White Christmas Bark

It’s December 1st! Traditionally, today is the day that the tree goes up, along with lights and all things festive. Although, this year in particular, everything seemed to start so early. The shopping centres were putting up half assed decorations and throwing up some Christmas signs in October and the pressure was on. People were scrambling in early November as if it were Christmas eve.

I’m not into that consumerism vibe. I like to be relaxed, chilled, organised and present with my babes during this season. If you’re like me, and want all the festive cheer and family traditions , this is the best dessert that you can make for parties or Christmas events during this month. This Christmas Bark recipe is 3 simple and inexpensive ingredients you can get basically anywhere. And to make this even more appealing, your toddler can make this with you. And no matter how messy they are, it just adds more colour and texture to the bark aesthetic.

This Christmas Bark is so pretty with the red, white and green pops of colour. It can be made in a few minutes and can be set in the fridge or the freezer if you can’t wait. It is honestly the easiest Christmas dessert and could be great for a little homemade gift. Just place in a glass jar and pop a ribbon or string around it.

You’ll need:

  • 200gm white chocolate
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries, roughly cut.
  • ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, roughly cut.

Method:

  1. Melt white chocolate in a pot on medium heat for a minute or two. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Pour onto a flat baking tray lined with baking paper.
  3. Sprinkle with cranberries and pistachios then set in fridge for 30 minutes to cool or freezer for 15.
  4. Crumble or cut into big chunks and set on a plate or store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy.

Ames Xx

Japanese Gyoza Dumplings (Wrapper + Filling)

In my local supermarket I saw a giant organic cabbage marked down to $3 and it sparked a craving deep inside I didn’t even know I had harboured. Gyoza. I wanted them stat. The problem is, I never feel great after eating them out. Whatever they add in the restaurants does not agree with my belly. So I did a quick google and found an amazingly thorough and easy gyoza wrapper video and followed that to make these beauties.  

The gyoza wrapping video is from a channel called Just One Cookbook and the creator Nami is so sweet. I found the video to be deceptively simple… but it was actually that simple. 

Important notes:

-Don’t skimp on the tofu here as you need a binder to hold all the ingredients together otherwise it becomes too difficult when it’s time to fold. If you’re not vegetarian/ vegan, I’ve made pork ones for my husband before and that works well.

-The DOUGH! Okay, the dough. So, when it says slowly add, you’d better bloody slow as a snail add that water. It honestly makes a huge difference. And I added about 20mls more. Dont roll the dough then add the water because that ruins it. Slowly add more all at once. Don’t begin to knead until you’re happy with the water flour ratio. 

-The wrapping recipe calls for potato starch but I used cornflour and had great success. None stuck together when stacked so that was a huge win!

You will need:

WRAPPER:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt 

FILLING:

  • ¼ whole green organic Cabbage, diced
  • 1 organic Carrot, diced
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • Freshly grated organic garlic
  • 3 stems organic spring onion, diced
  • 1/2 Organic red capsicum, diced
  • 1-2 tbsp Tamari Sauce
  • ½ – 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic Firm tofu, diced
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Make the dough as instructed in this video.
  • While the dough rests, slice the produce for the filling finely, or use a food processor. Combine the filling ingredients and set aside. 
  • Roll out the dough as instructed in the video
  • Cut the circles out and place on a plate with a wet towel covering. (I read reviews saying the dough dries out fast with some people, but I had no issue, as long as I had the wet towel atop the gyoza wrapping stack. )
  • Use a teaspoon to scoop the filling into a little ball and place in the centre of a gyoza wrapping. (Follow the video closely when it comes to wrapping – I had no issues and found it very therapeutic but I can see that it may be tricky. Make sure there is no excess liquid in the filling when placed in the centre of the wrapper. Fold and press, fold and press and the press again to close up any air holes.)
  • Place in a steamer with baking paper underneath otherwise they will stick to the bottom. Keep an eye on the first batch and see what cooking time suits best. 10 minutes was a perfect time for mine.   
  • Serve immediately with a side of dipping sauce. I used tamari with chilli. 

I had heard that these were a labour of love, and took the majority of the day to create. But from start to finish was 2 hours. I think that’s pretty decent for delectable homemade gyoza. 

Hope you enjoy making these babies and that this post helps you to see how achievable it is to make delicious food. This wasn’t really a detailed filling recipe run through as I feel like the filling is so adaptable and interchangeable. Add whatever you love. Give the video some love too, Nami is queen. 

