Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Taking a Study Break

Hi Everyone :)

So sorry I have been quiet, I am currently up to my gills in the last assignments and revising for exams coming up to the end of this semester. Hopefully be back in a week or two :)

What have you been up to the last week or two?

Ruth xx

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Homemade Muesli


Good Morning!

It's shopping day today....I put it off yesterday as I had an assignment to get finished. So the cupboards are bare apart from a few staples which I have in my stockpile, I hadn't even put any bread on yesterday! I may be avoiding this round of grocery shopping, it's the last one before MrW gets paid and living on a monthly salary seems to mean the last food shop is a tight one (I really need to start my cash and envelope system again), alas I will head out and channel my inner frugalness and we will survive! Oh did I mention it's school holidays? I will have the kids in tow but in saying that they are pretty good most of the time when shopping as long as they have a nice full belly before we go, I think that is the biggest lesson I have learnt over the years of being a Mum....never take hungry kids shopping!

I ran out of my muesli the other day and was just having smoothies for breakfast and a little of the kids 'healthy chocolate pops' that I had made, but this morning after a late night finishing the assignment I thought I would quickly whip up a batch of my muesli as it was just want I felt like for breakfast.  Serve with a berry smoothie and a hot cuppa - bliss :)


I thought you might like the recipe to :) It's preservative free, refined sugar free, wheat free and if you can't tolerate the gluten in the oats omit the rolled oats and replace with an extra portion of the remaining ingredients. The coconut oil is a fantastic superfood to be enjoyed, I try and stick with virgin coconut oil as I know it has had minimal processing.


Yummy Homemade Muesli


1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Shredded Coconut
A handful of Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds and any nuts you like or have on hand (I used sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts work nicely to)
3 tbsp of Coconut Oil
2 tbsp Pure Maple Syrup or Honey

Preheat oven to 150degC

Melt the coconut oil, I do this by placing hot water in a bowl and place a smaller bowl into this containing the coconut oil (A bit like a double boiler). If using solid honey add this to let it warm up and go runny with the coconut oil.


In a bowl mix together the oats, shredded coconut, seeds and nuts.

When the coconut oil has melted pour it over the muesli mix along with the maple syrup/honey.  Get your (clean) hands into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together until you can feel the mix is well coated in the coconut oil.

Spread out on a baking tray or roasting dish so it is an even layer. Place in the oven, leave for approx 10mins and the muesli should be beginning to turn golden. Using a fish slice gently lift and mix around the muesli on the tray and then lay flat again, do this every 3mins or so until the entire batch is lovely and golden.
 
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray. When cooled mixed through some dried fruit (I use raisins they work really nicely with the flavours, but you could use cranberries, chopped apricots or dates etc). Place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.

Serve with your choice of milk or yoghurt :)

Before Baking

Golden and Delicious

All ready to go :)

Tip - When using maple syrup, the muesli will feel like it has dried out when it is golden, however when using honey the mix will go golden quicker but won't actually be dried out enough, it may look like it might go too golden but it shouldn't. Keep it going for about 15mins or a little longer, it will stay tacky feeling but will dry out when it sits on the bench cooling.

Double or triple the mix as required, you may just need to use two baking trays so the layer is not so thick :)

 I got the original idea from here however I have over time adapted it quite a bit for my own needs and tastes to arrive at the recipe I now use :)

Friday, 3 October 2014

Nana Choc Top 'Ice Creams'

These are the most delicious little treats for the kids...and big kids :) They are easy to make and totally guilt free. The banana freezes down like ice cream and they were demolished in no time when I pulled them out the other night.






Nana Choc Tops

Cut bananas in half (or thirds for smaller ones) and push in an iceblock stick. 

This mix is enough for four banana halves so make more if needed. In a bowl melt 2tbsp of Coconut Oil with about 1tbsp of Pure Maple Syrup (or you can use honey) and mix. To melt the mix pop the bowl into another bowl which contains hot water and slowly melt the two together whilst mixing. 

Once its melted together, a rounded teaspoon at a time add some cocoa/cacao powder mixing in thoroughly after each addition, tasting each time to see if its chocolately enough and sweetened to your liking, add more cocoa or maple if required. I added roughly 1 1/2 tbsp of cocoa all up. 

Depending on the temperature if the chocolate is to runny pop it into the fridge for a min or two to thicken (its very quick to thicken) remix and then dip your bananas in. I ended up with quite a thick mix from leaving it to get to cold so I used a spoon to 'paint' the chocolate on each one, which gave it quite a rustic coating look if your mix gets lumps don't worry its just the coconut oil from going a bit to cold so just give it a good mix. 

