the crumble topping

  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 cup butter (60 grams), melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and get an 8 x 6 (around 8 cup) casserole or baking dish ready.
  2. Core and chop fruit into a large dice. I kept the skin on mine for extra fibre and flavour.
  3. Place fruit into a large saucepan along with brown sugar, cornflour, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir to ensure the fruit is coated in the cornflour mixture.
  4. Add vanilla and lemon juice and place over a low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is melted and the juices have thickened slightly.
  5. Tumble fruit mixture and all the juices into the prepared casserole dish and allow to cool while you prepare the crumble topping.
  6. Whisk together quinoa flakes, almond meal, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir in melted butter and egg until the crumble comes together.
  7. Crumble topping over fruit and then top with chopped almonds.
  8. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruit feels soft when probed with a metal skewer.
  9. Remove crumble from the oven, allow to stand for 10 minutes and then serve topped with ice cream or Greek yoghurt, if desired.

Apple, Pear, and Almond Crumble | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis post was inspired by my new-found friends at Nuts.com . We were  talking about how much we love almonds, and how they can help to boost your health – Nuts.com even has a “health benefits of almonds project” on right now! We want everyone to be as excited about almonds as we are! As you can tell, I am nuts for almonds, and Nuts.com have a great range of almonds and almond products (I’m especially looking forward to some of their dark chocolate coated almonds for a quick dessert option). Please note: I was not compensated for this post by Nuts.com at all. I am merely speaking about my love of almonds and sharing my discovery of this new website with all of you!