Zoodle stirfry (& how to zoodle!)


If you haven’t caught onto the craze yet – zoodles are a noodle made from zucchini.

Well, my stirfry doesn’t really show my zoodles to their full magnificance – this is what they look like with skins on:

If you peel then marinate the zoodles in a little himalayan or sea salt for 5-10 minutes and lightly saute, they’re a great substitute for wheat noodles in spaghetti bolognese.  The texture is soft and delicious and kidlets will LOVE them!


..and here is the gadget that produced them – the Paderno world cuisine spiralizer.  It has a tri blade that cuts 2 sizes of spaghetti type noodles and a ribbon cut noodle :

You can purchase the Paderno on Trademe (or Amazon).  It’s about NZD$77.

Words can’t describe my childlike glee when I take a humble zucchini or carrot and within seconds, produce a long colourful voodle (vege noodle).  This is a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.

Zoodle stirfry

I’m loving this sweet and salty tasty vege sidedish that can be whipped up quickly and cheaply.


1 small zucchini (zoodled or grated)

half a carrot (zoodled or grated)

handful of finely sliced cabbage

some finely sliced red capsicum

small amount of sliced up spring onion

handful of leafy greens

1 tsp green curry paste

1 tsp coconut nectar (or your choice of sweetener)

1 tsp tamari soy sauce

sprinkle of sesame seeds

grapeseed oil for saute


You can sprinkle some himalayan salt on your voodles and leave to marinate for 5 minutes – or not – up to you.  Then just bung it all in a pan and saute till its cooked to your liking.  Sprinkle over sesame seeds.  Eat as a sidedish or by itself with some avo and sauerkraut. You could use this recipe as a base and throw in meat, beans, tempeh or tofu to jazz it up.

Use any vege you have in the fridge for this dish.  And all ingredients are interchangeable except for green curry paste.  You can use normal normal soy instead of the tamari.


Baked Cran/chia energy bread slice


Baked granola bars

Recipe credit http://www.ohsheglows.com


3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup water
3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.

Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.

Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.

Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
I suggest freezing leftovers to preserve freshness.

Nb: I was confused when I bit into these as they were called granola bars but they don’t have the bite and they’re not dry like a granola bar. I like them! But if you’re unused to the texture that chia seeds give to an end product it will confuse you too! Chia gives this slice a kind of spongy texture. This is more like a seedy cranberry Chia energy bread slice….consider it renamed!

I like to keep this in the freezer for those times I need an energy hit.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/01/08/soft-chewy-sugar-free-baked-granola-bars/#ixzz3yl9K2iZc

Is Marmite full of MSG?

Homemade Organic Gluten-Free "Vegemite" {Vegan, Refined Sugar-Free}

This blog is based off the unconventional bakers blog.

The short answer is yes, there are glutamates in all of the ‘mites (Marmite, Vegemite, Promite).   I actually made a call to Sanitarium to check the ingredients, as the blog mentioned that ingredients under 1gm don’t have to be disclosed on labels.  They said, no – no MSG or glutamate additives.  So where didthis whole MSG-gate come from?

How are the ‘mites’ made? 

Salt is added to yeast which is grown on barley or wheat.  (This is why the mites are NOT considered gluten free).  This causes the cell to dry up and self destruct.  Chemical enzymes are added to kill the yeast cells outright.  Refining processes are used to leave a paste high in glutamic acid.  At this point, there is no difference between this and MSG – they are functionally identical.

Umami – MSG – and can 1 tsp on my toast harm me?

The ‘umami’ taste of MSG is what attracts us to products like marmite.  Umami is a Japanese word that describes one of the 5 taste sensations.  Its refers to a pleasant savoury  taste.  What you probably didn’t know is that the pleasant taste we all love is due to receptors specific to glutamate.  Glutamates are present in a number of foods like meat broths and fermented foods.  It’s delicious!    Having a bit of MSG is not likely to hurt most people.  However to those that are sensitive or allergic it can cause massive issues.  In studies its claimed to be linked to autism, obesity and inflammation.

