Tag Archives: homemade

After School Seedy Fruity Cookies

like to bake and we love cookies, baking your own is not only quick and easy but also you know what’s in them, no additives or preservatives,  long words or strange numbers!

fruity seedy cookies 2

These seedy, fruity cookies are low in sugar but also have a natural sweetness from the dried fruits. Light and buttery they are a perfect blend of soft and chewy textures.  Miss ND loves them, they are perfect to add to her after school snack box (which she hoovers up at great speed, she is a child with a healthy appetite and high energy levels!).

cookies and milk

After School Seedy Fruity Cookies                                            Makes 12 large Cookies

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Baking Time:  12-15 minutes

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4

fruit seed mix

Ingredients
90g unsalted butter
50g soft light brown sugar or coconut sugar
70g porridge oats
25g wholemeal self-raising flour
25g plain flour
25g sunflower seeds
50g cranberry, dried apricot, raisin mix
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten

oat cookie mix

cookie mix

Method
Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.

Add all the dry ingredients and stir together into the butter and sugar.

Then finally add the beaten egg and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly until everything is completely combined.

Shape into walnut-sized balls (the batter will be sticky which is fine) and flatten them onto a lined baking tray.  I use my macaron tin which keeps them evenly shaped.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  Eat!

fruity seedy cookie 1

 

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Quick Courgetti Chilli Pomodoro

Things change when you have little ones in the house, I find myself eating a kiddy portion of food at 5.30 pm to encourage her to eat at the table and of course to make sure she eats well.
Most evenings I will eat later in the evening with Mr ND, but last night I didn’t feel like it but by 9.00 pm I was ravenous!

courgetti 1

I made this very quick and rich Tomato sauce with Courgetti from ingredients to hand in around 25 minutes. it was surprisingly light but also filling.  I used 2 garlic cloves because I love garlic, it always enhances a tomato based sauce and has amazing medicinal qualities, anti-viral and antibiotic.  I like to use red onions which are more nutrient dense than the white version.

spiraliser

Courgetti is simply a Courgette (Zucchini) made into spaghetti to replace the pasta element in a dish using a Spiraliser.  I found mine here and have used it constantly since I bought it a few months ago, it’s great fun for children too to spiralise a carrot and such like to eat raw.

Quick Chilli Pomodoro Sauce

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Serves 1 generously for a main meal or 2 entrees

Can be frozen.

Ingredients

1 medium red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
or 3 large plum tomatoes more finely chopped
around 125ml Passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
pinch or 2 of Chilli Flakes
dash of red wine (optional)
sprinkling of Oregano and Basil
Black Pepper

1 medium Courgette (Zucchini) spiralised or grated

Method

Fry the red onion for a 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic for another couple of minutes.

Add the tomatoes, Passata and tomato purée and cook on a fairly high heat (without letting it catch).  Splosh in a dash of red wine if using and Oregano, Basil and Black Pepper to your taste and continue to cook, simmering for around 10 minutes until the tomatoes are broken down (around 10 minutes).

No blending of the sauce required, I always leave the skins on the tomatoes and seeds in.  I found an interesting article here that said “Each part – skin, fruit wall, pith and that jelly-like stuff around the seeds – plays a different part in producing that tomato flavour.  By removing the skin and seed pulp you get a drier, more refined tomato sauce and you alter the sweet/acid balance of the flavour. Personally, I don’t mind a bit of skin in a sauce” I agree!

Courgetti – I prefer not to eat my mine completely raw, I boiled some water and laid the Courgetti in the boiled water for a couple of minutes or so whilst the Tomato sauce was cooking.  Drain the Courgetti and serve the tomato sauce on top, finish with a dusting of grated parmesan if you like.

This simple, easy to put together, chunky, rich tomato sauce has a high antioxidant content, including a rich concentration of lycopene found in tomatoes.  When tomatoes are eaten with healthier fats, like olive oil, it increases the absorption of phyto-nutrients.

courgetti Collage

No bells or whistles, just nutritious and delicious!

