gluten free

Oven baked paleo meatballs

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very good at cooking ‘simple’ or one pot/pan dinners. I go in with a simple idea and often complicate it by adding an extra dish or experimenting with a new technique and before I know it, I’ve used a billion dishes, pots and pans.

I created this meatball recipe with the goal of creating a one pan dish and I’m pleased to say that I finally succeeded! This is something I make for the family once a week, loading up the tray with meatballs and homemade chips and then serving salad on the side. The leftover meatballs are perfect with an egg or two for breakfast the following morning or thrown together with salad or steamed veggies for a quick and nutritious lunch.

This recipe is gluten and grain free so perfect for those with intolerances or who follow a paleo diet, and can be adapted for those with nut allergies or fructose malabsorption. You can throw these together in under 10 minutes and cook or place in the freezer for an even quicker meal down the track. Enjoy! -Renee

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Makes: 18 meatballs

Prep time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 30-40 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g mince

  • 3/4- 1 cup almond meal*

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

  • ½ small onion, finely diced**

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped**

  • 1 egg

  • ½ zucchini, grated

  • 1 tbs tomato paste

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • 1 tbs olive oil

*Swap for regular breadcrumbs if your prefer, or rice crumbs if you are allergic/intolerant to nuts

**Omit if you are have issues with high FODMAP foods or onion and garlic

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 or so minutes until translucent.

  3. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well mixed. If the mixture if a little wet, add extra almond meal 1/4 cup at a time.

  4. Form the mixture into golf sized balls (you should get 18-19 meatballs) and place on baking tray.

  5. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the over briefly, to turn the meatballs so they brown on the other side and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

  6. Serve with salad and homemade chips, pasta/zoodles and sauce or eat with eggs for breakfast. The possibilities are endless!

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Salmon Patties

I have been making these patties for quick some time now, and created the recipe as a way of getting more calcium into my kids diet (we eat little dairy and don’t drink milk) and help the family move away from eating tuna on a regular basis (tuna is higher in mercury due to their large size).

For me, eating tinned salmon with the bones and skin is the ultimate in reducing waste, using the ‘whole’ animal and boosting the nutrition of meals. One of the questions I get asked every.single.time when I talk about reducing consumption of dairy or encounter clients with dairy intolerances or allergies, is where will I get calcium?

Calcium is an important nutrient, not only for bone health but also for cardiovascular, muscular and nervous system function. Yes, dairy is a source of calcium, but it is not the only source nor is it the best source. Many foods, including plant based foods, are abundant in calcium, including:

  • salmon and sardine bones

  • broccoli, kale and leafy greens

  • almonds, cashews and other nuts

  • tahini

  • tofu

  • chia seeds

  • legumes

  • dried figs

These salmon patties are an absolute sinch to make, my kids have NO IDEA there are salmon bones in them and you can make them in advance and reheat or freeze for another day. Enjoy!

xRenee

Tinned salmon bones are an excellent source of calcium

Tinned salmon bones are an excellent source of calcium

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g tin pink or red salmon, drained (keeping the skin and bones)

  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped

  • 1 cup almond meal

  • Juice of half lemon

  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • handful fresh parsley and chives, finely chopped

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 eggs

  • coconut oil for cooking

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  1. Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for 5 minutes or so.

  2. Place all the ingredients, except the coconut oil, in a bowl and combine until it all sticks together. Form into golf ball sized balls.

  3. Heat 1 tbs coconut oil in a non-stick pan and add 3-4 patties. Flatten with the back of a spatula and cook until golden brown and then flip to the other side. If they stick when trying to flip, you just need to cook that side a bit longer.

  4. Serve with salad and/or steamed veggies

 

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Hazelnut choc bliss balls

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I’m such a huge fan of bliss balls, they are a sinch to make and are a great snack for on the go. It’s easy enough to make them nutrient dense, loaded with good fats, protein, minerals and fibre. I prefer to keep my bliss balls on the fruit free and lower fructose side, firstly as I tend to eat thousands of them when they are super sweet, and secondly as I find I get quite a bad crash from the sugar high later on if they are loaded with dates and maple syrup or agave.

I created this particular recipe to have an example of how to add hemp seeds to your day for my clients. I personally love hemp seeds sprinkled on dishes or added to smoothies, but found that others really wanted another way of incorporating them into snacks/meals. I’m a HUGE fan of hemp seeds as they are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and are therefore great for those who don’t eat or don’t like eating fish. They are also a great source of other fatty acids (making them the perfect anti-inflammatory food), protein, fibre, minerals and B vitamins.

They are also a sustainable food source and are grown here in Australia! Better still, they are finally legal for human consumption in Australia which means they are more readily available, I’ve even seen them in the big supermarket chains!

