gluten-free

Slow Cooker Recipe Round-Up

Let me start by saying that if you don’t have a slow cooker or crockpot you need one. Or both. You do. I wouldn’t lie to you about it, especially if you are someone who CBF (Can’t Be Fu*ked) with elaborate meals. Stop reading. Go and buy one then come back and make all these delicious recipes I have collected for you from some of my fave peeps.

You can pick up an decent slow cooker for about $50 and it will change your life. I promise you. Change. Your. Life. Don’t you want to change your life? I also LOVE my LE CREUSET casserole dishes for oven slow cooking, they last a lifetime and are worth every penny.

As it’s getting cooler that means slow cookers, crockpots and casserole dishes filled with warm, shreddy, fally-apart meats and veggies! My fave! I love the minimal effort and max taste that comes from slow-cooked dishes. Seriously, what’s not to love about doing next to nothing and having a cracking meal a few hours later. I told you, life changing.

Need some inspo? Here you go. Don’t drool on your screen.

Pulled Pork

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Italian Chicken Thighs

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Mexican Spiced Shredded Beef

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Pulled Chicken Curry. Pass me a ladle!

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All the rich shanky goodness!

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Tamari Chicken Drumsticks turn into San Choi Bao!

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Who doesn’t love RIBS?! Weirdo’s that’s who.

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Butter Chicken! Yes Please.

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Holy Pumpkin & Cauliflower Dahl

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Or these Port & Vanilla Beef Cheeks!

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How about these shanks!

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Italian Slow Cooked Chicken

I noticed that I have been posting a lot of sweet treats lately & contrary to how it may appear, I don’t just live on cake & bliss balls. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to, but I don’t.  Truly. Sweets are DEFINITELY my fave thing to make but veggies, meat, fruit & eggs is actually what my life generally looks like, it’s just more often than not, not blog-worthy. Actually maybe I will do a day-on-my-plate post anyway, just so you can see the less-than-exciting mess that usually ends up on my plate….. Or that I end up eating off the floor after Baby G has thrown it there. Anyway, back to the chicken. This is the goods. The olives & artichoke make it a little bit fancy so you can totally serve this biz to someone special & they’ll never know it actually only took you about 15 mins to prepare. You’re welcome.

Good dose of salt & pepper
1kg chicken thighs
1 X 400g tin diced tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red/white or rose wine
2 handfuls shredded kale or spinach
2 tbs seeded mustard
250g pitted Kalamata olives
200g artichoke hearts

Preheat oven to 150C. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, mustard, half the olives and wine to YOUR CROCKPOT and mix together well. Add the kale and mix to cover.

italian chicken prep

Add in the chicken thighs and give it a good stir. Pop the lid on and cook for an hour. After an hour add the remaining olives and artichoke hearts and cook for another hour uncovered then dig in. You could also do this in a slow cooker if you fancied, I am just obsessed with my new LE CREUSET CASSEROLE DISH.

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Lemon Passionfruit Cheesecake (paleo. vegan. raw)

So, funny story. I was invited to this birthday party where I knew approximately exactly 2 people. I was nervous enough about that as it was. So, I said I’d make a cake. Sure way to make friends and influence people right? Give them cake. Oh no, I think that’s booze. Should have taken booze. Not cake. Anyway, I wasn’t sure if the rest of the party peeps were going to be “into” my healthified Paleo, vegan, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw cheesecake. In hindsight the odds were NOT in my favor but I carried on on my merry cake-making way oblivious to the fact that this could be a total fail and I could leave the party with approximately exactly zero friends. Just before the cake came out there was much conversation about how someone had previously made a Paleo cake for one of the kids’ birthdays and it was allegedly the WORST CAKE EVER. Like in the entire world. The kids were still talking about it a year on and were begging not to be exposed to Paleo cake ever again in their lives. At this point I am panicking and trying to work out how I am going to run away, with or without my cake, without anyone noticing. Instead I cracked open a bottle of Bollinger….. Because champagne fixes everything and if I was about to have a disaster-chef moment I might as well………Fast forward to the cake. They ate it, they liked it, there was even second servings. They could have been lying to me but I didn’t see anyone spit it in the garden so I’m calling this cake a success. 