Have a plate or container in the freezer with baking paper on it, after dipping each banana take it and pop it into the container (I held the banana by the stick in the freezer for a few mins just to get the initial set so when you put it onto the baking paper all the chocolate doesn't come off). Leave covered in the freezer for a few hours to freeze the bananas and then serve.

ENJOY!

 



Wonky Photos

Hi!

I didn't realise but some of the posts had photos that were the wrong way up :? Not sure when or how that happened, it could have been when I changed all the photos around in Picasa last time I was blogging.  So I wanted to say please excuse my wonky photos! I think I have fixed most of the photos in posts that needed rotating around and hopefully I haven't missed any, please let me know if I have missed any :)

It has been a nice hour or so looking back over posts as I have been editing them, it made me realise just how much I used to do and how small my babies were! 

It's school holidays at the moment so Master 7 is off in town at a playdate and Master 8 has one of his close mates over.......although it is pretty wet today so its all inside games, but they are great at entertaining themselves. I'm secretly listening to their games and it is so funny what they can come out with!

Making Scone dough pizza for lunch today, and then I'm working on an assignment for the afternoon, so I think we may do popcorn and a movie :)

What are you up to today? I'd love to hear :)

Ruth x

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Guilt Free Sweet Treats

I have such a sweet tooth! sometimes I quite like to have a little something sweet with my cup of tea at the end of a long day...and so does MrW.

I thought when we decided to give up refined sugar that I would have to give up a lot of my favourite treats (like chocolate) but with quite a bit of 'blog surfing' I realised the opposite :) YAY!

So if you want some truly yummy treats that aren't full of refined sugar then there are lots of lovely blogs out there with great recipes.  I thought tonight I would share one of my favourites with you, head on over and visit Bianca at Wholefood Simply and prepare to spend a while looking through her recipes, she has some amazing ones that she has developed.

Tonight I made Bianca's Jersey Caramel Slice.....OMG devine! find the recipe here



So simple, in a food processor or high powered blender whizz together dessicated coconut, some dates (either medjool or dried), vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. So easy! If you use dried dates like I did, then soak them in a bowl covered with boiling water for about 15mins to soften first. I also drizzled in a few spoons of the date liquid as well.

Earlier in the week I made the Bounty Bar Slice, it felt like eating a little slice of naughty-ness each night...without the guilt :) find the recipe here
The Chocolate topping tastes like chocolate and sets nice and hard.








One little tip I have discovered that you may like to try is process the dessicated coconut for a bit first. It seemed to help break it down a little quicker doing the coconut on its own first before adding the remaining ingredients.


It will take a little while but it will eventually start to release its natural moisture and this is the consistency you want it so you can press it into the slice tin. Chill in the fridge, cut into decadent small pieces, store in the fridge and ENJOY!





If you come across any other great recipes for sweet treats that are refined sugar free and supports Clean eating please feel free to leave links in the comments to share :)  

Spelt Flour Crepes

Hi and Welcome!



We are a family that loves crepes and to be honest I can't believe I haven't already shared this recipe with you all in the past!  They are super tasty, easy to make (when you have the knack with creating thin crepes which honestly just takes a little practice but anyone can do it) and in my book they are a pretty frugal recipe to make.

The original recipe came from my lovely Mother in Law as Ham Crepes were a firm favourite of MrW's when he was a boy. So he was delighted when I began making Ham Crepes for him, and our youngest has followed suit with these being his favourite meal. Master 8 and I are also quite partial to having ham crepes. I of course have had a 'tinker' with the original recipe as I found I couldn't quite get the mix right, but I have been making crepes from this recipe now for years (although only recently with Spelt Flour).

As I mentioned during my 'wee' break from blogging we have made changes to a few ingredients we use in baking and cooking to gain the health benefits from having them in our diets. I promise a post will come soon explaining what and why we have made these changes, but just quickly one of these has been to reduce the amount of processed bleached plain white flour.  I looked into what the process is to make good old plain flour and to tell you the honest truth I was quite put off that I have been putting that into my families tummies. If you have no other choice then it is what it is and in all honesty it has stood us well for all my life of cooking, but we are slowly using up the last and changing over to Spelt Flour which is a cousin to wheat flour but not 'wheat' as we know it, and it is a wholegrain which contains a lower amount of gluten (which is why I love it because it substitutes in bread, pastry etc wonderfully). We find the items I have made with Spelt flour to sit a little lighter in our tummies which is always nice at the end of a meal and I well and truly recommend if you can get your hands on Spelt flour then give it a whirl and see if you can notice the difference :) Otherwise if I have no spelt I have on hand Organic Unbleached White Flour which is plain white flour that has not been subject to half of the processing that commercial plain flour has. I get these two items from our local Binn Inn, but just google whats around you or have a look at some local companies online that will ship to you. In NZ one company is Huckleberry Farms which has a great range of organic and other healthy goodies at reasonable prices.

