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Makes me Smile, Food that Grows

27 Nov

These are some photos of our garden. Koha and her cousin and Nanny planted some fruit a while ago and they are just starting to grow food. This makes me smile. I think we’ll be enjoying these this summer!

blueberry plant

blueberry plant

strawberries

strawberries

passionfruit

passionfruit (the bags are to keep birds away)

 

 

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Lavender Cookies

22 Nov lavender biscuits
lavender biscuits

lavender biscuits

Today we were playing outside in the garden, inspecting all the different flowers. Koha was very interested in which flowers were edible. The rule at our house is that no plants are edible, unless you ask Mumma and she says it is edible, but you must always check, even when you’re sure you’ve eaten it before.

One plant that Koha discovered could be edible, was lavender. She was very keen to have a taste of this plant, but it needed to be prepared in a certain kind of way – either as a tea or in some baking. She asked so politely whether she could make some lavender cookies, so, we made some!

These treats are not healthy, but they are delicious. And sometimes its better to explore and try new foods, especially ones that grow outside, then it is to worry too much.

lavender biscuit mix

simply mix the chopped lavender flower into the batter

We picked some lavender, and took it inside. Inside, we made up some cookie dough, using a standard Edmond’s basic biscuit recipe, and then added the chopped up lavender flowers (no stems or leaves). The recipe was quick and easy and it only took 12 minutes to bake in the oven. The cookies were large and the flavour of the lavender was just perfect. We ate two each, with tall glasses of cold milk. It was such a treat, and so exciting to eat something from the garden.

By the way, if you live in New Zealand, you should own an Edmond’s Recipe Book. It’s full of basic and easy recipes and is great for those who are just starting out with baking and cooking. A lot of the recipes are easily modified to fit your diet goals too – for example with this recipe you could modify it by replacing the flour with a healthier flour, and replacing the sugar with a substitute, and substituting half the butter with applesauce. We didn’t do that today, though.

Lavendar flower

Lavendar flower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Greek Yoghurt Bowl

11 Jul
Greek yoghurt bowl

Greek yoghurt bowl

We had this as a treat today: Greek yoghurt, with frozen blueberries and sliced bananas. It’s simple and delicious. I like adding frozen berries because the berries make the yoghurt cold and thick, which makes me think of ice cream. I like how Greek yoghurt is slightly sour, but if you aren’t a big fan you can counter-act the sourness with some honey, maple syrup, or sprinkled stevia. Mmm… Delicious…

Related articles

Eating healthy is like giving yourself a hug

10 Jul
hearts

hearts (Photo credit: duh.denise)

Often when people want to lose weight or get in shape, they tell themselves they’ll go on a healthy diet. While on this healthy diet, they’ll stay away from the yummy stuff and eat things that will get them closer to their goal. And you know what happens to these dieters? Eventually, they get sick of it and they go back to junk foods.

But why associate healthy eating with punishment?¬†¬†That’s silly. What are you teaching your kids when you do that?

Recently I was watching a video on youtube by www.flylady.net where she said the reason most of us don’t like doing chores is because when we were kids we were given chores as a punishment. We have to overcome that if we are going to get into routines which keep our home operating in a way which supports us and makes us happy. I think that applies to healthy eating too. We have to overcome messages of desserts as “treats” and vegetables as “taxes”. Vegetables can be treats.

It’s actually more logical to view healthy eating as a treat you give yourself. Healthy foods are varied and delicious. They give you more energy and vitality. They improve your mood and support you to be your best. We need to be excited about healthy eating and home cooking, we need to look forward to making dinners with fresh ingredients. By doing that, we enable our long term diet success, and also the long term diet success of our children.

Cool Strawberry Drink

9 Jul

strawberry drink

Simple, tasty, and refreshing

Koha and I invented this drink a while ago. It is made from three simple ingredients: water, frozen strawberries, and stevia (to taste). All you do is put them in the blender and blend away. We don’t measure out out ingredients precisely, but usually fill the blender with at least a quarter full with strawberries, to make it lovely and thick.

strawberry drink to share

A great party beverage

Adapting recipes to make them healthier: Cake

8 Jul

Banana bread loaf.

Eating healthy is a long term commitment, one that is harder to stick to when you deny yourself and your family the occasional treat. It is good, and it is healthy, to celebrate with food. Sometimes that calls for cake.

Personally, I think cake is more special when it is baked at home. The whole process of baking is enjoyable. Mixing and measuring, licking the spoon, the anticipation while the cake rises in the oven, the process of frosting… It’s all good. It’s all positive. It’s all something that makes the day extra special.

When baking at home, I use a number of tricks which both reduce the total calories and increase the nutritional density of the cake. While it’s okay to have treats occasionally, if there’s no difference in taste between a healthier option and a standard option, I will always go for the healthier option.

My tricks include:

  • Dividing the total amount of required butter or oil in 3, then using 1/3 oil or butter with a top up for the other 2/3 of apple sauce.
  • Using stevia instead of sugar.
  • Using a healthier flour. The last time I made a banana cake I used wholemeal flour. This gave the cake a darker colour but added more flavour.

Home baked goods generally, as a rule, even with standard white flour and white sugar, are healthier than store bought baking. A store bought cake might contain propylene glycol, soy lecithin, stearoyl lactylate, xanthum gym, diglycerides, and artificial colours and flavours. I don’t even know what that stuff is. Do you?