Sana Seed Crackers & Eggplant Dip

Seed Crackers

These are seriously easy to make, and super nutritious too, I'd say that's a match made in heaven, wouldn't you? You can be as adventurous as you like, adding which ever seeds, herbs, spices or even nuts you wish. The only rule is to ensure you have enough chia and/or flax seeds as these form a mucilage once wet which helps bind the crackers together, without them you with have a tasty crumble but that's about it... You might also like to add a little flax meal which will also help to bind the seeds together, this is a great addition if you accidentally add a little too much water like I did with this batch.

Ingredients

1/2 cup flax seeds (linseeds)     1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup poppy seeds                 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds            1/4 cup sesame seeds

1-2 tbsp fennel seeds                 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin                              Pinch of salt

1 cup of water   

 

Preheat your oven to around 150-170 degrees. 

Mix the seeds, garlic powder, cumin and salt in a bowl. Pour over the water and stir through until all seeds are wet. Allow to stand for around 20mins, until the seeds have absorbed the water and feel a little slimy. If there is still a little water not absorbed you might like to add some flax meal or some extra flax or chia seeds, or simply drain off the extra fluid carefully.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Pour the seed mixture on to the paper and spread thinly and evenly.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for around 20mins. Remove the tray and slice the mixture into small pieces. Then pop back into the oven until crispy. Once you are happy, remove them from the oven and allow to cool before storing them in an airtight container. 

Tip: If you have any crumbly bits, these make a nice crunchy addition to a salad so don't throw away!!

 

 

Eggplant Dip

This is a great one for all those people who think they hate eggplant or just don't know what to do with one. 

Ingredients

2 eggplants

1 drizzle olive oil

1/3 cup tahini (I use unhulled but suit yourself)

The juice from 1/2-1 lemon

Sea salt

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp cumin (more if you're anything like me)

 

Preheat your oven to around 180. 

Cut your eggplants in half lengthwise. Drizzle the inside with a little olive oil and pop into the oven to roast. Cook until the inside is soft and the outside is a little charred or browned. You might need to rotate during the cooking process. Once happy, remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.

Scoop the insides out of the eggplant and place it into a food processor. Add the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, and sea salt and blend until smooth. Adjust the flavor depending on your taste.

Enjoy! 

Party Treats! Spiced Apple Cupcakes (gluten, grain, nut, and dairy free) & Gooey Black Bean Brownies (vegan & gluten fee)

Whenever I'm baking for a party, I like to prepare food to cater for all tastes and dietary restrictions, so its fantastic when you stumble across recipes that taste this delicious. I have made each of these recipes on numerous occasions, and they always get comments! People often can't get over what's in them, or rather, what's not.....

Spiced apple cupcakes. (Adapted from Gutsy by Nature)

 

This recipe is gluten, grain, diary and nut free, and perfect for those who love the taste of apples and cinnamon. For those who have not baked with coconut flour before, don't be fooled by the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. Coconut flour absorbs an enormous amount of fluid and can be very dry if the balance is out, so if your cake mixture is super runny, you're on the right track. These little cakes can be made with coconut cream icing as shown in the picture, or when nuts are not an issue, they can also be topped with orange cashew cream which tastes amazing. Both alternatives are outlined below.  

Ingredients

Cakes

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/3 cup honey 

4 large eggs

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 pinch sea salt

1-2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2-1 tsp cardamom 

(Spices can be added to taste really. I love mine with lots of flavor so tend to add quite a bit of each).

Coconut icing

 

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup honey

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp water

1 cup melted coconut oil

OR

Orange Cashew Cream

 

3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight then drained and rinsed)

1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice

1 tbsp water or nut milk of choice

 The zest of 1/2 - 1 orange grated finely

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Spices may also be added for extra flavor

Method

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and line or prepare a muffin/cupcake tin. I make mine in a mini cupcake tin.

