Category Archives: Recipes

Quick craving buster: choc-coco-nut crackers

I almost didn’t post today, as things have been so busy. Quitting sugar has still being hard today, and I finally caved and sent hubby to the shops to get some xylitol, but alas he came home empty handed. Desperate, I rummaged through the cupboards and came up with a quick treat. I didn’t have high expectations, but it was amazing. My sugar craving is totally gone and it took less than a minute to put together.

Method
Mix together a heaped spoon of natural peanut butter (I used crunchy), 1/2 spoon of cacao and 1/2 spoon of coconut oil. Spread over a plain corn thin or rice cake. Devour!

That’s it! So simple, but really satisfying. I’ll be making these for the girls to eat at snack time tomorrow. You could use any nut butter you like. Try almond for a calcium boost.

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How to keep cut apple fresh

I understand the lure of convenience foods, I truly do. I try not to be all judgey on parents food choices, especially when I can see they are trying their best. One product that really irks me though are sliced apples in a packet. I feel angry at companies like this, who prey on our concerns for providing good food that kids will not bin. No one likes a soggy sandwich, and the companies that make these packaged apple slices would like you to think the brown apples are inevitable. That’s just not true.

The trick to keeping apples looking fresh and perky is stopping the oxidation process. Sounds technical? So totally not. All it takes is a squeeze of lemon, and voila! Crisp apple slices that last all day.

The method

Simply slice up your apple, and place in a bowl. Add enough water to just cover them. Then get half a lemon and give it a good squeeze. I leave them in the bowl for about 2-3 minutes. Enough time to rummage through the tupperware drawer basically. Pop them straight from the bowl into their container, and you are done. You can’t taste the lemon either. I promise.

The slices in the picture below come from 3 small apples, and I used most, but not all, of the juice from my half lemon.

It truly is that easy, and you don’t need to waste money or packaging on buying them pre-made. The other benefit is avoiding the 3 additives these companies use to keep them from going brown. Hooray for home chopped!

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These sliced apples are safe from the horror of going brown.

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Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Toddler snacks

Fool proof, 5 minute, almost-no-knead bread

One thing I take great pride in, is the type of bread I feed my family. For a long time I only purchased artisan sourdough breads, but sadly our budget doesn’t stretch to $6 loaves of bread anymore. Ever since I learned about the Chorleywood bread process, I try to avoid factory made bread. Which really only leaves one option: make it myself.

Now for years I have wanted to make bread, but the lengthy timeline and kneading required really put me off. Recently a friend put me onto this recipe for no-knead bread, and it was revelation. This bread requires few ingredients, only 5 minutes TOTAL tending to it, and has flexibility with it’s timelines. I have refined the recipe a bit to make it work perfectly every time. It is that easy that anybody could have fresh made bread daily.

I recommend that you check out the original link, as she has photos, videos and lots of info (let’s face it, you are not going to get that here!).

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, or 1 loaf and 6 rolls, or 1 loaf and 2 pizza bases. It is so versatile, and saves even more time by allowing you to make the dough days before you need it.

Okay so my version….

Ingredients

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1.5 tbs of dried yeast*
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 6.5 cups bakers flour**

Method

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a large container with a lid. I use a decor cake container, and it’s perfect. The original recipe advises you punch a hole in the lid, but I find if there is a lot of gas the decor just pops it’s lid and it saves me ruining the container.
  2. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon, until they come together. It will look messy. At this stage I spend about 2 minutes giving it a very light knead. All I really do is bring all the ingredients into a neat ball, making it look more ‘mixed’. Have a butter knife handy to scrape the dough off your hands. Pop the lid on and put on the bench for 2 hours
  3. After the two hours you have options. If you need to leave the house you can put the container in the fridge until you need it. It will last up to 3 days. Otherwise, you can move straight onto the next step.
  4. The dough is very wet at this stage, so sprinkle some flour over the top, and over your hands. Pull the dough so you can cut it in half, then cut it with a sharp knife. Shape it into a log shape. I often do this by rolling it a little (like you would play dough), then just smoothing the ends. You really don’t need to fuss over it. Place it on a baking tray, lined with baking paper and leave for another 45mins
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut along the top of the loaf. They only need to be 2-4mm deep (Check out the picture below if you are not sure what I mean).
  6. Now here is where my method gets really quirky. Pop the bread into an oven at 180c for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes increase the temperature to 200c for 10 minutes, This is VERY unconventional, but I find it gives a perfect cooked inside, and a crust that the kids can still chew. Following the original instructions gave me a very doughy interior, and to get it cooked properly made the crust too hard. My method will give you perfect results every time.
  7. Wait for that bad boy to cool, and have the butter handy! Enjoy.

