Such a deliciously light and moist cake …. so good for afternoon tea, picnic and even in lunchboxes.
Approx 200g (combined) grated zucchini and carrot (roughly half a medium zucchini and 1 medium carrot).
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup honey/maple/golden syrup
2 eggs / 2 flax eggs / 2 tsp egg replacer whipped with 4 tbsp water
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/3 cup chopped nuts or seeds (hemp seeds or walnuts go really well)
1 tsp mixed spice
1 3/4 cups plain flour (we do half wholemeal)**
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Optional extra: Top with choc chips of choice
** To make this one coeliac friendly, replace with a plain GF flour, 1.5 cups and 1 tsp of psyllium husk.
Start by grating the veg. After squeezing the moisture out of the grated zucchini you should have about 120g, and another 80g from the carrot. *If you are grating in a food processor or thermo cooker, you will need to take the zucchini out, tip out the liquid in the bottom, then squeeze the zucchini before adding it back in to the bowl.
Add all of the wet ingredients into a bowl and stir well to combine (speed 4, 6 secs).
Add in the baking powder, flour and mixed spice. Fold through gently until the flour is just combined. (Speed 3, 10 seconds)
Then add in the chopped nuts or seeds and fold through until evenly combined. (Speed 3, 8-10 seconds) Do not beat the mix.
Pour into a greased/lined loaf tin and place into a preheated 160C oven.
Sprinkle the top with some choc chips if you like (only half of family do!)
Bake for approximately 60minutes or until golden, well risen and a skewer comes out clean. Remember that if you are cooking with GF flour or without egg then you won’t get quite the same rise.
Allow to rest in the tin for about 15 minutes before removing to an airing rack and allowing to cool.
Slice and serve, warm or cold. A spread of butter on your slice is delicious too.
Slice before freezing any left overs and wrap so it is airtight.
So simple to make and I love the way that you can bulk them up with whatever you had on hand – so they’re budget friendly too!
I tend to make tarts like these so I have them on hand work work lunches – delicious cold (so I don’t stink out my office colleagues!) or warm (for those days I work at home). Or if you’re in a rush, grab a couple of slices out of the freezer and steam some extra greens – speedy and filling dinner!
7 medium eggs
130g (approx) salmon fillet*
3 large celery sticks
20g olive oil
25g milk of choice (I mostly use unsweetened high protein almond milk)
1 tsp freshly chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
*If you don’t have a salmon fillet, just used plain tinned salmon, and skip the cooking part.
Start by pan cooking the salmon, so it is almost cooked – it will finish in the oven. Then break it in to small pieces.
Steam your broccoli – I did a couple of minutes in the microwave. And then use a knife to diced it evenly.
Finely dice your celery.
Place the broccoli, celery and salmon into a bowl.
In a separate bowl (I prefer a decent sized measuring jug because it pours well), break all of your eggs. Then add in the dill, salt and pepper, milk and oil and then whisk really well.
Pour the egg mix into the salmon and veg mix and then fold together until even.
Pour into a lined baking dish (21cm x 21cm) and place into a preheated 180C oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until it is golden and the egg is mostly set …. as the egg is still hot it will continue to cook as it cools when you remove it from the oven.
Allow to cool a little before slicing into 9 squares.
You can gently reheat this one in a microwave from the fridge. Or if you are going to freeze it, lay it between 2 sheets of kitchen paper before you do, as this will help to absorb the ice crystals as it defrosts.
If macros are important to you, here are the details for 1 slice (that is 1/9 of the total dish)
If you want an easy switch to make this a vegetarian option, omit the salmon and replace with a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms – I like the swiss brown variety!
Burgers aren’t a very frequent meal in our house. I’m not sure why. Peter and the kids adore them and serving themselves makes for a very happy family meal.
It’s been several weeks in isolation now, and our local supermarket is still very low on many things (totally empty shelves in many aisles) so our grocery shopping and planning has looked a little different. We’ve needed to be a little more creative and adaptive with what we can access – that’s ok by me!!
When my biggest boys asked for Cheeseburgers, we went back to the style of burger patties that we haven’t made in a long time. Very simple, quick to make and not many ingredients. Devoured by everyone. Winning.
500g beef mince
1 large carrot
1 medium brown onion
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme (or dried Italian Style herbs)
It marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli of the Australian and New Zealand troops during WW1. It is a time when Australians give thanks for the sacrifices that our service men and women (including both of my beloved Granddads) have made for our country. We remember with the Dawn Service, the March and ANZAC biscuits.
The biscuits were originally sent in care packages to troops far off because they were cheap to make, didn’t contain any eggs and they kept well for a long time – after the end of the war they were sold as a fundraiser and today they are the only commercial good allowed to carry the name of ‘ANZAC’. They are delicious and thankfully, very easy to make into an allergy friendly version – plus, you can be very flexible with them based on what you…
As are you all, we are spending a LOT more time at home at the moment.