Using a whisk or an electric mixture, blend well the applesauce, eggs, and honey until smooth.

In a separate bowl sift together all dry ingredients ensuring there are no lumps. Once ready, mix the dry and wet ingredients together until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners or tins until they are 3/4 filled. Place in the oven for approximately 35 mins or until the top has browned. Use a skewer to check if they are cooked through.

Leave to cool.

Meanwhile you can start preparing your topping.

For the coconut icing......

In a medium saucepan heat gently the coconut milk, honey, salt and vanilla, simmer for 10 mins.

In a bowl, combine arrowroot and water. Keep working it together until it forms a thick paste, then add it to the saucepan and wisk vigorously as you bring it to the boil.

Remove from heat and slowly add the melted coconut oil while mixing with either an electric hand blender or by hand. 

Allow the entire mixture to cool a little then place the pan in the fridge to chill. It should turn white. The mixture will appear gelatinous and semi-solid. Take out of the fridge and using a hand blender or bar mix, blend until smooth or fluffy. 

It is now ready to ice your cakes. You don't need much as it is quite sweet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place the cakes back into the fridge until serving them.

For the cashew cream.....

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides and/or add a little more liquid along the way. A lumpy mixture is a sign that the cashew were not soaked for long enough so I can't stress how important this step is. Be persistent with blending the mixture before adding too much extra liquid as it can take a little while.

You might like to sprinkle a little spice or orange zest on top to serve.

 

Gooey black bean brownies (Adapted from the Minimalist Baker)

 

These little guys are so tasty, people can't believe it when you tell them that the main ingredient is black beans! They are gluten free and vegan friendly, and the perfect treat for chocolate lovers.

Ingredients

 

2 flax eggs (to make these you combine 1 tbsp flax seed meal to 2 1/2 tbsp water per "egg")

1 3/4 can of black beans rinsed thoroughly and drained

3 tbsp melted coconut oil 

3/4 cup cacao powder (or good quality cocoa powder)

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

You can use any topping of your choice. I have used crushed nuts in the picture, but dried fruit, cacao nibs or flaked coconut also work well.

Method

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare or line a muffin or cupcake tin. If using a mini cupcake tin you will need to shorten your baking time and just keep an eye on them while cooking.

Place flax eggs into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine really well. Leave this to rest for a couple of minutes.

Add all ingredients (besides toppings), and blend until a smooth batter is formed. The consistency should not be too thick nor should it be runny. A little water can be added along the way if it appears to thick.

Divide mixture into the cupcake tin making sure you are relatively generous with each one as they can flatten in the center once baked. Smooth the top with a wet finger and sprinkle toppings of your choice on top. 

Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins keeping an eye on them. The top should be crispy but the inside should remain slightly gooey. 

Take out of the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tin as they will be delicate. Use a knife or fork to help ease them out of their casing without breaking.

Store in the fridge. They will firm up once cooled so don't worry if they seem really soft.  

 

It is important to note that while these recipes offer you a healthier option when it comes to baking, they still contain sweeteners and ingredients which should, like all things, be eaten in moderation. This is another benefit to baking MINI sized cakes, helping reduce portion size whilst still providing a satisfying treat!

Salty Sweet Sesame Bars

Some people might gasp in horror, but honestly, I'm kinda over chocolate..... Enter these delicious little sesame bars! Despite all the sweet treats I make, I'm definitely more of a savory girl, so, there's no better combo to me to satisfy that naughty arvo craving than the coming together of salty and sweet.

As the name would suggest, these bars contain a generous amount of sesame, in the form of both the seeds, as well as tahini. Sesame seeds, although tiny are jam packed full of vitamins and minerals, whilst also providing a good source of mono and poly unsaturatured fatty acids. They also contain a number of healthful compounds which have been studied for their antioxidant capabilities. 

