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up to all sorts

It’s been so great discovering this little world of healthy food enthusiasts… it’s really inspired my kitchen creations.  I used to get in a lot of ‘food ruts’ – eating the same sort of things day in, day out.

BORING.

Nowadays, I get so excited to create new recipes, or try other blogger’s recipes.

Actually, reading blogs of any description has really got my creativity cranking.  I’m having so much fun just making STUFF.  For some reason, I have a lot more focus these days.  Maybe it’s because the time I have to get a little project completed is usually pretty short.  Either when Misty’s sleeping or after dinner is about it… not like ‘back in the day’ before child where I just had too much time on my hands to know what to do with.

I made this washable snack bag as I am so sick of using plastic snap lock bags for Misty’s snacks when we are out and about.  So much plastic.  This is great as it is a light vinyl-you can wipe it out, or chuck it through the washing machine.

I can’t help defacing things, even with a sewing machine.  Angry apple.

I’m always wanting new and different non dairy milk ideas… I’ve made home made almond, coconut and brown rice milks.  They were all good, but not great if you know what I mean.  Store bought almond milk is not that flash here down under, and it’s super expensive so not really worth it.  Home made coconut milk is good for cooking, but not so tasty in coffee or tea (which I drink a LOT of).  I actually mix my home made coconut milk with Dr Bronner’s amazing soap and use it as shampoo.  It really is wicked knickers stuff.

I stumbled across the idea of tahini milk while reading Gena’s blog.  Awesome.  Tahini is one of my favourite things, and I love mixing it into soy milk with a touch of agave and cinnamon already.  I whipped up the recipe and it was love at first sip.  Great on it’s own, or over cereal.

I had about a half cup of this recipe left over (the barley)  I chucked it in the freezer, not wanting to waste it.  After returning from Sydney to an empty fridge, I pulled it out to feed my hungry beast.  I was being a lazy Mama and didn’t want to spoon feed it to Misty, and was bored so I decided to bake it into something.

Baked Barley Fridge Scrape:

  • 1/2C this recipe
  • 1T ground flax seed mixed with 3T water to make a flax egg
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1/16t baking powder
  • 5t coconut flour (I reckon chickpea flour would work well too, the texture might be a little different, but would be good)
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Spoon into a lined baking tray (a mini muffin pan would be great but I don’t have one, so I used a tiny loaf pan – 10cm in length)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees C.
  4. Turn off oven, take the bake out of the pan and flip onto a cooling rack upside down.
  5. Put back into oven (which is turned off) and let the bottom dry out a bit until the oven had cooled down completely.

Seemed to go down a treat.  Fruit, flaxy and easy to hang on to – no Mama spoony needed.

Anything new/creative/fun you’ve made or discovered recently?

fruit overload

I eat a lot of fruit.  A lot.  Perhaps a little too much?  How much is too much?  I don’t care, I love the stuff.  Today I had an apple, a pear, 2 bananas, 6 prunes, and sculled a bunch of the fruity beverage featured below.  That’s a pretty normal fruit day.  Viper hardly ever eats fruit.  I don’t get it; I don’t feel right if I don’t get in at least a couple pieces of fresh fruit a day.  Misty is working on a couple of chompers at the moment, so apart from the grizzlies, he is off his usual solid fare.  Bring on the smoothies – he is guzzling back a tasty combo of banana, pineapple and coconut milk as I type.  Chunks of frozen watermelon seems to be helping those sore gums too.

My thing is pineapple at the minute.  Oh yes, we have entered the pineapple-kick territory.  As the pattern goes with my fruit consumption, I tend to go too hard, too fast.  I get excited and go overboard.  With pineapple in particular, this can have horrible results.  Enter the sliced and diced mouth and tongue.  Those tasty fibres are sharp.  I have found blending it up helps this problem, and opens up a new world for pineapple creativity without the bleeding mouth.

I made this for Misty and me the other day… and am now looking at other ways to use up copious amounts of pineapple juice and puree I have hanging around.

