Almond Brazil Nut Butter

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I struggle to enjoy the present giving/receiving ceremony, as I have usually avoided the terror of Christmas shopping until the very last minute when I frantically select gifts for important people in my life with a view that if I don’t find the perfect materialistic representation of my love for them before the final grains of sand pass through the Westfield trading hour-glass our relationship will be forever doomed.

Luckily, this year was a particularly amusing and effortless Christmas for gift exchange.

The theme of homemade gifts meant that I could leisurely open my pantry doors and let whatever ingredients I had in abundance do the decision making for me. Almonds and Brazil Nuts were my soldiers ready for battle and they fared well against some creative and inspiring gifts of labour and love.

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(Tam’s DIY hardware chess set!)

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(Paul’s Homemade pesto stored in a handmade box screwed shut and frozen with confidant messages of product quality… ? …)

I think this is a theme worth repeating! No crowds, carols or car parks!

What you need:

1 kg raw almonds
1/2 kg Brazil nuts
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

What you do:

Roast nuts in oven @ 200 degrees for 12 minutes. This is optional, you could use raw nuts but be prepared to hang out with your food processor a bit longer.

Throw nuts in food processor and blend on high until it starts become very thick. (10 minutes) You’ll need to scrape down the sides often. When the oils start to release from the nuts it will start to resemble a butter, add coconut oil, cinnamon and vanilla and blend until it is lovely and spreadable.

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This can take about 20 minutes so be patient. I used this time to think about the people I would give this to and how lucky I am to have met them and have them in my life – but you could also do the hula, whatever.

Rocket & Pepita Chicken Salad

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It takes a lot for a salad to impress me these days. Too often I see my health conscious friends devouring unequal and uninspiring proportions of green, protein and very little else, just to get in all the necessaries. Boooorrrrriiiiinnng…..

Eating healthy shouldn’t be just about meticulously calculating portions of veges, proteins and fats. Power to you if you can happily smash a plate of overcooked chicken breast, lettuce and olive oil in your face and soldier on through the afternoon with a smile.

But if you’re like me a salad won’t get a run in my day unless it has some personality and flavour. It’s a simple equation. Preparation + Produce = Good Salad. Use ingredients you love to eat and prep them so they all mix together and share their flavours like a big healthy salad party should go down.

This recipe combines healthy fats, greens and protein with plenty of texture and seretonin-boosting pepitas and sesame.

What you need:

1/2 kilo of chicken breast or thigh (diced small pieces)
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves crushed garlic
Salt & pepper
Big bag of fresh rocket
1 avocado, sliced
1/3 cup pepitas
1 tablespoon black tahini
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon avocado oil
2 teaspoon sesame seeds

What you do:

Combine first 5 ingredients (juice of only 1 lemon) and marinate for as much time as you have.

Cook chicken over high heat until lightly browned and cooked through. Put aside.

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Combine tahini, vinegar and oil together with extra lemon juice.

Mix it all together with the rocket, using your hands. Really get in there. This helps the flavours combine and it just tastes better.

Serve with sesame seeds and extra S&P if you like.

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Salted Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Anyone who knows me knows I am completely accident prone. And forgetful. And my head is always in 5 places at once. And sometimes impatient. And forgetful.

And that’s exactly how this recipe came to life. I accidentally left some coconut oil and almonds in the food processor with every intention of making a big batch of almond butter (recipe coming). But today my patience at an all time low had no business with almond butter. What to do? Threw in some Brazil nut butter, cinnamon, couple of dates, a little salted grass fed butter and a sprinkle of some pink Himalayan, a little raw honey and we were in business.

After burning the first batch of roasted almonds because I was too busy thinking about what day it is, whether my gi is dry yet and my fave quote from Catcher in the Rye, I summoned all of my Sunday afternoon concentration on not burning the second. Success.

(“It’s not too bad when the sun’s out, but it only comes out when it feels like coming out”)

Then I melted a pot of my no-fail coconut oil chocolate for the base of this nutty chocolate affair and started assembling these little beauties.

All in all a beautiful little accident. My favourite kind.

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What you need:

Nut butter layer:
1 cup of any nut butter you like (I used half almond and Brazil. If you’re patient you could always just use nuts and blend for 15 minutes)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tspn cinnamon
3 dates
1 tablespoon grassfed butter salted (omit for vegan)
1/2 tspn pink Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon raw honey

Chocolate layer:
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup raw cacao
Sweetener of choice (2 tablespoon raw honey, coconut syrup, coconut sugar or few drops liquid stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Handful roasted almonds

What you do:

Nut butter layer – all ingredients in the food processor 5 mins or until smooth

Chocolate: melt all ingredients over low heat and stir until smooth

In small cases pour a teaspoon or two or chocolate. Let it set in freezer 5 mins then top with nut butter and one roasted almond. Or two, whatever.

Keep in fridge

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How many people with ADD does it take to change a light bulb?
Ooh Look! A butterfly!!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This is a recipe inspired by Teresa Cutter who makes delicious kitchen miracles from some very unexpected ingredients.

Beetroot is a great love of mine. It has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties, heaps of fibre, folate, manganese and potassium and has long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for disorders of the liver as they help to stimulate the liver’s detoxification processes.

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I found out today that beetroot is also a stand-alone sweetener when used in recipes such as this. (Shoulda called it sweetroot…) When cooked slightly, beets are super sweet and blend beautifully with cacao and spices as used here.

Honestly, you don’t need the honey or maple syrup as I’ve put in this recipe, especially if you’ve been off the sugar bandwagon for a while – but I realise everyone’s at a different point on the sweetness Richter scale so you know, whatever floats ya boat.

Sweet healthy chocolate beetroot cakes. Who woulda thunk it?

What you need:

2 beetroot, grated raw with skin
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn pink Himalayan salt
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup raw cacao
3 tablespoons your fave heathy fat: (macadamia oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil) or melted grass fed butter
¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup (totally optional – trust me!)
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda

What you do:

Oven at 180. Line 12 hole cupcake tin with squares of baking paper. Combine everything in a bowl and get in there with your hands to mix through well. Divide mix into tin and bake about 40 minutes or until JuST cooked. (It is lush a little undercooked and served fresh from oven with ice cream)

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