Ames. Xx

Vegan Choc Peppermint Fudge

Buying vanilla fudge with my mama is a sweet memory for me. She would rarely buy junk food/ chocolate for herself but I remember her indulging on the rare occasion with a small rectangular slice of fudge.

I followed in her footsteps and now love when I find a good chocolatier that sells real fudge. I thought this Christmas, I would make some from home. To my surprise, I found out it’s pretty simple! It’s basically just chocolate and condensed milk. As I continued to search, I found condensed milk is really difficult to source without glucose syrup and barely impossible to source organic condensed milk in Australia.

So then I decided to replace that condensed milk with a texture that could mirror that same fudgey, crumbly yet smooth texture.

So here we are. Almond. Butter.

Almond butter saves the day again. I used dark chocolate here to compliment the mint flavour, and there’s your main ingredients. Using a good quality dark chocolate made this vegan, but if you wanted more of a milky flavour, you could use a good quality vegan ‘milk’ chocolate instead.

I used a sprinkle of salt atop mine but its totally optional.

So, there you have it. 4 ingredients. 2 minutes to make. Easily sourced ingredients. Simple- My favourite word when it comes to cooking.

Lets get cooking that festive fudge.

Ingredients:

  • 100g organic dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup of almond butter
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 5-6 drops of peppermint essence
  • Sprinkle of salt flakes *optional

Method:

  • Melt chocolate, almond butter and coconut oil in a pot over low heat on the stove. Takes about a minute or less. Be careful not to burn.
  • Take off the stove and mix peppermint essence in. Place into a square container lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with salt and refrigerator for 1.5-2 hours.
  • Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

*Note; If the almond butter is quite oily, you can omit the coconut oil. If it is more like an almond paste, you can add more coconut oil.

Enjoy!

Ames. Xx

Simple Sides: Asparagus, feta + balsamic reduction.

If you’re looking for a quick yet equally scrumptious and impressive side- look no further. This takes 5 minutes and requires 3 ingredients.

Feta. Asparagus. Balsamic Vinegar.

Well actually 5 if you include salt and some extra virgin olive oil used to sear the asparagus. But 3 mainies. 

Cut the ends off the ‘sparagus. Wash. Sear. Sprinkle Salt. Glaze. Crumble Feta. Serve and shake up the way you serve veggies. 

The reduction is so simple and can be a great accompaniment to many things! It’s simply simmering balsamic vingear on medium heat for a few minutes. 

How easy?! The asparagus was used simply because its seasonal right now. But any veg could be used. Seared broccoli or green beans could easily be swapped out or use the reduction with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and feta for a delicious salad! 

Here’s how to impress;
Ingredients:

  • Bunch of fresh asparagus (or any greens)
  • Feta (add to your liking)
  • ⅓ cup Balsamic Vinegar

*NOTE; I always use organic produce if available. 

Method:

  1. Add balsamic vinegar to the pot and simmer on med-high for 3-4 minutes. Set aside in a bowl to cool. The consistency continues to thicken when taken off the heat. *should coat the spoon as pictured.
  2. Trim, wash and sear the asparagus in a pan on medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Until the colour is a bright green.
  3. Place asparagus on a plate, sprinkle with salt flakes, feta and drizzle with reduction.
  4. Serve.

Enjoy!

Ames Xx

If you recreate any recipes here, please share and tag me on my instagram below or comment below. I’d love to hear how you’re finding them!

Mango Lassi Cheesecake

I have one kensington pride mango in the fridge. I want an ice cream with mango and coconut. I went a little extra and decided to do a raw cheesecake. All of these ingredients can be easily sourced from your local supermarket for a small price as well. All you will need is a food processor and blender and a freezer to make these delicious bite size lassi morcels. 

Many people tell me they think making raw treats are difficult and costly. I actually sourced majority of these ingredients from my local Aldi and I’m pretty sure it’s almost standard nation wide. I purchased the organic dates, coconut oil, walnuts, cashews and maple syrup from Aldi as it is more than half the cost from Woolworths or Coles. The organic coconut cream was from Woolworths and the mango was too but can be sourced from almost any market place at the moment in Australia. 

The only thing I would suggest when making these is to invest in silicone moulds or cases. I don’t know how easily they will pop out of other moulds.

