Sweet Potato Rolls

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!

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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 1/2 cup flour (2 cup plain & 1.5 cups wholemeal) – we use spelt
  • 1 flat tablespoon yeast, active dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup, mashed Sweet potato, cooked (about 1 medium potato)
  • 1 cup milk 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).
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Then start at the outside edge (where the the pizza crust would be) and roll toward the point to make your crescent shape.
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Little rolls, ready to start the second rise
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)
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2nd rise complete – into the oven they go
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.
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Delicious perfection!
Remove from the oven and cool for just a couple of minutes before you dig in!
Makes 16 rolls.
Enjoy 🙂

Simple Mushroom Soup

You already know how much I love soup!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Delicious …. but I just can’t make it pretty!

Serves 6.

If macros are important to you – here are the details per serve:

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Enjoy

J x

Baked Cauliflower, Broccoli, Miso ‘Bread’

I think will be a recipe that divides you!

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.

  • 350g cauliflower
  • 150g broccoli
  • 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)

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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Serve warm or cold.

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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:

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Enjoy …. and let me know if you were brave enough to try!!

 

J

Chicken Cannellini Casserole

Quick and easy comfort food that is delicious and filling 👌👌

Enough meat to satisfy the carnivore and still enough veg, beans and mushrooms for my preference.

In the spirit of full transparency … Only 1 of my 4 kiddos was happy to eat this one…  🤷🤷 ah well. 3 of us loved it and 2 of us are delighted to have some leftover for tomorrow!

  • 700g chicken thigh, skinless
  • 400g field mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • Medium brown onion
  • 400g tin Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 rounded tsp pure corn flour
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • Carrot noodles to serve

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan.

Dice the onion and cook until soft. Add in the mushrooms and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms start to soften.

Remove from pan and set aside.

Add sliced chicken to the hot pan and brown. Then sprinkle in the corn flour, stir and then add the stock and aminos.

Add in the Cannellini beans and return the mushroom mix to the pan.

Mix until evenly combined and bring to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

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Add in the green beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking … You want them to still have some crunch!

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Serve on a bed of carrot noodles (use a veggie peeler to create the long strips)

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Makes about 5 serves.

Enjoy 😊

P.S – If macros are important to you here are the details for 1 serve (without the carrot)

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Feeding Our Family and Monthly Meal Planning – What works for us.

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 monthIt 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!!):

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Our menus change with the season and what is growing locally

You can check out this previous post about how I actually shop and budget.

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.IMG_20191017_175142_869
  • 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.

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    Choosing variety and colour!
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Literally turning platters into rainbows!
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So many ways to eat green!
  • 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.

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    Veggie Bolognese – mushroom and lentil style
  • 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

 

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They learn to love their food!
  • 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.

 

  • 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?
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Mum! Listen to this crunch!
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Wonder who is responsible for this one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 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!
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Muscles from our Hulk muffins
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Christmas Food with my extended family – my very favourite celebration!
  • 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!
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Veggie egg cups ready for the freezer
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Bulk Mexican Chicken – this will portioned into the freezer and become wraps/bowls, enchiladas and tacos

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!

Good luck – I’m always here to answer questions!

J x

Spicy Green Chicken Patties

I live in a house with multiple small boys who are obsessed with both the Marvel universe and body parts …. I won’t tell you what they wanted to call these green balls … you can use your own imagination 😉

Whichever cheeky name you choose to call them – they are very yummy and were happily devoured by all 6 of us!

  • 750g chicken thighs (approx 6 thighs), skinless
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes (or 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed)
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • Good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1-2 birdseye chillies (depending on the heat you like)
  • 70g bean shoots
  • 2 tightly packed cups of chopped spinach
  • 50g hemp seeds

Roughly dice the onion.

Place all the the ingredients, except the bean shoots, spinach and seeds in your food processor.

Process until well combined (speed 4, 15 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

Add in the bean shoots, process to combine (speed 4, 10 secs), then add the spinach and repeat.

Start processing again (speed 3) and pour seeds through open top chute.

Process until well combined and smooth.

Scrape mixture out into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours or up to overnight. This helps them to hold together well without the addition of egg or breadcrumbs.

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Using a spoon and damp hands, form patties with the mixture.

Lay on a lined baking tray and spray with a little olive oil before placing into a preheated 200C oven.

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Cook for 30 mins or until golden and cooked through. (I flip them after about 20 minutes)

Makes 20 patties.

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Serve with cucumber and ribbons, topped with sliced avo and drizzled with extra coconut aminos.

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And if macros are important to you – here are the details (per patties – and not with the salad accompaniment):

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Enjoy 🙂

 

 

An Itchin’ Budget?

