Category: Cooking

Make a slow cooker your best friend.

I have a love affair with my slow cookers, yes I have 2! Together with my Thermomix, they permanently grace my kitchen bench. I cannot live without these 2 trusted friends. Especially for the mums on the run I highly recommend a slow cooker. You can make elaborate dinners without much effort and you can easily reheat pasta sauce, curries, soups etc., without having to use your EVIL microwave. And for those who are as self sufficient as I am, you can even use the slow cooker for making soap! With the tallow given to me for free,  by a loving friend, it is a very cheap and easy way to make soap. Sure, the soap isn’t as pretty as the ones bought at Lush, but really who gives a hoot! There is no soap police present in my shower.

So, over the coming weeks I will share with you some of the things I often cook in my slow cooker and some things I cook for special occasions.

Make sure you stay tuned as I hope it will get you inspired to dust off your slow cooker and work it like a dog, because that is how it should be!

Some of my friends have a slow cooker and don’t use it! Can you believe it ;-). Yeah, I was shocked as well. It truly is one of the better inventions for the modern house wife as well as the career makers or the busy mums on the run. It simply does the work for you, I guess it’s like having a chef. Well, that’s how I feel about it anyways.

Our most cooked meal is Chicken and Beef stock. I have the slow cooker going at least twice a week, making me a delicious and nutrient-dense stock, which helps in healing my gut and is a great medicine for those with colds and flu. Why wouldn’t you want to cook that! I chuck in the chook a couple of vege and away it goes, there truly is not an easier meal.

Our second most loved dish is a recipe from good old Margaret Fulton. She calls it a Rich Beef Curry, and rich it is. We cook it once a week and just lick our lips the whole way through.

Rich Beef Curry

  • 1 kg blade or chuck steak, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/4 fenugreek
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 chilli deseeded
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamarind puree
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • strip lemon rind
  • 270ml coconut milk

Heat oil in frying pan, add curry leaves and fenugreek and fry for 1 minute. Add onion, garlic, ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add curry powder and chilli and fry gently, stirring until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the salt and vinegar, then add the steak and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat well with the curry mixture. Transfer everything to a slow cooker and stir in the tamarind puree. Add the cinnamon stick and lemon rind. Cover and cook on a low setting for 6-10 hours or on high for 3 hours or until the meat is tender. 30 minutes before serving, stir in the coconut milk.

 

A recipe for a healthy chilled chocolate milk (dairy free)

chocmilk“I’ll give you 2 thumbs up for this one mummy!” That’s what my 7 year old son said when I gave him this chocolate milk. I love some chocolate every now and again, but don’t really buy it from the store all that much. When I do buy it for baking or just a little treat, I use organic dark chocolate. I am a lover of dark chocolate, so it suits me fine and it has more anti oxidants in it too. Win, win!

Today it was a chocolate kind of day. With my ovulation happening as we speak, I am not surprised that it was a chocolate kind of day! I baked delicious Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes, will post recipe when I have perfected it and I made this Rich and Creamy Chocolate Milk.

Ingredients

400 ml almond milk (homemade)
1 frozen banana
2 heaped tbsp cocoa
3 dates
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp Chia Seeds
1 raw egg

Whizz all ingredients in a high speed blender for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy.
It is the raw egg that makes it super creamy.

Raw eggs are one of the best sources of high quality proteins and fats. Raw eggs have many benefits, they contain essential nutrients for the brain, nerves, glands and hormones, they are nutritionally balanced. The sulphur amino acids help to keep you young, raw eggs also contain an abundance of other vital substances including protein, essential fatty acids along with niacin, riboflavin, biotin, choline, vitamins A, D and E, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, iodine, copper, zinc and sulphur. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D.

Almond milk is one of the most nutritionally valuable milk substitutes available today. It is high in a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber, zinc and calcium.

Dates are an excellent source of iron, contains 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI) and potassium (16% of RDI).
They are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
The fruit also has adequate levels of B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K.
And I LOVE how it is a natural sweetener!

The best, no seriously, THE BEST, almond flour pancakes EVER.

 

 

pancakes

 

 

 

I had been looking for a nice and easy, fluffy, moist and tasty pancake recipe for a while now. I have tried many different recipes and still not one of them exceeded my expectation. Until now……

When we were away on holidays this Christmas break, I really wanted to make it special for the kids by baking some delicious pancakes for breakfast. The day before I had just made some Almond milk and had lots of pulp leftover, which I dry out in the oven or dehydrator and turn into flour! I know, pretty smart, eh?!

