Cheeky Choccie Chunk Cookies

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I am constantly on the search for a paleo chocolate chunk cookie recipe that comes close to my fond memories of Cookie Time cookies and this is a pretty good contender.

I used block chocolate that I roughly chopped into chunks, but you could use whatever form takes your fancy, chips, drops – the world is your oyster.

 

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the real stuff please, no imitation essence here thanks!)

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

90g dark chocolate chunks (we’re talking at least 70% cocoa, yum)

 

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC.

Sift your flours and baking soda into a large bowl.  In a mixing jug whisk together the egg, coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla extract, then mix into the flours in the bowl to form your dough.

Next fold in your chocolate chunks (I found that I had to scrunch them in with my hands as the coconut oil means the batter is not very sticky).

Using your hands shape roughly tablespoon amounts of the dough into cookie shapes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake for around 12 minutes, but start to check them after 10, you want them to be turning deliciously golden brown.

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Bear Bone Broth

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Bone Broth – this stuff is as expensive as liquid gold if you buy it from the shops (and not necessarily all that nice), which is totally crazy because it’s cheap as chips to make yourself.  I do mine in my slow cooker (cue angles singing, I love my slow cooker) and the amount of hands on work that is required is actually minimal.  Win-win all round!

The one thing I would absolutely stress about this recipe is; do not skip roasting the bones first, this makes ALL the difference.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 kgs raw beef bones

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 large onions, roughly chopped

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

Water to cover – quantity will depend on the capacity of your slow cooker

 

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.  Place your bones in a single layer in a baking dish lined with baking paper and roast for around 40 minutes.  They’ll smell wonderful when they’re done, trust me.

Now all you need to do is put everything in your slow cooker ensure there’s sufficient water to cover and put on low for at least 8 hours.  I do this in the afternoon and just leave it on all night.

When it’s finished cooking, strain out all the bones and veges and transfer to a bowl and cool to separate out the fat.  I personally don’t keep the fat to reuse, but I know some people do.  The broth should start to jellify as it cools, this is totally what you want as it indicates you’ve coaxed the gelatine out of the bones.   Now all you need to do is decant into whatever size servings you want (I find 1 cup lots are the most useful) and chill or freeze!

Sneaky Sauce…

14 5 18 081I have to say, I’m actually pretty lucky with the vegetable consumption of my little bear cubs.  They do seem to have a preference for things beginning with ‘c’: cucumber, capsicum, celery, carrots and believe it or not, cabbage, I don’t know if this is coincidence or if the universe is trying to tell me something, I’m just going to roll with it and keep feeding it to them as, if there’s one thing I’ve learned with little bears, things change in the blink of an eye…

This sneaky sauce is based on a Tasty Junior recipe I saw one night and to be honest my initial thought was it would be most useful in upping the vege intake of hubby bear, but regardless of who needs to have the smuggled veg this is really tasty and super easy to use.  I just freeze it in 2 cup quantities and use instead of tinned tomatoes and tomato paste in everything from nachos to curry to spaghetti bolognaise.  I see no reason why you couldn’t also use it on a pizza base or even on sausages though I haven’t tried it like that myself.  Give it a go and let me know how it works!

 

INGREDIENTS

4 large carrots, diced

4 large celery ribs (leaves included), diced

1 large red/yellow/orange capsicum (bell pepper), diced

2 large onions, diced

2 large garlic cloves, diced

2 x 400g tins of tomatoes in juice

280g tomato paste

2 Cups of bone broth

1 heaped teaspoon of salt

Grind of black pepper

1 heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

1 heaped teaspoon of dried basil

1 heaped teaspoon of ground paprika

1 tablespoon coconut oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Sauté the carrots in the coconut oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat until they start to caramelise.  It’s really worth doing this slowly and not over a high heat as this is what dials up the natural sugars in the veges.  Once the carrots have started to brown and soften add in the onions and the garlic and continue to sauté for a few more minutes then add in the capsicum and celery and sauté for another few minutes.

