Muesli Bliss Bars

wpid-20140408_150049.jpg

It’s been so long since I posted anything! Life has been chaotic but I have found a few spare minutes to share this delicious recipe.

It’s great for school lunchboxes as it has no nuts, just seeds in it, but you could use nuts if you like. Simply substitute the seeds for your favourite nut/s…macadamias would be divine! If you wanted to make it taste a little naughty or more appetising for the kids, add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder….*drool*…but I have a child who goes berserk on cocoa so I cannot do that 😦 As for the dried fruit, anything would work, we just happen to REALLY like dates, organic apricots and cranberries.

1 cup (about 160g) of dried pitted dates

1 cup (about 160g) of dried apricots (preferably organic)

150g of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of pepitas

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of sesame seeds

1 cup of desiccated, preservative free coconut (if using shredded coconut, blitz in food processor for a bit)

1 cup of puffed millet

1 cup of puffed quinoa

1/4 tsp of vanilla powder (if using extract or paste, use a full teaspoon)

1 tsp of cinnamon

110g of coconut oil

140g of honey

  • Blitz the dried fruit with the pepitas and sunflower seeds until well chopped.

wpid-20140408_144114.jpg

  • Mix remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl then, using your hands, mix through the fruit blend as best you can (without being too fussy).

wpid-20140408_143332.jpg

  • In a small saucepan, bring the honey and coconut oil to the boil then boil for 2 minutes.

wpid-20140408_145211.jpg

  • Add the hot honey mix to the muesli mix and stir until well combined, breaking any large clumps up with the back of the spoon.

wpid-20140408_145638.jpg

  • Using wet hands, press the mix very firmly into a rectangular dish. I use one that is 17 x 28cm.
  • Pop in the fridge to set before cutting into desired slices.

NB: if you don’t press it firmly enough into the tin/container, it is incredibly crumbly and difficult to eat 🙂

I find in the warm weather, this is best stored in the fridge but in cooler weather, the pantry works fine.

Advertisements

You gotta do what works…

For you. For me. For our families. In an ideal world I would live completely additive free because sourcing access to those products would be free and easy. The reality is quite different and much less simplistic. Because of our family history with food intolerance we have been on a journey of food restriction, food for healing and now food for health. It is hard work. Hard. There are times where I wish I could be ignorant and unlearn things.

Here is where the hardest part is though…working out what is right for you and your family but also working out what is achievable; what gives balance in your life. I forever find myself still dealing with food and behaviour, leaving very little time to enjoy my family and enjoy life. I am on a quest to work out where our balance is so I can have that joy back (or even in some ways get it in the first place). We have come from grain/starch and sugar free GAPS to gluten free, some of us dairy free, mostly sugar free and additive free. We don’t do bread and I could count on one hand the range of pre-prepared foods I buy. This is hard work in any family but with 5 kids, 7 chooks, 3 goats, 2 dogs and a turtle (and a partridge in a pear tree) it is wearing me down. On the days I work (in my spare time) the challenge of cooking 6 breakfasts and preparing 6 lunches as well as sometimes preparing dinner in advance is full-on. I need to simplify. I think I become a little too obsessed with doing things a certain way because it fits within a particular protocol and I struggle to change. My big hurdle at the moment is introducing spelt. Not because I think the kids will have an issue with tolerating it necessarily but because it is gluten and because GF is where my head-space is. It really is just my issue that I need to come to terms with.

What I want is to give my kids the best health, for them to understand what they eat and why we eat the way we do at home (It is also hard for them at times especially at this time of year and especially because of my boycott on cooking). I want to know that if they make the choice to eat “bad” food that they do it as an informed choice. I want to eat whole food with the right balance. I am yet to work out what that balance is and how that fits with my workload as a mother/organiser of large household and as a part-time income earner.

I guess the point to my post is this; whatever it is that you do and however it is that you do it, is a very individual thing. And that thing can change over time. I am sure the friends of mine whom have heard me sprout the value of the RPAH Elimination Diet, GAPS, Biomed and now Aperture Prescribing Homeopathy all think I am a nutter. Each of these things have their merit and I have gained so much from each of them. They have all played an integral role in improving my knowledge and improving the health of my family. I have a much more transparent understanding of food and the food industry that most don’t.

There are some things I do that would make me a hypocrite to some but I do what I can with what I have. Every bit that you do is something. Nobody can judge you for what you do or don’t do as they don’t live your life.

Michelle.

Herbaceous Potato Salad

IMG_7035

We all love a good potato salad and there are SO many different ways to make them. In fact I myself have numerous different ones I make, depending on my mood and the ingredients at hand, but this is definitely a family fave and the one I make most often.

About 8 large potatoes

6 hard boiled eggs (or semi hard which is how I prefer them), peeled and roughly diced

1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup of spring onion greens, finely chopped

Mayonnaise (or tartare sauce) to taste

salt and pepper to taste

  • Chop up the potatoes into bite sized pieces and boil in salted water until just tender then drain and allow to cool slightly.
  • Stir the spring onions and herbs through the warm potatoes and allow to cool.
  • Add the eggs and mayonnaise and mix well.
  • Season to taste

Tartare Sauce…from scratch

IMG_7052

It’s summer and it’s very nearly Christmas. We all know what that means in Australia…SEAFOOD TIME!!! And you can’t have a decent seafood feast without tartare sauce, right? Mmmmm, tartare sauce with calamari *drool*….or prawns *swoon*…or even crayfish *drool, swoon, gasp*.

Over the years, I have always had tartare sauce in my fridge but of more recent times, I have not, because I have been unable to find any that is dairy and additive free. Yes, dairy in tartare sauce…sacreligeous I know. In fact, dairy in any mayonnaise is just WRONG! So here you go, now you can make your own…and if you want plain mayonnaise, simply leave out the capers and gherkins. Of course, make sure your ingredients (ie capers and gherkins) are additive free before you start 😉 Oh, and this tartare is yumtious in potato salad too….