Health Info:

Courgettes – Good source of vitamin A, B1, B3, Phosphorus and Copper.  Very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamins B2, B6, C, K, Folic Acid, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

 

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Watercress Green Smoothie

I make a green smoothie a couple of times a week, I basically just chuck in whatever is to hand, sometimes the main green element is Kale, other times it’s Watercress.  I love Watercress, it’s the peppery kick that has me munching on it or including it in salads or sandwiches, but in a smoothie it’s even better!

watercress green smoothie

Watercress has high levels of Calcium  Vitamin A, C, E, K beta-carotene and Iron.  Also contains vitamin B1, B2. folic acid, potassium and phosphorus.   It has more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach!

Today, my green smoothie contained:

1 bag of Watercress
1 medium carrot
around 5 inches of cucumber
3 small tomatoes
1 baby avocado
half a banana
small handful of blueberries
3 raspberries, yes 3, all I had left!
about 1 inch of Ginger
Flax seeds
Chia seeds
Water to the perfect consistency for you
Ice, optional.

plus my Green blend which today was Wheatgrass, Spirulina, and Green Barley,   I have a few others and change or add to the blend, I’m always coming across new things to try too!

Blend all and serve immediately.

All measurements are approximate, I usually just sprinkle in some Flax and Chia seeds, make it your own and enjoy the benefits.  This amount serves 2 generously!

 

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Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

Following on from my previous post of the wonders of the superfood Beetroot, I’ve started with Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup.

Honestly, I’ve never taken to Beetroots, I don’t mind them cooked with a salad or raw grated in a sandwich or salad.  But they aren’t on top of my list of vegetables I really savour and enjoy.

So, in an effort to broaden my taste buds and nutrient levels I decided to attempt my first Beetroot based soup.  I’ve added Potato to thicken it and Butterbeans for protein, along with the Pistachio garnish.

beetroot soup

 

Butter beans are a very good low-fat source of protein  as well as a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium.

Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

This recipe serves 3-4 depending on bowl size.

Preparation time is around 1½ hours.

Ingredients

400g raw beetroot
150g potato, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
750 ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin Butterbeans
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced plus zest
Black Pepper (to taste)
4-6 tablespoons coconut milk (to taste)

To garnish:  Total Greek Yogurt and chopped Pistachios

Method

Place the beetroot and potato in separate oven trays and roast for around an hour at 180C, the potatoes were ready after about 40 minutes.

Place onion and garlic into a pan and steam fry for around 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the stock to the pan with the Butterbeans and cook for around 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Take the cooled Beetroots and peel the skin off, chop and place in a blender with the potatoes, Butterbean stock mix, lemon juice, orange juice plus zest, coconut milk, salt (I don’t use as the stock has salt in) and black pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth.

At this point you can either place in a saucepan and heat through again and serve immediately with a yogurt garnish sprinkled with roughly chopped Pistachio nuts for texture and bread of your choice, we enjoy toasted Sunflower Rye bread spread with coconut oil.

Or place in the fridge to consume within the next couple of days.  This recipe will also freeze well for up to 2 months.

beetroot soup 2

Nutritious and delicious!

For Beetroot nutritional info, see Superfood Beetroot

 

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Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

With the Bake-Off back this week, I thought I’d get in the baking mood again, haven’t done any for a while, it just doesn’t appeal to have the oven for too long on in the very hot weather.  And with my quest to bake with less or no sugar, these Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins fit the bill exactly with no added sugar.

lentil muffins 3

These muffins contain 3 different cheeses and Lentils which belong to the same legume family as beans which means they share similar nutritional benefits being rich source of lean protein and fibre.

Lentils also have  a good mineral profile with generous amounts of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Makes:  12 large or 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

50g red lentils, cooked
300ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
150g Ricotta
2 medium sized eggs
50g tomato purée/paste
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
30g Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
70g white self-raising flour
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, 160C fan, Gas 4.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk, Ricotta, eggs and tomato paste, once completely blended add the cooked red lentils, chopped red onion, Parmesan and parsley and stir in well.

