Baking is truly one of the things I love, it is a therapy, an escape, something I indulge in. It is so important to make time for things that make you happy. Simple things like exercising, baking and sitting in the sun contribute to my sanity. Everyone is different and we all have different avenues that contribute to our well-being.. Go ahead, do what you love, promote what you love. And do not go hating or judging others if they do different things to what you do. This had to be said 🙂
So this beauty here – sorry for the less than flattering night photo, is a very moist gluten free orange and almond cake. I’ve been wanting to make one in ages and it did not disappoint. It was more moist than I expected which is not a bad thing in itself (some prefer it that way) but go for less syrup if you don’t like the cake overly soft and wet. Or drizzle your syrup as you serve the cake. It is really easy to make and sooo worth the effort anyway. It’s YUM!
If you want to, you can easily substitute the sugar with honey. The original recipe had caster sugar – I used raw brown sugar instead.
Persian Orange and Almond Cake (GF)
- 2 oranges
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (315g) raw brown sugar
- 3 cups (300g) almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 orange
- 1/2 cup (100g) raw brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional – I did not use it)
Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease a 20cm round springform pan and line the base with baking paper.
Place oranges in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain. Return to pan and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil. Cook for a further 15 minutes. Drain and repeat once more or until very tender. Drain. Coarsely chop and discard any pips.
Place orange in a food processor; process until smooth. Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale. Add orange, almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom; gently fold until just combined. Spoon into prepared pan; smooth the surface. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan to cool completely.
To make syrup, use a zester to remove rind from orange. Juice orange. Place the juice, sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Add orange blossom water and zest. Set aside to cool.
Drizzle the cake with syrup.
On the way back from Melbourne, I knew I was coming down with a cold already. Bugger and I was right, only feeling like I’m on the mend 4 days later. Thankfully before the cold hit its worst, I managed to bake this beautiful hearty bread. It has definitely come in handy in the morning when I had energy only to toast a piece and slather it with butter, peanut butter and a drizzle of honey for breakfast, before I crawled back into bed again.
I am a sucker for bread so this one was no exception. It did turn out slightly harder than I expected though (just remember it is not a cake!) but once toasted, it was just beautiful and nice.
Banana Peach Oatmeal Bread (GF)
- 3/4 cup toasted quinoa flour
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup banana, mashed ( 3 bananas)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup milk of choice
- 1 large, organic egg or 2 smaller eggs
- 2 large, ripe peaches, halved with pits removed
- Oats for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9″ loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray, then layer it with parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a larger mixing bowl, beat together wet ingredients (minus the peaches). Add dry to the bowl and mix until incorporated.
- Peel peaches, then dice three of the halves, and thinly slicing the fourth half. Fold diced bits into dough.
- Transfer dough to loaf pan, smoothing with the back of a rubber spatula. Arrange peach slices on top and sprinkle with additional oats (optional).
- Bake on center rack for 60 – 75 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Resist the urge to slice into it, the loaf needs to be completely cool or it may be slightly gummy inside.
- Slice and serve immediately, or wrap slices in tinfoil and freeze for later.
Whilst Audrey Hepburn is best known as an actress and as a style icon, you might not know that later on in her life as she appeared in fewer films, she spent a lot of her time working for UNICEF, helping disadvantaged countries in Africa, Asia and South America. I suppose these places and experiences are where her profound reflections stem from and I just find them inspiring and refreshing. Simple yet still strong enough to ponder upon and live by.
Have a beautiful Saturday xx
Happy Friday everyone! 🙂
I whipped up these pancakes in no time. They are super easy and quick to make and full of superfoods. Toppings of your choice – this time I used fresh peaches (I would usually boil them in some water and agave nectar) and a drizzle of peanut butter and honey. You can be as imaginative as you want 🙂
Quinoa flakes: Quinoa flakes are essentially just quinoa that’s rolled to create a thin flake that many people love to use for a hot cereal alternative in the morning. Because the flakes are so thin, they’re extremely quick-cooking. They are naturally very low in calories, are very low in fat, and are cholesterol-free. They are an excellent source of plant-based protein and dietary fibers. One-third a cup of dry quinoa flakes provides about 130 calories and just two grams of fat. Quinoa flakes also provide a healthy amount of dietary fiber – about two and a half grams per 1/3 cup, and a 4.3 grams of protein. Like quinoa, quinoa flakes are a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians and vegans.