The beauty of these recipes are that canned pineapple if just fine to use if you don’t have access to tropical fruit as I do… just try to use the varieties that don’t contain added sugar.

 Photo from week in Sydney… this was at an amazing water front cafe called the Boathouse at Palm Beach (for those in the know, near where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed.  No, I didn’t run into Alf… ‘stone the flamin’ crows!)

Use for Juice:

Pineapple and Mint Kombucha

I’m totally digging home brew Kombucha… so delicious and ridiculously easy once you have the appropriate fungi.  Thanks to Kaitlyn from The Tie Dye Files for the how-to guide.

  • 1/2C pineapple juice
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1 litre of brewed Kombucha
  • Handful fresh mint
Combine all ingredients and store in the fridge.

Purpose for Puree:

Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle

I use this sprinkle to add texture to things like tofu pudding, yoghurt, ice cream or oatmeal/cereal combos.  Love the crunch of buckwheat, and the coconut flour is so good when it soaks into any kind of liquid.  You could use any kind of fruit puree if pineapple is not your thing – apple, mango, peach, pear, apricot.  All good.

  • Pineapple puree (225g pineapple blended with 1/4C water)
  • 1C raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2C coconut flour
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 2t coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2T liquid sweetener, depending on your sweetie preference (I used apple juice syrup concentrate –  agave, rice syrup, even maple would all be fine)

Combine all ingredients, either place in a dehydrator or do what I did and spread on a lined baking tray for 1 hour at 120 degrees C.  Lower to 100 degrees C for another 30 minutes.  Turn off oven, leaving tray inside until it has cooled down completely.

Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle with toasted pepitas and Green Monster Tofu Pudding (recipe coming).  Crap picture as this was a night time snack, and there is no light.

Fruit consumption?  Big, non existent or in between?  Fresh/dried/canned frozen?  Fruity thoughts?

dessert and dessert

There’s been a bit of talk around about dessert for breakfast.  I’m very guilty of swapping around meal ‘times.’  Breakfast for dinner, breakfast for lunch, dessert for breakfast – can ya tell I like breakfast?  I’m even getting Misty into my habit, I’m sure it won’t do any harm – definitely won’t stunt his growth anyhow.  I’ll get back to you on the psychological scarring later.
I think breakfast is almost the best time of day to consume chocolate.  Almost.  I can never go past the night time chocolate munching, especially after a particular long and trying day – it just hits the spot.  I think night time is perfect for a chocolate bar, but morning is the best for chocolate flavoured things.  Chocolate oatmeal, chocolate tahini butter (recipe coming) on toast with banana, or this (especially for those feeling the pain on the sugar free kick) :
Cho-fu Pudding
(Vegan, gluten and nut/seed free)
Makes 3 adult servings (or 2 large servings and 2 bubba meals)
  • 5 Medjool dates softened in a few tablespoons of hot water
  • 500g silken tofu (I like the Japanese kind, less of a ‘soy’ flavour if you get me)
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1/2t lemon juice
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia liquid (or an additional 4 dates with 1/2t vanilla extract instead… it’s what I use for Misty)
  • 5-6t cacao powder (however strong you like it)

Blend everything together.

Recipes to follow for the toppings that are pictured.  Sorry to be a tease.   You’ll forgive me.

I have used this ‘pudding’ in heaps of different ways – But wait! There’s more!  It’s awesome as the soaking ‘agent,’ for overnight oats (in place of yoghurt, milk etc) or for a chia seed pudding.  I’ve also made a peanut butter and banana version, and an almond butter and jam.  All definitely worthy of a YUMMO.  I’m thinking it would be wicked knickers on top of pancakes too.  Just saying.

The biggest plus is that Misty loves the stuff;  I can make a big batch, and we can both happily munch our way through.  It would be awesome for all those little gummy monsters out there that don’t yet have the equipment for chowing down on the hard stuff.

