Tag Archives: healthy

It’s ok to be sad and eat Healthy Chocolate Crackles

7 Apr healthy chocolate crackles

healthy chocolate cracklesSome people find running therapeutic. I don’t. It helps with stress, sure. It gets me into my body, and gives me time to ponder, helps me quiet the cacophony but it’s not particularly therapeutic for me.

I find my therapy in the kitchen.

I like the ordered routine of finding ingredients in the cupboard, measuring with hands or by eye, throwing into bowls or mixing or chopping.

It has a perfect order in which to do things and I find comfort in that. It’s like a I’m a machine simply working and creating something and it doesn’t matter what else is happening because I’m in the task.

We all feel sad sometimes, but the thing about the ‘negative’ emotions is we all try really hard to hide them. We paste that smile on our dials and get on with things with a stuff upper lip.

Tears in the car, tears in the shower, tears in the dark. Hidden sadness, because that’s what we do. Stash it away so we don’t feel uncomfortable that people know we’re sad, and they don’t feel uncomfortable watching awkward, burning tears trailing down your face and that one rogue tear that sneaks down your nasal crease, plummeting near your nostril and leaves question as to whether it’s snot, or it’s not (sounds the same, right?).

It’s almost as though allowing people to see you in the dark stuff is a weakness, and we must rise above to show how stoic and resilient we are no matter how badly shit may be crumbling around your ears.

I’m feeling the blues at the moment, bigger and bluer than an elephant’s arse in fact, and I’m right in the heart of it and to be honest even if I just tried to shake it off it’s sticking to me like shit in bear fur….. do you know that joke?

A bear is in the woods and a little rabbit hops past and the the bear says -

‘Do you have trouble with poo sticking to your fur?’

And the rabbit answers ‘not at all’ so the bear picks up the little rabbit and wipes his butt with it.

I never thought it was funny. Especially not for the poo stained rabbit.

healthy chocolate cracklesThe whys and the wherefores of my blues aren’t relevant right now, what is relevant is that you hear me (and I hear me say) say it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to let your friends see you cry.

You don’t need to be strong all the damned time.

I was on couch yesterday being blue, doing blue – you know, big sighs, staring into space, having a wallow – for half an hour before I was well and truly over myself and I made myself go into the alchemy space and get busy in the kitchen.

I made a big pot of chilli for during the week but that wasn’t the thing I wanted to eat away my feelings with when I remembered my friend from Dynamic Fitness & Health talks about these cluster things she makes….. I never ate one of hers but I saw a picture and made this up by feel.

Mine is a fruit and nut chocolate crackle packed with good stuff.

What you will need :

  • a handful of puffed corn (health food aisle)
  • a handful of puffed brown rice
  • a handful of puffed quinoa
  • a handful of shredded coconut
  • a handful of chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • a handful of sultanas
  • 5 pieces dark dark chocolate
  • 1 heaped tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon  golden syrup

 

What you will need to do :

Turn your oven onto 180C. Chuck your dry stuff minus the sultanas and chocolate onto a baking tray and toast it all up for about 5-7 minutes

Meanwhile, over a double boiler melt your chocolate, syrup and coconut oil together until combined.

Toss your toasted dry ingredients, and sultanas into the chocolate mix and stir until all coated.

Spoon into patty cases (I used small for small people and big for me) and refrigerate until solid and chocolate crackle like.

 

chocolate crackles

 

 

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

 

 

The Love Bra and Spiced Poached Peaches.

6 Feb spiced poached peaches

spiced poached peaches ingredientsOn my way home from the city on the train the other I was annoyingly reading the MX over a dude’s shoulder when I saw an article for a new product that cheered me no end.

The Love Bra.

I thought once the kooky Japanese put school-girl panties (ew, she said panties) into a vending machine I would never hear anything wackier, alas they have out-done themselves with a chastity bra that only undoes when the wearer is in love.

Not lust.

Not crushing on, not wanting to get it on… true love.

The bra uses ‘an inbuilt heart monitor and works with a smart phone app that calculates the True Love Rate’.

I knew it was a matter of time before our smart phones could predict our emotions. If they were really smart they’d make the ‘Stop speaking to me this second as I’m about to lose my shit’ app that gently zaps people (read: spouse and spawn) when it’s time to take a step back, but we’re speaking of nicer things today.