This recipe is stupidly simple requiring just 7 ingredients- all of which are natural and plant based. Sounds silly saying ‘natural’ in regards to food but so much of the ‘foods’ we ingest are created in a lab from synthetic materials, or are either processed or refined. 

These natural treats can be frozen for 1-2 weeks but I doubt they will last that long. Let’s get to making these babies!

Ingredients:

1 cup of walnuts

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

3 organic pitted dates

¾ cup of cashews

Flesh from one mango* 

1 Can of coconut cream*

1 tbsp maple syrup

Method:

Base

  • 1.Add walnuts, 1 tbsp coconut oil and pitted dates to the processor and mix on medium setting for 30 seconds or until crumbly. 
  • 2.Evenly divide the mixture into the molds and flatten/press with the bottom of a soup spoon and place into the freezer. 

“Cheese”

  • 3. Boil cashews in water on the stove for 5-10 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and rinse.
  • 4. Add ½ cup of coconut cream, rinsed cashews and maple syrup to the processor.
  • 5. Process on high for 3-4 minutes until creamy and smooth. Add 1 tbsp of coconut milk liquid if required. Evenly add the cheese layer onto the base layer and place back into the freezer as you make the lassi. 

Mango Lassi

  • 6. Add the flesh of the mango and 1 tbsp of coconut cream to the processor and blend for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove moulds and evenly add the lassi over the ‘cheese’ layer.
  • *7. This step is optional- add a tbsp of coconut cream to the top of the mango lassi layer and swirl. Pop into the freezer and allow 2 hours to set. 

Serves 6. 

*- I used Kensington Pride Mango but any variety is fine – Can substitute can of cream for can of coconut milk and just scoop the cream from the top.

Enjoy! 

Ames. Xx

‘Goes with everything’ Satay Sauce.

The thai place around the corner from my place is addictive. The one curry we buy is  consistent, clean and delicious. The only downside is the peanut sauce they supply with their roti bread is so minute and small, it’s barely is enough for my 3 year old.  Since starting our budget, we rarely buy any takeaway anymore, but those satay cravings get you in the feels. So I randomly made this recipe up, knowing nothing could compare to that sweet nutty heavenly one from our local thai restaurant. Oh how I was wrong. This satay has no comparison. It is like manna from heaven. Truly, I know I’m talking myself up a bit here, but my children and husband actually scraped the pot clean with the scraps of chapati left over. My daughter actually put the bowl over her face. It was just supposed to be the dipping sauce to accompany the curry but it became the star.

This satay sauce shone bright like the star in the night sky on the first Christmas. (I’m clearly keen for christmas if that wasn’t obvious). This satay goes with anything. Add some coconut milk to thin it out and use it as a curry base, use it as a sauce with vegetables for a quick and simple stir fry or use it as a dip, dinner accompaniment or a spread. It is so simple and quick, you have to try it at least once, although I doubt it will be your last.  

Please comment if you try it and tell me If im crazy or not. Oh, did I mention, it’s good for you too and completely dairy free, gluten free and vegan.  Okay, cool. 

Ingredients:

1 cup of crunchy peanut butter

½ tbsp fresh garlic, diced finely

½ tbsp fresh ginger, diced finely

1 can of organic coconut milk (400 gm)

1 tsp tamari sauce

2 tsp coconut sugar 

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp garam masala powder

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice).

Method:

1.In a pot, heat oil and combine garam masala, garlic and ginger. Stir for a minute until fragrant.

2.Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil then turn off. 

That’s it. Done.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Best used that day. 

Enjoy.

Ames. Xx

Grace + Smoothies.

We got up to leave the table at a beach side cafe after a catch up with family. My daughter who was deliriously overtired after a night of crying, kicking me in the back and rubbing her gums, began nuzzling my chest. “What is she doing?” I was asked. To which I replied that she just wanted a feed. “ Oh shouldn’t you have weaned her off by now?”. I went on to say, “Oh, she was only having one night feed and then her teeth started coming in so she comfort fed, and my supply went up and so were back to feeding in the day again”. I got in the car and said to my husband oh my gosh, why the hell did I defend myself? It only hit me in the car, I had defended myself as If it was a crime to feed my 13 month old. It didn’t bother me because I know there was no malice attached and they didn’t mean harm by it. But it got me thinking.

An old friend from high school recently messaged me saying she doesn’t know how I do it. I was a bit confused because, girl, you’re doing it too. She had had a tough week with every. Single. Family. Member. Putting their input in on how to raise her child. I was walking with my sister today and was saying to her, I can’t think of the amount of times we get judged or asked why were doing this or that but what’s worse is I know we have done the same to others.

