Thursday, March 5, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Sausage and Roast Pumpkin

Quinoa salad with sausage and roast pumpkin © www.foodbabylife.com
 
I have been a little slow getting on board with quinoa. Actually that's not entirely true as I used to make Noah a quinoa and strawberry porridge which he adored!

But given how nutritious it is I have made a concerted effort to buy and cook some this week and have had great results.

Firstly for dinner I made the quinoa salad pictured above and it was insanely delicious. Seriously! I could eat a big bowlful of this every day of the week. I drew my inspiration from this Quirky Cooking recipe but just used the ingredients I had.

So no recipe as such for this but here is what I used:
4 cups cooked quinoa
4 sausages, cooked and sliced
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
a handful of basil from the garden
1 wedge of pumpkin, diced and roasted with a little sesame oil
a dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and pepper

I am planning on making a batch of this (or a variation depending on what we have in the fridge) most weeks to have as my weekday lunches. The possibilities are endless with different combinations of meat, veg and herbs.

With some leftover cooked quinoa I made a very simple porridge which we al had this morning for breakfast. I prepared it in the thermomix but just a pot on the stove would work just as well. To 2 cups of cooked quinoa I added enough nut milk to cover, 2 tbs rice malt syrup and 1/2 ts cinnamon and let it simmer for 5 mins or so until the milk was about half absorbed. 2 of my 3 boys had this with me for breakfast today and loved it so this is a keeper as well.

There is still a little quinoa leftover and I am planning on using it in some bliss balls (recipe to come).

Expect to see lots more quinoa here as I am now officially on the bandwagon! :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls (SRC)


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls © www.foodbabylife.com
 
It's Secret Recipe Club time! Every month SRC members are assigned a blog in secret to peruse and choose a recipe, then we all post on the same day. This month I was assigned Life on Food by Emily.

Emily is a self-proclaimed foodie who has been blogging since 2009. She and her husband Jordan are expecting their first baby next month (how exciting!) and she had the most gorgeous baby shower with a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme. My kids all love that book and we read it constantly.

I was definitely spoilt for choice when it came to picking a recipe. I wanted something sweet and easy this month and a few things caught my eye straight away. I have bookmarked the Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread to try when we have some spare zucchinis and I was so tempted by the Brownies with Cookie Dough Frosting (OMG) but continuing on a cookie dough theme I ended up choosing Emily's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls. I made a double batch because I knew they would be good and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. These were SO good!!!

We gobbled up 3 each as soon as they were made and I stashed the rest in the freezer just to make them last longer. They have been brilliant to grab as a quick snack for the boys before or after school and kindy and I can see many, many batches of these being made in the future!

I made a few small changes to the recipe to fit in with our dietary requirements, such as using natural peanut butter, rice malt syrup and dextrose instead of regular sugar and ground almonds instead of flour. I'm thinking next time I might add some vanilla protein powder and some chia seeds to boost the protein content and make them an even more substantial snack.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
Adapted from Life on Food

6 tbs natural peanut butter
4 tbs butter, softened
1/4 rice malt syrup or honey
2 tbs dextrose (or granulated sugar)
2 ts vanilla
1/4 ts salt
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup quick oats
6 tbs chocolate chunks

In a mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, rice malt syrup and dextrose until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat again. Add in the remaining ingredients except the chocolate and mix until combined. Fold through the chocolate chunks.

Roll into balls (makes approx 16) and freeze or refrigerate until needed. Try not to eat them all at once.

Thanks for an amazing recipe Emily!

secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com



Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bacon and Egg Pie

Bacon and Egg Pie © www.foodbabylife.com

I am very lucky that my boys have a great relationship with their nanna (my mother in law). She is always happy to watch them when we need her to and has them over for a 2 night sleepover every holidays. I'm also lucky that she doesn't give them too many treats but they still come home telling me all about the yummy things they ate for dinner.

One of Oscar's favourite meals from Nanna's house has been bacon and egg pie, so I decided to make it for him at home too. A quick google search led me to this recipe from Taste which looked easy and tasty and we even had all the ingredients already.

The original recipe for this includes sun-dried tomatoes in the filling, but we prefer to serve it with a big dollop of homemade relish or chutney. This pie can be served warm or cold and is brilliant for feeding a crowd if you are having friends around for brunch. Oh and its perfect for the lunchbox too as it doesn't need to be reheated.

There's a reason why classic recipes like this are still popular - they are delicious!!!

