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 🙂

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 🙂

Oat Milk

My little miss loves her oat milk. We have found a great brand that is unsweetened and free from weird additives …. my only problem is the price. $3/L or more …. eek!!!!! Works out to over $430 a year!

Not helpful for this tight budget. So, from this month we are leaving those 12L on the shelf and making them ourselves.

So easy and so cheap!! You do need a good high powered processor and a nut milk bag or a cheese cloth for straining.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups water (boiled and cooled)

Optional extras:

  • pinch pink salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla beans paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup OR date paste

Place oats in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Allow to sit for about 15 mins before draining and rinsing gently. ** You can skip this step if you are in a hurry, but you might find that your milk is a little slimy in texture.

Place soaked and drained oats and all remaining ingredients into your blender/processor and blend on high speed until very smooth. (Start on speed 5, working up to speed 7 for about 20 seconds).

Strain the mix through the milk bag into your milk bottle/container and use your hands to squeeze out any excess.

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You can discard the remaining pulp, or to get the very most of your money and your food, spread it out on an oven tray and dry it out on a low heat in the oven then use it in baking (works like almond meal).

Just like the life of the store bought milk, this will store in the fridge for 3-4 days – shake well before use.

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lIt is creamier and thicker than the store bought variety so you may want to thin it out by adding a little extra water if that suits your taste preference.

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This makes 1L.

Enjoy 🙂

Real Protein Powder

I should preface this post by letting you know that I’m not much of a fan of commercial protein powders.

It’s actually really fairly easy for the average healthy person to meet their daily protein needs – even with an hour or so of exercise, special dietary needs or a totally plant based diet if you focus on eating real foods. Too much protein can even lead to kidney damage and other stress to your body.

Our dietary guidelines suggest 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If you have special dietary needs through malnourishment or illness, or are an elite athlete – please make sure you seek advice from your doctor.

But if you are looking for something to add to shakes, pancakes or sprinkle on your porridge or cereal to give it a boost, then why not stick with the good stuff available from nature?

Nuts and seeds are an amazing source of protein, iron, calcium, folate, magnesium, great fats …. And the list goes on! And by getting your protein boost from them you an avoid all of the fillers, flavours and additives etc that come in most commercial powders.

I blitz up this mix and leave it in a glass jar in my freezer for a scoop when needed.

  • 3 tbsp each of sunflower, pumpkin, chia and flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (skin off)

Place nuts and seeds in high power processor and process until fine – be careful not to overdo it and wind up with a butter! (Speed 8, 8 seconds).

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If you are using a smaller machine like a nutribullet, then you need to blitz one ingredient at a time and mix together at the end.

For a nut free version:

  • 3 tbsp each of chia and flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

To dry roast the seeds, place them in a large baking tray under the grill, on the shelf furthest away in the oven. Watch them carefully … it only takes a few minutes! Flip seeds in tray a few times during cooking process to ensure even cooking coverage.

Allow seeds to cool before adding to processor with chia and flax.

If you want a chocolate flavour or sweetened version of this powder, you can check out my Chocolate Drinking Mix – which is especially awesome for kids milkshakes.

The protein powder goes great in our vanilla hotcakes too!

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Enjoy 🙂

 

Chocolate Protein Drink (‘Milo’ Substitute)

My big boys love Milo. My husband loves Milo … and quite frankly, I’d quite happily eat it straight from the tin too if it wasn’t for the health concerns …. I suspect all Aussie kids would have done it at one time in their lives 😀

But it’s not an option for my little miss and I’d really rather that my boys weren’t getting the refined sugar, oils and additives from it either. So I’ve been trying to find a way to make a home made version that we could all enjoy.

This is a pretty good approximation. I have to tell you that it is not like eating the original (for obvious reasons!), so please don’t expect an exact replica, or you will be a bit disappointed! But it is sweet, chocolatey and has crunchy bits when mixed with cold milk. So if you are you missing a chocolately drink or you just want a healthier version, then this is a good place to start!

For us, it is also a simple way to make sure that our biggest boy gets the weekly Hazelnut quota that he requires after his nut challenge.

I based my mix on this one from Changing Habits.

