<![CDATA[Food, Glorious Friendly Food - Blog and Recipes]]>Mon, 14 Mar 2016 11:23:53 +1100Weebly<![CDATA[Philippa's Paleo Pumpkin Loaf]]>Tue, 09 Jun 2015 01:17:23 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/philippas-paleo-pumpkin-loaf
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Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - additive free
I'm excited to say my baking mojo has returned!  Didn't realise it had gone?  Well, it did. 

I disappeared for a while in May to do a photography job in Papua New Guinea.  Spending 8 days in very remote villages, interacting with a completely different culture and lifestyle and LOVING it, made it a bit difficult to assimilate back into my 'normal' lifestyle on my return.  Nothing came easy, and even my normal default to bake something when I need a pick me up just didn't appeal. 

Until my friend Philippa posted this recipe on her blog.  I realised I had all the ingredients sitting around waiting to be used.  It sounded like a wonderful filling snack, or even breakfast (and I'm always looking for interesting, filling, grain-free breakfast ideas), and it inspired me to get back in the kitchen.  Thankfully, it turned out as well as I hoped and totally hit the spot. 

The other nice thing about this recipe, is that it has Papua New Guinea connection.  Philippa and I lived together in late primary school (I will not even attempt to count how many years ago that was!) and were even room mates for a while in our boarding hostel in Wewak.  Through the power of facebook we reconnect a few years back and discovered our shared interest in food, and more recently in Paleo-style food.  Philippa is both a florist and a chef, and is wonderfully creative.  She has 4 kids and a contagious fun and go-with-the-flow outlook on life.  Her blog is 'Can't Clean Must Cook' and her recipes are mostly Paleo, and always yummy!!  I'd encourage you to check it out.

Here's the link to the Paleo Pumpkin Loaf recipe.  Thanks for letting me share it, Phil! 

It makes two loaves, which is wonderful, because you can eat one straight away, and slice and freeze the other one for filling lunch boxes later.
By the way, it doesn't have a strong pumpkin flavour.  My pumpkin-hating child quite likes it :-)
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<![CDATA[Review of Coconut Oils]]>Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:18:57 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/review-of-coconut-oils
Coconut Oil Review
    Just a quick post for you today with my promised review of a few Coconut Oil brands available in Australia.   I have to say that I LOVE coconut oil, for many reasons.  Firstly, It's so incredibly good for you.  I'm not going to add to all that has been written about it, but here's a link to an excellent article which also sites research to all the proven health benefits. Secondly, it makes a great replacement for butter in baking for people who are dairy intolerant, without the need to use that horrible trans-fat-filled chemical concoction that is known as margarine.  Thirdly, it's a brilliant oil for using in savoury dishes too, allowing you to avoid vegetable oils.  Coconut oil is what is known as a stable oil, meaning it doesn't oxidize when heated (unlike vegetable oils) which, in short means that it's good for your heart and vascular system.  Here's a short article explaining this process in greater detail. Plus, I actually enjoy the flavour of coconut oil.  I know that this isn't the case for everybody though, but stay tuned... my review includes a solution I think you'll be chuffed about!!
      I have found there is very little you can't use coconut oil for when oil or butter is called for in a recipe.  Home made mayonnaise and spreading it on toast would probably be the two main exceptions I can think of.   I use it in cakes, cookies and slices.  I add it to smoothies.  I pan fry meat, fish, chicken in it; use it to brown off meat for curries and stir fries;  cook eggs in it; and smother my roast veges in it so they crisp up beautifully.  If you've found any other ways to use it, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
    So without further ado, here's a few comments on a few brands of Coconut Oil, generously supplied to me by Shop Naturally.  All can be purchased there, and while you're at it, if you spend over $30 on groceries, you get a discount on my book!
    I had my family all try each of these raw on a spoon to get a sense of overall flavour and the strength of the flavour, and I've also been cooking with them.  The following are simply opinions based on the responses of friends and family, and my own experience.  I am not endorsing any specific product, nor have I been paid to do so.
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I'll cut straight to the chase.  This is my favourite.  Honest to Goodness brand- purified, deodorised Coconut Oil.  Simply because it has the mildest flavour and will not overpower your food. 
    I have a great friend who is a self professed coconut oil hater.  She actually spat out one of my Salted Caramel Truffles (recipe in my book) because the coconut oil flavour was too overpowering for her.  I recently made a batch of truffles using this oil in it and she was pleasantly surprised that she couldn't taste the coconut oil at all.  I've also fed her my Shortbread Cookies made with this coconut oil instead of butter, and she really enjoyed them.  Win!!
    Now, there is some debate about whether purified/deoderised/refined coconut oils are safe to consume.  Some brands use bleaches and chemical solvents, or even partially hydrogenate the oil to remove the distinctive flavour and odor of the oil, to make it more palatable.  But, according to the Honest to Goodness website:
"Unlike other deodorised coconut oils on the market which use excessive heat and chemical solvents, there are no chemicals or additives used in this product." 
    Honest to Goodness also have a raw/ non-purifed version that is nice that I personally buy in 5 litre containers from my food Co-op, and it's very cost effective!   The biggest downside to this brand is that it comes in a plastic tubs rather than glass.
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Loving Earth.  This one rated number 2 for us.  It is the nicest raw (non-purified) oil of all we tried, when eating straight from the jar.  It's mild and 'smooth' with no strong after taste.  Also has a nice wide opening to make it easy to spoon solid coconut oil from.
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Raw Superfoods.  The middle man.  Nothing wrong with it, nothing outstanding about it either!
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Nakula Organic.  This was my least favourite in terms of flavour.  Can explain why, I just didn't like it!
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Coconut Magic.  I'm sitting on the fence with this one. It's flavour is fine and definitely better than the Nakula brand, but it has a couple of issues.  Firstly it didn't melt at the same temperature as all the others.  When they had
all turned to a liquid, this one was still fairly sold.  I was baffled as to why, but I am told that this is because it's better quality.   The biggest problem with this 500ml size has a very narrow opening.  When the weather is cold, and the oil turns solid, and you're using it by the cupful as I do, you want to be able to get a huge spoon in there and get it out easily.  This one is just poorly designed.
BUT!!  You can buy this brand (Coconut Magic) in a 5 litre tub!  So, if you want a raw oil that tastes pretty good and you can afford the outlay of a large tub that will ultimately save you money, this may be a great option!!
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Finally, I feel it only fair to include this Nuigini Organics brand too.  I didn't have it on hand to compare it to the others, but I have used it many times in the past and I
really like it's flavour.  Plus, I love the fact that it comes in a big glass jar with a flip-top lid that makes a great storage jar when you're done with the oil.  AND it comes in a very cost-effective 1 litre option.

So, that's it.  I hope this gives you some useful pointers.  If you liked this review, you might also want to check out my Raw Cacao Powder Review.
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<![CDATA[Almond Pulp Crackers- Sweet or Savoury!]]>Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:51:02 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/almond-pulp-crackers-sweet-or-savouryGluten free - grain free - dairy free - egg free - refined sugar free - contains nuts
Almond Pulp Crakers- Sweet or Savoury!
    As one who hates waste- especially of the food kind- I went on a mission a while ago to find good ways to use the almond pulp left over after I make almond milk.  This is by far my favourite.
    You guys have been asking me for this one for a while, and I've been promising this one to you for a while too!   It's so simple- you just blend a few extra ingredients in with a couple of batches of almond pulp, roll it out, score it and bake it... et voila!... you have amazing crackers- and you can make them either sweet or savoury!  
    My boys think the sweet chocolate version are a bit like Tiny Teddies, so that's a win, considering how terribly full of junk Tiny Teddies are, and how wonderfully healthy these are! 
    The savoury version make a wonderful cracker on a cheese plate and they are the perfect answer for those avoiding grains but want something to eat their cheese with!  You can play with the flavours of the savoury ones too- so far I've tried sun dried tomatoes,  olives, and sesame seeds. 
    I use the pulp from two batches of my almond milk.  I make my milk by blending one cup of almonds on high speed til it turns to almond meal, then blending it with 2 litres of water on medium speed for one minute til it turns to milk, then strain the liquid off the pulp.  I really hope you all like these as much as we do!  Please take the opportunity to subscribe in the link at the end of this post, to make sure you never miss out on any new recipes that I post!
Almond Pulp Crakers- Sweet or Savoury!
The savoury version, made with sesame seeds. With (sheeps) Manchego cheese and pickled cucumber... YUM!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups almond pulp (should be the amount of pulp left from two batches of almond milk if each batch uses 1 cup of almonds).  Make sure you have squeezed out AS MUCH liquid as possible from the pulp.
  • 60g/ 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (no need to melt first)
For savoury:
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of either sun dried tomatoes or olives or sesame seeds
For sweet:
  • good pinch of sea salt
  • Optional for extra yummy flavour and nutrients, add 2 tablespoons Superfood For Kidsz Berry Choc Chunk or C Berry Blast powder.

Method:
  • Preheat oven to 170°C / 340°F.
  • Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it all comes together (Thermomix:  gradually to speed 7 / 15 sec, scrape down bowl and repeat if necessary.  You may need to put insert the Thermomix spatula to help it mix initially).
  • Cut two pieces of non-stick baking paper to the size of a large baking tray / cookie sheet (mine is 36x26cm / 14x10.5 inches).  Roll out dough between the two sheets to almost fit the tray (it should only be a couple of millimetres thick).  Remove top sheet and slide the sheet with the dough on it onto the tray. 
  • Cut desired sized squares or rectangles into the dough.  OR use a cookie cutter to make desired shapes.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
  • Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  These stay fresh for a couple of weeks if air tight. 
Almond Pulp Crakers- Sweet or Savoury!
Almond Pulp Crakers- Sweet or Savoury!
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{disclosure: there are affiliate links in this post.  I receive a small commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you, which provides a small incentive to keep blogging free recipes for you!}
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<![CDATA[Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse Tart]]>Fri, 13 Mar 2015 05:28:44 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-mousse-tart Gluten free - refined sugar free - egg free - nut free - vegetarian
Chocolate Mousse Tart
I have so many new posts I want to get done for you guys, it was hard to know where to start.  But this is my  most recent creation- made for Mr 12's Birthday last weekend, so I thought I'd get it to you while it's still fresh- I know a lot of you were keen for the recipe after seeing the pics on Facebook and Instagram

I broke the cardinal rule of baking with this one:  never cook /experiment with something new when you're serving visitors.  But I do it all the time!  We always have lunch with extended families for our birthdays, and they're used to me experimenting on them!  Like with the Raspberry Lemon Curd Tart for Mr 9's birthday last year.  Thankfully I haven't had any huge disasters yet!  The inspiration always comes from the birthday person.  Mr 12 and I talked about what he wanted and then came up with this idea together.  He wanted chocolate mousse, but he also wanted a pie.... so we combined the two!  Now, he was very adamant that he wanted 'real' mousse for his birthday, as opposed to my usual avocado and cacao powder mousse which he used to eat til he discovered it had avocado in it (ah, the joys of childhood logic!).  I also had the issue that we were feeding a relative who is pregnant and avoiding raw egg, so it had to be an eggless mousse.  I found an Epicurious Chocolate Mousse Pie recipe that sounded pretty good, then made a completely different crust, and altered the quantities in the filling a fair bit to suit what I had (including completely leaving out the added sugar- because why wouldn't a combination of chocolate and cream be sweet enough??!). 
Chocolate Mousse Tart
Chocolate Mousse Tart
I used my Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie recipe for the base, as it had worked so beautifully with the Raspberry Lemon Curd Tart- it's definitely my new go-to tart base.  Not great for a pie if you want to put a pastry lid on, as it's a bit wet to roll out, but it's perfect for pressing into a tin. 

And one more note- this may be the first recipe on my site that isn't made dairy free.  I used beautiful organic butter in the base (you can make it with refined/tasteless coconut oil if you prefer), and the filling is full of full-fat organic dairy cream.  I would like to say you could use whipped coconut cream, but I haven't tried it, so I don't know!  So, this recipe is for all of you who enjoy a bit of good quality dairy in your life- and I promise, you will NOT regret it!  Thankfully we had left overs, which were savoured to the very end.  I haven't been as sad to see food finished as when we run out of this tart!  It's really that good!
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Serves 12-16 (this is rich- small pieces are enough!)
Base:
Preheat oven to
170°C / 340°F.  Make a double quantity of thisGluten Free Shortbread Cookie recipe.  I didn't use all of it, and just made the left overs into cookies and baked them at the same time as the base :-)  Press the dough right into every crevasse and spread as evenly as possible with your hands or a fork.  Only make it about 1cm thick (about 3/4inch) or it will be too thick.  Prick the base all over with a fork.  Blind bake the base, with some pie weights (or some baking paper covered with dry/uncooked rice) for about 20-25 minutes until is  starts going golden and the baking paper covered with weights lifts off without sticking to the tart.  Cool completely before assembling the tart.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 300g dark chocolate (70% cocoa, naturally sweetened if possible)
  • 600ml organic/grass fed cream (about 2 plus 1/3 cups if you don't have a milliliter measure)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the filling, first I'll write down the method from the original recipe, and then I'll give you the Thermomix method that I used.
Filling 'Conventional' Method:
Combine chocolate, vanilla and salt in processor. Bring 1 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. With processor running, gradually pour hot cream through feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Beat remaining cream in large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 6 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Filling Thermomix Method:
Whip about 350ml / grams of the cream until thick and firm (insert butterfly, speed 4, about 25 seconds- but watch it and make sure it doesn't turn to butter!)
Remove butterfly and gently scrape out cream into a small bowl
Without cleaning the TM bowl, add the chocolate (broken into small pieces), vanilla, salt and remaining 250ml cream.  Blend gradually to speed 9 for 10 seconds. 
Scrape the sides of the bowl.  Heat the mixture 50° / speed 3 / 1 minute.  Make sure it's totally melted and smooth.  If not, repeat last setting. 
Pour the chocolate mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Gently fold in the reserved whipped cream, carefully retaining as much air as possible until all the cream is evenly mixed into the chocolate. 
Gently spoon into cooled pastry case and chill until set- about 6 hours or overnight if desired.

