Tag Archives: kids

Have your cake and eat it too

Someone asked me if I miss cake the other day. I was never a big cake fan but the day that I was told I couldn’t eat it, I wanted it, of course. Then when my digestive system flares up and Candida decides to flourish I do want to fall into a pile of cake and chocolate and let’s not even go near stressful times. When ‘Paleo’ arrived and Gluten, Sugar and Dairy Free became the BOMB I will admit I stood on the diving board and ‘horsied’ my way into a multitude of Paleofied treats, who wouldn’t. Now I enjoy the occasional cake or slice, I love raw treats best and so does my family and friends so I give them away a lot.

Most recently when completing my final food editorial folio for my other passion photography, I wanted to showcase my ability in providing alternatives in the ‘sweet’ department. So I delved into the archives and found some old favourites and added some new things to make them I guess more ‘healthy’.

 

Carrot Cake

High in protein, nutritious, anti-inflammatory and just the right amount of sweet. Soaking the carrots means you don’t have to add the doz dates as you would to a normally ‘sugar free’ cake.

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Pre-Heat oven to 180c

1/2 doz medium sized carrots-grated
1/2 cup 100% maple syrup
(learnt this step recently, combine above and soak in fridge overnight)

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup walnuts (activated is best)
1/3 cup macadamia nuts or any others (I added pepita’s to the above one too)

8 eggs
80ml maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup liquid form of coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and stir.
Add wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.
Fold in carrot to dry mix then add the egg mixture.

Choose your tin. I love loaf tins for every kind of cake, makes cutting easier great for a smaller portion than a wedge of a round cake.
Line with baking paper.
Pour mixture in and bake for 45 minutes. Check centre as you do with all cakes, if the skewer comes out clean, winner!!!

I topped mine with plain 100% coconut cream and activated Walnuts and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

Choco Brownie Cookies

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I made these as I had almond pulp from making mylk and some leftover ready-made family supermix from travelling to use up and it was our ‘unbirthday’ so it required some baking.

 

Pre-Heat oven to 180c

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Blanched Almond Flour
1/3 Coconut Flour
1/4 tsp salt
½ Cup Raw Cacao (or you could use Carob powder)

Supermix (you can use whatever you have)

½ tsp slippery elm
¼ liquorice root powder
1 tsp Maca powder
1 tsp Spirulina

 

Wet Ingredients

¼ Cup Almond Mylk (soak 1 cup almonds in water overnight, drain and rinse, pop in blender with 3 cups of water and whizz for a good 5 mins. Strain, (reserve pulp and dehydrate that for almond flour) add cinnamon, vanilla essence and a pinch of salt and blend again)

1 Tbsp chia egg

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup tahini (toast 2 cups of sesame seeds in a dry frypan- unhulled is tops but hulled is great too-pop in food processor and turn on high until a smooth paste is formed)

2 Tbsp 100% Maple Syrup

 

Method
Add flours and ‘supermix’ to a bowl with chia, coconut oil, maple syrup and tahini.

Add Almond mylk until your mix is a doughie consistency (you may need the whole ¼ cup)
Leave to side for 10 mins so the coconut flour and chia activate.

 

While that’s happening grab your best-branded DARK high quality and cacao chocolate (like Bright Chocolate) smash the block with a rolling pin. Better yet, grab the kids, so much fun!

DO NOT PUT IN A BAG AND SMASH IT. BAGS BREAK-CHOCOLATE EVERYWHERE

DO NOT USE HOMEMADE RAW CHOCOLATE, I DID, I LEARNT MY LESSON….COCONUT OIL MELTS!

Add 60g to dough (more if you’re a generous person but remember you are trying to be good)

Line baking tray and spoon mixture in the size you like (we go 50 cent pieces so they last longer than five minutes)
Bake for 10 mins. Stay close by the oven though as the bottom can cook quickly…then again my oven is over 50 years old and burns the bottom of oven trays so it could just be my oven. Don’t over cook though or the cacao can burn.

Leave to cool before eating.