I searched and searched online until I found a recipe with the heading “Almond Flour (extra fluffy) Pancakes”
That totally grabbed my attention and it listed ingredients I had on hand. Bonus.

Away I went with my mixer and ingredients and before I knew it I had a succesfull festive breakfast waiting for the kids to attack.

Here is Heather’s recipe from http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/recipes/almond-flour-extra-fluffy-pancakes/

I left out a few things, this is my version and I tripled it so we had some leftovers for lunch. I mean seriously, if your doing all the work, you may as well make it worthwhile, yes, yes!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
3 egg3/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
9 egg whites ( I think I may have done 7, but can’t remember for sure…)

 

Directions:

 

Stir together all ingredients except egg whites.Whip egg whites until white stiff peaks form and then fold them into your pancake batter.
Fry pancakes over low heat in a greased skillet or on a pancake griddle.

 

I decorate my pancakes with:

Maple syrup
Berries
Banana
Whipped coconut cream

You can also drizzle chocolate sauce over it……too good.

A grain free diet, what does that look like? And what can I eat now??

Since July 2012 I have been completely grain free, sugar free, caffeine free, lactose free and fructose free, because I had a fungal infection and was practically a walking mushroom! Trust me, this was not a food group I would lay down voluntarily. I was found kicking and screaming for the first 5 days with SEVERE withdrawal symptoms and awful Die-off from the toxins that were being released into my system. You would have thought I was a heroine junkie! It was nasty, so nasty, that my husband had to stay home whilst I lay in bed frothing at the mouth 😉

But…..I have to admit, it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my family. I am a much happier momma and a much healthier person, simply because I no longer suffer from the symptoms of a fungal overgrowth. It is interesting to note, that many people have an overgrowth of fungus in their bodies. The reason for this is our lifestyles. Lots of us live high stress lives, others are constantly taking antibiotics or eating a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates. These factors cause an imbalance in our gut and in turn cause an overgrowth of fungus and bacteria not so beneficial to us.

Here are some of the symptoms I experienced:

  • Fungal skin infection
  • Food and chemical sensitivities
  • Feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, feeling “blue”
  • Brain fog, poor concentration, feeling ‘spacey’
  • Poor memory
  • Extreme lethargy, fatigue
  • Eye fatigue, spots in front of eyes, burning or tearing eyes
  • Frequent ear infections, pressure, swelling or tingling or ears
  • Irritability, mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Asthma
  • Poor libido
  • Fungal Sinusitis
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles (candidiasis folliculitis) of various parts of the body (feet, legs, arms)
  • Muscle weakness and pain
  • Joint swelling and aches
  • Obsessive behaviour
  • Sinus problems, post nasal drip
  • Symptoms worse after waking
  • Allergy symptoms

Now that I have cleared all of these symptoms with a specific diet, designed to kill off these bad bacteria and yeasts, I have been able to add some fruit back into my diet.

I am still grain free, sugar free, caffeine free and lactose free.

Let me take  you through a typical day of food choices for me. It might give you some ideas and inspiration.

In the morning I make a smoothie .

These are the ingredients I use:

Breakfast Smoothie

  • 330ml coconut water preferably fresh, If not available, from a carton
  • 1 bananas
  • handful of berries
  • 2 tsp psyllium seeds
  • 1 tbsp slippery elm bark
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp flaxseed oil
  • some almonds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 raw egg (fresh)

This keeps me full for ages, but if I am still hungry I might have a boiled egg or a carrot and apple juice.

For morning tea I have a slice of Pumpkin bread or a muffin and a glass of green juice.

For the green juice, I use the juice recipe from the Gerson Therapy

For lunch I often have a bowl of soup from my homemade chicken stock,  or scrambled eggs with sauteed silverbeet and garlic, fresh from the garden.

When I feel peckish I grab a yummy grain free muffin, a handful of nuts, a salad or some flax seed crackers. Or all of the above 🙂

For dinner I will have pretty much anything as long as it is grain free and dairy free, That is pretty easy. We do enjoy eating meat, but only if it is organic and pasture fed.