Base

12 fresh pitted dates

1/2 cup coconut (shredded or desiccated)

1 cup macadamias (or nut of your choice)

2 tbs coconut oil

Filling

3 cups raw cashew, soaked for 2-4 hrs then drained

1 cup full fat coconut cream

1 tsp vanilla powder or extract

1/2 cup maple syrup (you could use honey, rice malt, coconut nectar)

2 lemons, zest & juice

3-4 passionfruits

Line the base of a springform tin with baking paper and grease the sides with coconut oil. In your food processor pulse together all the base ingredients until the form a rough dough. Press into the bottom of the tin and pop into the fridge. * You could bake the base if you wanted to. I have done that before and it’s delicious. 10 mins on 200C then pop in the freezer to cool completely before you top with the filling.*

paleo cheesecake base

Add the cashews and coconut cream to the food processor & blend until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except the passionfruit and blend again well to combine. Pour this mixture over the base and pop it in the freezer for at least 4 hrs to set. Top with the passionfruit before serving. Allow to stand out of the freezer for 10 mins before cutting.

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Food, Fitness, f45 & a Whole Lotta Ab’s!

 About a month ago I met the awesome Nina Studenko. Super-mum, all round amazing woman & owner of f45 Stafford & Newstead and was lucky enough to be asked to be an ambassador for them. Whoop Whoop!
I had heard a LOT about this f45 craze and because I was doing a heap, ok a bit, alright maybe once a week, of HIIT training at home anyway I thought I’d give it a crack. I’ll be fine…. Ah no. Not fine. Not even slightly fine. Dying. Death. I am literally drowning in my own sweat. Aaaaannnd of course then I became addicted because not only does it appear that I love pain, I also love results & fun and this team bring it in spades. PLUS, I figure if I keep going I am going to wake up with ab’s like Nina….. Hopefully by tomorrow. That’s how it works right? RIGHT?
So here’s the lady behind the ab’s to tell you all about her food, her life & how the hell she got that body. I’ll have what she’s having!

1. Tell us about Nina in a nutshell-

Happy, fun, determined, caring and an observer.

2. You are built like a real athlete, I mean seriously, those ab’s!  What is your fitness background?

Thank you! Fitness background is a bit of everything. I LOVE variety. It’s important for me to continually shock my body that activate and wake up different muscle groups – for me this is the key to my definition and symmetry.
Currently I train 5-6 times a week with a focus on F45 training and throw in a little bit of gymnastics, crossfit, running and yoga into the mix.

I competed in Body Sculpting last year in the Figure division so traditional weight training played a massive part in my training to achieve the required physique.

Over the past few years I have kept things exciting with Crossfit, Triathlons, lots of running up to the half marathon length. I absolutely love the conditioning side of Crossfit which is why F45 is so appealing to me. I find I respond really well to HIIT training and in the last year my body has physically gone through so much change.

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3. What’s a day in the life of an F45 owner look like?

  • Alarm goes off at 4:15am
  • Out the door at 4:30am
  • Coaching 5:15am-8:30am
  • Training 9:30am
  • Admin 10:30am-12pm
  • Coach lunch time sesh 12:30pm
  • Admin until 3:30pm
  • Mummy duties from 4pm
  • In bed by 10pm

4. Why f45 & why do you do what you do?

From the moment I tried F45 training for myself, I fell in love! F45 stands for Functional 45 (minute sessions).  The style is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and this training style is right up my alley. It is fast, furious, tough, intense and gets results!

The results I have seen over the past year amongst members is nothing short of amazing.  The variety keeps our members guessing and my favourite part is the fact that the body is continually shocked because sessions are not repeated.  I love that there is a focus on both cardio and resistance – so many people focus on either one or the other in their usual routines whereas the importance of both is showcased with the programming.

F45 is innovative and HQ are continually changing things up to stay ahead of the game and remain the leaders in HIIT training worldwide.

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5. Talk us through a day on your plate?

After competing last year I got into the habit of eating a lot of white meat and fish and a ton of leafy greens and veggies.  My diet since then has remained very similar, although I obviously allow myself treats now.  Essentially though I exclude gluten and minimise grains as my body doesn’t respond well to these.

Breakfast:  Chicken or salmon and green veggies + avo (zucchini, beans)

Lunch:  Turkey with green veggies (zucchini, beans) + sweet potato.  If I am eating out during the week I will usually go for a nutritious meal or healthy salad from somewhere local.