 

I am going to be adding more of my personal recipes for treats. With winter upon us it’s far too tempting to make a hot choc or chai and hook into a sweet treat to keep us warm. Better it be ‘healthier’ than full of numbers and words you can’t pronounce.

Enjoy your weekend

 

 

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Lunch Alternatives

Do you buy alternatives to gluten? Wraps, breads, rice cakes etc? I don’t want to disappoint you, as they are the one alternative most people clasp when they choose or have to go GF but please take a close look at what you are actually eating. Wraps, breads, and rice cakes all contain artificial ingredients, yes they say ‘preservative and additive free’ but I’m sorry to say that’s a total pack of lies. Yes they are not the deadliest of substitutes but please do yourself and your family a favour and instead of counting calories count the chemicals and read the ingredients not just the nutritional label.

There are far better options out there and far healthier alternatives. Eggs make a great substitute for anything ‘bread’ wise. They are a little package of fats, protein and you can do so much with the little fella’s.
We got creative this week and made a quick and easy ‘wrap’ buy simply making an omelette. I let it cool, added some chicken, cucumber, avocado and red grapes and it was delicious.

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Think outside the box when substituting.

 

Food for thought………

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Image: Sarah Craven Photography

Whether I’m off to the city, working from home or just in a rush it’s important to still eat a good meal.

Lot’s of ‘healthy’ eaters get criticised for the foods they eat…..’you’re not eating enough’ ‘that doesn’t look filling’ the statements could fill a whole blog post. But in reality the foods that we choose to eat reflect our lifestyle, our habits and how we function in general. The world has a huge issue with portion control. Look at dinner plate sizes, they have doubled since the 1950’s and hence so has our waistlines.

 

I’m a huge advocate on making sure that you’re fridge is full of nutritious fruits and vegetables so that when it comes to eating at whatever time of the day or night the choices are easier to make and healthier. I’m a busy mum. I travel a lot so I have to be prepared. Yes we menu plan for the week, each night I spend time in the kitchen organising the following days food for everyone. But I have found with practise and trial and error food is the least of my concern with busy times.

Every week I get orders from my family on what they want to eat and we spend time as a family preparing these meals, cooking together on a Sunday. I’ve mentioned our family staple meals numerous times and most people will argue that it’s just not practical to be that prepared or organised and that’s fine; if you are eating a well balanced diet are fit and healthy then kudos to you, tell me your secrets!

On days when I work from home it’s like the world is my oyster. I get to open my fridge and create a masterpiece from the contents. We are lucky that we eat a well rounded variety of food and that fussy eaters no longer exist but I guess my point before I bore the life out of you is that having dietary restrictions (by personal choice or by health reasons) doesn’t have to be hard and you can eat restaurant standard foods, take away standard foods, any foods you want if you are prepared.

 

 

Here is a checklist to help you get started.

 

1. Have one roast minimum a week (the meat you get for lunches will see you through days)

i) Chicken, beef, pork, duck, lamb (although $$$ at the moment)

2. Buy fresh produce once a week to last the week (yes I have three lettuces, 2kg of zucchini’s but I never run out)

3. Grow your own produce (as much or as little as you want)

4. Buy bulk wholefoods (online bulk foods is less expensive and after 2-3 orders you know the quantities you need for the month)

5. Talk to your butcher (get to know your meat. Buy bulk and freeze, it’s so convenient)
6. Invest in chooks or buy enough eggs. Three doz does our family and it is the best ‘takeaway’ to whip up some BELT’s

7. Make a bolognaise or casserole or soup to portion and freeze or use for the week with the roast meat (pictured above sautéed veggies in miso with bolognaise)

8. Share recipes with friends, experiment, get the kids involved in the kitchen, look for the most efficient method of cooking. (slow cooker, pressure cooker, food processor)

9. Buy a Thermomix (but don’t think you can’t do all this without one because I still don’t own one)

10. Plan, plan, plan- you go to work in the hours you’re set, you’re a mum or dad in the hours you set. It’s like fitting in exercise I always say ‘if you plan for it to happen then it will’

 

Fall in love with food. It’s the most important part of your life. You can ab crunch, run, lift weights do yoga, meditate but remember 80% of your wellbeing is food and only 20% is from how you look after your body physically.