So that’s about it.  What do you think?  Dessert for breakfast?  Breakfast for dinner?  Or simply dessert for dessert?  Whatever floats your boat, that’s what I say.

a Misty makeover meal

I never liked rice pudding.  I think mainly because it’s such a heavy dessert to eat after a whole dinner.  Sits like a brick in your stomach.  The nutmeg always grossed me out as a kid, and I have never liked heavy dairy milk or cream.  Some people are crazy for it though, which I never understood – I guess it’s like my love of Vegemite on raisin toast, most people just don’t seem to get it.
What’s your take on the humble rice pudding?  Love it or leave it?
I had things to use up in my kitchen… annoying little amounts… half a jar of rice, a few spoonfuls of apple puree – they were really bugging me.  Taking up valuable real estate in my pantry and fridge.
Rice pudding for breakfast?  Totally – energy to start the day for both me and Misty (not that he needs any more energy).  I’m on the sugar-free wagon too, thanks to the encouragement from Alex.  This pudding totally makes for a good morning.
Good Morning Rice Pudding:
Makes enough for Mum, Dad and a couple of baby sized meals – or however you want to portion it out.
  • 3T apple puree (or pumpkin, mashed banana etc)
  • 1/2C rice (white or brown)
  • 1 3/4C milk (I used full fat coconut milk, but cow, soy, almond etc are all good substitutes)
  • 1/4C chopped dried fruit (or date puree gives it a lovely caramel flavour)
  • 3/4t ground cinnamon or mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie spice)
  • 2t tahini
  • 1/2t pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
Feel free to add a touch of sweetness if you like – I would recommend 2T (or more) of honey/agave/raw sugar – I’m refraining as I’m doing the Sugar-Free Challanege, and Misty doesn’t need any more sweetness than what the fruit provides.  Mean Mama.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  3. Keep and eye on it, and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
  4. Wait until most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn of heat and place a lid on the saucepan.  Let the rice soak up the rest of the liquid.  (Puree in the food processor for under 8 month olds).
  5. Eat warm, or pop in fridge to firm up to serve with Chia Seed Jam. Far too hot here for a warm breakfast… the pudding goes all solid-like so you can carrrrrve off chunks (spoken with a Scottish accent, naturally) yummo.
Blueberry Chia Jam, thank you once again, Lisa.  Genius.
This is Misty’s serving.  Obviously.  I mean what 11 month old doesn’t appreciate a fresh mint garnish or a moulded rice mound?  Yeah, Misty had a long morning nap… too much time on my hands.
Misty actually got spoon feed his, warm out of the pot. ‘Twas good.  A good morning for all – happy day to you.

no sugar no bake buckwheat na na bites

Another day, another sugar free recipe.
Cutting out sugar is no big deal for me; I don’t eat a lot of the refined stuff anyway – my sweetness tends to appear in the form of honey, agave, molasses or rice syrup.  For the next 10 days however, I will be relying on simply fruit for a bit of the sweet stuff.  My taste buds have been reprogrammed over a period of time to appreciate the sweetness that comes naturally from fruit, vegetables and whole grains (I sound like such a geek).  I do understand why people struggle so much with cutting back on sugar though – it is snuck into EVERYTHING these days, no wonder as a population we are addicted to the stuff.
Just don’t even think about asking me to give up salt.  That is one white powder that I AM addicted to.  Hey, a girl has gotta have a vice right?  Right?  I’m doing well on the sugar, let’s just focus on that.
Bananas are awesome.  Such a great baking “tool” – they add sweetness, moisture and nutrition to any creation.  I use them a lot to cut down on added sugar, butter or oil in recipes.  This recipe is ridiculously easy – it requires just mixing and freezing so I don’t want to hear any excuses.
Buckwheat na na Bites
(Wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, egg free.  Vegan.  They could be raw if you used sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats, raw almond meal or oats.  Just sayin’).
  • 1/2C almond meal
  • 1/4C roasted buckwheat groats, ground into flour (or sub in 1/4C oatmeal)
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1T ground flax
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 1/2t ground cinnamon
  • 1/3C pureed banana (basically 1 medium banana, mashed up)
  • 2t nut butter
  • 1t coconut oil

Combine first 7 ingredients and set aside for 10 minutes or so.