We’re speaking of boobs and love.

spiced poached peachesI’m all for modesty, but in my time I may or may not have flashed my cans to people I do not love.

I cannot honestly boast the ta-ta pride I once had, but I am, hypothetically speaking of course, not above wanting to get my norks out from time to time.

It’s nice to have the option at least.

Also, what if your love is of the unrequited kind and whilst making a cup of tea in the work tearoom your lady lumps are suddenly unleashed when the object of your affection asks you to pass the Assorted Creams???

Awks, man. Awks.

Although had I been wearing such a brassiere contraption at the pool last Thursday it may have prevented the undignified Nipplegate incident as Kiki hoisted aside my bikini top mid-class.

I know not how long it took me to notice my alert nip waving hello to the nice people enjoying their kiddie swim school, but I’m going to tell myself it was seconds, not minutes.

This recipe has not much to do with peaches although someone once referred to my bosoms as lovely ripe mangoes. If they could see them now they’d no doubt say over ripe peaches.

Poaching peaches is a great way to hang on to the summer fruits for a little bit longer at the end of the season…. you can also freeze them and throw them into things as you need them.

spiced poached peaches and french toastWhat you will need :

  • 1 kg ripe peaches
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out, or 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 5 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

What you will need to do :

Place your peaches into a big heavy based saucepan and cover with water.

Add your spices, sugar and vanilla and cover with a plate or pie dish to ensure the peaches all stay submerged.

weighted spiced poached peachesBring to a gentle boil and leave for about 25-30 minutes until the skin begins to wrinkle and bubble.

When they’re ready remove the peaches from the water and run under cold water for a few minutes. Set aside until cool enough to peel.

Turn up the temperature on the spiced water and boil the crap out of it for a further 20-25 minutes until it has reduced a little and become very fragrant and yummy.

The skin should just slide off the peaches, and then you can halves them and store them in the poaching liquid in the fridge for up to a week.

spiced poached peachesI love these with French Toast and Vanilla Yoghurt, or Pancakes, or for breakfast with muesli… or just with a big dollop of ice-cream.

Saw this meme and thought it was apt… screw anyone who doesn’t like juicy peaches.

I reckon biting into a juicy peach is akin to pashing, and pashing rocks.20140201-095713.jpg

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

From my Garden to my Table – Chorizo, Silverbeet and Quinoa Pilaf

11 Jan chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf

chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf ingredients Let me just state for the record, my thumb is by no means green. Generally I’d put it closer to the brown spectrum.

You could be forgiven for assuming that I have an epically green thumb. This recipe includes not one, not two, but three things I grew myself in the garden.

Firstly, my silverbeet is actually quite bushy. Not quite as hectic as say, my bikini line mid-winter, but it certainly has a lushness to it that I don’t deserve (spinach, not ‘kini line).

My basil is just coming into its own. For once the arsehole caterpillars haven’t ravaged the shit out of it before I can enjoy it’s pungent fresh Italian-ness…. but I reckon it’s just a matter of time. I lovingly check it, like a child’s hair with nits, but those suckers are the exact same shade of green and not easy to catch until they’re big and fat and full of my basil.

My truss tomatoes have been prolific. One child loves them and the other bites and spits it out after the initial explosion in her mouth so I often step bare foot on half chewed, slightly rotten tomatoes but I’m down with that. It’s all the name of the game.

You see, I grew the vege patch in the first place to show my kids where food comes from. As for what happens next, I’m not totally fussed.

I am a 100% bonafide seat o’my pants gardener. I buy a seedling (did seeds once. Fail), stick it in the ground; which in my defence I will toil and mulch and mix with stenchy cow and horse produce that I don’t like to consider too much; and then I water it until something happens.

Or not.

garden 15Let’s say I’m hit and miss.

My beets were like testicles. My lettuces became trees. My garlic was minuscule, if pungent and my recent fennel and beetroot seedlings appear to have, well, disappeared.

And I’m down wit dat.

However, sometimes, my poo brown thumb is a little closer to khaki and we actually get to eat something. This meal is a fine example of gardening success.

