Pumpkin Pie

So … what’s an Aussie girl doing making a pumpkin pie in November?

Well, my biggest boy is in Year 3 at school. A big focus for them in their curriculum is ‘Celebrations’ and being November, they have been learning all about Thanksgiving.

Will has been delighted to come home and share everything he’s learning, so when he asked me if we could have a Thanksgiving Celebration at our house, it was pretty hard to resist – actually, I didn’t even try 😉

From all of the North American pop culture I have absorbed over the years, even I know that Sweet pumpkin pie is an essential part of  the Thanksgiving meal!

So this is my take on a pumpkin pie – from what I can gather, it is in no way a traditional version, but it fits the way we need to eat … and it is really yum!!

We don’t have canned pumpkin in Australia, and our pumpkin can be a little watery when mashed, so the addition of a little sweet potato helps to give it a thicker consistency.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup plain flour (GF mix or spelt – add 1/2 tsp of psyllium if using GF)
  • pinch pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 40g coconut sugar
  • 50g Vegan butter, very cold
  • 2 tbsp icy cold water

Mix flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar until well combined (Speed 5, 8 seconds)

Add in the butter and pulse until the mix resembles bread crumbs.

Add in the water, 1 tbsp initially and pulse to form a dough, add in the 2nd spoon if the mix is too dry.

Tip the mix out and bring together to form a smooth disc. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins – but up to overnight.

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Roll the dough out to the shape of your pie dish – between 2 sheets of baking paper works best.

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Grease your pie dish, the place the pastry into the pie dish. Use your fingers to fix up any little cracks and trim off any excess.

No need to blind bake the pastry for this pie.

For the Filling

  • 850g butternut pumpkin, diced
  • 70g Gold sweet potato, diced
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup date paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp each of ground ginger and cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg and cloves
  • pinch pink flaked salt
  • 2 tbsp pure corn flour

Place the pumpkin and potato in a baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt, the roast at 200C for about 45 minutes, or until golden and very soft.

Transfer the pumpkin and potato to the processor, add in the date paste and sugar and process well, until smooth. (Speed 4, 20 seconds, scrape down then up to speed 6 for 10 seconds – repeat)

Add in the remaining ingredients and process again until very well combined and smooth (Speed 5, 12 seconds).

Pour the filling into the pie crust and place into a preheated 170C oven for about 50 minutes.

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When you remove it, the crust will be golden, and there will be cracks in the top of the pie, but it will still be a little wobbly – that’s ok!

Allow the pie to cool on the bench for about half an hour and then transfer to the fridge to allow it to cool completely and set.

Serve cold or warm (I am told that there is much debate about this – but it’s really hot here so we are going cold!) with whipped cream, or even spiced ice cream. You can even drizzle with a little dark melted chocolate if there’s no cream to be served!

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This one won’t freeze so well, but it lasts several days, covered, in the fridge.

Enjoy – and be thankful!

 

No-bake Seed Muesli bars

These delicious, seed-packed little guys are like a non-chocolate, no-nut version of my favourite Bliss Bars … which actually sounds a bit sad … but it’s really not, I promise!!

They are quick to whip up and last for ages in the freezer. So you can have an easy protein, great fat and fibre-filled snack always ready to go. Great for after the gym, a breakfast on the run or a quick afternoon pick-me-up.

They’re also very lunchbox friendly and a great boost for busy little brains and bodies at school – just make sure you send them with a cooler pack in summer or these will go a little soft.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (1/4 cup quinoa and 1/4 cup coconut to make these GF)
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup each of sunflower, hemp and flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • pinch pink salt
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • zest from 1/2 an orange, finely grated
  • 10 medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Place all of the dried ingredients in your food processor and process until roughly chopped (speed 4, 6 seconds).

Add in the dates through the top chute onto spinning blades (Speed 4), then add in the cranberries. Continue to process until well combined (Up to speed 6 for 15 seconds, scrape down and repeat if required).

Add in the zest and juice and process again until the mixture starts to clump together (Speed 5, 10 seconds).

Tip the mixture into a lined baking dish and using a damp spatula, press the mixture down and smooth it out until flat and even.

Place in the freezer for 1 hour (longer is fine).

Tip out, slice into desired sized bars (I usually do 12 bars in my 21x21cm tin).

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If you need a chocolate fix, then you can melt a few squares of your favourite dark chocolate and drizzle it over the top.

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Store these in the fridge or freezer – works best with a sheet of baking paper in between any layers.

These will last a fortnight in the fridge or a couple of month in the freezer (yeah right!)

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Enjoy 🙂

Nachos – veggie style

You already know how much we enjoy Mexican inspired food here …. And now, as we seek to reduce the meat in our diets, we have added these Nachos to our favourites.

These are totally plant based … And yet, the biggest carnivore says they are better than the ones we had out the other night …. Winner!

They are easy to make, inexpensive and pack a serious veggie punch!

  • 400g tin kidney beans
  • 400g tin black beans
  • 400g tin butter beans
  • 400g tin lentils
  • 400g tin refried beans
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • Fist sized piece butternut pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp Mexican seasoning
  • Salsa*
  • Corn chips
  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch pink salt
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • Optional: cheese of choice

*the recipe for the salsa makes the equivalent of 3 jars. I use 1 jar in this recipe. The other 2 go in the freezer.

Grate the carrot, pumpkin and zucchini (I used my food processor)

Heat oil in a large pan, then add in the veggies.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the veggies then add in the salsa. Mix well.

Drain the lentils then add them into the veggie mix together with the refried beans.

Drain the remaining beans and place them in the food processor, puts them several times until the beans are all roughly chopped.

