Aussie Bites

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Mmmm Aussie Bites! I must confess these little bites are addicting. I make them in a mini muffin tin and I could easily gobble up 4 at a time, but I try to practice self discipline and limit myself to just 2 at a time. But, ya know, stuff happens and 2 ends up as 4 sometimes. I tell myself that these are healthy and it’s okay. #yolo right?!

So, here is a look at most of the ingredients. It seems like a lot, but these come together pretty fast.

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First thing you should know is that you need oat flour for this. But fear not! Oat flour is super easy to make with some oats and a food processor. It only takes a minute to process the oats into a flour. See, easy peasy oat flour in 1 minute flat.

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Now, for my Aussie Bites I kept some of the oat whole for texture purposes. I think it gives them an extra chew. It’s personal preference, feel free to blend all of the oats into a flour if you desire less chew from the oats.

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These are great for breakfast, or a snack, or dessert. Anytime really. I grab 2 on my way to work. Quick, easy and delish! This recipe will make about 18-24 mini muffins depending on how much batter per muffin you fill.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 Cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1/4 Cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 Cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 Cup raisins
  • 1/4 Cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 Cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24 count mini muffin tin.
  2. Pour 1 Cup of oats into a food processor and process until you have a flour.
  3. Add in the coconut sugar, apricots, raisins, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, quinoa, chia seeds and baking powder. Pulse in the food processor until well combined and the fruit is diced up into tiny bits.
  4. Add in the honey, melted butter, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla extract and remaining 3/4 cup of oats. Pulse again until everything is well combined.
  5. Spoon out the batter into your lined mini muffin tin and pack down batter into tin gently with back of spoon.
  6. Baked in pre-heated oven for 12mins or until golden.
  7. Once baked, place pan on a cooling rack and let cool. Enjoy!

Gluten Free AND Nut Free Pancakes

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OMG, it’s officially fall! I’m so excited for sweater weather, cozy sips, fuzzy socks and all the fall flavors! I don’t even know where to start. Apple cobbler? Pumpkin bread? Pecan pie? Hearty soups? Maple everything? Ok, ok….slooowwww down! We have 3 whole months to get our fall cooking/baking on.

So, let’s take a look at cassava flour. Have you tried it? I love it as a gluten AND nut free alternative to flour. I’ve used coconut flour several times and I always had a faint coconut taste and had to add tons of eggs and/or liquid to combat the dryness of the coconut. As a bummer with the coconut flour, no one in my house likes coconut. I would end up eating whatever it was by myself. Sometimes that’s a plus and other times I didn’t need to eat a whole pan of baked donuts! Cassava flour works well as an even 1:1 swap with regular wheat flour. As a bonus there’s no background flavor from the cassava.

I decided to test this out with the kids. My daughter is the pancake queen is our house, so I figure if she likes them, then they are a total winner! My son likes pancakes too, but he’s not the aficionado of pancakes like my daughter is. I made one batch with chocolate chips and one batch without. My son likes chocolate and my daughter loathes it. These kids make me work extra hard to combat their pickiness!

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These whipped up fast and easy. I used an electric griddle to make several at one time. I’m all about being time efficient! In order to make one plain batch and one batch with chocolate chips I simply made the batter as is and then poured half into another bowl and added the chocolate chips. Easy!

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I personally liked the chocolate chip pancakes better. Chocolate makes everything better in my opinion. These pancakes were fluffy and not dense and tasted like real pancakes! I have never made a gluten free AND nut free pancake before that tasted like regular pancakes. I was super excited!

As you may know by now, I try to stay away from refined sugar as much as possible. Now, usually I use pure maple syrup, but my kiddos don’t like it. They want the fake “pancake” syrup. I get it, it’s delish, but it’s basically a bottle of high fructose corn syrup… not my fave. So, I tried Lakanto sugar free maple syrup. A lot of people that follow a keto diet love this stuff as a natural sugar free option. This syrup is made from monk fruit which does not spike insulin levels like cane sugar would. My interest was piqued. To my surprise is was delish! If you like real, pure maple syrup then I think you will like this alternative maple syrup. I do not like the fake, chemical-y “sugar free” substitutes and refuse to use them. I love that I can use a natural sugar free alternative.