 

 

 

Over the next month or so I will be incorporating more and more realfood advice as winter can either make or break people and I want to educate and support as many people as I can and inspire others to change their eating, investigate their health and set themselves up for a healthy summer ahead.

 

Also Fermentation workshops are still going ahead. Please see Facebook for more info and to register your interest. The workshop will be held at the end of May start of June depending on numbers. Cost $40 per person and includes demo’s on kombucha, vegetables, kefir, probiotics, wild fermentation and a variety of recipes. Take home your very own Kombucha Scoby, starter culture for lacto-fermentation of vegetables and sample some nourishing gut healing foods.

Mad Flackers

Nut allergies are like a common cold now. I won’t get into why or how I see it but I’ll agree that if there is a nut allergy there has to be no nuts.

Schools, daycare , play centres, cafes all advertise whether they are nut free or offer dishes, most commercial biscuits contain traces of nuts so it is hard to find something suitable that’s made of real food and has none of those nasty numbers added to every packaged brand. So we made a  nut free cracker for school, daycare and everyday that is perfect and so adaptable for your favourite flavours.

Mad Flackers

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1 Cup Flax Seed- soaked overnight in water and pinch of salt
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 egg (or use a Tbsp Chia egg gel as replacement)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp fennel

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until a wet sludge

On a lined baking tray spread mixture to 1/4 inch thick or as thin as you can

Bake in preheated oven at 180c (350f) for 30 mins until golden brown.

Test centre to see if it is cooked properly. Flip, turn off oven and open door. Leave for a further 10 mins to finish crisping.

Leave to cool completely then break into crackers and store in an air tight container for up to a week in the pantry.

Other flavours to try;
Basil, oregano
Coriander, Cardamom
Cumin
Sesame seeds

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Spread Avocado or Liver Pate and enjoy.

Sharing Meals is Sharing Life.

What’s for dinner at your house tonight?

 

Variety is the spice of life, right?!  When it seems like you are so restricted with meal choices due to allergies, choice of lifestyle or whatever your story is you have to get creative. We eat pretty similar week in week out but no meal is ever exactly the same. Tuesdays are ‘Taco Tuesday’s’ always have been. Every Tuesday we’d sit up with our mince, salads, taco shells, salsa….the usual. Until one week I just couldn’t do it anymore, I think I’d spent the weekend feasting on beef, beef and more beef so I decided to make every week different. Pretty sure my husband has a love/hate relationship with Tuesdays as he knows he’s getting Taco’s but how he is left in the dark until he walks through the door.

I use the same homemade spice mix every week but I make sure I change the meat, the vegetables and the flavourings of salsa’s, guacamole, kefir cream and fermented vegetables.

Some weeks we have a whole chicken, ground turkey, chicken mince, lamb, pork ribs, fish…..this week and by far my favourite meat and style is pulled pork. It’s in the oven for the day and I come home to a fragrant Mexican smelling house, run a fork through the meat, chop the vegetables and whammo (as my daughter says) we have dinner.

Pulled Pork

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1-2 kg of Pork Shoulder
1 tbsp smoked paprika (get a really red vibrant one, the smokey flavour is the best)
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1 tbsp Rice Malt Syrup/ Honey or Maple
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Bone Broth

First prepare the meat.
Use a sharp knife to cut the fat from the meat (keep it as you can make crackle and rendered fat for cooking)

Mix the spices with the sweetener of choice and tomato paste.
Massage the meat with the paste and leave overnight or for as long as you have time. No time, no worries.

If you have a slow cooker pop into slow cooker with the broth and set to low for 6 hours.

If you’re using the oven set the temp to 130, add pork and broth to crock pot and slow roast for 6 hours.

‘Fork the Pork’ by dragging a fork through the meat and it will literally just fall apart.

Mix the meat around the pot with the juices.

I add some fresh oregano and tomatoes at the end and pop the lid back on so the tomatoes cook slightly and explode when you  cut into them or eat them.

pulled pork

Served in lettuce cups or gluten-free tortillas of taco shells. Recipe for tortilla’s coming soon.

