Plant based Munchies

A journey towards whole food, plant based, healthy eating….


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End of month favourites

I’m going to have a little Easter break this weekend and thought I’d share with you a little recap on the last two months and what your favourite recipes have been ;). I’ve been very excitable about a number of dishes over the past two months! Interestingly, my top 4 favourites are not in your favourites list! But to those who have jumped on board in the last 8 weeks – a big thank you. I’m loving this little community we are developing. And I’m loving food and cooking – more than ever! So! Here’s your top 8 (one for each week ;))of the last two months, and below you will find my favs 🙂 Enjoy!

Feb- March favourites

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

Lasagne/Veggie Stack

Lentil and Vegetable Korma

Hazelnut pancakes with banana

Red Kidney Bean chocolate cakes

Baked lemon thyme chips

Chocolate bean biscuits

And…the Cauliflower and lentil pilaf which had a big reception 2 days ago!  And I do need to give an honourable mention to the Seedy apply and goji muesli bars.

MY favourites have been:PBM my march favs

Raw hazelnut chocolate cheesecake

Chocolate caramel slice

Sweet potato and spinach tikka masala

Cauliflower pizza base

Thanks for your support and enthusiasm!


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Nutty choc-ana smoothie

Nutty choc-ana smoothie

Nutty choc-ana smoothie

I was in a mood. Thus, lacking in energy, enthusiasm and any interest in breakfast (or, in fact, the day ahead) I decided to try a mood-fixer that is something along the lines of comfort and a ‘naughty’ treat in a bowl. That will help. Yes!

Lucky for me there really isn’t anything naughty about this. And it only took a few minutes – AND it fixed my conundrum! (Love that word).

Here it is.

1 handful of hazelnuts

2 bananas

1 dessert spoon raw cacao

1 dessert spoon protein powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup ice

1 cup rice milk (or non dairy milk)

Whizz the hazelnuts in the blender. When fine, add 2 bananas and cacao to form a puree. Add remaining ingredients and blend.

Happiness in a glass for a grumpy, tired morning! 🙂


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Cauliflower and lentil korma pilaf

Cauliflower and lentil korma pilaf with spinach

Cauliflower and lentil korma pilaf with spinach

Oooo heaven 🙂

First, let me share with you this korma paste recipe. It is based on Jamie Oliver’s and I don’t think you can go too wrong with his use of herbs and flavours! I just altered it a little for ease but it doesn’t change the flavour or ingredients really.

Paste:

2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 fresh green chilies (Or use dried flakes if need be, or leave it out if you are chilli-shy)
3 tablespoons unsweetened dried shredded coconut
2 tablespoons almond meal (or add a handful of almonds and they will grind in the process)
1 small bunch fresh cilantro

Dry fry the cumin and ground coriander until fragrant, then tip into a food processor with the other ingredients. Process until a smooth paste.

Korma paste

I know. It looks freakishly like mince, with the tomato paste pinkish tinge. I swear, it’s all herbs and spices and nuts and it smells divine! The left over korma paste I have placed in the freezer for our next round.

Pilaf:

1 small onion
1/2 cauliflower  into florets
1 1/4 cups basmati rice (250g)
1 cup brown lentils, cooked
1 cup baby spinach
3 cups vege stock or water
1 cinnamon stick
2 T korma paste (see above)
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped

Saute onion for a few minutes until it begins to soften and brown.
Add cauliflower and rice and cook for 2 minutes until rice is coated in oil.
Add curry paste and cook for another minute.
Add stock or water and cinnamon stick and bring to the boil.Then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
When liquid has been absorbed, fluff with a fork and stir in lentils and baby spinach.

Serve with fresh coriander on top! And in fact, we served it chopped fresh broccoli and snow peas – because we are green freaks and there needs to be as much green as rice! 😉 But that’s up to you.

Thanks to Valli Little via Delicious for the inspiration 🙂

PS If you want to give your pilaf that yellow look, add some turmeric to your spices.


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Seedy apple and goji muesli bars

Apple and goji muesli bars

Apple and goji muesli bars

Muesli bars are a struggle. My kids have always loved them but it really is virtually impossible to find any to buy that make any sense. They are filled with stuff that is not great and sold as healthy. AND they cost a fortune! So…the task was to come up with something without sweeteners, but still edible (esp for kids), gluten free options, without nuts (so it can be sent to school) and cost effective.

It’s not just about the “without”s though is it. We want something that will give energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for the day. What can we make that will give our kids a sustained boost without all the rubbish?

Firstly, the general gist of this is easy. You blend the dates to provide a glue for the muesli and a sweetener for it. With dates, no honey or brown sugar or anything else is needed. You could also use mashed banana if you like that sort of baked banana flavour (I’m not an enormous fan of that, though I’m sure the children would like it).

Find a mix of grains/flours. If you like to use nuts, almond or hazelnut meal would be great. If you want to be gluten and nut free, stick with buckwheat or amaranth. You can add in brown rice flour or besan flour if you like it a little more glued together.

Find a mix of seeds/nuts. This one is nut free but ideally I would love to add in slithered almonds and hazelnuts. Pepitas, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds are always good!

Find a mix of fruits. If you can, go organic. The sulphur levels in dried Australian fruits is out of this world HIGH so it’s great to be free of those preservatives where possible (Just a note about that, apparently just 2 Australian dried apricots sends a child way over the daily recommended intake of sulphur. That’s how high Australia’s sulphur levels are *the industry needs more regulation). If you have a dehydrator, dry your own apple/apricots. Sultanas/raisins/cranberries also work well (remembering that cranberries will most likely have added sugar).

