It was an old rainy and dreary day when I made these. The boys were driving me crazy with being inside all day as they love being outdoors climbing, running and playing what they call “construction sites”. Not so on this day so the kitchen tools came out instead. They are good helpers but have a habit of eating the uncooked product more than the cooked - crazy things that they are.
Well as they cooked away in the oven they sure smelt good but I have to admit I was curious to see the end product as the original version over at Yum Universe sure looked superb although it does use almond meal as opposed to my choice of pecans meal. My preference for pecans is because I can get fresh ones from my local farmers markets and can then to a meal using my Vitamix. Also I find almond meal in my local area is supplied from China (no offense), which I would prefer not to use especially if I get a substitute from an Australian producer that is fresh. If you do live on the Sunshine Coast the Organic Supermarket at Forest Glen sells pecan meal at around $8.00 a kilo, which is much cheaper than Almond Meal as well. So check it out if you get a chance. Also, like anything I feature here I encourage you to use whatever flavours you have in your pantry or fridge. I would love to hear of your specific flavour combinations if you do.
Honey Pecan & Fresh Mint Biscuits (Gluten & Dairy Free)
Inspired by Yum Universe
¾ cup pecan meal (or almond meal)
2 T fresh mint, finely chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ - 1 T cold pressed olive oil or coconut oil
1 T raw honey
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 185 degrees celcius (365 farenheit)
Place the nut meal in a medium size glass bowl
Add the chopped mint, cranberries and pecans
Give it a good stir with a fork to mix together (this will also remove any lumps in the nut meal as well)
Add oil, sea salt and honey
Mix well with the fork until it begins to clump together and forms a dough
(You can expect that this dough will be relatively fragile and will not behave as a regular biscuit dough would. Have a feel and make a judgment at this point as to whether you need to add any more moisture. If you do then add a smidge of water at a time mixing well in between to ensure you don't add to much)
Remove the dough from the bowl and place between two sheets of baking paper
Using a rolling pin gently roll out to a thickness of approximately 2 - 4 cms (this will depend on how many lumpy things there are)
Remove the top piece of baking paper and trim the dough into a rectangular shape before using a sharp knife to cut even shaped biscuits in a grid pattern (if the dough breaks just squish it back together with your fingers)
Slide the baking paper with the biscuits on, onto a baking sheet tray and cook in the oven for approx 10 – 12 mins (no longer)
Remove from oven and allow to cool, if you can resist and serve
Is there anything more simple, easy and delicious than a stack of veges grilled and piled high on a plate with layers of salty haloumi and a drizzle of pesto? Mmmmmmm! - I could eat this every day.
Before you go out and buy any specific ingredients take a look in your pantry and see what veges you already have as it really is the type of dish that you can mix and match with. I have added mushrooms, red onions and brocolli into the mix before and have also used roasted sweet potato instead of pumpkin. Get creative with it and make your own version. Add some lemon juice, zest, garlic, salt and pepper to the cooked eggplant and zuchinni whilst warm for some extra zing. Sprinkle the pumpkin with some chilli flakes for a bit of bite. You really can't go wrong if you keep it simple and I have listed some suggestions below so you can use up any leftover vegetables you might have as well which are not quite as yummy but none the less tasty and health promoting. Enjoy!
A Simple Vegetable Stack
Serves 2 – 4
Pumpkin – ½ medium cut into slices approx 3cm thick, roasted at 185 degrees ceclius for approx 20 mins or until tender. Brush or spray lightly with olive oil prior to roasting
Red Capsicum – 2 medium roasted. Take a look at these guidelines then slice each capsicum into strips
Eggplant – 1 large cut into discs approx 2cm (½ inch) thick, lightly sprayed with olive oil and grilled for approx 3 – 4 mins or until tender
Zucchini – 3 medium cut lenthways approx 2 cm (1/2 inch) thick, lightly sprayed with olive oil and grilled for approx 3 – 4 mins or until tender
Haloumi – 1 block cut into 2 cm (1/2 inch) thick slices and grilled until brown and gently crisp
Grill the vegetables as above. Start with the pumpkin, capsicum then grill the eggplant and zuchinni. If you have a bbq grill the eggplant and zucchini can be done on there all at one time.
Keep the cooked veges warm by placing them on a tray covered with foil until ready to serve.
