Carrot and zucchini chocolate cake

Chocolate cake is always welcome in our house, and it is especially welcome in muffin form for lunchboxes. I always try to add some extra goodies in to boost their nutritional value.

The carrots and zucchinis were really cheap at the markets so I decided to have a go at something different to my normal beetroot version.

These are quite a bit lighter in texture and they are very happily scoffed by all of the kids and even the biggest sweet tooth.

  • Small zucchini (approx 200g), chopped
  • Medium carrot (approx 80g), chopped
  • Medium banana, very ripe
  • 100g light tasting oil (melted coconut oil or butter works too)
  • 100ml milk of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 250g spelt flour (half wholemeal)
  • 2 tsp gf baking powder
  • 120g coconut sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp mixed spice

In to your bullet/blender/processor/thermal cooker place the veggies, banana, oil, vanilla, vinegar and milk. Then blitz until it is very smooth. (Start on speed 4 then build up to speed 10 for 8 seconds. Scrape down and use speed 10 for 10 seconds).

Add in the dry ingredients and mix gently until evenly combined (speed 4, 8 secs, then scraps down and repeat if required). If you’re mixing this by hand, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, pour in the blended wet mix and then fold together.

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Spoon into lined muffin tins and place into a pre heated moderate oven for about 16 minutes, or until well risen and the muffins spring back to gentle touch.

Makes about 14-16 and they freeze and defrost well.

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Enjoy πŸ™‚

Creamy tropical icy poles

I’ve seen the lovely looking pre-made creamy icy poles in the shop … The ones you buy and freeze at home. But my goodness they’re pricey!

I would have needed to buy 2 packets for the tribe this afternoon so instead I got to work using the delicious goodies we already had at home.

Some cheap mangoes I bought from the markets ($1 each!), the over ripe banana in my fruit bowl and some of the slightly bruised apricots from our tree that we had frozen 2 months ago, plus the left overs of a can of coconut cream that was in the fridge and we had such a winner! Hope you like them too.

  • 250g ripe mango (cheeks of 2 medium)
  • 200g ripe apricots
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 100g coconut cream
  • 1tbsp honey/maple syrup

Blend, blend, blend until it is a very smooth mix.

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Pour into moulds …. My advice is to use a funnel!

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Freeze for 6 hours or until solid.

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Makes 8

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Enjoy πŸ™‚

Black Bean Chilli

We have made a conscious effort to reduce our meat consumption recently. And for us that has meant a boost in our bean intake … Good thing we love beans!

This recipe hits all the right marks for us. It is delicious, nutritious, budget friendly, fast and easy to make, fits all of our allergies and it is very filling and satisfying… Even for the biggest carnivore πŸ˜‰

It is even one of those meals, made from regular pantry staples, that you can throw together in the morning and the flavors get even better when you reheat it in the evening. Wins all ’round!

  • 2 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Approx 300g gold sweet potato, small dice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • medium brown onion, diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced chilli
  • 1 rounded tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 450g pasata
  • 1 cup hot veggie stock

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy based pan.

Add in onion and fry until golden.

Add in the garlic and chilli and fry for a further minutes before adding in dry spices.

Fry for about 2 mins, mixing well, before adding in the sweet potato. Mix well to cover in spice mix and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add black beans, pasata and stock, mix well and bring to a simmer.

Simmer gently for about 15 minutes.

We serve this one over either brown rice or roasted cauliflower and top it with slices of ripe avocado, drizzled with a squeeze of lime juice. Yum!

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Chocolate beetroot muffins (with extra veggies!)

These rich, earthy muffins are a standard in our freezer – today we have to feed the hordes after school so there’s a double batch cooling!

Itchin' Kitchen

I know … beetroot and spinach (or pumpkin and chick peas!) are not ingredients you would normally associate with a chocolate muffin – but trust me, it works!

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My tribe wolf them down and have no idea of the goodies hiding inside – yay! They are a standard lunchbox favourite – I even use this recipe to make the base of our birthday cakes now and everyone digs in!

See below the recipe for theΒ coeliac friendly option and some different veggie variations

  • 1 large cooked beetroot (approx 225g)*
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 40g cocoa/30g cacao powder
  • 70ml tasteless oil (rice bran oil, melted vegan butter & coconut oil work well) OR 70g sunflower seed butter
  • 150ml oat/rice/soy/almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 90g maple syrup OR coconut sugar
  • 280g spelt flour (half wholemeal)
  • 2.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba OR 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp…

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Cheesey popcorn

My baby started school yesterday. It just feels unbelievable to me, but he loved it!