Bacon and Egg Pie
Adapted from Taste

Pastry:
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour
1 3/4 cups (265g) self-raising flour
220g cold butter, chopped
1/2 cup (125ml) iced water

Filling:
450g bacon, rind removed and chopped roughly
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
pepper
pinch nutmeg

2 tbs milk, extra

To make the pastry, place the flours into the food processor and blitz for a few seconds to remove any lumps. Add the butter and pulse until combined into a chunky breadcrumb. Add the water and pulse a few times or until it starts to clump together. Squeeze a small amount in your hand and if it comes together it is ready. If you feel you need more water add just a teaspoon or so at time because you can't take it back out!

Divide the dough into 2 portions, making one a little bigger than the other. Shape each piece into a disc then cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 F and grease a deep-sided 17 x 26 cm baking dish.

Roll out the larger of the pastry discs into a rectangle large enough to line the base and sides of the baking dish. Line the dish with pastry and trim the edges.

Scatter half the bacon over the pastry then crack 6 eggs over the top. Cover with remaining bacon then 4 more eggs. Beat the remaining 2 eggs with the milk and nutmeg then pour over the top.

Roll out the remaining pastry into a rectangle large enough to fit the top of the dish. Lay over the filling then fold the edges in to seal. Brush the top with the extra milk and then bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Serve warm or cold.
Serves 8-10


Monday, February 2, 2015

Grain-free Choc Cranberry Cookies

Grain-free Choc Cranberry Cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

These are a very simple adaptation of the Grain-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies which our family is so in love with. Seriously, I have lost count of how many batches I have made with the intention of freezing them for after-school snacks, only to find that they disappear almost before they have cooled down!

Cranberry and chocolate is always a winning combination but the coconut in these also shines through. They are moist, chewy and chocolatey with a nice little zing from the cranberries. They are only slightly sweet, which my kids are used to, but if you're not you may want to up the sweetness, perhaps with a few drops of liquid stevia which will add sweetness without affecting the consistency of the dough.

We've been having a heat wave here for the past few weeks but some overnight rain has brought a cool change so I have been baking up a storm and even made a batch of curried pumpkin soup for lunch (recipe to come).

Grain-free Choc Cranberry Cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

Grain-Free Choc Cranberry Cookies

Follow the recipe for Grain-free Oatmeal Raising Cookies but replace the spice with 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and use dried cranberries instead of raisins. Shape and bake as usual. Enjoy!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Tater Tot Shepherd's Pie (SRC)

Tater Tots Shepherd's Pie © www.foodbabylife.com

Happy New Year! And happy Australia Day to all my fellow Aussies! Hard to believe we are already at the end of January. Christmas seems like a distant memory, school starts tomorrow and we have our first Secret Recipe Club post for 2015!

I am so excited for another year of SRC. For those who are new, each month we are assigned a blog in secret to peruse, choose a recipe from and post on the same day. Today is the reveal day for Group D.

This month I was assigned Baking and Creating with Avril. Avril describes her food as 'nothing too fancy but always made with love and happiness'. I love this! I headed straight to the kid-friendly section and found so many recipes that my kids would love like the Blueberry Pie Pancakes, Cookie Sticks and Yummy Zucchini Cookies and I've bookmarked them to try.

I'm always on the lookout for dinner ideas though and was really tempted by Avril's Risotto and Beef Stuffed Tomatoes but when I saw a recipe called (Carrie's Famous) Tater Tots Shepherd's Pie I just had to check it out. I mean who is Carrie and why is it famous? I also had no idea what tater tots were and quickly learned they are the same as potato gems here in Australia!

In her post Avril describes how her friend Carrie made this casserole while they were away for a week's holiday as a part of a group of 9 girlfriends and their 7 children. How awesome would that have been? I am definitely raising the idea of a girls' week away with my friends!

The classic shepherd's pie has mashed potato on top but strangely none of my kids are that keen on mashed potato, whereas I could eat it by the bowlful. They do however, absolutely adore potato gems/tater tots and we do get them as a treat every now and then. So how could we go wrong with a shepherd's pie topped with potato gems!

Tater Tots Shepherd's Pie © www.foodbabylife.com

I couldn't resist making one change to the recipe and that was to add something tomato-y to the meat. I used a tin of condensed tomato soup and loved the flavour but it did make the bottoms of the potato gems a little mushier than how they appeared to be in the original recipe. No matter, it was delicious! Rich savoury mince with corn, cheese and crunchy topped potato gems. Just divine and a perfect kids meal.