Yes there are studies on both mice and humans to prove some of the above.  I guess I’m more interested in the personal stories of Mums with children whose behaviour has signficantly improved from removing Marmite and MSG from their diet and suchlike.  You can read about some of these in the references below.

FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.

Vegemite has WAAAY less sugar!

Marmite is just over 11% sugar

Promite is 18% sugar  (shock horror)

Vegemite is far better at only 2.2% sugar

More importantly – what about the sugar content???

Unfortunately if you’re trying to lower your sugar consumption Kiwi’s, it looks like our favourite spread has been outsmarted in the sugar stakes by Vegemite.

All of these yeast spreads are full of B vitamins.  But whats the skinny on the rest of the ingredients?

Whats inside?  

  • Marmite contains 15% of the daily recommended intake of iron.  Vegemite does not.
  • All contain barley and wheat derivatives so not suitable for coeliacs
  • All contain corn maltodextrin – a polysaccharide (and carbohydrate) that is derived from corn or wheat (corn in this case), is high glycemic, highly processed.  However according to healthline, its the high sugar content that is of most risk to diabetics and those with blood sugar issues.
  • Promite has a huge list of additives – so that’s why it tastes so good.  Immediate strike off any future grocery list.



Its fair to say that the ‘mites are highly processed.  As usual, its not the teaspoon of your preferred ‘mite on toast – its a diet high in all that processed, packaged, sugary crap that will harm.  But I have to say, I was very surprised of some of the facts in my research, particularly the huge difference in sugar content.  And now to my big omission – don’t hate me..I’m a closet vegemite lover…eek…

Click here for a list of how MSG can be hidden in your food.

Home made Marmite

  • ½ cup black tahini sesame butter
  • 4 tbsp tamari
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process into a creamy and smooth consistency {I used my magic bullet because it’s such a small batch and it worked perfectly! An immersion blender would be the next best way to go in my opinion}. Store in the fridge. Lightly spread on {non-dairy} buttery {gf} toast and enjoy!






The unconventional baker



Natural news

Science direct

The Smithsonian

My goodness organics

American Nutrition Association

Buckwheat porridge


Buckwheat, like amaranth and quinoa is a seed – therefore it doesn’t contain wheat and is gluten free.  It’s also full of fibre, and minerals.  However it is low in protein (3.4%) and higher in carbs.  Interestingly, it is low to medium on the glycemic index, so its suitable for diabetics…..and its alkalizing so its good for cleansing and detox.

In animals, buckwheat protein has been found to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol (14, 15), suppressing gallstone formation (16, 17) and reducing the risk of colon cancer (13).

In order to increase protein availability, just like any other seed, by sprouting, digestibility is increased (next time!)

Vitamins and Minerals

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat is richer in minerals than many common cereals, such as rice, wheat and corn (5).

However, buckwheat is not particularly rich in vitamins.  Here are the most abundant minerals found in common buckwheat:

  • Manganese: Found in high amounts in whole grains, manganese is essential for healthy metabolism, growth, development and the body’s antioxidant defenses.
  • Copper: Often lacking in the Western diet, copper is an essential trace element that may have beneficial effects on heart health when eaten in small amounts (19).
  • Magnesium: When present in sufficient amounts in the diet, this essential mineral may lower the risk of various chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease (20).
  • Iron: Deficiency in this important mineral leads to anemia, a condition characterized by reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
  • Phosphorus: This mineral plays an essential role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Compared to other grains, the minerals in cooked buckwheat groats are particularly well absorbed.  This is because buckwheat is relatively low in phytic acid, a common inhibitor of mineral absorption found in most grains (6).


Buckwheat porridge

My new fav porridge!!  I love buckwheat because it produces a creamy porridge, especially using the soy milk.   To up the protein, I just add a tablespoon of LSA!