Serve with shaved chocolate bits, strawberries or raspberries and extra whipped cream if desired.  Only small serves required!
Chocolate Mousse Pie
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<![CDATA[Raw Cacao Powder Review]]>Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:29:56 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/raw-cacao-powder-review I have had the considerable joy of immersing myself in the world of cacao over the last year or so.  Recipe testing 30 chocolate recipes for my book 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics' was this little Chocoholics dream :-)  Over the last few years I've tried a number of different cocoa and cacao powders.  I was thrilled to be asked by Jo at Shop Naturally to review some of the cacao powders in their store, and of course, I never turn down an opportunity to try more chocolate. 
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I switched from using cocoa powder to cacao powder a few years ago after realising how much of the potential benefit I was missing out on.  Here's an excerpt from my book that explains the difference between the two:
Cocoa Vs Cacao
I've been using four different cacao powders for a couple of months and here's my two cents worth about what I think, in the hope that it will help you decide which one will be best for your needs.  I've been using them in baking, and also did a taste test amongst family and friends using my Friendly Hot Chocolate recipe.  We tested each of the four powders with the following quantities and method:
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder, stirred until dissolved in
  • 150ml boiling water
Then stirred in:
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 100ml milk of choice (we used almond milk)
Friendly Hot Chocolate
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The overall winner for both cooking with and making hot chocolate was this one:  Cacao Gold by Power Super Foods.  Unfortunately it is also the most expensive of the brands tried, but I seriously think it's worth it if you want a full bodied flavour, and a much 'smoother' and richer hot chocolate. It's that much better than the others that I don't think I can go back!
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The Power Super Foods Cacao Power (their regular / cheaper version) came in second.  Noticeably less smooth than the 'Gold' version, but still a very nice flavour.
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We all agreed on a tie for 'last place' between Loving Earth and Honest to Goodness.  Now, don't get me wrong- I can't actually fault these products.  They are both organic, raw cacao powder, and I've been using one of them for years.  It's just that  the Power Super Foods options are slightly more robust and provide a smoother finish. 

Honestly, though, if you're using any of these in baking, I don't think you can tell the difference. 
In summary, I'd say if you're a Hot Chocolate snob, go ahead and keep a private stash of the Gold Cacao Powder.  For everyone else, go with the brand you respect, or what your hip pocket dictates.

I hope that helps!  Thanks again to Shop Naturally for the fun of a new excuse to consume chocolate.  Shop Naturally offers you my book'Friendly Food for Chocoholics' at a discounted rate if you spend $30 or $50 on grocery items in their online store.  A great excuse to get more chocolate into your life! 

Soon I'll be reviewing a wonderful range of coconut oils.  Stay tuned!
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Oxfam have a wonderful range of Fair Trade Chocolate and SO many other goodies, ensuring fair wages and working conditions for those creating your treats.
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<![CDATA[Cut Out the Crap: Banana Choc & Seed Slice]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 01:09:17 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/cut-out-the-crap-banana-choc-seed-slice Gluten free - dairy free  - refined sugar free - additive free - nut free.
Cut out the Crap: Banana Choc & Seed Slice
Today I'm returning to my series promoting other amazing Aussie women who are doing a great job at spreading the message about the benefits of REAL food.  I'm thrilled to introduce you to Collette from Cut Out the Crap (just in case, on the very small chance you haven't already discovered her!!). Collette is beautiful inside and out and I'm thrilled to share this little interview with her, as well as one of her newest and most popular recipes.  Collette is a champion of additive free eating, and has self-published a series of great books that have recipes free from gluten, dairy, additives and preservatives. I made this slice, and it is yummy, filling, perfect for lunch boxes, and everyone in our house gave it a thumbs up.  I'll have to add it to my 40 Friendly Food Lunchbox Fillers post (although I guess it'll now have to be 41!).   Enjoy our chat, and be sure to try the slice!
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Give me a summary of Collette in about 3 sentences! 
     I love being a wife to Josh and mum to my 4 children (Miss 12, Miss 10 and twins Master and Miss 4).
    I have a long list of food intolerances which started off as a nuisance but I can now see what a blessing they are. Because of all of my intolerances I have created a successful stay at home business so I can be there for my family. On top of this I am able to help and hopefully inspire so many others in a similar situation. 

How do you start a typical day? Do you have a routine?
    I start my day with a rice milk coffee made by Josh - I don't care how early he leaves for work I will always get up with him for that coffee! It is something I look forward to so much! 
    Since having the twins 4 years ago my routine has changed often. This year they are at Preschool 3 days a week and the big girls are at School and High School so it has all changed once again. I am now able to work less nights as I have child free days to work. I love routines and struggle without them even though they are often changing. 

Favourite TV show?   
    Oh! I don't have one! I don't watch much TV at all, once the kids are in bed I prefer to sit and read or watch a movie with Josh instead. The one TV show I fell in love with many years ago was 'Will and Grace' - I bought the box set and have only ever watched the final episode though (MANY times!) It always makes me smile. 

Favourite quote?
    He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge - Psalm 91:4

What inspires you?
    I don't have one particular person but several traits that inspire me. People that are honest. People that are happy. People that are true to themselves. People that are loving. People that are selfless. People that give their life to Jesus. 
    People like this inspire me to try and be a better person each day - whether it is how I treat people, how I react to situations, how I parent or how I look after my family. 

Sweet or savoury?
    Savoury - although 10 years ago it would have been sweet!

Favourite go-to family meal when it needs to be quick and easy?
    Anything eggs! Scrambled with some grated vegetables through it is normally my lazy meal OR a stir fry with some roughly chopped veg, rice vermicelli noodles and sweet chilli sauce. Both take less than 10 minutes and everyone loves it. 

Best advice for people just starting out on what I like to call their 'Friendly Food Journey' (finding the right foods for their own health)?
    Listen to your body as we are all different and have such individual needs. Don't put yourself in a box of what others think you should / shouldn't eat. Eat balanced meals and remember it is SO important to drink water - I know this gets mentioned often but truly it is so important for your mind and body. 
    I also suggest that you be kind to yourself and take one step at a time, don't compare yourself to other journeys - be proud of yourself for each step you take to healthy living and if you have a bad day, shake it off and get back up the next day determined to go again. 

Why did you write "Cut out the Crap"?
    I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies (wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, tomato, mushrooms, peas, all berries, all melons, grapes, banana, pork, red kidney beans and all flavours / additives) and felt like my life was over as I LOVED food and couldn't eat the way I did anymore. I was encouraged by a few people to do something with the hand I had been dealt and so I decided to write a recipe book to help others … and help my friends and family to be able to cook for me again! As I was going through IVF at the time I spent many hours in the Kitchen just cooking and creating to keep my mind occupied. I bit the bullet and got 2,000 copies printed which sold in 3 months! My next 3 books have been inspired by what food I miss and what other people are asking me for. 

For those who don't already have any of your books, what can they expect to find as they flip through the pages??
    There is a full colour photo of each recipe which was a priority for me - in the past when I have used recipe books I only ever cooked the recipes with photos as I knew what they were meant to look like! All the photos are taken in by me in my kitchen at home so no trick photography or over the top food styling. 
    All recipe books are 100% Gluten, Dairy and Preservative free. They are all very low in Soy, Tomato and Corn also. My most recent book is a 'mini cookbook' called 'Cut out the Crap Lunch Box Solutions' - it is also Nut free and Refined Sugar free. 
    All recipes are super easy to cook and full of flavour - they all passed the tests by Josh, my 4 kids and some family and friends.
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Banana, Choc and Seed Slice

(find the original recipe here)

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  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ 1/2 cup pepitas {I used half pepitas and half sunflower seeds}
  • ½ 1/2 cup sultanas {I used half currants and half gogi berries}
  • ½ 1/2 cup dairy free choc chips {I used 80g 70% cocoa naturally sweetened chocolate, chopped prior to mixing into the slice}
  • ¼ 1/4 cup rapadura (or sweetener of choice) {I used coconut sugar}
  • 2 tblspns chia seeds
    Preheat oven to 180c and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
    Place all the ingredients into a bowl and combine well – it is best to do this with either a mix master, electric hand whisk etc – for approx. 20-30 seconds only. It doesn’t take long for the banana to mash and the ingredients to combine.
[Thermomix= REVERSE speed 3 for 10-15 secs]
Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
    Allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.
    Store in an airtight container. 

NOTES:
  •   As with all of my recipes, please be sure to swap ingredients like flours and sweeteners to those that you prefer.
  •   ALL of these ingredients can be found additive free – be sure to read the packets though.
You can find 40 other Friendly Food Lunchbox Fillers in this post.  And there are lots of great lunch box ideas in my book 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics'.
Cut out the Crap: Banana Choc & Seed Slice
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<![CDATA[Grain Free Pancakes]]>Sun, 15 Feb 2015 23:04:38 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/grain-free-pancakes Gluten free - grain free- dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free - additive free - contains egg
Grain Free Pancakes
Ah, there's nothing like doing things last minute (which is normally NOT like me at all!!):  I was just reminded that it's Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a Pancake Tuesday) *tomorrow*!!  This is not a tradition that I generally keep, but I'm sure many of you do and so I thought this a perfect opportunity to share with you the grain free pancake recipe I've been working on.  I had planned to play with it a bit more, but really- I think it's in pretty good shape to share with you now.  I've chosen a grain free recipe, rather than just a gluten free recipe as this is where I'm at with my eating right now- generally steering clear of grains and increasing the good fats in my life- filling myself with more nutrient-dense calories that are great for my body, and make me feel good too.  However, I shall include a disclaimer: grain free pancakes are not going to be the same texture and flavour as those wheat-and-buttermilk ones you grew up on!  Don't get me wrong- they're pretty good- but just don't expect miracles!!

Ingredients
Makes about 18 small pancakes
  • 6 eggs
  • 250ml / 1cup coconut cream
  • 250 ml / 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 tablespoons / 80g pure maple syrup (or rice malt syrup or coconut syrup)
  • 2/3 cup / 130g coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup / 70g tapioca or arrowroot starch
  • 2 tablespooons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda (bicarb soda)
  • Optional:  1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Optional for chocolate pancakes:  add 3 tablespoons cocao powder and 50g dark choc chips.

Method
  • Place all ingredients (except blueberries or choc chips if using) in a food processor and blend until very smooth (Thermomix:  10 sec / speed 5 / scrape bowl, repeat 10 sec / speed 5.) Gently and briefly mix in blueberries or choc chips by hand.
  • Leave batter to rest and thicken for about 5 minutes.
  • Place a large pan on the stove over VERY LOW heat- as low as you can get it (especially if you have a gas stovetop).
  • Thinly cover the bottom of the pan with coconut oil (or butter or ghee).  Use a 1/4 cup measure, and fill about 3/4 full with batter.  Drop batter onto pan to form a circle. Place as many batter circles in pan as it will fit.  
  • PLACE LID ON PAN while the pancakes cook.  When lots of little bubbles form on the surface, flip pancakes over to cook on the other side.
  • Remove when cooked through and keep warm til ready to serve.  Continue cooking in batches until all batter is used.
You will find lots of other gluten/dairy/sugar free breakfast ideas here.  And don't forget to check out my 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics' cookbook- every recipe, including breakfast, contains chocolate in some form!!
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter , and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Let's Get Real.  Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.]]>Mon, 02 Feb 2015 03:02:51 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/lets-get-real-behind-the-scenes-raising-friendly-food-kids
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
I was thinking lately that a lot of the stuff on post on my blog or on Facebook probably looks like shiney happy people living an easy life of healthy food and happiness. I post this stuff as a way to inspire and encourage you guys- that this Friendly Food way of life CAN really be done... to give you the resources you need so it's not too hard for you. But, it's not all roses and I want to make sure you know that. Raising two kids to eat food that is mostly counter-cultural is bloody hard work at times.

When we first switched to real, whole foods free from gluten, dairy, refined sugar and additives, the hard part was re-stocking my pantry- doing the hard work of finding recipes and figuring what on earth to cook (7 years ago when we started, there actually wasn't a lot of info on the internet... or maybe it was just that I was still rather a techno-phobe??). Getting Friendly Food into the kids when they were little was actually the easier part, because they just accepted what we fed them when they liked the flavour, and my oldest, who was almost 5 at the time, actually felt so much better that he could see a direct correlation and he understood what we were doing was great!

Since then, the pantry and cooking routine is just second nature, but the harder part is keeping the kids on board with believing that sticking to the program is actually worth it. Mr now-nearly-12 has no memory of how sick he was before we switched. He doesn't remember that prior to switching, he'd never done a solid poo in his life, how he complained multiple times a day about his sore tummy, how he was riddled with eczema, how he had no energy and poor concentration. And they don't remember how tired I was. They don't remember a mum who had to nap every afternoon, who was crabby all the time because she was always lethargic, who suffered from regular headaches and stomach upsets that made her, um... let's just say 'irritable'.

