Showing posts with label Easy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easy. Show all posts

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Spicy Carrot Loaf Cake and some news

Spicy Carrot Loaf Cake © www.foodbabylife.com

Oh it feels like ages since I've been here! The last month or so has been a bit of a blur of phone calls and emails but it feels like the right time now to share our news ... we bought a house!!! After being in a rented townhouse for the past 5 years we are thrilled that soon we will have a house of our own. We are moving in the middle of September and have already started packing. We've accumulated a lot of stuff as well as had 2 more children since we moved in here and there is a lot of sort out. I'm loving the chance for a clear out though and we have passed on bags and bags of stuff to the Salvos already.

In all the busyness my diet has slipped a little and my health started suffering as a result. Nothing major but constant colds and the stress of studying for exams and house-hunting took their toll on my thyroid and I've been feeling exhausted. After trip to the naturopath I am back on the right path and taking the time to cook and bake for all of us properly.

I'm really loving my spices at the moment. Not sure whether it's just my body's way of wanting to warm up this winter but whatever the reason, I can't get enough! I needed to make something for afternoon tea and decided to use up some veggies at the same time. This cake used 4 medium carrots but you could use pumpkin, zucchini or even parsnips for this recipe or even a combination of these.

This was an easy and absolutely delicious cake. My boys loved it and Oscar told me it was the best cake I'd ever made! I of course loved that it go some extra carrot into them along with the amazing health benefits of cinnamon, ginger and turmeric in winter.

I left the walnuts out of this batch but if you don't have littlies add them in for some yummy crunch.

Spicy Carrot Loaf Cake

250g grated carrot
2 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1 ts baking powder
1/4 ts bicarb soda
2 ts cinnamon
1 ts turmeric
1 ts ginger
1/4 ts ground cloves
pinch salt
1/2 cup natural raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius / 150 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line an 8 inch loaf pan (mine was pyrex).

Place the carrot, eggs, oil, syrup and raisins in a large bowl and mix well. Sift the flour and spices together and then add to the wet mix, folding through until only just combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top.

Bake for approximately 1 hour. It will be golden brown and fragrant and the middle will spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for half an hour before turning out onto a wire rack.

Slice and serve with butter (if not dairy free).

Monday, July 20, 2015

Winter Warmer - Beef, Bacon and Tomato Casserole


Slow Cooked Beef, Bacon and Tomato Casserole with Mashed Potato from www.mywholefoodfamily.com

 I know our winters here don't really compare with the rest of the world in terms of low temperatures but jeez it's been cold for the past week! We've had an antarctic vortex which brought snow to the southern parts of Queensland and dropped the nighttime temperature to as low as 3 degrees where I am.

The thing is, I'm not made for cold weather and our house certainly isn't either. We don't have heaters or reverse cycle air-conditioning or electric blankets. All we can do is rug up and keep warm on the inside with lots of cups of tea and hearty, warming fare like this casserole.

I love my slow cooker even in summer but it winter it is a lifesaver. I had this beef, bacon and tomato casserole simmering along for a full 8 hours and the house smelt amazing. Served with some buttery mashed potato it was the perfect dinner for a cold winter's night.

Beef, Bacon and Tomato Casserole
Serves 6

1kg gravy beef or chuck casserole steak
3 rashers bacon
1 x 700ml bottle tomato passata
2 medium onions, diced
6 medium carrots, sliced into the 2 cm circles
2 ts dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 heaped ts homemade vegetable stock paste (optional)
2 tbs olive oil

Dice the beef into 4 cm pieces and fry off in batches in the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until browned on all sides.

Place the browned beef into the bowl of your slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients, stir, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Check for seasoning.

Serve with mashed potato and steamed greens.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

'Apple' Crumble Slice

 

This may be the most amazingly sneaky recipe I've ever made. I mean I've done lots of hidden veggies recipes before but this really takes the cake. I called it an apple crumble slice and my kids went nuts for it. But let me tell you a secret ... there isn't any apple in it.

So do you want to take a guess as to exactly what is cooking in this pan?


It's zucchini!!!

Seriously.

I found this recipe for Zucchini Pie Bars on Crazy for Crust and I was immediately intrigued but quite dubious. How on earth would zucchinis taste like apples? Especially as I wouldn't be smothering it in ice cream and caramel sauce like the original recipe. But I'm always up for a challenge so I gave it a go.