Recipe adapted from deliciously ella.com  (Serves 2)

1 cup of buckwheat grouts

2 cups of homemade almond milk (I subbed in 1 cup rice milk, 1 cup soy milk)

1 cup of water

1 T brown rice syrup (or bettasweet or sweetener of your choice) (optional)

2 T dessicated coconut (optional)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Soak buckwheat groats overnight. The next morning, rinse thoroughly. Put the buckwheat and cinnamon into a pan with one cup of boiling water, allow this to heat for a couple of minutes. Once the water is absorbed add one cup of almond milk and stir well. Allow it to keep cooking and gradually add in the second cup of almond milk when it’s needed – don’t let the buckwheat run out of liquid ever. It should take about 20 minutes to cook completely, at which point stir in your sweetener, vanilla and coconut.

Top with a tablespoon of LSA.  Mine is served with a sliced golden queen peach from Mum’s tree -yummo!

Ella’s recipe also adds in banana’s and almond butter which makes this porridge creamier.  You can see her original recipe here.



Deliciously Ella

Authority Nutrition  (I unashamedly copied and pasted from this article)

Amaranth porridge


I’m quite new to cooking whole foods like ancient and gluten free grains  so a lot of the stuff I make is experimental.  Like the sultana cake which has 4 ingredients, is super yummy but doesn’t hold together.  I’ve made it 5 times now.  I’m not posting it till  its fabulous!

Today I made amaranth porridge.  On the likability scale I’d give it a 5.  I like it because its good for me but its not porridge in the sense of what I’m used to.  I’m used to the creamy goodness of oats and this is nothing like that.  Its more like quinoa..a little bubbly seed that has texture.  Like most of these ancient grains, dressing them up with flavours and textures is important.  However take a geez at its profile…high protein and low carb.  Bucket loads of nutrition!

But I’m on a mission at the moment…theres a pair of jeans draped over my mirror that I fitted a year ago and damn it – I WILL fit them again! 

Health benefits
One reason amaranth is emerging into the forefront among grains is because of its remarkable nutrition. It’s higher in minerals, such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, and carotenoids, than most vegetables. It has truly remarkable protein content: cup for cup, 28.1 grams of protein compared to the 26.3 grams in oats and 13.1 grams in rice.

Amaranth is a great source of lysine, an important amino acid with protein content comparable to that of milk, more easily digested; neither can be said of other grains. To support this positive aspect of amaranth, it also contains primary proteins called albumin and globulins, which, in comparison with the prolamins in wheat, are more soluble and digestible.

One cup of raw amaranth contains 15 milligrams of iron, while white rice contains only 1.5 milligrams. One cup of raw amaranth also contains 18 milligrams of fiber; in comparison, white rice contains 2.4 grams.

At 105% of the daily value per serving, the manganese in amaranth is off the charts, yet it contains fewer carbohydrates. Amaranth contains more than three times the amount of calcium and it’s also high in magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Amaranth contains 6 to 10% oil, predominantly unsaturated, or around 77% unsaturated fatty acids, including linoleic acid, required for optimum nutrition. Not least in this list, amaranth is the only grain with documented vitamin C content.

Amaranth porridge

1/2 cup amaranth (rinsed)
1 cup water (add extra 1/2 cup if needed)
1 tsp cinnamon
Sweetener optional

Simmer until porridge thickens and threatens to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Serve with your choice of milk and chopped stonefruit and pineapple…or whatever fruit you like.

Stay tuned: Next time I’ll sprout the amaranth for 24 hours for better digestion.


The healthnut & her Mum (& Sprouted grain porridge)

Suffice to say that more times than not, my Mums ventures into the kitchen when I’m cooking typically earn a grimace and wrinkled nose rather than a delighted grin.  So this week has been an interesting one, as I announced there were no cooking duties for Mum while we launched into a roadtrip/lakeside bach holiday. 

I’ve had to tone down my extreme health-nuttyness and Mum’s got to try some new ingredients!

This morning Mum had scrambled (free range eggs).  They were scrambled with a tablespoon of coconut cream and some parsley and served with an avo, capsicum and spring onion, lemon juice side.