*Use an American tablespoon, which is only 15g. This is important

**You could use plain flour, but I find bakers flour gives a much better result. I buy a massive 25kg bag, and store it in the freezer. It makes it even more economical, and means I always have flour on hand.

I wrap the loaves in thick cotton tea towels while it is still a bit warm. Keeping it wrapped like this gives it an extra day or two before it goes hard. Just check it doesn’t sweat too much. You could also store it in a brown paper bag, but you will need to eat it quickly.

It truly is an easy, tasty, healthy bread to make. Trust me, if I can cook all my family’s bread with this recipe, so can you.

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It’s not the prettiest loaf, but it was super yummy (and it was there!)

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The cut bread, wrapped in the tea towel I store it in. The crumb in this bread varies a lot. This one is not my best loaf, but has a nice dry, light crumb.

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Fresh pineapple icy poles

Icy poles are all the rage in our house, since the discovery of the tea icy poles The other day I wanted to make some with fruit, so I whipped up these beauties. They taste great, and got a big thumbs up from Boo.

Ingredients
1 small pineapple, core removed.
1/4-1/2 cup of coconut cream
Filtered water

Method
Blend the pineapple with half the coconut cream, once it’s a liquid taste and keep adding coconut cream to taste. I find the pineapple taste intensifies when frozen, so keep that in mind. Once you have your perfect pineapple-coconut ratio, add a small amount of filtered water and blend again. Pour into moulds and freeze.

I love that this method uses the whole fruit, not just the juice, so you still get the fibre. Eat the core yourself, as it’s rich in Bromelain, a potent antiinflammatory

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Filed under Blender recipes, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks

Two ways with tea

I LOVE tea. It is an obsession with me. Not to the point where I have a fancy multi temperature kettle and know anything technical about it, mind you. Just a love for the versatile beverage, and a belief that a cuppa and a chat could bring peace to the world.

I recently visited a fellow naturopath, and have my tea love taken in an all new direction – icy poles! Yep, you read that right, icy poles. In a bid to entertain our toddlers, my mate got them some home-made icy poles. Naturally I enquired as to the ingredients, and was told they were made from tea and fruit. Genius!

So here are some ideas for my first way with tea: Tea icy poles!

Fruit infusion tea with berries

Make a strong cup of a fruit based tea. I love blue lagoon from The Tea Centre, so I make mine with that. Toss in some frozen blueberries and freeze.

Cooling peppermint and cucumber

Brew a pot of peppermint tea, allow to cool, and water down to taste. Grate some cucumber and mix through. Perfect for a hot day.

Chamomile and orange

Great for anxious kids. Brew a strong pot of chamomile, and add segmented oranges. Freeze.

If you have a young baby who is teething, you could make this without the orange. It would make a perfect teething icy pole. If bub is too young to hold this, soak a corner of a face washer in the tea and freeze. Bub will be able to manage this much easier and get cool relief from the iced corner.

Ginger and raspberry

Excellent for upset tummies and pregnant ladies. Grate fresh ginger and infuse for a good long time. Add some frozen raspberries and freeze.

My second way with tea is to make a refreshing ice tea. Those bottled versions at the shop horrify me, as they are full of sugar and additives. Make your own instead!