The slice consists of a pastry base which you bake until golden brown. Then the filling is diced zucchini sauteed in butter, cinnamon and sugar until just soft and then drained. Next there is a buttery crumble topping.

There was absolutely no discernible taste of zucchini. For all intents and purposes it was an apple slice, although perhaps a little less sweet than normal. The crust and crumble were crisp and buttery and the filling was soft and lightly spiced with cinnamon and lemon. My boys absolutely devoured it, asking for seconds and thirds.

So do I feel a little guilty about the deception? Not even a little bit. It is totally delicious and my extremely fussy 4 year old actually ate a serve of vegetables. Win!

'Apple' Crumble Slice
Adapted from Crazy for Crust

For the Crust:
125g softened butter
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 ts salt

For the Filling:
3 large zucchini, peeled and diced
2 tbs butter
2 tbs coconut sugar
1 ts cinnamon
zest 1/2 lemon

For the Topping:
125 softened butter
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup white spelt flour
1/2 ts cinnamon
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 ts salt

Line a 20x30cm slice pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

To prepare the crust, place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. It may look dry but if it sticks together when you squeeze a handful it is ready. Press the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 13 minutes.

To make the filling, melt the butter and sugar together in a frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the zucchini, cinnamon and lemon zest and cook, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes or until the zucchini is just starting to soften. Remove from the heat and drain until ready to use.

While the zucchini is cooking prepare the topping. Place all ingredients into the food processor and pulse until crumbly.

Remove the hot crust from the oven and scatter the cooked zucchini carefully over the top before sprinkling the topping evenly over the top. Bake for around 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely in the pan before slicing into bars and serving. Can be stored in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container or up to 1 month in the freezer.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Apricot Chicken

Apricot Chicken © www.foodbabylife.com

When I was growing up, apricot chicken was one of my favourite dinners. There's just something so delicious about that combination of sweet and savoury.

Last week on Better Homes and Gardens, Fast Ed did a series of 'kid-friendly' dishes which included apricot chicken and I realised my kids have never tried it. This is an updated version of the one I would have had growing up, which almost certainly would have included a packet of french onion soup mix!

The boys actually love watching BHG with me. Oscar really likes the gardening and pet segments, Charlie likes the building and of course we all love the cooking. So when we saw this recipe and the boys wanted to try it, of course we had to.

I copied it down directly from the show but you can view the video with the recipe here. It doesn't give all the exact quantities so I have included what I used below. The recipe said to use a rice and quinoa blend which I have seen around but never tried. As it was on special this week we got a bag and it was great. Really filling and much more interesting and nutritious than regular rice.

Fast Ed's Apricot Chicken
Serves 6

3 tbs butter
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1kg chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm pieces
1/4 cup flour
1 x 400ml tin apricot nectar
400ml chicken stock
1 x tin apricot halves
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chives
rice and quinoa to serve

Melt 1 tbs of the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat and saute the leeks until they are starting to soften. Add the crushed garlic and cook together until the leeks are tender and collapsed. Remove from the pan.

Dust the chicken pieces in flour and set aside. Cook your rice or quinoa using your preferred method and keep warm until ready to serve.

Add another 1 tbs of butter to the pan and fry off the chicken in 2 batches until it is well browned. Use the remaining 1 tbs of butter for the second batch of chicken pieces. Return the leek mixture and all the chicken to the pan and pour in the apricot nectar and chicken stock. Stir well and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened a little. Check for seasoning and sprinkle in some fresh chopped chives just before serving.

In a separate non-stick pan over medium-high heat, place the apricot halves in, cut side down, and fry until golden brown. Remove and keep warm.

Serve the apricot chicken with rice or quinoa and the fried apricot halves.

The taste test ... we loved this! My 1yo and 6yo went absolutely nuts for it and wanted seconds and then thirds. This is definitely going into our rotation of meals.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Winter Spice Biscuits

Winter Spice Biscuits © www.foodbabylife.com

After making these biscuits twice in as many days I have decided they must be worth sharing! I'm not sure if its just the cold weather but my boys have all been ravenous this past week and I've been searching for something tasty and healthy to fill them up.

Apart from warming soups and stews, my other favourite things to have in Winter are spices. With ginger, cinnamon, cloves and molasses these smell quite Christmassy to me but really why wait until Christmas to enjoy something so delicious!