I was thinking back to when I had asked my friend when she was going to stop feeding her 18 month old, purely out of curiosity. I didn’t mean to have any judgement attached but I had no right to ask in the first place. It was none of my darn business. I recall her defending herself as well, saying that the world health organisation states feeding up until 2 years of age is beneficial for both mother and child. I feel horrible thinking back to that time years ago. Making her refer to bloody WHO as a defense. Her son was a rainbow baby after many, many miscarriages. That question could have been so triggering and hurtful. I had no right to ask and If I were in her shoes I probably would have given myself a little serve.

Looking back, the whole reason I asked was probably fueled by my wants and feelings of failure. Our sons were born a week apart and after 3 months of feeding in tears, pink milk and pieces of nipple missing, my milk dried up. He had never latched well, but I didn’t think there was another way but to persevere. I had mastitis about 8 times and was so sick. I looked at my friend and saw my feeding attempt as a failure as a mum. I don’t feel that way at all now but it was a really sad lie I allowed myself to believe.

Sitting at the cafe, being asked a similar probing question, even though subconsciously defending myself, I let it slide off me like water off a duck’s back. The prayers answered that went into my daughters birth, feeding and overall well being was why I go on so unaffected. I stood in agreement with God through my pregnancy that I would be able to feed well, she would latch with ease and I would not have mastitis once this time around. Faithfully He delivered as He does on all of His promises. But how was this family member meant to know that? She just asked a simple question, that in her mind, wasn’t offensive or obtrusive at all. I, now, don’t mind when someone asks me something like that because I know inside, how much I fought for my daughter to feed with ease. It’s a blessing she still loves to feed and I look down at her each time and get filled with love, seeing her still depend on me for nourishment. It makes up for all the tears and sadness when I would feed my son in agony.

But here’s the kicker, not everyone can let it slide. Some of those comments burrow their way deep into their being and starts eating away at them. Mama’s are amazing. And I know it’s brutal to say, but unless you’ve walked it, you can’t say you can relate. Give other mothers grace. But even more so, give yourself grace. Don’t let those comments of others affect you because no matter what advice they may push on you, you are the one chosen to raise your little human. No one else. Be kind and let them say what they want and then go on about your business and do what YOU know is right, because you do! Don’t second guess yourself Mama. It’s written into your DNA when you were formed in your own mother’s womb- you too know how to be a mother. It’s the greatest accomplishment and honour. You truly do have this girl!

On top of dealing with mum life on a daily, we have hormones that go crazy at times. That doesn’t help when you’re having a hard day. When your kids won’t pack up their lego after being asked 109263827 times. Or someone says something that normally wouldn’t bother you but this time around, you burst into tears. I hear you. I have done my fair share of random crying and lego stomping. I made this up just before my daughter was born to help balance those hormones (maca powder), give me a chocolate cravings hit (cacao powder) and nourish my body (plant based goodness). Instead of going for a choccy bar the next time you’re feeling a lil’ off, try this quick combo.

No sugar crash.
No breakouts.
No hormonal spikes from processed ingredients.

Just mellow choco smoothie goodness.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp Cacao powder
1 tbsp Maca Powder
1-2 organic pitted dates
400ml Organic Almond Milk (or any milk of choice)
1 Frozen Banana
Ice (amount to your liking)

Then just blend baby, blend.

Enjoy ladies.

Ames. Xx

Is it really too expensive to buy organic? : How I feed my family well on a budget.

I hear it all too often. The tired parents who don’t know where to start and have bought into the lie that organic produce is too expensive for them to even think about. “Oh, how do you have the money for that?”, ” We can’t feed our kids like you do, it’s too expensive!”, “Were on a budget and saving for a house so we have to buy cheap food”. Bullllllll Crap! Sorry guys. I’m just a huge believer in ‘if there is a will, there is a way’. Excuses come in many forms but few years back, my husband and I decided to put our new little family’s health first- so we quit it with the excuses regarding our health. The bottom line for us was, ‘what do we prioritise?’.