These are great to whip up when you’re in a hurry, you can even press the mix into a baking tray and cut into slices if you don’t have time for rolling them. They’re also a fun snack to make with little ones, allowing them to get their hands dirty and work on their rolling technique. Enjoy! -Renee x

Prep time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes

Makes: 10-12 balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup hazelnuts

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

  • 2 tbs rice malt syrup (you could also use maple syrup or honey)

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 1⁄2-2 tbs cacao (depends on how chocolaty you like it)

  • desiccated/shredded coconut (make sure it’s sulfur free)

METHOD

  1. Process the hazelnuts, in a food processor/thermomix/blender until they resemble meal/flour (not quite nut butter).

  2. Chuck in the remaining ingredients, except the coconut, and process until everything is smoothish and sticking together, adding a touch more rice malt if the mixture is too dry.

  3. Divide and roll the mixture into golf sized balls.

  4. Sprinkle a handful of the desiccated coconut onto a plate and roll the balls into it until covered.
    These will keep for a 5 days in the fridge, and freeze well too.

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Gluten-Free Tahini Brownies

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Some people are not fans of tahini with sweets, but I LOVE it - the more fat the more satiating, IMO. 

When I was on a strict elimination diet while breast-feeding my youngest with food intolerances this was my go to sweet treat in the evenings when I was craving a little sumthin'-sumthin'.

The Health Benefits of Tahini

Tahini is made from sesame, so it's packed full of minerals like calcium and iron and also loaded with unsaturated fats to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Adding tahini to brownies was just my way of tricking myself into thinking I was giving myself a 'healthy' sweet treat - but really it's just because I love how it combines with there bitterness of the chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 120g of chopped dark chocolate - I love Loving Earth's Dark Chocolate, but you can also make your own 
  • 3 x tbs coconut oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 x tbs hulled tahini (divided into 1 tbs and 3 tbs portions)
  • 3 x tbs of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 x tbs of raw cacao powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of coconut sugar
  • 2 x tbs maple syrup (or rice malt syrup)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Line a bread loaf pan with baking paper (if not using a silicon one). Otherwise coat liberally with coconut oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Melt chopped chocolate with 1 x tbs of tahini, salt and coconut oiling a double boiler over low heath. Continue to stir until well combined and then remove from heat. 
  4. Combine raw cacao powder and arrowroot in small bowl. Mix with a whisk or spoon until the powders are well mixed and there are no lumps.
  5. Whisk eggs and coconut sugar in a large bowl until fluffy and smooth (about 3 mins).
  6. Spoon the liquid chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture, continue to whisk for another minute.
  7. Slowly add the arrowroot mixture to the bowl while continuing to whisk the mixture until a thick chocolate batter forms. Spoon this mixture into there prepared bread loaf tin.
  8. Stir together the maple syrup and 3 x tbs of tahini in a small bowl until thick and creamy paste forms. Dollop the maple tahini cream onto the top of chocolate batter and fold it into the top of the brownie batter with a fork to create a swirl-like pattern on the surface.
  9. Bake for 22 mins.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before removing from the pan and cutting. 

Makes 12

gluten-free-tahini-chocolate-brownies

Veggie-Loaded Lasagne

vegetarian-gluten-free-lasagne

We are gluten and dairy-free at our house due to our youngest child having food intolerances. Fortunately there are many wonderful recipes out there that can mean you can still enjoy foods like pasta and lasagne even when you can't eat gluten. 

I've adapted this recipe from The Healthy Chef and tweaked it for our household's dietary needs. I recommend making the basic recipe below and then once you've got the hang of this go ahead and adapt it to your own palate preferences.

Ingredients

  • 1.5L x tomato passata
  • 1/3 cup of red wine
  • 1 x brown onion, diced
  • 2 x cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 x tin of brown lentils, strained (or 3/4 cup of rinsed red lentils)
  • 1/2 bunch of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 x bunch of greens (kale, Swiss chard or spinach greens), washed and chopped
  • 2 x tbs Extra virgin olive oil + extra for roasting pumpkin
  • 1 x small butternut pumpkin, seeded and sliced thinly widthways 
  • 1 x tsp of ground cinnamon 
  • 1 /2 x tsp of ground nutmeg
  • 2 x cups of raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 x cup of water
  • Sprigs of rosemary or thyme for roasting (optional)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Soak raw cashews in water (or speed up the process by soaking in freshly boiled water while you start the cooking process).
  2. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced.
  3. Place sliced pumpkin on a baking tray and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and prigs of rosemary/thyme if using. Drizzle with 1 x tbs of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes until golden and pumpkin is cooked (roast for longer if needed).
  4. Heat remaining 1 x tbs of olive oil in a small heavy based saucepan while the pumpkin is cooking. Once the oil is heated add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until translucent and slightly caramelised. Add garlic, lentils and salt and pepper. Stir to coat.
  5. Add tomato passata and red wine. Stir together and reduce heat to simmer on low for 20 minutes to allow flavours to develop. Throw in chopped basil leaves at the end of cooking the tomato sauce. 
  6. Sauté greens in a small amount of oil or water until bright green.
  7. Strain cashews and blend on high with water, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper until combined into a smooth paste. 
  8. Assemble the lasagne in an oven-proof ceramic dish starting with pumpkin, then greens, followed by tomato sauce. Repeat and then top with the cashew paste.
  9. Bake lasagne in the oven for 30 minutes until cashew layer becomes a crust on top.

