Little Nut Bars and a keep it simple reminder

cityhippyfarmgirl

Last Saturday I baked.

I baked and I baked, and I baked. I didn’t set out with having a baking day in mind, it just sort of turned out like that. A baking day that snuck up on me. I didn’t mind, I ran with it. I had ideas in my head, and I really just wanted to try them. Thing is I tried too hard. After a whole days baking I had a table full of food to feed my family for the coming week, and a sink full of dishes, but was I happy with them?

The Date and Pecan bread, yes- but nothing really new there.

cityhippyfarmgirl

The Muesli Biscuits, yes. (Although one tray was over cooked as I got distracted trying to do too many things.)

not lasagne

The Rocky Road Brownie was a complete and utter mess, mostly due to the fact that I’d forgotten to turn the oven down after baking bread at a really hot temperature, (the marshmallows certainly didn’t appreciate this.) And yes, it does look like lasagne.

The first tray of Chocolate Honey Cardamom Buns- looked like I had been blind folded while shaping them, and the taste was just plain bland. The second tray looked better, and tasted better, but oozed it’s contents every where, and certainly didn’t have any wow factor.

What was left?

The little Nut Bars. They certainly looked ok, but would they stand up to being flicked out of the mini muffin tray? (Jeez, maybe I really should have just put it all in a lined tray like was suggested.) I didn’t want to find out.

I wanted to go for a bike ride. Leave the mountain of dishes and ride with the wind in my hair. And so I did. A quick 15km’s later and I was back in the kitchen, ready to find out if the brownies were as bad as they looked, (hell no!) hoping the dishes had miraculously disappeared, (they hadn’t) and whether those little nut bars would come out (they did.)

So what did I learn from the days baking? Simple cooking is still the best. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, just good quality ingredients put together. I know this, I always say this. But I still seem to have days where I need to remind myself of it.

So with a days baking behind me, and some tasty little nut morsels to nibble on by my side….now I just had to work out what on earth we were having for dinner.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Little Nut Bars

(inspired by this recipe at the always delicious Green Kitchen Stories)

8 chopped medjool dates

100g whole almonds

100g crushed peanuts

100g sunflower seeds

100g sesame seeds

a pinch of Murray River Salt

2 heaped dessert spoonfuls of coconut oil

2 heaped dessert spoonfuls of local honey

In a pot gently combine the coconut oil and honey together. In a bowl pour mixture over the rest of the ingredients, and mix together. Either press down into a  lined baking tray or a non-stick mini muffin tray. Pop into the fridge until firm.

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sprouted buckwheat…not really hippy food at all

sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat

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Sprouted buckwheat. It’s my new best friend at the moment, and I’m having a quiet love affair with it in, well pretty much everything.

Since last December I’ve been playing with it in various incarnations and there is yet be a combination that I haven’t liked. I’ve put it in bread, alive granola, a base for tarts, raw energy ball snacks, porridge, pancakes and smoothies. Plus a few experiments with pizza bases, cakes and biscuits. Really, I think the possibilities for these little stars would be endless.

So what’s so good about it and why would you bother sprouting it?

– It’s gluten free.

– It’s super easy to sprout, (given reasonably warm conditions, it can sprout within 24 hours.)

– It’s considered a super food and has a low glycemic index.

– Sprouted it is full of live enzymes and nutrients.

– High in iron and protein, and acts like a grain but isn’t a grain.

– Great for balancing blood sugar levels and has been linked with stabilising cholesterol.

–  It’s also incredibly versatile when it comes to making and baking.

sprouted

How to sprout buckwheat

You’ll need a glass jar, some muslin and a rubber band or alternatively one of these fancy pancy sprouting jars, and raw buckwheat (not roasted).

Rinse your buckwheat.

Leave it to soak in tepid water for about 2 hours, (twice the amount of water to buckwheat.) Buckwheat will swell.