Yield – 2 to 3, but it’s easy to double.

What you will need : 

  • 1.5 fresh chorizo sausages per person
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 bunch of silver beet, stalks removed and chopped
  • 1/2 a spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 10 olives, squished to deseed and halved
  • 1 whole roasted marinated red capsicum, seed it and chop it
  • a good handful of basil, chopped
  • a generous glug of balsamic vinegar
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • fetta, for serving

What you will need to do :

Pop your quinoa on the stove to cook. Remember to put 3:1 water to quinoa on a low heat with a lid.

Pull the chorizo meat out of the skins in little chunks and chuck into a dry frypan on medium high heat. I like to render out the fat to cook the rest of my stuff in, but today’s sausos were actually quite dry. Add a little oil if you need.

When they’re almost cooked, toss in your onions and move it all around so the flavours marry nicely.

Add your halved cherry tomatoes, and leave them for 5-7 minutes until they start to break down a little.

Throw your spinach in, stir it around. Add your balsamic and keep it all moving until spinach is all nice and wilted.

Bash your olives to get the seed out, chop them lightly and add them. Throw in the capsicum, add your cannellini beans and basil.

Season generously.

Add your quinoa , toss it all together ensuring it’s all beautifully combined and serve.

Sprinkle with crumbled fetta and a good squeeze of lemon.

I also like tabasco…. cos I’m a hot tamale.

chorizo, silverbeet and quinoa pilaf

 

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  - A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

Keep it together, don’t crumble… Unless it’s Rhubarb Crumble.

27 Nov pear and rhubarb crumble

rhubarb and pear crumble ingredientsToday is day 11 of the 12 Days of Awesome. Tomorrow is the big launch day.

Holy fuck balls. (Sorry Nana, but nothing else quite captured the sentiment)

I’ve had an awesome Awesome so far. Posting every day has been an interesting experiment.

I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old, sold heaps of books and had heaps of feedback and I’m feeling good…. unless you count chronically sleep deprived, butterflies the size of pterodactyls in my tummy, and up to my armpits in canapés for the launch.

I’ve been thrilled to write for some peeps that I admire so a mega thanks to Fox in Flats, My Little Sunshine House, and Life, Love and Hiccups for having me over to play. The sense of support and love I’ve felt from my online community has been both uplifting and humbling.

It’s nice to feel love when you’re doing something that feels so big. It’s imperative to your success, because doing it alone is scheisse.

Someone recently asked me why I put so much pressure on myself and it’s actually quite a hard question to answer.

This whole process has made me feel slightly nude.

Not like that dream where you dream you went to school and you forgot your clothes and everyone laughs at you, but more like I’m at a day spa and no one really cares that I’m nuding but I’m slightly self conscious none the less.

I reckon that’s a good type of naked.

Expanding boundaries. Baring your all.

Anyway, one more sleep. Or no sleep as the case may be.

Today I pick up the books. Nothing like cutting it fine, eh? I do work well under pressure…. but I won’t crumble. I’m too damned excited.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

pear and rhubarb crumbleRhubarb and Pear Crumble

What you will need :

For the fruity bit - 

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 pears, cored and chopped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the crumble topping - 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used coconut flour, you use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 ground linseed, sunflower and almond (LSA)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (I used half & half)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place all of your fruit ingredients into a heavy based pot with a lid over a medium heat.Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft, but not mushy.

Rhubarb and pear crumbleTip it into an over proof dish. I reckon shallow and bigger is better so the covering of crumble is lighter and all gets toasty and yum. Mine was too deep in this instance.

Place all of your crumble ingredients into a bowl and rub with your fingers until it resemble coarse breadcrumbs. You may need a little more butter (fat is flavour, don’t be scared).

Spread your crumble mix over your fruit mix and pop into the oven until it’s golden brown and delicious.

Serve with cream or ice cream for dessert, or I love it for breakfast with yoghurt.

pear and rhubarb crumble

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. It’s only a day awaaaaaaaaay.

Cook Once Feed All launches tomorrow. Today is the last day to get your three book deal so get in quick if you’re keen.

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lrCook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  - A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To pre-order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now and you will be the first to receive the hard copy book after it launches on the 28th. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

Winning :-)

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

 

Rainbow Fruity Icy Pops… a feat of engineering.