My kids absolutely devoured these biscuits. They have a texture quite like brandy snaps - being thin, crisp and lacy around the edges and a little chewier in the middle. They are also gluten and dairy free (and virtually grain-free as well apart from the small amount of rice syrup) and very low in fructose.

Winter Spice Biscuits
Recipe by me

150g almond meal
25g chia seeds
20g molasses
50g rice malt syrup
50g coconut oil
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ts cinnamon
1 ts ginger
1/4 ts ground cloves
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.

Roll mixture into balls and place onto prepared trays, allowing room to spread.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown (they will be very soft but will firm as they cool). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approx 18.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Simple Tomato Soup

Simple tomato soup from www.mywholefoodfamily.com

Well Winter has well and truly arrived! I have shivered my way through today and actually haven't felt warm since I got out of bed this morning! My favourite thing about Winter (apart from the clothes - jeans, boots, scarves, jackets - I'm in heaven) is the food. Nothing warms up the house like having a soup simmering on the stove and some bread baking in the oven.

Tonight we had this really simple tomato soup with some focaccia. The simple things really are the best.

I've made this soup a few times and I always wish we had more. Next time I will make a double batch so I can enjoy it for a few days. Mr fussy 4yo had a tiny little taste and declared he didn't like it, but the fact he even tasted it is huge progress. The rest of us loved it, even my 19mth old who loves his focaccia stirred into the soup to get mushy!

Simple Tomato Soup

1/2 brown onion, roughly chopped
3 big cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
1kg very ripe tomatoes, halved and core removed
1 tbs tomato paste
1tbs rice malt syrup
1 tbs veggie stock paste
pepper

Heat up the oil in a medium pot over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes or until they start to soften. Add the remainder of the ingredients and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes until the tomatoes completely collapse and the onion is soft. Use a stick blender to blitz until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste (I only ever need to add pepper as my homemade stock paste is salty enough).

Serves 4.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake © www.foodbabylife.com

Sometimes you just need cake. And with cake it really doesn't need to be fancy to be good. This may be a bit plain in the looks department but it is moist, buttery and scented with vanilla and really, who could ask for more?

We ate ours warm from the oven with lots of my Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam. Absolutely delicious!!!

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake
Adapted from Lisa Corduff

100g rice malt syrup
130g butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
250g wholemeal flour
150g milk (I used homemade almond and coconut milk)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.

Place the butter and syrup into the thermomix bowl and beat for 1 min / SP 4.

Add eggs one at a time while mixing at SP 4 until well combined.

Add all other ingredients and mix for 30 secs / SP 4, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

If you don't have a thermomix just use a food processor, stand mixer or electric beaters and follow the same instructions. It may just take a little longer for each step!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches (SRC)

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches © www.foodbabylife.com

It's Secret Recipe Club time again and that means all my fellow Group Ds are revealing their chosen recipes today! This month I was really excited to be assigned Making Miracles by Rebekah. If you haven't checked out Rebekah's blog yet you really should because this woman is AMAZING! Rebekah has been a surrogate 3 times since 2006 (and currently on pregnancy #4) and started her blog to keep a record of her surrogacy experiences. Since then it has definitely evolved to include her own family and lots and lots of food!

I love the names of her recipes too, it makes them really hard to resist - how about some Amazingly Easy and Delicious Ham and Potato Soup, Emergency Chicken or the Best Steak Marinade in Existence?

I nearly went with the Bacon-Wrapped Potato Wedges but in the end though the Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches won me over not only because they sounded absolutely delicious, but because I remembered seeing the movie Chef  last year (did anyone else see it? we loved it!) which was all about Cuban street food including the famous el sandwich Cubano!

This is a super easy meal which takes only minutes to prepare and then the slow-cooker does all the work for you. I use my slow-cooker a few times every week so this was perfect for us. Every time I cook meat like this I wonder why I don't do it more often because it's just SO good! Tender, juicy and packed with flavour.

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches © www.foodbabylife.com
The house smelt amazing all day while the pork was cooking and when it came the taste did not disappoint! I don't eat dairy and I did feel like I was missing out a bit without all that luscious melty cheese but it still tasted fantastic. We all loved these and even better, because I did such a big roast we had lots of leftover pork for lunch the next day and froze the rest for another dinner a week later.

