Mmmmmm granola. Fabulous crunchy texture that adds interest to breakfast.
It is so versatile and you can really load it up with great stuff to boost your fats and protein – nutrients that are missing from most store bought cereals!
I do make a yummy crunchy granola (that you can find here) but I was after an even quicker and more simple granola that I could make in bulk and have on standby in the pantry for everyday breakfast (or dessert!).
I am conscious that it is really easy to eat sweet granola, so for another option, I am using cinnamon here instead of a sweetener (although there is an option to add more sweetness if you are so inclined!). Cinnamon is so light and fragrant that it works well to give the perception of sweetness without the sugar.
I make this one in a double batch, but the ingredients listed below are for just a smaller single batch.
See below the main recipe for ideas on making this granola Gluten free and Grain free
1 cup rolled oats**
1 cup mixed seeds (or nuts if you like) – I love a mixture of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and hemp seeds.
2 tsps good Olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
OPTIONAL: 2 tsps honey/maple syrup
Mix together dry ingredients.
Sprinkle with cinnamon then mix well to evenly coat.
Drizzle over oil and mix well to evenly coated. If you’re adding honey or maple syrup, drizzle it over here, together with the oil – it helps to spread further if it is warmed first.
Place under a hot grill and bake until golden. Shake the tray several times during
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
**To make this one coeliac friendly, use a mixture of puffed rice and shredded coconut, in whichever ratio you like best. For grain free use a mixture of buckwheat groats and coconut flakes.
Throw it in your yoghurt, eat it with milk or with some stewed fruit – my favourite is with yoghurt and a few berries!
I love the combination of crunchy nuts and seeds and the sweet, chewiness of dried fruit. Add in some whole grains and just a touch of dark chocolate and it really is a winning combination!
These are a delicious and satisfying morning tea or afternoon snack.
A note on the dried fruit – always try to opt for the fruit that is naturally dried instead of being preserved with sulphites – it’ll be a darker colour, but it is a better option for those who are sensitive to those additives. You can usually find them in a health food shop or in a bulk buying store.
And before you get too worried about the sugar content of 1.5 cups of dried fruit – remember it is split over 24 cookies …. 1.5/24 = 0.0685 cups of dried fruit. It’s not a massive quantity and it’s still a good source of fibre that comes packaged together with the sweetness!
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup dried apples
8 medjool dates
1 heaped cup mixed nuts and seeds (roughly 160g) *
1/2 cup rolled oats OR shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Fine Zest of 1/2 orange
1 1/4 cups wholemeal spelt flour OR 1 cup GF flour mix
160g vegan butter, melted
1 large egg OR 3 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 flax egg
OPTIONAL 1 handful of your favourite dark choc chips
*obviously you need to use nuts and seeds that are safe for your diet. When we make these nut free we use a mix of pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia and flax seeds. When we eat these at home we use them as an opportunity to get in the nuts that we have now passed food challenges for and need to consume weekly (macadamia, walnut, brazil and hazelnut). Mix and match to find your favourites!
Place the apples and cranberries in your food processor or thermal cooker and pulse multiple times, until finely chopped.
Whilst processing (sp 4) add the pitted dates one at a time through the top chute. Now process until the dates are finely chopped (sp 6, 6 secs)
Add in the nuts and seeds and pulse multiple times until they are roughly chopped.
Add in the oats (or coconut) and process until oats are fine (speed 5, 8 secs)
Now add in your flour, baking powder, orange zest and cinnamon and process until evenly combined (speed 4, 10 secs).
Continue processing (speed 4) whilst you add in the melted butter and egg (or substitute) through the top chute. Mix until evenly combined and the mix turns to a rough dough.
Stir through your choc chips now if using.
Take heaped teaspoons of the mix, and form into balls before pressing on to a lined baking tray.
Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden.
Cookies will be soft when removed from the oven. Leave them in the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes about 24 and keeps well in an airtight container for a week.
Sausage rolls are a massive favourite with my kids … and husband!
They are easy to make in bulk, and freeze and they are perfect for hiding veggies, so it is nice to know that they can be a slightly healthier option for my family – Obviously they’re still wrapped in pastry so they’re definitely a ‘sometimes’ food!
I use Chevup sausages in my mix. They are a skinless, gluten free, Aussie beef sausage with about half the saturated fat of normal sausages – I feel much happier about using them than the questionable sausage mince that is commercially available. You can find more details about them here.
