Monday, September 26, 2011

Quinoa burgers and my crazy decision to ditch sugar

Picture supplied from retro mummy

I made a big decision and have decided to cut sugar out of my life. It’s a MASSIVE thing to decide especially for someone that lives for cake. For a few months now I have been worried about my sugar cravings. I get really uncomfortable after each meal and all I can concentrate on is getting some sugar into my gob. I can’t really focus on anything else until I get the sugar hit. 
I should be really overweight but luckily I’m in the healthy weight range. I’d be happy to lose my muffin tops (yummo) and flabby tummy but I think I need to put my sneakers on and hit the pavements to make them disappear. I’m not doing this for weight loss, it’s all about kicking these cravings, feeling healthier, looking healthier and instead of feeling guilty all the time I can start to feel proud of myself. 

It’s only day one, so all is ok at the moment. I’m craving something now (after dinner) so I’m going to keep busy writing this blog (this may be my longest post yet!). I’m following the Sweet poison diet. One great thing that I have learnt is how much sugar is in the everyday foods that we eat.  Some are obvious like juice and coke but then there are things like sauces and balsamic vinegar that are loaded with sugar. My next sentence was about to mention the fact that I don’t want to be one of these people that only talks about the diet that they are currently on and what’s good and what’s bad, but look I’m already turning into that person! Help. I guess it’s only day one; I’m excited and feel that I’m allowed. I promise not to go on and on about it, I will however pass on any interesting facts when it comes to sugar and the little ones. 

So tonight I made a recipe that I’ve been wanting to try for a while, I found this on a blog (retomummy) that I read on a regular basis. These quinoa burgers were divine, I highly recommend them. Miss F didn’t get to try any, as she had to go to bed before I made them. I’ve saved a lot of the batter for tomorrow and will cook some more up for lunch. I think she’ll like them, fingers crossed. I think I might add a little cheese on top as that always helps. I will let you know whether they were a hit or a miss. 

To try these burgers, you will find the recipe here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Now why didn't I think of this?


Here’s a great idea that I wanted to share with you all. It’s called MamaBake. It’s all about cooking batch meals with friends for you all to share. You set aside a time once a week (or whatever is best for you) where you all cook a massive meal each. Then when you're all done, you divide the meals up and take them home. So then you have a meal or two that was cooked by someone else, bliss. 

I’m going to give this a go. In my mind I can see myself cooking with friends, catching up on gossip with a wine in my hand and the kids all having a great time out in the yard. That all seems perfect to me. 

MamaBake have a great website and they have a long list of batch recipe for us to try. 

Does this tickle your fancy? I think it’s brilliant. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cauliflower cheese is the bomb


I did it; I did it (sing like Dora). I made a dish that Miss F asked for not one, not two but three bowls full. She ate the lot. This is unheard of. I made this one up as I was hoping to cook a dish that both Little S and Miss F could both eat. I combined a few of Miss F’s fave ingredients, Pasta and cheese. I kind of made my own version of cauliflower cheese. All the recipes that I found online took too long and included baking. I was on a time frame of 20mins. So I made up my own method.  I didn’t write any of this down at the time as I wasn’t planning on putting this on the blog but when I saw what a hit it was I had to share. I apologise for the lack of measurements but you can make this up to suit your needs. So here we go…

INGREDIENTS
Pasta (I used tiny cous cous sized pasta for Little S)
½ head cauliflower
½ broccoli 
25g butter
Flour (just enough to soak up all of the butter)
Milk (just enough to make a thick sauce).
Tasty cheese to sprinkle

METHOD
1. Steam both the broccoli and cauliflower until soft. 
2. Cook pasta to your liking
3. Melt butter until foaming. Add flour. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute or until mixture bubbles. Remove pan from heat. Slowly add milk, a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming.
4. Return pan to medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Remove pan from heat.
5. Once the broccoli and cauliflower are steamed cut them up into tiny pieces. 
6. Combine vegetables, pasta and white sauce together and sprinkle with tasty cheese. 
7. Enjoy. 

Suitable to freeze

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oatmeal fruit & nut cookies


Picture taken from Everybody like sandwiches


Here are some cookies that I baked for our playgroup yesterday. They are from a blog that I’m in love with. I love the styling, photography and most importantly the food. I saw these biscuits and instantly knew that I had to make them. Feeding the playgroup Mum’s seemed like the perfect opportunity. 

I learnt something whilst making these; cranberries have a lot of sugar, even more than sultana’s. Having them in biscuits such as these is all good and doesn’t worry me. But whilst I was cooking Miss F was eating these by the handful as I thought they would be fine. But 30mins later I had an absolute nightmare on my hands. Miss F changes to a completely different person if she eats too much sugar; she’s a real little terror. So lesson learned there! 

Everyone loved these biscuits and I was asked to share the recipe around, so that’s why I thought I would share the love with everybody likes sandwiches. You will find the recipe here. Enjoy.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honey-baked pumpkin risotto


A friend of mine hosted a loungewear party the other day. It was like a Tupperware but instead of plastic we were showed some beautiful pieces of clothing made from bamboo. What better way to spend a morning than to have some cake and fashion? 

Like any gathering that involves parents we started to chat about food. I was given two ‘must try’ recipes from the girls. It was a great morning and I left feeling all inspired about Toddler Tastes again. I admit that with all the sickness and sleepless nights, I’ve been a little unmotivated. 