Serves 8.

Enjoy! Lucy x

pumpkin-veggie-loaded-lasagne

Meat-free Monday Bolognese Sauce

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My family and I love pasta and eat some form of bolognese pretty much every week. I love making it because its a great way to clear out the fridge of any scrappy or limp looking veggies, and I can cram a ton of vegetables in there that my kids wouldn't normally eat.

This is one of my favourite versions for two reasons:

1. It has split red lentils in it, and I absolutely LOVE these bad boys. Split red lentils are an excellent source of fibre, protein and magnesium as well as other vitamins and minerals. They also break down really well so can be easily hidden in meals for fussy eaters (i.e my 5 year old!)

2. It has eggplant in it. I don't know about anyone else, but I always buy eggplant and never get to use it because my kids won't eat where it has obviously been added. In this dish, it is completely broken down and hidden, but adds fantastic flavour. Eggplant are also a great source of fibre, copper and B1, as well as a good source of manganese, B6, B3, potassium and vitamin K.

This makes enough for 6-8 serves, when I make it I immediately freeze half for a quick meal later down the track. If you don't want to freeze it, just half the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this meat-free Monday meal!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves 6-8

Freezes well

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small eggplant, skin removed and cut into 1 cm cubes

  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/2 carrot, grated

  • 1/2 medium red capsicum, finely chopped

  • 1 largish handful fresh oregano, marjoram and parsley (use 1 tsp of each dried)

  • 3/4 cup split red lentils, well rinsed

  • 500 g crushed tomatoes, salt reduced

  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar

  • pepper to taste

  • 1/4- 1/2 tsp salt 

  • 2 large handfuls leafy greens, finely chopped

  • 1 tbs olive oil

METHOD

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Fill the empty tin or jar of crushed tomatoes 3/4 full of water, shake it to loosen all the tomato-ey goodness inside and tip that in as well.

  3. Bring to the boil, then drop to a medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the chopped leafy greens and cook for another 5 minutes.

  5. To make this a completely hidden veggies meal, take to the pot with a stick mixer or potato masher and process until the texture is to your liking.

  6. Serve with pasta, rice, buckwheat, quinoa or zoodles. This is also a great base for lasagne, Sheppard's pie or can be used as a base for our 'Veggie Loaded Mexi Beans'

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Buckwheat Pancakes

buckwheat-pancakes

When you are dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free breakfast can feel like a real struggle. Some people turn to meat and veg for breakfast but when you are after something more traditional buckwheat pancakes can be just the ticket!

Buckwheat & Elimination Diets

Many women while breast-feeding undergo strict elimination diets if they suspect their breastfed child has a food allergy or intolerance. When undertaking an elimination optimal nutrition is really important - that's where pseudo grains like buckwheat can come in.

Buckwheat is nutritious because it contains:

  • Magnesium - a important mineral to support brain health, mood and energy. 
  • Manganese - an essential micro mineral needed for growth & immune system health
  • B vitamins - needed for energy, growth and healthy mood.
  • Vegan protein - protein is essential for brain, muscle and 
  • Fibre - regulates blood sugar & fats and assist with moving stool along the digestive tract.
  • Other minerals - such as zinc and iron which are critical to digestive health, cell repair and energy. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and it becomes a family favourite like it is in our house. 

- Lucy x

Pancake Ingredients

  • 1 x cup of buckwheat flour (untoasted)
  • 1 x serve of chia eggs (see below)
  • 1 + 1/4 cups of plant-based milk (I used cashew milk, but you can also use coconut milk, almond or rice milk)
  • Pinch of salt flakes
  • 1 x tsp of olive oil
  • 1 x tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 x tsp of sweetener (such as maple syrup or rice malt syrup)
  • 1 x tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • Coconut oil for frying (or any other safe oil you wish to use)
  • Chopped fruit or extra sweetener for serving.