I missed him so much, so today we had a special day doing his favourite things. We did blocks, trampoline tricks and cars and I surprised him with tickets to a kids movie. Of course he immediately requested that we make popcorn together …. How could I refuse?!

He is not such a sweet tooth, so he asked for ‘the cheesey ones’. As you wish my precious dude!

  • 50g popcorn kernels
  • 2 tsp vegan butter/coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika

Air pop the popcorn then lay in a baking dish.

Melt the butter/oil and drizzle all over the popcorn. Mix well for an even coating.

Place all the dry ingredients together in a blender/bullet/mortar and pestle and blitz until fine. You can also do it in your thermal cooker if you make bulk batches.

Sprinkle the dry mix over the popcorn then mix well to give an even cover.

Place in a preheated 200 C oven for about 10 minutes.

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Allow to cool … Or not πŸ˜‰

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Enjoy!

 

Sweet potato, quinoa and cranberry salad

Being that it is the school holidays, it must be time for our traditional family ladies lunch! I am so thankful for wonderful women in my family and being able to meet with them still πŸ™‚

This was the delicious salad we shared …. Just quietly, I may have made extras so there would be dinner leftovers πŸ˜‰

  • 1 medium gold sweet potato
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1 packed cups spinach
  • 1 cup quinoa (which ever colour you prefer)
  • 2L hot water plus 1 tsp stock powder
  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pink salt flakes
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas)*

*replace the aquafaba with water for legume free, the dressing will just not be quite as ‘fluffy’.

Soak the quinoa in a pot of water for 1 hour then drain and rinse it really well.

While the quinoa is soaking, heat the oven to 200C.

Peel the potato and dice it in to roughly 3-4cm cubes. Place them in a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in pre heated oven and roast for about 45 minutes or until golden.

Remove the potato from the oven, add in the seeds, and toss to coat them, then return to oven for a further 10 minutes.

Cook the quinoa in the weak stock by bringing it to the boil and simmering gently for about 15 mins, the drain and set aside.

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All prepared in advance to take out with me

To make the avocado lime dressing, place the remaining tbsp of olive oil, the lime juice, pinch of salt, maple syrup, aquafaba (or water) into a blender/bullet/thermal cooker together the the avocado and blend until smooth and light (speed 4, 8 secs, scrape down, speed 5, 10 secs)

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So tart and creamy!

Chop the spinach, and fold it through the warm quinoa.

Top with the potato and seeds.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and then sprinkle the cranberries over the top.

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Serve immediately and enjoy πŸ™‚

For a delicious variation on this dish we use pumpkin in place of potato, pomegranate seeds in place of cranberries and slivered almonds in place of pepitas.

 

Savoury Pikelets

Our little people eat pikelets in many forms. Mildly sweet ones (hotcakes) for breakfast are on the menu probably once a week, but this holidays we have changed it up a bit and made a savoury variety.

Our kids love them – Harry describes them as a cross between a hotcake and a cheese toastie …. both things he loves!! They are very filling and make a satisfying lunch, they’re nutritious – and they freeze and defrost well so you can make them in advance for lunchboxes.

This recipe makes a large quantity (about 30) so just halve it if you have fewer staaaaaarving children to feed than I do πŸ˜‰

  • 3.5 cups spelt flour – I do half wholemeal (OR 3 cups plain GF flour and 1 tsp psyllium husks)
  • 3 heaped tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 4 tsp GF baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups milk of choice
  • 50g light tasting oil/vegan butter, melted
  • fist sized piece a sweet potato (roughly 200g)
  • OPTIONAL: Handful GF ham/left over chicken/corn kernels

Peel and roughly chop your sweet potato, then steam until soft.

While the potato is steaming, place the seeds, yeast, salt and baking powder into your processor/bullet/blender/thermal cooker and process until very fine (Speed 8, 6 secs, repeat if necessary). The set aside.

Blitz together the steamed potato with the milk and oil in your processor/bullet/blender/thermal cooker until very smooth (Speed 6, 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat). You could add in a handful of spinach here too if you’ve got it on hand and your kids are happy to eat ‘green stuff’.

Add in the seed mix to the wet mix and process to combine (Speed 5, 6 secs).

Add in the flour, half at a time and process to combine (Speed 5, 10 seconds, repeat if necessary).

If you want to add in any of the optional extras, chop them finely and fold them through here.

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Spoon tablespoons of the batter into a hot, lightly greased frying pan – it’s quite a thick mix so you’ll need to use the back of the spoon to spread it out. Cook until golden on one side and then flip and cook until both sides are golden brown.

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Serve warm with your choice of topping. I sandwich them together with a little butter in the middle and freeze in a zip lock bag so they are ready to drop into lunchboxes.

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Enjoy πŸ™‚