Rinse again, getting rid of any of the slimyness that might have built up (starch). Drain, turning it upside down. Keep rinsing and draining every 6 hours until little tails appear. (In warmer weather this can take as little as 24 hours.) Make sure it’s well drained as you don’t want it to go mouldy. Wait until their tails are the same length as the groat.

essene bread with avocado

And that’s it. Depending on what you are you using it for. You can halt the sprouting process by popping it in to the freezer, or dehydrating if you aren’t quite ready to use it there and then. I don’t have a dehydrater but have used the second shelf of my oven while cooking something at a slow temperature with the same effect (see top picture.)

An incredibly versatile food that is rich in nutrients and other health benefits. Easily accessible, (check in your local health food store) giving a little nutty texture to any food you decide to pop it into. So not hippy food at all, just a simple food item that really, I can’t get enough of at the moment.

Now get sprouting people.

Alive Granola

200g sprouted dehydrated buckwheat

150g dates

100g coconut

100g linseed

100g sunflower seeds

50g sesame seeds

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Pulse everything in a mixer and eat instead of a boxed cereal.

Everyone loves Parfait- Frugal Friday

mungbeanandyogurt

‘You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait”? Parfaits are delicious!’ {Donkey}

Donkey was right of course, parfaits really are delicious.

The Monkeys were watching Shrek one rainy weekend recently and I was in the kitchen wondering what inspiration was going to fall upon me for the container of sprouted mung beans on the bench. I kept mentally adding ingredients to my bowl but I was also furrowing my brow a little at the same time as quite frankly, sprouted mung beans, honey and yogurt… I really wasn’t sure about it.

What the hell. I started to construct, pulled out a spoon, and tentatively tasted. Yep… Yep, I think that works. Even works quite well. I made it again several days later and then again just to make sure my taste buds weren’t playing tricks on me.

Nope, still works.

Mung beans, honey and yogurt DOES work in a parfait like kind of fashion, and I would even go as far as saying… it’s delicious.

Mung Bean Parfait

organic sprouted mung beans

linseed meal

local sunflower kernels *

sultanas

home made greek style natural yogurt

local honey

* I found some locally grown sunflower kernels recently at Newcastle Farmers Markets– I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this, as up until now all I had found was imported. Very happy!

new discoveries


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choc agave balls

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New discoveries…

New legs to walk on, and walk she does. At ten months and four days she said, whoooshka! Lets go, lets get busy…and hasn’t looked back.

New magnifying glasses for the boys, show little critters can become big critters at the right angle. There are a lot of new little things to discover.

Holiday time and park mornings are spent exploring. It can be hard work and they need lots of healthy energy giving snacks.

I’ve posted these balls before (here) but have changed around the ingredients a little. My new discovery of the deliciousness of dark agave nectar, was a lovely surprise. I would use it sparingly due to the food miles on it, but it is a wonderful alternative to sugar or honey.

These ingredients are just a rough guide, use whatever you have on hand and like to add to the mix.

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Chocolate Agave Energy Balls

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup linseed meal
1/2 cup sunflower kernals
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup honey (use extra agave if you want to make it completely vegan)
2 tbls of unhulled tahini
1 tsp vanilla
sesame seeds/ or extra coconut
Mix all ingredients together, add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to bind ingredients together and roll into balls. Roll again in sesame seeds or coconut.
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This post is going to We Should Cocoa @ Chocolate Log Blog– for a sugar free chocolate combo this month.

land of the clear blue waters…and markets, so many markets

markets

goodies

Byron Bay. Land of the clear blue waters, green rolling hills, steady stream of campervans, surfboards, sandy thonged toes (flip flops US readers, flip flops!) and markets…lots and lots of wonderful markets.

Farmers markets, artisan designer markets, Christmas markets, and just well…markets. They are all there. Not just within Byron Bay, but also in the surrounding townships. All really worth a visit, as I am yet to find one I didn’t like.