An important note before making this recipe is to ensure you use a good quality himalayan or celtic sea salt rather than your every day table salt (which you could throw in the bin at this).  The difference is in the contents. Whilst himalayan or celtic salt is unadulterated, containing up to 84 mineral elements, ordinary table salt has been processed until it contains just sodium chloride, which, when consumed in excess amounts seen in most peoples diets, causes toxic overburden and places an enormous strain on our excretory organs. So, moral of the story is to ditch the regular table salt, and replace it with something more suitable, a simple change, with amazing health benefits.

This recipe makes about 14 bars. Keep them in the fridge to keep them firm and fresh. 

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Ingredients

 

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup cashews

10 majool dates

3 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp tahini

3 good pinches of himalayan or celtic salt (can add more if you like them a little saltier like me)

1 tbsp lacuma powder (optional)

1 tbsp maca powder (optional)

 

Method

 

Place walnuts and cashews into a food processor and blend until they become a course meal. If you like larger pieces of nuts as seen in the picture, you can add some in just before the final blend.

Remove the pits from the dates and place the dates into the processor. Blend again until the all components are well combined.

Add the rest of the ingredients and once again blend until all are combined and you form a think sticky meal. The mixture should stick together when you pinch it. 

Taste the mixture and add extra salt, or tahini to taste.

Pour mixture into a lined slice tin and press it out to the edges with your fingers. You can use a small cup or glass on its side to roll the mixture evenly and neaten up the edges. 

Place into the fridge to firm up. Remove and cut into small bars. Place back into the fridge until you are ready to eat. 

 

LEMON, CASHEW, & BEE POLLEN SUPER BALLS

Did you know that bee pollen is one of natures most nutrient rich sources of food? That's right, these tiny little pellets contain around 40% protein, most of which is in the form of free amino acids meaning they are easily absorbed by the body, as well as a full spectrum of many other essential vitamins, mineral, and enzymes.  

Bee pollen can be used as a daily dietary supplement. It has a sweet taste so can be easily encorporated into smoothies, trail mixes, or sprinkled on top of cereals or yoghurt. Always be sure to use good quality, raw, and ethically sourced pollen, and be aware that those with pollen and/or bee sting allergies should avoid it. 

Here is another quick, simple and delicious way to try bee pollen for yourself. These tasty treats, have all the flavor of a lemon slice (one of my all time favorites)  without the rubbish.

Makes 12 balls

INGREDIENTS

6 dates

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup natural or vanilla protein powder of your choice

The rind and juice of 2 lemons

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 good pinch sea salt

Enough bee pollen to coat

I also added 1 tablespoon each of mesquite and maca powders but these are not essential.     


METHOD

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, add a LITTLE water and blend again.  When you are happy with the consistency, roll the mixture into balls and toss each one in some bee pollen to coat. Set aside in the fridge to firm them up a little more. 

Spiced Pumpkin, Tomato, & Capsicum Soup.

PERFECT FOR A WINTERS NIGHT!

If you're anything like me, you like nothing more on a cold winters day than to rug up with a nice warm bowl of soup. This winter warmer really hits the spot and packs a nutritional punch, serving you up a rich source antioxidants most notably in the form of vitamins A and C. Taking the humble pumpkin soup and giving it a twist which is sure to satisfy. 

INGREDIENTS.                                                                                                                                                                               1.5kg of pumpkin, any kind will do but butternut works well, chopped into large portions

1 red capsicum roughly chopped

800g of diced tomatoes or 2 cans worth if you are saving time

1 onion chopped finely

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1.5 tsp paprika

1.5 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1.5 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp good quality Himalayan or Celtic salt

Pepper to taste

1 litre of low sodium chicken  or vegetable stock

Plain natural yoghurt for serving

Fresh coriander for serving

 

METHOD.

1.  Preheat the oven to 190-200 degrees C. 

2. Toss the pumpkin in a small amount of olive oil and place it on a baking tray. Place the pumpkin in the oven and bake for around 50 minutes or until it is soft.