Managing a tight food budget for a family of 6 with multiple food requirements … This is how we do it!

Itchin' Kitchen

Living in this day and age is expensive.

Living in an allergy home is even more costly – regular trips to (very expensive) allergists, dermatologists and doctors, regular updates of asthma medication, epi-pens and bottles of antihistamines for every place they go. Creams, creams and more creams. Gosh it adds up quickly.

Then there’s the groceries ….. no options for $1 bags of pasta or flour. Allergy friendly options are often 8-10 times the price. And then there is the choice about buy foods that are locally or ethically produced.

Don’t get me wrong – I am so very grateful  that my husband has a job (and after 10 years with one income, so now do I!), we actually have many allergy friendly options in shops and that we are able to access the specialists we need to care well for our children. We are FAR better off than many.

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Crunchy Quinoa Biscuits

So simple but so delicious … a quick batch of these ones made their way to school this morning after my little ones asked me to make Valentine’s day bikkies for their teachers …. at 7am!!!!

Itchin' Kitchen

I love crunchy bikkies …. dunking them in a hot cuppa was always a  favourite!

These delicious bikkies definitely meet my sweet and crunchy requirements.

My kids (and husband!) all love them. They are simple to make, the kids love choosing their own shapes and they are really easy to adapt to meet most allergy requirements.

  • 100g rolled quinoa (or you can mill the whole grain)
  • 160g plain flour OR GF flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 70g of sunflower seed butter OR nut butter**
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 150g maple OR golden syrup

**You can use half seed butter and half butter here, or even all butter – all combinations work well!

In a saucepan, over a medium heat, stirring, melt together the seed butter, syrup and vanilla (100C, speed 2 for 2 11/2 mins or until completely melted). Remove from stove

Mix together all…

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Egg Wraps

A couple of months ago I saw Dr Michael Mosely’s idea of using what is essentially a very thin spread omelette base to use as a substitute for a grain based wrap.

Pretty cool if you need to avoid gluten (several of us). Or if you need to keep an eye on your carbohydrate intake (Me thanks to PCOS).

Except 1 single egg wasn’t really enough for a meal for my husband or I so, to make a more filling option that gives a decent vegetarian source of protein with your meal … this is how we make ours:

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • pinch flaked pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian style herbs, or 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • optional: small spray of olive oil

Whisk the eggs together, then add in all the other ingredients and whisk again until well combined and frothy.

If you’re not sure about how non-stick your frying pan is, then give it a little spray of olive oil and set to a medium heat.

Pour in the egg mix and swirl around the pan until it is evenly distributed over the whole base.

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Allow to cook gently for about a minute, then test that the side of the egg are well cooked, slide a spatula underneath to the centre and then flip it over to briefly cook the other side.

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Remove from heat and lay on plate. Eat warm or cold.

Treat it like a normal wheat based wrap – We fill ours with a variety of salad and it keeps us full of ages – plus … it’s really delicious!

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You can make several in advance and store them in the fridge for a couple of days – lay a paper towel between each one for storage.

Enjoy!

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If Macros are important to you … are are the details for just the wrap – you will need to account for your own fillings:

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Enoki Miso Soup … Cheating style!

So … I’m clearly not of Asian descent and I certainly did not grow up eating Miso in any form!

As such, I make absolutely NO claim to this being an even vaguely authentic (or even correct?!) way to make Miso soup 😆

However, it was delicious, easy, comforting and nutritious so I’m running with it!

Actually, if I’m honest, the first time it wasn’t quite as delicious … I waaaay overdid the chilli and I couldn’t feel my lips 😬 that is fixed now!

If you haven’t used Miso before, it is a rich, fermented soy bean paste with a deep savoury or umami flavour. It is also thought to be a great gut health food, being rich in fibre and high in protein and antioxidants. You can find it in big supermarkets, Asian grocery stores and health food shops.

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To make the soup you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 70g white miso paste
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp dehydrated chilli flakes (check their heat!)
  • 250g Enoki mushrooms (cut their gritty ends off before you weigh them)
  • 4 cups hot veggie stock
  • 6 cups hot water
  • A good handful of diced sugar snap peas, snow peas or green beans per serve

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, then add in the miso paste, ginger, aminos and chilli.

Cook, stirring for a few minutes until well combined and fragrant.

Add in the mushrooms and stir them through the miso mix so they are well coated. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

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Add in the stock and water then stir well and bring to a gentle simmer.

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Place your fresh, chopped peas or beans in a bowl and top with the very hot soup.

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Serve immediately.

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Serves 4.

I freeze the leftovers of the soup for lunches, but I don’t add the peas or beans to the freezer – they keep their crunch best when you add them in fresh.

Enjoy 🙂