How to nourish your children without spending hours in the kitchen

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So here goes last night’s conversation with one of my boys:

“Mummy, what are we having for dinner?”

“Cheesy beans babe”

“Awww… but we always have cheesy beans” (THEY DON’T)

People seem to think I have it all figured out and that every item of food that lands on our table is cooked from scratch. Wrong. I’m just like you.

Cooking real food takes real time so if I was doing this for every meal I’d have no time for myself or my children. My realistic goal is aiming for 80% of the time.

Prepping and planning makes life so much easier and at this time of year soups and stews are ideal. I don’t know where I’d be without my slow cooker – this genius appliance saves me a lot of time in the kitchen plus it’s big enough to make leftovers – leftovers for the next day or storing in the freezer are the way to go for an easy life! Plus have you noticed how much more flavoursome it is the next day?

Cooking every meal from scratch is near impossible without burnout so adopt the motto ‘cook once, eat twice’ (or three or four times and box up for the freezer).

Now our boys are older they can eat most things we eat which makes life much easier. They still object to new dishes but that’s because it’s new, however… perseverance pays off. Dishes they were turning their nose up at a month ago they now love.

As some of you know I’m also a huge advocate for smoothies – smoothies can be made full of nourishing goodness, they’re quick, easy, and they’re so digestible – win win!

It always surprises me when my boys enjoy the smoothies I make and nothing makes me happier than when they happily drink or eat something without complaint and I know it’s nourishing them in so many ways. Getting them involved in the making process always helps (although I try and cover their eyes when the spinach or kale goes in).

I’ll be posting more delicious recipes to my blog soon but if there’s anything you’d really like to see please post a comment in the box below and/or if there’s anything that resonated with you in this post I’d love to hear that too!

Happy blending, stewing, slow cooking, or whatever it is that nourishes your family in the most stress-free way.

Health & happiness,
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Xmas Gingerbread & Raw Chocolate Infused with Orange & Cinnamon Essential Oils

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XMAS GINGERBREAD (Gluten-free & Refined Sugar Free)
Preheat oven to 160c (320f)
Ingredients:
1 tbs ground ginger powder
1 egg lightly beaten
100g melted butter
1/2 tsp mixed spice powder
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup gram flour (chickpea flour)
Method:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it forms together in a pastry ball. Dust the bench top with some rice or gram flour and roll out into a thin layer. If you think your pastry is too moist, massage some more gram flour into the pastry. Cut into shapes and gently lift onto your baking tray, rolling out the remainder, dusting surface with flour and repeating. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before serving. Sprinkle some icing sugar or arrowroot flour if you want to keep them sugar free. Enjoy!

RAW CHOCOLATE INFUSED WITH ORANGE & CINNAMON ESSENTIAL OILS
Ingredients:
100g raw cacao butter
6 tbs raw cacao powder
4 tbs maple syrup (more if you like them sweeter)
1 small pinch sea salt
2 drops cinnamon essential oil (optional)
2 drops orange essential oil (optional)
Method:
Melt raw cacao butter in a pyrex bowl/jug sitting over some boiled water in a large pot (just so long as it’s big enough for the pyrex jug to sit on the bottom). It’s important to melt it slowly and under 40 degrees in order to keep it’s nutrients. Once the butter has melted then add the raw cacao powder, maple syrup, sea salt, and essential oils. Stir until all blended then pour into moulds. Place in freezer to set for 20-30 minutes then store in fridge but I doubt they’ll last long – they make a delicious and nutritious after dinner treat!

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My Favourite (gluten-free) Blueberry Loaf Cake

Not everything I make is a winner in this household but not this cake… I’ve never seen a cake disappear so fast!  It makes sitting down for an afternoon cuppa all the more delicious…

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1 1/2 cups rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup natural yogurt
1 cup Xylitol or Natvia (you can use refined processed sugar but these sweeteners will be way better for your health!)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)

Preheat the oven to 160°C.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, chosen sweetener, eggs, vanilla and oil.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients until well combined. Mix the blueberries carefully in to the batter but try to avoid over-mixing.

Pour the batter in to the prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for around 15 minutes before lifting out on to a cooling rack.

This cake is best served warm but is still completely delicious when cooled. Enjoy!

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Healthy KFC!

Need some dinner inspiration for the kiddies? How about some KFC? ‘Say what!?’ I make this healthy chicken ‘KFC style’ for my boys and they love it!!

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So easy… just get some strips of chicken (I use about 300g), put approx. 2-3 cups gluten free cornflakes (you can use normal if you wish) into the food processor until broken up, dip the strips into whisked up egg, then coat them in the ground up cornflakes. Then just shallow fry them in 100% Rice Bran Oil.

I serve them with sweet potato mash and broccoli. The usual response is: “Can we have those again mummy?”

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A Taste of Summer Smoothie

This is so delicious and refreshing for a warm summers morning… a dose of summer in a glass!

summersmoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup coconut water
1 banana
1 mango cheek
1 heaped tablespoon Kefir yoghurt (this is a good probiotic yoghurt but you can use any natural yoghurt)
1 dessertspoon ground flax seeds
1 dessertspoon chia seeds
1 heaped teaspoon maca powder
Juice ½ lime

Instructions:

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Leave to sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the chia seeds to soften and thicken the smoothie.