In all honesty, I know that what I eat is a very simple diet, which is not always easy to do for people who are not used to it. Trust me, I had cravings too when I got forced into this lifestyle. After a while though, you will have no cravings anymore other than for fresh vegetable juices and healthy soups and salads. It is bizarre how quickly your body adapts to a new way of eating. Yes, the withdrawals are severe, but after a while it feels like you never had any withdrawals at all and it feels like there is no way back to the old way of eating.

Why don’t you give it try and see how you feel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delicious breakfast recipes for the whole family

Sometimes breakfast can get a bit boring, with porridge, porridge and more porridge. At least that seems to be the way in our house!

Although we do start the day with a smoothie as well, porridge is always a sure thing for our children in the morning. They love it though, and that is all that matters. But on the weekends I like to do something else.

Here are some of the breakfast meals we make.

CADA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy O’meara from Changing Habits, Changing Lives, has an incredibly tasty and easy breakfast recipe which we use when we want a change and not have loads of time to bake or cook a full breakfast with the lot. She calls her recipe CADA which stands for

  • Coconut (shredded)
  • Almond
  • Dates (pitted)
  • Apple (cored)

And that is all you need, a handful of each and 1 whole apple. Put it in the food processor and blend (not puree!)

You can add this “granola” to yoghurt if you like or eat it as is.

Homemade Chrunchola

  • 2 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of mixed nuts of your choice
  • 1/4 of a cup of seeds of choice (e.g Chia, Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey mixed with water

After the muesli has cooled down, you can add some raisins and other dried fruit, such as apple, banana, cherries, cranberries, apricot, dates, plums, prunes etc.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir. Combine the maple syrup and vanilla and stir so everything is combined. Spread the muesli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast at 140ºC  for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes, making sure everything is evenly toasted. Leave to cool completely in a bowl then add the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

 

Scrambled eggs with Spinach.

Scramble your eggs and saute the  spinach with garlic and a little onion in the same frying pan. Less dishes!

 

 

The following recipe I learned from Wardeh Harmon from gnowfglins.com. She is a brilliant cook and teacher on the subject of real food. A real inspiration!

 

Apple-Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (Soaked)

  • 6 cups thick rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup acid, such as whey or raw apple cider vinegar (or sourdough starter, to improve the effectiveness of the soaking)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut/seed — I often add a handful of raw sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 cup butter, lightly melted
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup rapadura, sucanat or palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 apple, diced finely or shredded
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (optional)

Yield: 1 9” x 13” pan or 2 8″ square pans.

Combine oats, acid (or sourdough starter*), water, and nuts/seeds in a big bowl. Cover and let soak overnight.

*Sourdough starter improves the soaking’s effectiveness by adding phytase to reduce phytic acid — which otherwise the oats lack — as well as organisms to accomplish an overnight fermentation. Don’t worry, it won’t be sour — if you rinse well the next morning!

In the morning, preheat the oven to 190 Celsius. Drain the oats through a fine sieve. Rinse and allow to drain again.

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together butter, milk, eggs, sweetener, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Add oats and mix well. Add the apples, raisins and coconut and mix in gently.

Transfer to a greased 9” x 13” baking dish (or two 8” square cake pans). Smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Allow 15 minutes to rest before cutting into bars. Eat in a bowl with yogurt, kefir, or milk. Or as a bar with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Store leftovers in refrigerator, though I usually leave them out for a day or so first. ;)

For more of Wardeh’s great wholesome recipes, please visit her website.

 

Breakfast waffles with chocolate sauce

 

  • 250 gr. butter melted
  • 2 tbs of honey/maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 400 gr. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 400 ml milk

Chocolate sauce 

  • A handful or more of dark chocolate chips
  • and 1/2 a can of coconut milk
  • maplesyrup if you want extra sweetness

Combine in a bowl, butter, honey, vanilla and eggs. When well stirred add the milk. Now slowly add the flour and the baking powder. Best stirred with a mixer, a blender or a thermomix.

Warm up your waffle maker and bake these delicious waffles for a special breakfast occasion. Top with  your favourite toppings. We use berries and maple syrup in our house as well as the chocolate topping.

To make the chocolate sauce, simply warm the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir till combined.