I have a fancy attachment for my food processor that is designed specifically for making mayonnaise and other sauces but before I had this whiz bang thing, I just used the regular blade attachment.

2 whole eggs

1 cup of oil (preferably a neutral flavoured oil like rice bran)

1 tsp of mustard powder

1 tsp of salt (or to taste)

pepper to taste

2 tbsp of lemon juice

1 tbsp of maple syrup (or other sweetener if you prefer)

3 tsp of chopped capers (I prefer the ones in vinegar)

4 gherkins finely diced

  • Crack the eggs into the food processor and whiz until well beaten.
  • Slowly drizzle the oil in in a slow stream, whizzing constantly until thick and pale.
  • Add the mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup and blitz until well combined.
  • Remove from processor and stir through the capers and gherkins.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Yes, it’s really that simple 🙂

IMG_7040

Apricot and Coconut Yum Balls

IMG_6863

My oven is on its way out which is a really terrible thing when you cook as much as I do. We’re looking at demolishing and rebuilding in a couple of years so it seems like such a waste to replace this oven when what will fit here in the existing cavity is MUCH smaller than what I plan on having in my shiny new kitchen…so I am trying to prolong the life of this old beast by minimising its use. As a result, I have been busy conjuring up no-bake, healthy treats for my boys. As a result, I have been going mad making “balls”. These apricot ones are my 2 year old’s favourite…he even prefers them to the chocolate ones I make. They’re also perfect as little Chrissy treats.

500g of preservative free dried apricots

1 cup of shredded coconut

1 cup of sunflower seeds (or whatever nut or seed you like)

Coconut flour for rolling in (optional)

  • Place sunflower seeds and coconut in food processor and whiz until well chopped.
  • With processor still running, feed the apricots in and blitz until finely chopped and well combined

IMG_6850

  • Roll into walnut sized balls  and roll in coconut flour if you wish

IMG_6860

 

 

Festive Saffron and Vanilla Chicken Stuffing

IMG_7058

These days, every Christmas is at mum’s. She LOVES it! We don’t have to worry about that whole rushing from here to there to see both sides of the family because my partner is Jewish, which makes for a nice relaxing day. Every year, I roast a couple of chooks and make a few other bits and pieces to help mum out with catering. The previous 2 Christmases we were riding the Failsafe train so I had to make sure that my boys had plenty of festive fare to indulge in…but last year, we had a few late additions to the Chrissy table which meant that my 2 chickens wouldn’t be enough and it was too late for me to organise another bird or 2…so I stuffed them.

Now this posed a challenge…I had never made stuffing before, let alone a Failsafe one. I donned my very fetching thinking cap (it’s more like a helmet these days) and eventually came up with something that turned out to be a raging success with all guests…so much so that even though we are no longer Failsafe, I have been requested to stuff this year’s birds with the same stuffing. But alas, I have to make some changes as I have recently discovered that I am in fact fructose intolerant (fructose malabsorption) and now follow a low FODMAP diet…aha, yet another culinary challenge….

So here it is….enough for about 4 large chooks, lol

1 kg of chicken mince (I use thigh mince as it is much more moist)

2 leeks, sliced

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

a little oil for sauteeing

1 tsp of saffron

2 tsp of salt

1 tsp vanilla (I use vanilla powder but vanilla paste or extract would be fine)

1/2 cup of whisky

1 cup of chopped raw cashews

1/2 cup of rice crumbs

  • Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the leek and garlic over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Grind together the salt and saffron, in a mortar and pestle, to form a powder.
  • Add the saffron salt and vanilla to the leeks and turn up the heat.
  • Stir in the whisky and cook for 3-5 minutes until evaporated.
  • Allow to cool
  • Place the mince into a large mixing bowl and add the cooled leeks, rice crumbs and cashews. Mix thoroughly.
  • Pack firmly into the cavity of the chickens. (I also rub in oil and sprinkle a little extra saffron salt on the skin of the chicken before roasting)
  • Any leftovers can be formed into a loaf, wrapped in foil and baked at 180°C until cooked through.

Choccy Bliss Balls

IMG_7024

Christmas is on our doorstep so it’s time to get busy in the kitchen, preparing little treats for Christmas parties, gifts, Christmas lunch, or just for the sake of it regardless of the season. For some of us, this can pose quite a challenge…a lot of schools are nut free zones, some of us are dairy intolerant, some gluten intolerant and a lot of us these days like to avoid sugar whilst still enjoying a sweet, delicious treat without toxic substitutes. Here is the perfect thing…a nut free, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free chocolate ball that is perfect for young and old, but best of all, it requires no cooking and takes very little time and effort, perfect for our hot festive season here in Australia.

These little beauties are very easily adaptable for those who cannot have cocoa. I have to make 2 separate batches for my house because one of us goes berserk on cocoa…no, it’s not me 😉 I’ll put the substitute and addition in brackets.

500g of dried dates

1 cup of shredded organic  coconut

1 cup of sunflower seeds (you could use any nut or seed you like…macadamias, pepitas, hazelnuts)

6 tbsp of pure cocoa (5 tbsp of carob powder and 2 tbsp of honey or rice malt syrup)

  • Place coconut and seeds in the food processor and blitz until it resembles crumbs.
  • Whilst the processor is still whizzing, slowly add the dates (I found that adding them when the processor was stopped, they got stuck to the blades and the blade wouldn’t spin, nearly burning out the motor) and blitz until well chopped.
  • Add the cocoa (or carob and honey) and blitz until well combined.
  • Roll into balls of whatever size you like then store in the fridge or pantry in an airtight container.