What did we prioritise? At the time, it wasn’t our health. But when our son was born, naturally we wanted the absolute best for him, so we went down a rabbit hole of research, became informed and took action. Don’t get me wrong, it took years of baby steps. This walk can be overwhelming, but take it step by step and don’t just abandon ship because it seems all too hard. Know that each step you take towards ditching the old way’s of eating and buying and adapting the new is one step toward better overall health for your family. Never think that one little step taken isn’t doing anything. It ALL matters. Go you, you’re killing it. Even reading this shows positive action in the right direction. I’m really proud of you over here!

I wont lie by saying that buying and eating organic foods is not expensive. It can be so much more, double sometimes even three times others grocery bills. I hear you saying, “yeah, that’s what I thought. I’m bailing on this”. But yo, were on a budget too. Were saving for a house as well. We have a family of four just like you might. For us, it has come down to implementing a few tips and tricks that has allowed us to nourish our bodies well and keep killing it toward those money goals. I hope they can do the same for you.

Tip + Trick 1:

Plan + Write a List:

Write down and list your weekly dinners, snacks breakfasts and PLAN PLAN PLAN ahead. Each Saturday, I will spend around 45- 60 minutes planning dinner, breakfast and snacks for the week. I make a little extra dinner each night and then store the leftover meal in the fridge for my husbands work lunch. Each Sunday we will shop the list (don’t stray), come home and prep some of the snacks. Having snacks made saves money on buying packaged ones, saves on plastic and provides go to food for you and the kids throughout the week. My husband also takes them for work. Having breakfast and dinners planned takes so much worry and last minute meal panic away, gives you more time to enjoy your day without fluster and keeps you in a smooth routine. Breakfasts are always simple like oats, yoghurt or toast. No need to overthink and get super fancy, just making sure you know what you’re reaching for in the morning takes stress away.

Tip + Trick 2:

Stop buying coffee and food out:

My husband works in Melbourne city and would look forward to his perfectly made coffee from his favourite barista at his favourite local cafe every day. Then wander over to his local restaurant across from his office and buy his chicken schnitzel burger and be happy, oh so joyous, skipping back into the office. He would continue along with his day being productive because, and only because, he had that amazing coffee and burger to feed his soul (and brain) that allowed him to continue on working. Yeah, No. That ain’t how it works. But that was how it sounded when I said, “hey babe, lets see how you go having coffee at work and taking lunch from home?”. We figured out, his average double shot latte was averaging $5.50. Times that by at least 2 a day ( I’m married to a caffeine addict), and then by 5 for each working day. That’s $55 on coffee! You can imagine how much lunch was. The money you save is allowing you to put away extra $$ and splurge on bigger weekly organic items IF needed.

Tip + Trick 3:

No more Takeaway:

This goes without saying after number 2 but Its easily justified, especially if you’re working so hard at implementing the budget and eating home made meals. You feel like you deserve a treat. Well you do! But Takeaway foods are full of inflammatory oils, MSG and chemically made flavour enhancers. So whilst saving money not buying takeaway, you’re also saving your overall health. If you already have a takeaway night where you get say Thai or Pizza, try your hand at homemade pizzas with the family, or simple Thai curries. They taste so much better made from home, and my kids actually look forward to “pizza party night”. The best part is knowing what is going into your food and into your body.

Tip + Trick 4:

Shop the specials.

Where we live, there is organic produce at most regular supermarkets now. Albeit a small section, it’s still a section. Often there is so many mark downs because not many people are buying organic near us, or the supply and demand is off, but that means I get so much at about 50% off, sometimes more. The organic produce has a shorter shelf life because they don’t have pesticides sprayed on them prolonging their life, so they are marked down quite quickly. But I have noticed that the marked down produce still holds up really well, for the whole week, until my next shop. (Yay organic!) For example; I find the organic sourdough bread we buy at our local market often has some at the bottom rack marked down to $4 from $9. We take that home and cut it and then freeze it, and that loaf will last us toast for the week (breakfast done, hello smashed avo).

Tip + Trick 5:

Shop around

I don’t just shop at one supermarket. We usually go to Woolworths, Aldi and our local organic marketplace. Not suggesting you need to be as extreme as us, but for where we live and what these places offer, this has been our best bet and works well for us. They’re also in close proximity to each other so isn’t too much effort. For example: Aldi offers 400g of cashews and almonds for $3.99 each. If I went to Woolworths, Im paying double for that. Same to be said about organic yoghurt and organic cheddar at Aldi. But then certain things like household items, nappies etc we will buy from the big chain supermarkets. One 500g tub of Aldi yoghurt is $3 and that would be eaten with fruit for either breakfast each day or snacks for my babes. The cashews could be used to make a cashew cream sauce for a vegan mac n cheese for a dinner or to use as a base in bliss balls for snacks. It’s all in planning ahead and making simple yet nourishing meals.

