Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Having a child who is fussy about food is incredibly frustrating at the best of times.
And at the worst of times? It's a bit of a nightmare.
My now 6-year-old hasn't eaten a good dinner since before he was 2.
Let that fact sink in a little.
That's approximately 1500 nutritious dinners prepared lovingly by me that have NOT BEEN TOUCHED.
If we can get him to the table, he will eat plain pasta with extra virgin olive oil, homemade pizza (no sauce and topped only with cheese, olives and tinned pineapple) and takeaway fish and chips.
The list of foods he will eat is incredibly small and shrinking by the week.
We've done feeding therapy sessions with an occupational therapist and speech pathologist, and seen a GP, naturopath, dietician and psychologist.
So where does that leave us?
Well, it leaves us trying to pack in nutrition wherever and whenever we can.
At the moment breakfast is the only decent meal he will consume in a day.
It is usually a smoothie which I cram to the brim with good stuff like avocado, chia seeds, oats, yoghurt, protein powder, nut butters, berries, greens and more. Something like My Favourite Green Smoothie but with organic full cream milk.
Lunch usually comes home completely untouched so needless to say he is STARVING when he gets home.
So that leaves afternoon tea.
I try to make it a good one!
Hiding vegetables in cakes and muffins etc is not new, but it is definitely my favourite way to increase their nutrition. These have been some of favourites:
'Apple' Crumble Slice (without any apple!)
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Pumpkin Fruit Cake
Chocolate and Zucchini Muffins
Sweet Potato Brownies
Pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, sweet potato and beetroot all work beautifully in baked goods. Add in a good unrefined sweetener and some sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and you have a delicious sweet treat that will fill them up and give them some much need veggies.
Today I had a lot of pumpkin to use up so I whipped up this pumpkin loaf cake which I am calling a 'Spicy Golden Loaf'. It is beautifully moist with lovely warm flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, orange and molasses.
A slice of this with a glass of milk will happily fill up even the fussiest tummy.
Spicy Golden Loaf
100g butter, at room temperature
100g coconut sugar
2 large eggs
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ts blackstrap molasses
zest of 1/2 orange
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 2/3 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 ts bicarb soda
1 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts nutmeg
1/2 ts ginger
1/4 ts cloves
Beat together the butter and coconut sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time beating until smooth.
Add the pumpkin, vanilla, molasses and orange zest and mix until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients and fold through until just combined.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and the middle springs back when pressed gently.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Delicious warm from the oven or at room temperature. Serve with butter.
Do you have a fussy eater?
What are your strategies? Let me know below!
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
So if you haven't already noticed, today is Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day!
Do you do Valentine's Day?
We don't but it is definitely a good excuse to make something chocolatey for dessert!
I've actually been making these little bliss ball beauties for my doTERRA classes that I've been running at home and for friends.
They have been such a hit that I now make them for more special occasions too.
I've been loving experimenting with using different essential oils in cooking and baking.
Plus it's so handy to be able to add a drop or 2 of lemongrass, ginger or fennel, for example, to give a big boost of flavour when you might not have those ingredients handy.
The intense flavours of wild orange, lemon and peppermint oils pair so beautifully with raw desserts like slices and bliss balls.
I've made lemon balls and a chocolate-peppermint slice recently that were just divine so keep an eye out for those recipes soon.
Wild Orange Bliss Balls
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup dates
1/2 ts vanilla paste
4 drops Wild Orange Oil (I use and recommend doTERRA essential oils, click here to find out why)
30g dark chocolate
Zest of 1/2 orange
Place the dates and cashews into the Thermomix or high-powered blend and process to a fine crumb. Add the vanilla, salt and orange oil and process until the mixture clumps together.
Roll spoonfuls into balls and place in the fridge.
Melt the chocolate ( I do it in a small glass bowl over a small pot of hot water simmering on the stove). Drizzle over the tops of each bliss ball and top with a sprinkle of fresh orange zest.
