Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins

Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Muffins

These lil babies seem to be a popular bunch!  I made mine with gluten free flours – but you can use plain flour for a more gluey result!  (Have you seen what wheat flour does to your insides?!!  I’ll show you some day!)

This simple recipe is one of my favourite mathematical equations: quick + easy = I like very much.

Basically I’m using up stuff in my pantry and the last bits of that which is left in the fridge – so depending on what I have and feel like using, I might throw in some prosciutto (and I probably wouldn’t add salt in that case as ’twill be salty enough with the cheeses in my view) or some jarred roasted red peppers.  Maybe even some pine nuts or toasted seeds?

Amongst my fridge, freezer and pantry staples there is usually Greek feta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto San Daniele, frozen spinach, jars of roasted peppers and sun-dried tomatoes.  So I really like this recipe because I usually always have these ingredients hanging around.  But also, if you buy the ingredients especially for this recipe, you don’t have to make it on the day – which sometimes happens with me – I spend a long time shopping and then am too exhausted or behind time to bake when I get home!!  These ingredients are staples.

I have a few types of gluten free flour hanging around, (quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, brown rice, almond, coconut etc) and I’m always experimenting with them in place of wheat flour, as different gf flours seem to yield different results, and often they can turn your cakes to rocks!  The trick is to mix gf flours and sometimes you might need to add more liquid.  If you’re not too worried about being gluten free, try this first time with plain unbleached flour and progress from there.

I’m kinda particular about things!  I might sound a bit wanky but I have my reasons for sounding so (not saying they’re not wanky reasons – whatever!)  For instance, I like to use/eat Parmigiano Reggiano because I happen to think it’s a better quality, and it’s original, which is what I want to use in my cooking.  It’s bloody expensive at the moment, but I would rather buy the good stuff and use it sparingly, than buy “parmesan” that’s not from Parma/Reggio Emilia, and have to use a heap of it in search of flavour and substance!  But that’s just me.

Let’s Make Muffins!

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius, and grease your muffin pan.  This recipe makes about twelve large sized muffins, but I made mini muffins and so yielded about 28!  I pretty much ate them all myself too – ssssh!

Spinach feta s.d tomato muffins close up in basket

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Gluten Free flour – I used 1.5 cups Quinoa flour, 0.5 cups tapioca flour.  Or just 2 cups Plain unbleached Flour!

4 tsps (gluten free & no nasties added) baking powder

1/2 tsp celtic sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

2 lg free range organic eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup spinach (I use thawed chopped frozen spinach)

3/4 cup feta cheese (I love Dodoni Greek Feta)

3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped.

 

Method:

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and Parmigiana.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, and combine with the buttermilk, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and feta.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed.  You don’t want to overbeat muffins or they won’t rise nicely.

Spoon the mixture to fill 3/4 of each muffin hole and cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on the outside.

Leave in the pan for about ten minutes (or they’ll break up when you try to extract them!) then turn out onto a wire rack to cool …. this is where mine usually disappear … they taste delicious eaten warm from the oven!

Enjoy!

Spinach, Feta & Sun Dried Tomato Muffin

 

 

Li Lime Pie Recipe

The holiday season is upon us, and I’m on desserts for Christmas day!  

Not everyone in the gang likes to eat dessert without sugar and wheat, so I’ll be making some good old fashioned gluten-y sugary stuff, and I’ll share those recipes with you too.  But just for balance, here’s a really tasty, zingy, healthful lime pie recipe.  It really bursts of citrus and is quite something!  I’ve made it in both a square springform pan and a round one.  Try it any ol’ way!  Also, feel free to experiment with whatever nuts you have in your pantry … most of all … enjoy the experience and take lots of photos & notes!!

Key Li Lime Pie Recipe

Li Lime Pie

Li Lime Pie

Ingredients:

Base:

2.5 cups of macadamia nuts

2.5 cups of almonds

Packed 1/2 cup of well chopped dates/ date paste (just blend dates with a little vanilla & a drop of water so it blends easily, but don’t make it watery!).

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder /extract/ scrapings of half a vanilla bean

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Pie Filling:

1.5 cups of lime juice (I used 9 garden limes)

Zest of 3 of those limes

2 medium – large sized avocados (approx 425 g) Use firm but not hard, ripe but not soft fellows.

3/4 cup coconut milk (no nasties added?!)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder / 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract/ scrapings of a vanilla bean

4 tablespoons of NON GMO lecithin granules

1 teaspoon of Vital Greens powder (or something similar)

1 cup rice malt syrup

12 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

1 1/3 cups of coconut oil melted. (I used expeller pressed coconut oil for this recipe as it has less coconutty flavour)

Method:

Grease a 9inch springform pan with coconut oil, unscented if you have it but any oil/fat not too pungent will work.

TO MAKE THE PIE CRUST:

In the bowl of your blender, process the nuts, vanilla and salt until small and crumbly. TAKE CARE NOT TO OVER-PROCESS OR THE MACADAMIAS WILL BECOME TOO OILY. If this happens don’t freak out!  It will still be edible – it’s happened to me before and mine was!!  It just doesn’t look quite as nice nor does it hold it’s shape as well, but definitely tastes good! You could possibly refrain from greasing your pie pan if this happens – twil be oily enough.

