Mushroom Meatballs

People are choosing to decrease meat consumption for many reasons; ethical, environmental, health and budgetary.

Whatever your reason, one of the ways you can decrease your consumption is by not always focusing on meat as the centre of your meal. Thinking about it as the side instead.

For me, it’s a juggle between my preference for a largely plant based diet and my husband’s preference to live as a carnivore!

These meatballs were a pretty good compromise and they were very well received.

  • a dozenย  medium button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • half a brown onion, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 500g beef mince
  • 200g cooked chick peas (about 1/2 a tin)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • olive oil to cook

Place the garlic oil in a hot frying pan, fry the onion until it begins to soften, then add in the mushrooms.

Fry the mushrooms until they begin to soften and then add the grated carrot.

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Mix well, add in salt and pepper to taste, thyme and the coconut aminos.

Fry, stirring regularly, until the carrot is soft.

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Into your food processors, place the beef mince, the mix from the frying pan and the chick peas.

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Process until well combined and fairly smooth. (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

Place mix into the fridge for at least half an hour but up to a full day – this will help the mix tighten and hold together better when you cook it later on.

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Form teaspoons of the mix into small balls and then place into a frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil – don’t have the frying pan searing hot or you’ll burn them before they cook properly. Cook on each side until golden brown and cooked through.

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Next time I make them, I will bake them after spraying with olive oil instead of fryingย  – I’ll update when I do.

Makes about 24. Serve with your favourite sides – pasta, veggies, salads, or even in a sandwich!

These don’t freeze particularly well (the tend to fall apart a little bit) but they are delicious for lunches over the next couple of days. I had mine with salad and avocado – yum!

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Enjoy

 

Pumpkin pastry parcels

I guess this one isn’t so much as recipe as an idea or a suggestion!

We do our very best to reduce waste from our kitchen.

So many ways to make some little changes that help –

  • We menu plan,
  • Cook in bulk,
  • Freeze leftover for work lunches,
  • Make soup to use up veggies that are past their best
  • All veggie peelings and scraps go to our worms and so back to the garden,
  • Do a swap – we give out overload of veggie scraps to friends with chooks (and sometimes get eggs in return!)

One of the other ways to reduce waste is to get a bit creative when you’re down to the last few bits of veg before shopping day!

I had about 1/4 of a butternut pumpkin, a couple of handfuls of spinach, a small handful of left over roast chicken and the dregs of my walnut container left. Together with a few basic pantry staples – that sounds like weekend lunch!

My husband reckons they are better than a bought pie (and his body feels better afterwards) and he says they’re much nicer than the ones he can buy at a cafe in the city – for an obscene price!

We used: Pumpkin, spinach, walnuts, cooked chicken, puff pastry, Italian herbs, salt pepper, olive oil (garlic infused) and coconut aminos.

But use whatever left overs you have and enjoy and get creative!

*If you don’t eat meat – we often us about half a tin of butter beans or cannellini beans instead – just pop them in the oven together with the pumpkin in the last 10 minutes of roasting time.

*If you don’t eat nuts – pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds work really well here too – use them in exactly the same way as the walnuts.

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Dice the pumpkin into small pieces.

Then roast the pumpkin with some garlic olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs (about 200C for 35-40 mins).

Place pumpkin in a bowl together with the chopped chicken, walnuts and spinach and then add about 2 tsp of coconut aminos. Mix well so that the pumpkin gets a bit mashed up.

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Place mixture into the centre of pastry squares (obviously – use whichever pastry suits your diet)

Fold the pastry over the mix to form a parcel and then use the fork to press the edges of the pastry together.

Bake in a 200C fan forced oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden, puffed and flaky.

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Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Simple egg slice

This is such an easy way to get in some extra veggies. It’s fast to make, really flexible and works well to use up veggies that might otherwise be past their best.

It does contain egg so this is not a meal that we can eat as a family … but the biggest little one loves to take it in his lunchbox and I like it on standby in the freezer for days when I’m really rushed and need to grab something to take to work for breakfast.

  • 7 eggs
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup flour (spelt or GF)
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3-4 cups chopped/grated veggies*
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

*We use up what we have in the fridge. Mostly it is a mix of carrots, zucchini, corn, capsicum, tomato, sometimes asparagus and sliced mushrooms

Place flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and use a whisk to combine evenly.

Add in grated/chopped veggies and seeds.

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Fold through veggies and seeds so that they are evenly coated in the flour mix.

In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and the oil.

Pour the wet mix into the veggie mix and fold through until there is no dry flour visible.

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Pour into a lined baking dish, smooth out and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through.

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Eat warm, or slice and freeze.

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Serves 8

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Thai pumpkin soup

Hello soup weather!

I’ve been making this delicious, comforting soup for the past couple of years.

It is an absolute winner with Peter and I and Will. I’ll be honest though … It isn’t a favourite with the other small ones. 2 of them tolerate it … One of them will have a taste but that’s as far as it goes. ๐Ÿคฆ

Ah well, you can’t win ’em all … And I’m delighted to have a freezer stocked with lunches!