Makes approximately 10
Have you used essential oils in cooking before? Do you have a favourite oil or recipe you would like to share? Let me know below!
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
My grandmother was a great cook. Nothing especially fancy but the sort of homemade, stick to your ribs, oh-so-tasty fare that grandmothers are renowned for.
Her jam tarts in particular were spectacular!
But it was her corn fritters that seem to have stuck in my mind most clearly.
I had gone with her and friend for a week's stay on Tangalooma, a family-friendly resort on an island about an hour's boat trip away. We were in a downstairs garden apartment with a small kitchen where we could cook for ourselves and not have to eat out all the time.
I can so vividly remember coming in from the beach all wet and sandy to the smell of corn fritters frying and then burning my tongue eating them as soon as they came out of the pan.
There's just something about that combination of sweet and salty, crispy fried outside and soft fluffy middle that I can't resist!
These days no one in my family apppreciates a corn fritter quite as much as I do but they are a family favourite nonetheless.
You can think of these as a savoury pancake and top them any way you like.
I shared on Facebook during the week that I had leftover fritters topped with some smoked trout and sauerkraut (haha I just realised as I wrote it down that it rhymes!) for lunch the next day.
My kids also love them topped with crispy bacon and maple syrup. SO good!
Gluten-free Corn Fritters
2 cups gluten free plain flour
3 ts gluten free baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1 x 400g tin corn, drained
3/4 cup rice milk
Oil for shallow frying (Olive oil, coconut oil or ghee is great for these)
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. Add the eggs, corn and milk and fold together with a spatula until well combined. (You may need slightly more or less milk than this, it seems to vary with every batch and probably depends also how well drained your corn is).
Preheat your frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to generously cover the base of the pan. When it starts to shimmer you are ready to fry.
Dollop spoonfuls of mixture into the pan and flatten out slightly. Fry for about 3 minutes then flip and fry on the other side until crisp, golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from the pan and place onto a wire rack over a baking tray. This ensures the fritters stay crisp on the bottom (nothing worse than a soggy bottom!)
Repeat with remaining mixture.
Makes approximately 16.
Are there any foods you feel really nostalgic about from your childhood?
Let me know below!
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Hello dear readers!
I've been taking some time away from the computer these past few weeks and am now refreshed and ready to jump back into things.
My big boys have just finished their first week back at school (in grades 1 and 3) and my priority at the moment is keeping their lunchboxes packed with nourishing and tasty food.
I don't know about your kids, but mine are always STARVING on the holidays and tend to graze a lot more. So it's always a bit of a shock to their systems to have nothing between breakfast and 11.10am when lunch starts!
I actually don't mind the boys having sandwiches for lunch as long as they are made with good quality bread and decent fillings.
For me, the ingredients on a loaf of bread should read flour, water, yeast and salt, with maybe some honey for sweetness and a high quality oil for a soft crumb.
If you haven't actually read the label on the bread you purchase you are probably in for a shock - most of them have numbers galore, vegetable oils, unpronounceable preservatives and additives to keep it fresh on the shelf for way longer than it should be.
I Quit Sugar did a post on the 5 healthiest breads at the supermarket but even those contained canola oil and a few other sneaky ingredients.
Baking your own is definitely the best option and my wholemeal spelt bread is the one I make for the kids that always gets eaten.
It's easy and pretty forgiving (my husband can make it on his own!) and it freezes well. I make a loaf most weekends, slicing and freezing it as soon as it has cooled.
If you have a Thermomix and haven't made your own bread yet, what are you waiting for?
The aroma of freshly baked bread is one the best smells in the world and the taste is better than anything you can buy. It's also far cheaper as a loaf of spelt bread will typically set you back at least $6.
I buy my spelt flour in bulk 12.5kg bags through my co-op and store it in the freezer.
