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Things I’m Loving in March

March 8, 2013

Things have been hectic here in the clevercook household! A very busy day job and relentless rain has impacted our normal routine so regular blogging has been a struggle. NOT that I have been cooking any less, I just haven’t been able to tell you about it!! Things I’m loving in March this month are:

Homemade Almond Butter

Homemade Almond Butter

After discovering how easy it is to make your own nut butter, I haven’t looked back! I have regularly made peanut butter in the past but I steer clear of this humble little legume now. Wonderfully delicious, almonds have long been revered as the epitome of wellness and health.

Almonds are a complete source of energy and nutrients. They are especially, rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic and palmitoleic acids that help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol.”

The nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant, and are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.  They are also an incredible source of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

Almond butter can be made with both raw or roasted almonds. I prefer roasting the nuts as it brings out a richness in flavour and a “looser” butter. Lightly roast the nuts and then blitz them in your Thermomix for up to 3 minutes with a pinch of salt and dash of oil. I use macadamia oil, but this is optional.  You will need to scrape down the bowl intermittently but persevere. Sometimes I mix the nuts and add pecans or brazil nuts.

Under bench water filter

Under bench water filter

I also love my new under bench water filter! Most Australians know that the taste of water varies greatly from state to state with Qld being on the ordinary side. (I can say that as I am a native Victorian and they have the best tasting water behind Tassie!) We are very lucky that overall the quality of our water is second to none compared to other countries and it amazes me how the bottled water industry has taken off. Twenty years ago, it was near IMPOSSIBLE to be able to buy a bottle of water rather than a can of soft drink!

I took up the challenge and bought this from ebay and installed it myself, which was surprisingly easy if you are handy with a drill! One hour later, I had wonderful filtered water with no chlorine, pesticides or bacteria all for less than $100. Money well worth spent.

Homemade Kimchi

Homemade Kimchi

My first foray into cultured vegetables was a successful one! Having only tried kimchi for the first time on a recent trip to Japan, I was keen to make this myself to avoid all of the additives that are in available commercial preparations. Fermented foods  are fabulous for our health. They improve digestion and help restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut. Raw, fermented foods are rich in enzymes which help you to absorb the nutrients in food. You can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless you actually absorb them, they’re useless to you. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption.

I based my recipe on this one made with radish, but am keen to make it again as I will tweak it to my tastes. I have seen apple added to some recipes which appeals to me. I’ll keep you posted!

Family time

Family time

Lastly, but certainly not least, I had some long overdue family time! Mark and I had a weekend in Sydney with my gorgeous mother-in-law, Tess, my step-kids(adults), and their beautiful boy, Oscar. Here he is showing Tess how to use my iphone! Heaven forbid – he is only 2!!

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