Friday, April 17, 2015

Refried Bean Dip with Corn Crisps

Brace yourself --> I bring you fabulous news!!!
It is possible to make delicious Corn Chips that haven't been deep fried!

Here's how:

Layer half a can of creamed corn onto a lined dehydrator tray.
(You can use as many cans and trays as you like.)

Dehydrate for 8-10 hours, time will vary depending on your dehydrator. You can tell when it is done as the colour will have changed completely and the corn will be crisp.
Note: You can stir into the corn some paprika or taco flavoured spices if you desire.


 Gently pull the lining away from the corn crisps, being careful not to split them.

Using a large knife, slice into pieces (or you can do it with your hands if you'd rather!).

Serve! 
Yes, it's really that simple!  
The hardest part is waiting for the dehydrator whilst a delicious aroma fills your home!

Now for a perfectly paired dip.


Mix a can of re-fried beans with 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (either canned or freshly chopped). Stir until the re-fried beans are now more spreadable.
Pour bean mix into a serving container.
Chop 1/2 red capsicum into little pieces, sprinkle over the top of the dip along with 1/2 can drained corn kernels and 1 chopped spring onion. You can put a dollop of salsa in the middle if you like for presentation purposes.

 


Would you like an invite to our home for pre-dinner snacks???

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In My Kitchen - April

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed I have taken a bit of a break lately.
We have lots going on for us so I just needed some down time, and that meant time away from the computer.
I have plenty of recipes lined up to share in the coming weeks, but to get back into things I thought it would be a good idea to share what has been happening In My Kitchen so far this year. 


When life gets busy we find that we fall back onto easy meals. Well, to be perfectly honest the large majority of what we eat is easy, basic meals. But in busy times that means relying on some family favourites.
From Top left:
Red Lentil and Spinach Sauce with roasted potatoes and green beans, Veggie Pizza, mashed potatoes with steamed veggies and thick Mushroom Gravy with spinach added, Salad with Potato Waffles and Lentil Burgers, Red Lentil and Spinach Loaf with corn and potatoes, Rice & Veggie Bake, Eggplant Bean Sauce over roasted potatoes with corn, Lentil Meatballs with potatoes in tomato sauce and steamed veggies. 

Easy doesn't mean that dessert is forgotten! 
We often have banana ice-cream, or mini "puddings" that are made with just fruit, dates, applesauce and oats. I often throw together things like this without following a recipe. However when I made these raisin sweetened brownies my family gave me strict instructions to write down exactly what I had done and make them again and again! Recipe coming soon so stay tuned!

Below is a new family favourite that we are working out how to tweak it to be just right. The problem is, I have been slack with writing down exactly what I do, so no 2 batches ever end up the same!
But this is so good that my husband has made up a little song to go with it!
 
I love seeing all the colours as we are cooking our meals :-)
They are just so inviting!


I have been putting our pressure cooker to good use and making large batches of legumes. 
Sometimes though...... it all goes horribly wrong! 
I find that I am still getting used to the exact number of 'minutes' that I should set the cooker to, in order to get perfect legumes. This batch of fava beans that I put on were clearly overdone and they had completely crumbled into a big blob! So instead of being able to use them in a ratatouille like I had planned, I ended up doing some experimenting! I must admit that it brings me much joy to just experiment in my kitchen and not have to bother with precise measurements!
I made several dips and a batch of mini pita breads to go with them. I took this into work for a meeting and everyone really loved both the dip and the pita bread.
These stuffed foldovers were loved by my family too. They were filled with the gone-wrong fava beans, spinach, carrots, peas and corn. Of course, baked til golden brown (not shown).


Talking about baking, there is rarely a week that goes past without our oven producing wonderful aromas.
We made these animal cookies for a "vegan teddy bears picnic" we went to. They had a wonderful texture, quite true to 'cookies' even without the use of vegan butter replacements. I intend to master this creation and blog the recipe soon. However, since they do contain nuts, it is a rare occasion that we eat nuts at home so it may be a while before a final recipe eventuates! 
The "kale" cake shown is the recipe from the new Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, which I finally caved in and purchased! 
Also shown below is a pile of super yummy oat pancakes which we devoured for breakfast one morning. And one of my daughter's favourite after school snacks recently - apple nachos. Sliced apples, piled with goji berries, homemade chocolate sauce, coconut and a sprinkling of walnuts. 

Here's a glimpse of a few of her lunches lately:
More colourful items. She is really enjoying hommus and salad wraps/rolls at the moment. Pictured is also pita bread, banana loaf, fruit wrap and strawberries.  