Dinner:  White fish, steak with green salad and veggies

Snacks:  Protein drink, coffee, protein bar

Weakness:  Coffee (i drink too much!)

6. What is your nutrition philosophy?

Eat the foods that benefit your body – do what works for you and makes you feel your best and allows your body to perform at its best.

For me, it is high protein, low carb.  I feel my best when I eat healthy meals that are unprocessed.  I feel that sugar can easily become something my body relies on and craves, so I try to limit this where possible.

7. What is the best piece of nutrition advice you could give?

Very similar to the above – Your diet should include things that allow your body and mind to perform at its best.

I also place huge importance on balance – so eating healthy most of the time, but allowing yourself a treat. I am a clean eater, but I also allow myself things that I enjoy that are not necessarily apart of my meal plan.  I like cheese and I like wine and I like chocolate.  I also grew up eating delicious Spanish and Russian dishes so whenever we have a family get togethers I cut loose.  This is how I treat myself.

I think it needs to be noted that everyone is different and I will always consider my members and their lifestyle, work schedules etc. when advising about diet and nutrition.  I don’t follow or suggest my members follow a specific diet, because I believe it is important to eat wholesome foods that haven’t been altered or processed.  As a general comment though, I really believe that we all need to take time out to listen and learn how to read our bodies, how it’s feeling and then educate ourselves on what this means.

8. What’s your fave food?

My grandmothers silverbeet, smoked ham and egg pie.

9. My perfect relaxing weekend would be….

Spent somewhere by the beach – we are so spoilt for choice in QLD, so up or down is fine.  Get a work out in at the local F45 studio or go for a run, get some breaky + cawfeeee, head to the beach for some vitamin SEA, head to the local shops to trawl through the shops, lunch, more beach time.

10. My favourite things are…

My son Alastair and my family, my friends, and girlfriend catchups and of course my business. Work is not work anymore and this is such a gift.

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11. My go to meal when I just CBF (Can’t Be Fu$ked)….

Nandos chicken tenderloins or Guzman y Gomez Chicken salad!

So now you know all about Nina and you should definitely go and give this f45 bizzo a whirl and sign yourself up to their FREE 14 DAY TRIAL. See you there!!

Crockpot Pulled Pork (paleo. gluten free. dairy free)

Best. Pulled pork. Ever. I’m not sure if that is a completely correct statement but for the amount of time it takes to prepare versus your return on investment in that process it really comes up trumps. You can probably give this a whirl with beef, lamb or chicken thighs too if that’s what spins your tyres. This freezes really well if you have leftovers and is a great versatile protein source that you can toss through a salad, pop in a wrap, have with veggies, served for brekkie with some poached eggs, just eat it straight out of the slow cooker…. I won’t judge, people do it….. I’ve heard.

250g tomato paste

400g tinned chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup coconut aminos/ tamari/soy sauce

2 tbs sweet paprika (smoked is fine too)

1/2 tbs garlic powder

1/2 tbs onion powder

1/2 cup honey

good whack of salt & pepper

1 cup filtered water/chicken or veggie stock

1 boneless pork leg or shoulder

Add all the ingredients except the pork to the slow cooker and mix well to combine. Take the pork & trim any excess fat. A bit is fine but too much will just turn to slop so chop it off, whack it in the oven and make some pork cracking! Roll the pork around in the slow cooker mix to coat then pop it on low and let it go for 8-10 hours.  I put mine in before I went to bed and woke up with my dinner ready to go…. Once its done just use a couple of forks to shred it all up then dig in. I served mine in some lettuce boats topped with guacamole & kraut.

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Caramel Protein Bars (paleo, vegan)

You’ll never guess the secret ingredient in these bars….. Seriously, it’s weird, even for me. It’s a sneaky veggie. Cauliflower. Yep, I’m serious. Told you it was weird. Weird, but strangely delicious and quite frankly I am LOVING the fact that this has veggies in it so hard right now. I mean it’s basically a salad now. Right? Pass me that tray of salad.

