Carrot Crackers

almond carrot crackersI love making almond milk or any nut milk really. At the moment, I am enjoying a decaf coffee with warmed hazelnut milk, sweetened with cinnamon and maple syrup while I type this post and listen to the rain outside. Anyway I have digressed.  Making all these nut milks means I have lots of leftover nut pulp to work with so I’m experimenting with different recipes, to use up the nut pulp. Usually when I make the nut milks I will add a date or two to slightly sweeten the milk which means I don’t use any sweeteners when I use the nut milk for breakfast and smoothies. The only draw back with that is that the nut pulp is sweet so I can only use the pulp for a sweet dish.

A few weeks ago I decided to start making my nut milks plain – no dates or spices so that the leftover nut pulp could be used for a savoury dish as well as a sweet dish. As the weather is now cooling down I am wanting more heavier food so what better thing to make than crackers. Crackers can go with salads, dips, soups or spread with mashed avocado and sprinkled with celtic sea salt for a snack. Yum.  Below is what I put together and I have to say they were so nice. To have a slight spicy flavour through the cracker from the garam marsala was great and while the crackers where dehydrating the spiciness permeated the kitchen. With the smell through the kitchen I was so looking forward to when I would be able to try one. I was not disappointed.

I hope you enjoy these crackers as much as I did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4cups of almond pulp – from making almond milk
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp garam marsala
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbs olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place almond pulp, flaxseed meal and garam marsala in a bowl
  2. In a high speed blender process the carrot, zucchini, onion and water till smooth
  3. Pour carrot mixture into the bowl with the almond pulp mixture
  4. Mix together to form a wet dough
  5. Add olive oil to the bowl and mix thoroughly
  6. Divide evenly between two dehydrator trays and smooth, flatten to the size of the dehydrator tray
  7. Place in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 6 hours
  8. After 6 hours turn the crackers over onto a mesh sheet. Score so that once completely dehydrated you can snap the crackers apart. Dehydrate again for another 8 hours.
  9. Store crackers in the fridge or freezer.

In good health, Vicki

Raw Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla Cashew Cream

I have a confession. Every now and again I will sneak off to the shops to buy a tub of chocolate mousse and vanilla yoghurt. This treat is SO decadent – the chocolate mousse rich, velvety and chocolate while the vanilla yoghurt is sweet and smooth and goes so nicely with the mousse. The tubs are only little so I use the smallest of my tea spoons and slowly savour each mouthful. If the kids are around I’ll get them one each also and we all sit there quietly taking in the flavours and textures. I love that they can be still at times and really be present with what they are eating.

Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla Cashew CreamEven though this product is good quality there are still some ingredients that I am not happy with. Well today I created something that rivals this dish and for me there are no nasties, no diary, no gluten and I always have the ingredients on hand so can make it whenever I wish. Hmmm maybe that part isn’t good! I’m looking forward to when the kids come home so they can give me their opinion.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Mousse

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and cut up, soaked for 30mins
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 4 Tbs raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/8 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1 drop doTerra Cinnamon essential oil (optional)
  • 1 drop doTerra Wild Orange essential oil (optional)

Vanilla Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup cashews soaked over night
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4cup + 1Tbs date soaking water
  • 1/8 tsp celtic sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place all chocolate mousse ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Use the tamper to push the ingredients down so they blend together or turn the blender off and scrap the sides down and few times.
  2. Put mousse in the fridge to chill for 1 hour
  3. Place all vanilla cashew cream ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Again use the tamper or scrap the sides down until all ingredients are blended together and the consistency is smooth.
  4. You may need to add some more date soaking water, 1 Tbs at a time, to get the desired consistency
  5. Place vanilla cashew cream int he fridge to chill for 1 hour.
  6. To serve, place a few spoonfuls of mousse into and bowl along with a few spoonfuls of the vanilla cashew cream. I also added slices of a nectarine.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It is very decadent and was a great way to celebrate some fantastic news I received.