So, here's what we do: As it naturally comes up, we regularly discuss the best ways to fuel our bodies. How refined sugars and carbs, particulary those with gluten are hard for us to process, fill us with toxins the body struggles to deal with, and contribute to things like poor heart health and insulin resistance. We talk about the need our bodies have for good quality grass-fed proteins, about sourcing our protein from ethical sources (both for the benefit of the animal and ourselves), and how protein gives us long lasting energy for the day. We talk about fats that are beneficial and necessary for our body, vs. fats that cause inflammation and sickness in our body. I get them involved in choosing meals and helping to prepare food. They see what goes in the food they eat.

I go to a lot of effort to make food for them that tastes like treats (so they're not 'missing out') that is actually still nutritious and good fuel for their bodies.  For example, they adore my popcorn, which consists of air dried corn, covered with good quality extra virgin olive oil, Himalayan sea salt and Vital Vege Powder (which is basically powdered, concentrated fruit and veg!).
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
I was recently amazed to discover that I have FORTY recipes for food that I regularly put in my kid's lunch boxes.  These are all recipes that I've created for them (with a couple of exceptions), so they would have food they love and hopefully not feel like they're missing out.  {Thankfully, you guys benefit from this too- I put them all in this post for you!!}

We try to make healthy food fun.  It takes time.  And effort.  Like researching and sourcing 'Friendlier' lolly alternatives so we could enjoy making this Gluten Free Gingerbread House together.  
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
Or the time we spent the whole afternoon making our own corn chips and tortillas- from nothing but Masa Harina Corn Flour, water, coconut oil, spices and sea salt.  We all helped and had a fabulous afternoon together. The chips were amazing. 
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
We take our kids to the Farmers Markets to buy our grass fed meat, and they get to explore stalls full of freshly grown veges, local raw honey, local macadamias in the shells that we bring home for them to smash, and other people selling food that's 'weird' like what we eat- like the lady that sells healthy bliss balls, or the one that makes her own ice blocks from coconut milk and real cacao powder.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
It has to be a very conscious approach on behalf of hubby and I.  And like all parenting, some days it can feel like pure.hard.work to instill values in your kids, hoping that one day they will take them on as their own.

By way of encouraging any of you struggling with this journey- YES, it can often be frustrating and overwhelming. I may or may not have been seen to throw my hands in the air and mutter “I give up”. There are times when I wonder if anything is getting through to those adorable freckle faced munchkins at all!

Let me illustrate....

My kids have a lolly stash. Yep, Friendly Food Karen lets her kids keep lollies. And I'm not talking about the 'Friendlier' kind!  Don't get me wrong, I don't buy the lollies. They keep being given the lollies at birthday parties and such. They each have a bag full with their name on it. After dinner, it is our tradition to eat a little 'dessert'. This has usually consisted of a couple of squares of 70% cocoa chocolate or a Friendly Food cookie I may have available, but the kids often ask to eat something from the stash. I've never felt comfortable forcing the kids to get rid of the lollies when they receive them- the lollies are theirs- and all I can do is hope that the information I've presented them over the years may have an influence on their decision whether or not to eat the lollies. So far, it hasn't! They don't throw away the lollies. They keep the stash, slowly consuming one lolly at a time after dinner if there isn't something else on offer they'd prefer. It frustrates the bejeezus out of me.

It's really hard to watch my kids when we're eating out with friends. Other families will happily let their kids consume a couple of glasses of soft drink; a deep fried, nutrition-void meal; chased down by a high sugar dessert like ice cream. When we eat out, we set the boundaries before we go so that the kids know what to expect and also know that they shouldn't keep begging us to change our minds. Usually we'll compromise on one of those options (ie. A glass of fizzy OR a deep fried meal without veggies OR a dessert). Then they sit and watch their friends eating all of the above, looking all forlorn and shooting glances at us like we're the worst parents in the world. And then the other adults we are with offer our kids some of their fizzy drink in an attempt to reinforce that we actually are terrible, not-fun parents, and our kids would be much better off in their care. Anyone else know what I mean??

One of my kids in particular loves opportunities to choose his own food when I'm not around. It's his chance to eat (and by eat, I mean pig out on) all the stuff I don't keep at home. It drives me insane. I try not to say anything because I want him to feel like he has this freedom without my judgment. Plus, I also have to remember that in similar circumstances, when faced with yummy food I don't keep in my own pantry, I often lack self control too. But it's still hard to not say anything!

And then there are the complaints that we always make our own pizza instead of ordering regular pizza (even though they LOVE our home made pizza!), or that they are the only ones at school who don't have chips or lollies in their lunch every day, or that they really miss cereal....

And then there are the regular issues that I'm sure most parents have with their kids- Friendly Food eaters or not. Being a 'healthy' family doesn't make us immune!

My younger son goes through phases with my cooking. There are times when I just can't seem to please him with the snacks I prepare for their lunch boxes. Something will be returned from school with the explanation that he doesn't like it. But he used to eat it. But he doesn't like it. But he used to like it. But he doesn't want me to put it in his lunch box any more. Arguing is futile.
My older son won't eat food that has an ingredient he doesn't like. Even if there is no hint of the ingredient in the cooked product. He asks what is in everything in case it contains tomato or avocado or cheese. I made him an amazing tasting avocado-based peppermint choc chip ice cream (his favourite flavour- the recipe is in my book),
which he LOVED and exclaimed over... until I eventually revealed it had avocado in it. He hasn't touched it since.
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Neither of them like the same foods as each other. One loves chicken pieces, cheese and tomato, pretty much any fruit except mango. He hates hummus and prefers me to pick veges other than the easy whole-carrot-stick to put in his lunch. The other one LOVES mango, but only a handful of other fruits (none of which are the other one's favourites!), hates plain bits of meat in his lunch, hates cheese and tomato, but LOVES hummus and will happily eat a carrot stick daily. All this to say that their lunch boxes often look quite different from each other, which makes more work for Mamma! “So”, I hear you say, “why don't they pack their own lunches”?? Well, we've tried that, and I find that they tend to fill them up with carbs and things that are easy to grab from the pantry, and don't consider fruit and veg and protein to be worth the effort (you know- kids like to spend the least amount of time on effort on things that aren't considered fun). So, for now, I'm happy packing the lunches because I know they'll eat better.

BUT THEN.... you occasionally get those moments, those brief windows that give you hope to keep going, the 'wins' when you silently pat yourself on the back and fantasize about being awarded 'Parent of the Year'...

When I say we'll eat out, they get excited and automatically ask if we can get Sushi or Thai food- the choices that they love that they know will have some reasonably Friendly choices. By the way, they also love Subway, commercial pizza and fish and chips, and will sometimes ask for these too- but these are choices we leave for very rare occasions.  We certainly know how to celebrate in our family, and we sometimes indulge in foods we don't normally consider healthy.  But I love the fact that my kids can be just as excited about eating these rich, sugar-filled desserts (top picture) as they are about eating a completely nutrient dense, gluten and dairy free meal like the second picture at Luke Nguyen's 'Red Lantern' for their Dad's birthday.  And I LOVE The fact that they're so used to trying new foods that they ate everything we ordered!  Win!! 
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
On the last day of Summer school holidays last week, I took my boys out for lunch as a special way to finish our holiday together. They asked for the usual Sushi or take away Thai food, but I said I'd like to take them on a special date to the cafe in our local Organic Food Shop. They were skeptical, as they hadn't eaten there before, but went with it. When they first looked at them menu, they struggled to find something they liked the sound of. Everything was gluten free, 95% organic, mostly vegetarian, many with names they didn't immediately recognise. But they pushed through, chose their food and sat down. We had a lovely time chatting, and Mr 9 insisted on reading out loud to me the sign written in chalk on the wall behind us, very impressed by what he read.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
And then as Mr 9 was served his grass-fed local ham and organic cheese and spinach Toastie, I heard him exclaim "Oh, excellent- they've used sour dough!" and "I think this is the best sandwich I've ever had". And I watched Mr 11 wolf down a gluten free caramalised onion and spinach tart with a side salad, commenting how amazing it was and insisting I try some. They both drank their individual bottle of Kefir and then got up and chose their gluten free raw desserts from the counter. I sat in bliss, grateful that such an option exists for us within 15 minutes of home and that my children LOVED it. It was the first thing they told dad about when he got home that night. Win.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
And then there are the times that we see an ad come on TV or a billboard for a fast food chain or a sugar-filled something, and they sit there and pull it apart and lament for the world that people don't know any better than to eat these things! I realise that they're mostly regurgitating what they've heard us say, but at least I know that some of the information is sticking in their adorable, pliable brains. Win.

The other day Mr 12 was telling me that he didn't need as much food in his lunch box that day as he planned to buy some food from the canteen (we give them a small amount of money each term for them to spend at the canteen as they choose- just another little thing that's hard for me to do that allows them a little freedom). He very quickly added, though “Well, I know that it won't actually have much food value, but you know what I mean”. So, even though he's continuing to make choices that I don't necessarily want for him, at least he's making them as informed choices- he knows full well why the canteen 'food' isn't actually food! Win.

And then there are those nights when we sit down to a completely healthy, nutrient dense meal that I've gone to a significant effort to plan, shop for organic ingredients for, and then prepare, and my two beautiful boys enthusiastically tuck in and exclaim 'Oh, yum. Thanks so much for dinner, Mum'. Win.

Oh, and then there was the time they decided to make my birthday cake for me- wheat/dairy/sugar free. All by themselves. Truly the icing in the cake (pun intended!).

Win.
Let's Get Real. Behind the Scenes Raising Friendly Food Kids.
 
So, we continue this journey of education. Of letting our kids know why we make the choices that we do. Of giving them some freedom to make choices for themselves. Of watching them make choices that result in me fighting myself not to jump in and tell them they can't. Of putting in all the time and effort it takes to prepare 3 good quality, nutrient-filled, Friendly meals a day from scratch. Of finding new ways to make Friendly Food fun so they have positive associations with stuff that's good for them.  They won't always make the choices I'd like them to, but I'm holding on to hope that at some point when their rational brains are fully developed (apparently for a male that's not 'til they're 25!) that they might come back 'round and do the same for their own kids. Because their future and their health and wholeness is worth it.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings!  I'd love to hear your comments.
Please subscribe to my mail list for new recipes in the link below, and also join my
 Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter , and Instagram.  Check out my book 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics' here.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[40 Friendly Food Lunchbox Fillers]]>Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:28:37 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/40-friendly-food-lunchbox-fillers Well, I've just browsed through my recipes and discovered I have 40 that are great for making for lunch boxes!  So I thought you'd appreciate being able to see them all in one place so you can grab the ones you like the sound of the most.  As always, my recipes are free from wheat (and usually free from gluten), and can be made free from dairy, refined sugar and additives.  I'm also aware that most schools don't allow food with nuts, so I'll start my list with the nut free foods, of which there are many!  Then you'll see the ones with nuts, and then some tasty dinner food that we love to use as left overs in lunch boxes.
 So, without further ado, here they are.  Click on the name of the food to jump over to the recipe.

NUT FREE:
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NOT nut free:
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Dinner Leftovers that make great lunch box additions {and are also NUT FREE}:
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Banana Buckwheat Muffins.  These are also grain free. 


Banana Cake- great as a cake, with slices for lunches or make them as cupcakes.

Carrot Cake.  This one is made with spelt flour.  Great as muffins too.


Muesli bars.  Nut free if you use a seed meal rather than almond meal.

Coconut Cupcakes.  A real favourite and they freeze wonderfully.


Choc Nut Rice Crispie Bars.  Bascially a healthy LCM bar.  Great with sunflower butter instead of nut butter.
Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies.  Make them with choc chips or jam or as Melting Moments!

Honey Joys!  A childhood favourite made kinda healthy!


Happy Tummies Doughnuts.  A huge favourite here!!  Use seed meal instead of almond meal.

Anzac biscuits.  An Aussie favourite, great all year round.


Chocolate Date Balls.  So yummy!


Banana Flour Slice.  If you've not checked out banana flour, you should!

These Coconut Flour Vege Muffins are a wonderful savoury option.

And here's a Pesto Coconut Flour Muffin that is just as good.


How about some Pesto on sandwiches or Corn Thins??


Or some Hummus and veggie sticks?



Or this beautiful Beetroot and Mint dip with vege sticks or a leftover GF sausage?
 


Gingerbread cookies. Originally for Christmas, but still yummy any time.


Grain free Easter Fruit Muffins- a beautiful muffin all year round without the crosses!

Christmas Cookies.  Another all-year-round favourite.


Fruit and Nut Slice.  A staple in our fridge!



This Jaffa Cookie Cake can be made as individual cookies as well.  REALLY yummy!

This very popular Almond Chia Breakfast Slice also goes very well in lunch boxes.






Sushi Rolls.  I always make extra for the next day's lunch when we have these for dinner.

Thai Corn Pancakes also taste great the next day with a little lime mayo for dipping.

Thai Fish Cakes are a great way to add protein to the lunch box.


Vietnamese Pork Skewers are YUMMY the next day!


I love left over Meatloaf sandwiches!



How about some left over hot Risotto in a Thermos?


Or left over Chicken Meatballs...



And finally- some cold Zucchini Slice is always a hit!
Recipes from my Book that are great for lunches:
{all with a little chocolate, all really good for you!}
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There's a chocoholics version of my Muesli Bars.