Which, I guess, in good news – means more time for baking!
Although getting all the ingredients we normally use has been a little tricky….
But sweet potatoes are plentiful in our garden right now, so they are featuring quite a bit on our plates!
I was thinking about making rolls to go with our soup, when I remembered that I had seen these yummy looking rolls on ‘Super Healthy kids. The original (see the link) is a sweet version that they eat in the states for Thanksgiving.
I didn’t want a sweet roll (although I’m sure I will another time!) and I needed to adapt it to our dietary requirement (no egg, or dairy). So I got experimenting.
Our family adores these rolls. Even the sworn sweet potato hater inhaled 3 before I stopped him!
Hope you enjoy them too 🙂
3 1/2cupflour (2 cup plain & 1.5 cups wholemeal) – we use spelt
1 flattablespoonyeast, active dry
1cup, mashedSweet potato, cooked (about 1 medium potato)
1cupmilk of choice (oat milk works well here)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme, finely diced (or 1 tsp dried Italian Style herbs)
spray olive oil
extra flour for rolling
Start by peeling and dicing your sweet potato. Then steam it until it is soft (approx 4-5 mins in a microwave)
While the potato is steaming, place into your bowl/machine (see instructions below for multiple machine methods), the flour, salt, herbs, oil and yeast.
As soon as the sweet potato is cooked, drain it and mash it. Measure out your 1 cup and add it to the cup of milk. The milk doesn’t need to be warmed – by adding the potato to the milk, you’ll bring both the milk and the potato to the right temperature to make sure you don’t kill off the yeast.
Whisk the milk and potato together until they are roughly combined and then pour into the flour mix.
Give a rough mix of the dough for a few seconds and allow it to sit for 5 minutes (it won’t be all combined at this stage). Use a wooden spoon in the bowl if you’re doing it by hand, or speed 3 for 5 seconds in a thermal cooker, or about 5 seconds with a dough hook in a stand mixer.
Now get kneading –
For a bread machine: Use the dough only function. Set and walk away.
For a stand mixer with a dough hook: you’ll need to mix for 6-7 minutes
For a thermo cooker: set your knead function (for a less powerful machine, like a Bellini, you might need an extra minute or two)
By hand: flour the bench and get your muscles ready! Knead until your dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size – about an hour, or until your machine has finished it’s rise function.
Remove from the bowl and knock down the dough.
Cut it into two and roll each one into a circle – like you’re making a pizza base.
Cut each circle in to 8 wedges (again, like a pizza).
Then start at the outside edge (where the the pizza crust would be) and roll toward the point to make your crescent shape.
Place on a lined baking dish, spray lightly with olive oil and then allow to rest in a warm place until the have doubled in size again (roughly another hour)
While the dough is doing it’s second rise, preheat your oven to 180C degrees.
When the second rise is complete, place into the preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. The bottom will sound hollow when you tap it.
Remove from the oven and cool for just a couple of minutes before you dig in!
With Mr 11 having just got his braces on, I have had a weekend of making soft food … and soup certainly made the list!
As well as being quick and inexpensive to make, nutritious and filling, allergy friendly and comforting – it is also very kind to sore mouths!
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 brown onion
4 medium sticks celery
2 large carrots
1 large zucchini
450g mushrooms (I like portobello)
1 tsp each fresh chopped rosemary and thyme
1 tbsp (40g) tahini (or seed butter to keep it sesame free)
1/2 cup (40g) nutritional yeast
1 tsp pink flaked salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1.2L boiling water
Heat oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add in finely diced onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add in finely diced celery and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or starting to soften and get a little colour.
Add in finely diced carrots and combine well. Add in herbs plus salt and pepper, stir well and cook over medium heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are golden.
Slice and add in the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally for a further 5 minutes until mushroom are reducing and releasing their liquid.
Add the chopped zucchini to the saucepan and then the boiling water. I start with 1.2L and then add more if it’s needed.
Bring to a gentle and simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 25 minutes or until the carrot squashes easily with the back of your stirring spoon. If it still crunchy then you won’t get a smoothly blended soup.
Add in the tahini and nutritional yeast, stir, and then use an immersion stick blender to blend until smooth.
Add in more water and blend again if it is too thick.
Taste test and add a little more salt if required. Serve hot.
If macros are important to you – here are the details per serve:
I adore it and my husband is totally won over (despite the way he looked at me when I first told him about it!). But I think it might be the worst thing he’s ever heard of, according to my dad!
Where will you sit I wonder? Are you game to give it a try?!