Lastly, cook the haloumi just before serving as it takes no time at all in a pre heated pan over a medium heat.
To assemble, place layers of pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini and strips of capsicum on top of one another, then add a layer of haloumi and repeat if not to high adding another layer of haloumi on top alongside some greens and a drizzle of pesto.
There are no rules other than ensuring there is a good base to support the layering. I often fold the layers of zuchinni and eggplant over on the ends to keep it looking neat.
Use Goats cheese instead of haloumi if you prefer.
Add a splash of balsamic if you wish.
I never worry if I have leftover vegetables either. If you do then you can use them in the following ways:
Warm them for breakfast the next morning and top with a poached egg
Use them in a sandwich alongside some seasoned ricotta or creamed cheese
As a snack with hummus or guacamole
In a salad , stirfry or mixed them through some cooked quinoa with lemon juice, salt, pepper, fetta and a couple good handfuls of fresh herbs.
Like any mum I am always on the hunt for something quick, an option I can prepare the evening before or something i can pop in the oven whilst I am attending to other tasks. I am sure you can never have enough ideas up your sleeve so If anyone else out there has any suggestions to share then I am all ears and would love to hear them.
Cherry Tomatoes, Pitted Kalamata Olives and Mozarella
Pop it on a plate and you are done. Nothing like a little Mediterranean spread for the afternoon or lunchbox. I don't mind this one as a snack for myself.
2 cups milk (almond, cows, rice are all good)
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 fresh dates (seeds removed)
2 heaped tsp peanut butter
Place all the ingredients in a blender and whiz until smooth.
This is a great way to start the day. When i am working and have to start my shift at 7.30am I whiz this up for the boys and put it in a spill free drink bottle so they can drink it in the car on the way making the morning stress free - from a food point of view anyway. I know bananas in Australia are expensive at the moment but I have seen them reasonably priced when they are getting to the over ripe stage at the farmers markets and little fruit shops. Grab them if you see them and place them in the freezer in a container with the peel off and wrapped individually in glad bake/greaseproof paper. When it comes to banana prices at the moment I look at it like this - if i were to take the kids to a cafe and buy them a pre made biscuit loaded up with refined sugar and carbs to eat it would cost me more than a banana and not offer anywhere near the same nourishment. Fingers crossed that the prices in Australia are going to come down soon.
Roasted Organic Kipfler Potatoes
Easy to prepare. Give them a really good wash, cut them up and splash them with a bit of olive oil. Great for the lunch box with a side of hummus or tomato salsa. I usually bake these in a preheated oven 185 degrees celcius (365 degrees fahrenheit) for about 30 mins. The smaller you cut them the quicker they will cook so judge the size you cut them based on your time. These are something that I often serve with an evening meal ensuring that I bake extras at that time with view to add them to the lunch box the next day. When it comes to potatoes they are on my regular list of items that I buy organically.
My Quick as a Flash, No Bake Oat Bar with Goji Berries
This is a favourite slice to whip up when the kids are after something with a sweet touch. It does benefit from some time in the fridge to firm up and for the oats to soften. Mind you that doesn't always stop the boys from starting on it. When they are super hungry and want to eat it there and then I hasn't set properly I put a dollop on top of natural yoghurt and let them go for it. If I am organised enough I do this in the mornings or before going to bed at night to give it some time to set and be lunchbox ready.
Makes approximately 10 pieces
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup peanut butter (1/2 cup if you don't have any tahini)
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup sultanas
3 Tbs honey
Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well to combine
Press using your fingers into a square tin (approx 20cm x 20cm) or baking dish
Place in the fridge until firm
Add some coconut to serve
Sweet Potato Chips and Guacamole
We are all big avocado fans in our house. There is nothing fancy about this guacamole. Just cut it up and mix. If it were me I would add fresh herbs but the boys just aren't into them so we keep it plain and simple. They like the activity of dipping and scooping. I think they like the activity of making a mess. None the less most of it seems to go into their tummies.