Chia Egg Ingredients

  • 2 x tbs chia seeds
  • Filtered water
Chia-seeds.jpg

Method

  1. Grind the chia seeds in a coffee grinder or in a heavy duty motor and pestle. When using the motor and pestle, all up this process takes about 5 minutes (just grind until your hand feels tired, step away and then come back to grinding).
  2. Once ground add 1 x tablespoon of the ground chia to 1/4 of cup of water and allow to for 10 minutes so the chia can become like a gel.*
  3. Once the chia eggs have gelled add buckwheat flour, chia eggs, milk, olive oil, cinnamon, sweetener and vanilla essence (if using) to a food processor and blend on high for 3 minutes.
  4. Add coconut oil to a heavy based saucepan and place on stovetop on high heat.
  5. Once the oil starts to shimmer reduce the heat to lowest setting add about 1 generous tablespoon of the pancake batter to the pan. Heat until bubbles begin to show on the surface of the pancake. Flip the pancake and cook on the other side until golden.
  6. Place cooked pancakes to cool on kitchen towel to soak up any extra oil.
  7. Repeat process with oil and pancake batter until you have finished the batter.
  8. Slice up some fruit and serve with pancakes with some extra sweetener.

Makes 12 pancakes

*Tip: any leftover ground chia meal can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month.

'Mexi' spice mix

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This easy to make spice mix can replace all those yucky (yet tasty) mixes that you can buy from the supermarket or in taco/burrito kits that often contain fillers, anti-caking agents and poor quality spices . You can use it in our chilli bean recipe here, or add to any of your own creations. 

We kept this 'mexi' spice mix recipe chilli free so that it is family friendly (and good for those who don't like too much heat!) but you can add cayenne pepper or chilli flakes if you desire. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tbs ground cumin

  • 2 1/2 tbs ground coriander

  • 1 tbs dried oregano

  • 1/2 tbs dried marjoram

  • 1- 1 1/2 tbs smoked paprika (depending on how smoky you like it)

  • 1 tsp ground fennel

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

METHOD

  1. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Store in an airtight jar, this will last up to 6 months.
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Apple & strawberry gluten free muffins

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I've been working on a gluten free muffin recipe that was also egg/soy/dairy free (so it excluded the most common food intolerances that I encounter) AND wasn't too dense AND delicious. I knew I was onto something when my kids literally gobbled up the first batch that I made using the following recipe!

As with all of our recipes, you can swap things like the gluten free flours for regular wheat/spelt/khorasan flour, the milk for any milk your prefer, the coconut sugar for regular cane sugar and the apple puree for banana (or even pumpkin puree).

These gluten free muffins are perfect for lunch boxes or day trips, they keep well for up to 5 days (although best stored in the fridge) and freeze well. Enjoy! -Renee x

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea) flour

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot/tapioca flour

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (you can also use regular cane sugar)

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbs ground flaxseed combined with 4 tbs water, mixed well and set aside)

  • 1 cup apple puree

  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 1/2 cup milk (nut, soy, rice etc)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped (you can use any berry)

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease two muffin trays and place both on a large baking tray and set aside.

  2. Combine the apple puree, sugar, vanilla essence and coconut oil until well mixed.

  3. Add the flours, salt, baking powder and soda, salt, flaxeggs, cinnamon and milk and process until smooth. 

  4. Gently stir in the chopped berries, then pour the mixture into the muffin trays (should make 10-12 muffins.

  5. Place tray in oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before removing from trays. Best stored in the fridge if not eaten within 2 days and they freeze well.

 

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Quinoa Porridge

quinoa-porridge

This one is for all the mums who are breastfeeding child with allergies or intolerances. Why? Because I can still distinctly remember staring blanking into my pantry searching for a satisfying breakfast while undertaking an elimination diet for my 2-year-old's eczema and non-IgE allergies. 

Only a breastfeeding mum, 3 weeks into an elimination diet, knows just how much a pain in the bum preparing breakfast can be.

If you are egg-free, soy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, nut-free, oat-free and dairy-free breakfast you can feel like there's no safe foods to turn to - especially for breakfast when you can't reach for a simple omelette or muesli. 

That's where your seeds and gluten-free grains can come in. Staples like quinoa, brown rice and buckwheat are filled with minerals, proteins and starches to help you feel full, have regular bowel motions and give you plenty of energy for chasing your crazy kidlet around the place.

My youngest has stopped breastfeeding but our whole family still continues to eat quinoa porridge for breakfast....because it tastes delicious!