300g steamed & cooled cauliflower

200g raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hrs then drained

200g medjool datess

Dark chocolate (for dipping)- I used Lindt 90% but you can use this recipe to make your own if you prefer

2 tbs mesquite powder (optional but delicious)

2 tbs tahini

2 tbs rice malt syrup/maple syrup/honey/coconut nectar

1/2 cup Only Nutrition Vanilla Protein (or protein of your choice)

Add the dates, cashews & cauliflower to a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients except the dark chocolate and process again until it forms a dough. If it’s still a bit wet, add an extra 1/4 cup protein at a time until you get to a ‘bliss ball’ type consistency. Press into a baking paper lined tray and pop in the freezer to set for 1-2 hrs. Once the slice has set you can melt your chocolate and pop it in a bowl for dipping. Cut the slice into bars, dip in the chocolate and place back into the freezer to reset. If you have leftover chocolate, you can do a second dip because let’s face it, one layer of chocolate is never sufficient. If you can’t be bothered with the dipping bizzo you can just pour the melted chocolate on top before you slice it into bars. I store these in the freezer to maintain a good consistency….. and to hide them from myself.

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Mango Coconut Protein Ice Creams (paleo, primal, gluten free, dairy free, vegan)

Um it’s been eleventy-ten million degrees in Brisbane this week. 4000% humidity, 0% oxygen. Not. Even. Kidding.  Ice creams is pretty much all I have wanted to eat and luckily these bad boys are super easy & very versatile and will cool you down asap. The biggest problem is thinking ahead to make them but if you just go ahead and make them now you’ll be good to go. 

Feel free to go rogue and choose your own adventure with flavours here. I’m think banana & almond butter would be MIND BLOWING but you can substitute in any fruits and veggies you like. 

Layer 1

2 cups coconut cream
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1 tsp honey/rice malt/maple syrup (optional)

Layer 2

350g mango
3/4 cup coconut cream
1 scoop ONLY NUTRITION VANILLA PROTEIN (optional)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

You will need some ice block moulds or some sort of vessel you can whack a paddle pop stick in to make it an ice block. Use your creative genius and let me know what you come up with.

Mix the ingredients for layer one together well & half fill your ice block moulds then pop this straight in the freezer to start to set while you make the next layer.

For Layer 2, add all the ingredients to your food processor or high speed blender and blitz until smooth. Pour on top of layer 1, whack the Popsicle stick in and let the freezer work its magic. That’s it. 

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Choc Cranberry Protein Bombs (vegan, primal, clean eating, gluten free, dairy free)

There’s balls all over place. Where ever you look. Balls & more balls. All shapes, all flavours, some with nuts, some nut-free, some are loaded with protein. Everyone is on the ball-train and why the hell not? They are fast, delicious and a cracking snack on the go. So. Many. Balls. And ball jokes. Obviously I am talking about BLISS BALLS so let’s clean up this ball chat and go and make some shall we. Seriously, you lot need to get your minds out of the gutter.

1 cup cranberries (or dried berries of your choice)
1/2 cup nut butter (I used ABC, you can use tahini or coconut butter for a nut-free version)
1/2 cup ONLY NUTRITION raw choc protein (or protein of your choice. You could also use nut flour instead)
1/2-1 tsp fresh finely grated ginger
3 tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup hemp seeds/coconut/chia seeds

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until they all come together and your dough is ‘rollable’. Is that a word?

 

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Roll into any size ball that takes your fancy then pop them in the fridge to set for a couple of hours before demolishing. These store well in the fridge or freezer.

 

Herb Crusted Cutlets

Heeeeyyyy!!! Happy New Year everyone. So I’m sorry it’s been a while between recipes, to be honest I think I just needed a bit of time to get my kitchen mojo back after a pretty wild last half of the year. Anyway, I’m back. You’re back. Let’s do this. 

Now, let’s talk. How good is lamb. Seriously. That’s a statement, not a question. You know lamb is the delicious little morsel that broke the 15 year vegetarian in me? Yep, 8 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder was the beginning of my soirée back to eating red meat. The smell of that deliciousness in the oven at a friend’s place had my vego stomach doing backflips and high kicks wanting to get on board. So get on board I did, I started listening to my body again and it’s been thanking me ever since. It’s what I needed. That’s not to say it’s what you need….. Except for these cutlets. Everyone needs these cutlets. 