Tater Tots Shepherd's Pie © www.foodbabylife.com

(Carrie's Famous) Tater Tot Shepherd's Pie
Adapted from Baking and Creating with Avril

1.5kg beef mince
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 can condensed tomato soup
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can creamed corn
1 can sweet corn, drained
1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 bag frozen Tater Tots (Potato Gems)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.

Over medium heat, saute chopped onion in a little oil until soft. Add in the beef mince and cook until well browned, then turn off the heat and drain any extra grease. Stir in the tomato soup, garlic salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Pour the meat mixture into a 9 x13 baking dish, then spoon over the creamed corn and drained can of sweet corn. Sprinkle a layer of grated cheese over corn, layer frozen tater tots over grated cheese and then sprinkle with more cheese to finish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (check after 20 minutes to make sure casserole is not getting too brown).

Thanks for a brilliant recipe Avril (and Carrie). We all loved it!

http://secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com.au/



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mud Monster Smoothie

Mud Monster Smoothie with Nutra Organics Thriving Protein © www.foodbabylife.com


Why is it that kids eat so much on holidays?? I just can't seem to fill mine up these days and I'm constantly replying to 'Mummy I'm hungry' with 'but you just ate 10 minutes ago!'

Smoothies have been a real lifesaver. I can cram them full of nutritious ingredients and the kids love them because they taste so good.

A few years I jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon with a vengeance and ended up with my IBS symptoms flaring up to be the worst they had been in more than a decade. I think a combination of too much fruit and the wrong type of protein powder were to blame. Being dairy free I was using a vegan pea protein which I later learned can indeed cause digestive issues. I was never comfortable giving it to the kids either and with good reason.

After much research I stumbled across Thriving Protein by Nutra Organics which is a blend of different protein sources like sprouted brown rice as well as red algae and high vitamin D mushroom powder. It is packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals and provides a complete amino acid profile. It's good stuff!

There are 3 flavours to choose from and after some experimentation the CacaoChoc one is my kids favourite (although they do drink all 3). This smoothie has been their snack of choice lately and while it definitely doesn't look pretty (hence the name they came up with!) it does taste delicious!

I've been so impressed with Thriving Protein I have actually signed up with NutraOrganics as an affiliate so if you purchase after clicking a link on my page I will receive a small commission (thank you!)

Ad


My boys love this smoothie and the fact it looks like slime or monster mud makes it just that much more appealing for them!
 
Mud Monster Smoothie
Per serve:

1 cup very cold milk (we use organic rice milk or homemade almond-sunflower seed milk)
1/2 frozen banana
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs CacaoChoc Thriving Protein
1 handful baby spinach OR 1 leaf kale with stem removed

Place all ingredients into the thermomix or other high powered blender and blitz for 1 minute or until thick and smooth and completely blended. Pour into a glass, add a straw and drink!

Serves 1

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Grain-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies © www.foodbabylife.com 

If you're anything like me you have tons of recipes marked to try - ripped out of magazines, bookmarked, pinned or printed out. I had been meaning to make these little bites of awesomeness from Against All Grain for ages and you should definitely follow Danielle on Facebook if you don't already!

We devoured this batch in record time. They were sweet, spicy, chewy and delicious. Exactly what you expect from an oatmeal raisin cookie and even the most hardened gluten addict (I'm looking at my husband here) wouldn't miss the grain. I've had problems with my coconut oil based cookies spreading lately so even though the recipe said to press them down I only gave them the teeniest little press with my fingers and of course they didn't spread at all! So we have been calling them oatmeal raisin balls and pretending that's how they are supposed to be.

I will be making 2 batches of these as part of my back to school baking over the next couple of weeks and stashing them straight in the freezer ready for lunchbox treats and after school snacks.

Grain-free oatmeal raisin cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

These were so SO good and I'm wishing I had one (or 3) right now!

Grain-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from Against All Grain

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquid
3 tbs honey or maple syrup
1 ts vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tbs mixed spice (or 4 ts cinnamon plus 3/4 ts nutmeg)
1 cup almond meal
2 tbs coconut flour
1/2 ts bicarb soda
1/4 ts sea salt
2 ts chia seeds
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius / 160 degrees fan-forced / 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the coconut oil, honey, egg and vanilla together until well combined.

In a large bowl mix together the spice, flours, bicarb soda, salt, chia seeds and coconut.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.

Fold through the raisins.

Roll golf ball sized balls of dough and place on the prepared trays, making 16 cookies. Press down lightly on each cookie with your palm or the bottom of a glass.

Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the trays before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 16.