Want some more support with healthy diet options during your elimination diet? Get in touch book an appointment

- Lucy x

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa (see notes)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of safe milk 
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp of sweetener (see notes)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 medjool date, pit removed (optional)
  • Extra water for rinsing and soaking
  • Extra fruit, seeds and nuts for toppings

Method

  1. If possible soak the quinoa overnight in the bowel with plenty of water.
  2. In the morning strain the quinoa in a sieve and rinse throughly.
  3. Place quinoa and the cup of water in a small pot on high heat.
  4. Cover and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce to a low heat and cook for about 10 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  6. On the low heat break the banana into pieces and add it to the pot with your choice of milk, the cinnamon and date if you are using it.
  7. Stir over low heat until the porridge is a consistency you like.
  8. Spoon into a bowl and top with slice fruit, crushed raw nuts and seeds.

Serves 2

Tips

  • For quinoa I recommend you use tricolour or plain white variety as they make the porridge a creamier consistency.
  • It's not critical that you soak the quinoa but doing this will release phytates from the seeds. This anti-nutrient compound can prevent the absorption of some minerals so soaking and rinsing helps to remove this from the quinoa.
  • Safe milk may be coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk.
  • I prefer to use maple syrup for a sweetener but you can use honey or rice malt syrup depending.
  • Store any leftover porridge in an air-tight container to use for tomorrow's breakfast.
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Hidden Veggies Baked Beans

When I was a poor vegan student, baked beans were an absolute staple for me (realistically, they were always a staple, I love baked bean jaffles as a kid!), and luckily for me they are a great source of protein because at the time I was uneducated about nutrition and ate very little protein.

Fast forward a few years and I realised how much sugar and thickeners were in baked beans and instead of giving them up I decided to work on my own recipe that tasted just as good as store bought baked beans. Over the years I've tweaked this recipe to get to the one that follows, which I can safely say is one of my favourite recipes and is loved by my whole family. And I love how much they love it because I know they're eating veggies they normally wouldn't eat and are getting a great hit of protein, magnesium, iron, zinc and complex carbohydrates.

I generally double this recipe and keep half for breakfasts for the week and the other half for more hectic weeks when I don't have time to cook.

I hope you enjoy my hidden veggies baked beans. x Renee

beans ingredients web.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 tbs reduced salt tomato paste
  • 1 tin diced tomato, no added salt
  • 2 tins navy beans, drained and rinsed well
  • ½ tsp dried thyme or marjoram 
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbs ACV (apple cider vinegar)
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ zucchini grated
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach or other leafy green, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbs olive oil

METHOD

  1. Heat the olive oil over a low flame, add onion and cook until translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, tinned tomato, thyme/marjoram, oregano, ACV, pepper and zucchini, combine well and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the leafy greens, then allow to cool for a minute. Puree the mixture using a stick mixer, or by adding to a food processor. Place back in the pan, add the navy beans and cook for a couple of minutes.
  3. Will be good for in the coldest part of your fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
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Hot Cross Cookies

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I love hot cross buns, and usually make a couple of batches around Easter for the kiddies because they love them too! But with my youngest being off gluten, dairy and soy and me not having enough time to play around with a gluten free recipe for hot cross buns, I decided to work on something a little easier and different, hot cross cookies!

And boy, have they been a hit! They are soft, with a hint of spice and just the right amount of dried fruit. Easy to make, and easily adapted to suit any other intolerances, such as nuts or eggs.

I hope you enjoy these hot cross cookies, just in time for Easter but they are literally perfect for any other occasion x Renee

Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 15-20 mins

hot cross cookie ingredients web.jpg

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups plain flour (for gluten free use: 1 cup almond meal, 1 cup brown rice flour, ½ cup tapioca/arrowroot flour)

  • ½ cup coconut sugar (you can also use regular sugar)

  • ¼ cup nut butter (you could also use sunflower seed butter or use more coconut oil)

  • ½ cup coconut oil

  • 2 tsp vanilla essence

  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 tbs cacao powder

  • 1 large egg (for egg free use 1 large banana mashed)

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • ¾ cup dried fruit (1/2 cup sultanas, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup apricots, roughly chopped)

‘Cross’ batter

  • 2 tbs plain flour (for gluten free, use tapioca/arrowroot flour)

  • 1 tbs rice malt syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1-2 tbs milk (dairy, non dairy etc)

METHOD

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

  2. Cream together the eggs (or banana), sugar, nut butter, coconut oil and vanilla essence.

  3. Add all the remaining cookie ingredients, except the dried fruit, and combine until well mixed. Then add the dried fruit and mix in.

  4. Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture out and form into golf ball sized balls. Place on the baking tray, evenly spaced (these will spread) and gently flatten with your hand or with a fork.

  5. Combine the ‘cross’ batter ingredients, adding the milk in 1/2 tsp increments, until smooth and without lumps. You want this mixture to be thick enough to squeeze through a piping bag (or drizzled over the cookies) and not too runny or it will spread. Pipe the mixture across each cookie, forming a cross.