29 Oct fruity rainbow icy poles

rainbow fruity icy polesWhen my Dad was turning 50 (a decade or so ago) my step-mum – AKA Wicky Steppie –  wanted to throw him the most amazing party ever.

They lived on Waiheke Island, off Auckland, and the plan was a big day of canyoning, followed by a raucous knees-up at dinky yacht club that we’d hired exclusively.

The plan was, well, debauchery. Lots of it. Wicky Steppie wanted an old school, spaghetti-slinging, cream-pie throwing food-fight, and dancing til dawn, but most importantly, she wanted a vodka luge.

I’d worked at some amazing functions with vodka luges that defied the imagination. One in particular you poured vodka into the neck of an ice sculpted torso, and the vodka swirled through in the internals before being slurped by the slurpee at the money end. Front side.

One for the boys. One for the girls.

As we were no ice sculptors, we decided on a large bucket of water that we were going to freeze and my genius idea was to take a length of garden hose, feed a piece of wire through it, bend it into a spiral, freeze it into the water and create an amazing luge through which we could drink frosty vodka until we all had slurry- drunken ice-cream headaches.

The plan was to simply pull the hose out leaving my awe-inspiring spiral. Sadly, once frozen, the hose was not going anywhere and no-one, but no-one, could pull that Excalibur from it’s icy rock.

rainbow fruity icy poles in test tube shot glassesWe ended up unceremoniously gauging a channel in the top and creating a piddly vodka rivulet.

Although the effect as somewhat similar, we decided we had grossly over-engineered the project.

A number of times in the making of these delicious icy poles, I wondered if I was doing the same thing?

Initially, I wanted twice the layers, all of them to be perfectly divided like the amazing ones you see on Pinterest. Alas, who has the time or patience??

Not I, it would appear.

That said, these are by no means difficult. They’re a piece of cake, and totally worth the effort. If you have neither time nor patience, just fill each one with one of the different flavours and be done with it, but if you can be bovvered, you’ll be as popular as I am around the homestead. These were absolute winners.

The long pops were made in test tube shot glasses I found in the party favour aisle of my local supermarket and the sticks were wooden chopsticks. I stood them in a deep plastic container filled with my baking beans (the beans I always use for blind baking my pie crusts, but you could use rice or whatever) to make them stand up. You can also use plastic cups with plastic spoons for handles or the old fashioned icy pole making kits.

fruity rainbow icy poles

Yield : 12 icy poles

What you will need :

Watermelon

  • 2 cups watermelon flesh
  • 1/2 cup lemonade

Pineapple

  • 1/2 tin crushed pineapple in juice

Mango Yoghurt

  • flesh of 1 mango
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla yoghurt (five:am organic all the way)
  • 1 heaped tablespoon almond meal

Blitz your watermelon flesh until smooth then add your lemonade. If you prefer them totally sugar free, omit the lemonade, but I love a little tingle of effervescence in my top layer. Half a cup between all the pops is nothing to stress about in my humble sugar loving opinion… not that I’m an expert.

Divide between your icy pole holders, and pop into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes until the top has hardened.

Blitz your pineapple (you could add some coconut cream if you wanted. I nearly did but decided against it last minute – you could totally do Pina Colada adult ones too…..YUM!!), and add that as your next layer when the time is right. Freeze again for 30-45 minutes.

Blitz your mango with the yoghurt and add the almond meal to give it a little more body. Add that to your pops, and slide your sticks or spoons in, or place the icy pole lid on before sticking into the freezer for a good few hours.

Not indicative of how tasty the pops are. Honest.

Not indicative of how tasty the pops are.
Honest.

Kicking it on Tuesday with the IBOT gang over with the essentially gorgeous EssentiallyJess.

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my tweet wit @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

What in your kid’s snacks? Little Bellies giveaway

24 May

I have never claimed to be a nutritionalist, nor a dietician.

I am a mum and a cook, and I know what my kids will eat if I only give them the choices. I believe education with food is the biggest thing for both carers and children.