Chocolate Spread (a really healthy alternative to Nutella for an easy sandwich option).

Banana Choc Chip muffins (nut free, grain free). 


No Bake Superfood Bars- packed with all the goodness I could fit in (and nut free too!) 

Flourless Chocolate cookies- our favourite!




Apricot White chocolate Truffles for a special treat.

They'll feel very special if you put these Salted Caramel Truffles in their lunch box!


Two healthy alternatives to packaged 'Yogo' style chocolate puddings or flavoured yoghurts: there's the Cherry Ripe Mousse or Cold Chocolate Puddings.


So, there you have it!  I'm sure you'll find a few things here that your family will love.  Please subscribe to my mail list for new recipes in the link below, and also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter , and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
Biome Eco Stores have a fabulous range of lunch boxes and drink bottles that will look after the environment, AND your kids.
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<![CDATA[Buckwheat Banana Muffins]]>Wed, 14 Jan 2015 04:29:38 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/buckwheat-banana-muffins Gluten free - grain free -dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free
Buckwheat Banana Muffins
So, I'm starting a new phase with my food intake and overall health.  I'm really trying to reduce the grains in my life as I just feel so much better for it.  I've not cooked with buckwheat much before, but I like the sound of using it more as it's not a grain at all, and in no way related to wheat- it's from the rhubarb family!  So I went looking for recipes and discoverd a few banana buckwheat muffin recipes that sounded pretty good.  I decided to use this one from Spark Recipes as the main inspiration, with a few tweaks of my own, and they came out beautifully.  I'm so happy with them.  My whole family wolfed them down and kept coming back for more!  They came out amazingly light and fluffy for something that has no grain or gluten.  I'm wondering if part of the secret was having the banana frozen before they went in (one of my own 'tweaks')- it made the batter a beautiful texture.  

I'm blogging these now, after only one attempt at them because they really were that good, and I wanted to give you the chance to get them in the oven in time for the return-to-school-lunch-box-filling at the end of the month!  The fact that they're a gluten/grain/dairy/refined sugar free muffin that is also nut free and tastes really good is a winner for lunch boxes!  I kept one aside and now on day 3, it's still as fresh as day one. Unfortunately this first attempt has eggs, which I know will disappoint some of you... stay tuned for batch #2!

UPDATE!!  I've created an egg free version!  These work well using soaked chia seeds instead of eggs.  They don't spread or rise as nicely as with eggs, and are a little more dense, but they're still soft and yummy!  See ingredient list for quantities.
Buckwheat Banana Muffins
Ingredients:
Makes about 15 medium-large muffins.
  • 3 large bananas (mine were frozen)
  • 3 eggs (OR 3 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 9 tablespoons filtered water for about 10 minutes, until gelatinous)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup  (100g) pure maple syrup or coconut syrup (if you've been refined sugar free for a while, reduce this by half- I thought it didn't need to be quite as sweet)
  • 1 cup tightly packed buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50g dark chocolate chips or chocolate bar (70% cocoa, dairy free, naturally sweetened), cut into small pieces (about 1/4 cup when chopped) OR try using raisins or sultanas if you prefer
  • Optional 60g (about 1/2 cup) roughly chopped walnut or pecan pieces
Method:
  • Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F.
  • Line about 15 muffin holes with patty cases.  I use these wonderful eco friendly ones.
  • In your food processor, blend the bananas, eggs (or chia ge), vanilla and syrup until very smooth and no banana lumps are left (in Thermomix: blend gradually to speed 8 / 25 sec.)
  • Add all other ingredients except chocolate/raisins and nuts.  Blend again until smooth (Thermomix: gradually to speed 8 / 30 sec.) 
  • Mix in the chocolate/raisins and nuts by hand (or Thermomix REVERSE / speed 4 / 5 sec.)
  • Pour into prepared cases.
  • Bake 20-25mins until lightly browned and the middle of a muffin bounces back when pressed a little.   
  • Cool a little before eating.  Yummy warm or cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Note:  the only small downside to these is that they're pretty low in fat!!  I'm trying to increase the good fats in my life as I reduce the grains, so I've been smothering them in organic butter!!  Feel free to join me if you can tolerate a bit of good quality dairy :-)

If you're gluten free but not concerned about grains, I also have a fantastic Gluten and Dairy Free Banana Cake Recipe you'll love.  Also check out my 40 Friendly Food Lunchbox Fillers for more great school lunch ideas.
Buckwheat Banana Muffins
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter , and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
Happy Tummies has a brilliant range of products for people with food intolerances, & fun stuff that will get your kids cooking along beside you!
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<![CDATA[Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers]]>Wed, 07 Jan 2015 22:55:00 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/vietnamese-chargrilled-pork-skewers
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free - egg free

I am blessed with a husband who loves to cook.   He has a massive collection of cook books. 
He rarely cooks from them. 
He spends hours trawling through them from time to time and then one day up and cooks something that is quite marvelous.  When questioned, he will usually be able to tell you where he got the inspiration from, but he didn't exactly follow the recipe.  He just gets a feel for it and embellishes.  Probably the reason why he rarely bakes... this method doesn't usually bode well for baking.  Luckily, that's my forte.  Just one of the many ways we balance each other.

Hubby recently found himself in hospital with a very unexpected health issue.  We're through the worst of it now, but there's nothing like a little glimpse of the fragility of life to make you treasure the gifts you have.  He is certainly one of mine. 


About a week after he came home from hospital, he was feeling up to having a go in the kitchen, and this is what he made.  He's made it a couple of times before but this time I asked him to tell me what he did (it's a little different each time!).  We all absolutely love it and I know you will too. 

So, this is a recipe by my Hubby (originally inspired by a Luke Nguyen recipe, but really quite altered!), written down by me with this dedication to him:  I am so unspeakably blessed to have you by my side and I look forward to the adventures life will bring us in the future.
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Me and hubby having a laugh on Christmas day, two weeks post hospital.  Me in my 'Sunday Best' dress, and him in his Star Wars Fight Club shirt!  Just another way we balance each other!!
I also made a lovely salad to go with the skewers, so there are multiple parts to this recipe:  The skewers and an optional sauce to serve with them, plus the salad and a dressing.  It uses 1kg of meat, which we use to make enough for two meals for our family of four.  They also make great leftovers to add to lunch boxes. Enjoy!!
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
Pork Skewers
Ingredients
Serves 8-10 people (1 skewer each)
  • 1kg free range pork mince
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey or coconut sugar
  • 3 finely chopped spring onions
  • 4 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • a few good grinds of sea salt a pepper
  • 1/2 bunch coriander (cilantro), leaves only, finely chopped
  • 10-20 wooden food skewers

Method
  • Place your skewers in water to soak, to prevent them burning when you cook them.
  • Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Massage with your hands for 5-10 minutes until the mix feels quite sticky.
  • Cover, and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes while you prepare the other elements of the dish.
  • Turn on your BBQ chargrill plate or a chargrill pan and get it heating while you prepare the skewers.
  • Then divide the meat into 8-10 portions (depending on how many people you want to feed).  Form each portion into a sausage shape with your hands, then place a skewer into the middle of the sausage and massage the meat around the skewer to make sure it's firmly molded onto the skewer.  You can then add a second skewer, about 1cm apart from the first if you like.  This isn't pictured here, but having two skewers can help with turning on the BBQ, so the meat doesn't spin around on the skewer. 
  • Place the skewers on the BBQ chargrill and cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn and cook on the other side for about the same time.  Check to make sure they're cooked through before removing from the chargrill. *Special tip from Hubby- keep a water spray bottle nearby to extinguish any flames caused by fat dripping onto the hot coals!
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
Optional sauce for the skewers:
Mix together in a small bowl:
  • 4 tablespoons gluten free hoisin sauce (just be aware that hoisin usually contains refined sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • a dash of sesame oil
  • a handful of crushed peanuts or cashews (optional if you're nut free)
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
Salad and Dressing
Ingredients
This is only a guide.  Use the quantities that you think you need to cater for the numbers you're serving.
  • Chinese cabbage or regular green cabbage, very finely sliced
  • Carrot and Cucumber, made into ribbons by using a vegetable peeler to keep peeling the vegetable till there is none left.  Or you could use a Veggie Twister gadget like the one here. 
  • Red capsicum, very finely sliced
  • Coriander leaves to taste

Dressing Ingredients (should be enough for a salad serving 8 people)
  • 4 tablespoons nut oil (like macadamia or sweet almond oil)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mild sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce

Method
  • In a bowl, place all prepared vegetables.
  • Place all dressing ingredients in a leak-proof jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.
  • Pour dressing over salad, and mix well.  Add coriander and lightly mix so you don't bruise it.  Garnish with a little extra coriander.
Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Skewers
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter , and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Five Friendly Foodie Finds for Christmas]]>Thu, 27 Nov 2014 23:40:47 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/five-friendly-foodie-finds-for-christmas A fun foodie post for you to introduce you to some wonderful products I've found that would be great for Christmas.  The companies selling these products are great supporters of my site, and I encourage you to support them too.  Some are affiliates / sponsored, and some I just love and want to share them with you.  I only promote products that I'm happy to use myself and give my kids, so I know you guys will love them too. Click on anything in red writing to link through to the products.
Enjoy!  
Karen.

Itha's Puddings
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This great family owned company do a line of Gluten Free Christmas Puddings that offer a wonderful treat to those who can't eat gluten at Christmas.  They have *beautifully* presented gift packs which include a pudding and a sauce, and they really would make a lovely gift for the gluten free person in your life.  There is a lot more sugar in the puddings and sauces than I normally condone, as well as some preservatives, but if you're willing to overlook this for the sake of Christmas tradition, you'll be buying a great tasting product!  The puddings come in traditional fruit, and triple chocolate (my favourite of course!!)  The 500g pudding says it serves 4, but honestly, it's so decadent I think you could serve 6!

Shop Naturally treats
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Shop Naturally is an online store full of organic, ethical, fairly traded food and a great range of low-toxin household products.  Being a chocoholic, and looking for extra treats for Christmas, I just couldn't go past this little trio. Organic Velvet Truffles, Dark Chocolate Almonds and Dark Chocolate Blueberries.  No nasty ingredients,  and SOOOOO yummy!  The truffles come in milk or dark and are a better version of Lindt balls.  The Dark Chocolate Almonds are that perfect combination of sweet and savoury.  And those coated blueberries.... well, 75% cocoa chocolate with a perfect little sweet berry hit in the middle.... it just screams Christmas to me!

And then there's this fabulous Organic Mixed Dried Fruit from Shop Naturally... PERFECT for making your Christmas Fruit Mince. 
 I used it this year and it's SO much more convenient than buying and measuring out 5 different fruits.  It contains all organic fruit with no preservatives: raisins, currants, apricots, sultanas and cranberries.  For my fruit mince I used 5 cups of the mixed fruit, plus 1/2 cup gogi berries for their vibrant red colour, plus 1 cup of sugar free jam (I used marmalade because I love the citrus flavour in my mince, but you could use apricot or plum jam), 1/2 cup rum and 1/2 cup Baileys (you can replace the baileys with more rum or some sherry).  Get onto this quickly so it has time to 'brew' before your Christmas cooking!  Check out my Christmas recipes here to get more ideas for how to use fruit mince.

Roar Plum Pudding Cordial
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This is one of three flavours offered by Roar Living, and it's so festive, I just had to share it with you.  Roar Living cordials are made from real Aussie fruit and spices, water and raw sugar... and NOTHING else.  And they *taste* real.  Such a breath of fresh air to know that you can have a wonderful tasting drink with no nasties.  Yes, there is raw cane sugar, but the amounts are very small when mixed into water.  I find that half the amount of cordial recommended on the bottle is quite enough flavour and sweetness.  I wouldn't drink it every day, but it makes a nice alternative when you want something other than plain water.  We've also used it as a glaze on roast pork (SO yummy), in a small quantity in salad dressing, and I plan to make a yummy 'mocktail' with it for Christmas with some sparkling water, apple juice, and maybe a cinnamon stick straw!

Biome Stocking Stuffers
Biome Eco Stores are your one stop shop for organic, natural, recycled and fair trade products. So much goodness in one place.  They have an awesome range of cheap gifts that would make wonderful stocking stuffers, including chocolate, goodie balls, vegan marshmellow mix, organic licorice, soap, lip balms, toys, eco pens and pencils, note pads, purses... and more!  Plus their whole store is full of awesome stuff to stock your pantry for Christmas or any time of year.
Click here to shop for all gifts under $10.

MY BOOK!
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Ok, so I'm a little bit cheeky throwing this one in, but I really do think this is a great find for Christmas!  It would make a wonderful gift for the person in your life who appreciates great tasting, healthy food... or maybe that person is you??  Lots of the recipes would make great Christmas treats.   Plus, every purchase helps feed *my* family at Christmas!!  Click here to find out how to buy it! 

As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Fudgey Muscat Cake and Book Launch!]]>Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:12:24 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/fudgey-muscat-cake-and-book-launch
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*Drum roll please*....
It's finally here:  my first book!  And to celebrate the launch, I'm giving you, my amazing supporters, a freebie recipe from the book.  A little indulgence to 'wet the tongue' so to speak, to say thanks SO much for your support.  This would have to be my favourite recipe from the book.  It is so indulgent and perfect when you want to impress your loved ones.... whether they are 'Friendly Foodies' or not!   AND I have a great offer from Shop Naturally to help us celebrate!  Read on....
Friendly Food for Chocoholics cookbook
The first in a series of 'Friendly Food' books, Friendly Food for Chocoholics includes 30 of my most indulgent creations for breakfast, snacks, treats and desserts that are actually good for you! All recipes are free from gluten and can be free from dairy, refined sugar and additives.  The majority of recipes are Paleo.  Each recipe includes both conventional and Thermomix methods.  Most are brand new, never seen before recipes, with a couple of favourites from my blog.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO BUY IT!