  6. Place trays in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before removing from baking tray.

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Dairy Free Chocolate Popsicles

Prep time: 10 minutes

Freezing time: 2 hours

Serves: 4-6

These are a massive hit in our house! I love making these chocolate popsicles because they are dairy free, low sugar and super quick to make! I can whip them up in the morning or early afternoon, knowing that in a couple of hours they will be ready, perfect for those hot days when you need to cool off AND keep the kids happy!

If you need to keep them fructose free omit the dates, otherwise don't be afraid of the realistically small amount of sugar in them! Dates are also fibre rich which helps to slow down the absorption of sugar, and the addition of them in these popsicles adds a special sweetness and creaminess to the texture.

You can also play around with the flavours, omitting the cacao and swapping for carob powder or keeping them vanilla flavoured. If there's a cashew allergy, swap for other nuts such as almonds or macadamias or omit altogether.

I hope you enjoy my dairy free chocolate popsicles as much as we do in my house! x

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

  • 250 mls coconut milk (you could also use almond, rice or another non dairy milk)

  • 3 fresh dates, roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

  • 2 tbs cacao powder

  • 2-3 tbs rice malt syrup

METHOD

  1. In a food processor or blender, process the cashews until a paste is formed.

  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

  3. Pour the mixture into popsicle moulds (I use these and these).

  4. Place in the freezer for 2 hours until completely frozen. You will need to run the moulds under hot water for a for seconds to remove from the mould.

'Cheezy' Rosemary Seed Crackers

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I love a good cracker! Especially with homemade dip or a nut cheese like the phenomenal Botanical Cuisine cheeses. Seed crackers are a great way to get extra nutrition into your day, all whilst eating something delicious! These crackers are an excellent source of omega 3 from the flax and chia seeds, zinc from the pepitas and sunflower seeds, calcium from the sesame seeds and protein from all the seeds. 

You can whip these up quickly and have them on hand for whenever hungry strikes. They are also a great one to go for when you get that mid-arvo slump and want to reach for something sugary. Reach for these babies instead and stabilise your blood sugar and get an energy boost from the crunch, protein, carbs and healthy fats!

I hope you enjoy these tasty seed crackers, and check out our other recipes for dips to pair them with here.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs buckwheat groats

  • 2 tbs chia seeds

  • 1/2 cup flaxseed (linseed)

  • 2 tbs sesame seeds

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  • 1/2-1 tsp salt

  • 3 tbs savoury yeast flakes (also called nutritional yeast)

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (crushed)

  • 1 cup filtered or tap water

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.

  2. Roughy chop the sunflower seeds and pepitas.

  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Allow to set for 20-30 minutes until the water has absorbed and the seeds have become gel like.

  4. Spread the mixture across both baking trays, ensuring it is evenly spread and not too thick (you want it less then 1/2 cm thick). Using a pizza cutter or knife, score the mix so the crackers will break apart easily once made (I usually make the crackers approximately 5 x 5 cm).

  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until slightly brown. remove the trays from the oven, allow to cool slightly then break the crackers apart.

  6. Flip the crackers over on the tray, place back in the oven and back for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

  7. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Grain & Refined Sugar Free Granola

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My go to breakfast pretty much 7 days a week is eggs in some form or other, but every now and then I really want crunchy granola with a bit of fruit and natural yogurt. I'm finding myself eating fewer grain based meals due to digestive issues, it really helps to cut down that stodgy and bloated feeling post eating that I often experience with things like oats. I'd been working on a grain free granola recipe in my head for quite a few months before I finally whipped out the ingredients and had a crack at making it, and boy is it delicious (and easy to make)!

I have this as a snack in the arvo when I need a little pick me up as crunchy foods are great for improving focus and concentration due to the work of our jaws having to chump those harder foods, and the protein and good fats give that slow burn that maintains energy for the rest of the day.

This grain and refine sugar free granola can be enjoyed with yogurt, fruit and milk (dairy free or otherwise), but its also great as a topper for fruit and yogurt or even eaten like trail mix. Enjoy! x Renee 

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups buckwheat groats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper or silicon baking mats and set aside.
  2. Roughly chop the almonds and hazelnuts and place in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Combine well until thoroughly mixed. Scoop half the mixture on each baking tray and spread across thinly and evenly.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then swap the trays in the oven and stir the mixture around to ensure even baking.
  5. Bake for a further 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. 

Slow Cooker Chickpea and Pumpkin Curry

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We love slow cooker curry in our house and easily eat one every week. I love being able to chuck something on first thing in the morning and know that all I need to do for dinner that night is cook some rice (I often do that in advance and freeze it too, saving even more time!).