The best wholemeal spelt bread that kids actually like
2 ts instant dried yeast
2 ts honey
600g wholemeal spelt flour
2 ts salt
2 ts apple cider vinegar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Place the water, yeast and honey into the Thermomix and heat for 2 minutes / 37 degrees / SP 2.
Add the flour, salt, vinegar and oil and mix for 10 seconds / SP 3.
Lock lid and knead for 8 minutes.
Leave in the bowl for 20 minutes to rest.
Turn out onto an oiled surface, punch down and shape into an oblong.
Place dough into a large/jumbo/900g bread tin.
Cover and place in a warm, moist place to prove until it rises to the top of the tin (I do mine in the just emptied dishwasher!)
While the dough is proving, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 180 degrees fan-forced.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
Remove from tin immediately and leave on a wire rack to cool.
Do you bake your own bread?
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Hooray it's 2017!
Can you feel it?
There's an excitement in the air - like the coming year is a blank slate just waiting to be filled with all sorts of awesomeness. Like this awesome mint-choc-chip ice cream! But more on that in a moment.
While I am not really into setting resolutions, at the beginning of a new year I think a certain amount of reflection is good.
Some people set goals, some choose a guiding word, some cross their fingers and hope for the best.
Me? I've found 3 little questions to be really helpful:
1. What do you want more of?
2. What do you want less of?
3. What do you want to introduce?
If you sit with each of those questions for a few moments the answers do make themselves known.
For me personally, I want more fun activities with my kids, more focus on my relationship with my husband, more meditation (I've committed to a 365 meditation challenge this year), more personal development, more reading of fiction, more gluten and dairy free cooking because this way of eating is serving me well, and more mindfulness and gratitude
I want less fear, stress and worry about things that I can't change, less self-recrimination, less feeling that I have to do it all.
I want to introduce - more movement, more date nights, a dedicated self-care ritual, to incorporate essential oils more into our daily lives, more fermented foods and a real focus on gut health for myself and Mr 6 especially.
I also want to eat more ice cream - if it tastes as good as this one does!
I've used a tin of coconut condensed milk here but if you have a Thermomix you can of course make your own with whatever sweetener you choose. I usually would but being time-poor on New Year's Eve and also wanting a very white base I chose to buy some. Totally up to you!
Dairy-free Mint-Choc-Chip Ice Cream
3 cans Ayam coconut cream (chilled in fridge upside down for 24 hours before you begin!)
1 can coconut condensed milk (also chilled in the fridge for 24 hours)
3-4 drops peppermint essential oil* (or 1 ts peppermint essence)
100g Lindt 85% cocoa chocolate, chopped into small chunks
Insert the butterfly into the thermomix bowl.
Take your already chilled cans of coconut cream, open them carefully and place only the thick creamy parts into the thermomix. Depending how you stored your can in the fridge you may be able to scoop off the cream leaving some watery milk in the tin, or you could pour off the milk leaving the cream behind. Just don't use the milk for this ice cream or it won't work!
Beat the cream for 30 secs / SP 4.
Add the (already chilled) condensed coconut milk and peppermint oil and whip for another 30 secs / SP 4.
Add the chopped chocolate and mix on reverse / SP 2 for 10 seconds.
Pour into a freezer safe container and chill until firm. Or serve immediately for a (very) soft-serve style ice cream.
My kids went nuts for this on New Year's Eve and there were arguments over who got to lick the bowl and spatula!
If you don't have a Thermomix then a good food processor or blender will work well too!
*I don't believe all essential oils are safe for ingestion. Here though a small amount of peppermint oil in a high fat ice cream is fine. Do what you feel comfortable with and if you prefer not to ingest any essential oils then peppermint essence is a great alternative. If you use oil make sure it is a high quality food-grade one. Click here for more information on the brand I use and love!
Peppermint is one of my all-time favourite essential oils and to help you experiment with it I've done up a handy printable with some of the best uses for this wonder oil. Just click on the image below to grab your copy!
Do you use essential oils at home? What are your favourites?
Let me know below.