*Special Deal Alert*
If you are an Aussie resident and would love to grab the book along with some fabulous ingredients to make the Fudgey Muscat Cake (and other recipes), jump over to Shop Naturally.  You can buy the book directly from them, and if you spend $30 or more on food items in their online store, you will get $2 off the book.  If you spend $50 or more on food, you will get $5 off the book!  What a deal!!  Click here for this deal.

Ingredients
  • 1 ¼ cups / 200g / 7oz  raisins or sultanas
  • ¾3/4 cup / 190ml Muscat or Port (or grape juice if you don't want to use alcohol)
  • 300g / 10.6oz  70% cocoa dark chocolate (dairy-free, naturally sweetened)
  • 150g / 5.2oz  coconut oil, or unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup / 120g / 4.2oz  coconut sugar or rapadura sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup tightly packed/ 150g almond meal (or 150g / 5.2oz  raw almonds to make your own meal)

Method
  • Soak the raisins in the Muscat or Port for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F
  • Melt the chocolate using the double boiler method (see page 1).  You can use the Thermomix, but you will have to transfer the melted chocolate to another bowl, then clean & dry the TM , so I just melt it in a different bowl!
  • If making your own almond meal, do so first.  Place in food processor on high until fine meal is achieved (TM 5 sec / speed 9, scrape, repeat).  Set almond meal aside for later.
  • Place the sugar in your food processor & mill it until it resembles a fine texture, closer to caster sugar (TM 10 sec / speed 10).  
  • Using a processor with a whisk attachment, or a mixmaster/ kitchenaid, add the oil or butter to the sugar & 'cream' it until it is light in colour & a bit fluffy  (TM - insert butterfly / 1 min / speed 3).  Scrape down the bowl & blend again (TM butterfly / 1 min / speed 3).
  • Add eggs one at at time, blending each one before adding the next (TM speed 3).  Leave your processor running while adding the eggs if possible.  Stop processing as soon as the final egg is incorporated.  
  • Whisk in the melted chocolate until just incorporated (TM 5 sec / speed 3).
  • Briefly whisk in the almond meal, raisins & all excess Muscat until just incorporated (TM reverse / 5 sec / speed 3).  
  • Grease & line the base and sides of a 20cm / 8 inch spring form cake tin with baking paper.  Gently spoon the batter into the tin & smooth the top.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  When cooked, there will be no visible movement of the batter in the middle of the cake when you give it a gentle shake.  The top will be hard & crusty.  The centre will still be moist & sticky, as if slightly undercooked. NOTE: If you use a larger size tin the cooking time will need to be reduced slightly.  
  • Cool for 20 minutes in the tin if you want to serve it warm.  It's just as good the day after if you want to bake ahead.
  • Serve with dairy free ice cream or whipped cream or coconut cream, or a berry compote.
Don't forget to click here now to buy the book! Thanks so much for your support!
Karen.
Fudgey Muscate Cake from 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics' cookbook
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
Digital Parents Blog Carnival
- See more at: http://digitalparents.com.au/page/blog-carnival#sthash.it0EMS0Z.dpuf
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<![CDATA[Forever Nutrition Slow Cooked Honey Lamb]]>Mon, 13 Oct 2014 05:01:28 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/forever-nutrition-slow-cooked-honey-lamb Free from gluten / grains / dairy / egg/ nuts / low in sugar.
Forever Nutrition Slow Cooker Honey Lamb
I'm excited to introduce to you Dinielle from Forever Nutrition, and share with you her beautiful recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Lamb.  This recipe is exactly what you need when you want a warm, hearty, comforting meal that is SUPER easy to throw together.    Perfect for when you want dinner to be ready for you when you come home at the end of a long day, or when you're out with kids activities after school and don't have time to cook.
Forever Nutrition Slow Cooker Honey Lamb
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I love Dinielle's approach to food.  She is both a chef and a Nutritionist and knows how to make wholesome wholefoods that are simple and scrumptious.  She enjoys her treats too, and never makes you feel like you've got to give up everything!   So, here she is:

Give me a summary of Dinielle in about 3 sentences!  Passionate foodie who loves getting creative in the kitchen. Loves helping people and getting them on the right track with their health. Loves her family to bits and would do anything for them- to keep them happy and healthy. 

How do you start a typical day? Do you have a routine?  Get up, and then wake the kids up, they get dressed while I get breakfast and then we all sit together and eat then it’s off for the school run. We are a 5 minute walk to school so it means we get to sleep until 8am, yay!

Favourite TV show?  It was House, but unfortunately it is not on anymore.  I do love watching Neighbours! 

Favourite quote?   “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama

What inspires you?  Seeing people come back from bad health because they had faith in themselves that they could do it, and they never gave up- so inspiring.

Sweet or savoury?   Savoury for sure! Hot chips with chicken salt and tomato sauce! 

Favourite go-to family meal when it needs to be quick and easy?  Steamed vegetables with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce!

Why did you become a Nutritionist?  After being a chef and found it to be very stressful environment I still had a passion for food and learning about how food can be your medicine, so I went on to study, the rest as they say is history!

What's the best thing about your job?  Having people feel better about their body and in themselves. Having feedback that people are making and loving your recipes, things they may have never made before, expanding their food knowledge. Life is better when we feel our healthiest. 

Best advice for people just starting out on what I like to call their 'Friendly Food Journey' (finding the right foods for their own/ their family’s health)?   Don’t make too many changes at one time, it can be overwhelming and people may think it’s all too hard and give up. Eat food that is tasty and feels right for your body, eating should be a joy not a chore.

Check out Dinielle's website here.
Her recipe blog is here
Her facebook page is here.  Enjoy!

Serve with steamed green beans and broccoli.
Ingredients and Method:
In your slow cooker add:
  • 2x 140g tubs of tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup apple cider/white wine vinegar or similar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
    1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
(my note:  I used two diced onions rather than onion powder)
  • Mix altogether; make sure there are no lumps of powder.
Add to slow cooker:
  • 1kg lamb forequarter pieces (you can use forequarter chop or other meat like chicken pieces, chuck or gravy beef etc…..suitable for the slow cooker)
  • 3 carrots peeled and cut in half 
Scoop the sauce over the lamb. Put on low for the day: 8-10 hours.
30 min-1 hour before you're ready to eat, add to the slow cooker:  
  • 2 x (400g) can, drained and rinsed borlotti beans, (you can use chickpeas, kidney bean cannellini beans etc..)  If you are in a hurry just put the beans in a bowl and heat them by pouring boiling water over them and leave them for 2 minutes.
Forever Nutrition Slow Cooker Honey Lamb
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Happy Tummies Doughnuts]]>Tue, 02 Sep 2014 06:39:18 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/happy-tummies-doughnuts Gluten free - Dairy free - Refined Sugar Free - Can be egg free - Vegetarian
Happy Tummies Doughnuts
I'm so excited to give you this recipe, from Lisa at Happy Tummies.  Lisa posted this on her Facebook page and I couldn't wait to try it.  And it lived up to my expectations.  My kids loved it them wanted me to make another batch immediately!  But before I give you the recipe, I want to introduce you to Lisa, as part of a series of posts I'll be doing on Aussie Mums with health-based businesses that I love.  I want you guys to meet these awesome ladies who are offering a wonderful service worth checking out. 

Lisa is the owner of Happy Tummies, a wonderful online store catering for people with food intolerances.  She sells both ingredients and kitchen utensils that are fun and good for you.  I asked Lisa a few questions so you could get to know her.
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Lisa and her eldest daughter.
Give me a summary of Lisa in about 3 sentences!   I'm just a regular mum and wife trying to do then best I can to raise happy and healthy kids. My kids, like a lot of our kids are really lucky to have the opportunities they have.
It's really important to me that my kids grow up grateful for how lucky they are and eager to try their best in everything they do.
How do you start a typical day?   I like to get up before my kids and do a half hour walk on a treadmill, definitely not exciting but it gets me going and means I can fit in some exercise. Then I get the kids up and start making breakfast. I try to think ahead and get as much of the breakfast ready to go as I can the night before and lunches part done too. I usually think about what we'll have for breakfast and lunches the night before.
Favourite TV show?   Not watching any at the moment - too busy and I prefer to read if I have spare time. Just finished watching season 3 of Game of Thrones with my husband - took us a few months to get there.
Favourite quote?   I find that at different times in my life some are more relevant. This one really stood out to me today:
What inspires you?  I get inspired by enthusiastic people who are trying to make a difference for everyone.
Sweet or savoury?   Sweet. I have to try really hard here. I've been going with only savoury breakfasts for a few months and I do find it better.
Favourite go-to family meal when it needs to be quick and easy?   My kids love chicken sausages that I get my local butcher to make up that are just chicken and salt. I just throw them in the oven, pop some chopped up potatoes in the airfryer with some coconut oil (to make chips) and toss some vegies in the steamer. My husband works away a lot so we usually just do quick and simple meals that I know the kids will enjoy while he's away.
Why did you start Happy Tummies?   I started Happy Tummies because I was ready for a career change (I used to be a sleep technologist) and I thought I could use my experience with my son with allergies and eosinophilic oesophagitis. My aim is to make shopping for families easy and as affordable as possible.
What are the most popular items in your store?   We sell a lot of flours and raw ingredients which really makes me happy because I know families are out there cooking! We also sell quite a few additive free lollies and chocolates especially at Easter and Christmas. Kitchenware such as reusable food pouches, nut bags and apple slinky machines also sell very well.
Best advice for people just starting out on what I like to call their 'Friendly Food Journey' (finding the right foods for their own/ their families health)?Take it slow when you start so you don't get overwhelmed and educate yourself. We started our journey about 10 years ago when I thought we ate really well until I read Julie Eady's Additive Alert. Then 5 years ago when our son was diagnosed with allergies we had to really change how we cook and think about food. Since then we take a wholefood approach in our kitchen and make everything from scratch to avoid additives, avoid allergens for our son and provide my family with the best nutrition possible.
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Happy Tummies Doughnuts
Now, onto this fabulous recipe.  You can buy doughnut tins in department stores like Big W pretty cheaply.  I'm sure you could also make these in muffin tins, but then they wouldn't look like doughnuts and won't be half as fun! 

Makes 12 doughnuts.  Instructions for Thermomix (TM) included.

Ingredients:
  • 110g blanched almond meal (or grind 110g blanched almonds in a food processor.  TM speed 9 for about 10 secs)
  • 45g oat flour (substitute rice flour or sorghum for gluten free)
  • 65g potato starch
  • 100g raw sugar (I used rapadura & I'm sure coconut sugar would work too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (I used guar gum)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g softened butter or coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup oat milk (or any milk of choice)
  • 1 egg (OR for egg free: 1 tbsp ground chia seeds and 3 tbs water)

Method:
Heat oven to 180 degrees.
If using chia - grind 1 tbsp chia seeds in food processor (TM for 30 secs, speed 9). Set aside with 3 tablespoons water in a bowl to form a gel.
Mix together dry ingredients in food processor until well combined (10 secs, speed 4).
Add wet ingredients and mix until smooth (TM speed 5, 10 secs). Scrape down if you need to and repeat for 5 secs, speed 5.
Place in doughnut tray greased lightly with coconut oil.   Cook for approx. 20 minutes. Cool on rack.
Drizzle or cover with your icing of choice.  On half of mine I used a simple ganache of 50g melted 70% cocoa (dairy free) chocolate mixed with 20g almond milk.  Set in fridge for about 20 minutes before spreading on cooled doughnuts.  I sprinkled with some Hoppers Natural sprinkles.  The other half were rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and rapadura sugar while they were still warm. 

These doughnuts are nice and fluffy in the centre and are just as good the next day.  Check out my other dessert recipes here.
Happy Tummies Doughnuts
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Raspberry Lemon Butter Tart]]>Mon, 25 Aug 2014 02:51:03 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/raspberry-lemon-butter-tart Gluten free - can be dairy free - can be refined sugar free - nut free - contains egg
Raspberry Lemon Butter Tart
     I posted this photo on my Facebook page after we made it for Mr 9's birthday back in June.  A few of you asked for the recipe and I'm finally getting around to doing it for you!  Mr 9 has never been a huge cake fan, and we often end up making a non-traditional birthday cake for his family meal.  He is a die-hard berry fan, especially raspberries, and he eats them like other kids eat lollies if given the opportunity.  So this year's request was "something with raspberries...maybe a tart... maybe with chocolate too...???"  And so began our brainstorming!  This is what we created together, and I have to say that it definitely turned out to be worth sharing!  What you're looking at is a base made from my very popular Gluten Free Shortbread recipe, with a layer of chocolate over the base, covered by lemon butter and topped with fresh raspberries. 
Raspberry Lemon Butter Tart
Heres' how we did it:

The Base:
I made a doube batch of my Gluten Free Shortbread recipe and pressed it into a tart tin- the kind that the base pushes out so you don't have to invert the tin to get the crust out of it.  I didn't need the whole double batch, but definitely needed more than one.  I just made the rest into cookies and baked them at the same time as the base :-)  Press the dough right into every crevase and spread as evenly as possible with your hands or a fork.  Only make it about 1cm thick (about 3/4inch) or it will be too thick.  Prick the base all over with a fork.  Blind bake the base at 170°C / 340°F, with some pie weights (or some baking paper covered with dry/uncooked rice) for about 20 minutes until is just starts going golden.  Cool completely before assembling the tart.

