Banana, blueberry and buckwheat bread

IMG_9227I can’t run this month. So instead of going to our local Parkrun in this glorious spring sun, Miss 20 months and I set about creating something a little more exciting for breakfast than the usual porridge with banana and milk. I had a heap of ripe bananas in the freezer that I’d been waiting for some time to use so I set about making this refined sugar free version of the famous cafe-style banana bread. It does have an egg so it’s not strictly a ‘bread’ but I am trying to expose Miss to small amounts of egg to help build immunity (and hopefully eradicate) her moderate egg allergy. She could NOT eat an omelette, however, she can have small amounts of cooked egg in biscuits and cakes. The allergist has actually recommended this course of action. As usual, I wasn’t following a recipe, but I am happy with the results. We enjoyed it toasted with a good slab of salted butter outside in the sun – bliss!

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Banana, blueberry and buckwheat bread

5 ripe bananas (mashed – pick them up cheap at the fruit shop and store in the freezer)

2 cups of flour of your choice (I used 1 cup of buckwheat and 1 cup of wholemeal spelt)

1 egg (whisked)

50 g butter (melted – I used salted because that’s what I had in the fridge)

1/3 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup of oats (plus extra for sprinkling)

1 tbs cinnamon

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1 tbs vinegar

2/3 cup frozen blueberries

2 tbs mixed seeds for sprinkling on top (I used pepitas, sunflower and sesame)

1 tsp honey for drizzling on top

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. If your bananas are frozen just microwave to thaw then peel and mash in a bowl. Mix flour, coconut, cinnamon and oats in a bowl. Add the bicarb soda and then the vinegar on top to activate it. Then add the melted butter, egg and blueberries and stir until just combined. It should be a dense mix. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour mixture in, smoothing with a spoon. Sprinkle the seeds and oats on top and then drizzle with honey. Bake for around 45 mins, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Lift out by the edges of the baking paper and cool on a wire rack. Once cool, slice and toast slightly under a grill and serve with butter. Enjoy!IMG_9243

Waste not, want not

We live within a national park in the beautiful Blue Mountains so we do what we can to preserve our surrounds and recycle our kitchen waste. We have a great little compost bin (plus a miscellaneous pile of random clippings and scraps) as well as a worm farm. It works for us as; each week the actual rubbish we throw out is minimal (as we also recycle cardboard, plastic and tins). For our toddler we use cloth nappies and reusable wipes and use old rags to clean windows and surfaces. It’s not much and it’s certainly not going to make a huge impact, but it makes us feel a lot better about our carbon footprint as we make conscious decisions where we can. IMG_8436

I do a weekly shop for our groceries and try to wash, cut and pack away everything ready for use for the week. Things like celery wilt and shrivel in a few days becoming unpalatable and just take up room in the fridge. To combat this, I prep the celery on the day I buy it by chopping, washing and storing it in an airtight container. It last for weeks like this and I can easily grab a few sticks for soups, risotto, salads and just to smear peanut butter on for a mid afternoon sugar crash snack!IMG_8441

So what to do with all the scraps! Anyone that knows me knows that I’m actually fairly lazy and will try to carry everything in one go rather than make two trips, even at the risk of dropping everything… In this line of thinking I was left one day with a huge pile of veggie scraps and didn’t want to go outside in the cold to the compost bin, so I chucked them all in a plastic bag and into the freezer. Later that week I had made a roast chicken and instead of throwing out the bones I put them in the slow cooker with the frozen scraps along with water, a bay leaf, pepper corns, rock salt, apple cider vinegar (to draw the nutrients from the bones, apparently) and left it overnight. In the morning the house was filled with the most glorious smell and we had litres of fresh homemade stock  made from stuff we would usually have put in the bin or compost!

My freezer is now always full of veggie scraps and stock, so much so that it’s hard to fit anything else in and things frequently go flying when the door is opened. I don’t care. It’s free, it’s healthy and it’s one less trip out the back to the compost bin. IMG_8443

‘All the whey’ salad dressing

IMG_8932On my meal plan tonight I had written ‘chicken and salad’ but I really felt like something a bit more… decadent. It had turned into a lovely sunny day so me and my girl had spent the day out doors soaking up the sun (it’s the second day of spring after a looong winter) so I decided to do some magic with the ingredients in the fridge. Here is the recipe for our marinated chicken salad with ‘all the whey’ creamy salad dressing.

Chicken marinade

3 chicken breasts sliced into thirds

A handful of fresh herbs (I had coriander on hand, but anything would do)

The juice of half a lemon

1 tsp of seeded mustard

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Pepper to taste (I didn’t add salt because our toddler eats what we eat)

I simply sliced the chicken breasts and tossed them through this marinade and cooked under the grill for about 10 mins, turning once.

IMG_8931‘All the whey’ creamy salad dressing

1 tbs full fat greek yoghurt (I use Yalna)

All the whey poured off the top of the tub (that’s the liquid that separates from the yoghurt but is actually full of nutrients like potassium, calcium and magnesium)

A squeeze of lemon juice

1 tsp of dijon mustard

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp sweet paprika (sumac would be nice too)

Just mix the ingredients in a bowl and pour straight over the salad for a rich, creamy, egg-free dressing packed with nutrients and good fats!