1 tbs seeded mustard

2 tbs fresh chopped mint

2 tbs fresh chopped rosemary

Salt & pepper- a good whack

2 tbs melted coconut oil

10 lamb cutlets

Add all the ingredients except the cutlets to a bowl and mix well to combine. Spoon onto the cutlets to form an even crust on one side and set aside. The coconut oil should set a bit on the cold cutlets to help it all stay put. Heat a large frypan to med heat then place the lamb, crust-side down, onto the pan. now you can spoon some extra crust onto the other side. Cook for about 3-4 minutes before flipping over gently using a spatula to keep the crust intact.  Cook for another 3-4 mins on the other side before removing from the pan.

That’s it. Done. Eat. Enjoy.

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Gasp!? OMG how dare I feed my child REAL FOOD???!!

So I was approached by a big blog called Kidspot to talk about Paleo, then The Daily Mail. Well what a goddamn scandal. Who knew that NOT eating processed cr@p every day would upset so many people!? Well, actually, I did because people get upset at things that challenge what they think they know and things that might make them question their own choices.  People also become VERY brave on the other side of their computer screen…. Even when they haven’t even bothered to READ the article in question. As Ms Swift aptly sings,”And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”.

How dare I deprive my child of what is basically kindergarden grade glue (flour & water…. Also known as bread) as a staple in her diet in place of whole foods!! Man, I’m a jerk. Grace might end up with ‘gluten-deficiency’….. Oh hold on, there’s no such thing. Now don’t get me wrong, what they left out of the article (OF COURSE) is that I am not going to have a melt-down if my kid shoves some bread down her gullet at some point, or eats a piece of cake at a kids party. If Grace  (and I) eat things on occasion that are less-than-ideal, so be it but those things will not be making up the majority of our diet. Do I think a bowl of pasta is going to cause her or I major health problems? Hell no, BUT, what I do think, is that if she’s chowing down on on a big bowl of pasta, she’s not chowing down on a big bowl of veggies and they win in the nutritional stakes. Every. Single. Time.

There’s a few things I’d like to rant about from up here on my soapbox. Firstly, this is NOT a strictly Paleo blog. It’s a real food blog it’s just that many of the things that I choose to cook (because it’s MY blog) fall into that category of Paleo because that is what makes me feel good.  Secondly, there is no ONE Paleo diet. There never has been, there is only your version of Paleo, based on a template, that works for you. The Paleolithic Aboriginies would have had a very different natural diet to the Inuits, or the American Indians, neither right or wrong but what worked for them based on what was available. Eating in this manner is not designed in any way to mimic our Paleolithic ancestors completely, rather provide a framework based on real food so that we can work out what works for us as individuals. Seriously, caveman had no Paleo cookies but I’m damn sure he would if he could. If dairy & grains make you feel good, fill your boots. My point is that no-one is reaching optimal health from coco pops, microwave pizza & Doritos.

Now before I have to hear one more time that WE NEED CALCIUM from dairy, how about a bit of education around that. Calcium is BUT ONE of the factors that influences bone health. Other integral & equally as essential things are magnesium, vitamin D, reducing inflammation that is caused by excessive sugar & processed carbohydrates, adequate collagen, vitamins A & K2. It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are PLENTY of non-dairy sources of calcium that are an excellent option for people who don’t tolerate dairy or choose not to eat it. That being said, no, Grace has not had dairy yet because she is still being breastfed & eats loads of other calcium rich foods, not to mention the fact that I don’t tolerate dairy so it’s not something I have at home right now, BUT, I will certainly try her with it in the future and provided she tolerates it well then I think it can be a very healthful food. As with all food, quality matters, so I will look for the best quality organic dairy I can for her but you can do whatever floats your boat. Here’s a great graphic from Eat Drink Paleo to show non-dairy calcium sources.

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Anyone who actually knows me, knows that I am not dogmatic in my approach and if you’ve been following me for a while you would know that I am far more passionate about improving your health in whatever way that looks like for you than preaching about the evils of non-Paleo foods. The purpose of this blog is to help you get back in their kitchen and get back to eating real food in the hopes that it will improve your health & wellness. I love to cook & eat delicious & nutrient dense food. If that’s not what you like, that’s cool, no-one’s forcing you to be here so with all due respect, rack-off.

Now I’m going to make like Tay-Tay & Shake It Off. Thanks for stopping by and a word of advice from my mum, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’, she’s smart like that.