ABC Butter

peanutbutterlove

I am sorry Peanut butter but I think we have to break up, it’s been a beautiful relationship, however, I have some gut issues (who doesn’t) and it looks like peanuts and peanut products are on the naughty list for me.  Let’s not pretend here people….I love Peanut Butter…like I really really love it so this is kind of a big deal for me.  I have been playing around with alternatives and up until today I hadn’t found anything that I really liked.  I have tried store-bought Cashew butter, Almond butter and Macadamia butter but none of them rocked my world.

Today I decided to try making my own nut butter and opted for ABC (Almond, Brazil, Cashew).  It is good.  Crazy good.  I am talking put down the spoon and step away from the jar kind of good!!  Aside from the fact that it tasted frikkin A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. it was very easy to make and took no time at all.

ABC Butter

ABC Butter

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E,containing and about 20 percent of raw almond is high quality protein, a third of which are essential amino acids.  They are also rich in dietary fibre, B vitamins, essential minerals and monounsaturated fat.  Brazil nuts are also a good source of some vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese and thiamin while Cashews are a good source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.

You will need a high-powered blender or food processor like a Vitamix or Thermomix (which I have…and LOVE).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw brazil nuts
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • sea salt to taste (I used approx 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to approx 150-160 (I used 150 fan forced).
  2. Place all the nuts on a tray lined with baking paper.
  3. Toast lightly, approx 5-10mins.  Keep an eye on the nuts though as you don’t want them to burn.
  4. Remove nuts and pour into Thermomix (or high-speed blender).
  5. Gradually increase speed up to 9 (or highest power) for approx 1-2mins.
  6. Scrape down sides, add salt and coconut oil.
  7. Turn back up to high-speed (Thermomix speed 9) for approx 1 min.
  8. Scrape down sides and continue this process until you get a beautiful creamy smooth nut butter.

Store in a glass jar in the fridge.  I am not sure what the shelf life would be but I am pretty sure that it will be eaten well before it would expire.  I like to eat it on sliced apple, spread on Sprouted Spelt or old school straight off the spoon.

Enjoy x

 

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Green Goodness

Yesterday I hung out with a lovely friend of mine who is currently doing a cleanse.  We had such a great day, went for a beautiful bush walk, stopped in at Organic Food Network to get some raw cream, made a delicious BBQ lunch to celebrate Australia Day, talked a lot about food, nutrition and dis-ease (it is a much loved subject for both of us), and watched an amazing documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross.  If you haven’t seen this doco then you need to, it is so inspiring www.fatsickandnearlydead.com

The documentary talks about the benefits of juicing, in particular green juice, as a way to increase our micronutrient intake.  I have gone through phases of making daily green juices for my family each morning, but our budget was blowing out because it takes quite a lot of veges to make juice for 3 people.  So today I made a very simple and inexpensive green juice that I could see becoming a morning ritual for us.  The only side note to this is that you will need a high-powered blender (Thermomix, which I own, or Vitamix), you could also use a juice extractor (Cold press juicer is best to preserve nutrient content of juice).

greenjuice

Lemon & Parsley Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf/continental parsley (it has the best flavour and blends well), I break off the stalks
  • 1 lemon with skin/pith removed (you can leave a little bit on as the pith has a lot of nutrient value)
  • 1 tray of ice (use filtered water)
  • 800ml filtered water (chilled or room temp is fine)
  • 1 tsp *green stevia powder

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients into blender and blend on high (Thermomix speed 9) for approx 1-2 minutes.
  2. You can pour through muslin/nut mylk bag or fine strainer if you want but I don’t think you need to, just depends on how well your blender does the job.
  3. Pour into glasses and voila you have a beautiful refreshing green juice that doesn’t cost the earth and serves 3-4 people.