Lots of people choose not to eat traditional bread, because they are wary of carbohydrate levels, or their bodies don’t respond well through either allergies or intolerances.
Me? I love bread. I don’t eat it often, but when I do, I relish it! Seeded sourdough rye is my favourite!!! Especially with avo ….yuum!
So why this recipe then? Well I have seen recipes around for wraps or bread sticks or pizza bases using cauliflower (like this one … but too much dairy for us) and you know that I LOVE anything that involves cauliflower!
I love to include a variety of veggies in our meals and since there is more and more information around about the potential benefits of fermented food, I’ve been playing more with Miso paste.
I think it’s quite possible that the outrageous health and healing claims that abound about the miracle properties of fermented food could be over-stretching it! But it does seem likely that there is certainly some health benefit to these foods. Since, due to allergies, cabbage is right out for us (no kimchi or sauerkraut here!), yoghurt and miso are our go-to ferments.
The recipe isn’t going to replace your morning toast but it is a great option if you need a naan bread type option for curries or if you want to change up your lunches a bit.
1/2 cup (20g) Nutritional yeast
40g white miso paste
2 medium eggs
Wash the cauliflower and broccoli and let it drain before patting it dry – you don’t want any extra moisture in this recipe.
Put it in to the food processor/blender/thermo machine and process until fine (Speed 4, 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat)
Add in the nutritional yeast and miso and process again until the miso is well combined (Speed, 4, 6 seconds)
While the machine is still processing add in the 2 eggs through the top chute and continue to process.
It won’t initially look like enough egg … but keep processing (on Speed 4 or 5) for a little longer – it will come together!
Spread the mixture out onto a large, lined baking tray. It needs to be even and fairly thin spread – about 3 to 4mm thick. Then place in to a preheated 180C oven
Cook for about 20 minutes before removing from the oven and gently scoring into 8 pieces – this make it much easier to flip and helps with even cooking.
Flip the pieces over and return to oven for a further 10 minutes. Until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray for 10 minutes.
Serve warm or cold.
Our favourite way to eat it is slightly warm, and layered with a bit of tinned salmon or topped with some avocado and tomato. Yum!
If you aren’t using this all straight away, it does not freeze well, but it does keep well in the fridge for a couple of days – place some kitchen paper in the air tight container to help absorb any moisture and then reheat gently.
**If you don’t have a food processor, or similar: Grate the veg as finely as you can, mix the yeast and miso well, then whisk the eggs well before adding in and keep stirring until you bring it all together
If Macros are important to you, here are the details for 1 slice, that is 1/8th of the recipe:
Enjoy …. and let me know if you were brave enough to try!!
Over the last few years when I have talked about monthly meal planning and shopping or the way that we eat as a (fairly) big family and on a tight budget people look at me like I’m a teensy bit crazy.
Um … they’re probably right.
But – then I get a bajillion questions and I feel like I never get to answer them completely.
So here, in one place, I’ve brought it all together.
How we plan and how we approach food and feeding at our place.
Please let me be very clear – I know this won’t work for everyone. But this is what works well for us. There are 6 of us. My husband works full time, I juggle a couple of jobs. We both volunteer with our Church and sports. We want to fit in exercise and gardening and then there is allllllll of the stuff that comes with 4 VERY active children! And on top of that – we also have food allergies and sensory issues to deal with so eating out or grabbing food on the fly doesn’t always work (or suit our budget!).
Firstly. I write a menu and do a grocery shop for a month. It looks a bit like this (actually at the moment, it isn’t footy season so it’s missing a weekend game and 2 training sessions!!):
You don’t feel like the thing on the menu for that night? No worries – There are 20 other meals to choose from, so switch it up!
I talk to the kids as I’m writing it and we all give ideas as a family about what we like and are enjoying at the moment – they feel included and it helps me when I’m stuck for ideas!
It makes sure that it takes into account what activities we have on each day, what our work loads look like and any major things on that month. No good planning a 3 course meal for dinner and then only having 20 minutes at home in between gymnastics and jujitsu to make it!
You’ll see that we have a deliberate plan to eat left-overs (usually Sunday night) so that we don’t have food waste.
How do we eat as a family?
We try to eat foods that are largely unrefined. And with a heavy emphasis on plant based foods. Fruit, veg, beans and lentils, nut and seeds, whole grains etc. Processing in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but we try to avoid too many ultra processed foods.
We eat a rainbow – of natural colour! Lots of variety, fruits, veg and all manner of plants – raw, cooked, hidden and visible. Make it a challenge to eat the most colours and variety. Don’t forget that frozen veg and tinned beans etc can be a great, simple, budget friendly option to help you out here.