 

 

 

Food to Warm the Heart

As the cooler months set in here it’s time to break out the curries, stews and soups. There is nothing better than a nutritious curry that offers a balance of fats, carbs and protein whilst also providing anti inflammatory powers and gut healing.
My chicken curry is a household favourite in winter and gets better as the days go by. It basically becomes a weekly fridge staple.

Chicken Curry

 

curry

Make in a hurry to have in time for dinner or pop in the slow cooker for the day so it’s ready when you get home after a busy day.

 

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

700 grams free range Chicken (breasts and thighs) cut into squares
2 Carrots sliced

1 Zucchini sliced

1 Eggplant diced

1/2 doz Okra pods whole or sliced

½ Cauliflower –cut into large floret bunches

10-20 long green beans

200ml of Bone Broth

200ml thick Coconut Cream

1 Bunch of Coriander to serve

 

 

Curry Paste (I make up the dry ingredients and keep in a jar to use all year round)

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp turmeric powder (or grated fresh turmeric)

½ tsp ground coriander seeds

1 tsp grated ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

6 cardamom pods smashed
5-10 activated cashews
½ tsp Himalayan salt

A few grinds of pepper

½ tsp chilli (I used fermented chilli sauce)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
Pre heat oven to 150c for a slow cook or set slow cooker to low

 

In a food processor, whiz up the Curry paste.
In a cast iron pan, put paste in and heat on high until aromatic (I find this releases the flavours of the spices.
Add Coconut oil & Chicken pieces and toss to cover in paste and seal
Add Bone broth and bring to simmer

Add all vegetables but Zucchini and Beans and Okra

If cooking to eat now…..

Simmer for 20 mins  (liquid will reduce a little)

Add remaining vegetables and simmer for 10 mins
Turn heat off, add coconut cream

For slow cooker and oven…..

Add all veggies but Zucchini, Beans and Okra

Add Coconut Cream
Pop lid on pot and cook in oven for 3 hours or slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours

After the time is up turn off heat, add remaining vegetables and leave lid on for 20 minutes.
Serve with coriander and fermented chillies on a bed of zoodles, spaghetti squash or sweet potato spirals. Or enjoy as is.
This makes the best royal breakfast too. There will be plenty to feed a family of 5 or smaller with leftovers.

Grain-free Muesli

My daughter is gluten sensitive and it has been hard to change her breakfast routine over the last year. As most babies and toddlers progress in their eating habits they get used to the same thing after a while so to break the toast was hard. Then it was oats.

I have now found the solution in muesli and although the following recipe is time-consuming to begin with, once you do it a few times it’s a quick process. Prep takes a couple of days but the end result lasts a week in out house.

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Grain-free Muesli (makes a 1.5 litre jar)

 

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1/2 Cup Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Cup Cashews/Almonds
1/4 Sunflower Seeds
1/4 Pepitas
2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1/3 Cup Buckwheat

1/4 Cup sesame seeds
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/2 Cup Goji berries
1 peeled and cored Large or 2 small to medium pink lady or fuji Apples (yes for this I actually did apple, just couldn’t taste test)
1 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
pinch of Himalayan Salt

Soak nuts and seeds in water overnight.
Next morning pre heat oven to 55c (or as low as you can go)
Place goji berries in boiling water to soften
Drain Nuts and seeds and leave to dry on a tea towel (patting to speed up the process)
Place almost dry nuts into food process and blitz to chop nuts (I leave chunky bits, so not into a fine mixture)
Drain Gojis, chop apples and blitz them in food processor along with spices, vanilla and coconut oil.
Combine both mixtures in a bowl and stir.
Line two baking trays and spread mixture evenly.
Bake for about 6-8 hours, checking every couple to toss.

Store in a glass jar.
We serve ours with almond and walnut milk and fresh berries and coconut kefir.

The way I’ve got this to work is I soak everything just before I go to bed, and at breakfast time I get the rest done and have it in the oven so it’s ready to take out by the afternoon.
It makes the house smell amazing while it’s slowly drying and the kids will love it too.

Lasts about a month in a closed jar.