  • 3 tbsp each of sunflower, pumpkin, chia and flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts (skin off)
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder OR 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup coconut sugar

Place nuts and seeds in high power processor and process until fine – be careful not to overdo it and wind up with a butter! (Speed 8, 8 seconds).

Add in cacao and sugar and process again to combine (Speed 4, 6 seconds).

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Store in airtight jars. Makes 2 large jars.

Use as you would use Milo. I doesn’t completely dissolve in cold milk because of the nuts and seeds, but the cacao and sugar do giving the milk a chocolatey appearance whilst leaving the crunchy bits, typical of Milo. Don’t use with hot milk – the chia and flax seeds give a gelatinous mix if you do!

We use it in milkshakes, on top of porridge, in pancakes or even sprinkled on to frozen banana ‘ice cream’. Yum!!

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2 out of my 3 bigger kids drank it and loved it. Harry wasn’t convinced with just plain milk, but we have discovered that he loves it in a milk shake (you can find his favourite milkshake recipe at the end of the post!). My husband drank it and enjoyed it although knew that it was different to ‘the real stuff’! Ellie and George … well … they likes to eat it by the spoonful!

If you want a really fine mix, try using the milling blade in a smaller bullet type blender (like a Nutribullet).

For a nut free version:

  • 3 tbsp each of chia and flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar

To dry roast the seeds, place them in a large baking tray under the grill, on the shelf furthest away in the oven. Watch them carefully … it only takes a few minutes! Flip seeds in tray a few times during cooking process to ensure even cooking coverage.

Allow seeds to cool before adding to processor with chia and flax. Follow above method for remainder of recipe.

Enjoy 🙂

Harry’s Choc Shake:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tbsp drinking chocolate mix
  • 1 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tsp Sunflower seed butter
  • 1 cup cold milk of choice.

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender/processor and blend until very smooth.

Drink immediately – Harry says it’s best with a blue straw 🙂

Will-kshake

My biggest boy, William, is about to turn 7 and has recently become quite interested in ‘creations’ in the kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago, he made this smoothie which has now become known as a Will-kshake in our house and he was very keen for me to share it with you!

We made it in our Nutribullet, but you could also do it in a high powered blender.

It is very thick and filling and he tells me that it’s like having soft serve ice-cream for breakfast 🙂

So thick that the straw stands alone!
So thick that the straw stands alone!
  • 1 cup milk of choice, nice and cold
  • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 a ripe banana (fresh or frozen – frozen makes it even thicker)

Add all ingredients to cup and blend until smooth.

Enjoy 🙂

Blueberry Friands

Every school holidays the ladies in my family have a get together for lunch. I am so blessed to be able to have lunch with my mum, aunts, Nanna, great Aunts and 2nd cousins!

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Today it was my turn to host. So along with Spicy Felafel Sausage Rolls and a thick veggie soup (which will be my next post!), I made these are delicious little treats. They are vegan, gluten and refined sugar free and were well received by everyone and they’ll certainly be making another appearance!

  • 200g Nuttelex
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons plain GF flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 6 tsp ‘No Egg’ powder plus 6 tbsp water at room temp.
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries

Melt nuttelex over medium heat (80C, speed 1, about 3min30secs in a thermal cooker). Set aside to cool slightly.

Mill the coconut sugar until it is powdery. I did this in my Nutribullet but you could also do it in a thermal cooker.

Using a stand beater or electric hand beater (whisking doesn’t work so well), beat the No Egg powder and water together until light and fluffy. Set aside.

In a large stand mixer bowl, place the flour, almond meal, ground coconut sugar and mix gently to combine (speed 3, 10 seconds).

Set the mix gently (speed 3) and while mixing slowly add in the No Egg mixture.

While still mixing add in the Nuttelex and the vanilla. When all combined, increased the speed of the mixer (speed 4) for about 10 seconds to ensure mix is well combined.

Add in the blueberries fold through (Speed 4 for about 10 seconds).

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Half fill the greased moulds of a friand pan and place in a preheated 230C oven for 5 minutes.

Decrease the temperature of the over to 200C and cook for a further 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Allow to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Serves 12 and they freeze well …. if there are any left!

Now I just need to work on a sunflower seed meal (nut-free) version!

Enjoy 🙂