Add in nut butter and coconut oil (melted).  Mix well.

Roll teaspoons of dough into balls and then flatten with a fork.  Place on a lined baking tray.

Freeze.

The banana flavour comes through nice and strong which I love… having been without bananas for months due to Cyclone Yasi which devastated the banana crops of Queensland, I welcome back affordable bananas with open arms.  It got to the point that a single banana was costing around $3 earlier in the year, yeesh.

I’ve been here.  It wasn’t as big as I was expecting.  Disappointing.

Misty is also digging the addition of banana in his diet – he enjoys them cut into rounds with a dollop of almond butter, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  These cookies are baby friendly, but they do contain nuts, so be aware of any sensitivities to these.  Tahini would work in the place of nut butter.  The raisins could also be a choking hazard for younger babies.  You can omit, or simply chop finely before adding to mix.

I think frozen raisins are my new favourite thing.  Little chewy nuggets of sweetie yum yum.  I won’t tell you what Viper said they looked like.  Stupid Viper.

a special kinda something

I love my house.  I’m a bit of a homebody.  I love the freedom of being able to do what I like, when I like and not feel uncomfortable.  I like my stuff where I want to put it.  I like to be able to relax in my surroundings with Viper, Misty and Boosty.  After almost a decade of house sharing, I relish in the luxury that is living on our own as a family.

I have lived in a few different cities, many different houses, with a variety of colourful characters.  I’ve been pretty lucky, I suppose, I haven’t had to endure any really horrible or hideous people – most of those I have lived with I consider good friends today – there have been just a few who have been what I call special.

Special Housemate #1:

He was hairy.  I mean really hairy.  He once asked me to help him dye his hair (!)  I remember not being able to distinguish where his head hair-line stopped and his neck hair began.  Shudder.  We named him the Reclining Beast, as he liked to sprawl himself in his favourite armchair, wearing an old tatty terry towelling robe with nothing underneath.  It would always “accidentally” fall open.  I think he was a bit of an exhibitionist.  Yeah, he was really hairy.

This is not him, but the likeness is eerily similar.

Special Housemate #2:

He was a perfectly nice kind of guy, but there was just something a bit off about him.  You know what I mean?  We named him Creepy.  It didn’t matter what you said, he had already done it, but 10 times better.  He was stronger, faster, smarter and richer than you could ever dream.  He literally told us he was a lead guitarist in a band, an on line entrepeneur, a barista, and a talented chef.  Yet he worked in a coffee shop, lived in a dingy house with us, and would always pay his rent late.  Hmmm.

The creepiness was what went on in the bathroom.  This guy had some weird habits.  Picture this:  you get up in the dark at 3am to use the bathroom, but it’s occupied.  By Creepy. You wait out in the hall, thinking that he won’t be long in there, it’s 3am for Pete’s sake.

He would spend hours in there.  In the middle of the night.  Doing what you may ask?  Who knows?  He would violently turn the taps on, off, on, off, on, off, on.  His hair dryer (yes, hair dryer.  He had really short hair, and would always wear a hat. Hmmm) would be blasted in a similar ferocious fashion to the taps.  There was much speculation over what went on during those midnight bathroom sessions.  Actually I don’t think any of us really wanted to know the truth.  Creepy.

Why? Why would he need one?

Special Housemate #3

Pigman.  I secretly called him Pigman.  Slightly mean, yes, as he did have a little bit of an upturned nose.  It wasn’t the nose however, that inspired the name.  It was the snorting.  Every morning I would be woken from my slumber not by the sweet melodies of songbirds, but by the snorting of phlem I could hear through the walls.  The whole household would be woken by this snorting,  It was disgusting.  The snorting wasn’t the only annoying part.  There were the stories too.  So many stories.

I have always worked in quite ‘socia’l work settings – either retail or hospitality which both involve a lot of “people-time.”  By that I mean constant interaction with not just work mates, but the general public.  This can be pretty draining;  usually when I got home of an evening, I was done with talking for the day.  I wanted peace, quiet, and chill out time.  Pigman would barrel into the house, literally shouting his stories of the day at my head.  At first I tried to be polite and humour him, but after a while I just couldn’t handle it.  The stories would not stop, and when one ended, another one would start-up straight away.  He was the Never Ending Story (teller).  I would actually physically walk away from him, and he would follow, shouting his stories at the back of my head.