Sift both white and wholemeal (include the husks after sifting) flours into the bowl and stir until combined.  Don’t over stir or the muffins will be heavy.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, I split the batter into a few full size muffins and some mini, bite-sized muffins for little fingers.  Sprinkle grated Cheddar cheese onto the muffins in the tin.

Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown, do the cocktail stick test to make sure they are cooked through.

Serve warm or cold.  These muffins are moist and soft and are great halved and slathered with butter or tomato chilli chutney.

lentil muffins 2

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Tomato Chilli Relish

Is this a chutney or a relish?   Chutney’s and relishes are often used interchangeably as condiment terms.  I think of relishes as needing less cooking time and using little or no sugar, so I’ve called this recipe Tomato Chilli Relish.

Picture 155

My tomatoes are still green and growing on my tomato plants but we do have a lovely red, ripe Cayenne Pepper, the second to ripen on our plants, we used the first in a spicy pasta dish and boy was it good!  Fiery hot but fabulous too!

cayenne

I’ve used powdered Cayenne for this batch as I want the chilli pepper for a chilli, madness probably in this hot weather but I have 14 more chilli peppers ready to ripen in the next couple of weeks so will use a fresh, homegrown one to make more relishes and chutneys.

tom cay relish

Tomato Chilli Relish

Ingredients

1 medium red onion. finely chopped
½ teaspoon Paprika
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
375g Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon demerara sugar (optional)
ground black pepper to taste

Method

Gently fry the red onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until soft.

Add the Paprika, Cayenne Pepper & ground Cumin and cook out for a minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, I like to leave the skins on my tomatoes for chutney’s and relishes, balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan with the onion and spices and simmer until it thickens up, around 20-25 minutes.  The sugar will bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.

tom relish

Serve with cold meats and cheeses, I pop some in chicken sandwiches, delicious and perfect for summer eating!

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Chia, Date, Walnut Slice

My kind of sweet treat this week, there is no refined sugar in this Chia, Date, Walnut Slice, no wheat or dairy either if that is what you need to avoid.  So easy to put together and no cooking required!  I came across the recipe on Woman and Home and had all the ingredients to hand which I’m trying to do more of, use what I’ve got in!

Chia sweet treat

You literally put all the ingredients except the dates into a food blender and blend until you have fine crumbs, then add the dates a few at a time and blend until it all comes together. Then put into the tin of your choice and refrigerate for an hour or so, it will keep up to 2 weeks.

dates

 I’ve made mine in a flan tin with a loose bottom and have cut into slices and cubes for a little sweet, sugar-free treat.

chia slice

chia bites1

These will definitely become a staple here,  I thought they would be super-sweet with the amount of dates required but not so and really tasty according to the 3 year old!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Chia – This article by the Huffington Post highlights the benefits of eating Chia seeds.

Dates – contain magnesium selenium, manganese and copper which are important for healthy bone development and strength.  Other minerals include iron and potassium plus vitamins B2, B3, B6, Folic Acid and K.

Walnuts – very high in Omega 3, this chart from California Walnut shows what just 1 oz of walnuts will do for your health.

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Carrot, Ginger, Orange Soup

All change with the weather again, the sun got his hat on again last week and we were all enjoying the benefits of lighter eating, being out doors and not having the heating on!

With the exception of the sand blown over from the Sahara this week (my car and windscreen were covered in it and my eyes have been feeling gritty too), the warmer weather, even if temporary, is so welcome.  

carrots

I’m still eating a lot of soups, mostly for a quick, light lunch, this soup literally only takes chopping the onion, carrots, ginger and juicing the orange to prepare, then can be left to bubble away until all the flavours have infused.

carrots ginger orange

Soups are also brilliant for using up produce or even just making use of food already in the cupboard and fridge.  The basic soup recipe is good for all the family and as you know I like a little heat  so I do add a touch of cayenne pepper to mine once served.

My oils of choice are Coconut and Olive, when choosing an oil to cook with you want an oil that will not be damaged by high cooking temperatures and Coconut oil can be used at higher temperatures without heat-induced damage to the oil.

carrot ginger orange soup

Carrot, Ginger, Orange Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: around 1 hour
Serves 4

Ingredients

I medium red onion, finely chopped
450g  carrots, sliced fairly thinly
750ml vegetable stock 
1″ fresh ginger, chopped
pinch or two of cinnamon 
1 medium orange, juiced

To garnish:
seeds of your choice 

Method

Gently steam fry the onions in a large saucepan until softened.

