The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 18

I’m a little behind in posting about my The Happy Cookbook Challenge, but here’s a quick catch up on what I’ve been making….
Week 18 - a Week 18 - b Week 18 - c Week 18 - d If you don’t know what I’m on about, you can read about it here, but basically I challenged myself to cook all the recipes from a cookbook within a certain time frame.

At this point I’m 75 Recipes down, so out of 144 I have 69 left with 8 weeks before I reach the end date I originally set. Which would mean I’d have to make 8.6 recipes a week to be able to complete the challenge on time…. While I’d like to move the end date by a couple of weeks as I know we have a holiday coming up and reasons I won’t be at home, I’m going to keep it and see how much I can plough through by the time the original six months are up.

I will say though, loads of good recipes! I’m loving this book and am itching to get my hands on her new one¬†but will wait till I’ve completed this challenge first. ūüôā

I love love loved the Paleo Burger, Choc and Macadamia nut Brownies, Hot Cross Buns (Yay for Easter and an excuse to make them again!) and the Baked Pear Porridge (unfortunately I don’t think the porridge much liked me though… I’m going to try the porridge again with soaked Quinoa Flakes.) A few of the smoothies I’ve been a little ‘meh’ about but I keep going back to the first one I made – A Golden Goddess one with ginger and turmeric – soooooo good!

This week I’m going to make a few of the tea cakes for a morning tea tomorrow and am menu planning this afternoon to get organised to smash through as many more as I can. I love that a few of the ‘recipes’ I need to make are just simple smoothies and dressings which makes the 8.6 a week easier to complete.

If you’d like to follow my progress I post them as I make them over on my Instagram – @thestrandsofme

Happy Cooking!

Thermomix Valentines Day Menu

The older I get the more I realise that I should have gone into food straight from school, rather than complete a music degree that I’m not really using. Food has always been a love of mine and more and more that love seems to grow. Whether its cooking for others, helping people to learn more about food and how to cook healthy meals, sharing good food with friends or having a laugh over a good meal, food can make your day.

On Tuesday I ran a small cooking group at home, based around cooking a three course meal for a special occasion – Valentines Day is this Sunday so what better excuse? I’ve been doing these groups every month lately and am absouletly loving them. I aim to inspire people to cook more, to show them how easy it is to create healthy and flavourful meals quickly and easily at home. We use our Thermomix’s in my groups but more and more I’ve had attendees who are non-Thermomix owners who come just to cook something new as well.

I created a simple Thermomix Valentines Day menu and run sheet and we dived in.

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The recipes are Thermomix ones but easily adapted if you don’t yet have a Thermomix.

Entree is from our ‘In the Mix’ Cookbook by Dani Valent, Main is a variation of a recipe from the Thermomix Cookbook ‘Cooking for Me and You‘ and the Dessert is one of my Recipes from the Recipe Community. You can find the Chocolate Fondants Recipe Here.

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We all took turns making different aspects of the recipes then sat down and shared the together with a good laugh. All we were missing was the wine!

So go ahead – step out of your comfort zone and plan to cook something new. If you need to, do a practice run on a few friends before you cook it for Hubby. You never know how many Chocolate Fondants you can eat in one week!!

If you’re in Moranbah make sure you join our Facebook page – Mixing it in Moranbah – for more information about the next group!

School Snacks Cooking Group

As a way to further support my Thermomix customers (and any other Thermomix lovers where I live!) I’ve been running small Cooking Groups twice a month. I’ll pick a theme and create a menu and invite people over to have a great morning of cooking and then coffee! When we’re done we split the fruits of our labour and are able to take home a bit of each dish.

It’s kinda like the Mumma Bake idea, but on a smaller scale.

I love food, and started the groups as a way to inspire Thermomix owners to use their machines more, but the groups are growing and more non-owners are coming just to participate in cooking good food. I’m very excited about it all and am loving how inspired people are when they leave.

We started in November last year with a Basic Group (you know – tomato sauce, bread, peanut butter, a simple cake – a lot of things people intend on making when they first receive their Thermomix but sometimes don’t get around to) and last month with the impending start of a new school year I focused on School Snacks.

So I thought I’d share out to the wider community, and not just the small one where I live. Here’s a copy of the dishes we made and where you can source them. If you don’t have those specific cookbooks I’m sure there are plenty of variations on the Recipe Community or somewhere else on the net.

School Lunchbox Cooking Group Links

I love the Recipe Community for ideas but if you do a simple Google there are heaps of options out there for School Snacks. I know a few other websites and blogs ran some online cooking groups as well.