Health benefits

  • Parsley is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, Folate (B6), K and is also a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Although lemons are acidic to taste they have an alkalising effect and help restore the body’s pH levels
  • Lemons are a great source of Vit C, they are also anti-bacterial and help to stimulate peristalsis in the bowels (aka: get things moving)
  • *Green Stevia Powder is a natural sweetener which is approx 30 times sweeter than sugar, it has no calories and no carbohydrates which makes it a fantastic alternative to sugar.  Green Stevia is the purest form you can buy and does not leave an artificial sweetener taste like processed white stevia or stevia liquid.  It is great in things like juices and smoothies but I personally wouldn’t use it to sweeten baked goods etc.

So there you go, a simple and inexpensive way to have green juice.  It is very “zingy” so may be an acquired taste but I found it very refreshing and our 2 1/2 yr old drank it happily.

Enjoy xx

“Not Sausage” Rolls

"Not Sausage" Rolls

“Not Sausage” Rolls

One of my fondest child hood memories is of my mother picking me up from school and going to the local bakery to get a sausage roll, chocolate milk, and if we were really lucky, a meringue.  Needless to say my love for sausage rolls has continued but I am a little bit fussier now and like to know what is actually in them.  The cheap and cheerful variety are full of goodness knows what, snouts, hoofs, binders, emulsifiers, preservatives…blah blah blah.  Anyways I was given a recipe for a meat free sausage roll and I have changed it and made it my own.

These little puffs of deliciousness are a hit in our house and I haven’t met any meat eaters who haven’t liked these or said that they taste the same, if not better, than the original mystery meat versions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/250g cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup/70g pecans
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (wheat free soya sauce alternative)
  • 1/2-1 tbsp italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 1/2 cups of Quinoa flakes (can buy these at health food store, Coles and Woolworths)
  • 3 sheets (25cm x 25cm) frozen ready rolled puff pastry, thawed (in the pic above I have used short crust pastry because that is what I had on hand, puff pastry is better)
  • 1tbsp milk
  • poppy seeds (to sprinkle on top)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200c.  Line two cookie trays with baking paper
  2. Place cottage cheese, eggs, onion, pecans, herbs, salt & pepper and tamari in food processor and process until well combined
  3. Pour into a separate bowl and add carrot and quinoa flakes.  Mix well
  4. Cut each pastry sheet in half (to make 6 smaller sheets).  Place mixture down the middle of each piece to form a log
  5. Make sure you distribute the mixture evenly between all the sheets of pastry
  6. Brush one edge of pastry and then roll to enclose the filling
  7. Once you have rolled all 6 sheets, brush each one with milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds
  8. Now cut each log into 4-6 pieces (depending on size you want, 6 is good for little fingers)
  9. Place on baking tray and bake in oven for approx 35mins or until golden
  10. Once done allow to cool and then dig in

We serve ours with a beautiful natural tomato sauce….yum yum yum.  These make a great lunch, snack or picnic idea and quick and easy to make.

Enjoy xx

Spelt Oat Cookies

Deliciousness

Deliciousness

I sometimes  often like to indulge in a sweet treat in the afternoons, if I haven’t prepared something myself then it will usually end up being something super naughty so I decided to make these little beauties Sunday afternoon.  In comparison to store-bought cookies these gems are pretty healthy, if you want to make them really healthy you can omit the chocolate (but let’s be honest, why would you).

This recipe has been sitting amongst a pile that I have printed off from the wonderful worldwide web and am only now getting around to trying out.  That being said I can’t remember where I got this recipe from so I can’t give credit to the baker responsible for their deliciousness, who ever you are  please know that my tummy and my taste buds are tre’ grateful.  I have altered it slightly from the original recipe so here goes.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup spelt flour (can also use whole wheat or regular flour if you prefer)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (peanut/almond/ABC)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark agave syrup
  • 3 tbsp walnut pieces – roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp sultanas or currants
  • 1 tbsp goji berries
  • fistful of dark choc chips
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170c, 160c fan forced
  2. Line cookie sheet with baking paper
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour and oats, mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl combine nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and agave.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients, add walnuts/sultanas/goji/chocolate pieces and chia seeds and mix well
  6. Scoop large tbsp for each cookie, roll into a ball and then place on baking sheet and flatten out
  7. Bake for approx 10-12mins
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool (or not, I couldn’t wait and ended up burning my tongue but it was worth it)

Store them in an airtight container and good luck if they don’t get gobbled up before the day is over.