In good health, Vicki

Daily Nourishment

My Daily Nourishment event has been this week, where I invited people to slow down and be present with themselves and the meal or beverage they where consuming.  It was an opportunity to take part in and become present in the act of nourishing their body. Each day I posted on Face Book what I ate or drank and what I noticed during my time of nourishment.

What an amazing experience it was. I found at times I was able to be fully present with the meal, I tasted the sweetness of the peach and felt the texture of it’s skin on my tongue, which I don’t usually feel as I am distracted by other things as I am eating. I was aware of emotions siting under the surface, emotions that where not big enough to be obvious, yet because I was being present, observing myself, I was able to observe these emotions. It also meant that I was then able to connect with the emotion and honour myself as I let the emotion move through my body. One time it meant that I cried, not tears of sadness or joy, but of a gentle relief. Almost as if I had finally let go of the breath that I had been holding onto. I had not even been aware that that was how I felt.

OnIMG_5028 another occasion I realised I felt agitated. I found it hard to be fully present with my meal. I had to remind myself to set the fork down and to chew. I even reached for the phone to distract myself from this feeling. I was not able to be fully present that day, however by giving myself the space to be as present as I could be, I discovered something about myself. A belief that I had not realised was part of my makeup. What was agitating me I hear you ask? I had spent the morning with 3 amazing, uplifting and inspiring women. We had talked about a number of different topics and I had come away from the morning energised and with plans to move forward with some of the tasks in my business that I had been putting off. When I got home, I made lunch and decided I would be present with my lunch before I went into my office. It was then that I started to feel agitated. The belief that surfaced was around feeling that I had ‘wasted my morning’ as I could not quantify the time spent with these amazing women into dollars. I felt guilty. When had a started believing that every moment I spend on the business had to be quantified into dollars earned? We live in a culture of do, do, do and the making of money is valued however if we are still, if we are’ being’, then there is no value placed on this. When had I been brain washed into this belief? I am grateful that this has surfaced as I can now look into it further and replace this belief with one that values stillness with movement, doing with being. I am also grateful for this event because without this event I know that on that day I would have eaten quickly, without awareness, to get onto my to do list and so would not have had the space for this belief to surface. The event was holding me accountable and to be still.

I have learnt that it is in the subtle, slower times that an awareness can be achieved that can not be heard when we are busy. With this awareness I am able to see parts of myself that have been hidden due to my busyness. I am not wanting to push myself but gentle unfold and open the way a rose does. Slowly, beautifully and without urgency and with a knowingness that I am held by the Universe. Can you see your own beauty?

IMG_5029How can you nourish yourself daily? Take the time with one meal or beverage a day to be present. We have to eat. We have to fuel this body of ours. Why not also use this time to nourish the other parts of yourself. So with your meal or beverage I invite you to turn off the TV or computer, leave the phone in another room, push your papers to one side while you take part and become present in the act of nourishing your body.

Take a deep breath in and then slowly exhale. Look at the food on your plate. Notice the colours. What are the aromas entering your nose? With each mouthful, put down the knife and fork or spoon and chew your food. Really taste it. Can you detect the flavours of sweet, bitter, salty, sour or umami? How many times do you normally chew your food? Can you chew for 20 times? Does the flavour change the longer you chew. As you swallow can you notice the food leaving your mouth and making it’s way down to your stomach?

Auszeit SpaOnce you have finished your meal or beverage notice how you feel. Notice how the rest of your day is. Notice how you sleep. Is there any difference. This is a wonderful opportunity to slow down and ‘smell those roses’.

In good health, Vicki

Breathing and releasing stress

Can you believe that January is at a close. My kids started school last week and we are now getting back into the routine of up at a certain time, get ready and out the door by…. Oh I do love school holidays – no routines.