Preheat oven to 185 degrees celcius (365 degrees fahrenheit)
Cut a medium size sweet potato into wedges or chips (skin on or off - just make sure you wash it well if skin is on)
Add a splash of olive oil and mix with your hands to evenly cover
Place on a try and bake in an oven for approx 20 mins or until cooked but still firm
1/2 avocado diced or mashed
4 cherry tomatoes deseeded and chopped roughly
squeeze of lime or lemon juice
a little salt and pepper to taste
"Beans, you mean beans as in beans a colleague said" I made this batch of black bean bean brownies and took them to work for morning tea and whilst I did get some funny looks regarding the main ingredient most seemed eager to try even if they were biting their lip in anticipation of their first bite. By the end of the day there wasn't any left so it can't have been to bad and could quite easily be regarded as deceptively delicious.
Canned beans can be used if you have them on hand or are pressed for time but if you do have some extra time spare then soak and prepare dried beans if you can. * I have given instructions on cooking the beans below and also some meal suggestions in the event you have some leftovers beans to use up.
Makes 24 Brownies
100gms dark chocolate, melted
2 cups black beans, pre cooked
1 cup fresh dates, seeds removed
½ tspn sea salt
½ tspn baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 heaped tablespoon raw honey
½ cup pecan meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
Cocoa Powder for Dusting
Preheat oven to 185 degress ceclius
Line a 20 x 30 cm slice tray with baking paper and lightly spray with oil
Melt the chocolate by placing it in a bowl over a pot of boiling water
Place the black beans, dates and avocado in a food processor and whiz until smooth and combined
Spoon the mixture into a separate bowl and add melted chocolate, sea salt and baking soda
Fold in the eggs, honey, vanilla, pecan meal and 1/2 cup of pecans
Mix thoroughly to combine
Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared tin
Place in oven and bake for 25 – 30 mins
Remove from oven and cool before dusting with cocoa powder
Black beans are available from most supermarkets and health food stores in the form of canned or dried. If you choose to buy the canned version you will need to rinse them well before serving althernatively if you plan to use dried beans then follow the instructions below:
They do require a minimum soaking time of four hours prior to cooking. Place the black beans in a bowl and fill with water to about 2 cm above the black beans. When soaking time has elapsed rinse the beans well by placing them in a strainer and running water from the tap over them. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the beans and allow to simmer away for approximately 1 hour or until the beans are soft. Cool then use.
Other Ways With Beans:
1. Green Wraps - Spoon some beans, avocado and whatever other veges you have into lettuce leaves, add some relish or pesto and wrap for a quick bite that is healthy and quick. Easy for lunch and a great way to use up leftovers.
2. Black Bean Burritos - I have also made something similar to these for the kids before using mountain bread wraps instead or regular tortillas. I also topped them with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of ricotta instead of the cheese. They proved popular and were great for lunch the next day and this quick salad is a winning way to use up leftover beans as well.
I love the crunch and the subtle sweetness of this muesli. It is a lovely way to start the day and pairs nicely with natural yoghurt alone or with a little fresh fruit added. It is very easy, stores well and is gluten free. I was recently given a bottle of Manuka Honey that I used however any type of honey would be fine. You could also substitute whatever dried fruit or nuts you have on hand to make your own version. The options really are endless.
Please note: This is addictive. Between the kids and i we nibbled on this all day. So much so that I ended up making a second batch. It will be a great addition to the boys lunch boxes this week.
To Prepare Buckwheat:
1/2 cup raw buckwheat, rinsed
3/4 cups water
Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan over the stop top
Rinse the buckwheat kernels by placing them in a sieve and running tap water over them for 30 seconds
When water is boiling add the buckwheat to the water and reduce immediately to a simmer
Place the lid on the saucepan and cook down for 15 mins
Grains benefit greatly from being allowed to steam in their pot after cooking. To do this remove them from the stove top after cooking and leave to rest for approximately 10 mins with the lid in place. Then fluff and serve or use as you wish.
Manuka Honey Buckwheat Muesli
Makes approximately 2 cups
1 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat
2 Tbs Manuka Honey
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup goji berries
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 140 degrees celcius
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine
Spread the mixture over a flat baking tray lined with glad bake
Cook for 50 mins turning regularly to ensure even toasting
Allow to cool then store in an air tight container for up to a week
Hey There, I’m Sherilyn the creator of Wholepromise. This is where I venture outside of being a mum, wife and Fertility Nurse Specialist. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld, Australia and am spoilt by year round access to Farmers Markets offering a plethora of local, seasonal and organic produce. In all Wholepromise is my style of food, it’s the food I want my boys to appreciate and it’s the food that makes me happy. Styling and photographing it is just another bonus.
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