Peanut Butter Balls

These delicious peanut butter balls were inspired after a visit to my local coffee shop.  The lovely Barista, Alex, is a keen wholefood loving girl like myself and we often give each other samples of things that we have made.  The latest sweet treat she gifted me was what she called “caramel balls”, YUM!!  I guessed the ingredients and decided to have a go at making my own.

I had no idea of the ratio’s that Alex used in her recipe but freestyled it and this is what I came up with.  Mine are definitely more peanutty, but that is ok with me.

Chocolate dipped peanut butter balls!!

Ingredients:

  • I cup of natural peanut butter (I buy fresh crushed PB from the local health food store, it doesn’t have anything else added)
  • 1 cup of pitted medjool dates (these are the best to use as they definitely taste caramely)
  • 1/4 tsp of himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp of organic vanilla powder (you can buy this from Honest to Goodness, Oovio Organics in Paddington and Loving Earth)
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 block of Loving Earth Dark Chocolate (73% cacao)

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients, except for the chocolate, into a food processor (I use a Thermomix), blend on high until the mixture resembles a slightly crumbly dough that sticks together when rolled.
  2. Using a tbsp, scoop out and roll into balls
  3. Place in fridge to chill
  4. Meanwhile using a double boiler *melt your chocolate, keep stirring until all the chocolate is melted and smooth
  5. Remove balls from fridge and dip or roll in the chocolate and place on a tray that is lined with baking paper
  6. Once they are all rolled, put tray back in to the fridge to set the chocolate

*I do NOT suggest using a microwave to melt chocolate as you can’t control the temperature.

Voila, Peanut Butter Balls…..Amazing!!  Store them in the fridge in a sealed container, they will be well and truly gone before they ever have the chance to expire.

Salad Days!!

The weather is warming up and it’s time to start making delicious summer meals.  One of my favourite ways to get my daily vegetable intake during summer is big salads.  After years of eating salads I think I have finally discovered the secret to a truly great salad, *drum roll please*.  Chop all of your ingredients up, ta dah, so simple and yet a truly ground breaking discovery for my palate.  If all the ingredients are chopped/diced relatively small then you will be sure to get a little bit of everything in every fork (or spoon) full.

The beauty of salad is that you can  use pretty much whatever vegetables you like and omit the ones that don’t rock your world, after all eating vegetables  should not be a painful experience.

I like to keep food really simple, I don’t follow fancy long-winded recipes that take hours of prep, we can leave those for the professional chefs right!

Served with flathead fillets and lemon wedges

Ingredients (all chopped/diced, even the lettuce):

  • mixed lettuce (I buy bags of this from the local farmers market but you can use whatever type of lettuce you like)
  • baby spinach
  • celery
  • lebanese cucumber
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • fresh garden peas (so sweet when they are straight out of the pod)
  • parsley
  • shallots (or even red onion)
  • capsicum (I like red, orange or yellow to add a bit of colour)
  • nuts or seeds (I use either activated almonds or pumpkin seeds)

To dress the salad I season with sea salt, pepper, lemon juice and either walnut or Olive Oil.  You can even use a little Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs is the best) to give it a little kick.

Variations:

Chicken – add shredded roast or poached chicken

Tuna – add tuna (I like tuna that in Olive Oil) and some fresh chopped dill

Beans – add some of your favourite beans, three bean mix, chickpeas etc

Tempeh – pan fry some tempeh and crumble over the top

Italian – add some crumbled fetta

Mudgee and Morning tea shenanigans!!