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches © www.foodbabylife.com

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches
Recipe from Making Miracles

For the roast:
1 x 2kg pork shoulder (this makes lots of leftovers)
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ts oregano or marjoram
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white vinegar
3 ts salt

For the sandwiches:
Long bread rolls
Sliced Swiss cheese
Sliced ham
Sliced pickles
Honey mustard
Mayonnaise 

To prepare the roast, combine all marinade ingredients together and rub over the pork before covering well and leaving it in the fridge overnight. The next morning place in your crock pot on low for 8-12 hours (mine had about 10 1/2 hours and was perfect).

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in half and spread a thin layer of the mustard and mayonnaise on the insides. Layer the cheese, ham, pickles and roast pork on one half. Top with another slice of cheese and then the other half of the roll.

Press sandwiches in a panini press until bread is crispy and cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.

Thanks for a great recipe Rebekah. I loved spending some time on your blog! :)

secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies - free from gluten, dairy and fructose - from www.mywholefoodfamily.c

I know they don't look like much but these Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits are one of the best things I've baked in ages. Seriously! I've made a Magic Bean Chocolate Cake before which we all loved and these biscuits are just as good with their fudgy chocolate middles surrounded by raggedy, crinkly, crispy edges that make it incredibly hard to stop at 1 (or 2).

My kids are always ravenous at the end of the day and afternoon tea often turns into one big grazing session (and yes they still eat a big dinner!). We had an after school function to go to the day I made these so I packed them up and hoped it would be enough to keep them going until we got home. Well, they each ate 3 biscuits and were set. They absolutely loved them but 3 was enough and I didn't get a single 'I'm hungry' the whole afternoon! The chickpeas and oats in these are packed with protein and fibre and they are really satisfying. Next time I will be doubling the recipe and stashing some in the freezer. 

Even straight from the oven there was absolutely no discernible taste or smell of the chickpeas so if you've been on the fence about the whole beans-in-cakes thing give these a go!

Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits - Gluten, Dairy and Fructose Free
Recipe adapted from The Road to Loving My Thermomixer

45g quinoa flakes
80g rice malt syrup*
zest of 1 orange (optional but delicious!) 
400g tin chickpeas
40g raw cacao powder
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ts gluten-free baking powder
100g coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Place quinoa flakes into a food processor and blitz for 20 seconds (TMX 20 secs / SP 7). Add all remaining ingredients and process for 30 seconds (TMX 30 secs / SP 5).

Dollop small spoonfuls of mixture onto the prepared trays, allowing some room to spread, and flatten slightly (I often forget to do this).

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing the biscuits on a wire rack to cool completely (or not, they are absolutely delicious warm from the oven!).

* Using RMS is what makes these fructose free but they are definitely not as sweet as the original - if you're not worried about fructose you could use raw honey instead or half-and-half. 

Makes approx 20

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Egg Bake (Dairy Free)

Sweet Potato Bacon and Egg Bake © www.foodbabylife.com

We go through lots of eggs in this house, at least 2-3 dozen or more if I'm doing lots of baking. We love them boiled, scrambled and fried. Turned into omelettes, quiches, custard and french toast.

A quick flick through an old Woman's Weekly cookbook called Cheap & Cheerful and I came across a Kumara, Bacon and Egg Bake. We had everything on hand it was such an easy and delicious dinner! Itwas somewhere between a quiche and a frittata and would work really well if you happened to have some leftover steamed veggies in the fridge already. I used sweet potato and regular potatoes but really you could use anything you have.

We had this for dinner but I think it would be a perfect brunch dish, especially as it could be prepared ahead of time and then popped in the oven at the last minute.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Egg Bake
Adapted from Cheap & Cheerful (Australian Woman's Weekly, ACP Books, p50-51)

1 large sweet potato (about 500g)
2 large potaotes (about 500g)
5 bacon rashers (about 350g)
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1 ts ground cumin
2 tbs nutritional yeast

Chop the sweet potatoes and potatoes into a 2-3cm dice and steam until just tender and then set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease a baking dish ( mine was 20 x 26 cm) with olive oil.

Roughly chop the bacon and fry it in a pan over medium heat until just starting to crisp up. Sprinkle over the cumin and toss to combine. Spread the potatoes over the base of the baking dish and scatter the bacon over the top.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and nutritional yeast in a medium bowl and then pour over the potatoes and bacon. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or hot with a green salad.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunshine Soup (aka Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup)

Sunshine Soup (Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup) © www.foodbabylife.com

We've been hit with numerous bouts of colds recently and seemingly permanent runny noses so I've been looking for lots of nutrient rich foods to boost the kids immune systems - fresh juices made on carrots, celery, beetroot, spinach, orange and ginger in the morning and warming drinks with lemon and raw honey in the afternoon when the coughs and sniffles come back.

