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 sugar (we like the caramel taste of coconut sugar)
  • 1 1/3 cup plain 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 hemp or flax 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!!

Frozen yoghurt ice creams

I don’t remember any family from my childhood that didn’t have Tupperware icy pole moulds!

There are loads of different moulds you can buy now, but whichever you choose to use, they are fabulous for making simple, healthy, tasty, waste free desserts.

This recipe is very flexible. Make it more or less creamy depending on the amount of yoghurt you use. It’ll be less ice creamy and more of an icy pole if you leave out the banana and switch to other fruit.

In our freezer we had a heap of mango left over from a self picking expedition where we went slightly (*understatement!) overboard! And then we had 2 bunches of our homegrown bananas ripen very quickly so we’d peeled and frozen them too. So when we were after dessert these were a no-brainer!

  • 4 mango cheeks, frozen or fresh (tinned peaches or apricots are a great alternative here)
  • 2 medium frozen bananas
  •  approx 400g of yoghurt of choice (dairy, soy, coconut and almond all work well)
  • Optional: 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Put everything in a high powdered blender/bullet/thermo machine and blitz until very smooth. If you’re using a thermo machine, make sure you drop frozen chunks of fruit through the top on to already spinning blades. Start at Speed 4 and then work up to 8 for a smooth finish.

Pour into your moulds. This quantity fills 12 of the Tupperware moulds pictured.

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Stick in the freezer for 4 hours, or until frozen.

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Enjoy!

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P.S. Our Dairy and soy yoghurt recipe is linked above, but if you can have tree nuts, and you want yo buy your yoghurt, we have recently found a GF, DF almond milk yoghurt that is really yummy

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Maple, banana and cinnamon Weetbix slice

We share supper in the evening after church each Sunday.

This week it was my turn on roster. I always try to make sure that I cater for as many food allergies and intolerances as I can so that, at least sometimes, those who might otherwise be left out can join in.

This recipe was a hit – free from gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, legumes and also vegan… but delicious enough that the non-food allergy folk enjoyed it and several requested the recipe. Winner!

Weetbix slice was a childhood favourite – a regular feature in our school lunchboxes. I’m sure the slice came about as a budget-stretching way of using up the inevitable crumbs at the end of the pack!
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The gluten free version of Weetbix is made with sorghum and although I’m not the biggest fan of the original as such a nutritious cereal, it fits our allergy requirements, my kids are excited and I’m pleased to be able to use them in baking!

  • 160g vegan butter, melted
  • 6 weetbix, crushed (regular or GF)
  • 1 cup plain flour of choice (I use spelt or the White Wings GF blend)
  • 1 rounded tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup flaked quinoa (or rolled oats if it suits you)
  • 2 tbsp each flax seeds and hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium overripe banana

Mix together all dry ingredients (Sp 4, 8 seconds).

In a separate bowl mash the banana well, add in the maple syrup then pour in the melted butter and mix until well. (Butter in first, Sp 3, 100C for 60 seconds, then add in remaining wet ingredients and use Sp 4, 20 seconds, scrape down and repeat if required)

Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold together until well combined (Sp 3, 15 secs).

Press firmly into a lined baking tray (mine was 20x20cm).

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes.

All to cool and then ice with maple icing – made with 1 tbsp soft vegan butter beaten into 2 tsp of maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon and several tbsp of pure icing sugar (add more as required to reach your desired consistency).

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Slice and store in airtight container in the fridge. Makes 16-20 slices.

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Ready to share

Enjoy 🙂

P.S. I’ve had a query about replacing the banana … simply switch it out for about 1/3 of a cup of apple sauce … add a teaspoon more at a time if the mixture seems too dry.

Apple Berry Crumble

Apple crumble was a regular dessert feature in my house growing up and I have always loved it.

My husband jokes that he knew that he was going to marry me when I brought him a bowl of it as sustenance during exam study time at uni! That was a looong time ago – tomorrow we celebrate 16 years together, so it seemed like a good time to bring this one out again 🙂

Over those many years, I have added to my mum’s recipe, adapted it to suit our diet and boosted its nutritional value. I hope you enjoy it too!

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter/coconut oil
  • 1 cup rolled oats*
  • 1 cup puffed rice OR GF rice bubbles
  • 2/3 cup almond meal OR plain flour of choice (I use spelt or GF)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup toasted seeds**
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon/mixed spice
  • 2 large tins sliced apples (or home made stewed ones if you are more organised!). Pear works well here too.
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries or raspberries

*To make this a coeliac friendly, replace the oats with an extra cup of puffed rice plus 1/4 cup rolled quinoa

**I like the combination of 1/3 cup each of pumpkin, sunflower and hemp seeds – but use your favourites.

Start by mixing together the seeds and toasting them in a pan under your grill until they are golden brown – watch them carefully as they only take a few minutes. Toss them to make sure you get an even coverage.

Place apples and berries in a large greased baking dish.

Sprinkle fruit with the lemon juice, zest and the cinnamon. Then set aside.

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Mix together all of the dry ingredients and then pour over the almost melted butter. Stir until well combined and evenly coated.

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Evenly spread the crumble mix on top of the fruit mix and then place in to a preheated moderate oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and the juices are bubbling.

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Ready for the oven
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Ready for our bellies!

Serve warm, on its own or with the custard or ice cream your diet allows.

