Whole Food Soul Nourishment

Let them eat cake…for breakfast.

I’m not a fan of food bloggers who need to write a novel, or a biography about how the cabbage in their sauerkraut found its true purpose in life, and thus make you scroll for kilometres until they give away their recipe. I’m a fan of food bloggers who just get to the damn recipe already. Having said that, I’m not really a food blogger, I’m crap at food styling, and the only camera I own is on my iPhone. But I do love the food I eat. It’s satisfying, it’s wholesome, it’s nutrient-dense, it tastes amazeballs, and that’s food worth sharing.

One of my favourite cakes in the whole wide multiverse is carrot cake. But because I advocate and have lived on a whole-foods plant-based diet for the last 2o-odd years, I’m not going to give you a recipe that will destroy your health just for a few brief moments of pleasure. No, this is the cake that keeps on giving.

And I’m doing it. I’m giving a backstory. Apologies. Here’s the recipe already (But first, an artsy picture);

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The Most Awesomesauce Carrot Cake Ever

(Makes one 20cm or 8inch round slice/cake)

Cake Ingredients:
  • 4 small carrots (or 2 large) – grated.
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, maple syrup, or date paste*
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbs psyllium husk or powder
Directions:

Pre-grease your 20cm spring-form pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. This makes it easier to remove when set. Grate the carrots and then combine in your food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse or process on a low setting until you get a crumbly cake-like texture. You don’t want it to become a paste. When you’ve reached the desired texture, press into the base of your pan. Set in the freezer while you make the icing (frosting).

Icing ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup softened coconut butter**
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, maple syrup, or thinned date paste.
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs coconut or cashew mylk.
Icing directions:

Blend all icing ingredients in your food processor until well combined and smooth.

Remove cake from freezer. It should be firm enough now to turn out onto a plate or cake board. Gently remove the outer casing of the pan, place the plate or cake board on top of the cake and flip over. Remove the base of the pan, and gently peel off the parchment paper. Your cake is now ready to frost. Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the icing over the top and around the sides of the cake. Dust with ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg and decorate to your liking. This cake is best stored in the fridge.

And yes, I have eaten it for breakfast. fullsizeoutput_93a

Footnotes:

* For a vegan version use maple syrup, coconut nectar, or date paste as your desired sweetener. To make date paste, soak 1 cup of dates in warm water for half an hour or so, drain, then add one cup of water and blend until you’ve reached a syrup consistency. Adjust the amount of water you use to get the consistency you desire.

**If you can’t find coconut butter (also referred to as coconut manna), you can use soaked cashews and blend to make a thick cream. But you’ll need to add about 1/4 cup coconut oil so that the icing remains firm and doesn’t drip off your cake.

NB: Credit is given where credit is due. This recipe, a variation of many raw vegan carrot cake recipes that have been shared in the community over the years, is an adaptation of the carrot cupcake recipe found over at The Unconventional Baker. I’ve adapted it by adding psyllium. I feel that this gives a slightly more cakey texture, and it also serves a functional role of supporting colon health.

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I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whole Food Soul Nourishment

The Smoothie Bowl Paradox: A recipe for maximum excitation.

Why a paradox?

Well, is it a mere beverage, or a fulfilling meal?

A simple pudding, or a veritable theme park of epicurean delight in which lingual papillae are invited to revel in hedonistic bliss?

The humble Smoothie, dear reader, has evolved.

Long gone are the days when a smoothie was typically banana (or sometimes strawberry), milk, and sweetener, and sometimes yoghurt. Served in a glass.

A glass?

How droll.

Apparently, (the Divine Council of Hipsters has ordained) they are now served in A BOWL.

And SUPERFOODS Must Be Involved.

Am I being too facetious?

Apologies.