I decided to embark on a sprout porridge.  I had soaked amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa overnight, disposed of the water and left them to sprout.  Because its so warm here, the quinoa sprouted within a day.  The amaranth and buckwheat needed a bit more time but I decided I needed porridge this morning. 

Sprouting makes seeds and grains far more digestible as it disposes of the phytic acid.   Phytic acid is the component that allows seeds and grain toremain dormant and be stored dry for long periods.  Once the seed has access to water and warmth, the seed sprouts and all of the energy is released.  Phytic acid chelates important minerals and prohibits essential enzymes required for protein digestion…ie: its important for those with low stomach acid to avoid phytic acid!

Sprouted grain porridge:

Buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa – sprouted

Combine with water to cover about 1 cm above the grain/seeds.  I added about 3 T of coconut cream.  This is optional.  You could replace part of the water with milk of your choice.  I added a tablespoon of powered stevia/eurythritol (Betta Sweet), a swirl of brown rice syrup and a handful of blueberries.  I simmered this for about 20 minutes until the porridge thickened and threatened to stick to the bottom of the pot.

I served with finely diced pineapple.


Buckwheat oat pancakes (gluten, lactose and sugarfree – low fructose)


Mum and I are about to set out on a ROADTRIP!  Woohoo!!  So sustenance required!!

This recipe was one I made in home economics at primary school!  But I’ve subbed out the flour, milk and sugar to make it lactose, gluten and refined sugar free and low fructose!!  You could sub the butter out for any nut butter and replace the egg with a chia egg to bind.

Buckwheat produces a naturally drier pancake however the fats compensate for this.  Buckwheat is a fabulous gluten free flour – one of the most alkalizing and highly beneficial for bloodtype A’s (me), who thrive on an agrarian diet high in carbohydrates, low in fat.


Recipe  (makes 7 good sized pancakes)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp aluminium free baking powder
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
2 T grassfed butter
1 egg
2 -3 T brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Coconut oil to cook

3/4 cup blueberries
1 T brown rice syrup

Combine rolled oats and milk and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add flour, salt, egg and sugar and stir.  Add melted butter.  Sprinkle xanthan gum in top and stir in quickly without overstirring. Cook in coconut oil.  Serve loaded with the blueberries and more brown rice syrup.

Butternut soup (GAPS)


With GAPS, the philosophy is based around trying one food at a time, checking to see if the body likes it or not.  I chose butternut as my vege for my first bone broth soup.  This cheap as chips vege turns out a sweet, beautifully coloured, silky smooth soup.  I could devour a whole lot of this!  And once the bone broth is made, the soup is SOOO easy.


Butternut bone broth soup

Chop one butternut into cubes.  Put into a pot.  Pour over enough bone broth to just cover the butternut.  I added a continental stockpot liquid stock, however if you were doing 100% GAPS you would only add himalayan or celtic salt to taste.  Bring to the boil, then simmer until butternut is tender.  Cool.

Blend until silky smooth.

This soup is sweet and nourishing.

Bone broth soup and the GAPS program


If you’re familiar with GAPS (Gut and psychology Syndrome), you’ll recognise the importance of bone broth for its gut healing properties.  The difference between bone broth and meat broth is that bone broth is simmered for 6-24 hours whereas meat broth is simmered for 2-3 hours at a higher heat. 

Bone broth is the main component of the GAPS 6 stage introductory diet.  The broth is said to help remineralise your body  and heal/seal the gut as its rich in collagen and gelatin.

The GAPS diet is said to help with a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, bi-polar.  As well as the obvious gut issues like leaky gut, crohns, IBS and immune system dysfunction (auto immune disease) and skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoraisis.  The common maladies like brain fog, chronic fatigue, headaches and sleep issues will naturally rectify by resolving any gut imbalances.

Without going into the theory too much – there is a firm link between gut and brain health.  In previous posts I’ve talked about the gut being the producer of 90% of seratonin.  Its also the site for the production of  our immune system.  Thats why I harp on about the gut being the seat for so many chronic and degenerative diseases. Hippocrates – the father of modern medicine states this many times in many different ways:

All disease begins in the gut

Everything in excess is opposed to nature

Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food

Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes a matter of opportunity

The GAPS process is based off the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) which excludes all grains, legumes, soy and refined sugar.  It works off a process of elimation – taking out and then reintroducing foods very slowly in order to discover the foods that produce an inflammatory response in the gut.