Viper called him “Smokey the Bear” as when he had finally run out of stories (by this time, I would have barricaded myself in my room just to get away from the stories) he would retire to his room and proceed to watch surfing DVDs all night while a particular pungent smokey aroma would fill the house.  So the snorting, story telling swine was also a stoner.  Amusing now that I look back on it, but he drove me crazy.  Thinking about the snorting still makes me shudder.  It was disgusting.

Now when I need to relax, and escape to my own special place, I drink this:

Chai Spice Tea

This is my ‘loose’ recipe – my mix changes on a weekly basis.  Add or subtract whatever you like.  I’m a fan of spice, so sometimes I even add chilli and fenugreek depending on my mood.

  • 2t black pepper corns
  • 3T dry ginger root (ginger powder will work)
  • 3t nutmeg (use whole nutmeg and grate it)
  • 3T whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 2T rooibos tea
  • 4T powdered mixed spice
  • 2T green tea
  • 1 1/2T green cardamom pods
  • 1/2C strong black tea of choice ( I used this mix which included other random bits and pieces) Plain black tea is fine.

Put your cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a mortar and pestle.

Smash it up.

Mix with other ingredients.

Easy.

Brew however you like – I’m crazy for really strong tea, so I put it in a very fine mesh tea infuser lined with cheesecloth (so all the powdered bits don’t escape and make sludge at the bottom, ick).  I let it steep for about 10 minutes in boiling water, then add honey and a tiny splash of milk.  This is my usual cuppa, but in the evenings when I want something a little more hearty and comforting, I steep the tea in vanilla soy milk and add a bit of maple syrup.  Warm, sweet, milky, spicy – makes for one sleepy and satisfied Lou.   Especially when I can drink it in my own house with no special house mates or snorting.

Have you had any special house mates?

i eat sunshine for breakfast

I know I keep going on (and on) about the glorious Spring time weather (and the delicious produce that comes with it) that I am experiencing in sunny Queensland at the moment.  I love warmth.  I love sunshine.  I love the beach.  I do not like being cold.  I get angry when I am cold (half the reason I left New Zealand; it sure is pretty –  but damn it’s nasty in the Winter).

I even wear these in Summer

If you are like me, and need a little sunshine in your life, I can help.
For those who are in the middle of “Fall-Fever,”  or you just live in a cold place (NZ anyone?) you can still experience a taste of the tropics.
With the right accessories (see end of post) you can even create a complete tropicana-style experience.
It all started when I found these in my local bulk health food store:
Organic dried pineapple and mango.  Not those horrible ones that are soaked in sugar, pumped up with fake colours and dried, these are the real deal.  So amazing.  I think I need a dehydrator so I can make my own.
Inspiration tweaks… I decided to make some sort of roasty toasty cereal.  I wanted to make a quinoa style granola again, but alas was completely out of quinoa.  I was actually considering bundling myself and Misty into the car and doing the mission to purchase some more, when I reminded myself to practise what I preach.  Use what you have on hand – scrape that fridge/pantry.
Sunshine Cereal:
  • 2/3C coconut flakes
  • 2/3C buckwheat groats
  • 1/2C hulled millet
  • 1/3C sunflower seeds
  • 3/4C whole oats
  • 1/4C oatmeal
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 1/3C sesame seeds
  • 1/4C dark agave syrup (or honey, rice syrup etc)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 1/3C orange juice
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2C chopped dried pineapple and mango

  1. Mix dry ingredients together, except dried fruit.
  2. Blend together mango and orange juice.
  3. Melt coconut oil, combine with agave and mango mix.
  4. Mix everything together and place on lined baking trays.
  5. Bake at 140 degrees C for 50 minutes, rotating trays and stirring every 10.
  6. Turn oven off and leave trays in there to cool down completely.
  7. Mix in dried fruit.
Set the scene.
It’s more fun when you eat out of a pineapple too.
On a stolen (from Misty) Haiwaiian themed bunny rug/quilt thing.  I didn’t have any ukelele luau music which was disappointing.  Viper made me a grass skirt once (out of bamboo, which doesn’t make sense and was really scratchy and uncomfortable, even when worn over clothes).
Don’t even ask.
I’m just going to eat the cereal.

