Grain Free Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

The school holidays are the perfect time to get in the kitchen with the kids and get creative. And we all know how hungry the kids are during the holidays!

These chocolate brownies have been a hit in our house this weekend.

Slightly tweaked recipe from previous brownies and it has taken a bit of trial and error – but that’s what baking is all about for me. I love experimenting with flavours and recipes.

Ingredients

1 cup cacao powder

1 cup almond meal

½ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

½ cup coconut oil

½ packed cup grated zucchini

1 ¼ cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

100gm vegan dark chocolate chopped.

Method

Preheat oven to 180degreesC. Line a 20cm square tin.

Add ACV to almond milk and set aside. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add remaining ingredients to the buttermilk bowl and stir. Pour into the dry mix and combine. Stir through the chopped chocolate.

Bake for 40mins. The cake should be slightly sticky.

I like to bake this in the evening as it sets well overnight.

Icing is optional. I used 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 3 tablespoons cacao, 1 tablespoon of maples syrup. Melt the oil and mix through the ingredients.  Spread onto the brownie once it has completely cooled and set.

Enjoy!

GRAIN FREE VEGAN ALMOND COOKIES

Everyone loves a cookie (or two).

That morning coffee indulgence, or 3pm (or even midnight) snack.

These cookies are packed full of almonds. And with the added Tahini which is also rich in healthy fats, amino acids as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Tahini is packed full of all the goodness as well as being high in calcium.

Tahini can also help to balance hormones. Hormones plays an important role in managing our weight, sleep, hunger cues, libido, mood and our sanity! When our hormones are off balance from poor lifestyle habits and food choices we feel it pretty quickly. 

If balancing hormones is your #1 priority this is the most delicious place to start, full of good fats, protein and nutrients your hormones (and taste buds) are going to love you for this!

Here is my recipe for the simplest & easiest minimum effort  

5 I N G R E D I E N T Grain Free Vegan Almond cookies with Tahini.

A good option to make weekly if you want to snack better at 3pm.
I was just able to take a photo before these were inhaled.

Can substitute maple syrup for honey if you are happy to have a non-vegan option.

RECIPE

Vegan Almond Cookies
2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of the best quality vanilla extract you can get.

I’ve used sesame seeds as an optional garnish.

Mix all ingredients and roll into 12 balls. Press gently with the back of a fork (or don’t). Place on tray and press down ever so slightly. Bake for 10 mins in a pre-heated oven at 160c (or until they are lightly browned).

Moist and Decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake

This cake is the moistest most decadent chocolate cake you will ever eat. There is nothing healthy about this cake – I think if you want to have chocolate cake then you should have chocolate cake!

I am replacing our family chocolate cake recipe with this one – it will be at every birthday party from now on. Not because it is vegan (we have one vegan in our house) but because it was minimal effort for an amazing cake! Noone even knew it was vegan (except my daughter).

The kids thought it was the best chocolate cake ever and devoured it. We were all eying off the last slice.

If you wanted to be fancy and show off or needed a dinner party dessert you could always decorate with raspberries and toasted coconut.

Ingredients

375g dark (70% or darker) chocolate, chopped

2 x 400ml cans coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour (or can replace half of this quantity with almond meal)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tablespoons cocoa

Method

Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.

Place 150g of the chocolate, 2½ cups of the coconut milk and the vanilla in a microwavesafe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%), stirring every 30 seconds, for 1 minute 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth.

Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa into a large bowl. Make a well. Add chocolate mixture. Whisk to combine. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of cake comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Place remaining chocolate and coconut milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH stirring every 30 seconds, for 1 minute 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth. Stand for 2 hours to thicken slightly.

Split cake in half horizontally. Spread 1/2 the ganache over bottom half of cake. Top with remaining half. Spread remaining ganache over top of cake.

Healthy Thai Green Curry

I NEVER want my clients eating a boring, monotonous diet. Eating the same mundane food day in and day out is only going to intensify those cravings and lead you back to square one.

Life is about flavour. It’s about enjoying your meals.

