LUXE / HEALTH nourishing bone marrow…

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The cooler weather we’re experiencing calls for comfort food and trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than this tasty bone marrow dish, hot out of the oven! It’s super simple and despite the somewhat strange look you might get from your butcher when he asks you if the beef bones are for your dog (yes, this really happened!), once you explain you’re after the bone marrow, most butchers will happily split the bone vertically for you and send you on your way. Aside from the melt-in-your-mouth taste, bone marrow is one of the most nourishing foods you can eat and is great for gut health. Let me know what you think…

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LUXE / HEALTH Nourishing Bone Marrow

Ingredients:

1-2 beef bones, split vertically
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped
Himalayan sea salt
Black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh crusty bread

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 220C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • In a small jug, combine olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Place bones on baking tray (marrow side exposed) and drizzle olive oil mixture over top. Season generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle over lemon zest.
  • Roast for around 20 minutes until the bone marrow is soft but not completely runny.
  • Serve smeared on fresh toast loaf and devour…then go back to your butcher and stock up on beef bones!

 

LUXE / HEALTH raw date caramel slice…

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Caramel slice has got to be one of my absolute favourite treats but the generic stuff you find at your local cafe is often laden with refined sugars. Although there are endless recipes online for healthier versions of this tasty treat, I’m forever experimenting with new combos and think I’ve stumbled onto a winner. While dates are high in fructose (so I wouldn’t suggest noshing on them every day), they are the perfect addition to this sticky slice…just try not to devour the whole slab at once!

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LUXE / HEALTH Raw Date Caramel Slice

Ingredients:

For the base:
4 dates, pitted and diced
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

For the date caramel:
4 dates, pitted and diced
4 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. rice malt syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

For the chocolate:
1/4 cup cacao
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tbsp. rice malt syrup
Crack of sea salt

Method:

  • To make the base, pop all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
  • Line a baking tin or small square tupperware container with baking paper. Pour the shredded base mixture into the prepped tin and press down firmly. Pop in the freezer while you make the caramel.
  • Place dates, tahini, rice malt syrup and coconut oil in the food processor and blend until the mixture comes together like it does when you’re making dough. Tip out into a fine sieve and drain off any excess milky oil that has been released by the tahini.
  • Press the caramel firmly into the base with your fingers or a spatula and place back into the freezer.
  • Whisk together the cacao, coconut oil and rice malt syrup, add a crack or two of sea salt and pour over the caramel layer. Place back in the freezer once more and leave to set for 30-60 minutes.
  • Slice into thick chunks and enjoy! The slice will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Peanut butter pecan cookies…

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These tasty wee numbers were the happy result of a craving for peanut butter and pecans.  Plus, with our fruit bowl seemingly always housing a bunch of overripe bananas, I was easily lured to the kitchen by the promise of chewy, chunky, crunchy, oats cookies.  The best bit?  They are completely guilt-free…

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LUXE / HEALTH Peanut Butter + Pecan Cookies

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. peanut butter
4 dates, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp. black chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla powder (I love this one by Loving Earth)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180, fan-bake.
  • In a large bowl, mash your banana then add the oats, coconut, pecans, peanut butter, dates, chia seeds and vanilla powder.
  • Mix well to combine, then on a baking paper lined tray, roll tablespoon sized spoonfuls into balls.
  • Press down gently with a fork to flatten then bake for 18-20 minutes until the bottoms are golden but the centre is still chewy.
  • Devour while warm then store any extras in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

How to transform your week, on a Sunday…

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If you speak to my nearest and dearest, you’ll already know I’m dedicated to what my husband calls ‘the Sunday sulk’ – which surfaces without welcome (and without fail) every Sunday afternoon.  But, over time, I’ve managed to combat any feelings of Monday morning dread by focussing on productivity, rather than negativity.  If you want to streamline your Sunday and transform your whole week in the process, here’s how to hit the ground running…