Add the sliced carrots and cook for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat, stirring frequently.

Add the vegetable stock, bring to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 25 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

Add the chopped ginger and cinnamon and simmer for a further 5 minutes to infuse the flavours.

Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending to a smooth consistency.  Whilst blending add the orange juice.

Serve garnished with a selection of seeds – I like Neals Yard Omega Sprinkle, a mix of pumpkin, sunflower, golden linseeds, brown linseeds and sesame seeds.

carrot ginger orange soup

 Quick Nutritional Info:

Carrots contain valuable amounts of the phyto-nutrient antioxidant beta-carotene which gives carrots their bright orange colour.  Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into vitamin A during digestion.  They are an excellent source of vitamin A plus vitamin C, E, K, folic acid, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and some iron.   

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Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is said to have magical properties when you are have a cold, I rarely get them but the Little One attends nursery or Pre-School Academy as it is now known and it is a breeding ground for bugs and sniffles.  She has a streaming cold, but it is not bothering her in the least, but to get it out of the way fast I thought I’d make a Chicken Soup which is very easy to throw together and a welcome supper especially as the weather has gotten colder this week.

chicken soup

Chicken Soup 

Prep & Cook TIme: around 1 hour
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 litres of chicken stock (I used Maggi Stock Pot)
3-4 medium-sized chicken thighs (I used skin and bone on)
1 red onion, chopped
2 Bay leaves
Thyme, good sprinkling
I used: 2 large carrots, 2 large celery sticks, butternut squash, 1 small
sweet potato, all chopped and 1 medium courgette, sliced
125g pearl barley
50g short grain brown rice

Method

Bring the stock to the boil, then add the chicken thighs, onion, bay leaves and thyme.  Simmer covered for around 20 minutes.

Take the chicken out of the stock and put aside.

Add the vegetables into the stock with the pearl barley and rice, bring to the boil, then simmer again for 30 minutes.

Pull the chicken off the bones and shred.  Add the chicken to the soup, season to taste and simmer for a further 10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.

This makes a wonderfully filling chunky healthy soup and a well balanced meal, the pearl barley and rice will absorb all the flavours and add fibre.  Pearl barley is a very good source of molybdenum, manganese and selenium plus a good source of copper, vitamins B1, B3, chromium, phosphorus & magnesium.

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Almond and Flaxseed Cookies

I have had the busiest week, something in the diary every day made the week whizz past quicker than it usually does!   I have also started a foodie photography course with Lyndsey James and am learning so much about the technical side of my camera, buttons I had never visited and techniques I will be practising to improve my food photo’s .  

Cookies are something I make regularly, different ones each week, we all like our cakes and cookies here so having some control over the ingredients to make them a little healthier is always a good thing!

almond flax cookies1

Almond and Flaxseed Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Baking TIme:  15 minutes
Makes around 30

Pre-heat your oven to 180C/400F Gas 5

Lightly grease a couple of baking trays

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter, softened
185g self-raising flour
70g golden caster sugar
100g flaked almonds
35g golden flaxseeds
1 large egg, lightly beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

almond flax cookies3

Method

Rub the softened butter into the flour until you have fine breadcrumbs, stir in the caster sugar, flaked almonds and golden flaxseeds.

Combine the egg and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients then shape into small balls and flatten slightly.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Place on a wire rack immediately after baking and leave to cool… if you can!  

That’s it!

Crunchy on the outside but cushion soft in the middle, I make these in my mini macaron pan (yes I have a multitude of baking pans!) to try to keep their shape but these cookies aren’t ones that spread all that much due to the self-raising flour.  As with all my recipes I keep the sugar content down, I used 70g today but I would use 50g if I were adding fruit.

almond flax cookies

These are brilliant for kiddie snacks and lunchboxes and also because they are mini cookies, a small, sweet fix when I need one!

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