This slow cooker chickpea and pumpkin curry is slightly sweet, creamy and very mild and a huge hit with my kids, especially my 2.5 year old who will ask for curry for days after we've had this one. Chickpeas are a fantastic source of fibre and magnesium, two nutrients most of us need extra of! The spices are great for settling tummies and reducing inflammation and the veggies are generally the cheapest you can get, making this a very cheap (and nutritious!) family meal.

It freezes well (minus the potatoes) and tastes even better when kept in the fridge for a few days before eating. I hope you enjoy my favourite slow cooker curry! x

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Serves 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 mins in a hurry; 6 hours slow cooked

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and finely chopped (OPTIONAL but delicious)
  • 1 medium potato, washed and cubed
  • roughly two cups butternut pumpkin, cubed
  • 1 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 1 tin diced tomato (salt reduced)
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or 300 g pre-soaked and cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • few cracks of pepper to taste
  • 1 ½-2 tbs curry powder
  • 1 tsp stock paste
  • couple handfuls of chopped greens like kale or silverbeet
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METHOD

  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Sauté on a medium heat until the onion is translucent (approx. 5 minutes). This step intensifies the flavour, but can be totally skipped if your in a hurry.
  2. Set up your slow cooker*. Chuck in the cooked onion mix, and the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.
  3. Cook for 6 hours on low heat (stir occasionally to prevent the sides drying out). Chuck in the chopped greens in the last 10 minutes or so and mix through. Serve with cooked brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice. A dollop of natural yogurt goes very well with this too!

*If you don’t have a slow cooker, this can easily be slowed cooked in the oven at 180 degrees for 1 ½-2 hours, just chuck it in a casserole dish or dutch oven (you will need to stir occasionally). It can also make a pretty quick meal by cooking on the stove top in a large pot. Follow step one, then add the veggies and sauté for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. It’ll be tasty but the flavours won’t be as rich.

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Homemade Mild Curry Powder

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Homemade curry powder is such a cheap and simple thing to make, I don't know why people don't make their own more! Store bought curry powder often has colours, additives and preservatives, so making your own enables you to know exactly what you are putting in your cooking.

I don't generally insist that people choose organic produce when cooking, but when it comes to herbs and spices there really is a huge difference! Spices will last up to 12 months when stored in an airtight container, so despite being a bit more expensive, you will still get bang for your buck. And did you read the Choice review that talked about the actual percentage of oregano that was in common/popular brands of herbs? Make sure you buy reputable brands such as Gourmet Organic Herbs or by bulk herbs online from Honest to Goodness or shops like Terra Madre (if you live in Melbourne).

This curry powder will make enough for 5-8 curries (depending on how strong you like your curry) and will last approximately 12 months in an airtight container.

In a bowl, combine:

  • 4 tsp cumin ground cumin

  • 4 tsp ground coriander

  • 3 tsp turmeric powder

  • 2 tsp mustard powder

  • 1 tsp cardamom powder

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

 

Place in an airtight container and store away from heat and direct sunlight.

Grain Free Apple Cake

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I came across this recipe on Fresh Planet Flavor looking for grain-free sweets to recommend to a client and have come to find it a very reliable, healthy & kid-friendly recipe. I've made a few minor adjustments and added a few steps about how to make your own applesauce because it's very easy to do.

Why Grain-Free?

You can probably tell that a lot of the recipes on our website are grain-free, this is because we find many of our clients struggle to digest them well. Also you can quickly boost the nutrient content of a meal once you swap something like processed white flour for buckwheat flour or coconut flour.

Make Your Own Applesauce

Applesauce works as a wonderful binder in recipes to bring ingredients together. It also add some sweetness and extra fibre to a recipe. You can purchase some from a grocery store but it is very easy to make and will save you a few extra dollars for something else. All you need is 4 ingredients and the cake recipe will leave you with plenty left over for pancakes or baked goods!

 Ingredients for Applesauce

  • 4 apples peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup of water

Method for Applesauce

  1. Place all ingredients into a large stainless steel pot.
  2. Cover and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes until the apples are soft (taking care that the water doesn't completely evaporate while cooking).
  4. Once cooled mash apples with a fork or hand blender

Applesauce will store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Ingredients for Cake

  • 1/3 cup of coconut flour
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of applesauce
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced horizontally
  • Coconut oil to grease

Method for Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C
  2. Grease a small cake tin with coconut oil. I used a 10cm x 21cm loaf tin.
  3. Sift the coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt into a small bowl.
  4. Whisk the eggs, sweetener, vanilla essence & applesauce until well combined in a large bowl. 
  5. Gently add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients while continuing to whisk the mixture. The mixture will become very stiff. 
  6. Add the mixture to the pan and smooth the top of the cake. Add the thinly sliced apples to the top.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes until the mixture feels firm to touch and is golden on top.
  8. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

Serves 6.   