Here’s the first of the two ‘must try’ recipes. Hubby has been over in NZ enjoying the rugby world cup, so I’ve been home alone with the kids. So this recipe especially appealed to me as I was planning on sharing and having my meals with the little ones. I love risotto, so I was very excited about trying this. 

I loved it and Miss F liked if for the first half. It seems that with every meal that I make it’s always her fave at the start and then half way through she refuses to eat the rest. I think this is a great meal for both kids and parents.  


Thanks Banika for this great recipe and good luck with your beautiful bamboo loungewear range. 

SERVES
4

INGREDIENTS 
900g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1/2 tbs honey, plus extra to drizzle
850ml vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 cup (220g) arborio rice
2/3 cup (160ml) white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
2 tbs mascarpone, plus extra to serve

METHOD
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
2. Lay pumpkin in an even layer on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of honey, tossing well to coat each piece. Roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden.
3. Place stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer over low heat.
4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based pan over low heat. Add onion and stir for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add celery and cook for 1 minute, then add ginger and rice and cook for a further minute, stirring to coat grains. Increase heat to medium-low, add wine and cook until absorbed. Add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Add lemon juice, pumpkin and parsley. Season, then stir in mascarpone.
Serve with a dollop of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and extra parsley.


Banika sourced this recipe from taste.com.au

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Will this honey date cake tempt you?


I’ve been MIA this week; things have just been so hectic with the girls. I don’t need to bore you with the details but sickness made it’s way back into our house again. I just don’t understand, as we all eat loads of vegetables, play outside, wash hands etc. I think I can claim the blame though as a couple of months ago I made a grand/stupid statement. I’d been reading on facebook about everyone’s sick kids and I stupidly said “aren’t we lucky, our kids are never ill” I was feeling cocky and thought that all of this was down to me and my efforts with homemade food. I now know that it just wasn’t our turn yet. I have also learnt that it’s a different story now that we have two little ones. They are always in each others face, so there is no way that one will not catch it from the other. Anyhow I’ve been rambling! Sorry. 

So here is a date loaf that I made the other day. I saw this recipe on the pack of my wholemeal self-raising flour pack. I love date loaf and I also have a new love of using wholemeal fours. They make me feel as though I’m being instantly healthy. I made pizza dough from this flour the other day and even though the topping wasn’t that healthy, I ate that extra bit of chocolate later on as in my mind the fact that I took the wholemeal option meant I DESERVED it!

This loaf was beautiful. I may have added extra dates because I just love them. This cake was super moist and was just perfect with a little butter on it. Miss F loved it. It’s cake, how could she not? This freezes perfectly. 

HONEY DATE CAKE
(Brought to you buy the Country women’s association of NSW)

INGREDIENTS
2 ¼ cups wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup honey
1 cup water
1 tb golden syrup
30g butter
250g chopped dates
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped almonds
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp mixed spice

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 180c conventional oven/160 c fan forced. Grease a deep 19cm square cake tin, line with baking paper.
2. Combine honey, water, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan. Stir constantly, without boiling, until butter is melted.
3. Stir dates, walnuts and almonds, into honey mixture; fold in sifted ingredients.
4. Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 50mins, or until cooked. Cool in tin. May be iced with lemon icing. 

May be frozen. 


Friday, September 2, 2011

Enough about the quiche already



I feel like I’m stepping back in time when I think about quiche. It’s been years and years since I last ate a slice. I know they are still around and still make their appearances at cafes and bakeries. When I think of quiches it takes me back to a small town that I grew up in, Bowral. For a treat Mum would take us to a cafĂ© after school and we’d share a slice (might sound a little sad/deprived that we had to share but Mum didn’t want us getting too full before dinner). Oh how excited we would get about an over microwaved slice of quiche with the obligatory sprig of parsley on top!

I think the quiche is making a comeback. I’ve seen it on a few cooking shows recently, so I thought I would give it a crack. I cannot see how Miss F could not like it. It has pastry and cheese.

On her first bit she was so, so, so excited. Everything was sounding and looking great. There were even grand statements being made such as “ Mummy, I’m going to eat all of my dinner” I was over the moon, so much so that I was going to write and put up this post instantly so the whole world could jump onboard the Quiche train.

I then turn around to grab something for little S and something changed in the kitchen. All positivity left and suddenly Miss F jumped off the train and kept on running. The new statement of the night was “ I hate quiche, I can’t eat quiche”. I have no idea on what happened in that split second that I turned around but the news wasn’t good. I ended up cursing the F*#king quiche because it’s all I heard about for the rest of the night was “Mum, I can’t eat quiche, I don’t like quiche” it was going around like a broken record. Even when Daddy came home the record was playing for him as well. So NO MORE QUICHE in this household. I thought it tasted really nice but never again. I think you should give it ago, see how it goes in your house. I would love to know.

SERVES
6

INGREDIENTS
2 sheets ready rolled shortcrust pastry (I made my own as we didn’t have any in the freezer)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
5 rashers bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
1 cup grated tasty cheese
3 eggs
1 teaspoon plain flour
300ml cream
1/2 cup milk

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a fluted 3cm deep, 23cm (base), loose-base flan pan.
2. Line base and sides of flan with pastry. Trim excess. Line pastry with baking paper. Half-fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove paper and beans. Bake a further 10 minutes or until golden.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and bacon. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Cool. Sprinkle over pastry. Top with cheese.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 180°C. Whisk remaining ingredients and salt and pepper in a jug. Pour over bacon. Place onto tray. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Stand for 5 minutes. Serve.

Recipe sourced from Taste.com.au