This Thai Green Curry recipe is a great way to spice up your weekday meals while still eating healthy.

Green curry paste is usually spicy. You can substitute for yellow paste which is a bit more mild.

If you’re feeding kids that don’t like chilli, you can always sprinkle the chilli on your own dish when you serve.

Here’s what you need: 
2 tbsp coconut oil 
2 tbsp green curry paste 
1 onion, chopped 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup green beans
1 red capsicum, cut into strips 
3 carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
1/2 tsp chili flakes 
1 tbsp coconut sugar 
1 can full fat coconut milk 
1/2 lime 
4 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Directions: 
1. In a heated pan, add 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add in the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. 
2. Add in chopped onion and cook for approximately 5 minutes (until translucent) 
3. Add in garlic and the other tbsp of coconut oil. Then add in all of your vegetables. Add in the  salt, pepper, chili flakes, coconut sugar and stir everything together. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
4. Add in the coconut milk and let simmer for 5 minutes. Squeeze in lime and remove from the stove top. 
5. Add the basil on top. I served mine with baked tofu and brown rice! 

The BEST Banana Bread

Because who doesn’t love a piece of plant based moist choc chip banana bread smothered in peanut butter?

This banana bread tweaked from my original banana bread recipe as I need to cater for a vegan.

And, not too high in sugar so in my opinion you can have your cake and eat it too!

And, while I don’t necessarily agree with some food alternatives, this one seems to tick the boxes.

I like to serve this with a dollop of dark roasted crunchy peanut butter.

Recipe is super easy

2 large ripe bananas

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup coconut milk

½ tsp vanilla

Mash bananas and mix all wet ingredients in (except the ACV)

Then

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp ACV (apple cider vinegar)

Combine baking powder, baking soda and ACV and ex[pect a little bit of magic (fizzing), then mix into the wet ingredients.

½ cup vegan choc chips

1 cup SR flower

1 cup buckwheat flour

Stir through the choc chips and flours.

Bake in a lined loaf tin for about an hour at 160c

Plant Based Diet

What does “plant-based diet” mean? Is it the same thing as being vegetarian or vegan?

What Does Following a Plant-Based Diet Mean Exactly?

Some people use the term ‘plant-based diet’ as a synonym for the vegan diet. Others may use the term in a broader way that includes all vegetarian diets, and I’ve also seen people use ‘plant-based’ to mean diets which are composed mostly, but not entirely, of plant foods.

The main idea is to make plant-based foods the central part of your meals.

Think vegetables as the main part of your meal, with a little grains or complex carbs and some protein (plant or animal depending on how strict you decide to be).

So, rather than thinking ‘We’re having steak and 3 veg for dinner’ think we’re having veggies and some steak on the side.

A plant-based diet emphasizes foods like fruits, vegetables, and beans, and limits foods like meats, dairy, and eggs. From there, more restrictions could be put in place depending on how strict you want to be. It may completely eliminate foods from animals or just limit intake depending on the individual’s interpretation.

That means meat and seafood don’t necessarily need to be off-limits — you might just decide to cut down on how frequently you eat those items.

In my Plant Based cooking workshops for both adults and kids I use only plant based ingredients to cater for vegans.

https://eatinginmind.com.au/plant-based-cooking-workshop-for-kids/

https://eatinginmind.com.au/plant-based-cooking-workshop-for-adults/

Current Research

Most people who adopt this way of eating do it for the potential health benefits. There have been many cardiac benefits linked to Plant Based diets, like reduced cholesterol. Some studies suggest that eating a plant-based diet may improve fertility, and it also may reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

One study linked diets rich in healthy plant foods (such as nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and oils) with a significantly lower risk of heart disease.

Another study found it can also help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes, and it cites research that suggests this diet may help reduce the risk of other chronic illnesses, including cancer.