Mini Choc Chip Cookies

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OMG, who doesn’t love tiny little choc chip cookies??? These babies have this lovely kinda wholemeal texture, but the chocolate makes them feel decadent and indulgent. Amazingly they stay really soft if kept in a airtight container, so I take a little box to work at the beginning of the week, for little arvo pick me ups, and they work a real treat! And bonus, my kids absolutely love them which is great as it can be difficult to find treats that are gluten, dairy and soy free for my two year old.

I generally bake them using coconut sugar, but have recently started using rice malt syrup instead in order to cut the sugar content down even further and love them! With rice malt syrup, they're more of a chewy, flat cookie and a little softer so be gently with them. If you're a real sweet tooth, stick with the coconut sugar, otherwise rice malt syrup is the way to go!

-Renee x

Makes 15 or so

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INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup (or just under) Loving Earth mylk chocolate, chopped (use 90% Lindt chocolate instead to reduce fructose content further)

  • ½ cup unrefined coconut oil

  • ½ cup coconut sugar*

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup brown rice flour (you can also use almond flour)

  • 1/3 cup of each besan (chickpea) flour and tapioca/arrowroot flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 2 flax egg (2 tbs ground flaxseed + 4 tbs water mixed together)

  • 1/3 cup of plant based milk (soy, nut, rice, coconut)

  • 1 tbs vinegar

*swap for ½ cup rice malt syrup; adjust milk to 0

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper, grease with a little coconut oil (you 100% need to do this if using rice malt syrup) and set aside. Add the vinegar to the ‘milk’ and roughly chop the chocolate and set both aside.

  2. In a large bowl cream together the coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla extract.

  3. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and combine well, then add the milk/vinegar combo and mix well. Stir in the chopped chocolate and sunflower seeds.

  4. Form the dough into walnut sized balls, place on the baking trays and gently flatten with a fork (if you're using rice malt syrup the mix will be quite wet, spoon 1 tbs of batter per cookie, keeping them spaced apart even further). Keep them fairly spaced out because they will expand a little.

  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Keep an eye on them because they can overcook and will lose their chewiness.

**Please note these can dry out pretty quickly, so once they are cool (if there’s any left!) it’s best to keep them in an airtight container. If it’s really hot, best to keep them in the fridge and they’ll last close to a week.

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Homemade Hazelnut Chocolate

I love chocolate so much! Its such a nice treat to have here and there, and although I thoroughly enjoy my quick chocolate recipe, I wanted something that was a bit more true to store bought chocolate without the dairy, refined sugar and fillers.

I always have cacao butter on hand in the cupboard, it stores well and its a nice thing to have on hand for desserts. I had been playing around with a 'nutella' recipe using hazelnuts and thought why not combine the two to make chocolate? The result? A delicious, dairy and refined sugar free chocolate that ticks ALL the boxes. It's enjoyed by all members of my family (especially my youngest who has to avoid dairy to manage his eczema), and I made a big batch to give away in little jars as gifts over the festive season and they were a HUGE hit!

I hope you enjoy this chocolate recipe as much as I do. xRenee

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Cooking time: 25 mins

Total time: 1 hour 25 mins

Makes: 3-4 trays of chocolates in moulds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts*

  • 200 g cacao butter, roughly chopped

  • 1/8-1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

  • 100 g rice malt syrup**

  • 1/4 cup cacao powder

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celcius.

  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper (or silicon baking sheet) and spread hazelnuts on top. Bake for 10-15 mins, rolling the hazelnuts around at the halfway point for even roasting. Remove from oven once the skins have become darker brown and started to split.

  3. Allow the hazelnuts to cool, then place in an airtight container and shake vigorously until the majority of the skins have come off. Once the skins have been removed place in a food processor/blender/thermomix and process until smooth, scraping down the sides to ensure its processed evenly. Set aside.

  4. Set up a double boiler (a pot half filled with water with a glass or metal bowl on top) and bring the water to the boil. Add the cacao butter and melt, stirring occasionally with a whisk.

  5. Once the cacao butter has melted add the remaining ingredients (including the hazelnut butter) and whisk over the heat until well combined.

  6. Pour the mixture into chocolate moulds (I place the moulds on a baking tray so they don't spill as I transfer) and place them in the freezer for 1 hour. As you are pouring the chocolate mix, stir regularly as the hazelnut butter tends to sink to the bottom. These chocolate don't melt as quickly as other homemade ones, but are still best kept in the freezer.

 

*You can use 1/2 cup of store bought hazelnut butter instead

**You can use any other liquid sweetener (honey, maple, coconut nectar etc) or very finely ground coconut sugar. Using rice malt syrup allows this recipe to be fructose friendly.

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