Tip + Trick 6:

Take advantage of rewards systems

I only started using Woolies rewards this year but just by scanning it each time you shop, you get points that turn into money. I’ve saved about $40 on mine by scanning each shop and that will be used for Christmas. (I’m guessing it’ll be spent on wine and flour to make all the gingerbread!) It doesn’t seem like much, but I’m surprised how much 6 months has equated to. Keep an eye on your emails too because sometimes they offer bonus points (aka $$) if you shop on specific dates.

Tip + Trick 7:

Know your produce: Dirty Dozen// Clean Fifteen

I have come to live by this list. Given it alters a tad each year depending on crops, but the dirty dozen and clean fifteen are the the list of fruit and vegetables that absorb and contain the most pesticide and chemical residue and those that don’t so much. The dirty dozen is the top 12 fruit and veg that you should really buy organic when possible. Strawberries and spinach are usually always top 2, with one sample of strawberry containing 22 different pesticides and chemicals from one sample! That’s a lot! The lists in more detail are linked here: https://www.greenmatters.com/p/dirty-dozen-clean-15. The clean fifteen list the top 15 vegetables and fruit that don’t absorb as much and have less used on the crops. Knowledge is key here. If you see a $5 organic avocado compared to a $2 one, you know you can get 2 regular ones for less than the price of 1 organic one. But with strawberries, we look for organic always, and would rather pay $6 for an organic container than a $2 box because we know it’s not worth it. Safe to say, we rarely get strawberries anymore. In cases like this, there are some great organic brands that stock frozen strawberries, so if you’re really craving a strawberry smoothie, theres ways around it. That takes me to my last tip and trick.

Tip + Trick 8:

Buy Seasonal And Local:

Seasonal are usually always cheaper and that usually means they’re local. If you’re finding watermelon in the middle of winter, you can bet its either greenhouse grown with chems or foreign, if you know that you harvest watermelon in summer. The prices are jacked up and the quality is poor. Also think about that fresh orange you spotted in the produce section Summer time. If you dont know what is seasonal, simply check on the label, sticker or tag to see where the food is from. If you’re in Australia and it says the orange is from Spain, you know that its been across the ocean and harvested weeks before it got to you. How did they keep so long? That’s why local and seasonal is the best bet health and monetarily.

Hope these tricks and tips we use will help you too,

Ames. Xx

7 Simple Recipes to get your kids loving Pumpkin

It’s spring here in Australia. The Gardening tools are out, soil tilled and the seeds are good to go. Sifting through my seed packets, I found butternut pumpkin. I’ll have to sow it in the next month or so to harvest around autumn. But before it’s even in the ground, that sweet oval seed has me craving one of my favourite vegetables.

When I began introducing foods to my children, I made sure they got to taste a variety of foods. I wish that I could say they love all food and aren’t picky at all, but they have their days (as all toddlers do). I don’t like “sneaking” vegetables into foods, because in my experience, they will weed out, hunt down and find every piece of disguised vegetable they loathe in their hidden ‘yummy completely chocolate brownies 😉 ‘ and never trust you again. Bit extreme – but that’s how toddlers roll. So instead, I have just started teaching my kids the importance of eating a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables, and letting them experiment, help cook and prepare their own foods. It has truly helped and I honestly don’t have them saying no to many veg at all, really only onion and coriander for my son and nothing yet for my daughter (hallelujah!).

Showcasing vegetables in foods that they enjoy to eat instead of hiding them has personally helped my kids be open to all foods. Although it requires hard work on our part as parents with tantrums, a lot of learning, patience and organisation in the kitchen, getting them involved from the beginning plays dividends in the long run.

Not that you need more persuading, but just incase, here are some reasons you should eat all the pumpkin:

  • great for your skin
  • benefits heart health
  • contains antioxidants that lower the risk of cancer
  • high in vitamin C – great immunity booster
  • and high in vitamin A which helps protect your eyesight.

So, after all of that persuasion, here are some simple vegan and gluten free healthy recipes highlighting the humble ( and versatile) pumpkin.