Quinoa Flakes and Oats Peanut Butter Pancakes (GF)
(makes 3 large pancakes – enough for 2 ppl)
- 1 cup Quinoa flakes
- 1/2 cup gluten free oats (or you can go all quinoa)
- 2/3 cup almond milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- coconut oil for cooking
- Put all ingredients in your food processor/ blender. I have something similar to the magic bullet which is sooo convenient.
- In a pan, heat the coconut oil, add the pancake mix.
- You need to bake these about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden.
- Stack the pancakes on a plate and serve with some fresh peaches, peanut butter drizzle sauce and some honey.
Peanut butter drizzle:
Heat peanut butter, little water and honey in a pan, until melted into a sauce.
I wanted to make some celebration/festive cookies today. I started the day with a workout at the box in good company which left me energised (running with a 10 lb wallball has got to be one of the hardest thing everr) and went to the Vietnamese grocery place to stock up on nuts, veggies and fruits. At the counter, the lady offered me what would have been the 5th and 6th pack of Oreos they would given us for free. Reluctantly I refused the Oreos – I’ve had more Oreos in the last couple of weeks from them than had in the last couple of years! But you’re so fit it’s Ok, she said 😉 Thank you! She offered me some fish sauce instead 😉
So these cookies are not quite soft, not quite firm. They have a slight crunch which I love due to the fact that I made my own buckwheat flour from the whole grain and didn’t grind them till too fine. Combine the buckwheat flour with the cocoa powder and the result is a hearty flavor with earthy undertones. But what made them even more awesome was the homemade chocolate coconut milk drizzle! I guarantee you will find it hard to stop after one, or 2 or 5 actually in my case!
The best part is that they are full of goodness.
Buckwheat flour: High in protein and minerals, buckwheat flour is actually gluten-free and contains no wheat at all. Although buckwheat behaves like a grain in the way it is cooked, it is actually the seed of a fruit relating to rhubarb, according to WHFoods.com.
Psyllium husks: An excellent source of dietary fiber, the seed husks are somewhat of a miracle ingredient when it comes to gluten-free baking as they help to bind the dough, making it a breeze to roll out.
Coconut oil: Unrefined, virgin, organic coconut oil is a nutrient-packed saturated fat that may increase metabolism, aid in weight loss, improve skin tone, and fight bacteria in the body. It works wonders as a substitute for butter in many recipes.
Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies (GF)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 cup unsweetened (raw) cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons (whole) psyllium husks
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (slightly melted)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 2 small egg yolks
- 1/4 cup organic agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk (you can also use unsweetened almond or rice milk)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, cocoa powder, psyllium husks, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until thoroughly combined and evenly brown in color, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk and maple syrup (or agave nectar) and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture and beat to form a crumbly dough. Add the almond milk. Beat briefly to combine and form a malleable but not sticky dough. (If the dough appears dry and does not easily form a mass when pinched together, add more almond milk 1 teaspoon at a time.)
- Pat the dough into a disk. Place on a piece of lightly buckwheat-floured parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick, flouring the dough very lightly if needed to keep the pin from sticking. Cut cookies with cookie cutters. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake cookies for about 8 minutes or until just firm to the touch. Do not overbake. Cool completely. Top with chocolate drizzle if desired.
- 1 ounce dark chocolate (I used Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate -70%)
- 3 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon organic agave nectar
Combine all ingredients in a small pot over very low heat. Stir constantly until melted and smooth. Drizzle over the cookies with a teaspoon. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
Adapted from: http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2012/02/08/chocolate-buckwheat-heart-cookies/
I loveeee baking quick and easy treats. And it is a bonus when these turn out to be absolutely beautiful. I made them last night, they baked in about ten minutes – as soon as they turn golden, take them out! They will get crunchy as they cool down. The chai powder combined with the almond and honey, is just divine. I absolutely love these babies. This morning I had them for breakfast with a dollop of raw cashew icing and shredded coconut, the perfect combination. The icing recipe can be found on the raw carrot cake link here. Definitely making more of these cookies to keep – they make the perfect snack.