So here is my nut free, wholesome, seedy apple and goji muesli recipe:

8 medjool dates

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup Amaranth (puffed)

1/2 cup coconut (desiccated)

handful goji berries

handful pepitas

handful chia seeds

1/2 cup chopped dried apple

1 tsp cinnamon

2 T coconut oil

Soak the dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Once soft, blend them in a food processor until paste consistency. Add  all other ingredients except coconut oil and process only briefly until mixed.

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Stir the coconut oil through and press into a lined tin or dish.

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Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes (this will depend on how much mixture you have in how big a dish. If your muesli bar slice is quite thick, you may need to bake longer).

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I have to admit, it is a little crumbly. I either could suggest adding more coconut oil to help bind it once it cools or simply letting it cool properly before cutting would help  (I was too eager ;)). Mine held together but the little guy’s didn’t so well. I will wrap it up in glad wrap for the lunch box I think to hold it together in there.

Mind you, this is so delicious i think it will be my breakfast from now on so I might un-muesli bar it and have it as a cereal!


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A cheater’s crepe

A cheater's crepe

Never home maker has a pretty brilliant idea. Except in a much more eloquent title, they are called “banana faux crepes” 🙂

Mountain bread wraps are at the centre of this one (well, that’s what I have used). Partly because they have no preservatives etc in them and partly because you can choose what style suits you. I used the rice wraps today, though they do have a small amount of gluten in them. What I needed was a super fast lunch idea and something that felt homely and comforting. Yesterday’s efforts was defrosting some of my Rustic tomato soup which was sensational and healthy. Today….

This is not ‘un’healthy. But eating a salad would be better, let’s face it. Or tomato soup. Regardless…brilliant idea for a quick breakfast or lunch, or I’m thinking even for lunchbox treats.

Basically make a milkshake, dip the mountain bread into it, and fry it as if it is a crepe. And add your filling 🙂 How easy is that!’

1 banana, mashed

1/2 cup non dairy milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

cinnamon

cloves (whatever you like)

1 T chia seeds (I forgot these and mine still worked)

Blend together and dip the flat bread in before frying.

I added  a banana on top of the crepe whilst cooking and rolled it up so the banana heated whilst the crepe crisped. That was delicious!

You could add finely diced apple and cloves or mango and coconut – or pear and cardamon? Yum yum yum. How easy.


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Asian-slaw with peanut dressing

Asian-peanut-slaw

There are some things that just speak comfort and childhood to me, and coleslaw must be one of them! Having said that, I don’t do the mayo thing these days and this is a great way to do it Asian style with peanuts and corriander, yum!

I found it at Once Upon A Chef (whose photo puts mine to total shame 🙂 ) and I have only altered it a little re the dressing. Awesome recipe – and his looks even better with endamame (I have no idea what these are, but I want some!!)

Anyhow….

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Finely chop some cabbage (I have used purple and wombok here) and carrots (best julienned but I was being lazy. They are thinly done via the food processor though so still are quite light).

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Add in capsicum, spring onions (eschallots), peanuts and coriander. And the dressing, ohh the dressing 🙂

  • 1 T Agave
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon nut spread (we use brazil, cashew and almond spread from the health shop. No additives, just nuts.).
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Mix away, and drizzle over the salad. Delish!

Of course if you have a peanut allergy, substitute the peanuts for cashews – or leave them out altogether. I used a healthy nut spread but you could use peanut butter for those who can and prefer.


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Cinnamon pumpkin muffins

Cinnamon pumpkin muffins

Cinnamon pumpkin muffins

Today was my son’s sports day and the school in their infinite wisdom *cough* had a sale of artifiicially coloured donuts to match the team colours. This is a dilemma. We’d like our son to fit in and enjoy his team sport colour but no, we won’t say yes to him having artificial colours draped over something that has no value as food. Actually, the donut doesn’t worry me as much as the coloured icing. Our kids honestly do not need coal tar and petrochemicals into their bodies, especially when it’s sold as ‘fun’ or ‘cool’. We can do better.

Why can’t a school do fruit skewers that is team colours? Or just do normal snacks like crackers and carrot and hummus, but have them on coloured plates? Or homemade banana cakes would be a thousand times better than iced mass produced donuts.

Anyhow…

I found a recipe for cinnamon scroll muffins with pumpkin in them and Dave got up and made them this morning which I then iced with natural blue for sports day! These muffins are awesome. There is no sugar in them. Nothing artificial. Can be egg and gluten  and dairy free. And, they have the added bonus of pumpkin, which my kids won’t eat! It’s easy to play with this recipe. And I swear, they taste great.
This is our version:

1 cup wholemeal flour         (or GF all purpose flour)
1 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 T chia seeds in water (to form gel) (or 1 egg)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree    (pre-steamed and mashed)
1 mashed banana
1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 stevia measuring spoons of stevia

Preheat oven to 180deg C. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix wet ingredients (incl chia seed gel).

Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until thoroughly moistened. Do not beat or overmix. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup.

Bake for 20ish minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

And here is the blue version (ruined a sugar free muffin with icing sugar, doh! But happy with that as a sports day substitute):

Blue pumpkin cinnamon muffins