Seeing such thriving popular markets makes me really happy. Local food fare seems so very easy and accessible to get in this area. Small local businesses are supported, local farmers are embraced, little ideas get run with, getting a chance to grow, and amazing food really is everywhere. Spending time up in this area was a lovely gentle reminder of why I think shopping like this is important. If it can so easily be done in a smaller community, why does it seem so hard living like this in a big city?

vegan black forest cake

Mulumbimby saw my first raw vegan Black Forest Cake. Just quietly, I’m usually a little hesitant with vegan dessert options, (cardboard, stodgy and tasteless are words that usually spring to mind,) but this was delicious and I stand so very corrected. I don’t think I could ever be a long term raw vegan but I’m definitely going to explore those two eating avenues a little further.

Alive Granola (raw, vegan, dairy, gluten and sugar free) was another delicious vegany find. I’m hooked on this stuff thanks to my friend who introduced me to it. I’m going to have to recreate it somehow now,  as my stash now has dwindled.

chocpuddingfruit

doughnut

I also finally tried a chocolate pudding fruit, black sapote. Does it look like chocolate pudding inside? Yes, it most certainly does, and unfortunately I don’t have a picture to prove it. (Have a look here if you are interested though.) I really can’t compare this taste to anything I have had before. Funnily enough I could certainly see it being used in raw sugar free vegan desserts, it would be absolutely perfect for it.

The Byron Markets also have the famous organic, dark chocolate doughnuts. Worthy of a long drive? You betcha. All doughnuts were definitely not created equal, and these superb little creatures live high on the mountain of ‘BEST DOUGHNUTS EVER’.

chai

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Chai being my tea of drink these days, I knew before going up there that a few of my favourite tea companies were located in that general area. Well I was in for a treat, as I found more, and also found a new favourite. I’m picky with my chai. It can’t have liquorice root in it, and I would prefer to be able to see the spices in it, not all ground up to a dark fine powder. This one was perfect. Gives me a lovely little kick start first thing in the morning.

Handmade goodies are also a big highlight in this area. We picked up one of these sweet little softie dolls for a certain little ones first birthday next month (oh eek, nearly a whole year!) I could have bought a whole heap of them as I really couldn’t decide.

Then just like that, our time up in Byron came to a close. Land of the clear blue waters, green rolling hills and surfboards was feeling all too brief. Promises of we’ll be back soon, promises of return to pristine beaches, and promises of coming back to visit all those markets.

Mulumbimby Farmers Markets

Byron Bay Farmers Markets

Bangalow Farmers Markets

Byron Bay Regional Markets

hippy salad- Frugal Friday

We’re having pizza!!! sang The Monkey’s to Mr Chocolate as he closed the front door behind him.

Two grinning boys launched themselves at their father…pizza! 

Mr Chocolate looked happy too as he scanned the table tops with their proving doughs. Although, you’re not having pizza Dada, I think you’re having salad, said a sombre looking Monkey Boy. His face fell, as he looked to me to for confirmation.

Yep, mung bean salad lucky man.

(oh relax, I’m feeling generous… you can have pizza as well.)

Hippy Salad

sprouted mung beans

one can of chickpeas

one finely sliced capsicum (pepper)

one finely sliced small chilli

couple of finely sliced shallots

Dressing

a couple of slugs of great local olive oil

good pinch of cumin

and dried coriander

salt/pepper to taste

pop half a clove of crushed garlic (new season- which is a bit damn exciting)

juice of half a back yard lemon,

 shake it up a bit and

add to your salad

eat with gusto… or pizza

autumn

a changed beat

different air

cool nights and sunny days

autumn is here

along with school holidays

long walks in the park

the crackle of brown leaves under foot

perfect to build up and then run through

changing colours, changing light

changing rhythms

long days and aimless running

 need lots of snacks

healthy ones

Tahini Balls

1 cup whole oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup unhulled tahini

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup hazelnut meal

1 tsp vanilla

sesame seeds

Mix it all together, add a couple of tablespoons of water just to bind it. Roll into balls with dampened hands,  then roll in raw sesame seeds. Keep in the fridge.