Coco-nut balls

I am aware that I do ‘harp’ on a bit about being health conscious but I promise that I’m not constantly banging my healthy diet drum…It might just feel that way. 

However, I do genuinely believe that we would all be healthier without eating meat and cutting out processed foods but I also understand that not everyone is ready to do this. Little changes do go a long way though and maybe if everyone makes a small change to their lifestyle, this could make a big difference to the world, for us, and generations to come!

I love treats just as much as the next person and love them even more when I know exactly what is in them…like the amount of sugar and salt for one and minimal preservative chemicals thank you very much! 

So, even though I like to be healthy I do still allow myself treats… well, I am only human after all!

Here’s the recipe for these tasty, and maybe not so healthy balls.

100g  cashew butter 
50g coconut oil
50g coconut sugar
150g oat flour*
50g coconut flour
150g chocolate (I used dairy free)

*I made my own oat flour by putting the oats into the food processor and whizzing them up until they resembled flour.

Add the oat flour and coconut flour to a bowl. Heat the cashew butter, coconut oil and coconut sugar in a pan and heat gently for 10 minutes and then pour the liquid into the flour mixture. Stir until all the flour is wet and sticky. Once combined, form the mixture into small balls and place on a lined (with parchment paper) baking tray and pop in the fridge for an hour or 2 (depending on how long you can wait).

When ready to coat the balls, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. When the chocolate is melted, roll the balls in the chocolate until completely covered then place them back on the baking tray and refrigerate for another 10 minutes and then dig in!

If you think this recipe needs more coconut then feel free to roll the melted chocolate balls into desiccated coconut before putting them in the fridge.

Green goodness…me!

This recipe was inspired by my friend who was feeding a bowl of green goodness to her son and it looked amazing…and  he was devouring it. So, when we were on holiday and there was no option for vegan in most restaurants, I got to cooking for Harris to make sure he wouldn’t go hungry. I recreated the dish and then recreated it again when we got home, so it’s a little more refined now. Harris absolutely loves this one!
Ideally I would use mint in this recipe but it also works with parsley or coriander – whatever you have in the house. I am a complete advocate of using what you have in the house so if you don’t usually buy asparagus and wouldn’t use the whole bunch then swap this out for broccolli or such like – never waste food. If you do buy the asparagus for this recipe then be sure to look for a recipe on how to use the rest of it – I will be posting a risotto recipe soon to do just this.

As the title gives away, most of the ingredients in this recipe are green! Here they are:-

1 tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 a clove of garlic, minced. If it is a small clove, just use all of it
3 Asparagus, finely chopped
1/4 cup of garden peas
1/2 courgette, finely chopped
1/2 cup of broad beans, roughly chopped
Handful of mint (or parsley or coriander)
100g Cous cous
150ml water
Avocado (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic and onion, then add the green veg to the pan and let this cook for around 5 minutes, stirring continuously as you don’t want any of this lovely green veg to burn! Add the beans, mint (or your choice of fresh herbs), cous cous and water to the pan and let simmer on the lowest heat for a few minutes with the lid on. Take the pan off the heat and allow the cous cous to cook in its own steam for 5 minutes. Remember to keep stirring it to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan as this can happen quickly!

Divide the cous cous and veg mixture into potions to allow you to store it in the fridge or freezer and once you are ready to use it, reheat it and then add the avocado – just enough that will help the cooling process – and mix this in to make a lovely creamy consistency. Your baby’s mind will be blown! 🙂

 

 

Veg and bean chilli

Harris loves a little spice and why wouldn’t a baby like a bit of spice to tantalise their taste buds?? The jars and packets of baby food looks and tastes similar and, to me, provides no real sense of what food should be…colourful, vibrant and have different textures – not just all mooshy! Give your baby variety and a wide choice of tastes to kick start their love for everything colourful. This chilli has so much variety in one dish and the colours are amazing, green, orange, red…and you can substitute most of the vegetables to suit what your baby likes. Take the beans, I used haricot beans in this recipe but I have used kidney beans in a previous batch…just don’t use the Heinz variety! You could use broad beans and add sweetcorn to add more colour to the dish…whatever you wish!

Also, in this recipe I use rapeseed oil because it is full of Omega 3 and 6 which is exactly what we need in our vegan diet, but you can use any oil of your choice.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil
1/2 a garlic clove, minced
1/2 a small onion or shallot, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
handful of spinach, finely chopped
1/2 a small courgette, grated
1/2 a small carrot, grated
1 mushroom, finely chopped
1/4 of a red pepper, grated and/or finely chopped
1/4 cup of beans
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
A good pinch each of chilli and cumin powder
1/2 cup of water

Method

Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion. Saute this for a couple of minutes, being sure not to burn the garlic as this can give the dish a weird bitter taste. Add the rest of your chopped and grated veg along with the tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir and allow this to cook for a few minutes. Add the spices, beans and the water and simmer this for 30 minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken and puree a little but the veggies will still retain their texture. Remember and add a little more water if it’s needed – don’t let the sauce dry out.

Once ready, divide it out so that it can be frozen and taken out for meals as and when needed. The number of portions depends on your baby’s age and appetite.