 

Making yoghurt

When I moved to Sydney 12 years ago, the first thing I noticed were the high prices for groceries. In the 12 years that I have called Australia home, nothing has really changed in that department. In fact, it seems that prices just keep on rising…..and quality keeps dropping…

It wasn’t until 2 years ago, that I decided that I had more than enough of paying $5 a liter for natural yoghurt. In Holland my family pays only 0.75 cents for a liter of yoghurt!!! I now pay $1.75 for 1 litre of yoghurt, if I make it myself and if  you buy the homebrand milk, it will only cost you $1.25 a litre.

This is all I use

  • pot
  • cooking thermometer
  • thermos flask or bowl with lid
  • towel

Ingredients

  • 2 liters of milk
  • 2/3 cup of milk powder (opt.)
  • smidgen of yoghurt culture

First cook your milk at 90C for 15 min. to kill all pathogens. While your milk heats and pasteurizes, add the milk powder and stir. When your milk has been cooked at 90C for 15 minutes, let it cool down to about 37-40C. Now, add your smidgen of yoghurt culture and transfer this to your lidded bowl or flask. Wrap a towel around it and keep it overnight inside a turned OFF oven.

When you wake the next morning, your yoghurt will be ready for you to eat.

How easy was that!!

 If you are as lucky as I am and have access to raw milk, you can leave out the powdered milk.

Instead of using a yoghurt culture, you can use a couple of tablespoons of good quality organic yoghurt to start your batch.

Make sure you keep some yoghurt to start your next batch!

Grain free Banana Choc-Chip Muffins

 

When I was forced to give up grains and coffee, I thought I would not make it! I am Dutch after all and this is what the Dutch love the most, bread and coffee.

Luckily, I did make it and I came out the other end a whole lot happier and healthier.

Grains make you gain a lot of unnecessary weight, hence the reason farmers feed them to their cows to fatten them up before slaughter!! Interesting…… I am glad to say, we eat grass fed beef for a whole lot of other reasons, but I will have to leave that for another post, another time.

I have been on quite a creative journey trying to healthily substitute my bread and muffins and other snacks. We don’t consume refined sugar in this house, because I regard it as drugs. In fact it is often quoted as it being “the drugs of the food industry”. It is significantly more addictive than cocaine! So why, would I want to get my beautiful children hooked on it??

I have been able to create some delicious muffins and I am excited to share the recipe here with you. My mother-in-law visited us the other day and she really enjoyed these muffins too. I know that she is looking forward to the recipe 😉

Banana Chocolate Muffins (I made 17, but it depends on the size of your tins)

 

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil/butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bananas mashed
  • 1/2 cup choc chips

 

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C and grease some muffin tins.

In a bowl mix the melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla.

Add the eggs and whisk well. Now add the cocoa, the cinnamon and the coconut flour. Whisk until well combined.

Then add bananas and choc chips.

Feel free to use a food processor for mixing, it will be a lot quicker and easier to do.

Pour the mixture into a greased muffin tin and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

If you can avoid it, do not use the microwave to melt the coconut oil/butter, it really defeats the purpose of using such a healthy oil.

 

 

 

 

Flaxseed crackers

1911827_249701531879493_2012797020_n

 

When I started on my grain free diet in order to heal my digestive tract, I also started to make some new foods to replace the grains I could no longer consume.

Was that a bad thing? NO!

Here is is my recipe for delicious crispy flax seed crackers.

  • 500 grams of flax seeds soaked in water for at least an hour

  • a handful of sunflower seeds, almond flour, pepitas. This is optional.

  • salt to taste or a tablespoon of homemade vegetable stock concentrate

If you juice you can also add the left over pulp the juicer spits out. Add them in for extra fiber. I add pulp from:

  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Red cabbage
  • Apple
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato

Be creative!

You can also make one with banana, prunes, dates, figs, vanilla, honey and cinnamon. Real exotic!

Your flax seeds have soaked for at least an hour and are now very gelatinous. This is what makes the cracker stick together. If there is any leftover water on the flax seeds, drain it. Often, though, this is not necessary.

In a food processor combine all ingredients and whiz until well combined. This might take a minute or so. Then spread your mixture onto a dehydrator sheet, no thicker than 1 cm. Dehydrate for around 18 hours. Make sure you flip them over, so the other side dries also!

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you might be able to do it in the oven at a higher temperature, for a shorter amount of time.

Play with it, there are no hard and fast rules.