I bought a new gadget recently - an air-fryer! I am in love with it! Not only does it NOT totally heat the whole house up (like the oven does) but it cooks my potato chips in less than half the time. It is also great for warming up leftovers for school lunchboxes and also makes wonderful crumbed mushrooms (even if the photo looks wrong, I promise you they were delicious! I used oyster mushrooms on this occasion).

Other new items in our kitchen:
PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)- Yes, yes I know - processed food! But alas, I just HAD to try this when I saw it in our health food store recently. And with much less fat than peanut butter it ticks the box for an occasional treat.
I bought these curry paste's to try and they are the only oil-free ones I could find. I have only opened the red one so far and it was HOT HOT HOT! So the other three-quarters of the container is still in the fridge!
These relatively new "flats" - available in Woolies and other stores, are made from veggies or fruit with the addition of seeds and/or nuts. They are dehydrated to become crispy. They are quite tasty. Again, not something I would purchase regularly but none the less a great product for when those occasions happen that we need something to snack on and are caught out unprepared (I'm thinking those days when you end up caught back at work for 2 hours!).

Also shown are these White Corn Tortillas. I pictured these because I have been asked about wraps that are oil-free. These are the only ones that I have had any luck being able to find regularly. To be honest, they don't fold real well and are best used in cooked items such as Mexican Pie.

And to finish off this post - here a few items "out" of my kitchen.
Enjoying a delicious Bean & Potato Salad under the Harbour Bridge just before day-light saving ended.

And an amazing oil-free vegan pizza that was made especially for me at a friends birthday party! I felt so blessed! :-)
It's nice to stop and enjoy the little blessings when life gets busy and the weight of everyday things are getting us down!

Question of the day:
What is something that you can stop and be thankful for lately?

Tell us what's been going on in your kitchen this month! And don't forget to add your link at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. Thanks for hosting Celia! :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Summer breakfast ideas

I am a breakfast preson :-)
I just LOVE having breakfast - however, I must admit that I find I get bored with breakfast easily.

Here's 2 recipes that I've been loving over summer when it's too hot for having warm oats..... and I'm not bored with them!

Blueberry Buckwheat Breakfast

3/4 cup buckwheat

1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 medjool date, pitted
splash of motherless milk
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Place the buckwheat in a bowl of water and soak overnight.
In the morning drain the buckwheat and place in a blender with the blueberries, date and motherless milk. Pulse a few times until the mixture is combined and broken down but not completely smooth.
Serve in a bowl with the flax. 
  So creamy and delicious :-)
Anything purple is appealing to me!




Banana Soaked Mango Oats

1 banana
1 teaspoon coconut essence
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 mango

Place the banana and coconut essence in a blender with just enough cold water to cover it. Blend til smooth.
Place the oats and flax in a bowl and pour over the banana mixture. 
Place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. 
The mixture will thicken and the oats will fluff up slightly.
Serve with a sliced mango.
Tropical flavours for breakfast :-)
So refreshing. 
 

Question of the day:
Do you prefer something different for breakfast in summer than winter?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Easy Choc-Mint Biscuits

Happy Australia Day to all my Aussie readers.
I hope you are enjoying your long weekend. 

If you haven't found something amazing to make tomorrow then let me suggest these!
Lots of people think of Tim Tam's and Mint Slice as real 'Aussie' biscuits.
And yes, there are vegan versions available in the supermarket - but hey, why not make your own??!!

I don't pretend these are healthy, but then again, we're all allowed a treat occasionally.


EASY CHOC-MINT BISCUITS

You'll need:
Arnotts nice biscuits
Kingland Soy cream cheese
Your Inspiration at Home choc-mint powder (or alternatively cocoa powder with a drop of peppermint essence)
Lindt 70% dark chocolate block

Remove the creamcheese from the fridge and allow to soften for 10 minutes. Mix in the choc-mint powder (or cocoa and mint essence).
Spread the mixture over the top of nice biscuits. 
Melt the dark chocolate in a microwave on 50% power until soft and runny. Drizzle over the biscuits. 
Allow to cool before serving so the chocolate can set. 
You can keep these in the fridge to firm up for about half an hour. Any longer and the biscuits will go soggy!

Enjoy! :-)


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2014 Favorite Recipes

Here's my top 10 favourite recipes from 2014 -->
Did you try any of these? If so, be sure to let me know if they would make your favourites list too!