  • Devote some time to gratitude – you may already have an established daily gratitude practise in motion, but if not, setting aside some time on a Sunday for reflection can completely transform your mindset.  To begin, simply grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down three things you are feeling grateful for in that moment.  And don’t overthink it!  No matter how simple the thought, feeling grateful will instantly help any negativity to melt away.
  • Plan your weekly workouts – one thing I like to do on a Sunday to get myself organised (besides meal prep) is to sit down with my weekly calendar and book in my workouts.  By locking in the sessions I want to commit to for the week ahead, I feel like my head is already in the game and I’m less likely to find a last minute excuse to ditch them.
  • Tick off some life admin – part of the reason so many of us dread Mondays is that we feel the weekend always goes by far too quickly without any time to tick off those niggling tasks on our to-do lists.  So, to combat this, aim to tick off at least one of those mundane tasks you’ve been putting off.  It could be taking that bag of secondhand clothes to the charity bin, cleaning the shower or sorting out your hard-drives – big or small, the sense of accomplishment that follows will set in motion a week of productivity.
  • Get inspired – whether there’s a book you’ve been wanting to get stuck into, a blog post you’ve been meaning to read, or a course you’ve wanted to look into, spend a little of your Sunday doing some self-care homework to get you inspired.  Just challenging your mind to think creatively and spending some time looking at how you can broaden your horizons beyond the mundane 9-5 can set you up or a calmer, clearer Monday.

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LUXE / HEALTH carrot cake…

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This was my first (and only) attempt at creating a healthy version of carrot cake and I have to admit – it was a winner all round!  If you’ve got a surplus of carrots lingering in the bottom of your fridge, I suggest you whip up this wee treat, grab a cup of tea and enjoy every single mouthful…

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LUXE / HEALTH Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

3 large carrots, grated
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
Dash ground cinnamon
Dash ground ginger
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (or raisins if you prefer) + extra to serve
2 tsp. baking powder

For the icing:

Cream cheese
Pinch vanilla bean powder
Lemon zest and juice, to taste

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160C on bake.  Then, in a large bowl mix together the grated carrot, eggs, spices, almond meal, walnuts, baking powder and coconut oil.
  • Mix well then pop into a lightly greased loaf tin.  If you haven’t got one already, I can highly recommend the silicon loaf tins you can buy nowadays!
  • Bake for around 90 minutes or until cooked through, the cake should be moist but hold together.  This is another recipe where you need to trust your instincts and after 60 minutes, check the cake every 10 minutes or so as every oven differs slightly.
  • Cool in the loaf tin completely before popping onto a rack.
  • Meanwhile, whip up some cream cheese icing by popping a few tablespoons of cream cheese in a hand mixer with a pinch of vanilla bean powder and the zest of one lemon.  Slowly add lemon juice, to taste and a little honey or rice malt syrup to sweeten (optional).
  • Once the cake has cooled, use a spatula to ice the loaf and sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts.  Simple.

LUXE / HEALTH banana + oat cookies…

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Give me a bunch of too-ripe bananas and I give you these wee gems…enjoy!

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LUXE / HEALTH Banana + Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup choc chips (substitute for raisins or chopped nuts if you want to ditch the chocolate!)
1 tbsp. rice malt syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
Dash ginger powder

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 140C, then in a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas well.
  • Add the oats, coconut, choc chips, rice malt syrup, coconut oil and a dash of ginger powder (or cinnamon if you prefer) and mix well.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper then pop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray – should make 12-14 cookies.
  • Cook for around 45 minutes at this low heat, then crank your oven to 180C for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up the outside.  The cookies should look nice and golden brown but still be chewy on the inside so just trust your instincts when it comes to your oven and keep an eye on them!

LUXE / HEALTH French toast…

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In my mind, there’s nothing more comforting than a stack of gorgeously gooey French toast and while it’s certainly a bit of a treat brekkie and not something I would suggest noshing on every day – it’s definitely on high rotation in our household at the moment.  Sunday mornings currently involve a lazy stroll to the corner coffee shop, followed by a trip to the local bakery for a loaf of fresh gluten free sourdough, and then it’s straight back to the kitchen for pure indulgence…

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LUXE / HEALTH French Toast

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1 tbsp. rapadura sugar
4-6 slices thickly cut sourdough (I’ve found the BEST gluten free loaf at our local, but any bread will do)
Fresh raspberries
Marscapone or coconut yoghurt, to serve
Maple syrup (make sure you buy 100% pure – the regular supermarket rubbish is often full of just that..)
Butter or coconut oil