The lead up to school returning has been full on, both personally and professionally. Getting all that we needed for the kids to return to school, Jannine coming home for a flying visit during Australia Day (she has now returned to Adelaide for the next 2 months), finishing off the spring cleaning I had started, which will result in a garage sale in the next few weeks, receiving news I had been nominated for 3 awards with Women With Altitude, starting to video “how to video’s” for the different raw recipes, continuing studying with IIN and getting back into the clinic, seeing clients. It has felt a bit like someone has increased the speed on the treadmill I am on and I was not expecting it.

Stress, overwhelemd worriedI have started to notice what my signs are that I am on that treadmill –  my mind starts to run (my to do list, worries and thoughts that just keep circling) or I have been extra short with the kids or my sleeping has suffered as I try to fit all of ‘it’ into the day. I’ve over committed to the day and then feel anxious and annoyed that I have not completed everything and disappointed that I’m cranky. What has happened? I’ve stopped nourishing myself – taking the time to stop, breathe and connect with me. What are some of the things that I normally do to nourish myself:

  • be present while I eat a meal
  • sit and have a cup of tea and do nothing else
  • take a few moments to breath
  • get into the bush for a bush walk – being in nature

Young woman enjoying fresh air in autumn, intentionally toned.I remind clients to take time our for themselves – to nourish themselves. It doesn’t have to take the form of hours out of your day, just a few minutes here and there and the benefits are compounding. Over the last few weeks I have once again fallen into the busyness – go, go, go and do, do, do achieving mentality – “I don’t have time for me” or “I’ll take some time for me later today or tomorrow”. Does that happen? Not usually. So I spiral down feeling more and more out of control. Does this sound familiar? One thing I do know for sure is that as I become ‘busier’ my breathing changes. I’ve noticed that when I am feeling out of control, either completely or in the task I have set myself to do, then my breathing is quite shallow. I’ve also noticed on the days when I feel that I have all the time in the world and surprised at how much I have actually accomplished, my breathing has been slow, deep and regular. With this observation, I have been using my breath to help slow me down and put me back into the drivers seat. The fantastic thing about focusing on your breath is, that you can do it anywhere and at anytime. Here is a little breathing exercise that can bring you back to being present and can reset the ‘I’m feeling out of control’ button.

Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, your hands in your lap and your back straight. Close your eyes and notice your breathing. Connect with your breath as you breathe in and then breathe out. Continue to breathe in and out for a couple of breath cycles. Now I want you to breathe in for the count of 4, hold, breathe our for the count of 4, hold and continue again. The image I have while breathing, is an oval – up one side, over the top, down the other side, under the bottom and back up. Remember to breathe from your diaphragm (the base of your lungs – your belly will expand and decrease, like the way babies breathe).

I’m also practising the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercising which I learnt about in one of my subjects at Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). In the subject, Dr Weil explains the benefit of breathing and how it is the link between the conscious and unconscious mind and is the key to changing the function of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system regulates the bodily functions such as heart beat, breathing and digestion and is the control system behind our fight or flight response. Dr Weil also believes that improper breathing is the root of many of the health problems that we experience today. With this knowledge you can begin to see how important your breathing is. To find out more about 4-7-8 Breath.

Have you used breath work before to help reconnect with yourself? Have you noticed a difference in the way you breathe when you are stressed compared to when you are relaxed? I would love to hear about your experiences with breathing.

In good health, Vicki

Achieving New Years Resolutions

Are you finding that things are now starting to crank up again as we head into 2016? New Year's resolutionsDid you make any New Years Resolutions or decide on any goals or dreams that you want to achieve this year?

Even though it is only two weeks into the new year, I have already started working towards achieving my goals. Like so many people at the beginning of the year, who are pumped up and enthusiastic going into the new year, we set goals and New Years resolutions that we wish to achieve, however as the weeks past our enthusiasm reduces or disappears all together, life gets in the way and when we get to the end of the year we have not achieved what we wished to. This year I plan to achieve my goals and I invite you to join me. How is this year going to be different to other years? I have started this year differently!