I was recently very fortunate to be invited to a ‘Blogger Playgroup’. Being a mostly hermit blogger I jumped at the chance, and lucky I did because I met the lovely Mandy, from Little People Nutrition. 

little-bellies-4-jpg-300x200

She’s got me thinking more about not just WHAT we feed our kids, but HOW we feed them. I’m not referring to TV on, or eating with hands, all sinful traps I’ve fallen into much to Grandpapa’s horror (Hi, Dad!).

We’re teaching our kids habits for life, and there are simple things that we may not realise we’re doing that can impact them forever.

Responsible portions. So simple.

We eat too much. We like to be full after a  meal, but in reality, we should stop before we feel full. Kids don’t eat until they’re stuffed, like some people I know who shall remain nameless (ok, it’s ME).

That said, when our kids say they’ve had enough, we need to respect that they, as a general rule, have a natural full point that they stop at. Bribing kids to finish what’s on their plate to get dessert is only creating bad habits.

Doh. I bribe.

Often.

D Man will also sometimes say he’s full before he even has a bite… little stinker.

What then?

This usually only happens if he thinks he doesn’t like it, so I encourage him to have one bite of each different thing on the plate. If he still doesn’t want it (rare), fine. I’m not going to battle, but there is no Plan B. No cooking multiple things until he likes something, because, well, frankly, I’m sitting with them at the table having my own entree in liquid form and chatting about our day as they try to look past me at the telly.

Making Hungry Little Caterpillars out of vegetables....brilliant!

Making Hungry Little Caterpillars out of vegetables….brilliant!

I’ve noticed schools and pre-schools talk less about good food and bad food these days but more about sometimes foods and every day foods. This is a much healthier way to look at food. With eating disorders and a ‘diet’ mentality starting in our kids earlier and earlier (I’ve heard children as young as 7 are becoming diet conscious WTF? Eat ice cream and run it off, kids), we need to arm them with as sensible and rounded a way of looking at what fuels their little machines as we can.

Using positive communication about food like ‘this food makes me feel strong‘ or ‘helps me see in the dark‘ may help with positive associations from a young age.

Snacking is great as a way to tide our little Energiser Bunnies over until the next meal, but too many snacks means they won’t eat their meals. Not rocket science, but a trap I can fall into if I’m not paying attention. D Man loves to snack.

So do I.

Little Bellies Ginger Bread Men

Little Bellies Ginger Bread men….. just waiting to be eaten

If I’m buying snacks, I always read the sugar content. I’m not super mega-anti-Satan’s sweetener but I don’t think we should hold illusions that we’re giving our kids ‘healthy’ snacks if we’re not i.e. some brands of kid specific yoghurt have four teaspoons of sugar in a pouch.

4mg of sugar is one teaspoon, so if you start doing your four x tables, you’ll soon see how the numbers add up.

I’ve been so focused on my sugar factor, than I’ve barely given salt a thought.

Have you?

Mandy brought to my awareness that sodium content in snacks is equally full-on for our kids. Their kidneys struggle to process it thereby putting their systems under stress. So if you opt not to feed your darling the packet of Tiny Teddies, and reach for the Rice Crackers (like me) then perhaps you’re actually not being as goodie-two-shoes as you think you are.

When I was told that a good low salt option snack would have no more than 100mg sodium per 100 grams, I turned to my cupboard to see what I was feeding my kids.

My cupboard has three difference types of rice crackers, corn crackers and wheat crackers all of which I feed my young. They range from 275mg (relatively low) to a whopping  900mg of sodium per 100g.

SALTIER THAN A WHALE’S SCROTUM, PEOPLE!

I’m not going to throw out all of the food in my cupboard, but I will mix it up with some better options. Knowledge is power, or at least, less salty snacks.

The main reason for the Blogger Playgroup, hosted by Brand Meets Blog, was to introduce us to a new product range by a fabbo Aussie company called Little Bellies.

Little Bellies is an Australian owned company that makes organic and healthy snacks for the munchkins. They’re thoughtful about the salt and sugar quantities so you don’t have to be. Winning!

I was lucky enough to nab a bag of goodies and we’ve been munching our way through them with fantasmagorical results. The Fruit Choo Chews were a winner and the Muesli Choo Chews were pretty close behind.
There’s a cereal (which D Man loves) and biscuits that are sweetened only with grape juice concentrate rather than sugar. You can’t see the Ginger Bread Men in my picture because they were eaten.
Check out their website for full range.