 

Transfer your veges to your slow cooker and add in the rest of the ingredients, top up with water to fully cover your veges if you need to, then pop on the lid and leave it on low for ~8 hours or high for ~4.  I lurve things that just take care of themselves!!

 

Once you’re ready to get hands on with your sauce again, let it cool completely and then blitz till smooth.  I use a stick immersion blender and you would never know what the component parts of the dish were… sneaky 🙂

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BEETROOT & QUINOA SALAD

beetroot & quinoa salad

This is super simple, but super tasty.  Totally my kind of recipe!

We had a shared lunch at work today and this was my contribution.  Happy to say it went down rather well indeed.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup uncooked quinoa

1 large or 2 small beetroots

2 large carrots

1 large handful of flat leafed parsley

½ Cup of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (mixed)

200g feta, I like goat or buffalo feta

4 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs maple syrup

 

DIRECTIONS

Cook the quinoa in water until the grains are no longer chalky and the water has evaporated.  Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

Finely shred the beetroot and carrot (my food processor does this, hallelujah!) and transfer to a large bowl along with the cooled quinoa, chopped parsley and crumbled feta.

Mix the oil, vinegar and maple syrup together and pour over the top, then give it a good mixing to coat everything in dressing.

Scatter over the toasted seeds and tuck in!!

GREEN, GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWL

GREEN GREEN SMOOTHIE bowl

Ok, so I turned 37 the other week, yep totally on the downhill slide to 40 now, how did that happen?!  I’m alright with it though, as long as people follow that confidence up with ‘oh you so don’t look it!’  I do know people probably say that because I haven’t slept in nearly 4 years (thanks kids) and they actually thought I was about 45, but I kid myself it’s because I’m still looking hot.

Anyway, my vanity aside, I realise that it’s super important now not to just avoid putting ‘bad’ stuff in/on my body, but to also to ensure that I’m putting as much good stuff in as I can.  Regardless of what food ethos you follow pretty much everyone agrees on a couple of things, greens are great and colourful veges are super, so I’m on a mission to be including greens at every meal and as many colourful veges as I can get in, so this is my new breakfast go to.

INGREDIENTS

2 cubes frozen spinach

2 cubes frozen kale

½ frozen banana

2 scoops Clean Lean Protein powder in Smooth Vanilla

1 scoop Good Green Stuff

Knob of fresh turmeric

½ Cup kefir

½ Cup water

¼ Cup mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds

2 Brazil nuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Throw everything except the seeds and nuts the blender and blitz, blitz, blitz!  Lumps of banana are Ok, but lumps of frozen kale are a bit of a shock to the system at breakfast time.  Once it’s all gloriously glossy, green and smooth, pour out into a bowl and sprinkle the sunflower seeds and nuts on top, then tuck in, if you leave it, you will need a straw to get it out of there.

SACHERTORTE REIMAGINED

sachertorte reimagined

This is a serious Chocolate Cake (note the caps).  I personally don’t think this needs the jam and ganache topping that a Sachertorte traditionally has, however if you want it I’ve included directions for that as well.

Inspiration for this recipe comes from the Green & Black’s Chocolate Recipes cookbook.  This is currently the only brand of chocolate that I buy and it is glorious.  If you know of a better one please tell me, I’d love to check it out, but if you haven’t tried Green & Black’s yet, I’d urge you to give it a go!

INGREDIENTS

200g 85% cocoa solids chocolate

6 eggs

Tiny pinch of salt

310g coconut sugar

150g ground almonds

1 ½ tsps decaf instant coffee

DIRECTIONS

Pre heat your oven to 180C and line your cake tin with baking paper.

Gently melt the chocolate (easiest if broken into small pieces) in a bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water, don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.

Separate 5 of the eggs, beat the 5 yolks and 1 whole egg with the sugar until thick and creamy.

In a separate bowl beat the 5 egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt until it will hold a firm peak.

Add the ground almonds, coffee and melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and stir well.  Next comes the trickiest bit, combining with the egg whites.  The easiest way to do this is to take a large spoonful of the egg whites and generously beat them into the egg yolk/chocolate mixture to loosen it, then very carefully and gently fold the rest of the egg white mix in a spoonful at a time until fully incorporated.