Add these beans to the rest of the veggie mix.

Sir well to combine, then place lid on pan and cook, at a simmer, over a medium heat  for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mash the avocado, then stir in the juice, salt and chopped tomatoes.

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Place corn chips in the bottom of a bowl, spoon the nacho mix on to the chips and them to with the guacamole.

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Add grated cheese if desired (Miss Ellie had Bio Cheese, but I enjoyed it without cheese!).

This makes enough nacho mix for 2 dinners for us. The leftover portion freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 🙂

Slow Cooked Moroccan Chicken

At the moment our lives are so very busy and although I hate to admit it, I am really stretched beyond my capacity … so there is not a lot of room in my head for thinking about complicated food.

Today I am thankful indeed for meals like this – it is one of those filling and satisfying meals that comes with very little actual effort! Everything dumped in the slow cooker and dinner is pretty well ready at 5.30am. Phew! It’s not fancy, but it is nutritious, yummy, filling, allergy friendly and budget friendly ….  everything we need it to be!

  • 4 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1kg pumpkin
  • 1 400g tin chick peas, drained
  • 500g tomato passata*
  • 1/2 cup hot chicken stock
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 heaped tbsp Moroccan Seasoning (I make this one)
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • Optional: 4 medjool dates, diced
  • rice or corn cous cous to serve.

*If you don’t have passata, you can replace it here with a 425g tin diced tomatoes and 2 tbsp tomato paste.

Dice the pumpkin and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker, then drain and rinse the chick peas and place them on top of the pumpkin.

Place the chicken on top of the veggies and sprinkle over the seasoning.

Cover with the passata, hot stock and garlic and place on the lid.

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Cook on high for 4 hours.

Remove lid and use forks to shred the chicken. Stir through the dates, if using, and beans, the return the lid and look on low for a further 45mins.

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Stir through the lemon juice and serve with rice or cous cous.

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Makes about 8 adult serves and the left overs freeze and defrost well.

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Enjoy 🙂

 

Chewy chocolate hazelnut cookies

Hazelnuts are an amazing little powerhouse of good stuff! Rich in Vitamin E (great for your hair and skin), B vitamins (really important for energy metabolism), they’re a good source of fibre, of monounsaturated fats (boost that heart health) and are chocked with calcium, magnesium and potassium. What’s not to love?!

What a shame we have to make sure that we regularly include hazelnuts in Will’s diet 😉 And since chocolate and hazelnuts are such a winning combination, this is one of the ways we include them.

Hope you love these sweet, chewy cookies like we do!

  • 1/4 cup, heaped pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup, heaped rolled oats OR quinoa
  • 1 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • Pinch pink salt flakes
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 small egg
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted

Into your processor place all of the dry ingredients. Blitz until they are fine. (Speed 10, 10 seconds).

Then add in the dates one at a time through the top chute whilst processing.  Continue to process until the date is finely diced and evenly mixed. (Start on speed 4 whilst adding, then turn up to 7 for 10 seconds)

Add in the butter, aquafaba and vanilla and pulse until well combined.

Using damp hands, roll teaspoons of the mix into balls and press onto a lined baking tray.

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Place into a preheated 180C oven and bake for 12-14 minutes.

Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes (they’ll be quite soft).

Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling (or, um …. possibly eat a few while they are still warm!)

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Enjoy!!

Carrot Cake Bliss Balls

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Bliss balls are usually the go to in our house … but it never hurts to try new things …. especially new things that add veggies to your diet!

These were very well received in our house …. even though there was much giggling from my children who decided that they looked like wombat poop. Ha! Oh well … if that’s what they need, we’ll run with it 😀

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup rolled quinoa or oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch pink flaked salt
  • 2 medium carrots (roughly 150g)
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted

Place the pumpkin and sunflower seeds together in a baking tray. Place them under a hot grill for a few minutes to dry roast them. This gives them a nuttier flavour. Watch them carefully and shake the tray part way through to ensure an even roasting.

Place the roasted seeds together with the flax, coconut, quinoa and spices in your processor. Blitz until they are fine (Speed 9, 8 seconds).

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Chop the carrots into chunks and add them through the top chute of the processor whilst it is on, alternate adding carrot and date. Continue to process until the carrot and date are very finely chopped and evenly distributed through the mixture. (Use Speed 4 whilst you are adding the dates and carrot, then work up to speed 7 for 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

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Form teaspoons of the mixture into balls.

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Place into the fridge for at least an hour to harden.

Makes about 20. These do best when they can stay cool – so don’t leave them out of the fridge for hours.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Strawberry Smoothies

Strawberries are in such delicious abundance in Perth at the moment. So cheap from the markets and loads of berry farms offering huge boxes full to pick yourself … so there’s lots of berry baking to be done!

This is antoher way that we celebrate this amazing little gem that is loaded with antioxidants, fibre and even magnesium and potassium.

Most kids love a bright pink milkshake …. This is just the real version!

  • 6-10 ripe strawberries (depending on their size)
  • 1/2 medium banana, frozen
  • 1 tsp nut or seed butter of choice (we go with sunflower seed butter)
  • Half a dozen ice blocks
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened vanilla almond)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Optional if you’re a sweet tooth: add a pitted medjool date or a teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Optional if you want to bulk up the fibre: 2 tbsp rolled oats

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Now the process gets very technical …. blend it all until it is smooth 😉 A high powered blender or bullet type  machine is the easiest.

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We use fresh strawberries or frozen …. frozen makes it more like a thickshake …. sometime so thick that I can tip it sideways and the straw stays standing!!

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Enjoy 🙂