What to Eat and Drink

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Beans
  • Lentils

What to Limit (or Avoid Entirely, Depending on How Strict You Decide to Be)

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Meat and poultry (like chicken, beef, and pork)
  • Processed animal meats, such as sausages and hot dogs
  • All animal products (including eggs, dairy, and meat if you’re following a vegan diet)

Scientifically proven benefits of a Plant Based Diet

A diet that promotes whole foods and plant-based ingredients can reduce the likelihood that you’ll need medication, lower your risk of obesity and high blood pressure, and maybe even help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

A plant-based diet can also help you manage your weight and may lead to weight loss if you follow it in a healthy way. Most people also start to feel like they have more energy.

To set yourself up for success your grocery list should mainly list fresh vegetables and fruit, beans, and plant-based proteins to make sure you have plenty of options to reach for when you get hungry.

Are there any potential disadvantages of a Plant Based Diet?

Simply sticking with plant-based foods doesn’t set you up for good health.

Particular attention will need to be paid to the quality of the foods you’re consuming, because there are plenty of unhealthy foods that qualify as plant-based, such as potato chips and french fries. In fact, a visit to the vegan markets can prove this theory as there were plenty of battered and deep fried options!

Choosing unhealthy plant-based foods can increase your risk of weight gain and health conditions such as heart disease.

Also, if you decide to take the plant based diet to the next level and go vegan (completely off all animal products) you will need to keep an eye on your B12 and choline levels. Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal sources, and the two best sources of choline are egg yolks and liver.  

So, instead of a diet centred on meat and dairy, the starring roles are played by vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. It’s an approach to eating and lifestyle that has been shown to have significant health benefits, including weight loss and disease prevention.

Raw Blueberry Coco Ripple Bars

I often get asked how much time I spend in the kitchen like there isn’t any place worse in the world …… and I never know what to say.

If I say A LOT will I be judged?

If I say NOT a lot, will I be judged?

Our kitchen is the heart of our home.

Time spent together in the kitchen is quality bonding time. And, the girls like to sit at the bench and chat while reading or doing homework.

The time that I’m alone in the kitchen is my creative time. I have wins, I have failures but most of all I have FUN!

I’m always thinking about how I can make a meal more nourishing, or how can I adapt this for my GAPS child, my vegan child. And in the kitchen is where all of this magic happens.

Teaching the kids to create food, helping them learn to adapt recipes to suit them, learning to use alternative ingredients if we don’t have everything in the fridge or pantry….

Truth is that many of us have forgotten how to cook, and Id love to see a generation of kids growing up with the basics and the ability to throw together a healthy balanced nutritious meal no matter how time poor they are.

These bars came about when the kids asked what we could make for dessert on Saturday night. I didn’t feel like going out to buy ingredients so we made these with what we had in the pantry and the freezer and they were a HIT!

I had all of the ingredients in the pantry and frozen organic blueberries in the freezer.

Once the blueberries were defrosted, the dessert took 15 mins to put together NO WAY right?

Here’s the recipe.

If you do decide to give it a go would love to know how you went with it. Give us a shout out or a tag and share the love.

The most delicious last minute pantry item dessert!

Raw Blueberry Coco Ripple Bars

Ingredients

Base

2 cups medjool dates

1 cup almond meal

1 cup oats

Filling

1 cup coconut oil

2 cups dessicated coconut

4 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 tsp Vanilla essence

½ cup Blueberries (frozen and thawed to room temperature)

Topping

100gm 85% dark chocolate

Method

  1. Leave blueberries out to defrost until at room temperature. Once defrosted and at room temperature process and set aside.
  2. Process all of the base ingredients and press into a lined tin (place tin into freezer while you do the next step)
  3. Gently melt coconut oil in a bowl. Don’t get the oil hot, it should be luke warm or cooler (unless already in liquid form), and mix through the rest of the filling ingredients.  Stir the blueberries through last.
  4. Pour over the base and put back in the freezer while you do step 5.
  5. Melt chocolate. Drizzle over the blueberry layer with a spoon.
  6. Place in the freezer for a couple of minutes. The chocolate should set quite quickly.
  7. Slice it up and watch it disappear like magic!