I met the family behind the company and I really liked them. Their ethos was great, and their whole vibe is about teaching good habits, forming healthy associations and setting kids up for life.

Little Bellies have offered a free goodie bag to be sent out to one lucky Holsby-ite, so I’m a hostin’ a give-away…..

Little Bellies product range

All you have to do is be an Australian resident, and be sure to like my Facebook page.
You don’t have to follow my blog by email, but if you wanted to I would surely be much obliged.
If you wanted to like the Little Bellies Facebook page you would also potentially have seven years great sex. Not from them. Or me. You’ll also stay abreast of all their exciting news.

The main thing you need to do is leave a comment on the blog or Facebook page telling me the worst thing that you have found in your child’s mouth or caught your kid eating.
I once stopped D Man from putting a stick in his mouth at the park, before discovering it was a little dog poo. Ewwwwwww.

Can you top that???

I will choose a winner in 7 day’s time. Just click link below and you could have a SUPER MEGA LITTLE BELLIES SNACK ATTACK PRIZE PACK ON IT’S WAY IN A JIFFY!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer : I don’t think whale’s have scrotums.

Flogging my blog on Friday over at With Some Grace. Go see who else is flogging.

Cowboy-tastic Healthy Cherry Ripe Muffins

14 Aug

I am a self-confessed cowboy boot-a-holic. If I’m really honest about it, I have way more boots than I have places to wear them, but I can’t bring myself to enter a 12 step program for it as I fear it would actually be boot scooting. Get it? 12 steps – boot scoot?? Dear Lord, did I just make a boot-scooting joke? Are there no depths I won’t stoop to????
I need to get out more.

As a completely uncoordinated gal, sky-scraping Manolos or Jimmy Choos were never going to moisten my knicks, but I do get my kicks over a hot pair of cowboy boots…..I’m also quite partial to a cowboy, but that’s an entirely different blog. One my Nana doesn’t read, perhaps?
I have 4 pairs (of boots, not cowboys), one brown fairly straight forward pair, one maroon with white stitching- my first love, one cream with an ostrich leather toe and one gold Xanadu style with studs.
I really love my cowboy boots. The only person I’ve ever heard of that loves cowboy boots more than me is BootMan. He was quite the fetishist. My love does not run sexual. Strictly above board.

Bootman was a customer in a bar where a dude I know worked. This dude was a bit of a Rock Dog and he has a collection of boots that kicked my ass. Anyhoo, BootMan gave Rock God an indecent proposal he could not refuse and once a month BootMan came to his house, and while my buddy read the paper and drank cup of tea, BootMan licked his boots while he wore them.
It was an easy $200, but still, how fricken’ weird is that?
I would totally have drunk coffee.

If one was to say I was a cowboy in the kitchen , one would be fairly bang on the money. I love reading food magazines and recipe books but then when it comes to making recipes, I have trouble not going all renegade. I think it’s because I’m such a know-it-all. I always think that I can make it better.
I do love to create in the kitchen but as with all inventors, sometimes I make a dog of a dish. Not often, but sometimes.

I recently made Turkish Delight muffins. Chocolate and rosewater muffin with dark chocolate chips and chunks of Turkish Delight in the middle. I made them with half almond meal and they were amazing in my head……..in reality, hmmmm, not so much.
They were dry, and kinda strange and even my darling D Man, with his two year old’s love of cake, wouldn’t eat it. I think when a kid won’t eat the chocolate muffin, you’ve truly stuffed it.

I ate them. Of course I did!

Waste not, want not, but they were not my finest.
However, like a scientist I let the concept evolve and from those dry, powdery nuggets something beautiful was born.
Chocolate, coconut and cherry muffins. Just like a Cherry Ripe, but almost healthy. They’re moist and yummy and not too chocolatey……..mmmmmmmm.
Boo ya.

