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.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! and Indulgent Chocolate Fudge Cake


Happy New Year!!! Hopefully everyone had a great time last night and there aren't too many sore heads around this morning. We had a very quiet one last night. The kids stayed up a little later than usual and we drove to a great spot to check out the 8pm fireworks and then once they were tucked in bed hubby and I watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

2015 is going to be a big year for all of us, both personally and professionally and I look forward to sharing it with you here.

I'm not one for setting resolutions (as I have a tendancy to break them and then feel guilty about breaking them before even a week of January has passed) but I have been inspired by Deb of Inner Compass Designs and am setting a word of the year. My guiding word for 2015 is connect and for me it is all about connecting with things that make me happier, healthier and a better mum. Watch this space!

This amazing chocolate cake fits perfectly my style of cooking at the moment and is so seriously indulgent that it really should only be made for a special occasion. If you want to impress your friends at your next dinner party or a special someone for Valentine's Day then pin this recipe. You will not be disappointed!

It is grain free, dairy free and refined sugar free and yet tastes like the most decadent chocolate-y cake ever. I made only slight changes to the original recipe by adding vanilla (because everything tastes better with vanilla) and some sea salt (because chocolate and salt are a perfect match) but I can see possibilities for other flavours like adding some orange peel or peppermint extract. Delicious!


Indulgent Chocolate Fudge Cake
Very slightly adapted from Wholefood Simply

400 grams dark chocolate, roughly broken into pieces
1 cup of full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 ts vanilla extract
5 eggs, bring to room temperature
1 tablespoon coconut flour, sifted
1 generous pinch sea salt

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius / 130 degrees fan-forced / 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease and line a loaf tin measuring approx 19.5cm x 9.5cm (mine is pyrex).

Bring a jug full of water to the boil.

Place the chocolate, coconut milk and maple syrup into a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and then set aside while you prepare the remainder of the cake.

Whisk the eggs until well combined. Whisk in the sifted flour and salt.

Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.

Place the loaf tin into a deep roasting dish. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Pour the hot water into the roasting dish until the water level is half way up the sides of the loaf tin (I do this once the tray is already in the oven to save carrying a big dish of hot water).

Bake for one hour. Remove from the oven but leave in the tin to cool to room temperature then place in the fridge overnight.

Once completely chilled, remove from the tin, slice and serve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Menu 2014


Image Source

Writing this post has become an annual thing for me now and it's really helpful to have all my ideas in one place, and to be able to look back on what worked and what didn't for the following year.

This year we are hosting dinner on Christmas Eve and then heading down to my mother-in-law's place for lunch on Christmas Day.

For the first time we are doing a predominantly cold Christmas lunch. It makes a lot of sense given the climate here and I love seafood, but I will miss the roast turkey (and all the leftovers that go along with it). I'm already thinking though that we will buy a turkey after Chistmas when everything is on sale and do a roast for New Years Day instead.

Christmas Eve

Nibbles
Crackers, fruit, cheese, pate and chocolates

Main
Slow cooked lamb shanks with rosemary and redcurrants
Roast vegetable mash
Steamed seasonal greens

Dessert
Christmas Pudding
Dairy free custard


Christmas Day


Breakfast
Coconut and mango parfaits

Entree
Seafood platter with smoked salmon, tiger prawns and accompaniments

Main
Lemon myrtle chicken
Roast potatoes
Barbecued side of salmon
Quinoa salad
Beans with cherry vinagrette

Dessert
Lemon curd and raspberry jelly trifle
Fruit salad

This is my last post for 2014. I am going to unplug and have as little screen time as possible for the next few weeks (although I still have lots of study to cram in!).

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday. See you in 2015! xx

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Coconut Oil Dark Chocolate and Nut Cookies

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

Regular readers will know just how much I love being part of Secret Recipe Club. It's not just about the fun of revealing the blog you've been secretly perusing all month, it's also checking out what everyone else has made and let me tell you, I've found some absolute gems!

This cookie recipe was revealed last month by Kim at Feed Me Seymour and she tweaked the original recipe found on Life on Food. I love how recipes evolve like this!

I've been doing lots of baking with coconut oil over the past few months but never cookies. It's also brilliant to fry with and I always add a teaspoonful to Noah's porridge every morning (he needs extra good fats because he is dairy free).

I used dark chocolate chips which are naturally dairy free in this recipe, along with a nut and seed mixture rather than the original pistachios simply because that's what I had on hand. You can see a pumpkin seed front and centre in the photo below.

It's been really hot here lately which means my coconut oil was completely liquid at room temperature. The recipe said to chill the dough after it was rolled into balls but I decided to chill it before rolling as well. Unfortunately I then forgot to chill them after rolling and stuck them straight in the oven and they spread a lot.

No matter, they were absolutely sensational! Sweet, nutty and chewy and really more-ish. It's actually lucky there were any cookies left to photograph because I could not stop eating the dough. Seriously!

These cookies were a real winner in our house and we will definitely be making them again as soon as I stock up on chocolate chips :)


Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip and Nut Cookies
Slightly adapted from Feed Me Seymour

½ cup solid coconut oil
½ cup dextrose
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⅓ cups white spelt flour flour
2 tbs corn flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
½ cup chopped nuts
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 160 degrees fan-forced / 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Place the sugars and coconut oil in a large bowl and cream together using an electric mixer.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Add the flours and bicarb soda and mix until fully combined and then fold through the nuts and chocolate.

Roll the dough into balls and place in the fridge to chill for at least one hour.

Once chilled, place the dough onto the prepared trays leaving about 5cm of space between them. Bake for approx 17 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes about 22