Be inspired and cook more good, healthy food!

I’m in the middle of organise a Valentine Day Dinner Group for February and will share how that goes after their run next week!

Ways to use a second Thermomix Bowl.

Wondering what the hype is over the Second Thermomix Bowl, Blade and Lid Set Host Reward?

Here’s a few points on what else you use a 2nd Thermomix Mixing Bowl for….

What can a 2nd Thermomix bowl do for you?

Contact your Consultant today to secure your Demonstration and 2nd BBL Set!

The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 1

So, by now you might have read about my new cookbook challenge with Lola Berry’s The Happy Cookbook. I’m one week down already! How fast did that go!?

Last week I worked out that if I make 6 recipes a week I can have the challenge done by April 25th, six months away. So with that deadline in mind, I got to cooking.

This week I’ve made:

  • Avocado Bowls
  • Chicken and Quinoa Super Bowl with Chimmichurri Dressing (Yum!!)
  • Coconut Toasted Almonds
  • Epic Pumpkin Pie Pancakes for Halloween
  • Chai-Spiced Carob Balls
  • Nutella Balls. (dangerous!)
  • Poached Chicken with Maple Roasted Pumpkin, Feta and Pepitas.

The Poached Chicken dinner is hands down my favourite so far, and Hubby’s too! He actually went so far as to say it’s the best thing I’ve ever made! I don’t know about best, but I’ll take the compliment where it’s given! The Avo Bowls were so quick and easy and such a lovely light side dish for summer, they’ll be made a lot.

And Nutella Balls. Seriously. They didn’t even last a day….

Week 1

I made some of these recipes using my Thermomix for ease, the balls for example is just a matter of throwing all the ingredients in and Turbo-ing a few times, or letting them blitz till they’re the right consistency. Poaching the chicken and quinoa in the machines and I made the mix for the pancakes in about 30 seconds, so nice and easy cooking.

I just tried to see if any of these recipes are available on her website but couldn’t see them (or a search function) so if you want them you’ll have to head out and buy the book!*

I haven’t done my menu planning this week yet but will be getting stuck into a few more. I have managed to pick up the ingredients for some over the weekend so they’ll be getting whipped up soon! If you’d like to follow my progress I’m posting the recipes on my Instagram account – @TheStrandsOfMe

So that’s The Happy Cookbook Challenge – Week 1 down! 138 Recipes to go!

*not sponsored. I just like good food!

Eat the Rainbow

I had a busy night. Hubby was home later than usual and I had a delivery I needed to be out for so dinner had to be quick and easy. I have been craving vegetables (and chocolate!) heaps the last few days and I wanted to make something jam-packed with them but that was super quick.

I already had defrosted a couple of steaks for dinner so decided to just chop some veggies and quickly stir-fry them in some coconut oil. Into my Thermomix I threw some carrot, red cabbage, garlic, broccoli, zucchini and red onion. Chopped at 4.5 for 5 seconds and it was the perfect consistency.

I heated some coconut oil in a pan and stirred through my veggies before cooking my steak. I like how they stayed crunchy!

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Eat The Rainbow

I topped mine with a small portion of steak, some baked beetroot wedges and a dollop of mayo.

Hit the spot.

How have you used your Thermomix lately?

Paleo Banana Pancakes

Your guide to healthy living

School holidays generally equal lazy mornings and sleep ins. Or so you would think.

My two are early rises, no matter what time of year it is. The darker mornings of winter, now that it’s finally set in, makes me want to laze in bed until the sun has warmed the house. Not my kids though. Phoenix was up at 3:15am this morning, Noah following her not long after at 5:20. Tonight they’re extra rugged up in an attempted to coerce them into a longer morning sleep. At this point I’d be happy with 6 o’clock…..

To me, pancake breakfasts signify a relaxed morning. There’s no rush to get dressed, make lunches, pack bags, brush hair and teeth and eat breakfast before 8am. I suppose if I actually got up at Noah’s 5-something rise time, there wouldn’t be a rush. But I don’t. I just can’t. I am not a morning person. Noah’s shipped off back to bed and I’m crawl in between my warm sheets begging for a few more stolen moments of sleep.

It doesn’t happen. But I still try. Every. Single. Morning.

I look forward to Saturdays and school holidays, so I can enjoy my lazy morning. We’re already a week into the holiday and today is the first morning I’ve been able to make pancakes, which says a lot. Even holidays don’t seem to completely slow us down! Except for today.

I’ve been working on my Paleo Banana Pancake recipe for a little while now and it’s my absolute go to now. I even used it the other night to make waffles (for dinner!) and it worked perfectly.

