Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Virtually fat free, whole grain cornbread!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp flax mixture*
1 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1 individual snack cup of unsweetened applesauce)

Preheat oven to 180 c. Coat a 9x9 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Sir dry ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Add flax mixture, water and applesauce and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking tin, bake for 25 min or until inserted skewer comes out clean.

*Flax mixture:

In a blender, place 1/4 cup ground flax seed. (Or use whole flax seed, and grind it up first.) Add 1 cup water and blend until milkshake thick. This can be used as an egg substitute in recipes where egg is used as a binder.

3 tbsp flax mixture = 1 egg

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mixed Bean Chili

I always serve this chili with home-made cornbread warm from the oven. It's comfort food on a cold Autumn night.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 x 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 x 19 floz can mixed beans
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
fresh cilantro to garnish (optional)

Saute onion, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and garlic in oil. When onion is translucent, add tomatoes, beans, corn, water, dried herbs and spices. Stir and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Orange Poppy Seed Bread

One of my favourite quick breads to whip up for lunchtime snacks (I freeze slices for lunch boxes) or when I'm low on ingredients... I can still usually make this!

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown works fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 tbsp poppy seeds
zest of 1 orange (optional, but it does add more orange flavour)
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 165 c. Coat a loaf tin with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and poppy seeds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together orange zest, juice and vanilla extract. Add orange mixture to dry ingredients, mix well. Pour into loaf tin and bake 30 minutes, or until inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from oven, turn out onto wire rack and let cool before slicing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving feast: stuffed kobacha squash, roast potatoes and brussels sprouts, pureed swede (rutabaga), cranberry sauce and onion gravy. Turkey hats made by the children!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bean Quesadillas with Fresh Salsa

Quesadillas are basically Mexican grilled cheese sandwiches. I make mine with beans and top them with fresh salsa. My preschool daughters enjoyed these for lunch today.

Makes 10
1 onion, finely diced
1 large ripe tomato, finely diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 cup masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
~1 cup hot water
1 x 19 floz can beans, drained and rinsed (I used mixed beans, but you could use pinto, kidney, black beans etc.)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cumin

For the Salsa:
In a small bowl, place 1/4 of the diced onion, all the diced tomato, cilantro and lime juice. Stir together, cover and set aside.

For the Tortillas:
Cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to cover a tortilla press. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet on medium heat. Place masa in a food processor, and turn blades on to a medium speed. While blades are turning, slowly pour in hot water until it just comes together into a ball of dough. Transfer dough to a bowl and pinch off golf-ball sized pieces to press between parchment paper, in the tortilla press. Cook tortillas on the hot skillet, about a minute each side. Transfer to a plate and cover with a cloth to keep from drying out.

For the Refried Beans:
Rinse out food processor. Put in beans and 2 tbsp water, process until smooth. Add more water if necessary.
Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the remaining diced onion and cook until translucent. Add cumin and cook 1 more minute. Add pureed beans and stir for another minute. Turn off heat and leave on hob to keep warm.

Putting it Together:
Spread refried beans on one half of a tortilla. Fold and place onto a hot frying pan/skillet. Turn once. Remove and spoon salsa inside. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Moroccon Chickpea Stew

My 7 year old son ate this and asked to have it in his lunch. Perhaps it's because I've been showing him Popeye on Youtube... it's got him eating spinach out of the bag!

2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, diced
1/2 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 x 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 x 19 floz can chickpeas (4 cups cooked chickpeas)
3 cups water
salt to taste
6 cups fresh chopped spinach, packed (or use 1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted and drained)

In a large pot, saute onion in oil. Add garlic and spices, cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook five more minutes. Add chickpeas and water, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until just wilted.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Squash Butter

I still had a bit of acorn squash puree left over, so I made a 'butter' to spread on the bread accompanying our lunchtime soup. The kids loved it!

1 cup squash puree (or any other sweet vegetable puree, like carrot, parsnip, sweet potato)
1 tbsp almond butter (make this nut-free by using tahini)
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce (wheat-free to make this gluten-free)

Place all ingredients in a small capacity food processor, and blend together.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spiced Squash Bread

Our dessert last night, using the second half of the acorn squash we ate roasted!