Yield – 12 muffins

You will need -

3/4 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cocoa powder
40g dark chocolate, chopped into little bits
1 cup frozen or tinned cherries, halved (better than fresh as they’re more moist)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vanilla yoghurt (low fat if you want – I didn’t because I don’t believe in it!)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Throw all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and combine.
Make a well in the middle and remaining ingredients, stir until all combined and place into your muffin cases.
Pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Grate a little left-over chocolate over the cooled muffins to make them all sexy like.

I accidentally ate three straight up. I will endeavour to give some away tomorrow or I may eat the rest!

Boot Camp and DateCocoBana Loaf

21 Jun dcb fg

So, I’ve mentioned that Mister H is all, like, triathlon-tabulous and stuff, and I’ve noticed that there has been some rather positive changes in his physique over the last few months, i.e. he looks quite good, like va-va-va-voom quite good.
He’s lean, he’s ripped and he’s really, ridonkulously, fit, you know, if you like that kind of thing. As I sat on the couch eating my ice-cream the other night, I thought perhaps it was time I got back into some form of exercise regime. Although I was a keen workerer outerer before my pregnancy, hip issues prevented much athleticism during my second and third trimester, not even much walking was allowed, so I think we could safely say I’m a little on the pleasantly soft side. My belly is rivalling my cat’s dangly pouch, however, I did just make a person, so pouchy tummies are totally a go-go. It lies beside me when I lie on my side and I’m considering giving it a name. Perhaps, something cute like Waldo.

Yesterday morning was the morning. After a 5 month hiatus, I fished my trainers from the back of the cupboard, donned an appropriate ensemble (think ‘Flo Jo goes ghetto’) and I went to boot camp. For anyone considering doing the same, let me advise you – don’t……or at least if you do, heed your trainer’s advice when she suggests (multiple times) that you take it easy first day back after creating a human being. Someone we know, who shall remain nameless (but is currently typing this with voice command, like Stephen Hawkings, as she is too sore to support her laptop) disregarded said advice. That same someone may today be having extreme difficulty bending, sitting, lifting, walking or indeed, laughing. Which she would do, at herself, if it wasn’t so painful.


It’s such a double edged sword, isn’t it? I know it’s good for me, and, hell, it even feels great at the time – Blood’s pumping, heart is in gear, face is turning beetroot, and pits are springing a leak. You feel alive! This is how humans felt before we became sedentary, ice-cream-on-couch-loving, non hunters. My once strong arms are decidedly T Rex like in their pathetic-ness, and in the aftermath of boot cramp I’m scarcely able to lift my t-shirt over my head. Luckily, I don’t have to go back until friday, when I get to do it all again.

I was feeling most abstemious (and ravenous) after my workout and decided I deserved a teeny, little reward……what I really wanted was a big, fat gooey something naughty, but I opted for something that would satisfy my craving and not undo my good work. Hence the DateCocoBana loaf was born. I used barely any sugar as the dates and banana provide sweetness, and I used half wholemeal so, really, it’s practically a piece of lettuce and perfect for the regime.
Now I just need to get in there and eat it before the boys finish it off. 

Yield : 1 loaf

You will need :

  • 2 over ripe bananas, smooshed with a fork
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (or whatever you have)
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 125 g dates, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Pre-heat over to 180C. Line your loaf tin.

In a small bowl, add orange juice to your dates and leave to soak for 20 mins. Throw your flours, baking powder and coconut into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a little well in the centre. Place your eggs, milk, banana and melted butter into a separate bowl and stir until all is well combined. Add your date mixture. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Give it a good stirring until just combined. Spoon into your loaf tin and pop in the oven. Cook until a skewer comes out clean (do not test in a crack), about 40 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. Spread a slab with butter and pat yourself on the back.

One Pot Wonder – Fast French Fish Soup

30 Apr fish soup close

My Mama calls this peasant food. When I think of peasant food, dry, old cabbages and stale bread spring to mind, but I guess in France even the peasants are more gastronomic than the average bear. Either way, this hearty soup is so damn delicious you’ll embrace your inner French peasant. Oui, oui!

I was inspired to make this yesterday for two reasons – the first was it was cold and wintery, the second, I found a delicious loaf of green olive and rosemary bread at the Bourke Street Bakery and needed an excuse to eat large amounts of it. The match was made in heaven. You don’t need fancy bread to complete this, but something fresh and crusty certainly makes a difference. Also, a big, fat bucket of wine would have been a lovely accompaniment. Soon, my sweet, soon.

