Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mandarin, Chia, and Almond Muffins

So much cuteness today - my eldest daughter bought her class teddy home from school for the night and has been caring for "Freddy the Teddy" all evening - he is dressed in a pair of her pink pyjamas, he had a bowl of broccoli for dinner, played on the deck, hung out with Rosie the bear and even managed to brush his teeth and wash his face before bed!! In the morning he has to put his school uniform back on to head back to school, and his adventures have been written up in the book that he comes with, along with a lovely drawing and a bunch of photos. 

This has given me a chance to see how much Kaylah has LOVED caring for a special item, and although we already have a cat that is virtually ignored, I think I will encourage this wonderful game to carry on with another of her favourite toys. No doubt it will be short lived, but should at least keep her busy over the long weekend!

My youngest had a Mothers evening at her pre-school which was so much fun. We had to wear crazy hats (pirate hats obviously, with her love for pirates!!) and I spent an hour just sitting with her and having her show me all of the activities she gets up to in a day. She is at Montessori, so the activities are quite structured, and we often do not get to see the kids in action. Wow, they do so much! The evening was topped off with a wee concert which is always just cuteness to the max!!!!!

Anyway, that's my little Mama pride moment - now back to the food!

I have had a handful of mandarins slowly becoming more and more elderly sitting in the fruit bowl and they've been bugging me...can't stand seeing food go off, and of course once they get to that wilted looking point no one will eat them, so I get stuck in this limbo of not wanting to chuck them but being unable to push them on anyone! Today I had enough of them staring me in the face and decided to do something about it. I had a search through the pantry, pulled out a few ingredients and whipped up these quick and easy muffins. They worked really well! LOVE that!! There is nothing more satisfying that trying something random and throwing ingredients in a bowl, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best...and then having it work. Ahhhhhhh :)

These muffins are free of gluten, grains, soy, and refined sugar. I made them with a little butter today, which I don't often do, but if you would like a dairy free option simply replace the butter with coconut oil or oil of your choice. 

The best part about these is that they truly do only take minutes to make. I think the batter was done within 5 minutes, they were in the oven within 10, and the cook time with 20 minutes. Muffins in 30 minutes...perfect. They are delicious hot from the oven, but work just as well once they have cooled.

Sneaking a taste...
These muffins are such a gorgeous vibrant colour!

Mandarin, Chia, and Almond Muffins

Gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar. Option to have dairy free

4 mandarins, skins removed, and roughly chopped (check for any pips and remove)
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, softened, or melted coconut oil for a dairy free option
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey (you can add more if you prefer a sweeter muffin, or depending on how sweet your mandarins are)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line or grease a 6 hole standard muffin tin
2. In a blender or using a stick blender, pulse the mandarin until diced, but still with a little pulpy texture remaining. You can have it totally smooth if you prefer, but I liked the little bit of texture. Tip the mandarins into a medium bowl.
3. In the same blender, blend together the eggs, butter (or oil), vanilla, and honey until smooth and well combined. Add to the mandarin and mix well to combine. 
4. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut, baking powder, chia seeds) and mix to combine
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
6 Fill muffin tins, and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until just golden on top and no longer squishy to the touch.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack...if you can wait that long, otherwise just eat hot!! 



Monday, 20 October 2014

Cauliflower and Broccoli 'Falafel' with Tahini Sauce

A little later than planned, but here it is! Last night I posted a recipe for Tabouleh, and promised to post the recipe for the falafels that we had as the main part of the meal. A little bit backwards, I know, but hey what fun is the world if you can't do things a bit higgledy piggeldy every now and then!

So here is a picture of the meal we put together - it was a delicious Middle Eastern inspired bowl of goodness, full of yummy vegetables and spice flavours. This is an ideal meal to put together for Meat-free Monday style dish (obviously doesn't have to be Monday, it's just the name that's caught on!), or it is a fantastic filling lunch.

Traditional falafels are made with chickpeas which many people love, however if you find legumes hard to digest as I do, they can cause digestive problems. Legumes are basically anything from the pea/bean family and includes peanuts. My kids and husband seem to be fine with them, but unfortunately they do not do my body any favours! This is a great alternative option for anyone who can't or doesn't want to eat legumes.

The bowl is filled with shredded carrot, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, a little coleslaw and diced capsicum, some jalapenos for a little spice, olives for that salty tang, the homemade cauliflower tabouleh, moist tender falafel patties and all topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce and a dollop of beetroot dip. Basically, recreating a Middle Eastern Kebab, but without the wrap that they usually come bundled up in! You can serve this on rice, noodles, or on its own as a salad style meal. It looks like lots of bits, but really other than a bit of chopping there is not a lot of work involved, and the meal can be put together very quickly - yay!