Continue processing as you add small amounts of the dates, until you see the crust starting to stick together.  You want it to have the consistency of a mixture that can hold together with gentle pressure but can be broken apart with a clean break.

Then press this into the oiled pie/cake springform pan.

Li Lime Pie Base

Li Lime Pie Crust

 

TO MAKE THE PIE FILLING:

Blend all the ingredients listed under ‘Pie Filling’, EXCEPT THE COCONUT OIL AND LECITHIN, until smooth.

Then once smooth and creamy, add the lecithin and coconut oil and blend again until smooth and well incorporated.

Li Lime Pie  Blending Li Lime Pie Ingredients

Blending Li Lime Pie Ingredients

I would taste here, to see if you need to adjust anything to your liking.

Then pour the filling into the pie crust and place in the freezer for about an hour to set.

Once set, you can decorate how you like to with the freeze-dried berries, or fresh berries if you have them and serve!

This will store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days.

We just keep ours in the freezer and slice a piece before dinner if we’re feeling like a sweet treat.

Hope You Enjoy!

Love Lila! xo

Taking Control

INVICTUS. I didn’t know this poem before I saw the movie, but now … I love it.

I think of it every now and then.  I thought of it this weekend, when I watched this scene from Breaking Bad.

I am absolutely with this philosophy … definitely in theory anyway – my life has taken such a shape, that I haven’t had too many opportunities yet to really test myself on it.  I am so intrigued by those who will their way to survive, who refuse to allow their inner light to be blown out by anyone, regardless of what life throws at them, and often in spite of it.   Apparently human nature IS the will to survive, but not all of us choose to make it through the tough times.  And while most of us survive them alright, it’s the perspective we adopt which decides whether we experience the tough times with less or more suffering.  Or even recognise that they are tough times – because once we accept that things are what they are, less and less, we classify them as good or bad – they just ‘are’!

I’m not sure if Walter White and William Earnest Henley were yogis, but for me, it is Yoga that teaches me how to adapt to the approach of less suffering, that and a particularly good human example. And I sure do hope that I will get the strength I need when life calls for it, and remember that I, and only ‘I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.’

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT WITH YOUR PERSPECTIVE ...

“Happiness Is Like The Sunshine

It goes in and out.

You wouldn’t want the sun to shine day and night now would you?”

This was one of my favourite TV shows when I was a wee-un … I watched some of this today and it made me smile, just felt like banking in here …

Nestlé: Stop trying to patent the fennel flower.

Sitting on my bathroom shelf for quite some time now, is a bottle of cold-pressed Nigella Sativa oil, and also a container of Nigella Sativa capsules.  The list of reported health benefits of this relatively little known seed are lengthy.

HERE is an interesting article in support of that, including references to research.

Below is a piece taken from the SUM OF US  website, which my mum passed on to me . . .  and now I’m passing it on to you.

Read on below if you want to read what Nestle have to say about it too . . . It’s fair to read both sides, but I’ve signed the petition.

 CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TO STOP NESTLE 

“Nigella sativa — more commonly known as fennel flower — has been used as a cure-all remedy for over a thousand years. It treats everything from vomiting to fevers to skin diseases, and has been widely available in impoverished communities across the Middle East and Asia.

But now Nestlé is claiming to own it, and filing patent claims around the world to try and take control over the natural cure of the fennel flower and turn it into a costly private drug.

Tell Nestlé: Stop trying to patent a natural cure

In a paper published last year, Nestlé scientists claimed to “discover” what much of the world has known for millennia: that nigella sativa extract could be used for “nutritional interventions in humans with food allergy”.

But instead of creating an artificial substitute, or fighting to make sure the remedy was widely available, Nestlé is attempting to create a nigella sativa monopoly and gain the ability to sue anyone using it without Nestlé’s permission. Nestlé has filed patent applications — which are currently pending — around the world.

Prior to Nestlé’s outlandish patent claim, researchers in developing nations such as Egypt and Pakistan had already published studies on the same curative powers Nestlé is claiming as its own. And Nestlé has done this before — in 2011, it tried to claim credit for using cow’s milk as a laxative, despite the fact that such knowledge had been in Indian medical texts for a thousand years.

Don’t let Nestlé turn a traditional cure into a corporate cash cow.

We know Nestlé doesn’t care about ethics. After all, this is the corporation that poisoned its milk with melamine, purchases cocoa from plantations that use child slave labor, and launched a breast milk substitute campaign in the 1970s that contributed to the suffering and deaths of thousands of babies from poor communities.

But we also know that Nestlé is sensitive to public outcry, and that it’s been beaten at the patent game before. If we act fast, we can put enough pressure on Nestlé to get it to drop its patent plans before they harm anyone — but if we want any chance at affecting Nestlé’s decision, we have to speak out now!

**********
More Information:

Third World Network (PDF): Food giant Nestlé claims to have invented stomach soothing use of habbat al-barakah (Nigella sativa), 6 July, 2012 “

AND HERE’S WHAT NESTLE SAY . . .