The sausages I use have great flavour, so if you are using regular beef mince, there is a note below the main ingredients for a couple of extra things for you to add.
Gluten, egg, dairy, nut and soy free pastry is the next issue. There are many GF pastries out there but they are often really disappointing. Obviously use the one that suits your diet and that you enjoy.
I have used this pastry from the Gluten Free Bakery:
And it does a pretty good job. But ….
if you live in WA you really, REALLY have to check out Busy Bees Gluten Free pastry (I buy from Weigh n Pay in Woodvale)! It is amazing! It comes in a long roll and it handles just like wheat based pastry. It is soft and easy to work with and even non GF people have been happy to eat it!
8 Chevup sausages
250g butternut pumpkin
400g tin butter beans (drained)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp pink salt
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup hemp seeds
2 tsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
4 sheets of your puff pastry (1 used 3 regular and 1 ‘everything free’)
If you are not using the Chevup sausages, use
450g beef mince, plus
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp mild paprika
1/4 tsp garlic flakes
1 tbsp coconut aminos
Finely blitz the pumpkin. (Speed 6 for 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).
Add the additional flavourings and oil, if not using chevvups and process again (Speed 5, 8 seconds)
Add the sausages or mince, to the processor and process until it is quite smooth (Speed 6, 10 seconds at a time, scrape down in between).
Add the butter beans and process until well combined (speed 5, 10 seconds, scrape and repeat)
Add the nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, salt, aminos and herbs and then process again until evenly combined and fairly smooth (speed 6, 10 secs, scrape and repeat)
Cut the pastry sheets in half and divide the mixture up between the sheets.
I find it is best to place it in a thin line down the middle of the pasty.
Roll the pastry over the top of the mix to form long cylinders.
Lay on a lined baking tray with the join side facing down (helps the join to hold together as it puffs).
Cook in a preheated 210C oven until meat is cooked and pastry is puffed and golden brown. (Use a short burst under the grill to get them extra golden and flaky). Takes about 35-40 mins in my oven.
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.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients and then pour over the almost melted butter. Stir until well combined and evenly coated.
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.
Serve warm, on its own or with the custard or ice cream your diet allows.
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.
Holidays means slower mornings, adventures, time together …. and food. So much food!
I’m always astounded at how much more my kids neeeeed to eat in the holidays, when compared to what they eat from their lunchboxes during the school term. They tell me that it is because at school they stuff in what they can super fast so that the don’t miss out on their precious play time – apparently holiday are then for catch up!
These gorgeous bars are fibre filled, have a good serve of polyunsaturated fats and with a sweetness that comes from whole fruit, they’ll satisfy you and keep you going for ages. They work well as morning tea on the run too.
1 cup GF weetbix
1 cup rolled oats OR 1 cup fruit free GF muesli
3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour OR plain GF flour mix plus 1 tsp psyllium
1 rounded tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 heaped tbsp hemp seeds
8 medjool dates, pitted
1 large overripe banana
2 heaped tbsp seed butter (or nut butter that suits)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup milk of choice
Place all of the dry ingredients together in your processor/thermal cooker/bullet and pulse a few times until the ingredients are roughly chopped and well combined. Then set aside.
Place the dates, seed butter, milk and vanilla into your thermal cooker. Cook on 90C, Speed 2 for 3 mins. Add in the banana and cook on speed 3, 90C for a further minute. Then boost up to speed 4 for 8 seconds.
To cook this one without a thermal cooker, place the dates, seed butter, milk and vanilla into a saucepan and cook over a low heat, whilst whisking regularly until the mixture is well melted – the dates will still be quite large. Add in the banana and continue to cook, whilst whisking for a further 2 minutes. Then transfer the whole mix to a blender or processor, then process until smooth.
Now add the dry ingredients back to the wet and process until just combined (Speed 2, about 15 seconds). The mixture will be quite thick and sticky.
Scrape into a line 20×20 baking tray and use a spatula to smooth out and press down into the tin.
Place into a preheated 180C oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and golden brown.
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes in the tray before moving to a cooling rack to finish cooling before slicing in to 8 bars.
These will last several days in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze them individually to pop into lunchboxes or grab on your way to work.
Lentils are such an amazing food! They are really inexpensive, easy to use is a wide variety of meals and they pack a serious dietary punch when it comes to fibre and protein. They are one of the star foods for improving your gut health! A really valuable and budget friendly addition to your diet.
Like most of my meals that were inspired by other cultures, this is one you’re unlikely to find on the menu of an authentic Indian restaurant – but it is fragrant and delicious!