And now that it seems like Winter is finally on the way (we've dropped into single digits overnight in the last few days) it's soup time!!!

I don't tend to follow recipes for soup, I usually just throw in whatever veggies we have on hand, add some herbs and stock and call it a day. This soup, which my boys called Sunshine Soup because of its gorgeous sunny colour, was the perfect tonic for my big boy who was home sick from school yesterday. As usual I thought I made plenty but it disappeared in record time and I will be making another batch today!

I did this in the Thermomix but you can easily adapt it and I have included alternative directions below.

We all loved this soup. My 18 month old ate more than 1 1/2 cups and wanted more but there wasn't any left!


Sunshine Soup (Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato)

2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato, roughly chopped
1 big wedge of pumpkin, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger
2cm piece fresh turmeric OR 1ts dried turmeric
2 1/2 cups water or stock
1 ts vegetable stock paste (only if using water)
1 heaped tbs solid coconut oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

TMX - place the ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric (if using) into the bowl and chop 3 secs / SP 7. Add the coconut oil and dried turmeric (if using) and saute 2 mins / Varoma / SP 1. Add the carrot, sweet potato and chop 15 secs / SP 7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the stock or water and cook 20 mins / 100 degrees / SP 1. Blend 45 secs / sp8, gradually increasing from SP 1 to SP 8. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

If not using a Thermomix, place all ingredients except the water/stock and oil into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Pour into a medium saucepan, add the oil and water or stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Using a stick blender, process the soup until smooth.

Serves 4.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Bread © www.foodbabylife.com

I'm beginning to think I have a bit of an obsession with banana bread. I was too scared to check just how many variations I've posted over the years but I know I've never made a Pumpkin Banana Bread before!

We bought a whole pumpkin last weekend for just $2 and we enjoyed it roasted last night, mashed for lunch today and now baked into a cake. There will also be pumpkin soup made in a few days when it cools down again after a few days of unseasonably hot weather.

Mr Fussy 4yo loves cinnamon and was willing to taste some pumpkin roasted with cinnamon last night (it got a screwed up face) but even he couldn't resist this Pumpkin Banana Bread still warm from the oven and spread with lots of butter. It was the perfect afternoon tea for the kidlets and I can vouch for the fact that it is just as good if not better toasted the next day.

The original recipe had 1/2 cup honey AND 1/2 cup sugar which I replaced with just 1/2 cup rice malt syrup and an extra banana and it definitely sweet enough for us. You may want to increase it a little.

This was incredibly moist, lightly spiced and absolutely delicious. We will be making it again!

Gotta love hidden veggies!

Pumpkin Banana Bread sliced © www.foodbabylife.com

Pumpkin Banana Bread
adapted from allrecipes

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
2 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts nutmeg
1/4 ts cloves

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, pumpkin and syrup. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients and then stir these into the banana mixture until just combined (don't over-mix).

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (mine took 50 - it was huge!) or until the top springs back when touched and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or cold. Suitable to freeze.

TMX - place bananas, eggs, oil, pumpkin and syrup into the mixing bowl and blend for 10 seconds / speed 6. Add remainder of ingredients and blend 6 seconds / speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and proceed with baking instructions above.

Friday, April 17, 2015

2 ingredient Apricot Balls

2 Ingredient Apricot Balls © www.foodbabylife.com

We are coming to the end of 2 weeks school holidays here and it has been action packed! Between sleepovers, trips to the park and the movies and play dates with friends there hasn't been too much down time. And to top it all off we have Oscar's 6th birthday party tomorrow! I will write a separate post about the party and all the happenings on his actual birthday but for now I thought I would share one of the recipes I am making for the party.

We are expecting 14 kids plus parents and sibilings (maybe 40 people all up) but are keeping the food very simple. I remember loving apricot slice as a kid but I do remember it being very sweet and I recently checked the packet and yep, LOADS of sugar!

Luckily The Organised Housewife came to the rescue with these simple apricot balls which have just 2 ingredients and take all of a minute to whip up. I found they had to be squeezed into balls rather than rolled but they held together beautifully and were certainly firm enough even without being refrigerated.

My kids loved these and I loved how simple they were. Perhaps the easiest party food ever!