Chocolate layer:
Once the base was cool, I melted about 200g of 70% cocoa, naturally sweetened chocolate and spread it over the base.  I felt afterwards that it set too solidly and was too hard to cut through when eating the tart.  Other guests thought it was perfect, and that I shouldn't change it, but next time I'll use my Almost Sugar Free Chocolate Icing instead.  Once the icing has been cooled in the fridge, spread evenly over the cooled tart base and refridgerate.

Lemon Butter Layer:
If you have a lemon butter recipe that you love, use it!  I make mine in the Thermomix and will give you the instructions, but if you don't have a Thermomix, there are so many recipes online- I'm sure you'll find another.  And you CAN substitute coconut oil for butter if you don't eat butter.  If you don't want any coconut flavor (I don't mind it with this- I think it compliments the other flavours well), then use refined/ tasteless coconut oil.
Here's my Thermomix version, but I doubled it for this tart:

Place all these ingredients in the TM bowl and insert butterfly.  Cook 8 min/ 80° / speed 3.  It should be set, and thickly coat the back of a spoon.  If not, cook another 2-3 minutes. 
  • 60g / 4Tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest from one medium-large sized lemon
  • 80g / 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or rapadura or raw sugar)
  • 80g softened butter or coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs plus one extra yolk
Transfer the lemon butter to a covered container and place in the fridge until completely cold.  Gently spread the cold lemon butter over the chocolate later, right up to the top edge of the pastry.  Return to fridge until ready to serve.

Top with fresh raspberries right before serving.  I used two punnets to fully cover the top of mine.
  
I'd love to hear from you if you make this- tell me what you think!  You can find other yummy Friendly Food dessert recipes here.
Raspberry Lemon Butter Tart
Mr 9 blowing out the candles around the base of the tart.
Pogo Stick Master
Just for fun: Mr 9 doing 764 continuous bounces on the pogo stick he was given for his birthday!
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[21 Friendly Foodie Gifts]]>Mon, 04 Aug 2014 05:49:10 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/21-friendly-foodie-gifts
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    I've been wanting to do this for you a while, and we're only a month away from Father's Day, so I'm thinking this is a great time!  I'm sure I'm not the only one that finds their dad and dad-in-law really difficult to buy for.  Thankfully in my case, both like to indulge in a little something special and I find that Foodie gifts are a great option.  So, here is a compilation of all the recipes on my site that would make great Foodie Gifts for any occasion- birthdays, Christmas, get-well-soon, or just-because.  Get creative and mix a few together.  The picture at the top is a selection of gifts I made to give to friends last Christmas- they all got to sample a few different treats and I certainly had no looks of disappointment! 
    {PS the Hot Chocolate mix recipe in the picture above is in my book 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics'!}
    Click on the red links to take you to the recipes.... and Enjoy!
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Melting Moments. 
Perfect gluten free shortbread, sandwiched with some healthy cashew cream                                                          icing.  

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Fig and Almond Log.  Perfect for presenting in a little box.  Makes a great snack.

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Chocolate Truffles. Decadent.  Melt in your mouth yuminess.  Make these for the chocoholic in your life!

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Cheat Chocolate Caramels.  So easy to make and so surprisingly like caramel, but so ridiculously healthy.  The recipient will definitely thank you.

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars.  The ultimate gift of love.  SOOOOO good, and yet good for you too!

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Best Ever Chocolate Brownies.  Or maybe these are the ultimate?  Hmmm... I can't decide. 

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Rocky Road.  You simply can't go wrong with this.  Everyone loves Rocky Road, right?

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White Chocolate Shards.  Kind of a more sophisticated version of Rocky Road.

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Jolly Balls.  Awesome Christmas treats.  A bite sized healthy Christmas Pudding.

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Chocolate Date Balls.  Healthy enough for lunch boxes...great for a health-conscious foodie.

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Healthy Chocolate Spread.  A jar of this will put a smile on someone's face and make breakfast oh, so much better!

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Chewy Macaroon Biccies.  Make a jar full of these and you'll have a friend for life. 

(don't worry, I'll get to the non-chocolate treats soon!!)

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Carrot Cake.  Nothing like a yummy, moist, healthy home made cake to say I love you.  Or make it as muffins.

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Banana Cake.  I think I made my point above.  Goes for this one too!

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Grain Free Easter Muffins.  A lovely Easter gift for a friendly foodie, or any time of the year without the crosses.

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Preserved Lemons.  Make these when lemons are in season, then give them as gifts during the off-season so your friends can enjoy the wonderful flavour of lemon in their dishes all year round.

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Marinated Fetta.  An extra-special way to enjoy this versatile cheese.  I make it with sheep fetta.

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Fig Paste.  A sugar free alternative to the pastes you find in the supermarket.  Accompany with a couple of the                                                              recipient's favourite                                                  cheeses.

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Christmas Nuts.  Perfectly spiced with Christmas flavours, but wonderful all year round!

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Pesto.  I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who doesn't like pesto!  This would make a lovely gift in a jar with their favourite crackers and maybe some cheese.

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Cinnamon Maple Cereal.  Just thinking outside the box a little... why not give this wonderfully healthy granola-type cereal in a nice re-usable jar to the cereal-lover in your life?

Friendly Food for Chocoholics Cook Book
For more recipes that would make great gifts that are not on my blog, check out my book 'Friendly Food for Chocoholics'.  Seriously indulgent guilt-free food for yourself or the discerning foodie in your life!
As well as subscribing to my mail list for new recipes in the link above, you can also join my Facebook  community for lots of extra Friendly information and informative conversations.  Also find me on PinterestTwitter, and Instagram.  You can see more of my photography here.
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<![CDATA[Asian Noodle Broth]]>Fri, 25 Jul 2014 03:00:32 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/asian-noodle-broth gluten free - can be grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free - egg free
Asian Noodle Broth
     The other day I was making a huge pot of chicken bone broth, using a whole chicken rather than just the bones, so I could use the meat for lunches through the week.  The weather has been so miserable lately I've been craving warm, immune boosting food.  I had the overwhelming urge to make soup, then kind of randomly chose some Asian flavours and threw this together!  I wasn't exactly intending to write a new recipe, but thankfully I wrote down what I did because it was really good, and now I can share it with you!  I wasn't even prepared to take photos at the time, so these couple of pics are of the left-overs the next day!!  Needless to say, it lasted well!     I'm sure you could also make this with beef or lamb bone stock; and instead of chicken, just pan fry a lovely tender steak in coconut oil, then very finely slice it into the finished product. 
     I've given this the more generic title of 'Asian' broth because I've kind of mixed my countries in the ingredient list.  It started out kind of Chinese, until I added fish sauce because it needed a punchier flavor- so it became a little Thai/ Vietnamese! 

 Noodle Options
      For this to be grain free, your noodles will need to be Konjac noodles or Kelp noodles or Mung Bean noodles.  Kojac noodles are made from the root of the Konjac Glocumanna plant, grown in subtropical to tropical Eastern Asia (from Japan and China to Indonesia).  They are very high in soluble fibre and low in carbohydrate.  They are reminiscent of rice noodles, just slightly more gelatinous.  You can find them in the health food isle of major supermarkets, or in organic /health food stores.  Kelp noodles are simply a seaweed noodle.  I've not actually tried them, but if you have, tell me what you think!  Mung Bean noodles can also be found called Cellophane noodles in an Asian food store.  They have less nutritional value than the other options, and are quite high in carbohydrate and low in fibre.  Of course, you could also use thin rice noodles if you prefer, or 100% Buckwheat noodles to be gluten free, but not grain free.  Buckwheat noodles are a traditional Japanese noodle, used in soups.  Buckwheat is rich in protein, minerals and bioflavonoids, and B1.  It is gluten free and is easier on digestion than wheat.  Bulk Whole Foods has a great range of noodle options and post Australia wide.
Ingredients:
Serves 4-6
  • 7 cups chicken bone stock (or beef or lamb bone stock)
  • Shredded meat of half a boiled chicken (or two poached chicken breasts, or finely sliced pan friend steak)
  • 40g dried Shitake mushrooms (or an assortment of fresh Asian Mushrooms)
  • Konjac / Kelp / Mung Bean /Buckwheat/ Rice Noodles, prepared as per packet instructions  (quantities are hard to give here- I used 2 x250 packet of Konjac noodles- they come in liquid and the noodles themselves don't weigh that much.  Just use what you deem reasonable for 4-6 people!)
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole anise star
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or palm sugar or rapadura)
  • 3 tablespoons shoa sing wine (Chinese cooking wine) or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoona fish sauce
  • 3 large spring onions
  • 2cm knob of fresh ginger, very finely chopped
  • Brocolli or bok choy or other green leafy vegetable, chopped in small pieces
  • Sesame oil for finishing
  • Extra spring onion for garnish

Method:
  • If using dried mushrooms, boil some water and soak the mushrooms in a bowl with the hot boiled water for 20-30 minutes, until they are soft.  Keep the water once they are finished soaking for adding to the soup later!
  • In a large pot, bring to the boil over high heat the stock with all the ingredients except the meat and mushrooms.  Reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes to let the flours infuse.
  • Add the green vegetables and cook until almost tender (5-ish minutes). 
  • Add the meat, mushrooms, and 1 cup of the reserved mushroom water.
  • Boil for a minute to warm the meat.
  • Divide the noodles between the bowls, then ladle the broth over the noodles, making sure you also get plenty of meat and veg. 
  • Garnish with liberal amounts of freshly sliced spring onion and a drizzle of sesame oil.

    Check out my lovely Chicken, Corn and Potato Chowder made with chicken broth here.
Asian Noodle Broth
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<![CDATA[Glazed Meatloaf]]>Fri, 11 Jul 2014 02:19:39 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/glazed-meatloaf
Sliced, Glazed Meatloaf
Gluten free - dairy free - nut free - can be egg free
     We are having unseasonably COLD and windy winter weather at the moment, and I hate Winter at the best of times!  This kind of weather makes me want to have the oven on, and fill my belly with warm, hearty food.   I'm sure meatloaf recipes are rather prolific on the internet, but I'm sharing this one anyway, because it takes me back to my childhood and is totally the kind of food I want to eat right now!  Meatloaf was a childhood favourite of mine, and I particularly loved the sweet glaze that my Mum used to smother hers with. This recipe is straight out of Mum's hand-written recipe cards, but with some replacements to make it gluten and dairy free.  It uses 1kg of beef mince, and this does two meals (and a couple of slices for leftovers as well) for our family of four. The whole amount will fit into one loaf tin, to make a nice high meat loaf, but I usually divide it into two and put one straight into the freezer for another meal. You can add veges to the meatloaf if your kids don't like eating their veges 'plain'. My kids are pretty good vege eaters and I prefer to keep the meatloaf 'pure'!
     Makes 10-12 serves
Ingredients
  • 1 kg organic beef mince
  • 1 egg (or egg replacer)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a few big grinds of fresh pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried herbs (mixed or parsley)
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 2 small onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer almond milk- you can use soy, rice, dairy)
  • 1 cup gluten free crumbs (rice or bread crumbs or quinoa flakes)
  • 1 dessertspoon corn flour (or tapioca flour)
  • optional: if you want to 'smuggle' some veges into your meatloaf, grate a couple of carrots and / or zucchini, and reduce milk by 1/4 cup.
For the Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
  • 4 teaspoons pure maple syrup or raw honey or rice malt syrup
(double if you are making the meatloaf in two tins)