1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 ground allspice or cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 cup cooked pureed winter squash (acorn squash, pumpkin etc.)
1/2 cup orange juice


Preheat oven to 165 c. Coat a loaf tin with non stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices and pumpkin seeds. Add squash and orange juice, stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to loaf tin and bake 45 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa

Tonight I finally cut up an acorn squash that has been sitting on the counter since it arrived in the organic box two weeks ago. Half I used for dinner, the other half for dessert. We had roasted vegetables with quinoa followed by spiced squash bread. (I'll share that recipe another day!)

Serves 6
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1/2 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1 " chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1 " chunks
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1 cup quinoa
1-2 tsp fennel seed, chopped

Preheat oven to 190 c.

Toss vegetables in oil. Spread onto baking sheets and cook 20-25 minutes, turning occasionally until vegetables are browned and tender. (Broccoli will brown the fastest, and retain its crunch. I usually add this 15 minutes after everything else.)

Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a sieve under cold running water. Place quinoa in a pot with the fennel seed and 2 cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until tender (you will see tiny 'strings' on the quinoa separating from the seed.) Drain if neccesary and set aside in a covered bowl until vegetables are ready to serve.

A note about Quinoa: Quinoa (pronounced 'keenwa') is a complete protein source. It is high in iron and a source of dietary fibre. Quinoa is a seed native to South America. It is not cheap; here it costs me just over $1 for 100g. But that's what I would have to pay for extra lean ground beef.

A note regarding the kids: All my kids loved the broccoli, and most ate the squash. Two ate all their quinoa. No-one like the onion, garlic or parsnip. But hey, you can't please all of the people all of the time. In my book this is pretty good. (There were no complaints about dessert!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chapatis (Indian Flatbread)

Makes 8


2 cups wholewheat flour

1 scant cup water


Place flour into a large bowl and add water. Using fingertips, mix together and then knead until very soft. Set aside in an oiled bowl for at least 1/2 hour. (Can be left in fridge for up to two days.)

Heat a cast iron skillet (or traditional tawa) over medium-low heat.

Divide dough in half, then half again until you have 8 balls. Coat with extra flour if necessary to prevent sticking. On a floured surface, roll out one ball of dough into a flat disc approximately 15 cm in diameter. Slap off excess flour, then place onto skillet until bubbles start to appear and underside is starting to brown. Turn and cook a further minute.

If you have a gas stove: turn on a separate burner to medium heat. Using tongs, place chapati onto flames and allow it to puff up into a ball, then quickly turn over for a few seconds and remove from the flame before it starts to burn.

If you have an electric stove: Place a metal grill over a burner turned onto medium heat, so that it is close but not touching. (I use a cooling rack propped up with coins.) Using tongs, place chapati onto grill and allow it to puff up into a ball, then quickly turn over for a few seconds and remove from the heat before it starts to burn.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mixed Berry Sorbet

The chill of autumn is here, but the kids seem to want ice-cream all year round!

So for a treat tonight, I made a 'Mixed Berry Sorbet.' My kids don't mind a little tartness, so I didn't add any sweetener. They'll quite happily suck on lemons!

Serves 6
4 cups frozen mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
1/2 cup almond milk or fruit juice

Place frozen berries into a food processor, process into fine crumbs. Add almond milk and blend until smooth (use a spatula to push down the edges, if neccesary.) Serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Carrot Dhal Soup

This is my kids' #1 favourite soup. I make it at least once a week, and serve it with home-made whole wheat chapatis (Indian flatbread.) I always have to double this recipe, to ensure there's enough for lunches the next day.

Serves 6
2/3 cup split red lentils
5 cups vegetable bouillon (wheat-free to make this gluten-free)
3 large carrots, sliced
2 onions, chopped
1 x 8oz can chopped tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 fresh green chili, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice

Rinse lentils in a strainer; drain and put into a large pot, together with 2 1/2 cups of bouillon, the carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables and lentils are tender.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan over a medium-low heat. Add the cumin, coriander, chili and turmeric and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Place in a blender.

Working in batches, transfer soup to the blender and process until smooth. Reurn to the pan, add the remaining 2 1/2 cups bouillon and heat through. Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Almond Milk

OK so you've made the ginger cookies, now you want some nice cold milk to go with them...

Or something creamy to splash on your oatmeal...

Here's my favourite non-dairy milk. If you're wondering what's wrong with cow's milk, read this article: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2009-08-30-lactose-intolerance_N.htm

1 cup almonds
2-3 pitted dates (optional- this is for a little extra sweetness, but it tastes great without it!)