Honey Almond Chai Wafer Cookies (GF)
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons chai latte powder (I used Henry Langdon Chai Latte poweder)
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice.
- In a small pot set over low heat, combine the honey and coconut oil. Cook, stirring, until the oil is melted. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to form a thick dough.
- Pat the dough into a rectangular-shaped lump of dough and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Trim any jagged edges. (These are great for snacking!) Transfer the rectangle of dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into rectangular wafers.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until deeply golden brown. The cookies will still be soft to the touch upon removing from the oven. Allow to cool completely. Then cut or break along the pre-cut lines into individual wafers. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from: http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2013/01/30/honey-almond-chai-wafer-cookies/
Makes about 25 cookies
2 cups (192 grams) blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice.
In a small pot set over low heat, combine the honey and coconut oil. Cook, stirring, until the oil is melted. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to form a thick dough.
Pat the dough into a rectangular-shaped lump of dough and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Trim any jagged edges. (These are great for snacking!) Transfer the rectangle of dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into rectangular wafers.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until deeply golden brown. The cookies will still be soft to the touch upon removing from the oven. Allow to cool completely. Then cut or break along the pre-cut lines into individual wafers. Store in an airtight container.
– See more at: http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2013/01/30/honey-almond-chai-wafer-cookies/#sthash.se9wfr7C.dpuf
If you do crossfit you will know who Fran is. If you don’t, let me introduce you to her.
Fran is one of the most popular crossfit workouts and is a benchmark that can be measured over time. Popular because Fran is challenging. As with any crossfit workouts, Fran can be scaled to suit your level. For an Rx (advanced) crossfitter, Fran consists of:
Three rounds, 21-15-9 reps of 95-pound (male)/ 63-pound (female) barbell thrusters and pull-ups, all done for time.
Being able to do unassisted kipping chin ups for a couple of months now, I decided I was ready to give Fran Rx a go. Especially after I missed the group work out on Thursday at the box. Though it was definitely an exciting feeling to take on Fran at the Rx level, I had no idea how long it would take. Secretly I was vying to be able to tackle her in 10 mins, and less than 10 mins I did!
My weaknesses were the chinups: work is needed on the kipping so energy is not wasted trying to get momentum after 2-3 reps. And I struggled with the cardio big time (soooo many breaks haha – could have shaved off another minute or 2!).
I cannot wait to do Fran again, I think she’s a great work out to build your strength and work on those chin ups. Let me know if you have done Fran Rx before and what time you got 🙂
Here’s me at Fran Rx in 9:53.
The barbell is my best friend at the gym and it should become yours too if you are looking at challenging your body, losing fat, improving your strength and achieving a more defined physique.
When you start, use a weightless barbell, and as you progress, weight plates can be incrementally loaded to whatever weight you need and feel comfortable with.
Used in weight training, weight lifting and power lifting, the barbell carries the following features:
- Easy to use
- Versatile – you can be imaginative with one – there are hundreds of exercise you can do with one
- Cheap to buy and easy storage
- Efficient – can work all body parts
- Easiest form of progression by adding weight plates
I would definitely advise that you invest in one if you are planning to get some equipment at home. Make sure to get a good quality one with good grips. You can purchase them from ExFx Fitness (exfx.com.au) and receive 10% discount when you mention my name (Jess @ Whatchulove).
Or do the work out at the gym – do not be intimidated to venture in the weights area.
Below are 3 easy exercises to help you become familiar with the barbell, and guaranteed to get your heart rate pumping and those muscles working.
Instructions: Do 10 reps of each exercise for 5 rounds, with one minute rest between each rounds. Watch the video at the end before you start to ensure you have the right technique.