I made a quick salad with all the usual ingredients and added some brown rice and quinoa that I’d pre cooked at the beginning of the week (to add extra protein and carbohydrate to our meals in a hurry) and topped with coriander. Such a quick, easy and nutritious dinner in under 20 minutes. Oh and the toddler finished every last bit!IMG_8933

Spring is coming…

IMG_8468This afternoon I went outside to complete the menial task of emptying the rubbish, recycling and compost but was nearly bowled over by the pungent aroma of our massive daphne bush in the centre of our backyard. Even though we still have one month left of winter and the nights are still below 1 degree, I can see the first signs of spring upon us in the beautiful Blue Mountains. My 19 month old daughter gives every flower she sees a little sniff, even if they’re fake or in a book. I love that innocence and enthusiasm for life and nature. Children teach us so much: to slow down – even when you’re busy, to laugh – even when you’re angry, and to love – even when you feel like you have nothing left to give. So, we picked this array of flowers including lavender, forget me not, violet and daphne. Funnily enough, these are all girl’s names (yes, I know a lovely little lady whose middle name is ‘forget me not’)! Last year during our family photo shoot this daphne bush featured as a beautiful centrepiece as well. I think it’s kind of magical.

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Our family photo shoot from August 2014 with the amazing laurabluephotography.com.au

Pizza anyone?

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The humble cauliflower and an egg become a magnificent pizza.

Who doesn’t love a good pizza on a Saturday night? If you’re anything like me though, you’ll be paying for it for days afterwards with a heavy, stodgy feeling in the tummy. I could literally see my stomach grow so that I couldn’t comfortably wear my jeans. Don’t eat so much! I hear you say, easier said than done, for some. Since having our little girl, we have, as a family, kicked up our healthy lifestyle to include more whole fruits and vegetables, fewer processed foods and limiting refined sugar. When we started solids with our little girl at 6 months we did some research and decided to give baby led weaning a go. It was great. From the beginning we gave her what we were eating and she could explore different flavours and textures at her own pace while still relying on breast milk as her main source of nutrition. This was also a great way of ensuring that what we were making and buying for ourselves was wholesome and full of nutrients with limited salt, sugar and other additives. We discovered fairly quickly too much ‘stodge’ (refined white breads, cereals and pastas) caused issues for our little girl’s digestive system and it seemed to affirm what I had been experiencing myself after eating these foods. But…. we still love a pizza. I’m not a fan of gluten free or low carb types of breads as they are often quite tasteless and still full of additives, and often sugar. It’s amazing how long bread and wraps can live on top of the fridge before growing mould. So, I went on the hunt for a pizza base recipe that would enable us to enjoy a special treat as a whole family. The internet is packed with pizza base recipes using cauliflower, egg and cheese as the ‘bread’. Now, my husband is awesome and eats (and enjoys) everything I cook, however, he hates two things in life: brussel sprouts and cauliflower. In the nearly eight years we have been together I have just never bought these vegetables, but I was eager to try this recipe. He, was skeptical to say the least. The bulbous cauliflower head loomed ominously in the kitchen emitting a fart-esque aroma that caused accusatory eye glances my way. I assured him it would be ahhh-mazing. So, here’s how I turned my cauli-loathing husband into a staunch supporter of this grain free pizza extravaganza:

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower loosely separated

1 egg

1 cup of grated cheese

Plus whatever toppings you will be putting on your pizza. I went for tomato sauce (just cooked tinned tomatoes, herbs, garlic and pepper, olives, bacon, pineapple and more cheese).

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The first recipe I read said to grate ‘old school’ but I have found this little food processor to be much easier, quicker and less messy. The cauliflower should be just a little finer than rice.

Grate the cauliflower in batches using a food processor then cook in the microwave until soft. Squeeze out all the extra liquid by putting it in a tea towel and then squeezing in a ball. Mix with egg, cheese and seasoning then spread out onto a couple of pizza trays lined with baking paper. Cook at 180 degrees for about 15 mins then flip and cook until firm and golden on both sides. Top with your favourite pizza toppings (hint: don’t go over board or you’ll have a soggy mess) and then bake again until golden around the edges and on top. Enjoy!

Curry paste without the nasties

IMG_8418I made this tonight after work with kafir lime leaves from my mum’s garden. This is a mild, fragrant curry that everyone (even littlies) will enjoy and perfect for a cold winter’s night. 🍲🍴❤️ Thai curry paste (without the nasties!): onion, garlic, ginger, galangal, turmeric, kafir line leaves, lemongrass, chili and coriander root (I forgot to add some to this batch!). Just chop and blend with a pinch of pink rock salt and enough olive oil to loosen, and then store in the fridge for up to three weeks. To cook just throw the paste straight into a pan, sauté for a few minutes, add coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower heat and add chicken and veggies then season with fish sauce, lime juice and a touch of the sweetener of your choice, I use xylitol for its dental benefits. Traditionally this recipe would call for palm sugar but use whatever you have, I’ve used honey, rice malt syrup and even maple syrup. Serve on brown rice with freshly chopped coriander (if you like). #wellness_mum #quickandeasy #eventhebabylovesit #superfoods #babyfood #babyledweaning #mumsgarden #thaicooking