Monday, May 20, 2013

Yeah! Yum!

How do you try new foods, stay gluten free, begin minimising/eliminating sugar and dairy, cut down on meat, boost your nutrients and generally eat healthily and enjoy it?
Here are some dinner table memories I've been making lately that might help inspire.
Everyone has been asking me about Sago. It's really easy! Especially if you go to your local large supermarket and buy a pack written in English with clear instructions. Once you have done that, feel free to buy Sago from your local Asian or Indian grocery store in large much cheaper quantities! If you have a reason not to eat Sago due to it being made of Tapioca/Palm Starches or if you want a super food hit - Chia Seeds are a more than perfect replacement!
Most recipes suggest soaking the Sago for about an hour. You can use water or milk (almond milk would probably taste yum!) however the one I loved the most was Coconut Milk.
I added some Chia seeds for a boost. If you want to just use chia seeds there are dozens of things you can make. Soak in coconut milk and add Cacao or Pure cocoa powder for a sort of pudding YUM. Or still soak in coconut milk and add berries!
One reason some use water to soak is you can add a flavour you prefer to the liquid. A traditional I'm guessing English background version (as both my dad and friends parents suggested this) is to add a lot of lemon rind, and juice.
Soak until they swell and go clear

I loved the idea of the lemon one as I'm a bit lemon crazy but I have to say so far nothing beats coconut flavour! 
Note, chai flavour may seem like a good idea, but then it just isn't. Have a chai on the side.
Then there is this idea I came up with from two separate ideas in my gluten free cookbooks. One was a sago and apple crumble the other vanilla sago (vanilla bean seeds/paste added to milk when soaked). I didn't like the idea of mixing them so made them separately and joined them at the end. For a SUPER yummy gluten free crumble mix I used E's suggestion, as it is Gluten, Dairy, Sugar and Flour free.

To sum up on Sago: Soak 1hr in desired liquid, bring to boil, simmer until clear.
My good friend and mother of an almost 2yr old girl (for all those looking for healthier toddler treats) left some goodies one day - I think these involve cacao, dates and well coconut obviously! For more of her simply fantastic Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free recipes see her blog.

Something I came up with which I am hoping to accustom my little man to are my quick homemade felafel's. Always trying to save and eat the right foods (often looking for protein in things other than meat!), I did use beans from a can, well washed. I blended them till well crushed although no need to be fine; really it's up to you. Next I added chick pea flour and coriander powder along with crushed garlic (although if you like you could add this to just the dip) and as I went some water to meld it all together. You shouldn't need an egg, but as I didn't start out knowing exactly what I was doing, I did. The dip was mere yoghurt and tahini, though blended white beans also make a hearty yum dip.

Experiment: making flat gluten free bread with with quick Indian meal
Meal: fried onion, potatoes, beans, turmeric, garam marsala lets say- mishmash of Indian spices.
Bread: Chick pea flour and gluten free plain flour with water. Mixed and fried like a pancake.
I can't tell if Max likes it or is feigning approval for the camera. I made a wrap and loved it!
 As usual I can hardly do a post on food without including E's Lemon and Pistachio Gluten and Dairy free biscuits. I've taken to trying Stevia instead of sugar, or just omitting sugar and using the icing sugar as the sweet part!
After running out of gluten free bread, and cereal, and making pancakes, I decided to have a crack at making some healthy but yummy breakfast muffins. I swapped Rhubarb for thawed berries and brown sugar for rice malt syrup. Using the dry then wet ingredients method to mix, these muffins only needed about 20 mins in my gas oven at 180.
2 cups GF Self Raising Flour
2 tsp GF baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar OR Rice Malt Syrup Or Stevia or other alternative
3/4 cup milk of choice
4 tbsp oil - veg or coconut would go best
2 eggs lightly beaten
about a cup of berries mixed or of choice
Makes 12
Whenever you play around with alternatives you may find it to be drier - no stress, add something yummy, butter (healthy!) or a spread. Remember it's a breakfast "treat" tricking your mind into thinking "Yay lucky me I just had cake for breakfast" without the actual bad stuff!

This is no ordinary Chocolate Cake.

This is SOOO Yummy! Chocolate Chili Tequila Cake! Adults even get a splash of tequila with their cream. I was stuck at home due to a nasty cold (yes this wasn't perhaps the best, healthiest thing for it....) and discovered a cool show The Spice Trip. This pair go in search of traditional methods of cooking chillies, cloves, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin and cinnamon - an episode for each spice respectively. This episode was Chili so they spent their time in Mexico. Very, very, awesome. This was a creation they came up with to sort of give you a taste of how yum chili is with sweet things. As they said, once you try this you want to add chili to every hot chocolate or indeed any chocolate combination! The practically Gluten Free (swap one tablespoon of plain flour for GF plain flour) recipe is perfect with that splash of tequila (did anyone else not know that alcohol, spirits like tequila have a substance in them that negates the hot effect of chillies? they have tequila and chili bars in Mexico for this reason!) and a dollop of vanilla cream.

I now love rice milk! One way that's simple and satisfying and anti-inflammatory is a teaspoon of ground Cinnamon (not the sugary one!) in rice milk. Cold or warm, YUM
Also this fox shaped cookie was a simple modification of Tessa Kiros' winter bikkie in her lovely book Apples for Jam, using only maple syrup eliminating the small amount of extra sugar, and swapping the flour for a gluten free kind!
Oh the book is awesome for getting creative...alas, I was borrowing from a friend.

Some other ideas:
If you can have soy, get some silken tofu and blend with melted chocolate. Chill and you have chocolate mousse.
Just about every orange and almond cake is gluten free and perfect for a winter treat.
Max loved my healthy treat of mushed banana, nuts and sultanas rolled in coconut flakes, he ate them almost as fast as my chocolate and nut slices (melt chocolate, add nuts, sultanas etc. chill.voila!)
Grating carrot and mushing beans into spaghetti sauce allows Max to get something nutritious in. I know it's not amazing, but I love that even if all he wants is the pasta, being gluten free it's generally just corn or rice keeping his little tummy a bit more balanced than if he has gluten.

Things I hope to try:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa (coconut milk, almond milk also involved! I'm excited already!)
Fennel Soup
Roasted Capsicum Soup with Scones (yes going to attempt GF scones)
Fluffy Carrot Mousse
Chewy Quinoa Macaroons
Coconut Cacao ALmond Biscuits

Let me know if you want to see how any of these turn out. I have to say over the next few months most recipes will be coming from fellow Blogger Sarah Wilson's book 'I Quit Sugar'.

Other than this awesome book I'm currently loving pom pom making, herbal or homemade teas, colour and home inspiration, and playing with Maxwell in his little tents!

go with it.
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