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This makes quite a large crumble … well, because everyone loves crumble and this often comes to family gatherings – there are a lot of us! If you don’t need quite so much, it’s easily halved. Or better still, just make this size, and gradually eat it for dessert for the next few days 😉 It lasts well in the fridge, but is better reheated in the oven than the microwave as it will keep the crumble topping more crunchy.

Enjoy 🙂

 

Honey oat biscuits

Sometimes you just really need bikkies in a hurry!

This recipe doesn’t need anything special – just 4 basic pantry ingredients and they’ll be cooling on your bench less than 25 minutes after you decided you needed a bikkie!

  • 240g rolled oats
  • 260 flour of choice (wholemeal spelt or a plain gf mix)
  • 200g vegan butter
  • 200g honey or maple syrup

In a large bowl, melt together the honey and butter (Speed 2, 100C about 2 1/2 mins) – then set aside.

Place the oats in your processor/thermal appliance or even bullet and give a couple of quick pulses to roughly shop the oats.

Add in the flour and mix well until combined (Speed 4, 10 secs).

Add in the melted butter mix and mix to combine (Speed 4, 8 secs).

Scoop spoon fulls of mixture on to a line baking tray and then use a fork to slightly flatten them.

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Place in to a preheated 180C oven and bake for 16-18 minutes.

The biscuits will still be soft when removed from the oven. Leave them on the baking tray for 10 minutes (go ahead a ‘test’ one if you must!).

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Move to an airing rack to finish cooling … or just eat them warm!

Makes about 22-24.

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Enjoy 🙂

** I haven’t  made an oat free version of these ones yet. I’d start by increasing the flour mix to 300g and then using a 200g mix of rice puffs, rolled quinoa and shredded coconut to replace the oats. I’ll update with exact quantities when I do!

Strawberry ice dream

This delicious dessert is like a cross between ice cream and sorbet.

It’s very refreshing and simple to make, no need for any churning, but you do need to make it several hours in advance.

We used up the last of the strawberries that we had frozen after a very over zealous ‘pick your own’ session at a local farm.

  • 3 cups frozen strawberries
  • 270ml coconut cream (Ayam)
  • 2 tbsp rice malt syrup*
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3 over ripe large bananas

*You can of course use honey or maple syrup if you’d prefer – I choose the rice malt here not because of any mythical ‘sugar free’ properties, but because of its more neutral taste.

In your processor or thermal cooker place the strawberries. Blitz them until they are very finely chopped (almost like crushed ice) speed 4, working up to speed 8 for 10 secs, scrape down and repeat.

Add in the coconut cream, followed by the syrup and vanilla whilst processing (on speed 4), then scrape down and process again.

Add in bananas, one at a time and process until very smooth. (Use speed 6).

Pour into a dish, cover and freeze for at least 6 hours, or over night.

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Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving so that it is scoopable.

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If you’re after an extra special treat you can add some chocolate! We make ours by melting 4 squares of chopped dark chocolate together with 1/2 tsp of tasteless coconut oil, then just drizzle away!

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This makes enough for 8-10 serves.

Enjoy 🙂

 

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 OR 1 large egg
  • 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)* OR 230g GF flour plus 1tsp psyllium
  • 2 tsp gf baking powder
  • 120g coconut sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp mixed spice
  • Optional: 2 heaped tbsp hemp seeds

*When these ones aren’t going to school, I remove 50g of flour and replace it with 50g of almond meal

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 🙂

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 🙂

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!

 

Chocolate Bliss Balls

These are the go to chocolate fix in our house. They are miss Ellie’s absolutely favourite and she usually pinches a couple of balls worth of mix from the machine before I even get to roll them! And mister George has learned how to find them in the fridge very quickly when mummy goes out to the washing line 😉

Quick and easy to whip up and they are actually a satisfying choc fix that won’t lead to a sugar crash later down the track!

See below the main recipe for my Christmas variation too!

  • 200g natural almonds OR roasted sunflower seeds
  • 50g pepitas
  • 30g hemp seeds*
  • 30g cocoa powder (or 20g cacao)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 12 medjool dates, pitted (roughly 300g)
  • Mixed spice coconut sugar for dusting (optional).

*If you aren’t using hemp seeds, just use 80g pumpkin seeds.

Place almonds, seeds, cocoa and cinnamon in the food processor and process until fine and crumbly. (Speed 10, 10 secs)

Add dates and vanilla beans  through chute at the top whilst processing and continue until well combined. (Use speed 4 whilst adding the dates then increase slowly up to speed 7 for 15 secs)

The ‘wetness’ of the mixture hugely depends on the moisture content and size of the dates you use, so test the mixture – when squeezed together it should easily form into a ball. Mine was slightly too dry so I needed an addition of 1 tbsp water and another quick blitz.

Tip – if your dates are really cold from the fridge they won’t be as sticky. Either allow them to come to room temperature, or pop them in the microwave for a short time until the are warm – they’ll bind much more effectively!

Form the mixture into small balls and then roll in a covering if you desire. We mostly leave these plain, but occasionally we make up a mix of coconut sugar and mixed spice (about a 5:1 ratio) and sprinkle it over.

 

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Makes about 20. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They can keep for 2 weeks … not likely in my house 😀

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If you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to roll balls, press the mix firmly into a baking dish and pop in the freezer for half an hour begged cutting into squares.

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For a Christmassy flavoured bliss ball: Remove 1 date and replace it with a small handful of dried cranberries. Replace the vanilla with the finely grated zest of half an orange  and replace the cinnamon with 1/3 tsp of ground cloves.

Enjoy 🙂