So far I’ve discovered dairy does it for me..but I’m very impatient and haven’t spent the time to  do one food at a time – this is important! 

The GAPS introductory diet is a 6 stage process before going onto the full GAPS diet.

Due to the detoxification process that takes place on GAPS, the advice is to start with the meat stock (only takes 3 hours as opposed to 6-24 hours cooking) as the detox symptoms are more mild.  You can read more about GAPS by asking Uncle google.  Its fascinating reading.

A friend of mine who did GAPS for 8 weeks based at the Koanga institute had her teeth turn temporarily black as her liver detoxed.  This is a common side effect but easily solved by brushing your teeth!  This maybe TMI but she also mentioned the huge eliminations she was having – biggest EVER!  (I can vouch for this just from a week of having just the meat stock!)

Her colleague who teaches the GAPS principals is a huge advocate  as he manages his type 1 diabetes using the GAPS diet alone.  He doesn’t take insulin.  Amazing stories!

This recipe courtesy of Sally Fallons Nourishing Traditions

Bone broth

2-3 kgs bones (beef marrow, knuckle, meaty ribs, neck bones)
3-4 litres cold water
1/2  cup vinegar
2-3 onions coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
Several sprigs fresh thyme, tied together
1 tsp green peppercorns, crushed or tsp black peppercorns

Place the bonier bones (not much meat) in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water.  Let stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile place the meatier bones in a roasting pan and brown at 180C.  When well browned, add to the pot along with vegetables.

Add additional water if necessary but water should come no higher than an inch from rim of pot.  Bring to the boil.  Add thyme and crushed peppercorns.

Simmer 12-72 hours.

You’ll now have a pot of repulsive looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material.  Strain the lot.  Let cool in fridge.  Then remove congealed fat from the top.  Divide and freeze what you don’t need to use.  The broth will keep for several days in the fridge.

How I did it!

I made a meat stock rather than a broth which doesn’t contain so many of the nutrients or concentration of gelatin.

I roasted the bones for 30 minutes, simmered them in water for 3 hours, then added in chopped vegetables – whatever I had in the fridge – brocolli, cauliflower, swede, leek, onion, carrot.  I also added in a further concentrated liquid stock to taste, fresh parsley and garlic and 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp coriander powder.

I’ve been eating this all week and its gotten even tastier as the weeks progressed!

You could make this in the slow cooker which is what I’m going to try next for a 24 hour cook.


GAPS website
Natures food (gut supplements and to buy the book)

Raw Sauerkraut


Today I’m making tangy, crunchy
Sauerkraut.  This delicious, cultured sidedish provides lots of gut-loving bacteria enabling good digestion.  If you love the crunch of raw veges but your gut struggles, fermented veges are the way to get all that nutrition and fibre into you!

Recipe credit Elaina Love – Pure Joy Academy

Yields 4 cups

1 head cabbage, red or green
1/2 – 1 tsp high mineral salt (hinalayan ir celtic)
1/2 cup lemon juice or 3/4 cup lime juice
4 T dried dill or 1/2 cup fresh dill chopped
2 T caraway seeds
4-8 cloves garlic crushed

1.  Slice the cabbage using the 1mm setting on mandolin or food processor or cut paper thin with a knife. 
2.  Mix all ingredients together and massage with hands.  Continue to work until liquid starts to release.
3.  You may need to rest so leave the cabbage for 1/2 an hour and  come back to it until when you press on the cabbage, the liquid rises to the top.
4.  Place in a jar and press down until the liquid rises above the cabbage.  The juice may sink back down.  This is ok.
5.  Place a lid or towel on jar and let set for 1-4 days at room temperature depending on desired sourness.
6.  Once sauerkraut is ready, store for up to 8 months in fridge.