It seems like everyone is sick with the cold or flu at the moment! Something nasty is definitely doing the rounds, and although it may be good excuse to have a couple of days rest at home (and binge on Orange is the New Black Season 4!) it’s never fun to be stuck with a blocked up nose, sore throat and headache for a few days.
A few weekends ago I was at a friends housewarming / “Pizza Night”. The star of the show was the brand new pizza oven they had just built, and the majority of the evening was spent rolling out fresh dough and seeing who could create the most epic pizza (or Calazones for those that got super creative!). Needless to say after WAY too many slices, I was feeling rather full and bloated and didn’t want to eat for a week…but then someone happened to say “dessert”.
Anzac biscuits are one of my all time favourites! Nothing beats the smell that fills the house as they are baking in the oven (except maybe bacon…), and when enjoyed with a cup of tea, it makes the perfect delicious combo! Unfortunately, the duo of high sugar and fat that comes with the old fashioned recipes is not so great for our blood sugar levels or our waistlines. Thankfully this recipe is lower in sugar and fat using just a few tablespoons of honey and olive or coconut oil vs 1 cup of caster sugar and 150g of butter found in most other standard Anzac recipes. What else is great about it? Using gluten free/organic oats (making sure they are processed on a line that has not been contaminated), these biscuits are suitable for those gluten intolerant or with coeliacs. Also suitable for those that are dairy free – just make sure if you choose to use dark chocolate, it is free from milk solids.
Here’s an easy recipe for a healthy snack, side dish or “party finger food” that won’t leave you feeling sluggish afterwards.
This recipe does include eggs, cheese and breadcrumbs, but if you are vegan or gluten-free I will place suggestions at the end of the recipe for you, so you can still enjoy all the goodness of these Broccoli bites!
I recently went down to Ohakune with some friends for the weekend. Everyone’s highlight was of course the ski-ing, snowboarding, and a great game of Cards Against Humanity. For me however, it was the giant carrot in the middle of this small and beautiful town. For those of you not familiar with the place, Ohakune is the “Carrot Capital” of New Zealand and even hosts an annual carrot carnival as well as the famous Mardi Gras to celebrate the start of the winter season each year. Of course, I had to get the “typical tourist jumping in front of a large carrot” photo, and why not a massive bag of Ohakune carrots while I’m at it? After my happy purchase and being told I’ll “definitely be able to see in the dark after those” by the shop keeper, it dawned on me…What on Earth am I going to do with all these carrots???
I thought it was an opportune time to try out some new meals featuring this beta-carotene rich vege, so the question was put forward on my facebook page to help me with recipe ideas. After the suggestion of Hummus, I came across this paleo version, adapted it a little and SUCCESS!
Made without chickpeas, this Roasted Carrot Hummus is Paleo friendly, and can also be enjoyed by anyone following a FODMAP or legume restricted diet. It works perfectly as a spread for sandwiches, dip for celery or crackers, and also pairs amazingly with some avocado on my Nut and Seed Bread!
The bright orange colour of the carrots also lets us know that this vege is rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene – powerful antioxidants that helps prevent oxidative damage from free radicals, and in turn helps protect our bodies against some cancers as well as helping to maintain eye and skin health. With the addition of garlic, lemon, coconut oil and olive oil, this Hummus is NUTRIENT PACKED with antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, but the best thing about it is that it’s made from scratch, noticeably fresh, preservative free, and far tastier than any store bought spread (IMHO).
7 large carrots
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 garlic cloves (if FODMAP use garlic infused oil)
3 tablespoons unhulled tahini
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the carrot into a roasting tin and sprinkle with the ground cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over the coconut oil and then mixed well so that the carrots are evenly coated.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned.
Take out of the oven and pour in 250 ml of water, cover with foil and roast in the oven for a further 35 minutes, or until the carrot is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Place the carrot and all the cooking juices in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the garlic, tahini, ginger, lemon juice and olive oil and blend until smooth. Add a little more water if needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
This recipe makes about 500g of hummus which can be kept in a glass jar or other air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
There’s no denying that those deep-fried potato morsels, fondly known as “tater tots” are god damn delicious, but let’s be honest, they aren’t doing much for our waistlines, arteries or overall health. Although baked from frozen, the majority of “tater tots” on the market have been deep fried first in a mixture of vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola and soybean – all which are highly refined, a source of trans (bad) fats, and omega-6 fatty acids which cause inflammation in the body – something to stay well away from! Along with unstable oils, tater tots can come with a long list of other ingredients such as salt, dextrose (sugar), corn flour, colouring, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (a chemical food additive to stop the potatoes from going brown), and my personal favourite, “natural flavouring” which the majority of the time means MSG. Sigh…
So here’s the good news! I have made a HEALTHY VERSION – yes, actually. And ohhh my god do they taste good. I would push that they are not only better for your heath, but they also taste better too. These tater tots are a great low carb, low calorie, and low fat option, and can also be made gluten free! It’s definitely a win/win dish, and one you can actually count towards your vegetable intake for the day too.
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 large egg, whisked
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
½ cup cheese, grated
½ cup wholegrain breadcrumbs, OR substitute this with quinoa flakes or 1/4 cup coconut flour for GF option
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 5 minutes until soft but not mushy. Drain and chop the cooked cauliflower into fine 1-2cm pieces (this is much easier and less messy once cooked!) Add the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture and shape into small oblong or egg shapes, and place onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve on their own or enjoy with a tomato sauce or relish.
* Note that if your mixture is too dry, as it might be making the gluten free option, slowly add an extra whisked egg until the right constancy is reached.
“Bliss balls” have taken over the internet the past year, and for good reason too. They are of course a quick, easy, no bake snack that can be enjoyed on the go, and most importantly are packed with ingredients that actually nourish the body rather then cause inflammation and spikes in sugar levels. Although an ideal option, most bliss ball recipes contain tree nuts as their base, such as almonds and cashews – a great source of protein, healthy fats and minerals, but not so great for those with tree nut allergies! So if you’ve been looking for a nut free version, then look no further!
This recipe is made with dried apricots, wholegrain oats and coconut, and is a perfect snack for anyone on the go and with a sweet tooth! Plus, if you’re a fan of apricot muesli bars, give these a whirl first before heading back to the supermarket. Most of the time, these types of bars are filled with refined sugar, preservatives and even colouring that just isn’t needed when you can make them so quickly and inexpensively at home with natural ingredients.
1 cup sulphur-free dried apricots
¾ cup wholegrain oats
¼ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp of the apricot water
extra desiccated coconut for rolling
Soak the dried apricots in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes to soften. Drain the excess water and set this aside. Place the apricots and the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into bite sized balls.