Recipe as follows:

Cauliflower and Broccoli 'Falafel' Patties

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free, legume-free

1 cup cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
2 tbsp spring onion or white onion, finely diced (about half a spring onion or 1/4 regular onion)
4 tbsp flaxseed meal (you could substitute for your favourite flour alternative)
2 cloves garlic, grated
a pinch of dried mint (or a couple of leaves of fresh mint, finely diced)
Salt and pepper to taste
a pinch or 2 of chilli powder (optional)

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined (don't overblend, it's nice to have a bit of texture to the pattie).
2. In a large frying pan, heat about 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat
3. Shape the falafel mixture into patties and fry gently on one side until golden. Flip, and cook the other side until golden. 
4. Serve with your favourite middle eastern inspired foods and enjoy!

Tahini (Sesame) Sauce 

1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
juice of 1/2 lemon (you may like to add more if you prefer a more lemony taste or your lemon is not very juicy)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

1. Combine all ingredients with either a whisk, stick blender, or mini food processor (Love my magic bullet for these kinds of jobs!). Taste, and adjust ingredients accordingly. If it's too thick, add more lemon, oil, or even just a tsp or 2 of water. 



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cauliflower Tabouleh

Hands up anyone who doesn't love Middle Eastern food?! We are huge fans in our family - the flavours are so rich and vibrant, and there are so many delicious options available... one of my favourites has always been the classic Tabouleh, with its fresh clean parsley flavour. It is a great accompaniment to the main meal, and it is also ridiculously healthy and full of goodness!

The only downside to my favourite side is that is is traditionally made with bulgur wheat which is very much off limits for those of us with gluten intolerance issues. So, in true Keeping It Real style, we modified the recipe and came up with this oh-so-delicious variation. It is a great one to keep in the fridge, so don't be worried that this makes a relatively large batch. 

You will only need a handful of simple ingredients, and not much time at all, and you will be ready to rock. 

With this batch of Tabouleh I made a Middle Eastern 'tasting bowl' with 'falafels' (made with broccoli and cauliflower instead of chickpeas), drizzled with Tahini sauce, and served with a whole heap of tasty little bites such as black olives, beetrrot dip, shredded lettuce, shredded carrot, tomato, jalapenos...the options are endless. Basically, we were aiming for a deconstructed type of kebab. So yummy! I will pop up the rest of the recipe for the tasting bowl tomorrow. Here is a picture to get your taste buds working though!

Tabouleh recipe as follows:

Cauliflower Tabouleh

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cauliflower rice
1 tomato, finely diced
1/2 an onion (red, white, or a combination of both), 
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the ingredients - either use a knife to finely chop the parsley, or if you are feeling like making the job super simple pop it in a mini blender or food processor and pulse a few time until finely chopped. Dice the tomato and onion, add the to the parsley.
2. To make the 'rice', take approximately 1/4 head of cauliflower, and pulse a few times in a food processor or blender. Again, you could just take to it with a knife until finely chopped if you prefer the traditional method, or don't like to make dishes! You have 2 options here - you can either choose to steam or boil very lightly until just softened prior to blitzing it into its rice form, or you can 'rice' it first, then gently cook over medium heat in a frying pan until softened. For this dish, I went with option 1, as it makes a more moisture rich 'rice' which suited the dish well. It really doesn't matter which way you do it though - your choice!
3. Once you have all of the ingredients prepared, simply pop them in a large bowl and mix well to combine (parsley, cauliflower, tomato, onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Have a taste, and play around with the ingredients to suit your taste. You may like to add a little more oil, lemon, salt and pepper depending on personal preference.



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Kale, Onion, and Olive Loaf

Typical huh - you get a recipe that is a total winner, and everyone wants a piece of it, and then you can't find the blimmin' recipe!! I know I wrote it down when I made it the first time, but I have a terrible habit of writing all of my recipes on scraps of paper as I cook. I then put them in  'safe' place and cannot find what I need when I need it. Note to self...must improve filing system!

Anyway, there was an upside to the whole thing which was that I had to just go ahead I make another loaf! Terrible shame, but these things have to be done!