Method
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius fan forced.
  • Line one or two loaf tins (see explanation above) with baking paper.
  • Whisk together the egg, salt, pepper, herbs, garlic and milk.
  • Add the mince, crumbs, corn flour and onions. At this point I usually put on kitchen gloves and 'massage' it all together by hand.
Mixing meatloaf by hand
Meatloaf into the oven
  • Press mixture into your tin/s.
  • Bake for one hour.
  • Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing the two ingredients thoroughly. If you are making the meatloaf in two separate tins, double the amount of glaze.
  • After one hour, cover the top with the glaze and return to oven for a further 20 minutes.
  • Beautiful with mashed potato, or my Kau Kau Bake, and some steamed green veges.
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Meatloaf fresh from the oven
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<![CDATA[Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto]]>Tue, 03 Jun 2014 02:08:59 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/thermomix-mushroom-and-bacon-risotto Gluten free - dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free - egg free - can be additive free
Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
    I shall begin by saying that I am not a lover of risotto.  Yep, never liked it enough to be bothered to stand over a stove and slowly and constantly stir in tiny bits of liquid at a time.  Then I bought a Thermomix.  I know I would be shot down by the 'foodie establishment' for saying it, but I really like Thermomix risotto!  I prefer the fully-cooked texture of the rice and the general consistency it produces.  AND, it's really easy!  No standing and stirring- just button pressing!  So, I sincerely apologise to my non-thermomix-owing-readers.  This is the first time I've posted a Thermomix-only recipe and I won't make a habit of it :-)  
    I've experimented with ingredient combinations and have come up with a favourite Thermomix risotto recipe.  The cooking instructions are from the EDC cookbook- just the ingredients have been changed to the way I like them.  
    Variations:
    I've listed this in my 'vegetarian' category because it's easy to eliminate the bacon.   Just skip that step!
    In this recipe I use home made, gut-health-boosting, rich and divine bone broth/stock.  I know the TM stock concentrate is easy and convenient to use, but I think bone broth tastes better, and is much better for you too.  If you're going for the vegetarian option, you would need to use the vegie stock concentrate, or a vegie liquid stock.  
    As for the parmesan, I use a hard sheep cheese such as pecorino or manchego as I tend to tolerate this better than a dairy cheese such as parmesan.  The butter at the end is optional, for a lovely rich flavor, but not necessary if you don't eat dairy.
    If you're avoiding additives, make sure you buy organic wine, and preferably one that doesn't use preservatives.  As for the variety of wine to use: I'm not a chardonnay drinker usually, but I love it in this, and the remaining 550ml that doesn't go in the dish goes down really well as an accompaniment when you're eating it (if there's any left after you've 'just tried a little' while cooking!).
Thermomix mushroom and bacon risotto
Serves 4-6 as a main dish or 8-10 as a side.
Ingredients:
  • 200g bacon (preferably organic, sulfate free), diced
  • 60g cheese- sheep pecorino, manchego, or traditional parmesan, cut into cubes
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 4 x 10cm sprigs fresh rosemary, hard stalks removed  (thyme would also be nice)
  • 30g coconut oil (or butter if you prefer)
  • 400g Arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • 200g white wine (see note above)
  • 1litre/ 1000g bone broth (chicken, beef, lamb, or vegie stock if you  prefer.  If using concentrate, use 3 tablespoons concentrate and 1litre  water)
  • 200g fresh field mushrooms, diced
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 20g butter for serving (optional)
  • Extra parmesan for serving (optional)
Method:
  • Cook the diced bacon in a pan over high heat, stirring regularly, until a nice caramalisation has occurred.  Add oil to pan before cooking if necessary (I find in my cast iron pan that the fat of the bacon itself is enough). Turn of heat and set aside.
  • Place cheese into TM bowl and chop 10 sec /speed 9.  Set aside.  Don't bother cleaning the bowl.
  • Place onion, garlic and rosemary into
    the bowl and chop 3 sec / speed 7.  Scrape down the bowl.
  • Add oil and sauté 3 mins /Varoma/speed 1  
  • Insert butterfly.  Add rice and wine and sauté 2 mins / 100degrees / reverse / speed 1.
  • Add broth/stock and mushrooms and cooked bacon (reserve a little bacon for garnish, if desired) and cook 16 mins / 100degrees / reverse / speed 1. 
  • The consistancy at this point will still be a little 'soupy'.  Remove butterfly.
  • Transfer into ThermoServer, add salt and pepper to taste and stir through the reserved cheese and butter (if using).
  • Allow to rest for at least five minutes prior to serving.  The longer it sits, the more liquid is absorbed.  Serve garnished with extra shaved cheese and reserved bacon.
Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
Frying the bacon
Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
End of cooking time in the thermomix. It's still quite 'soupy'.
Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
After stirring in the cheese and resting in the ThermoServer for 5 mins.
Thermomix Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
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<![CDATA[Paleo Almond Satay Chicken]]>Thu, 15 May 2014 09:46:12 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/paleo-almond-satay-chicken Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - additive free - egg free 
Paleo Almond Satay Chicken
     We found out our first born was allergic to peanuts when he was one. Satay was one of my most favourite of dishes, and I grieved the loss of it in our household! I would often order it when eating out to get my 'fix'. It took me a few years to realise that there are other nuts that make a really fine replacement for peanuts in a Satay Sauce. I have tried making it with both cashews and almonds, and have played around with my favourite recipe a lot, and here is the final product that we all love! Kids and adults alike wolf it down! Of course if you can eat peanuts, and prefer them to almonds, go ahead and use peanut butter to replace the almond butter. Almond butter is just like peanut butter- made from ground almonds, sometimes with a little added oil and salt. It's wonderful for spreading on toast too, and it's very high in calcium.  It's available in Australia in the health food isle of the supermarket.
       The other great thing about this recipe is that the cooked marinated chicken has the most wonderful, rich flavour, without even needing to add the sauce. So, it would make a great finger food for toddlers, or a tasty addition to a fried rice dish.
    I have 'thermified' this recipe for those with a thermomix- refer to instructions at the end.
    I also have a fabulous Paleo Butter Chicken recipe, that is very popular! 
Paleo Almond Satay Chicken
Serves 4 adults, or 6 with kids eating.
Ingredients:

For the marinade:
  • 500g / about 1 pound chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or other oil)

For the sauce:
  • Coconut Oil or ghee for frying
  • ½1/2 cup / 130g almond butter (or crunchy peanut butter)
  • one brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut sugar (or palm sugar or brown sugar)
  • small amount of fresh chilli, or chilli powder, to your own tastes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated or minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (wheat free soy sauce....not strictly Paleo- use Coconut Aminos if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup / 250ml coconut milk or cream (needs a high coconut content, not much water added)
  • up to 1 cup water
Plus:
  •  vegetables of choice (e.g. red capsicum, carrot, green leafy vegetables)
  • optional rice or noodles for serving
  • fresh coriander for garnish

Method:
Note: If possible, marinate the chicken overnight, or for at least 2 hours to develop the beautiful flavours.
  • Cut the chicken into bite sized cubes or strips.
  • Stir all the marinade ingredients together in a glass or ceramic dish, then stir in the chicken until completely coated. Cover, and place in the fridge to marinate.
  • When ready to cook, stir together in a bowl or small jug the vinegar, sugar, chilli, ginger, tamari, fish sauce and coconut milk. Set aside.
  • Heat about 2 tablespoons oil (I prefer coconut oil) or ghee in a large pan over medium to high heat. Add the chicken and toss regularly so it browns completely. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Remove the chicken, setting aside for later.
  • Add another tablespoon of ghee/ coconut oil to the pan and fry off the onions until they are soft, stirring regularly.
  • Add the almond/ peanut butter to the pan with the onions, and HALF a cup of water. Stir vigorously until the mixture is thick, like custard.
  • Add the jug of pre-mixed ingredients, stir, and allow to come to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan.
  • Simmer for a minute, and add vegetables to the dish. If it is becoming too dry, add the extra half cup of water to the pan and stir it in. Cover the pan to help the vegetables steam.
  • When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, turn off heat and serve over rice or noodles if desired, and garnish with coriander.

Thermomix method:

  • To make your own almond butter, blend 150g total of raw almonds 5 sec / speed 9. Scrape down sides of bowl, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or almond oil). Blend again, speed 6, until blades cease to make contact with the nuts. Scrape bowl, and continue blending on speed 6, scraping as necessary until natural oils are released and a butter consistency forms. This will take 2-3 minutes in the Thermomix and up to 10 minutes in other processors. 
  • Reserve 1 tablespoon of the almond butter to use in the marinade.
  • Cut the chicken into bite sized cubes or strips and place in a glass or ceramic bowl.
  • To make the marinade, use the bowl you just made the almond butter in, without cleaning it.  Place 14grams fresh ginger, roughly chopped, into the TM bowl.  Chop 3 sec /speed 7.  Remove half of the ginger, setting aside to use later in the sauce.
  • Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and blend 5 sec /speed 7.  Pour over the chicken, scraping all marinade out of the bowl, and stir til chicken is coated.  Cover, and place in fridge overnight, or at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to cook, chop the onion into about 8 pieces, then blend in TM 2 sec / speed 7.  Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee and saute 3 mins / veroma / speed 1. 
  • Add the almond butter and half a cup of water and  cook 3 mins / 90degrees / reverse/ speed 2.
  • Add chicken and marinade and cook 9 mins / 100degrees / reverse /speed 1. 
  • Add reserved ginger, sugar, vinegar, chilli, fish sauce, tamari and coconut milk.  Cook 2 min / veroma / reverse / speed 1. 
  • Add about 400g chopped vegetables into the bowl, stir through with spatula, then cook 4 min / veroma /reverse / speed 1.  Stir the vegetables through again, and repeat cooking for another 2 mins.  If the vegetables are still not to your liking, repeat for another 2 mins. 
  • Serve over rice or noodles if desired and garnish with corriander. 
Picture
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<![CDATA[Reflections On Pretending to be Poor]]>Sat, 10 May 2014 08:34:54 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/reflections-on-pretending-to-be-poorOn day two of the five day 'Live Below the Line' Challenge, Mr 11 walked in from school with his 'I've been devising a cunning plan' look on his face.
"Mum, since we're pretending to be poor this week, can we not go to school?"

I praised him for his wit, and he soon asked me if he could play on the computer.

"Well, if we're pretending to be poor this week, then you probably shouldn't be having computer time".

"Ok", he says "I won't play computer if I don't have to go to school".  Gotta love that kid.


  After Mr 11 coined this phrase, it was the basis of many conversations through our five days of feeding ourselves for only $2 per person per day. We thought of all the things that would be eliminated from our lives if this challenge extended to more than just limiting our food budget. We had great discussions around the dinner table as we read our book "Hungry Planet" and compared our normal lives to those in other countries. I thought about it as I routinely drove myself around in one of the two vehicles we own. I thought about it as I turned on my electric blanket at night to warm my cold feet. I thought about it as I tucked my boys into their warm, comfy beds in their individual rooms, under our weather-tight, substantially sized roof. I thought about it as I cooked a simple pasta and tomato meal worth $2.80 for four people in an electronic machine valued at nearly $2000. Believe me, the irony did not escape me.
Other than being limited in what food we could eat, this was a pretty normal week for us. Other than wishing that my food had more flavour, and dealing with minor meltdowns from Mr 8 over the same issue, life went on. Other than putting a ridiculously large amount of starchy carbohydrates into my body, and very little protein and fresh vegetables, our little world kept turning. Other than having a food-related headache and a bloated stomach for most of the week, my pretty comfortable life continued as per normal. Other than the strangely unusual sensation of being ravenously hungry at 9pm, despite having eaten a good amount of food only 3 hours before, there wasn't much discomfort to deal with.
I realised that on one hand, this small effort we were making to 'identify' with those who have so little seemed, to be honest, kind of pathetic. I mean, who were we kidding? You can actually eat a crazy amount of food for $2 a day. I ate more than most people in the developing world would probably dream of eating in a day. And the rest of our lives are still completely comfortable.

But then on the other hand, I realised what a big thing this small change been. This small change in our lives ended up being a really big deal in the life of our family over the week. All we talked about was food. Constantly adding figures in our head to see if we could afford that little bit extra at the end of the day. Devising what we'd eat tomorrow to get the most mileage for our money. Discussing the taste of the food and how much we were looking forward to something with more flavour and more variety of ingredients.  I realised that I was eating merely to fuel my body, rather than for the enjoyment of eating.  It had no appeal.   And hubby and I were TIRED. Eating that much carbohydrate and very little protein is tough on the digestion, and tough on the immune system and generally just tough on the human body.

We realised what a big deal it actually is to have to live like this. We chose to eat like this for a week, and it kind of consumed us. The majority of the world has little choice but to eat like this (and most likely in less quantity) every.single.day.
Every week.
Every month.
Every year.
It really feels quite awful.
It's pretty hard to function when you're in a carb-induced brain fade. It's kind of a downer to know that you're going to be eating the same thing every.single.day.
I sit here on Friday night, the last night of the challenge. I've finished my food for the day.  It's 9pm and I'm 'starving'.

Starving
.

We've banned that word from our house.

I'm hungry. I wasn't hungry at any other time of the day on any of the five days. Don't know why it's hit me every night at 9pm, but there it is. And it's frustrating and feels very out-of-control to not be able to put something in my belly when it tells me it needs it.

We have made a ridiculously small attempt at 'pretending to be poor' this week. I am thankful we did it. I hope that we will continue to be more thankful each day for what we have, and to remember that just because we have it, doesn't mean it should be ours to keep. Gifts are for giving away, and our life is a gift. Everything in it. We were gifted this country of our birth, we've done nothing to earn living here and being given all the incredible freedoms that come with this lottery-win. I'm hoping that 'pretending to be poor' for a week will help us to always remember this. If not, we may have to do it again next year ;-)


You can donate to the cause until June 30, 2014.  All money raised goes to much needed education in East Timor and Papua New Guinea. Here's the link to the 'Food, Glorious Friendly Food' team page:  https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/team/food-glorious-friendly-food

And here's the link to Karen's personal fundraising page:
  https://www.livebelowtheline.com.au/me/karen_stevenson

If you'd like to read about why we did this challenge in the first place, click here.

If you'd like to get an idea of the kinds of things we ate, click here.


I truly appreciate all the support from the 'Food, Glorious Friendly Food' community while we did this challenge.  Thank you for being there with us.  Karen.

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<![CDATA[Masala Fish Curry]]>Fri, 09 May 2014 04:56:39 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/masala-fish-curry Gluten free - grain free - dairy free - refined sugar free - egg free - nut free - additive free
Masala Fish Curry
I'm excited to introduce you to Zainab- a Foodie blogger from the UK, who I'm doing a blog swap with!  We're participating in International Blog Swap Day (yep, there is such a thing), and doing a guest post on each other's blogs! 

Zainab is a first-time mum to daughter Aaliyah, aged 3, and currently resides in London, England with her husband and two cats. She can be found blogging recipes at ZainabJagotAhmed.com and is author of Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook (links to this are on her website).