Pour into your cake tin and put in the over.

Bake for 20-25 mins then cover with tinfoil and bake for a further 25-30 mins.  Check that it’s cooked by inserting a wooden skewer into the cake, if it’s clean when it comes out, it’s cooked, if it’s a little gooey, it ain’t.

This is where I leave it, it’s scrumptious served with a dollop of yoghurt or cream, coconut or otherwise.  However if you want to go all out ‘traditional’ Sachertorte leave the cake to cool on a rack while you melt 6 Tbs sugar free jam (such as St Dalfours) over a low heat.  Strain out any bits and then brush over the cake.  Melt 100g 85% cocoa chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water add 40g unsalted butter and stir until smooth and glossy and the consistency of thick cream.  Pour over the cake and leave to set.

GINGER CRUNCH

ginger crunch

From the recipes I post I’m sure you’re able to tell that I rather like my treats and am not particularly ascetic, after all you only get one life (as far as I know any way) and I’m damned if I’m not going to enjoy it while still trying to do the best for myself and my family that I can.  So it’s always doubly gratifying when I can make something that tastes ah-ma-zing and still be nourishing for my body.

Ginger is said to be good for digestion and helping to combat nausea, which makes this slice an awesome option post-prandial or after you see Fat Bastard caressing himself in Austin Powers.  And of course it’s refined sugar free, dairy free, gluten/grain free etc. etc.

Credit where credit is due, inspiration for this recipe comes from Dr. Libby Weaver’s Book, Sweet Food Story.

INGREDIENTS

Base:

1 Cup ground almonds

1 Cup desiccated coconut

1/3 Cup buckwheat groats

¼ nut butter

½ Cup melted coconut oil

¼ Cup maple syrup

3 Tbs fresh, finely grated ginger

Pinch of salt

Topping:

1 Cup nut butter

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

¼ Cup maple syrup

¼ Cup water

1 tsp lemon juice

4 Tbs ground ginger

150g Cup melted cacao butter

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 160C.

Put all the base ingredients in a food processor fitted with an ‘S’ blade and processes until combined.  Scrape out into a lined slice tin and bake for 25 mins.  Then remove and allow to cool completely.

To make the topping put all the ingredients in the food processor and gently (low speed) process until combined.  Pour evenly over the base and place in the fridge to set, 1 – 2 hours.

Keep in the fridge and take as required.

Paleo Fruit Jellies

fruit jellies

Well, it’s getting close to ‘B’ (Brand new baby) Day now.  I started my mat leave this week and I now have a massive pot of mince blipping away on the stove to be portioned up and popped in the freezer, many, many tiny pink things drying in between rain showers outside (Spring time babies and washing, not a great combo) and several last minute and probably unnecessary online baby gear purchases winging their way towards me.

Little Bear is starting to get more and more interested and now frequently pats my tummy and tells me that she “loves baby sister”.   I am somewhat encouraged by this, but less encouraged by the fact she has also informed me she doesn’t want her toys anymore, “want baby sister’s toys now”.

I guess we’re not going to get away without some level of jealousy/adjustment and my mother-in-law has warned me I need to be particularly vigilant about Little Bear trying to sit on her baby sister. (Seriously?  Sit on her?)  Knowing Little Bear as I do I suspect we’re going to have to be more vigilant about her trying to incorporate Baby sister into her games of gymnastics (No!  Baby sister does not want to jump off the back of the couch onto the cushions!) or feeding her culinary creations largely concocted of dirt, leaves and some water she found at the bottom of a disused plant pot (mmmm, delicious darling!).

Whatever happens I guess it’s going to be another crazy adventure in the Bear Family and I keep reminding myself to enjoy this time where it’s just Little Bear and I and no one is projectile vomiting milk across the room or doing poo-namis in their nappies.  So on Monday we made these.  They are based on Pete Evans fruit jellies from his book, Healthy Every Day.  I’ve tried a couple of recipes before for making fruit jellies and this is the best I’ve come across.