Coconut + Pumkin Winter Warmer:
https://lovethefoodthatlovesyou.com/2019/05/21/coconut-pumpkin-winter-warmer/

I know this looks like another basic pumpkin soup recipe, but it’s truly a huge hit with my babes and nephews (and husband). The subtle hint of spices and coconut makes this a winner with the whole family and a really healthy and simple dinner idea.

Small plate with a slice of Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie topped with coconut whipped cream
Pumpkin Pie:
https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-pie/

Pie! Who doesn’t love pie?! This would be a great hands on recipe for the kids to jump in on. The feeling of accomplishment and independence they get from helping make their own special pie is worth every extra minute you spend guiding them while doing so. So worth it.

A close up shot of vegan gluten free pumpkin pancakes showing the fluffy insides
Pumpkin Pancakes :
https://delightfuladventures.com/vegan-gluten-free-pumpkin-pancakes/

Pancakes are a Saturday morning staple for us. Mix it up with this recipe one week and you never know, could be your new go to pancakes.

Pumpkin + Chickpea Blondies :
https://www.onceuponapumpkinrd.com/gluten-free-pumpkin-chickpea-blondies/

Chickpea desserts are extremely underrated in my opinion. This pumpkin and chickpea blondie gives you everything you’d want in a sweet treat without the heaviness of white flour and processed sugars a traditional blondie would have. Give it a go!

These easy Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats are just like the ones you loved, with a fall twist! They're vegan, gluten-free, and made with wholesome ingredients.
Pumpkin rice crispy treat:
https://www.emilieeats.com/pumpkin-rice-crispy-treats-vegan-gluten-free/

In Aus, these snacks are called LCM’s and are produced with marshmallows and a bunch of processed crap. I used to beg my mum for these and she would rarely buy them but when she gave in, I would be so happy and eat it one huge bite and feel immediately sick after. These won’t make you feel sick but they will fill you with childhood whimsy and have your kids enjoying your trip down memory lane.

Saute pan with Pumpkin Mac 'n' Cheese topped with fresh sage leaves
Pumpkin Mac N Cheese:
https://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pumpkin-mac-n-cheese/

Thank God for gluten free pasta and cashew cheese sauce. My husband hated dairy free foods until I surprised him with a cashew based sauce and now he is won over. He didn’t know the difference! This recipe is a bit over an hour but oh so worth it if you wanna hit that mac n cheese craving. With the pumpkin added to the base, this is sure to wins over kids and fussy husbands alike.

pumpkin spice latte chia pudding
Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chia Pudding:
https://choosingchia.com/pumpkin-spice-latte-chia-pudding/

I feel like you either love or hate chia puddings. My two year old recently started prepping them for his sister and himself at night so he could wake up to his breaky ready. What is so simple a toddler would willingly meal prep alone?! This! Try it if you love chia.

Hope you found some inspiration to start incorporating pumpkin in different ways and involve your babes to join in on the experience.

Ames. Xx

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pumpkin
  2. https://www.health.com/fitness/6-surprising-health-benefits-of-pumpkin

Creamy Broccoli Soup

My son was just born. I was scrambling for simple and fast dinners. Feeding was inexplicably difficult, the pain from birth was intense. With weeks passing, my body was still unable to stand for long periods of time. My sister sent me a simple recipe she received when purchasing her blender. She promised a quick prep and minimal effort. I made it the first time and it was like chunky water. It was foul. Then I gave it another shot, made some adjustments and 3 years on, its still a family favourite.

Just throw everything in a pot and then blend when cooked.

The simplicity of this soup is what makes it so underrated. The creaminess from the cashews is moreish but the broc is to be exalted. The broccoli is a HERO and doesn’t deserve to be plopped on the side next to some grey meat and sad- looking over steamed veg. It deserves to be showcased in all its glory. This soup does just that.

This recipe calls for:

  • 1 large or 2 medium broccoli
  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 1 litre of water/stock
  • 4-5 garlic bulbs
  • 1 brown onion
  • Salt and Pepper

All you need to do is:

  1. Wash and cut broccoli. Peel and cut onion and garlic roughly. 
  2. Throw broccoli, onion and garlic in a large pot on medium heat. Mix around for 30 seconds or so and then add water/stock. (adjust according to taste. I use ¼ stock and ¾ water).
  3. Bring to the boil and then simmer with lid off for 20-25 minutes. 
  4. Add to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and serve with some toasted crusty sourdough drizzled with olive oil.

Serves 4-6.

Enjoy.

Ames. Xx