2 Ingredient Apricot Balls
Recipe from The Organised Housewife

200g dried apricots
200g desiccated coconut

Place apricots and coconut into the food processor and blitz until well combined and sticky, about 90 seconds. In the thermomix process on speed 10 40-50 seconds.

Squeeze into balls and store in the fridge.

Makes approx 18 (depending how big or small you make them!)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Sausage and Roast Pumpkin

Quinoa salad with sausage and roast pumpkin © www.mywholefoodfamily.com

I have been a little slow getting on board with quinoa. Actually that's not entirely true as I used to make Noah a quinoa and strawberry porridge which he adored!

But given how nutritious it is I have made a concerted effort to buy and cook some this week and have had great results.

Firstly for dinner I made the quinoa salad pictured above and it was insanely delicious. Seriously! I could eat a big bowlful of this every day of the week. I drew my inspiration from this Quirky Cooking recipe but just used the ingredients I had.

So no recipe as such for this but here is what I used:
4 cups cooked quinoa
4 sausages, cooked and sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful of basil from the garden
1 wedge of pumpkin, diced and roasted with a little sesame oil
a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper

I am planning on making a batch of this (or a variation depending on what we have in the fridge) most weeks to have as my weekday lunches. The possibilities are endless with different combinations of meat, veg and herbs.

With some leftover cooked quinoa I made a very simple porridge which we al had this morning for breakfast. I prepared it in the thermomix but just a pot on the stove would work just as well. To 2 cups of cooked quinoa I added enough nut milk to cover, 2 tbs rice malt syrup and 1/2 ts cinnamon and let it simmer for 5 mins or so until the milk was about half absorbed. 2 of my 3 boys had this with me for breakfast today and loved it so this is a keeper as well.

There is still a little quinoa leftover and I am planning on using it in some bliss balls (recipe to come).

Expect to see lots more quinoa here as I am now officially on the bandwagon! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Carrot Cake Slice


Well, here we are in December already. How did that happen??  Luckily Christmas is my favourite time of the year so I have no problem being on a count down to Christmas (23 days). School and kindy are winding down, there are cards to write, presents to buy and lots of functions to attend.

A few weekends ago we took the kids into Southbank to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra's Symphonic Santa concert. It was hosted by Jay from Play School and featured lots of children's songs, Christmas carols and of course Santa. We got into early and took a picnic lunch, the boys had a play and the show itself was great.

In addition to the sandwiches and fruit for our picnic I wanted to take something special for morning tea. The kids all have swimming on a Saturday morning and even with an early lunch I knew they would be starving. I had some carrots to use up but I was after something more portable and quicker to cook than a cake. A quick search on Natural New Age Mum and I found this Carrot Cake Slice. All the best bits of a carrot cake but quicker, easier and healthier.

This slice is perfect for all those take-a-plate occasions that pop up in the holidays. It is sweet, moist, lightly spiced and completely delicious. The entire tray disappeared in 24 hours.

This is a Thermomix recipe but you could easily make it a food processor, it will just take a little longer to process in each step. Or simply grate the carrots and mix with the other ingredients.

With the rice malt syrup and sultanas we found it sweet enough but if you are new to a low-sugar way of eating you might want to experiment with the sweetness.

Carrot Cake Slice
Slightly Adapted from Natural New Age Mum

150g (1 cup) carrot
5 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup tapioca/arrowroot flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 ts mixed spice
1/4 cup rice malt syrup (or honey, maple syrup etc)
1/4 cup dried fruit (I used sultanas and craisins)

Preheat the oven to 180Âșc. Lightly grease a slice tray with baking paper and set aside.

Peel and roughly chop the carrots, add them to the Thermomix bowl and process for 4 secs/speed 5.

Scrape down the sides and add in all the other ingredients except the dried fruit. Process for 5 secs/speed 5.  Scrape down again, add the sultanas and mix for 5 sec/speed 4/reverse.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

Cool in the tray for 10 minutes before turning out oton a wire rack. Slice into squares to serve.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sweet Potato Pancakes


While I am a very keen meal-planner, I tend not to plan anything much for Friday and Saturday nights. Sometimes we have leftovers and sometimes I just try to use up whatever odds and ends are left in the fridge before we do the grocery shopping on the weekend. We also often have breakfast for dinner (aka dinner) with pancakes, waffles, bacon and eggs and the like.

When we happened to have a large sweet potato that was fast approaching it's use-by, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to try out these sweet potato pancakes that I found on Weelicious a few months ago.