 

I actually love Smoothie Bowls & the creative scope they offer. And they offer an awesome breakfast (or anytime) alternative for the more difficult epicureans, like myself, who don’t eat cereal grains or pseudo-grains, INCLUDING THE SO-CALLED ‘GLUTEN-FREE’ OATS (a semantic technicality – ‘Gluten’ is a compound term. Each cereal grain such as barley, rye, wheat, spelt, kamut, AND OATS, has it’s own glutenous compound term. They all breakdown into the same components. In Oats it’s called AVENIN and in Coeliacs and most people with auto-immunity it’s INFLAMMATORY ACTION is the same as ‘Gluten’. I would REALLY love for people to start doing their own research on this, instead of falling prey to marketing hype. And no, I don’t hate Oats or the people that love Oats. I love Oats  – I just can’t eat them – but they do offer incredible nerve nourishing medicine for people who can.).

Ahem, back to Smoothie Bowls.

Since breaking my juice feast, I’ve been having a Smoothie Bowl for my second breakfast. (Yes, I eat like a hobbit. Elevenses is involved. Usually between second breakfast and lunch. Sometimes it comes between first and second breakfast. I typically have a green juice for First Breakfast. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds.) Depending on what’s tickled my fancy – fruit-wise I’ll use that as my main flavour in the Bowl. The house-sit where we are currently living has a number of fruit trees, and the stone-fruits are in season, so I’ve been blessed to have some home-grown plums to add to the Bowls this week. The following is the recipe for the Bowl that I’ve been having this week;

 

Image Credit: Michelle Carnochan 2015
Image Credit: Michelle Carnochan 2015

 

Blueberry & Plum Yummer Summer Bowl

1 cup coconut water

¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 Tbs wild Bee Pollen (* obviously if you’re a vegan omit this)

1 scoop (30g?) SunWarrior Vanilla Protein (I have also used Hemp protein with 1 vanilla bean – this is actually my preferred protein source when I can get it)

2 Tbs chia seeds

1 Tbs liquid Sunflower Lecithin

28g scoop of your favourite superfood/supergreens blend (I make my own. It has 32 different plants in it. Woohoo! Plant-power.)

2 heaped tsp Cacao.

Place everything in a high speed blender and blend, gradually increasing to high until all ingredients are well incorporated. Then pour into your favourite bowl. I let mine sit while I prepare the toppings so the chia seeds can set it somewhat.

Toppings: lucuma, bee pollen, hemp seeds, goji berries, blueberries, plums, mint, cinnamon.

You can make your Smoothie Bowl as simple or as complex as you like, depending on seasonal offerings, what your ‘lingual papillae’ (tastebuds) are in the mood for, and/or what your health needs are. You could start simply with just coconut water or a plant-based mylk, some fresh or frozen fruit, some mild greens, and some chia seeds, and then add whatever toppings you like. The possibilities are endless!  Sometimes, I’ll also add coconut yoghurt to my toppings. One of my greatest joys in life is playing with my food and seeing what flavours, textures, and colours go well together, and which foods my body loves. I think this offers as much nourishment as the food itself.

So have fun with it, and delight your senses!

Many Blessings,

Michelle xo

 

Plant Medicine, Whole Food Soul Nourishment

Engaging the Elder Mother

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The Elder is one of those plants deeply rooted in the lore and tradition of Western (European) Herbal Medicine. It gives something of itself to span the medicinal needs of all seasons, whether it be it’s clusters of delicate cream flowers in the late Spring/Summer, to it’s deep purple, almost black berries hanging from blood red stems that appear in the autumn and winter. It’s evergreen leaves also offer various virtues to us fragile humans, although more as a soothing topical application.

The species of Elder (Sambucus spp.) most commonly used in our tradition is Sambucus nigra. For those who like the odd tipple now and then, the genus name will be reminiscent of the drink Sambuca – which the flowers are an ingredient of. And it is reputed that the original Pan flutes were crafted from the pithy stems. The Elder also has a rich folklore attached to it, with varied tales of a wizened Elder mother (The Elder Mor) that guards the tree and grants only those who are worthy to make use of it’s medicine. There is a certain presence to this plant that I find to be quite welcoming, and one of the joys of the warmer season is the sight of an Elder in all her blooming glory enticing me to make sweet medicine, and even more delicious sparkling elixirs. So perhaps, I am one of the chosen ones 😀

image credit: wikipedia commons.
image credit: wikipedia commons.

Either way I am filled with joy and thanksgiving at the bounty this tree provides.