  • 1.5kg butternut pumpkin
  • 400g sweet potato
  • 2 heaped tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp red thai curry paste (I like the Ayam brand)
  • 200ml coconut cream
  • 2L hot veggie stock

Place the curry paste into a hot saucepan and stir until fragrant.

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Home grown veg plus curry paste home made from homegrown lemongrass, chillies, onion and garlic – makes me SO happy!!

Add in the diced pumpkin and sweet potato and stir to coat the veggies in the paste.

Add in the stock and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the veggies are very soft.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the coconut cream and the seed butter.

Use an immersion blender to blend until silky smooth.

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We like to serve with fresh damper ๐Ÿ˜‹

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Makes about 10 serves and it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ˜Š

Chicken, black bean and carrot burgers

Building your own burger is always a fun, messy, dinner.

Mostly we go with a veggie burger patty but we mix it up sometimes with this chicken burger.

The beans and carrots work to bind the patty without egg and they also mean you can spread the meat further and significantly boost your fibre intake too.

  • 4 large chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 420g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • OPTIONAL 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • oil to cook

Chop and steam the carrots until they are soft.

Place the chicken thighs in your food processor and process until chicken is evenly minced (speed 5, 10 secs)

Add in beans and carrots then aminos and thyme. Process further until well combined (speed 4, 10 secs)

Add in the nutritional yeast and process until just combined. (Speed 4, 5 secs)

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Ready for the frying pan

Form heaped tablespoons of the mixture in to patties and place into a hot, greased pan.

Cook until golden on one side, then flip and cook on other side until cooked all the way through.

You can also spray with a little olive oil and bake in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, flip them over and cook for a further 10 mins or until cooked through (keeps the stove top much cleaner! ๐Ÿคฃ)

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Serve on your bread of choice with your favourite burger toppings.

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He likes his with pineapple, tomato, capsicum, lettuce, cheese and egg. The lot!

I like a leftover patty on its own topped with avo for lunch.

Makes about 12

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Lemongrass Ginger cordial

Cordial is not a regular feature in our house, but as a treat at a birthday party, or mixed with sparkling water as a non alcoholic drink, it’s pretty special to have your own home made, and home grown option!

We had abundant lemongrass this year, so we have made a huge batch of Thai curry paste, propagated more for next year and shared loads with our community but we still had more left – we decided to go with some deliciously fragrant cordial!

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups raw sugar
  • 6-7cm root of ginger
  • 8 stalks of lemongrass

Place the water juice and sugar in to a large saucepan, mix well and place on the stove over a medium heat. (In your Thermal cooker place on 90C Sp 1)

Grate the ginger and cut and bruise your lemongrass.

Add both to the liquid mix and turn heat up to bring to a rolling boil. (Increase to ST temp for a few minutes until boiling)

Stir regularly.

Turn heat down to a gentle boil for 10 minutes (decrease to 90C).

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Remove from heat but allow to sit for a further 30 minutes – 1 hour to steep and cool, before sieving the solids from the liquid.

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Pour the liquid into a sterilised glass container and use as you would any cordial. This one is particularly delightful with lots of ice and a few mint leaves on a hot summer day!

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Will last a couple of months in the fridge.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Cranberry & White Choc Muesli Cookies

My big boy has been having a tough time lately. So when we have an afternoon at home (which is rare!) he is pretty keen to spend one on one time with me.

Pre-teens often don’t want to sit and talk in a formal, eye contact kind of way … so cooking and working along side each other provides a really good opportunity to talk and try to sort somethings through.

Today he asked to make cookies. We’d tried a white choc cranberry cookie from the shops recently but they were SUPER sweet and his tummy didn’t feel so great after them (probably would have been ok if he had one and not three though!!)

So we adapted our regular choc chip cookies and came up with these beauties.

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup spelt flour (half wholemeal) OR 1 1/4 cup GF Flour plus 1 tsp psyllium
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats OR shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • pinch pink salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup white choc chip (which ever suit your diet – Sweet William is a winner for us)
  • 150g vegan butter, melted (but not too hot or it will melt your choc chips!)
  • Optional: zest of 1/2 an orange, finely grated

In your food processor or thermal cooker place the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, oats and cinnamon. Blitz to a coarse flour (speed 8, 8 secs)

Add in the cranberries and seeds and mix again until combined (Speed 4, 6 secs). Blitz for longer if you want less obvious ‘bits’

Add in the butter through the chute at the top whilst mixing (on Speed 4) and mix until well combined (about 10 seconds)

Add in the chocolate and mix until just combined (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

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Form a teaspoon full into a ball and spoon onto a lined baking tray, allowing space to spread. Press down gently.

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Cook in a preheated moderate oven for 14-15 minutes.

They will be soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

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Makes about 20.

Enjoy!!