They are a little more time consuming than regular pancakes in that you need to steam and puree the sweet potato first but if you happened to have leftover vegetables from dinner that would make it really easy.

I was amazed at how much my kids loved these. Even my notoriously picky Mr 4 devoured them - in fact he ate 7! The recipe made 16 and I was expecting my husband and I to be able to have some but nope, my 3 boys gobbled up all 16 in record time.

If you don't have sweet potato then pumpkin, carrot or swede would also work brilliantly.

The pancakes have a very soft texture, to the point  you might be wondering if they are actually cooked. They are! Check out the original post and all the comments for more info on that.

Easy Sweet Potato Pancakes
Adapted from Weelicious

1 cup spelt flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup rice milk
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup sweet potato puree

Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add a little butter or coconut oil.

Pour large spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan, making as many pancakes as will fit, and cook for 2-3 minutes before flipping and cooking for a further minute or so until cooked through and golden brown.

Makes 16 pancakes. Serve with butter and rice malt syrup.






Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sweet and Salty Potato Chip Cookies


I am a sucker for the combination of sweet and salty, be it popcorn, pastry or salted caramel. When I saw these pop up on Laws of the Kitchen and I happened to have half a bag of potato chips sitting in the pantry their fate was sealed!

The little green pieces in my cookies are actually pumpkin seeds. I didn't have enough of any one type of nuts to make up the 1/2 cup needed for the recipe but I did have a bag of Lucky Smart Snax Recovery which has oven roasted peanuts, almonds, cashews and pepitas. It was perfect for these cookies and using a mixture of nuts made them especially tasty.

My cookies were no where near as chunky looking as the original so I think I overprocessed the nuts and chips but they were still packed with crunchy bits and were deliciously sweet and salty. They were a real hit with the kids and they disappeared in record time. Sorry for the blurry photo, I think someone's little sticky fingers have been playing with my camera!

Oh and there's only 1 day left to win the #luckysmartsnax hamper so if you're an Australian resident and want to win some nuts visit my post here to enter!

Sweet and Salt Potato Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Caker via Laws of the Kitchen

225g butter
1 cup dextrose (or 100g sugar)
1/2 cup nuts, finely chopped
250g plain flour
1/2 cup crushed salty potato chips
1 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and pale. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Fold in the flour and when mostly combined add the nuts and potato chips and stir until well mixed through.

Roll the dough into balls and place on the prepared trays. Flatten with the bottom of a glass or your palm.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until just golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24.


Monday, October 27, 2014

5 Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (Secret Recipe Club)

5 Ingredient Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

It's Secret Recipe Club time! Each month SRC members are assigned another member's blog in secret to peruse and choose a recipe to make, photograph and blog about. Reveal day is seriously one of my favourite days!

This month I was assigned Shockingly Delicious by Dorothy and let me tell you I spent many happy hours perusing her blog (when I should have been studying!). Dorothy has 25 years of food writing and recipe development experience and it really shows. Her blog is full of scrumptious 'scary good' food and is beautifully written. I thought I had a lot of cookbooks but Dorothy has more than 400!

There were quite a few recipes which caught my eye. I will definitely be surprising my kids with her Strawberry-Citrus Frappe after school one day soon, and I can't wait to try the Breakfast Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Leftover Panettone after Christmas (it might take me until then to perfect a dairy-free version of that one!).

But after all that I really couldn't go past these peanut butter cookies. I already have 2 recipes for peanut butter cookies here but neither of them are as simple as this one, and that's exactly what I'm after these days. With only 5 ingredients and no flour or dairy these fit the bill perfectly. I've made 2 batches this month, one with peanut butter and one with almond butter and both were gobbled up in record time.

I used natural peanut butter so added 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the batter.

5 Ingredient Gluten Free Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Shockingly Delicious

1 egg
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar (I used dextrose)
1 ts vanilla extract
1/2 ts bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a food processor or large bowl with electric beater, beat all ingredients together until smooth, about 1 minute.Scoop out teaspoons of mixture, roll into balls and place on prepared trays. Flatten with a a fork.

Bake for 10-11 minutes. They will be just golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Try to stop at just one. 

Dorothy got 32 from this recipe but I got just 22.


http://secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com.au/


Friday, August 1, 2014

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls (Thermomix)

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls Thermomix © www.foodbabylife.com

So after much (much, much) discussion we finally invested in a Thermomix! And I do say invested because they cost A LOT. We've only had it for a couple of weeks and I am seriously wishing I had bought one years ago.