And they pass the bend test. You know, being able to roll a pancake up and eat it on the go. Because it’s all about the important things.

Mine is a Thermomix recipe but you could substitute the Cashews for Almond Meal if you need to.

Paleo Banana Pancakes: 

You’ll need:¬†

  • 100g Cashews
  • 60g Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 2 Tsp Coconut Flour
  • 150g Banana (approx 2 bananas)
  • 300g Coconut Milk
  • 3 Eggs
  • Coconut oil, for frying.

Method:

  1. Add the Cashews, tapioca flour and coconut flour to the mixing bowl and mill for 20 Sec/Sp 9. Scrape down sides.
  2. Add the Banana, coconut milk and eggs and mix for 30 Sec/Sp 4 or until well combined and without lumps. Transfer to another container and let sit or a few minutes (I do this while I wash the mixing bowl) for the coconut flour to help thicken the mixture.
  3. heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a fry pan over low heat. Pour some of the batter into the hot pan and cook until bubbles appear. Flip and cook on the other side for another minute. Remove from the pan then continue until the mixture has finished.
  4. Enjoy!

I top mine with whatever I have in the fridge. Strawberries and Coconut Cream, lemon curd and CoYo, Nuts and CoYo. Your options are endless!

Just for your Saturday morning.

 

Paleo Chocolate Carrot Cake

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I like chocolate cake and I like carrot cake. Okay, maybe I just like cake. But even more so when it’s a yummy cake that won’t play with my belly later. So when I wanted something chocolate but with a few extra nutrients, I came up with this Paleo Chocolate Carrot Cake recipe.

It’s moist, dense, and just a little fudgy and when topped with my favourite Avocado icing it’s the best Mothers Day morning tea you can have. Definitely not your light and fluffy cake. Once it was iced Noah declared it then needed to be decorated with slices of banana and who would I be to argue with that?

We enjoyed it at a local park one cool morning. Then for the next three days.

Paleo Chocolate Carrot Cake

You’ll need:

For the Cake:

  • 100g Coconut Oil, melted
  • 200g Maple Syrup
  • 3 Eggs
  • 140g Almonds
  • 60g Tapioca Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Carrots

For the Avocado Icing:

  • 50g¬†Honey
  • 2 Ripe Avocado’s, Stoned and peeled.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the Oven to 180C. Grease a springform tin and line with parchment or baking paper.
  2. Add the Almonds to the Thermomix Mixing Bowl and Mill for 10 Seconds/Speed 9. Scrape down sides and transfer them into another bowl. Set aside.
  3. Chop the carrots into inch lengths and add to the mixing bowl. Grate them for 8 Seconds / Speed 4.5. Scrape down the sides.
  4. Add the milled Almonds back to the bowl along with the coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, tapioca flour, baking powder, cacao power and cinnamon. Mix for 30 Seconds / Speed 4 or until well combined. Transfer all into your liked tin and bake for 35 Р40 Minutes. Cake will be quite moist when finished.
  5. Remove from pan and cool completely before icing.
  6. Add the honey and the avocado flesh to the bowl and chop them together for 5 Seconds / Speed 4. Insert Butterfly. Whisk together for 30 Seconds / Speed 4 or until smooth.
  7. Top the cooled cake with the Avocado Icing.

Enjoy!!

Paleo Treats

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When I was a kid we would go down to the corner store and they had the rows of plastic tubs full of lollies set out on the counter. When you bought some they’d put them into a brown paper bag and you’d dive your hand in there like a lucky dip. Best of all, you got to choose which lollies you wanted, so you would always come up with something you already loved.

I remember one day my Dad was there with my younger sisters and I and he splurged and bought us a $1 bag each. I remember how FULL it was and how special that was. I would save my lollies, somehow at 8 or 9 years old having the self control to eat only a couple a day.

Can someone tell me where that self control went please, cos I made these Milk Chocolate Gummy lollies from Live It Do It’s Paleo Easter eBook and I just. can’t. stop. at. one.

I haven’t worked with gelatine a lot mainly cos I haven’t worked with gelatine a lot. Makes sense, right? It’s temperamental and finicky and I don’t like wasting ingredients. I saw how easy this recipe was so had to try it, and love that it has a Thermomix variation! Even easier!!

These jellies were set in my fridge in about 2 hours and seeing as they only took 10 minutes to throw together I’ve been making them over and over and over and over. I even make a FailSafe friendly version for Hubby who’s on a restrictive elimination diet.

