The Real Deal Mac ‘N’ Cheese with Peas & Broccoli

One thing I’m big on is hidden preservatives in food. I try to avoid them like the plague. Sadly there is too many quick meal options targeted at us in the supermarkets that a filled with the stuff.

We have kind of been sucked into the ‘quick’ and thoughtless way of cooking that makes dinner an easy option. Grabbing a pre-packed jar or powder packets of sauces that we think are an easy option when we are pushed for time. But if we stop to look at the ingredients on the back you would be shell-shocked to see what’s actually in them numbers, artificial flavours, colours and additives that just aren’t necessary and actually quite harmful to us over time.

I really want parents to know out there that cooking good food doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. It is usually a few ingredients put together simply that takes not a lot of time at all.

I called this “The Real Deal” because it is just that REAL. Made with REAL ingredients and tastes fresh, light and tasty. Took me 35 mins to make from start to finish so if you ask me I’d rather feed my family this fresh old favourite than a jar full of who knows what any day of the week.

I added some veggies of course for extra nutrition but if you have fussy kids just leave them out or add some veggies they like.

image

Continue reading “The Real Deal Mac ‘N’ Cheese with Peas & Broccoli”

Summery Sweet Chilli Chicken with Mango Salad

image

Summer has come to an end sadly and what I will miss the most is the tropical fruit we are so lucky to enjoy here in Australia especially Mangoes. My grandfather has the most spectacular mango trees in his backyard which they planted over 40 years ago. Each year he harvests around 600-800 mangoes during the summer most the size of small footballs. The juicy flesh of these delicious fruits are so sweet nothing quite compares.

image

The mangoes that you buy from the grocery shops are picked well under ripe like most commercially grown fruit so the flavour doesn’t have the time to develop as much as homegrown making these mangoes the absolute best (non biased of course). He even has had people help themselves to his tree uninvited  to my grandfathers displeasure. At 85 years old he still hobbles around his yard every morning quite literally collecting and admiring the fruits of his labour. So proud in fact that he keeps a journal and records how many he has harvested each year even the ones that the bats have taken. Bless his heart ♥

image

Mangoes are a great source of  vitamin C which aids a healthy immune system. Helps with digestion as it contains enzymes that help to break down protein in your body. Lowers cholesterol, clears the skin, keeps your eyes healthy and there is even research that suggests the compounds in mangoes have cancer preventing properties. In case the sweet flavour of this fruit isn’t enough to get you indulging in them the nutritional  benefits speak for themselves.

image

Finishing off the season I decided to make a summery mango salad to accompany the kids sweet chilli chicken they love. Very simply put together with fresh lime and olive oil as the mango just shines on its own.

Now to embrace the cooler weather  ahead well not quite yet, here in Queensland they weather stays quite warm till end of April so we still have time to enjoy the sun and afternoon swims for  a little while longer.

Caz

Sweet Chilli Chicken with Mango Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

A sweet and summery meal that the whole family will enjoy

Ingredients

500g chicken tenders

1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce preferably one with low sugar

1 clove garlic crushed

1/2 lime juiced

200g mixed lettuce leaves

1 large mango seed removed and sliced thinly

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 lime juiced

salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a bowl place chicken tenders, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and garlic. Mix well to coat chicken and place in the fridge till needed.
  2. Prepare dressing, place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and set aside
  3. In a serving bowl place lettuce leaves and  sliced mango
  4. Heat a grill pan on medium to high heat and cook chicken tenders for 3-4 mins each side until cooked through
  5. Arrange chicken pieces on  top of the salad and pour over the dressing. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.

+You can also add some cashew nuts for some extra crunch.

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Choc Jaffa Marble Cake

 

image

School has almost come to an end for the year, where has this year gone? Seems everyone can relate to this. To finish off the school year I decided to make a yummy treat for the kid’s and their school lunch boxes. But of course with healthier substitutes, no refined sugar or wheat flour in this recipe making it a great gluten-free treat. Sweetened with coconut sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice with raw cacao  gives it the orangey Jaffa flavour. Beautiful moist choc orange marble cake celebrating the last week of school sounds pretty good to me.

