Flours used in Raw Desserts

Like any recipes, cooked or not, there can be some ingredients that require preparation prior to making the dish. Having some flours already made and stored in the fridge means that when the urge takes you to make a sweet raw dessert you are able to do this. My three favourite flours that I keep on hand are Almond, Cashew and Oat.

almond flour in a wooden bowl, almondsAlmond Flour

Almond flour is the leftover pulp from making Almond Milk which has been dehydrated at 41C for 12 hours. Once dried it will have clumped together. Either process the dried almond pulp in a food processor or the dry jug of a blender to produce the flour. Sift the flour to remove any lumps and store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Any pulp leftover from making nut milk, like hazelnut or brazil nut, can be dehydrated and processed in the same way to produce a flour. The flour will lend a different taste to the dessert being created.

Cashew Flour

Cashew flour is produced by ‘whizzing’ small amounts of cashews in the dry jug of a blender. I use my Vitamix for this. The flour that is produced is then sifted to remove any lumps and the process repeated until the desired amount of cashew flour is reached. The flour is then stored in an air tight container in the fridge. It is important not to over blend the cashews or they will become cashew butter. I also store the left over ‘lumps’ of cashews in the fridge and use them to make cashew milk, cashew cream or the filling in one of my desserts.

Oat flour in old wooden bowlOat Flour

Process rolled oats in either the food processor or dry blender jug until flour consistency. Sift the flour to remove any lumps and store in an air tight container in the fridge. A lot of raw desserts use nuts for either the base and/or the filling. By using oat flour it reduces the amount of nuts used but it also ‘lightens’ the the pastry crusts or biscuits.

Having ingredients on hand in your kitchen is a great way to start setting up your kitchen. If you would like some other ideas of setting up your kitchen please contact me via email. vicki@inspiredchange.com.au

In vibrant health, Vicki

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