3. Take the pumpkin out of the oven and scoop out the flesh to remove the skin. The skin can be thrown out, reserve the flesh in a bowl.

4. In a big saucepan heat the remaining olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute until they are translucent.

5. Add the capsicum and cook for 3-5 minutes.

6. Add the spice, salt, and pepper and cook for a further 1 minute.

7. Add the pumpkin flesh to the saucepan and cook for  5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, and stock, bring the whole lot to the boil then reduced the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

8. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until it is a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper. 

9. Dish the soup into bowls and drop a dollop of yoghurt into the center. Sprinkle with fresh coriander. 

Note: the spices can be adjusted to your preference. I tend to use much more than this as I love a strong flavor.

Note: To add even more nutritional value you can add any other vegetables you have in the fridge. A great way to get rid of any leftovers!

Smoothie Goodness

So today I made a ridiculously yummy smoothie which I drank too fast that I forgot to take a photo. This is the photo of one I posted on Facebook which look pretty much the same but has NOTHING on today's flavor.

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INGREDIENTS.

1 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries

1 tablespoon lacuma powder

1 cup coco quench

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon flax meal

1 1/2 tablespoon pure whey protein concentrate

1 teaspoon vitamin C powder

2 teaspoons Activated Beet-Greens Powder

1 teaspoon Macqui berry powder

Blend together and enjoy :) 

Bliss Balls

MORE BLISS BALLS!

Ok so I know I already posted a similar recipe previously, but after a few requests for the recipe on facebook I thought I would share it anyway. I made these in bulk for a party so I cheated and used the same base recipe but used a variety of different outer coatings to give a different texture, taste, and make them look a little more exciting. I haven't listed quantity for the ingredients as I generally go by feel based on whatever I have in the cupboard.

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INGREDIENTS.

Goji Berries

Pure Vanilla Powder

Cinnamon

Flax Meal             

Sunflower Seeds                  

Maple Syrup                                                                  

Cacao nibs           

Cacao Powder                      

Choc Fermented Brown Rice Protein  

Dates                     

Cashew Butter                    

Desiccated Coconut

Macqui Powder    

Lacuma Powder                 

Cocoa Powder 

METHOD

1.  Place 20-30 dates in a bowl of warm-hot water and set them aside to soften.

2. Using a coffee grinder, roughly grind some sunflower seeds and goji berries.

3. In your food processor, place around 1-3 tablespoons each of flax meal, brown rice protein,  cacao powder, lacuma powder, macqui powder and desiccated coconut. Add 1/2 - 1  teaspoon of vanilla powder,     and 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Process these until they become a fine to medium powder and are well blended. 

4. Add the dates and a little of the water they were soaking in and process until the dates are completely broken down. Add some maple syrup, cashew butter and some more of the water the dates had been soaking in and process until all ingredients are well combined. Add the partially ground sunflower seeds and goji berries, as well as 2 tablespoons of cacao nibs and quickly process again. Leaving these only roughly ground will add a great texture to the finished product. You should end up with a thick wet paste.

5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Now add more dry ingredients such as cacao, cocoa, flax meal etc and mix with a spoon. Continue to add and mix until you form a thicker batter which makes it less sticky to roll and helps the balls keep their shape later on. You can also add more un-ground goji's, nibs, coconut,     or seeds for extra texture. Set the mix in the fridge for 10-15 minutes, this will firm it up a little.

6. In three separate bowls place coconut, cocoa powder (you can use cacao, I was making them for people who may not like the bitter taste), and finely ground goji berries (use the coffee grinder again).

7. Using damp hands, roll small amounts of the mixture into balls and drop them in to one of the bowls. continue until you have a few in your bowl without overcrowding. Toss them around until they are coated. then with dry hands take each ball out and roll it again in your hands to ensure the coating sticks. With the cocoa covered ones, place them in a sieve and shake off the excess before rolling them the last time.

8. Pop them in the fridge or freezer until your ready to eat them.