I use the elderberries to make an anti-oxidant, vitamin C rich Winter Immune Elixir. The berries also possess potent anti-viral properties that make it useful not only in prevention of, but also treatment of the dreaded ‘flu. However, here on the East coast of Australia, we are currently beginning the season for the flowers so this article will focus on what I like to do with these.

The flowers, being carefully dried, are traditionally used along with peppermint (Mentha piperita) and yarrow (Achilles millefolium) in the famous tea blend that is taken at the onset of colds and flu. This combination increases the circulation, tones the mucous membranes, is anti-viral and induces sweating, allowing the fever associated with the body’s attempt to fight the influenza virus to break, and release the toxins through the skin. The actions of the Elder flowers themselves are anti-catarrhal (drying up mucous, yet also soothing the mucous membranes) in the upper respiratory tract (nose and sinuses), and so are specific for sinusitis, cold and flu, blocked nose, and blocked ears/deafness associated with sinus problems. They would therefore also be useful in combination with other specific herbs for treating hayfever.

The flowers are also well known for their delicate fragrance, which lends itself to a pleasantly refreshing cordial, sparkling wine, or probiotic elixir. Nothing says summer like an Elderflower Sparkle (Well, many things say Summer, but this is a highlight at picnics on a balmy mid-summer eve). The following recipe can be made two ways, depending on convenience and resources available. It imparts the anti-viral and immune supporting properties of the flowers as well as the synergistic virtues of the accompanying ingredients to provide an all round life-enhancing elixir.

I first made this on a base of water kefir. In short, Kefir is a symbiotic organism that feeds on sugar and in turn cultures or ferments the medium it is fed in, be it water (with sugar added), coconut water, or animal milk (lactose). (Note: the water kefir and the milk kefir are actually two distinct organisms, yet both offer incredible probiotic benefits)*

As my kefir is currently in hibernation (yes, you can do that), due to me being in transit at the moment, I have gone on for convenience sake, to make this on a base of coconut water first cultured with the contents of one potent probiotic capsule.**

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Elderflower Sparkle ( a.k.a Galactic Wayfarer’s Famous Ginger Sling)

1 litre of water kefir (cultured and strained of the kefir organism), or 1 litre of cultured coconut water

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced.

½ lemon, sliced thinly.

3-4 dried figs, chopped

1 large handful (about 1.5 cups) of fresh Elder flowers, (picked of blemished flowers and hidden tiny spiders).

Place all ingredients in a 1 litre / 1 quart mason jar, loosely cap or place a tea towel over it, and leave to further culture overnight (again depending on ambient room temperature, this may take longer. I have been known to seemingly forget about it for up to a week and it still turned out well.)

When you see the mix go a bit cloudy, and a bit bubbly (more so if you are using the kefir), it is ready to strain. Add 1-2 drops of liquid stevia if desired. You can drink as is – in shot-size portions, about 100ml, or add as a base to juices or smoothies, or maybe even in place of tonic water with your favourite gin – FYI: mine is The Botanist)

Either way, it’s healing, it’s nourishing, it’s convivial, it’s all good!

Many Blessings,

Michelle x

*To learn the differences as well as how to nurture and make kefir for yourself, I would direct the reader to the most fabulous fountain of kefir knowledge on the web: http://www.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html

** After trying out a number of various probiotics for culturing purposes, I now favour the Ojio brand of probiotics. It contains 16 strains of implantable vegetarian-based microflora at a count of with 100 billion or 50 billion. Unlike my second favourite Healthforce Nutritionals Friendly Force, the Ojio brand must be refrigerated for optimum potency. To culture coconut water, I typically use a ratio of 1 litre fresh coconut water: 1 capsule. Leave at room temperature overnight (depending on ambient room temperature, you may need to leave it a little longer at room temp. and then refrigerate.)

***If you would like to learn how to make Elderflower champagne, I throughly recommend this recipe, which can be found here: https://theherbarium.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/‘champagne’/

Resources:

For dried herbs –

mountainroseherbs.com

australherbs.com.au (bulk)

highlandherbs.com.au

southernlightherbs.com.au