This time around I omitted the olives, as hubby is not a fan, and I wanted to make a version that he would like. I will include them in the recipe though, as I thought they really made it. You can feel free to leave them out as well if you prefer not to have them. The best part about all of this is that the kids loved it! Sometimes kids really surprise you with what they will and will not like. I didn't think they would even give it a go, but not only were they willing to try it but they seriously wolfed it down. Excellent!

This bread is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and sugar, and tastes AMAZING straight out of the oven, but stays really nice and moist for a few days stored in an airtight container. As the weather gets warmer I would recommend storing it in the fridge just to keep it from going mouldy, as the moisture level does make it more susceptible to this. But, to be honest you will be hard pushed to make it last long enough for that to be a problem!! The other option that I always like is to wait for it to cool then cut it into thick slices and store in the freezer. That way you can whip out a couple of pieces as you need them - if you want it for breakfast just take the quantity out that you require, and pop it in the toaster on the lowest setting to gently warm it. Spread with your favourite topping - highly recommend smashing some avocado on it with a crack of pepper and a sprinkle of salt, or a big old smear of almond butter or Dukkah butter. Delicious!

Kale, Onion, and Olive Loaf

1/2 cup walnut meal (see notes)
1/2 cup sunflower meal (see notes)
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
2 tbsp psyllium husk
one medium onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 cups kale, centre stalks removed, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (you can use dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, stalks removed, finely chopped (you can use dried)
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup black olives, stones removed if necessary, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper
2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (walnut meal, sunflower meal, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, pepper, salt, baking soda). Mix to combine
3. In another large bowl, combine the egg, oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk until well combined. Add the olives, onion, kale, garlic, and herbs. mix to combine.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well to ensure all ingredients are well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all of those yummy ingredients mixed in
5. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin, and sprinkle with course sea salt if desired (this is purely decorative!)
6. Bake for around 30-40 minutes until lightly golden on top, and no longer soft to touch.
7. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then cool on wire rack (or just eat it hot!)

- To make walnut and sunflower meal, simply pop the required quantity of nuts into a food processor or blender and pulse a couple of times until a 'flour' texture forms. Do not overblend, or you will end up with nut butter.
- If you prefer, you can substitute other nut flours, for example you could just use 1 cup almond flour instead of the half walnut/half sunflower. I just found that the more savoury flavour of the walnuts was a wonderful compliment to the kale and onion flavours.
- have some fun with this recipe... you could add other herbs and spices to change up the flavours. I am going to add chilli to my next one, and rosemary would taste divine in here too.



Thursday, 2 October 2014

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Super easy, totally delicious, and packed full of goodness, this Filipino Chicken Adobo will satisfy the whole family and is the perfect fast Friday dinner to throw together. It is a wonderful substitute for your favourite takeaway too, as it has that 'takeaway' tastiness but with none of the nasties! This is also a great meal if you are working to a tight budget - you can use more or less eggs/veges/chicken, use cheaper cuts of chicken or other meats depending on what is on special, and use whatever vegetables are lurking in the fridge. Bulk it out with steamed rice or you could also serve with noodles for an alternative.

I borrowed the base recipe from the wonderful where there are loads of yummy recipes to browse through, and then added my own touches to come up with this new family favourite.

I only had chicken tenderloins in the freezer so used those for the meat, but the original recipe uses chicken thighs which would be perfect as they have that stronger flavour. You could also try pork, red meat, or even go vegetarian with it...loads of options :)

A word of warning - you may want to double the quantities in the recipe, as the only thing that the family were unhappy about was that there wasn't more of this!

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

500g Chicken thigh or tenderloin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce if you use it)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled 
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 red capsicum, cut into large chunks
1 cup broccoli florets, (you can lightly steam them first to soften them a little first - speeds things up)
1/2 tbsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated

1. In a large saucepan with a lid, place the chicken, vinegar, coconut aminos, bay leaves, and pepper. Cover with a lid and heat over a low heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, season to taste and simmer for about another 5 minutes with the lid off.
2. While the chicken is simmering, in a frying pan heat about 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for about 30 seconds to release the aroma. Add the vegetables (mushroom, capsicum, and broccoli) and stir fry until just softened but still firm and colourful. If they stick to the pan use either a little (a couple of tbsp) water, stock, or a spoonful of the sauce mix from the chicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. After about 20-25 minutes. remove the chicken with a slotted spoon into one bowl, remove the sauce into another bowl and set aside. 
3. In the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chicken back into the pan (not the sauce). Cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Add the hardboiled eggs, and pour in the sauce. Mix it around to loosen up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes to incorporate all of the flavours.

Serve with steamed rice or cauliflower rice