RAW CARAMEL SLICE

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This is a naughty but nice kind of treat and it’s no wonder that it’s on our bestsellers list week after week! The creaminess from the tahini adds real caramel flavour.

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Raw Caramel Slice – Photo by customer Cerise via Instagram @petitepickings

Prep time: 25 minutes, plus 45 minutes freezing | Cooking time: Nil – V, VG, GF, DF & RAW

Makes 12 pieces.

What you need:

Base

  • 160g (1 cup) pitted dates
  • 440g (2 & 3/4 cups) almond kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Caramel Layer

  • 205g (3/4 cup) tahini
  • 250ml (1 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Topping

  • 80g (3/54 cup) cacao powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons carob powder
  • 250ml (1 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons tinned coconut milk

Method:

To make the base, put all of the ingredients into a blender with 2 tablespoons of water and blend until coarsely chopped. Turn the mixture into a lightly greased 34 x 24cm baking tin and press down with the palm of your hand until the mixture covers the base of the tin in an even layer.

To make the caramel layer, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Pour into the tin over the base and freeze for 15 minutes or until set.

To make the topping, put all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Pour into the tin over the caramel layer and return to the freezer for another 30 minutes or until set. Cut into 12 pieces.

This slice will keep for about 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge 🙂

NOTE: Dates are a sweet substitute for sugar and as they are easily digested, they make a great afternoon snack. Try them with almond butter or peanut butter!

 

 

Egg Nourishment

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This is a bestselling dish in our cafes: we change menus seasonally, but I would not dare touch this one. People from all over ask for the recipe for this tasty creation – so delicious and creamy, and good to eat at any time of the day – so we’ve included it again in this book. It’s a winner!

About Life Egg Nourishment 1

Egg Nourishment. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes – V, GF

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red (Spanish) onion, finely chopped
  • 370g (13 oz/2 cups) cooked quinoa
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto (home-made or ready made is fine)
  • 160g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g (2 cups) finely chopped cavolo nero or kale leaves, stalks removed
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon linseeds (flaxseeds)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

  1. In pan, heat olive oil with red onion and sauté for 1 min.
  2. Add cooked quinoa and sauté until hot.
  3. Whisk eggs, add to the pan and stir through.
  4. Add pesto and mix through for 1 minute.
  5. Add cherry tomatoes, kale, salt, pepper and mix through for another minute.
  6. Remove from heat and place in bowls.
  7. Sprinkle with linseeds.
  8. Serve with wedge of lemon.

Recipe by About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova

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A WHOLE NEW WAY TO EAT by Vladia Cobrdova

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From the people who led the wholefood movement in Australia, we have at long last put together a collection of our beloved recipes. Our philosophy towards food hasn’t changed over the 20 years of operation, no more complexity, just simplicity and goodness: food as medicine.

Nutritionist and recipe developer (plus our Wellness Ambassador!) Vladia Cobrdova recreated over 135 of the mouth-watering dishes she made popular in our stores’ busy cafes, takeaway and ready-made meal sections. These are recipes your body will love from your taste buds to your gut.

A Whole New Way to Eat is a modern take on healthy eating for those more interested in eating well than following the latest craze. With recipes to cover every social occasion or lifestyle choice as well as being seasonal, local, sustainable and delicious, this is a must have cookbook for every Australian kitchen.

Our customers always ask us questions on everything from wholefoods and well-being to food lifestyle choices and About Life’s philosophy – we sat down with the lovely Vladia and asked her a few questions about all these areas.

How did you come to be a recipe developer?

I have always been interested in food and most importantly eating it too. Ever since I remember I have been cooking with my mum and grandma, having the best connections over a plate of food. I had such a passion for healthy food that 15 years ago, I enrolled myself into a nutrition school in Sydney and started to satisfy my curiosity for good food and the effects on the body that food has on us. Then I landed my dream job working in one of the pioneering health food stores About Life in Sydney as a juice bar girl and that is where it all began. Mixing smoothies, developing recipes and writing cookbooks.

Where does your inspiration come from when you’re creating recipes?

My inspiration comes from our shop floor. The endless selection of real ingredients and fresh produce is all I need. The ray of colours and aromas of seasonal produce – each season has a unique smell: mango and cherry in summer, pears and plums in autumn, broccoli and cauliflower in winter, fennel and asparagus in spring. When I am at the stage of creating a recipe, I take a stroll through our aisles and get inspired by all of the products.