Live It Do It’s Paleo Easter ebook should have been named ‘Paleo Treat Book’, it’s full of great chocolate and raw recipes that are all grain, gluten and dairy free. It’ll be my go to for treats and desserts! Best news is: her eBook is still available on the¬†website for just $5!

Get it just for the gummies!

Paleo Breakfast Meals

One thing I’ve learnt about changing lifestyle and eating habits that’s challenging is finding the right solutions for all meals, not only for dinner, but for lunch and breakfast. Yes, there are now a gazillion dinner and not-cheesecake paleo recipes out there, but as someone who doesn’t enjoy bacon and eggs for breakfast, I initially struggled with how¬†to start my day.

After a lot of trial and error I’ve come up with a bunch of my go-to Paleo Breakfast Meals. Most of them include some kind of fresh muesli I’ll make up a couple of times a week. I find it usually lasts for a few days in the fridge and I like the crunch of the fresh fruit and veggies I include so I prefer to make a smaller batch more often then a bigger batch once a week.

One of my go-to’s is a variation of CADA. If you have the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook¬†it’s in there but I just use the technique from that recipe and make it my own. Essentially it’s a fresh muesli made with nuts, fruit, coconut and dates. I use whatever I have on hand, as well as a carrot for the extra crunch and it’s unique sweetness.

Mine usually has cashews, a carrot, an apple, dates and desiccated coconut in it. I never peel the carrot (or most veggies for that matter) and apple, preferring to just chop them into chunks and throw them in. I ‘guesstimate’ how much of everything else I need. A hand full of dates, nuts and then tip in a decent load of coconut. Sometimes I’ll add some ground cardamom, vanilla powder or other spices I’m feeling like too.

I turbo for 2 seconds a few times, or will blitz at Speed 4.5/6 Seconds. Then always eat it with some fresh fruit and coconut yoghurt. Sometimes a drizzle of maple syrup.

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(Okay, nearly always a drizzle of maple syrup)

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The above photo I’ve mixed avocado with my coconut yoghurt (or coconut cream) and a dash of lime. It’s beautiful and smooth and adds a wonderful flavour to breakfast!

For a little while a gorgeous friend lent me her dehydrator. They’re amazing, I want one. I haven’t gotten mine yet, but it’s on the wish list. For the month I had it I used it HEAPS! One of my favourite things to make was this activated muesli (recipe in Pete Evan’s Family Food Cookbook). It would last ages and was amazing. I know I didn’t have all the ingredients and would substitute like I do for the CADA. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can still make muesli in your oven too.

I soaked nuts, buckwheat and seeds overnight then drained and rinsed them well. They went into the Thermomix with some dried fruit (apricots and dates are staples in my house), vanilla, honey and coconut oil then pulsed till crumbly. If using an oven I would then spread it out on a tray or two and bake on a low setting, mixing every now and then so it cooks evenly, until dry and crispy. Or into a dehydrator on baking paper overnight.

 

 

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If you follow me on Instagram or my Facebook page (or are a reader of my blog!) you’ll already know I love pancakes on a Saturday morning. Saturday is my relax morning, after the hustle and bustle of a busy school week. I (try to) take my time and always enjoy them with fresh fruit. Now that the weather is cooling down I’ll take them outside and eat them on our back deck.

I love the Hazelnut Pancakes from one of Pete Evan’s Paleo books and make it often.¬†
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I also use this wonderful recipe my friend Luci from Wholesome Kids created. It’s quickly become my go-to, changing the almond for cashews or hazelnuts for a different flavour. It acts like ‘normal’ pancakes.

 

 

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If I’m in a hurry I often make simple banana pancakes before school/work/day care/any excuse to leave the house really. Just one banana, one egg and a drop of vanilla extract, mixed well and cooked like a pancake. The vanilla helps to mask the really ‘eggy’ taste it usually has. With coconut yoghurt or cream and a drizzle of honey, you can close your eyes and pretend it’s Saturday.

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My one vice is coffee. Sorry, but I just don’t function without it. After experimenting with a few different milks I’ve found a combination that is dairy free and tastes amazing. I make some Cashew Nut Milk once a week and for my coffee I’ll use a ratio 1:3 Coconut and Cashew Milk, froth it and enjoy. Its beautiful and creamy and tastes amazing. Try it!¬†

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I will always have some sort of fresh fruit as I have a massive sweet tooth and it seems to satisfy that, and some kind of fat (coconut cream/yoghurt, avocado etc) to help fill me up and keep me going.

If you’re looking for a substitute to the good old bacon and eggs, I hope I’ve given you one!