I can’t believe it….2 years ago today at 8:13am and weighing in at a whopping, 4.545kg a little ray of sunshine came into the world, his name is Hugo and he continues to be the sunshine in our lives every day.  Happy birthday beautiful boy, Mummy and Daddy love you with all our hearts xxxx

For Hugo’s birthday we celebrated two ways, firstly we took him away to Mudgee for 3 days to stay on a working Merino sheep farm (www.bamackhomestead.com) and then I had a little morning tea party in the park with some of his little, and big, friends.

Hope you enjoy the pics of our fun xx

I was totally in love with this china set that was in our cottage, but I was to worried I might break it, so we just admired it instead.

afternoon tea was waiting for us when we arrived….this is what was left

meeting the chickens

Hugo’s first go on a trampoline

such a beautiful place

look at that gorgeous face

our sweet little cottage for the weekend

Scarecrow in the fruit orchard….Hugo was not a fan

Hugo and his new friend Sally, she followed him around the farm all weekend

This little dog was so gorgeous, she followed us around everywhere.  If we were in the cottage then she wasn’t far away, either on the verandah or under the house.  On our second day we did a tour around the farm with the owner David, she followed us almost the entire way.  Hopped in the truck for the last part as it was getting a little cold.  David said that she does the same thing every time he takes people on a tour, runs ahead of the truck and sits at the gate and waits for you.  All the animals on the farm are very friendly and obviously love having visitors.

working on their soccer skills

Sally was a big hit with the whole family xx

the “kids”

It was so cold I had on two jumpers and a down vest….brrrrr. Keep up buddy

Two of the rams on the farm (there are four)….separated from the ladies so there isn’t any funny business going on

they are converting this train carriage into 2 bedroom accommodation with en suite. It was sitting in a paddock on another farm for years (I think they said about 20) and it weighs 21 tonne.

one of the neighbouring properties

my favourite picture for the entire weekend….my boys

“every day I’m shovellin”

old weighing scales at the shearing shed

Speedy

one of the two Alpaca on the farm

delivered fresh-baked each morning with home-made jam….YUM

story time in front of the fire-place

relaxing in front of the fire and getting a back tickle from mummy, does it get any better?

Saddling up

Our lovely host Julie taking the boys for a walk

love

the girls

Rusty, the 12yr old labrador. Poor puppy has arthritis so he doesn’t get up to much, but if you drop a scrap of food…he is there in a flash

On our last day, we had such a great time and will go back for sure.

Our weekend at Ba Mack Homestead was amazing, David and his wife Julie were wonderful hosts.  We had dinner with them on the Saturday night and Julie put on the most amazing spread, roast lamb, roast veges, steamed veges and home-made ice cream with home bottled preserved fruit from the orchard. If you want to get away and spend some time in the country then head to Ba Mack.

Aunty Lisa helping to set up for morning tea

Hugo and his mate Critter

Allison and the beautiful lil Miss Tilly

The spread

Mmmmm birthday cake

Thanx for my present Bree….this is the best bag EVER!!

The third and final celebration will be this Sunday, Hugo is having a shared birthday lunch with his Aunty Lisa.  Such a lucky little boy and loved by so many.

Holy Hiatus!!

Phew it is has been a while hasn’t it.

What can I say, life has been busy and there have been a few revelations along the way.

Firstly I realised that I don’t need to post EVERY DAY, it is exhausting trying to keep that up and it also means that the posts I was sharing where not always as good as they could be.  My vision for this blog is that it is a place for me to share my passions, not just recipes.  It is a place for me to work on expressing my creative side, either through food, photography (sorry, that could take a while…..it just doesn’t seem to come naturally to me), to share things that touch my heart or my life and to allow my friends and family to keep up with what is going on in my world.

It also dawned on me that it was taking me away from one very important thing….spending time with my little boy.  He is growing so quickly and turns 2 at the end of this month, that time has passed by in the blink of an eye.  He has been talking for a little while now but his speech is progressing at  a rapid rate, I don’t think a day passes that I don’t get a good belly laugh out of something that he has said or repeated.  It is a beautiful time in his life and I don’t want to miss it.

What’s the old saying, “less is more”, rings pretty true for me.