Why the interest with wholefoods?

As a qualified nutritionist, I believe that eating good quality ingredients as close to their natural state as possible is the only way to eat. A lot of people these days do not know what they are eating as it is all processed foods full of preservatives, hormones and antibiotics which is having negative effects on the health of our society. We should be eating like our great grandparents used to. My hope is to inspire people to have a relaxed approach to eating without any restrictions – there is no such thing as good food or bad food. We lost that approach and that is why I was inspired to write my book where I showcase wholefoods nourishing feel good recipes without the restrictions.

Why does the movement include some of the things we’re often told to ditch in our diet, such as macaroni?

Because it is real food. The macaroni dish is made out from spelt pasta, a great wholefood. There is so much conversation to stay away from carbs, but this dish is loaded with cauliflower, sweet potatoes and kale too so it is a well-balanced dish that everyone can enjoy without feeling guilty.

I want to inspire people to make choices that suit them, food that comes from a good place and to stop labelling real food bad or good.

As a nutritionist, I believe in all food groups – it is about a balanced lifestyle. But I encourage people to tune into themselves and find out for themselves what agrees with them and what doesn’t. My motto is to become your own wellness expert.

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Nutritious Macaroni Cheese  – Pg. 122

What is the one ingredient you couldn’t live without?

Yoghurt. I literally use it in nearly everything, adding to my main meals as a probiotic and digestion booster, making salad dressings, desserts, sauces in cooking – I especially love goat or sheep yoghurt which is a great alternative to cow.

What’s your favourite food crush right now?

Olive oil – I could almost drink this stuff – there is nothing better than a splash of good quality cold pressed olive oil on my plate.

What is your advice for anyone who wants to eat well?

Eat with the season and know where your food comes from. This way you ensure that you get the nourishment that your body needs and the ingredients your body recognises, keep it simple and have a variety of colours on your plate.

In healthy eating, what seems to be the trend?

Quality over quantity, eat seasonally and chemical free or organic if possible.

What’s the easiest way(s) anyone can make their home feel like a cafe?

Using good quality ingredients of fresh local produce (the taste of seasonal ripe tomatoes is incredible!). Be adventurous and experiment – don’t be afraid to muck up a poached egg, practice makes perfect. Mix it up – just because a recipe will state all the ingredients, doesn’t mean you have to follow – add your own touch. There are many recipes that I have created for our cafĂ©s and the ones I have shared in this book. The best-selling dish in our cafĂ©s is Egg Nourishment which is basically scrambled eggs with quinoa and basil pesto – yummiest dish ever!

What are your top tips for reducing food wastage?

Eat less, stop over consumption. I grew up in Communist Czechoslovakia where we knew what food really counted for. The fresh bread would be baked daily and it would be under supplied. We would have to queue up every morning to get a loaf and if you woke up late you would miss out. That is where I learnt the value of food.

My top 3 tips to reduce food waste

1. Always check what is in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping.

2. Cook less – as a nation we tend to overcook and over eat because it is rude not to eat everything on the plate right? Think of the planet, your wallet and your waistline.

3. Use up your leftovers – leftovers taste amazing the next day – salads or veggies can be used in a frittata, meat on salads for office lunch etc.

What’s new at About Life?

There is always something new – I have just created new Poke Bowls – which are inspired by Hawaiian poke bowls. It is a dish full of good grains, plant based veg, choice of fish or chicken paired up with avocado topped with tahini sauce!

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Rainbow Poke Bowl – DIY in store now! (SYD only)

Follow Vladia and learn more about A Whole New Way to Eat:

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2017 Health and Wellbeing Forecast

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With each new year comes some exciting and sometimes surprising tips and new ways of nourishing ourselves for optimal wellbeing – and 2017 is no different! Here is a sneak peek at my top health and wellness predictions to keep on your radar:

  • Back to our roots

More and more people are fed up with diet trends and restrictions – so rather than trying to figure out what not to eat, think about it differently and focus more on what to eat and who to support. Aim for a diet of all natural chemical free foods that our great grandparents used to eat, and try to support local chemical-free farming.