2 cups red lentil
1/3 cup French (puy) lentil
2 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp ground corrinader
2 tsp ground cumin
1 rounded tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
3 1/2 cups hot veggie stock (I use Massel for a store bought option)
1/3 cup coconut cream
2 large carrots, grated (roughly 1 rounded cup)**
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
**you can use an equal quantity of grated pumpkin or sweet potato here if you’d prefer
Rinse and drain your dried lentils
Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and add the onion, cook until soft.
Add in the ginger and mix well to combine.
Add in the dry spices and fry well until fragrant.
Add in the lentils and stir well to coat the mix. Add in the grated carrot and combine again.
Add in the hot stock, stir well and bring to a simmer.
Simmer for approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan as they are absorbing the stock.
Add in the coconut cream and chopped spinach, stir well and cook until the spinach is wilted, but still bright.
Serve warm with your choice of ‘bready’ accompaniment – we used suitable wraps that we brushed with a little garlic oil, sprinkled with salt and popped under the grill until they were toasty and brown.
Shepherd’s pie is such gorgeous, warming comfort food for chilly winter days. And it was a standard in our house while I was growing up. My maiden name was ‘Shepherd’ so Mum would tease us, and say that she’d need to take fingers or toes from us kids to go in to it.
It’s been a loooong time since I was a Shepherd now, but for years we have still made our version of her pie – you can find that one here.
Lately though we have been making a vegan version of the pie and it is just as yummy and ‘meaty’ as the meat based version. So if you’re a vegan, or if you’re just looking to add some more meat free meals or veggies into your diet – why not give this one a go?
2 tbsp garlic olive oil
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce if your diet allows)
1 tbsp vegemite (or a GF, soy free miso paste)
1 cup ready made, hot gravy (either homemade, or ‘Orgran’ makes a good vegan and allergy friendly powdered gravy)
3-4 medium grated carrots
1 medium zucchini
2 tins brown lentils, drained and rinsed
1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups spinach
About 800g Mushrooms (I like a mix between button, swiss brown and portobello for textural variety)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
Olive oil spray
good pinch salt
1 tsp chopped rosemary
In a large saucepan heat the garlic oil, the add the onion, cooking until it begins to soften.
Using your processor or thermal appliance, pulse the mushrooms several times until they are roughly chopped, then add to the onion mix in the pan. Stir them well as they begin to cook.
Add in the aminos, paste and vegemite mix well.
Add the lentils, mix well to combine and allow to simmer gently over a low heat while you prepare the remaining veggies.
Using your processor/thermal appliance or just a grater (if you have the patience!), finely grate your carrot and then add in the zucchini and process until fine (Speed 4 whilst adding and then up to 6 for about 8 secs to process, scrape down and repeat if required)
Add in the spinach, process (speed 4, 8 secs) and then add in the kidney beans through the chute at the top whilst still processing (on speed 4, then up to 5 for 8 seconds once all added).
Next, add the hot gravy to this mix and process until well combined (Speed 5, 8 seconds).
Add this vegetable and gravy mix to the mushroom and lentil mix on the stove. Mix well to combine and bring to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Peel and chop the potatoes, then bring potatoes to the boil in another saucepan and boil until soft. (If you’ve used a thermal cooker to do the veg … you can easily do the mash in it too – Drop chunks of potato onto speed 4 spinning blades through the hole in the lid. Turn up to speed 6 for about 10 seconds after adding. Turn off, scrape down, add about 1/4 cup water and cook on Steam Temp, Speed 2 for about 8 minutes, scraping down once during cooking time. Blitz on Speed 5 until roughly smooth, then add rosemary and salt then mix again on speed 4 for about 4 seconds).
Transfer the mushroom and veg mix to a large casserole dish.
Drain and mash the potatoes together. I don’t like the mash too smooth – leave it rough and chunky, then add the salt and rosemary.
Top the mushroom and lentil mix with the mashed potato. Because it is quite thick, I find it easiest to place blobs of the mash around the dish and then spread from there. Use a fork to spread it so that you get raised lines that go lovely and crunchy in the oven.
Spray the top of the potato with the olive oil and then place in a pre-heated moderate oven for about 30 mins, turning on the top element of the oven, or placing under the grill for the remaining 5 minutes to give you a little more colour and crispiness.
This makes a very large dinner enough for all 6 (I’d say 4 adult serves) of us for dinner plus 4 yummy lunches too.