I was going to try to put a timeframe around how often I would post here but that just felt contrived and in-authentic.  So it will happen when it happens.

In the meantime I hope that this finds you all well, loving life and eating delicious food.

Me xx

p.s. I am getting a Thermomix (insert sound of squeals of delight) so will be sharing my adventures in cooking with this super cool appliance

 

 

 

Pecan Porridge

I love something wholesome and healthy to start the day and this porridge is a hands down hit, especially for winter.  I recently watched a DVD by a raw foodie in Melbourne, Kemi Nekvapil, this is slightly modified version of her raw porridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup of water (if you want a warm porridge then use hot water)
  • 3 medjool dates (pitted)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of wholegrain oats (that have been soaked overnight, drain them prior to use)
  • maple syrup

Method:

  1. In a blender add pecans, water, dates and sea salt
  2. Blend on med/high until consistency is smooth and all nuts/dates are chopped up
  3. Add drained Oats
  4. Blend on med/high  until creamy
  5. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of maple syrup

Some useful information:

  • Use Organic ingredients where ever possible.
  • Medjool dates are available at most supermarkets in the fresh fruit/vege section or organic ones from local farmers markets.  They are very soft, sticky and have an almost caramel flavour to them.
  • Use wholegrain Oats that are certified wheat free, grown in wheat free fields and packed in a wheat free environment (I use Bobs Red Mill, available from most good health stores and specialty grocers)
  • For easier digestion, soak your oats overnight.  For one cup of oats you add 500ml of water and either 1 heaped tsp of organic full fat yoghurt/whey or 1 tsp of  lemon juice.  Soaking your oats reduces the phytic acid which aids in maximizing their mineral content, it also helps to minimise enzyme inhibitors and increases the vitamin content.
  • This porridge is not Gluten Free.
  • Pecans are a great source of protein and unsaturated fats, they are also a good source of Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Maple Syrup contains potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese and trace amounts of amino acids.

The porridge will have a very creamy consistency, if you want it to be a little thicker try using a little less water.

If you want to jazz it up you could also add some grated granny smith apple or perhaps some berries, banana etc.

Enjoy xx

Peanut Butter Cookies

Confession time – “my name is Julie and I am a peanut butter-aholic”.  I could quite easily sit down with a jar of peanut butter, a spoon and the end result wouldn’t be pretty.

The other night I was overcome with the desire to have a peanut butter cookie with a glass of milk.  So at 7pm I indulged in a random act of baking and whipped up a batch.  These bad (and by bad I mean good) boys are made using Spelt flour and are definitely a healthy alternative that is guaranteed to please.

Ingredients:

(makes about 2 dozen)

  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 vanilla pod scraped
About some of the ingredients – Spelt is a better alternative to regular flour as it is easier to digest, however it isn’t suitable for people that are allergic to Gluten. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds, it comes in a couple of varieties, hulled, unhulled and black.  I find the hulled version has a milder flavour and therefore appropriate for this recipe.  Natural peanut butter is literally just the peanuts churned/pressed into butter without anything else being added.  Be mindful of the labels and avoid the commercial brands as they are usually loaded with sugar, vegetable oil and preservatives.
Method:
  1. Set the oven to 180c
  2. Mix the spelt flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine peanut butter, tahini, honey, grapeseed oil, and scraped vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the flour mixture and fold them together until combined, try not to over work the dough (If  your mix is to loose you can add a little extra flour.)
  5. Using a tablespoon scoop out mixture and roll into balls, place on to cookie tray lined with baking paper.  Then go back and press each cookie down gently with a fork to flatten a little.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, it is quite a delicate mix so keep an eye on the cookies to make sure they don’t burn.
  7. They will still be a little soft when you remove them from oven but will firm up while cooling.
  8. Let them cool for  few minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Best served fresh with a glass of cold milk, nut mylk or a nice cup of tea.

These little golden drops of delicious are enough to satisfy a sweet craving and keep the tummy rumbles at bay, they also make a great treat for kids morning/afternoon tea.

Enjoy x