Soak almonds and dates overnight in the fridge. The next day, drain and place in a blender along with 3 cups fresh water (add a little water at a time, to really pulverize the nuts and dates.) Over a medium sized bowl, pour mixture into the cut-off leg of a pair of unused tights* and gently squeeze out all the liquid. Discard nut meal. Rinse tight leg in warm water and hang to dry.

Transfer almond milk to a jug and keep covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.

*You can buy mesh straining bags for making nut milk online- they are only about $10- but I've got my trusty tights for now!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ginger Cookies

OK, so this is not health food. But for a rare treat, it's not bad. This recipe uses whole wheat flour and no fat. I use blackstrap molasses which is a source of iron, calcium and B vitamins. The dough will not come together until you roll it in your hands, so don't worry when it looks like crumbs.

Makes 24 cookies
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup molasses
3 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

Preheat oven to 165 C (325 F.) Cut a piece of parchment paper to cover a baking sheet.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and ginger. Stir in molasses and orange juice concentrate.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and place on baking sheet. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten the cookies to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool on the baking sheet 1 minute, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with a glass of cold almond milk.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rolled Vegetable Sushi

My eldest daughter loves this extra-healthy version of rolled vegetable sushi, which uses whole grain rice. I prepare all the vegetables the night before and put it together in the morning for her school lunches.

Makes 3 rolls/18 pieces
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tsp tamari/soy sauce (wheat-free to make this gluten-free)
1 avacado
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
3 nori sushi sheets
1/4 cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, grated
1 spring onion, cut into thin strips
large handful alfalfa sprouts
3 tbsp sesame seeds

Stir tamari into cooked brown rice and set aside. In a separate bowl, mash avacado with lemon juice.

Lay one nori sheet onto a piece of parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of mashed avacado and rice, leaving a 2 1/2 cm space at the end of one side. Lay out a row of cucumber, carrot, spring onions and alfalfa sprouts in a line in the middle of the nori sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp sesame seeds:

Using your finger, moisten the uncovered strip of nori with water, then starting at the opposite end, roll the sushi firmly, making it as tight as possible. The moistened nori end should stick, holding the roll together.

Slice the sushi into 2 cm pieces with a very sharp knife, using a slight sawing motion if necessary (to prevent squashing.)

Repeat with remainin sheets of nori, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Green Smoothies

This is how I get my kids to eat their greens! Add greens to any mix of your favourite fruit, plus a cup or two of water to blend. Some favourite combinations in our house include:

Apple Pear
2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 pear, cored and quartered
2 bananas, peeled and broken into chunks
1 handful greens
2 cups water

Pineapple Strawberry
1 small pineapple, peeled and cut into chunks (core included)
6 large strawberries, no need to remove leaves (this is a green smoothie remember)
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 handful greens
2 cups water

Orange Blueberry
3 oranges, peeled and broken into segments
1/2 cup blueberries
1 banana, peeled and broken into chunks
1 handful greens
2 cups water

Increase the greens as you become braver! Greens can include: bok choy, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, radish greens, parsley, cilantro, mint, stinging nettle, dandelion greens etc.

Frozen is just as good as fresh for smoothies, so buy fruit and greens when on sale and freeze for later use. Only very tough skin and cores need to be removed, so you use up more and waste less.

Monday, September 21, 2009


After several attempts over the years, I have finally got all my kids eating houmous! It is a great sandwich alternative to processed meats and cheeses. My kids eat it with lettuce, sprouts, cucumber or grated carrot. I often substitute other beans for the chickpeas, using whatever I have to hand.

1 x 19 floz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove
3 tbsp tahini (natural peanut butter is a good substitute, if you do not have any nut allergies)
1 handful fresh cilantro or parsley

Process all ingredients in a food processor, adding a few tablespoons of water as necessary, until a smooth consistency is obtained.

Keeps 2 days in fridge.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


When my weekly organic box contains beets, we all know what's for dinner... borscht! This is my mother's recipe, and a childhood favourite. Now my son loves it, and takes it to school in a thermos for lunch. Even the beet greens don't go to waste. I wash them and keep them in the fridge for our morning green smoothies.

Serves 6
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large beetroot, peeled and grated
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 red cabbage, grated
2 tomatoes, skinned, cored and diced
4 cups vegetable bouillon (wheat-free to make this gluten free)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, to garnish

In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Cook beetroot for 5 minues, then transfer to a large pot. Add 1 tbsp oil to frying pan, cook remaining vegetables for 5 minutes. Add to pot, along with the vegetable bouillon, herbs and seasonings. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 2 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving and garnish with fresh parsley.