When we eat meat we don’t have huge portions and we don’t make it the focus of the meal – more like a side. And we bulk up the meal with mushrooms, beans and veg as much as possible. It is very easy to get enough protein in the western world, but as a nation we don’t do well at eating enough veg or getting enough fibre (so critical to our health and wellbeing) so this is a good way to encourage it.
As parents, we are in charge. We make the food decisions in our house. I absolutely get that this one is controversial. And if you are going to make changes to align with this – it will take time and there will be resistance. And yes, I completely understand that this will change as the children get older (they range from almost 6 to 11.5 right now). But, I have a better idea of what their nutritional needs are. If there is food that I don’t want them to eat, I do not buy it. It’s too hard to have it in the house and then have to police it. (Same goes for me and icecream – we do not keep it in the house because it is my downfall!!!)
We subscribe very much to a ‘We provide, they decide’ approach to eating. You can check out more from Ellyn Satter about the division of food responsibilities. This does mean that our children have the right to decide if they eat and how much they eat of the meals provided. BUT there are NO alternatives. The family meal is the family meal. This removes pressure and battles from meal time. There is no coercion around food or finishing everything on their plates. We model the food and eating behaviours we want them to share, and over time they learn to trust and listen to their bodies, serve themselves and and make good food choices. We do a lot of placing everything in the middle and letting them serve themselves. Below are rice paper wraps, fish wedges and salad, Mexican wraps/bowls plus nuggets and veg
We are aware of our kids likes/dislike and food preferences around textures (due to SPD) etc – But that does not mean that we simply stop serving the foods that one of them dislikes. We do talk to them when we’re creating our menu. Then they know that there is lots of food coming up that they do enjoy. If we are serving a meal that we know is not a favourite, we make sure that there are some things on the plate that they are comfortable with. If we are serving up a new meal (and one I suspect will not be well received!) I make sure that a small portion of it is on the plate (simply having the food near them helps with exposure and familiarity) but kept a bit separate from the other familiar food. Below is when we introduced mushroom stroganoff – all in one for the adults and separately, without pressure for the kids.
New meals – mushroom stroganoff for the adults
Mushroom stroganoff for the kids.
We encourage our kids to be involved with food, right from growing our veggies and helping with the gardening to helping us to prepare and serve the food.
We allow and encourage food exploration. Touching, poking, licking, sniffing … all fine (at our home dinner table!). Also we talk about our food in a way that removes pressure: What colour it is? Does it crunch or squish when you bite it? It is different cooked to raw? Can you write you name with it or make a face?
Food is not ‘good or bad’. It is not a moral choice. We do talk about what food gives us and how it makes us feel – this food will give me lots of protein and help me build up my muscles. This food will give me good energy to get through a long gymnastics session. This food has lots of fibre and it will help me to poop (a kids favourite!). If I eat too much of this food my tummy doesn’t feel good. We also talk about our favourite foods and our special memories around food – after all food is about far more than just nutrients!
We keep food really simple. We eat a lot of food that looks like this (you’ll see in our menu that we call them ‘serve yourself platters’):
There is no ‘snack box’ in the pantry filled with packaged and ‘easy’ snacks and the kids are not free to just help themselves whenever they want. There are defined meal and snack times. After which the kitchen is closed. This helps them to learn to listen to their bodies and actually be ready to eat properly at meal times. Kids (and adults!) don’t actually need to graze all day long. Of course there are times when then there needs to be an exception – if they ask, they know they can usually grab an apple or a carrot.
We cook in bulk and freeze. There are deliberate left-overs to make filling lunches and batch cooking allows the main part of the meal to be used in different ways, with very little effort on my part!
Bulk bolognese gets turned into a 2nd meal of empanadas
We make school lunches the night before, for kids and adults alike. No exceptions. I cannot even fathom the stress of making 6 lunches in the morning whilst getting ready for school and work, getting washing on the line and starting dinner. Eek! Made the night before I have space to think about it, make sure is is varied and I sleep easier knowing is it one less job in the morning!
We snack plan/prep. As well as having a meal menu, we always have snack basics in the house ready to go. It means that we can eat well with little fuss. Our go to snacks are lots of veggies and fruit then we add things like hummus, yoghurt, bliss balls, roasted almonds, hard boiled eggs, pikelets and popcorn.
So there is it.
We plan, we prepare, we eat simply, we eat variety that is heavily plant-based.
Importantly, our kids are involved with the food at all stages but we do not pressure them about food or force them to eat it. Parents decide what’s on offer, we give them opportunity to serve and explore, we model healthy eating behaviours but food is not a battle ground!
If you have made it to the end … well done! I know it seems confronting when you see it all together. Can I encourage you if you are feeling overwhelmed to start simply. Pick one thing and go for it. Small changes really add up over time. Get your family involved and work on it together!