Her blog and cookbook focus on preparing delicious, nutritious home-made baby food using aromatic spices as a substitute to adding salt and refined sugar in children’s meals. A great way to add extra flavours to meals making children less fussy eaters as they grow, which Zainab’s daughter is testament to. Zainab also blogs about quick meals for kids and tasty family meals, ensuring one meal is suitable for the whole family. I really encourage you to check out her website- there are lots of vibrant, yummy, family friendly recipes to try, and so many of them are free from gluten/dairy/sugar/additives!

You can find my contribution to the blog swap on her website here.  It's a yummy Almond Satay Chicken.


Here is Zainab's yummy recipe for our blog swap:

Masala Fish Curry
    I’m fully aware of how tricky it can be to get fish into a child’s diet unless it’s in the form of a bright orange, bread crumbed fish finger; which is why I love this curry. I cooked it the other night and it went down a treat! Besides the fact Aaliyah thought it was chicken (because it was white), this is a tasty way to get some protein-rich fish into your family’s diet. I did make a point, however, to correct her by telling her it was fish, so she was aware that fish can be just as delicious as chicken. Her response to this was ‘yummy – I like fish’. My response was ‘woo-hoo’ - followed by a Michael Jackson moonwalk [well in my head anyway]. Previously when I’ve openly celebrated such a comment, Aaliyah would embarrass quickly and retract her statement. So I’ve learnt the art of a ‘silent win’.
      This is a delicious, tangy fish curry prepared using all natural ingredients – no curry pastes in my cupboard! It’s simple - using just a few ingredients and is great for the whole family. You can make this a salt-free meal if you wish by allowing the lemon to act as a substitute, as it provides a sharp taste to the fish. And combined with the tomatoes, is a superb source of antioxidant vitamin C. The fish is also a great source of B vitamins.
     I hope you like it.

Total preparation and cooking time: 40mins
Serves family of 4

Marinade:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ lemon — freshly squeezed
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • 4 x 100g (3½oz) white fish fillets (skinless, boneless)
Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g (7oz) tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
  • Fresh coriander/ cilantro for garnish — washed

Method:

Marinade: Combine the oil, tomato puree, coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric and lemon juice. Remove one tablespoon of marinade and set aside – this will be used for the curry sauce later. Then cover one fish fillet (one per child) with the marinade and also set aside. Add salt (if using) to the remaining marinade and cover the remaining fillets. Allow to marinate for 30mins.

Sauce: Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add the tomatoes and the ‘saved’ tablespoon of marinade. Stir-fry on medium-low heat until it thickens then add the marinated fish fillets to the pan and simmer on medium-low heat for 6-8mins or until the fish is flaky. Turn over halfway. Once cooked, remove the kid’s fish fillets and some curry sauce and set aside. Then add salt and red chilli powder to the pan (if using) and return to the heat for a further 1-2mins. Garnish the main serving (and your little ones) with fresh coriander/ cilantro and serve with roti or rice.

IMPORTANT: ensure there are no fish bones included within your children’s serving.

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<![CDATA[Chicken Meatballs]]>Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:29:15 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/chicken-meatballs
Gluten free - dairy free - refined sugar free - nut free - egg free
Chicken Meatballs
    I've enjoyed cooking with chicken mince for a long time.  Chicken is my favourite meat, and the mince is relatively cheap and very versatile.  So, when I was given the opportunity to create a recipe for Steggles, using their chicken mince, it was kind of a no-brainer!  I chose to make meatballs because you can pack so much flavour into them- both in the balls and in the sauce.  This is a lovely rich dish, and cooking it in the oven provides a really succulent, moist meatball. 
    Steggles Chicken Mince is new to the market, and is made from a blend of chicken thigh fillet and chicken breast fillet, with no other ingredients.  It is lean, so it gives you a really high protein content.  It is available Australia wide in the meat section of Coles, for $11 for two 500g packets.  Steggles are giving Food, Glorious Friendly Food readers the chance to win a prize pack by commenting below about what their favourite chicken dish is.
NOTE:  give away is now closed.
Chicken Meatballs
Chicken Meatballs
Serves 4 adults
Ingredients
For the Meatballs:
  • 500g (just over 1 pound) chicken mince
  • 1 small onion
  • 3-4 cloves
    garlic
  • 1+1/2 cups / 125g quinoa flakes (or other gluten free crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain apple sauce (if you don't have it on hand you can use an egg plus a tablespoon honey or maple syrup instead)
  • 3 rosemary sprigs (about 10cm long each)
  • handful fresh sage leaves
  • a few grinds each of sea salt and pepper
  • coconut oil, ghee or butter for frying
For the sauce:
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • a couple of generous handfuls of 'garden greens' (kale, spinach, cabbage, rocket etc)
  • 1 large red capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 x 690ml bottle of plain tomato passata (about 2+2/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt and pepper
Method:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius (340F).
For the meatballs:
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic and herbs (this can be done in a food processor,
    or Thermomix speed 8 / 2 seconds).
  • Remove to a bowl, add all
    other meatball ingredients and mix with your hands until it is completely mixed
    and uniform.
  • Roll into balls.  Mine are small-ish: about 28
    balls in total.
  • Heat coconut oil/ghee/butter  in a large
    casserole pot (it will later go in the oven) over medium-high heat.  Brown
    the balls on the top and bottom.  There is no need to cook them through, just get a nice crunchy 'browning' happening.
  • Remove balls from pan and set aside while making the sauce. 
For the Sauce:
  • Finely chop the onion, garlic, garden greens, capsicum and rosemary (you can also do this in a food processor, or Thermomix speed 10 / 2 seconds / scrape
    down and blend another second).
  • If there is no oil remaining in the pot
    after removing the balls, add a little more. 
  • Over medium-high heat, fry off these chopped ingredients til the onion is soft. 
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and fry off til the liquid is almost gone.
  • Add the passata, put half a cup of water in the empty bottle, swish it around and pour into the pot.  Add salt and pepper to
    taste.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to
    boil.
  • Return the meatballs to the pot, stir them in so they are covered in sauce.
  • Cover with lid and place in oven for 30
    minutes.
  • Check that meatballs are cooked through and that the sauce has reduced to desired consistency.  If not, cook a little longer.
  • Serve immediately, with pasta if desired, or some extra steamed green vegetables.
You can see my other chicken recipes here.
Chicken Meatballs
This is a sponsored post.  Visit www.steggles.com.au or 
https://www.steggles.com.au/recipes/chicken-mince-recipes  for more info about Steggles Chicken Mince.

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<![CDATA[How To Eat For $2 a day:  Menu Plans]]>Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:36:51 GMThttp://www.foodgloriousfriendlyfood.com/blog-and-recipes/how-to-eat-for-2-a-day-menu-plansWell, here it is!  My shopping list and suggested menus for feeding yourself on $2 a day, and still eat free of wheat/gluten, dairy and refined sugars!  WHY am I doing this??  Have a look at this post, and then come back!

I'm telling you, eating within $2 a day would be a breeze If I ate wheat, but without it, there is a LOT of juggling!  I wanted to make sure there was *some* protein in each day, despite the fact that it's expensive, as well as at least a cup of vegetables.  Seriously, beggers can't be choosers, and this really is the point of the challenge: to have an understanding of how the majority of the world lives.  Yes, this is going to be hard, but I'm hoping that all this work I've already done to show you how to do it will help you feel you can jump on in! 
I really hope you choose to join me and my family and take up the challenge.  Please read my previous post for how to join.
First, a few notes:
    1.  You are not going to be able to eat organic for the week.  While I usually make organic food a priority for our family, there is just no way it fits into a $2 a day budget.
    2.  I made this food list based on the 'highest common demoninator'... i.e. I got my prices from either Woolies or Coles (yes, the most expensive places to buy groceries, but also the most common), and chose the cheapest option of all brands available (ie the 'Homebrand' or 'Select' or 'Coles Smart Buy' etc).  None of my prices are based on items on sale.  If you see any items on sale over the weeks leading up to the challenge, BUY them, and then you can eat more!!
    3.  If you purchase your items in bulk, they are cheaper.  Eg, the rice and oats prices are based on the largest package size available in the supermarket because it's the cheapest.  I buy my nuts in bulk from a co-op and the price is based on this, rather than the more expensive supermarket ones. 
    4.  If you don't want to go out and price all these items individually in your own supermarket, I feel it would still be within the general intent behind this challenge to just go ahead and use my pricing, even though it may be slightly off.  Just make sure you buy the CHEAPEST available brand and size.
    5.  The 'rules' state that if you're using home grown produce, that you should still factor in the cost of seeds, fertiliser etc.  I have somewhat randomly chosen a figure of 2 cents per meal for my home grown herbs and spring onions (these are perpetual and hardly cost a thing to keep).  If you're using seasonal vegetables, you may also want to add about 5 cents per serve.
    6.  Almond milk and pulp is going to be invaluable to me as a fat and protein source.  I make my own using 1 cup /260g soaked almonds and 1 litre water.  This will yield 1 litre almond milk and the left over 1 cup of pulp.  The total cost of making this quantity is $2 (remembering I get my almonds in bulk), and I will spread this out over the week.
    7.  Non-wheat bread, even a basic make-at-home spelt bread recipe just works out too expensive to include in this challenge :-( 
    8.  I have included the price of brown wheat bread, and wheat pasta so you can see how much cheaper it is, for those of you who eat wheat.  You wheat-eaters should have no reason to feel hungry!!
  For the non wheat eaters, oats are your greatest friend for the week.  At only 8 cents for a half cup (uncooked) serve, they will be your best filler! 

FOOD LIST
  •   1/2  cup dried 'soup mix' (mix of lentils,
    split peas and barley) OR plain  split peas 37 cents
  •   1/2 cup (uncooked) basmati rice    (this is a low GI option and will fill you for longer than plain white  rice) 37 cents
  •   1/2  cup (uncooked) brown rice  29 cents
  •   1/2  cup (uncooked) long grain white rice 15 cents
  •  Gluten free corn pasta- 62  gram serve (1/4 of a 250g package, uncooked) 37 cents
  •  Wheat Pasta, portion as above  8 cents
  •  Wheat bread, brown, 1 slice  4 cents
  •   1/2  cup uncooked rolled oats  8 cents
  •   1/2  a 425g tin of baked beans 36 cents
  •   34g /about 2 tablespoons peanut butter 
    (good for fat and protein) 26 cents
  •   25g  unpopped popcorn kernels 8 cents
  •   40g  sultanas (this is pretty much the
    only sweet treat on the list!) 15cents
  •   1  egg (good protein source- free range, in 18 egg value pack)  46 cents
  •   2  'corn thins' (found in savoury biscuit
    isle)  16 cents
  •   1  orange   33 cents
  •   1/4  medium sized onion 10 cents 
  •   120g uncooked potato (about 1 large potato)16 cents
  •   120g uncooked sweet potato 35 cents 
  •   120g uncooked pumpkin 25 cents
  •   1 medium sized fresh carrot  13 cents
  •   250g diced mixed frozen vegetables (homebrand) 39 cents
  •   250g frozen peas  25  cents
  •   1/8  large 680g bottle tomato passata
    (about 1/4 cup serving) 25  cents
  •   1/2  teaspoon sea salt  2 cents 
  •   home grown garden herbs per meal
    2 cents
  •  1  black tea bag 1.7 cents
  •   Home made almond milk using 1 cup/ 260g almonds and 1 litre water.  
    Serving size = 1/4 cup left over almond pulp and 1 cup milk. 50 cents
POSSIBLE MENU PLANS-
total value $2 per day for one person


OPTION 1:
Meal 1: Oats cooked in water, 1 serve sultanas, 1 egg
Meal 2:  2 large potatoes, 1/2 tin baked beans
Meal 3:  1 serve white rice, 1 serve mixed frozen veggies, salt, garden herbs
Snacks:  1 serve popcorn with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tea bag
.

OPTION 2:
Meal 1: 1 serve oats with 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup almond pulp mixed in
Meal 2:  1 serve soup mix, 1 large potato
Meal 3:  1 serve brown rice, mixed with 1 serve peanut butter, onion and peas
Snacks:  1 serve popcorn with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tea bag and 1/4 cup almond milk.


OPTION 3:
Meal 1:  1 serve oats with 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup almond pulp mixed in
Meal 2:  1 serve soup mix plus one serve white rice with salt and garden herbs
Meal 3:  1 egg, 1 large potato (OR 1 CUP uncooked oats, cooked in water), 125g peas, salt, garden herbs.

Snacks:  1 serve popcorn with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tea bag and 1/4 cup almond milk.

OPTION 4:
Meal 1:  1 serve oats with 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/4 cup almond pulp mixed in
Meal 21 serve white rice, 1 serve mixed frozen veggies, salt, garden herbs
Meal 3:  1 serve gluten free pasta, 1 serve passata, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garden herbs, grated medium carrot.
Snacks:  1 serve popcorn with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 tea bag and 1/4 cup almond milk.

{Sneaky Tip:
The suggested meal plans are adult portions.
If you have kids doing this challenge, who eat less, you can share some of the excess from the suggested meal plans with the adults.}


During the challenge, I will be keeping you posted on how we are doing on my Facebook Page, so please jump over and follow along!  If you would like to subscribe to recieve notification of future blog posts, please fill out the sign up form on my Contact Page.  Please feel free to ask questions or make comments below.  I'm excited to be doing this! 
Karen.
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