Little Bear’s been a bit snotty lately so we made lemon & honey jellies, but you could make with any kind of fresh fruit juice, just adjust the level of honey based on the sweetness of the fruit you’re using.

INGREDIENTS

1/3 Cup fresh fruit juice

1 – 3 Tablespoons of honey

1 ½ Tablespoons of powdered gelatine

DIRECTIONS

Put the juice, honey and gelatine in a small saucepan and stir until the gelatine is incorporated.  Leave to sit and absorb for 5 mins.

Gently heat, stirring constantly, for approx another 5 minutes or until the honey and the gelatine is completely dissolved.  Do not let it come to the boil.  Pour the mixture into your mould (we used a silicone chocolate mould, but you could just as easily use an ice cube tray) straight away then transfer to the freezer to set for 15 mins.  They’ll keep happily in the fridge for a week.

Little Bear’s Grain Free Granola

granola

Things are starting to get more interesting when little Bear helps in the kitchen now.  She’s definitely discovering her confidence and it’s really becoming more of a case of me helping her rather than the other way around, sometimes this works out well, other times, not so much.  I like to think the below recipe was a joint effort, she’d probably disagree, either way it’s a winner with both of us.

INGREDIENTS

½ Cup sunflower seeds

½ Cup pumpkin seeds

½ Cup coconut, desiccated, shredded, however you like it, we used desiccated

¼ Cup chia seeds

¼ Cup linseeds

¼ Cup roughly chopped walnuts

¼ Cup roughly chopped brazil nuts

¼ Cup unsweetened apple puree

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Optional:

¼ Cup washed and dried sultanas

¼ Cup washed, dried and diced apricots

¼ Cup washed, dried and diced figs

¼ Cup cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat your oven to 150 C on bake or fan bake.

Gently mix together all ingredients, except the optional ones if you’re using them, until well combined.  The apple puree helps it all become crisp and make little clusters so try and get that over everything if you can.  Once it’s all well combined, spread it out thinly and evenly over a large baking dish and bake for ~30 mins gently stirring and turn every 10 mins or so.

Let it cool completely and then stir in any optional extras you’re going to use.  Store in an air tight container.  Will keep nicely for a week.

We enjoy it with ½ a sliced banana and some almond & coconut milk.

Boiled Orange, Carrot & Almond Cake

boiled orange cake

This is a lovely dense, moist cake, with an amazingly vibrant orange flavour.  It does require a little pre-work but I promise you it is worth it.  Grandma Bear has lots of oranges on her trees at the moment and this is made with the small blood oranges which I don’t like eating fresh.

I tend to start this this day before making the orange puree and then leaving it in the fridge overnight, but whatever works for you.

If you can bear to leave it this is actually better the day after baking, but it’s still really good just cooled as well.

INGREDIENTS

350 – 375g orange puree

250g ground almond meal

150 – 175g grated carrots

Large handful of well washed and dried sultanas

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

50g coconut sugar

2 large eggs

DIRECTIONS

To make the orange puree, take approx. 4 small oranges (organic if you can get them because you’re going to be eating the skin) give them a cursory scrub and cover in a pot with cold water.  Bring them to the boil and then turn the heat down to keep them simmering for 2 hours.  Let them cool completely and then rip into chunks, removing any seeds you find on the way, and puree in your food processor or with a stick blender.

To make the cake, pre-heat the oven to 180 C on normal bake.

Combine the orange puree, eggs and sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.  Gently stir together all remaining ingredients into a big mixing bowl then add the orange, egg, sugar mix in to and stir until just completely combined.

Tip into a cake tin lined with baking paper, I use a 25cm round spring form tin, and bake for 1 hour.  Depending on your oven you may want to start checking the top after 45 mins or so to see if you need to cover with foil to stop the top burning.  Trust me the cake is so moist it will need the full hour of baking.  To test for done-ness stick a wooden skewer in the middle, it should come out reasonably cleanly with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  It if looks like it’s got cake batter on it, keep baking for a bit longer.  When cooked remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out.