FROM THE NESTLE WEBSITE:

” Is Nestlé patenting the fennel flower?

No. We’re not claiming to ‘own’ the fennel flower, nor are we trying to patent it. Our patent application relates only to the specific way that thymoquinone – a compound that can be extracted from the seed of the fennel flower – interacts with opioid receptors in the body and helps to reduce allergic reactions to food.

The fennel flower (also known as Nigella sativa, black seed and black cumin) is a natural species, and nobody could, or should, benefit from ownership over it. In accordance with the Convention on Biological Diversity, we fully support the principle of fair access and benefit-sharing when it comes to the raw materials we use.

What is a patent?

A patent is an intellectual priority right granted by an official authority covering an invention. Most countries have patent legislation to promote innovation and encourage investment in research and development.

The inventors receive the exclusive right to use the invention for 20 years. In exchange for this exclusivity, the inventors disclose their invention to the public, so that after 20 years everybody can use it.

Why is patenting important to Nestlé?

Patenting is important for Nestle, as it is for all inventors, be they individuals, universities, small or large companies, in all sectors of the economy. Our patenting allows us an exclusivity period of the patent and assures us a return on investment for our products, which we then re-invest in new research.

What kind of patents does Nestlé have?

Our patents cover a diverse range of areas including aroma extraction from coffee, our Special T system and light-weight water bottles.

Fennel flower seed and its health benefits are well-known: from traditional remedies to recent research. Has Nestlé discovered new benefits from this plant?

Fennel flower seed has been widely used in India and other countries for centuries and its benefits are widely appreciated. In recent years, researchers have published various studies on the positive effects of fennel flower seed in treating various allergies, including those affecting the respiratory system, but not specifically food allergy.

Our scientists have discovered and researched a specific aspect of the way thymoquinone – a compound found in fennel flower seed – interacts with opioid receptors in the body to help reduce allergic reactions to foods.

What is thymoquinone?

Thymoquinone is a phytochemical compound found in the fennel flower and other plants. Research suggests it offers a wide range of potential health benefits.

What are opioid receptors?

Opioid receptors are specific cell surface receptors within the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as the gastrointestinal tract.

What would Nestlé’s patent cover?

Thymoquinone itself has been studied regarding allergies. It’s a natural compound of the fennel flower and other plants. Protecting the ingredient itself is not the aim of our patent. Rather, we aim to protect the findings of our research on the interactions between thymoquinone, or similar compounds, and the body’s opioid receptors, and how this interaction can help reduce allergic reactions to foods.

Would other companies still be able to use thymoquinone to develop products with health benefits?

Other companies could clearly use thymoquinone if the product containing thymoquinone has not been developed based on our scientific findings.

Would I still be able to use fennel flower in cooking, or for self-medication, for example?

Yes, you would be able to use the fennel flower for cooking and other purposes, just as you always have done.

Why is Nestlé working to treat food allergies?

Food allergies are a significant public health problem, especially in children. We focus our research on finding ways to help people stay healthy through the food they eat. This includes identifying bioactive ingredients from plants and evaluating their impact on health. “

 

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?

Give It Away And It Will Come Back

I love listening to Alan Watts.

It’s soothing, and such a great reminder of the kind of stuff I want to remember!  More MIND STUFF but it’s practical, nourishing and broadening for the mind, or at least for my mind . . .

I’ll be sharing lots of this sort of stuff here . . . For me, I like to listen to it when I’m preparing the dinner, or if I can’t sleep, or in my car on the way to/from work.  

Some say they don’t have time to listen or watch Youtube, I just swap TV & Facebook time for this sorta stuff  (Instagram still gets me though!!) . . . Anyhow I find it more meaningful, super interesting and enjoyable than most media, it keeps me positive and feeling pretty good about life!

It’s just a matter of tracking down the good stuff, and playing or copying to my iPod so I can listen in more ways.

Hope you dig it too!

Yoga For Wine Lovers

When: May 24th11:30AM – Assemble at Sydney Town Hall12:00PM – March to Hyde Park Fountain12:30PM – Speakers and music in the park GUYS! IF YOU AREN’T AWARE OF WHO MONSANTO ARE OR WHAT THEY DO . . .  you only have to look at the first 1o minutes of this doco to…

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Pure-Li Yoga Recommencing This Saturday!

So I’ve been in India with YOGA SYNERGY doing another teacher training!

 

Headst

 

 

And then I was back home in Ireland, hanging out with my fabulous family!!

(Pure-Li Yoga Youtube coming one of these days for you mum & sis!)

Pure-Li Yoga - Vico Yoga

It was all wonderful and now I’m back and rearing to go!

 

See you for a special practice this Saturday 7am – 8.30am, upstairs in the Sun Lounge Room, at St. Michael’s Anglican Church Vaucluse. and we’ll get the blood flowing, the energy moving, the spine mobilised, the endorphins running riot, the joints lubricated, the sides of the mouth lifting, the eyes smiling, the heart calm, the breath steady, the mind peaceful, the inner light of awareness SHINING, spirits lifted, the world a happier place, and so on, and so on, and so on!!

Hope to see you there!

Love Lila, xo

Kiss

I loved this …