Life's short so let's start with dessert: 

This is so simple & yet so delicious. 

Another simple one. I'm all for easy desserts. 
This one is for a really special occasion since pastry is not often on our menu.

A real favourite here, even special enough to be featured as a 'birthday cake'.

Not a 'dessert' as such - but a very practical recipe to have on hand. 
So many uses, my favourite is for trifle

This is another quick & easy one (then again all my recipes are!).
These make a great afternoon treat when visitors are due. 



Now for the main deal:

Turn a previously high fat meal into a low fat one, yet without losing flavour.

No one can resist these. They are great for picnics and kids lunchboxes too.

Although this doesn't look appealing, the taste is amazing. 
This has become a regular in our home. 

Another meal that has been given a make-over to turn it into a tasty low fat alternative. 


And last but not least - a breakfast 
(since it's the most important meal of the day!):

Ice-cream flavour turned into breakfast - got me hooked ;-)


Yet as much as I enjoy yummy food and sharing recipes, my favourite blog post for the year was my heart's cry reminding us that Food is Not our Saviour - Jesus is.
It helped me put a lot of things into perspective and reminded me not to be obsessive about either eating, or blogging. Yes that meant I didn't blog quite as often as perhaps I would of liked to this past year, but it meant that I had my heart in a better place! :-)



Do you have a favourite blog post for the year just gone?
Why not share it in the comments below?



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Another year down - Christmas dinner review

2014 went so quickly for us!
I usually post quite a few pre-Christmas ideas but unfortunately this year I didn't get a chance to - my apologies.
I will however, do my usual wrap-up of our Christmas meal & include a few recipes that you might like to store up for next year (don't you just love pinterest for that reason)!



Pre-dinner nibbles of veggie sticks and baked corn tortillas with refried bean dip (recipe coming soon).

 Dinner included the following:

Beetroot & Green bean Salad (recipe below)

Agave Mustard Baked Veggies
Mini potato bites
Wholemeal Quinoa Loaf


Spinach, sweet potato, corn & mixed bean salad
Red Lentil & Spinach Loaf (recipe below)

And for dessert we enjoyed:

Christmas Chocolate fruit cake
Trifle (directions below)


Red Lentil & Spinach Loaf

375g packet red lentils
2 bay leaves

120grams baby spinach leaves
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves

400g can tomatoes
1 1/2 cups oats   **
1 teaspoon each: oregano, cumin, sage

BBQ sauce

Place the lentils and bay leaves in a saucepan & fill with just enough water to cover them.
Bring to the boil and then simmer til lentils are softened but not yet falling apart (approx 15-20 mins).
Pour the cooked lentils into a large mixing bowl, removing the bay leaves.
Stir through the spinach leaves and allow the warmth of the lentils to wilt the leaves.
In a small frying pan, place the chopped onion and crushed garlic - dry fry until golden brown.
Stir the onion/garlic mix into the lentil/spinach mix.
Stir through the tomatoes, oats and herbs.
Place mixture into a lined loaf pan and spread the top with BBQ sauce.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 45 minutes.
This will slice best if you allow it to cool briefly before removing it from the loaf pan.

** For a firmer loaf you can use 2 cups of oats, however this will make a more dense loaf too (pictured below). My husband prefers the loaf with 2 cups of oats, I prefer it with 1 1/2 cups of oats. So take your pick!!!




Beetroot and Green Bean Salad

60grams baby spinach leaves

60grams beetroot leaves
6 baby beets
1 cup green beans
6 walnuts

Dressing:
150g soft tofu
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the leaves in a salad bowl. Chop the baby beets and spread them evenly over the leaves. Remove the ends of the green beans and lightly steam them. Spread over leaves along with the crushed walnuts.
To make the dressing - blend all ingredients until smooth.
Pour dressing over salad to serve.






Trifle

You will need:
basic vanilla cake
custard- I doubled the quantity of the custard in this recipe, but halved the sugar
600grams frozen raspberries
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves.


Tear or chop the cake into little pieces.
In a glass serving bowl, layer 1/3 of the pieces of the torn cake, 1/3 of the raspberries and then a final layer using 1/3 of the custard, followed by a sprinkling of torn mint leaves.
Repeat layering process 3 times or until all ingredients are used up.
Refrigerate until time to serve.



I have to admit that I wasn't too disappointed to have some leftovers to enjoy!
I hope you all had a splendid Christmas time.
Happy New Year to all my readers :-)
Look forward to sharing with you in 2015.