Warm Up: I recommend air squats and arm circles for 5 minutes before you start.
Starting position: Always engage your core when picking up the bar and when you have finished with the exercise. Or go into a full squat position like I always do. If your core is not engaged, you might easily hurt your back, especially when you go heavier with the weights. Very often and unfortunately, people get injured not during the work out itself but after.
Main Muscle Worked: Middle Back, Biceps, Lats, Shoulders
Main Muscles worked: Upper Back and Triceps
Main Muscles Worked: Front and back thighs, Hamstrings, Quads and Glutes
I seriously could not believe my eyes when I stumbled on that recipe! I had to give these babies a go. I had no taste expectation. BUT I was blown away at how well they turned out, how close to your ol’ baked carrot cakes these raw ones tasted and to be honest I might actually prefer the raw ones better. The crunchiness of the carrots, walnuts and coconut is really divine and is a constant reminder that this delicious cake is raw! AND the icing! Ha! You will be licking your spoon, I can guarantee that. This recipe is a keeper.
Raw Carrot Cake with Raw Cashew Cream Frosting (GF)
Raw Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- 3 cups shredded carrots (about 1 lb.)
- 8 oz. (about 1 cup) pitted dates
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
Raw Cashew Vanilla Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup water (use more or less to achieve desired consistency)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- pinch of salt
To Make The Raw Carrot Cake:
Pulse together all ingredients in a food processor until well-blended. Press mixture into a mini cheesecake pan or mini 4-inch springform pans or an 8-inch springform pan, or just a simple 8-inch baking pan. Top with Raw Cashew Vanilla Frosting just before serving (recipe below).
To Make The Raw Cashew Vanilla Frosting:
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until blended. Add extra water to thin to your desired consistency if needed.
When exercising plays such a large part of one’s lifestyle, you do not want to compromise that passion/necessity by risking an injury. As it is known that it is essential to warm up before a work out, we need to also understand and be aware that some stretching after warming up before a work out can be just as beneficial. The emphasis on ‘after’ warm up is emphasized because stretching a cold muscle will increase the risk of injury and is therefore discouraged.
Being able to select the appropriate stretching exercises is equally important as over stretching might actually be detrimental for your work out. One would stretch to increase mobility and flexibility in body parts like your hamstrings and calves so as to perform better. When you have been sitting all day with limited movements, or been in a bad posture for a certain activity, it is advised to perform some stretching exercising not only before your work out but as part of your daily regime. Stretching will help your spine achieve a proper realignment and neutral posture. It also helps with potential build up of muscle tightness from exercising.
Examples of pre-work out warm up exercises and post work out stretching will be illustrated in different posts.
At Crossfit Fibre, we recommend the following pre-work out / daily stretch exercises:
- Loosens tight structures around the leg mainly ankles, achilles tendons, calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, lower back, posterior chain
- Improves Squat Depth
- Improves balance at bottom of the squat
Weighted ankle stretch
- Improved dorsiflexion angle which gives you a better ROM at the ankle. A better ROM at the ankle will mean a better squat position that is more balanced.
- Better bottom squat position
The Hamstring Stretch is an important posterior chain stretch that needs to be part of your daily routine. It is far too common now to notice that many are very tight in this muscle structure. The effects of this is detrimental to the squat posture and causes a “butt wink” that is undesireable.To allow a good squat, the hamstrings need to be flexible enough to allow the pelvis to be in anterior tilted and the lumbar curve maintained.
- Increased flexibility of muscle
- Improved squat depth without butt wink
Stick rotator cuff stretch
- Loosens up rotator cuffs and allows external rotation
- Improves rack position
Angry cat / happy dog
The Angry Cat and Happy Dog is a movement to mobilise your spinal column. This exercise allows us to keep our spinal column mobile and moving so that our muscle structures do not seize up and cause unwanted aches and pains. Perform each movement up to 10 times.
- Moves and unlocks tightness in the spinal column and muscle structures around
- Mobilises lower back and reduces stiffness
- Allows movement in the spinal column