My boys drank this in seconds and I think children are pretty good judges when it comes to flavour!

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Best Fudgey Brownie

I LOVE a good brownie, I mean who doesn’t? But I’ve struggled to find a brownie made with whole-foods that tastes just as good as the processed version… until now!!!

brownie

OMG how good are these!? SO GOOD! In fact I’d even go as far to say they’re better than the real thing, seriously.

Ingredients

180g organic coconut oil
130g medjool dates, pitted
150-200g (depends how chocolately you like them) Green & Black’s 70% cocoa chocolate
30g coconut flour
4 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
Big pinch sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 190c.

Melt chocolate pieces in jug over boiling water then wait till its room temperature. Do the same with coconut oil (if it’s not melted already in warm weather). Then add to food processor with all the other ingredients, whizz till blended then pour into lined baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes (depends on your oven power!)

Let them cool then cut into pieces and dive in because they’re that good!  (Can be stored in refrigerator)

Note: if your dates are room temperature they should be soft enough for the blender.

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Dinosaur Pasta Sauce

This pasta sauce is a great way to get veggies into children!  When my boys were very young they started turning their noses up at anything green so I started calling it ‘dinosaur sauce’ – it worked!  They’ve been devouring it ever since…

green sauce

Ingredients:

100g pine nuts
200ml extra virgin olive oil
1 big handful basil
2-3 big handfuls of spinach
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Big pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Instructions:

Throw it all in a food processor or blender until smooth. You should have enough to freeze for another meal or two, it all depends on how saucy you make the pasta!

I serve it with Doves Farms gluten free fusilli pasta – half way through the pasta boiling I like to add about half cup of peas.  Drain the pasta and peas, add it back to the pot with some of the sauce, warm it altogether – serve topped with a little parmesan, delicious!

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My Date & Maca PMS Balls

Maca powder is the most amazing superfood for balancing hormones and the magnesium in cacao helps keeps me calm which is why I always have dark chocolate on hand as well as these blissful balls.

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In a food processor place:
110g almonds (it’s always best to soak nuts overnight or for 6 hours to activate them first)
1 cup medjool dates – soak these in warm water for 15 minutes then drain well – don’t forget to remove the stone
4 heaped tblspns cashew nut butter (you can use any nut butter)
3 heaped tspns Maca powder
1 heaped tspn cacao
1 tspn vanilla essence
½ tspn cinnamon and a pinch of salt

Blitz for approx. 1 minute or until it’s processed enough to form into small balls. Store in the fridge (they freeze well too!) Once chilled you can roll them in coconut or cacao or anything you like really!

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Chicken Spinach Curry

My favourite homemade Chicken Spinach Curry – it’s easy peasy!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

3-4 tablespoons coconut oil

2 onions, sliced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons ground chilli

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 inches ginger, grated

250g fresh spinach leaves

1 large green chilli, chopped

1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes

800g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks

Juice of 1 lemon

Serve with brown rice, poppadoms and Raita – recipe below

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large fry pan, fry onions until golden, about 5 minutes. Add spices, garlic and ginger and fry a further 2 minutes.

2. Steam spinach then puree with green chilli, tomatoes, cooked onions and spices.

3. Season chicken with salt. Heat a little more oil in the same pan and fry chicken pieces until lightly browned.

4. Add spinach puree to chicken and simmer on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Raita: mix 3 chopped tomatoes with ½ chopped telegraph cucumber (seeds removed), ½ small finely chopped red onion, a handful of chopped mint leaves and 1 cup natural unsweetened yoghurt.

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Kale, Spinach & Feta Pie

This is a delicious meal that I often make for my weekday dinner or as a portable healthy lunch. Preparation is effortless and the final result is beautiful and delicious.
kale spinach and feta pie

What’s great about it:

Kale is part of the cabbage family and this wonderful vegetable is a good source of all three antioxidants: beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. It is also rich in naturally occurring glucosinolates, which help in the fight against cancer. Eggs are  high in protein and contain all the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Including quality  protein sources into your meals every day supports weight loss + healthy metabolism, maintains a healthy immune system, curbs appetite and helps to sustain lean muscle.

Ingredients:

2 leeks, washed finely sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch kale washed trimmed and finely shredded

200 g baby spinach leaves

Black pepper – a generous pinch

80 g quality feta cheese (see notes)

6 organic eggs

1 lemon

1 bunch parsley. chopped

small handful pine-nuts

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Sauté leeks in a large heavy based pot until softened.
Add shredded kale and cook through for 5 minutes until soft and wilted.
Add baby spinach leaves…you may need to add this in 2 lots and cook through until just wilted.
Season with black pepper and add the zest of 1 lemon and 1 bunch freshly chopped parsley.
Spoon the kale + spinach mixture into a 22 cm pie dish.
Break eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly until combined.
Pour the eggs over the greens and gently incorporate through the mix of green goodness.
Crumble over the feta cheese and sprinkle over with a few pine-nuts.
Bake for 40 – 45  minutes or until firm to touch and golden.
Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

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