Lord of the Bars

So, you’ve seen the movie.

I only remember the first one.  The other 2 are a bit of a sleepy daze… I think I fell into a sugar-induced coma after eating too many lollies.  I don’t really dig the fantasy genre.  Or science fiction.  Viper loves both.  We make it work; it can’t always be rose petals and sweet guitar serenades (particularly as he can only play 3 songs on the guitar, which he repeats and repeats and repeats, ah bless).

At least now, if someone has no idea about New Zealand, you can just say “Lord of the Rings,” and they will know what you are talking about.

The movie does look nice, but the real New Zealand is better:

Green is good.  Makes me happy.

I reckon this tree is older than Yoda.

Tiny man or huge rock?  You decide.

Way better than the movie.

According to Viper, to explore this wild and unspoilt land, you need much sustenance to fuel your intrepid journey.  He likens the satisfying power of this next recipe to that of “Hobbit-food” whatever that may be.   See the movie, now eat the bar.

Oaty Fruity Filler Bar:

My slightly more interesting version of these Friendly Fruit Bars – again, these would be very suitable for kiddies, just omit nuts if you are giving them to a baby/toddler (choking risk).

This recipe is kind of fool-proof.  You can make it how you like it.  Super fruity?  Blend extra fruit and have a nice thick fruit filling layer.  Like it a tad nutty?  Just add more nuts, it’s really that simple.  Don’t be afraid to play around – I would call myself an intuitive cook (just a fancy way of saying that I can’t stick to a recipe) Mistakes are good in the kitchen – it gives you the opportunity to work out a different flavour combination, method or technique.  Learn by DOING.

  • 1/2C dried fruit
  • 1C whole oats
  • 4T apple puree
  • 1T cinnamon (I’m crazy for the stuff, feel free to use less)
  • 1/4C walnuts
  • 1/2t sea salt
  • 1/2t baking powder
  • 1/2t vanilla extract (optional)
Chose your dried fruit.  I went with what I had on hand (no, really?) apricots, prunes, fig.  Admittedly, not the most attractive when blended (see evidence further down) but tasty nonetheless.
Blend
Scrape out blended fruit “paste” and set aside.
I always blend the fruit first, as you don’t need to be too picky cleaning out the food processor – any bits of fruit left will just be blended back in the the oats (mmm fruity oaty).
Pulse your oats, apple, cinnamon, salt, vanilla and baking powder in a food processor.  The finished texture is up to you; a few oats left a bit chunky is nice for texture.  You could blend 3/4C oats, and fold in 1/4 cup of whole oats if you want, that’s the beauty of it, play around.
Spread half of your oaty mix into a lined baking tray.  Push down firmly.  Spread over your fruit paste.
Sprinkle over nuts.
Spread over remaining oaty mix, push the whole lot down firmly.  As it is a pretty crumbly mixute, I just sprinkle over the rest of the oaty mix, and kind of squash it together.  It doesn’t matter if you have gaps or holes – this is not a fussy appearance-driven bar, it’s all about taste.  This is what I like to call “rustic” food (this was a trick used in the cafe I used to work at – if something wasn’t perfect looking, we would just call it “rustic” – covers a multitude of sins).
Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven.
This recipe was made in a 20cm by 10cm loaf pan.
I think Gollum is angry, ‘cos I won’t give him any of MY “precious” bars.  Ha.

you CAN do it

I’ve got issues.  Sweet potato and mango issues.  I’m just going crazy with both of them.  Soon I will go over the edge and start COMBINING the two (hmmmmm).