I favour prawns, white fish and squid in this, but the standard seafood mix from Woolies is fine. My only advice with that is that you separate the components as they have different cooking times and we hate rubbery squid and bouncy prawns.

Perhaps I had a recipe for this once, or perhaps it was just word of mouth from my Ma- but as I do, I’ve bastardised over the years and I make it differently each time. This is how I made it yesterday, and it was really yummy.

Yield : Serves 4

You will need :

  • 500g mixed seafood
  • 3 cups fish stock
  • 1 tin diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 large red capsicum, julienned
  • 1 baby fennel, julienned (use celery if you’re not a fan)
  • 2 small potato, cubed
  • rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • a handful of chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of chilli flakes

Into a large soup pot throw your stock, tinned tomatoes, and add one tin of water and put onto medium heat. Add your garlic, and onion, and fennel and tomato paste. When you bring that to the boil, turn it down to a simmer and add your julienned vegetables and your potato. Leave this to bubble away until your potato is cooked. Add your fish first, then a minute later, add your prawns, then a minute later add your squid, mussels or scallops. Grate in your lemon zest and throw in your parsley and you are pretty well ready to go. Season to taste but remember that fish stock is quite salty already so don’t over do it.

I wonder what the rich people are eating?

Beat the Winter Blues – Dhal Soup, or Red Lentil Love.

26 Apr dhal soup

With nasty old Winter peering it’s head around the corner, I’ve had a few requests for my Farmhouse Chicken Soup, and I promise it’s ‘a comin’, but on a recent cold and blustery day, all the nearby shops were closed and I needed to make something out of the contents of my house…….this was it. It’s delicate blend of Indian spices make it warming without being too spicy and if you mess with the liquid ratio you can make it thicker and more dhal like or wetter and more soup like…..either way, thick or thin, it will give you wind. I promise you that, my friends. The gift that keeps on giving. (I know I talk about wind a lot, but I have to point the finger of blame at my family – and they would probably pull it. Wind is deeply ingrained as a thing to be celebrated with us lot.)

This is one of my old favourites. I’ve been making this for about 100 years and I have no idea how I first came up with the recipe. Sometimes I throw in a fresh tomato or two, sometimes I throw in a handful of chopped spinach or two….you have a play with it yourself and see where the mood takes you. D Man loves this too. I’ve been giving it to him since he was about 8 months, so it’s suitable for babes as well. He now loves it over rice with a dollop of natural yoghurt and fresh chopped coriander. I keep it a little thicker so it sticks to the spoon and he doesn’t wear it.

Yeild : a pot of soup for 4

You will need :

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g (or the size of index finger to knuckle) ginger, finely chopped or grated (grating is so much easier)
  • 1 level tablespoon cumin (I love cumin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • small handful of fresh coriander root, save leaves for garnish
  • 1.5 cups red lentils
  • 600ml chicken stock (I happened to have some freshly made in the fridge this day, but feel free to use powder)
  • 400ml water
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large stalks celery, finely chopped
  • natural yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves to serve

In a large soup pot gently sautée your onion in a little oil over a medium heat. When it goes slightly translucent add your garlic, ginger and spices. Stir until fragrant and delicious. Throw in your carrot and celery, give it a stir for a minute or so and then add your lentils. I like to give them a good stir and make sure all is well mixed and then throw in my liquid…..and really, that’s about it, kids. Bring it to the boil, then turn it down to a simmer and pop a lid on.

You will need to keep a little eye on it as the lentils will absorb the water. You can make a call whether you need more liquid or take the lid off and let it reduce if you’d like it thicker. I often play with it, flavour wise, like a total heathen at the last minute. I sometimes add a touch of garam masala, or more cumin, or chili. Start as I’ve written and play with it to your taste. Don’t be scared of spices, they are your friends and contrary to popular belief, kids love flavour.

Ladle into bowls and swirl through(or plop on) some natural yoghurt and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. If I’ve kept it chill free for D Man, I’ll add some dried at this point as I like it to have a little poke.

Enjoy your Red Lentil Love……for hours to come ;-)

 

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