Oh and I know that shaved Ham is NOT technically Clean Eating as it contains additives etc and so in that view I would use cooked shredded chicken if you are wanting to avoid whats in the sliced ham...or as I plan to do, pop down to the local butcher and see if there is such a thing as preservative free sliced ham. However I have to make a few little allowances along the way as I have stripped the children and MrW of their 'bad' foods that they love like Nacho chips (I'm working on a healthier alternative for nachos) so I make the compromise on a few slices of shaved ham to make this dish, which otherwise ticks all the boxes of being frugal and containing all ingredients that are good for you :)

ANYWAY as for the important part here is the recipe! (I have included the plain flour version at the end)


Ruth's Spelt Flour Crepes

 

1 1/2 cups Spelt Flour
good Pinch of Salt (I used rock salt)
2 eggs
1 1/4cups of Milk

In a bowl sift the spelt flour and mix in your pinch of salt. In another bowl (or in my case I use my drink shaker) mix together the eggs and milk.  Adding a little at a time beat the milk and egg mix into the flour to form a lovely batter. You don't want it to thick like a pancake batter, so if you need to add a splash or two more milk please do.

If you have lumps use a sieve and strain these out, otherwise just cover and pop the batter into the fridge for at least half an hour.

Turn the oven onto 180degC (I use fanbake)

Take the batter out and give it a good stir, if it has thickened up add a touch more milk until it is at a thin but not watery consistency.  Have a pan on hand (you do not need a crepe pan) I use my electric frypan (oh I got a new kitchen tool and it is fab! but that's also for another time!). I like to use a little spray oil, but you could use butter or just a bit of oil or coconut oil to grease the pan after each crepe.

I use a soup ladle and pour the mix into the hot pan but you could a 1/3 cup measure. Pour the mix in and NOW pay attention because this is the key to getting the crepe to spread out - pick up the pan and swirl it in the air in a circular motion this will get the batter you have poured into the pan to swirl out into a nice big crepe shape....quite often mine are NOT a perfect circle but I get them close enough. If you have 'holes' feel free to use a tiny bit of batter on the back of a spoon to fill them in.



Cook until you see the top of the batter looking like its cooking and the underside is started to gain some colour and flip over with a fish slice and your fingers - careful it'll be hot :) Try not to let them gain to much colour or that is where you come into cracking country. Pile all of your crepes onto a plate to await phase three.


The Filling Part


A slight variation to our traditional Ham Crepes is to add Silverbeet/Spinach and Mushrooms. You could also substitute the ham for cooked shredded chicken.  So in a seperate pan while you are cooking the crepes saute in some butter a good amount of sliced mushrooms (I slice and cut in half so they aren't massive) and a good few leaves of silverbeet/spinach slice reasonably fine. Cook until softened in the butter.




When all of your crepes are made, place your filling into the middle allowing room at the sides for the rolling. So for this one I placed two pieces of shaved ham, and in the middle of this some of the silverbeet and mushroom mix. Roll the two side that the filling is nearly touch in a little to create a sealed end and then roll from bottom up all the way until you have a nice little crepe roll. (this takes a little practice also so don't give up! if you can't get the end tucks to stay in then don't worry about that first part just roll the whole thing up into a roll with the ends untucked - hope that makes sense! should do when you are doing it ;) )


Place all of your rolled crepes into a pan with sides for the oven (I use a roasting dish) and then sprinkle over a layer of grated cheese, and some cracked pepper and salt. Then pour over a small bottle of cream (250mls) go on all of it :) trust me, it won't do you any harm to have cream :)



Bake in the oven (180degC) until its golden brown and delish looking. The cream creates a sauce over the crepes.  Serve with a little remaining source from the pan with a side salad or your preference of veges.



ENJOY!


N.B if you don't like ham you can use cooked shredded chicken. You also can do what the boys prefer and use just ham and no silverbeet and mushrooms....I am Mama and I like to add veges! There are also a number of fillings you could use like some smoked salmon, or smoked chicken nom nom nom.


To make Plain Flour Crepes:

1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk

Proceed as per recipe.

Spelt flour doesn't need as much liquid as other flours hence the difference in the milk quantity :)





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