At the end of 2015 I sat down and took stock of the year that was coming to a close through Karen Knowler’s New Year Ritual. There is so much to this process that I highly recommend it. For the purpose of this post, part of what I looked at was what goals and desires I had at the beginning of 2015 and what I had achieved. If I had not achieved these goals or desires why not. New Year Heart Hands - pair of female hands making heart shape with red orange pink colored sparkles behind on a dark background with copy space and the words NEW YEAR running along the bottomThis process was about honesty, not about making excuses but being really honest with myself as to why I had achieved the goals or why I had not. By being truly honest I could then learn from this – what had helped me and what had hindered me. For instance one of my goals was to run the 25km trail run from Woodford to Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains on 30th June in under 3.5hrs. I achieved this in 2.52hrs, even though my training had not gone according to plan. I had had about 6 – 8 weeks off where I could not run the distances I needed due to muscle issues around my T7 vertebrae interfering with my breathing – you kind of need to breath when you run :). To read more about my achievement. So why did I think I achieved this goal even with so much time off towards the end of my training? Yes, I had employed a personal trainer to put together a program that I then followed and which was updated every 6 weeks, however that was not the reason. I could have googled training plans for this type of run, there are plenty out there. The reason why I achieved my goal was that I was accountable to someone. My trainer, Rebekah, called me every week to see how I was going, discuss any challenges and celebrate my achievements. If I had not been accountable, I know that in those challenging 6 – 8 weeks where I was unable to run any distances, I would have just given up. So for me, having accountability is SO important if I wish to achieve my goals.

Since coming back from my holidays in Adelaide, I have on a daily basis been choosing 3 priorities to focus on and entering them into them into an app called Commit to 3. These tasks have ranged from personal things to do, to doing some exercise or something for my business. I can then tick off each task as it is completed. The reason why this is more powerful than using a piece of paper to jot down your 3 tasks for the day or putting them on your to do list (which always grows and rarely gets shorter), is that you can involve family, friends or colleagues. You now have an inbuilt accountability system, as they receive advise of your tasks for the day and then receive advise as you tick each one off. Who wants to finish the day not completing their tasks when friends, family or colleagues have. As I mentioned above, accountability was one of the reasons why I was able to achieve my trail running goal. In the short time that I have been using this, I have found that if I loose focus through the day on my tasks, when I receive a message from my partner saying she has ticked off one of her tasks, it has helped me re focus and come back to what is really important for the day. If you would like to know more, Michel Kripalani, in this You Tube clip, chats about how important accountability is and how he developed Commit to 3.

Another habit that I have started this year is setting the alarm for 5am – yes 5 o’clock in the morning, even on the weekend and getting up to do The Miracle Morning. This is a hour long practise that has been incredible, involving affirmations, reading inspirational material, journaling, visualisation, meditation and exercise. Do not make resolutionsThe first day that I started, I almost hit the snooze button as I had had a late night. I am so glad that I did not. I got up and by the end of the hour I was energised, centred, positive and peaceful, ready to start the day. What was even more amazing for me was that I felt centred the whole day and the monkey mind that I usually have, was turned down, way down. To have a day where I achieved my 3 tasks in a state of centeredness, all the while having a quieter mind was incredible. I was very excited going to bed that night, to then be waking up the next morning at 5am. How is that possible?

Having started the New Year in a very different fashion, knowing more about myself and what I need to support me in achieving my goals and my growth, I am feeling very positive and excited about 2016. This IS going to be a magical and amazing year and I am looking forward to the end of the year where I will be able to look back and say “WOW I really did achieve all of that”. I hope that you are inspired also to change the way you have been looking at your goals and working towards them (or not) and I would love to hear from you:

What support have you decided to put into place to achieve your goals and dreams?

What are you doing differently this year to achieve them?

In good health, Vicki

Note: I do not receive any commission or payment from these products.