  • Skin health

As a society, we are obsessed with cleaning our skin daily. But what we don’t realise with all the chemicals in today’s products, we are stripping away our skin’s natural bacteria’s and microbes. Research is revealing that much of the bacteria within us is linked to healthy, functional systems. We are seeing an increased interest in probiotics and other products that improve health from within the body, and greater attention needs to be paid to good bacteria on the skin that is harmed by anti-bacterial products.

  • Adaptogens

These are herbal plants that help you deal with stress factors in your life, and we will see these herbs become essential parts of our lives.  They help balance, restore and protect the body, helping you respond to any influence or stressor, normalising your physiological functions. One of my favourite adaptogens is Holy Basil aka Tulsi – it comes in a tea form, and helps you fight fatigue and stress, boost your immune system, and regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and hormone levels.

  • Gut health

Still big on the health scene in 2017! This time the focus will not only be on the gut but also mouth and skin health. All these are very closely linked to our immune system, so the bottom line is eat foods rich in probiotics and don’t go crazy on all those antibacterial soaps and sprays (not only on your skin but also in your home too!).

  • Plant-based diet

Salads and veggies will continue to be the core of a well-balanced diet.

  • Food waste

This is the topic of most wellbeing conversations now and how we can be sustainable. Australians throw out approximately 345kg of food waste per household per year, which is the same weight as 3 average sized fridges! This is something to really think about – not only that we waste foods and also our money, but we also waste the energy and water that it took to produce these products and needless to say the farmers’ hard work and hours that were put into all of this produce.

My top 3 tips to reduce food waste:

  1. Always check what is in your fridge and pantry before you go shopping
  2. Cook less – as a nation we tend to overcook and over eat because it is rude not to eat everything on the plate right? Think of your wallet and your waistline!
  3. Use up your leftovers – leftovers taste amazing the next day – salads or veggies can be used in a frittata, meat on salads for your office lunch, etc.

About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova

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CELERIAC, APPLE AND POPPY SEED SALAD

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celeriac-salad

INGREDIENTS
8 whole celeriac
1 red apple
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper
Dressing
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

METHOD
1.Top and tail the celeriac and peel. Grate using hand
grater and place in bowl.
2. Cut red apple into quarters removing the core and slice
into thin slices and add to grated celeriac.
3. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice.
4. Add the parsley and poppy seeds and combine.
5. To make dressing mix the mustard and yoghurt in a
bowl and combine well.
6. Add the dressing to the salad and gently fold through
ensuring salad is coated.
7. Serve and enjoy.

 

Recipe by About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova

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KOHLRABI CHIPS WITH TURMERIC AIOLI

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Ingredients

1 kohlrabi
1 tbsp coconut oil
pinch salt
1/2 pinch pepper
1 tsp garlic chopped
1 tsp thyme chopped

Turmeric Aioli 

3 tbsp About Life aioli
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
grated parmesan optional

Method

1. Peel kohlrabi and slice into 4, 3 cm slices.
2. Cut slices into thick wedges
3. Place in bowl and add the coconut oil, garlic, thyme,
salt and pepper. Ensure all ingredients are combined.
4. Place on a baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven
190 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and
cooked through.
5. Remove from oven and place in serving bowl.
6. To make turmeric aioli add the turmeric powder to
About Life aioli and mix until turmeric is well blended.
7. Finish with freshly grated parmesan (optional)

 

Recipe by About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova

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Spicy Chicken Baked Eggs

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Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

500g chicken mince

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp Mexican spice

1 tsp chili flakes

1 tsp salt

2 cups tomato puree

2 cups green beans, chopped

2 cups baby spinach

4 whole eggs

1 avocado

2 tbsp fresh mint

Method

In a frying pan heat the oil, add chicken mince & cook, stirring through for 5 mins. Add onion & cook for 2 mins until softened.
Add garlic, Mexican spice and chilli flakes.
Add tomato puree & ½ cup of water.Bring to a simmer & cook for 5 mins.
Add green beans, spinach & kale.
Make 4 wells in the dish and crack an egg into each.
Cover the dish and cook for another 5 mins or until egg reaches desired consistency.
Serve with avocado, chilli flakes, fresh mint. Serve with flat bread.

 

Recipe by About Life COO & Wellness Ambassador Vladia Cobrdova

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