Method:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar until smooth.  Then, dunk each slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds until it’s super soggy.
  • Heat a grill pan or frying pan on medium-high heat and add a dollop of butter or coconut oil and swirl around.  Note: I like to have two pans going at once because I’m simply too impatient to wait!
  • Fry each slice of bread for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and serve while hot.
  • Current fave toppings include fresh raspberries with marscapone (it’s a treat after all!) and maple syrup.  But, honourable mentions include sliced banana and bacon, raspberries and coconut yoghurt or my hubby’s simple favourite, cinnamon sugar…

LUXE / HEALTH shiitake soba bowl…

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When you’re lacking dinner inspo and want something quick but healthy and comforting all in one go, then I promise this soba bowl will hit the spot….

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LUXE / HEALTH Shiitake Soba Bowl

Ingredients:

1-2 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, finely sliced
2 bunches Pak Choy, roughly chopped
Handful shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Coconut oil
5-6 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 packet soba noodles

Method:

  • In a small jug, mix together the rice vinegar, sesame oil and lime juice.  Taste, season and set aside.
  • Slice chicken breasts into 1-2cm chunks, then heat a little coconut oil in a wok or large frypan and stir-fry for a few minutes until chicken has browned a little and cooked through, then set aside.
  • Cook soba noodles according to packet directions while you prep your veg, then rinse and drain well.
  • Add a little extra coconut oil to the wok then add the garlic, leek and mushrooms and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until soft before adding the Pak Choy.  As the greens begin to wilt, add the chicken back to the wok, followed by the drained soba noodles.
  • Drizzle over the dressing and toss well to combine.
  • Divide between two plates and sprinkle with fresh coriander.  Done!

Why fruit isn’t a dirty word…

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When did fruit become a dirty word?  I don’t know about you, but it seems that somewhere between smashed avo and bone broth, the practise of ‘healthy eating’ pushed fruit into the pile of foods to cut out or restrict because of its’ sugar content.

As someone who has always tried to embrace the concept of balance over deprivation when it comes to nutrition, the fact that so many women are asking me about fruit or telling me that they’ve ditched it altogether is worrying.  Yes, fruit contains sugar (a combination of glucose and fructose), but the tsunami of ‘anti-sugar’ information we’re presented with on a daily basis has cast fruit in a particularly bad light with some popping it in the same category as processed foods and refined sugars.

So, what’s the deal then?  While it’s true that glucose and fructose are metabolised differently by the body and too much of the latter can place extra strain on our detox systems, you’d have to consume a bucketload of fruit in order to reach those kinds of levels.  The truth is, fruit contains an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which our bodies miss out on if we nix it altogether.

While every body is different and the evidence for bio-individuality grows stronger every day, I encourage you to lose the fear surrounding fruit and enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.  It truly is nature’s perfectly packaged fast food and as they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away…

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LUXE / HEALTH salad series…

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This Sydney heatwave has me craving nothing but salad so if you can relate, get stuck into this pork, pomegranate and pistachio beauty…

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LUXE / HEALTH Sumac Pork and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

1 pork fillet
1 cup quinoa
1 pomegranate
Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
4-6 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful pistachios
Handful of steamed green beans
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sumac
Zest and juice of one lemon + extra
Olive oil

Method:

  • In a large bowl, mix the ground coriander, cumin, sumac, lemon zest and lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil.  Pop the pork fillet in the marinade, cover and chill for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
  • Rinse the quinoa and drain well before adding to a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.
  • Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, then cook your pork for 3-4 minutes on each side until well browned and the pork has cooked through.
  • To assemble your salad, toss the quinoa with your steamed green beans, spring onions, fresh coriander, mint and pistachios.  Add the juice and seeds of the pomegranate and pile high on your plate.
  • Slice the pork fillet into 1/2 cm slices and place on top of your quinoa salad.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon and any extra pomegranate seeds.  A crumble of goats cheese or a dollop of Greek yoghurt would go down a treat too!