I know that most of you will not have access to mangoes right now, but I don’t care.  I have mangoes and I’m going to eat them, cook with them and smear them all over myself.

The lovely thing is (apart from me, ah the lovely Lou) that you can sub pretty much anything into these two recipes.   I think berries (fresh or frozen) would be delish, and canned fruit would work just as well.  I love apricots from the can, especially on cereal – it makes the milk at the bottom of the bowl go all sweet and tangy.  Sometimes, I hate to admit it, I think I almost prefer canned apricots; fresh are amazing, but they are always so hit and miss.  Either too hard and bitter, or way too soft and floury.

What fruit or vegetable do you prefer frozen or canned?  Or am I the only one willing to admit to it?

I really hate those little cherries. The grapes make me gag. Fruit salad from a can? Not so much love from Lou.

Coconut Mango Custard (Serves 3)

(Gluten free, dairy free, nut and seed free, soy free, egg free, vegan)

  • 3/4C coconut milk
  • 1/2C mango puree + additional puree for topping if desired (a few T per serve)
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 2T agave (or to taste, depends how sweeeeet you like it)
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1/4t + 1/16 guar gum
  • Toasted coconut and mint for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except guar gum in a small saucepan.
  2.  Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, stir in guar gum until thick.
  4. Pour into glasses or bowls and put in the fridge to chill and “set.”
  5. If desired, top with additional mango puree, toasted coconut and mint.

Mango Cashew Cream 

(Gluten, dairy, egg, soy free.  Vegan)

  • 1/4C raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3C mango puree
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt (approx 1/8t or to taste)
  • 1/2t lime juice
Blend all ingredients together.  Chill and use however your imagination sees fit.
I piped it into a little oaty crust I made (single serve – none for you Viper – ha!)

a surprise inside

Can you guess what’s inside this little gem?

I’ll give you a hint

No, it’s not a  sinfully rich cream, butter and sugar concoction (heart attack anyone?)

It actually contain both fruit AND vegetable, if you can believe it.

It can also be served like this: (with Spiced Pumpkin Granola)

It is suitable to feed one of these:

If you can catch him.

Give up?

Ok, ok it’s:

Sweet Potato Custard

  • 3/4C soy milk (dairy/almond/coconut would work)
  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 2T maple syrup
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1/3C cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin)
  • 1/4t guar gum
  • 1/4t sea salt
  1. Chop up your dates finely, and place in the food processor with maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, sweet potato and sea salt.  Use a little of the milk for lubrication and process until smooth.
  2. Transfer into a small saucepan with the remaining milk.
  3. Bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer, and add the 1/4t guar gum.  Stir until thick.
  5. Spoon into bowls, either eat warm or let it set into more of a ‘pudding’ in the fridge.
If you want to use it as a pie filling, I made a simple nut crust (dates, almonds, sea salt pulsed in a food processor and pushed into a pie tin).  Pour in the sweet potato custard, chill in the fridge.  Once it has cooled and set slightly, pour this glaze on top:
(I made a single-serve pie – a 3 inch diameter dish – and this made too much for that.  Oh damn, what am I to do with all this leftover chocolate?)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 t maple syrup
  • 1t organic cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Chopped nuts for sprinkling
Melt coconut oil, mix in everything apart from chopped nuts.  Pour glaze over pie, sprinkle over nuts and chill in the fridge until it sets.
If you’re not into the sweet (what’s WRONG with you?!) than here is something savoury utilising my mate, old champy champ Mr. Sweet Potato (has no offiliation with Mr. Potato Head, that guy is just annoying).

Viper would LOVE this. Geek. Star Wars. Yawn.

Sweet Potato “Mayonaise”
If you want a thick dip, instead of a dressing/sauce – omit water.  Makes approximately 1/2 cup.
  • 1/3C sweet potato puree (can sub pumpkin instead)
  • 1T nutritional yeast
  • 1t tahini
  • 1/2 t wholegrain mustard
  • 1t apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 4T water
  • 1/2t lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Blend all ingredients together.
Use however you feel appropriate – salad dressing, sauce, dip, body paint – I’m not one to judge.