I already make most of what we eat from scratch but even with all the kitchen appliances I have I still couldn't make a decent risotto, non-dairy milk, nut butter, ground almonds or rice flour.  The plan with the Thermomix is to make virtually everything from scratch, meaning we not only save on our grocery bill but we eat even more healthily than we do now.

In these few short weeks I have made vegetable stock, oat milk, rice/almond milk, pasta sauce, multiple batches of baby food, soups, custard, sorbet, risottos, nut butter, rice pudding, porridge and much more. On an average day I would use it at least 4 times and at the end of the day the kitchen is clean, no more pots and pans piled up on the bench because they don't fit in the dishwasher.

I will be posting lots of thermomix recipes as time goes on but I will always post non-thermomix instructions as well. I know these machines aren't for everyone. And one thing I have made clear is that I will still be teaching my boys to cook the old-fashioned way as much as possible!

So for the very first thermie recipe for the blog I have chosen these delicious Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls. They were SO quick to whip up that I was able to make them on a study day (when I normally don't cook at all during the day) so they were ready for the big boys straight after school and kindy. They were a big hit with my kids. And looking at the picture above I've just realised someone's sneaky little fingers had gone and pinched the edge of one of them while I wasn't looking! Can you spot it?

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls
Adapted from Be a Fun Mum

Dough:
300g white spelt flour (2 1/3 cups)
1tbs baking powder
60g butter, cut into chunks
30g coconut oil, solid
150g milk (2/3 cup) (I used homemade oat milk)

Filling:
30g butter
30g coconut oil, solid
40g dextrose (or 1/4 cup sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sultanas (optional)

To make the dough:

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Set the scale to 0 then add the baking powder and enough flour to make up 300g, then the butter and coconut oil and mix for 5 sec on speed 5 until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Place a small jug or bowl on the top of the Thermomix. Set the scale to 0 and then pour in 150 grams of milk. Remove the jug. Set Thermomix to locked position and knead for 1.5 minutes on interval setting. While it is kneading, gradually pour milk through the MC hole until a dough is formed. (mine took an extra 30 seconds or so to come together.

Tip the dough onto to a lightly floured bench, ThermoMat or baking paper. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 25 x 40cm and ½ cm thick or about as big as your tray.

To make the filling:

Place butter, coconut oil, dextrose and cinnamon into the mixing bowl and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4.

Spread the mixture evenly over the dough rectangle and sprinkle over the sultanas if you’re using them.

Roll up the dough from either the long side or the short side of the rectangle (short side makes fewer but more scrolly scrolls and long side makes lots of smaller scrolls).

Using a sharp knife, cut rolled dough into pieces approximately 3cm wide. Place the dough pieces on your prepared tray.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating.

If you don’t have a Thermomix, make the dough in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder until it forms breadcrumbs. Pour in the milk and use a butter knife to gradually bring the ingredients together and form a dough. Follow above instructions to roll out the dough. Beat together the filling ingredients in small bowl and again, follow the instructions above for rolling, slicing and baking.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Bread (Wheat, Dairy, Sugar and Nut Free)

Easiest Banana Bread (Wheat free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Nut free) © www.foodbabylife.com


I have been attempting to bake extra batches of things lately to stash in the freezer for after-baby. While I really should be focusing on dinners I can't seem to stop baking! I've had 2 very ripe bananas burning a hole in my fruit bowl (so to speak) so when I saw The Natural New Age Mum post a blog on not 1 or 2 but 8 different banana bread recipes, their fate was sealed!

The one I chose and adapted was from Mamacino, another favourite blogger of mine. While bananas are high in fructose I made it lower by using dextrose instead of regular sugar along with a few other little changes. It was absolutely delicious! Really moist and with a great banana flavour. The kids and I loved it and we still have over 1/2 the loaf in the freezer.

This one's a winner!

Easiest Banana Bread
(Wheat, Dairy, Sugar and Nut Free)
Adapted from Mamacino

1 cup white spelt flour
½ cup wholemeal spelt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, bananas and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until it is just combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the top springs back and a skewer comes out clean when you test it. Leave in the pan for five minutes and turn out to cool on a rack.

Lovely warm from the oven with a big smear of butter (if not dairy-free) or slice and freeze to make wonderful toast.
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