Brew a strong pot of your favourite tea. I always use herbals, and again the blue lagoon fruit mix is my favourite. Once cooled, add sliced lime or lemon, and some quartered strawberries. Put in the fridge to chill. Drink liberally for refreshment. The strawberries give the tea the most delicious fragrance and taste. Enjoy

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Filed under Herbal medicine, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks, Uncategorized

A rainy day in the kitchen (and a 2nd birthday cake)

Today is one of those perfect grey and rainy home days. I love rainy days; when the skies seem close and moody, and the house is a cozy, safe retreat. This one is particularly nice as its Australia Day, and that means triple J’s hottest 100 is playing on the radio.

My toddler, Boo, turns two tomorrow. I’m really struggling with this birthday as I know my baby is growing up, and soon those giggling fits and mispronunciated words will be gone, replaced with new challenges and milestones. I’m proud of my ‘big girl’ though. Everyday she surprises me with something new, and she is a curious and loving child. I am very blessed to be her Mum.

Naturally another birthday means another cake. I’m using the same cake as her first birthday. You can find the recipe here. This is a beautiful cake, and the smell of coconut and maple syrup had added another lovely layer to my blissful rainy day. This time the icing is not so child friendly though. I have done a vanilla butter cream, and used puréed blueberries as a colourant. Sadly this was much more pink then I expected, giving us a pink shark instead of blue like I was hoping for. I also used fondant (shock horror!) for the features of the shark’s face. I have never used fondant before, and I found it really challenging. I have also learned that it cannot be dyed with raspberry juice. I ended up using the juice as a paint, by applying it on top of the fondant once applied to cake. I’m not happy with the sugar based icings, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. I can’t wait for her to see her special shark cake tomorrow. She’s going to love it!

While baking Boo’s birthday cake, I decided I also felt like comfort food and a quick raid of the fridge turned up some quark close to its use-by date. Perfect for blueberry and quark pancakes. Quark is a European fresh cheese similiar to cottage cheese. Traditionally it is made without rennet. The one I get is from Barambah Organics, and is a thick creamy delicious treat.

Blueberry and Quark pancakes

1 1/3 cups quark (or ricotta)
3/4 cup of milk
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup blueberries (frozen is fine)

Combine these wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Only add the egg yolks for now, the whites get folded through later. Add the blueberries last.

In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt

Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mix, and stir until combined. Do not over mix.

Beat the egg whites, until nice and firm. Gently fold through the pancake mix in two batches.

Fry spoonfuls of the batter over a low heat, with some butter or ghee.

I had never cooked quark or ricotta pancakes before, and found it difficult to get the temperature just right. As you can see in the picture, mine were more than golden. You need a fairly low heat, not too much batter for each pancake, and to keep a close eye on them.

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Adding quark to the pancakes gives this dish some decent protein, and makes them more filling. They also taste delicious.

Enjoying a rainy day at home with my family, and baking some yummy treats is pretty much a perfect day in my book.

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Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Snacks for Children, Sugar free, Toddler snacks

Pineapple and Mint Slushie

Today was a hot one in old Brisbane town. The girls were hot and bothered by the afternoon, and a sweaty husband looked very uncomfortable after working in the sun all day. I thought we all deserved a cooling treat.

The last of the pink grapefruit have been falling off the tree, and I thought these would make a lovely slushie. After cutting them open, I was dismayed to find fruit fly larvae. I’ll have to put some exclusion bags over the young fruit before they ripen to ensure this doesn’t happen again. For now, it’s back to the vegie crisper to search for fruit to go in my slushie.

At the back of the fridge was some chopped pineapple. Perfect. Pineapple and mint slushies for us!

I threw some pineapple, ice and mint leaves into the blender and processed until smooth and creamy. While still blending, I poured some filtered water through the chute to thin it out a little.

It was a lovely cold treat to cool the family down on a hot day.

I love that!

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Filed under Blender recipes, Recipes, Snacks for Children