Recipe from Taste Magazine Dec 2016 issue

Gluten Free Choc Jaffa Marble Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tb grated lemon rind

100 ml extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs whisked

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1 tsp Gluten free baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

30g dark 70% cocoa chocolate chopped

1/4 cup raw cacao

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C/ 160’C fan forced. Grease a loaf tin with baking paper allowing the sides to overhang
  2. Place the milk, juice, rind, sugar, and oil in a small saucepan on low heat, cook stirring until sugar  is dissolved about 4 mins then cool for 5-6mins
  3. Add whisked eggs to milk mixture and stir to combine. Reserve 1/4 cup buckwheat flour. Add the remaining flour to egg mix, add coconut flour, almond meal, and baking paper with bicarb and stir till well combined.
  4. Transfer half the batter into a separate bowl. Stir the chocolate, reserved buckwheat flour in one of the bowls of batter and stir in cacao.
  5. Alternating with each of the mixes spoon tablespoons into the prepared tin. With a butter knife swirl the batter in circular movements to cause the ripple marble effect.
  6. Bake in oven for 45 mins cool in the pan for 10 mins. Transfer to a wire rack

image

 

 

 

 

 

Turmeric: A teaspoon a day to keep the doctor away..

turmeric-1

#Trending Turmeric has had a lot of publicity lately, seems to be the new health craze and with good reason…

What is it?

Turmeric is a plant derived spice from the ginger family. It is used in Indian cooking which they have been using for thousands of years. It is also what gives curries and dishes its yellow colour.

By having just a teaspoon a day can have significant effects on your health. It is a powerful antioxidant that studies have shown it to reduce the risk of developing diseases such as brain, heart and dietary derived illness and also prevents development of cancer, cancer cell growth and Alzheimer’s disease. Also has been linked with aiding weight loss, That is some powerful yellow superfood spice!!!

How we can use it? Grated Fresh or Dried Powder

+ Add it to scrambled eggs and frittatas

+ Flavour roast vegetables

+ Add to rice and pilaf

+ Add to fresh juices or smoothies

+ Soups and Dahl

+ Add to Steak and Chicken spice rubs

+ Turmeric Tea

+ And the latest Turmeric lattes

Here is an easy smoothie recipe that can be whipped up in the morning before work/school or for an after school treat my kids absolutely love this and have no idea there is all the extra healthy goodness of chia seeds and turmeric in it. Healthy and Delicious!

image

Mango, Banana & Turmeric Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy & child friendly
  • Print

An easy smoothie recipe with the added goodness of turmeric and chia

Ingredients

1 cup frozen mango or 1 fresh mango (if using fresh you will need to add some ice)

1 banana

1 tsp white chia seeds

1 tsp turmeric power or grated fresh

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp honey

1 tsp coconut oil

1.5 cups almond milk or coconut water for non dairy option

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blitz till smooth
  2. Topped with extra black chia seeds and coconut chips

image

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies

image

Baking cookies is one of my favourite things to make with my kids. Letting them take control is hard at the start as my anxiety of perfection kicks in but I just have to let that go for this time. The smiles and excitement  when they are measuring the ingredients, pouring and mixing makes me realise I’m giving them life long lessons and memories that they are not even aware of yet.

image

Not to forget the best part for them not necessarily me as I am a clean freak, getting their hands dirty and having imperfect shapes and sizes to my dismay and cant help myself to fix a few odd ones here and there.

image

image

As we wait for the them to bake the clean up begins not surprising they have bolted in need of a bathroom break then disappeared into space for this part of the fun can’t blame them.

Once the cookies are done the excitement and anticipation on their little faces melts my heart to jelly, to them seeing their creations is one of the most rewarding moments, the bursting of  confidence streams through and the look of accomplishment as they take a bite of what they have just made makes it all worth the mess.

Now to keep their cheeky fingers out of the cookie jar will be another wishful task..

image

Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies

  • Servings: 24-26 cookies
  • Print

A fun easy kid friendly cookie recipe that is also gluten and refined sugar-free

Ingredients

2 cups buckwheat flour

1 1/2 cups almond meal

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

3/4 cup rice malt syrup

1/2 cup grapeseed oil or coconut oil

1/4 cup 100% pure strawberry spread no added sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180’C
  2. In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients except the strawberry jam
  3. Mix well to combine till takes the form of a dough
  4. With clean hands roll tablespoons of dough into ball and place on a lined baking tray
  5. Gently press down with your thumb to make a indent in the centre of each cookie
  6. Spoon teaspoon amounts of strawberry jam onto the cookies
  7. Bake in oven for 15mins till just golden
  8. Let them cool for 2-5 mins until firm