This can be added to potato wedges (recipe coming soon) or mix it into rice, cous cous or pasta. Harris particularly loves this dish with sweet potato wedges or mixed into broken up  pieces of tagliatelle.

Change is a-coming

Two weeks on Monday and I will be sitting at my desk at 8.30am. Yes, it’s that time, time to go back to work. Am I worried? No, not at all – well, not yet anyway. You always think about this time and when it comes around, you think, it won’t matter to me at all, I will be fine leaving my baby at home (or nursery) while I go earn a crust. Half of me is looking forward to getting back into it, because I do actually really like my job, although the other half would love to stay at home with Harris forever – no matter how demented this would make me!

I originally planned to go back to work in June but this didn’t happen, then it was going to be August…now I am going back in October and this is definitely happening. Work have been ace and have allowed me to take holiday and use the keeping in touch days I have accrued to phase back into work 3 days a week until the New Year so I can get my head around the whole abandoning my baby thing. Not that I am abandoning him literally, I just feel like that mentally. Anyway, Gran Arnott is going to look after Harris for 3 days a week for the foreseeable future and Granny Didi will step in when Gran Arnott needs a holiday.

So, where am I going with this story? Well, I will obviously want to leave his carers with food for him to eat so I have started batch cooking and I have the recipe information to share with you and for you to share with others you may feel be in need of some inspiration on what to cook for their little ones.

I will post more as and when I cook them and write down the ingredients – I am bad for just guessing how much I need to add and how long it needs to cook for so it may take me a little time to get these just right to then share, but I will, I promise!

I hope you enjoy these – again, if you do cook them, let me know how they went down with the wee ones. Harris has loved these new recipes so far!

On the go…

Even when you are on holiday, the nutritional needs of your baby doesn’t stop. I like to have a stand by meal for Harris as a filler just in case there isn’t anything on the menu for him. This is unlikely at this stage of his eating but,  hey, you never know, and I like being prepared.

I was going to make a carrot soup but I had forgotten to buy onions and garlic and we don’t have a blender here on holiday so it turned out to be a carrot and potato mash. Made as follows:

5 carrots
3 large new potatoes
A tablespoon of coriander
Half a stock pot
Enough water to cover the veg

Chop the veg and coriander and add this, along with the rest of the ingredients into a pot. Bring it to the boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. I mashed the veg and sauce and popped it into the little pots I carry with me.

You could make a meal of this by adding your chosen protein. Mine would likely be mashed cannellini beans.

An update to “My Story”

When I first started this blog,  it was primarily to help new families, to provide some recipes and advice to those not sure where to start at the weaning stage when cooking with fruit and veg. Well, it’s still about that but eating out these days plays a fairly big part of family life so I will add the odd restaurant review to my blog. 

It is easy to go into a large supermarket for all your household needs but we all forget that there are still small businesses trying to make a buck or two, therefore, I have also made a start to a new feature where I ask the owner of a small business to answer a Q&A, and I will publish these monthly to help promote their business. 

Avery & Co…urse we’ll be back!

Avery & Co, a lovely, mellow and atmospheric bistro style eatery on South Tay Street in Dundee, offering a wide range of vegan, veggie and non-vegan meals (they have a separate menu for their vegan options).

The Arnott’s decided to stop in for dinner on our way South to go on holiday,  and what a tasty way to start our holidays!

There is an array of  yummy options from veggie haggis pakora, soup, and sweet potato quesadilla for starters. Burgers, salads and curries for mains,  and they have a good selection of desserts.  We didn’t have dessert but the homemade cakes looked amazing! They also have a wide range on their breakfast, lunch and kids menus.

For dinner, we ate haggis pakora and quesadillas to start and then the mushroom burger and black bean and avocado bun (both on pretzel buns) and we loved every last bite! Harris did too. The waiting staff were great and had no worries heating Harris’s food for us but, of course that wasn’t enough for the growing lad, he wanted all of our food too!

The mushroom burger wasn’t like any I’ve had before. I dreaded that I would be presented with one big portobello mushroom with a soggy bun that you (often) have to fish out from the juice of the cooked mushroom but, what a pleasant surprise, it wasn’t like that at all. The chopped mushrooms are mixed with caramelised onions and it tastes absolutely devine! The chips are like chippy chips and in my eyes that is more than acceptable.  There was a mini bowl of beans on the side but not your tin of heinz sort, we had mixed beans with an amazing dressing that makes your taste buds go wild! I am not exactly sure what is in there but, at a guess, I would say, garlic, coriander, chilli and more! I wasn’t on driving duties so I washed my dinner down with a sauvigion blanc from Chile. They also have a cocktail menu including a marmalade mojito which I will be sure to sample the next time I’m in.

The couple sitting across from us were asked by the waiter if they had a nice meal and he was told, “yes, as always” and another older couple sat at the table next to us (yes, we are this nosey) are clearly regulars as the waiter knew exactly what they wanted to eat! If that’s not a good endorsement for any restaurant, I don’t know what is!

So, would I recommend this place? Yes, absolutely, I would.