As for my kids, they don’t like pure maple syrup and the didn’t like this syrup either. Sigh. They opted to eat the pancakes plain – which I thought was kinda weird. But they said they were that good to grab and eat as little snack cakes. I consider that a win!

This recipe makes about 12 pancakes if you keep them around 4in-5in wide.

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Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 Cup milk of choice (cow, almond or oat milk works fine)
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 Cup Cassava flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 Cup chocolate chips*

Directions

  1. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients
  2. Mix the eggs and banana in a food processor until well combined
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until well incorporated
  4. *Split batter in half if making plain and chocolate chip pancakes
  5. *Fold in the chocolate chips if splitting the batter. If you want the entire batch to be chocolate chip then double the amount of chocolate chips from 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup.
  6. Let the batter rest for 5mins – while it rests pre-heat griddle or non stick skillet on medium heat
  7. Pour out batter into roughly 4in-5in wide disks on the pre heated griddle or skillet
  8. Once bubbles on top of pancakes stop bubbling/forming it’s time to flip. Continue cooking on other side until bottom is lightly golden.
  9. Top with your favorite toppings or eat plain as my kids do 😉

Quick and Easy Energy Bites

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How was everyone’s Labor Day holiday? I hope it was fun and/or relaxing. We didn’t do much this year. Had a typical day around the house, but made it a point to relax some and we grilled a little bit too. Also, decided to meal prep a bit for the work. I made a Thai curry soup with rice noodles. It was pretty good, but no one else ate it. I’m more of the soup person at our house. I love soups, even in summer! Only downside to me being the only soup person in the house is that I typically end up making way more than I will consume. I need to check into freezing some of my soups and see how they turn out.

My daughter also found a recipe on how to make brown sugar lemonade. So, she made that with little help from me. She was pretty amazed at how many lemons it actually takes to make lemonade. It was cute 🙂

I decided I needed to prep some snacks for work. These little energy bites are delish and easy to throw together. Also, you can easily customize them to your liking which I really dig. My son likes these a lot, but my daughter doesn’t like chocolate or coconut so these are on her “no” list. You could opt out of the chocolate drizzle, but I think it compliments these well. Perhaps I will try with a non-chocolate drizzle next time.

Also, if you want to make these vegan you can sub out the honey for agave or maple syrup and use Enjoy Life chocolate chips. Nut allergy? No prob! Sub out the nut butter for sunbutter. Easy peasy 😉

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Ingredients

  • 1 Cup old fashion oats
  • 1/2 Cup of nut butter (I used all natural peanut butter)
  • 2 T honey or (agave or pure maple syrup)
  • 2 T unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Drizzle:

  • 1/4 Cup dark chocolate chips (optional, for drizzle)

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl mix all of the ingredients together aside from the chocolate chips.
  2. Once everything is incorporated well take a 1 tablespoon sized cookie scoop and scoop out balls of the mixture. Use your hands to roll them into compacted balls and set aside of parchment or wax paper.
  3. Once you have all of the balls formed place them in the refrigerator to firm up. While they’re firming up take your chocolate chips and melt according to the directions on the bag until chocolate is smooth (I melted mine in the microwave).
  4. When the chocolate is all melted and smooth take you energy balls from the refrigerator and drizzle with a spoon the chocolate on top of the balls.
  5. Place the freshly drizzled balls back into the refrigerator for about 10-15mins to let the chocolate set. You can store these in the fridge or in an airtight container outside of the fridge. They taste great cold or at room temperature!

 

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

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Ok, guys. I have tweaked my back again and have shooting nerve pain constantly shooting down my leg. Ugh! I spent my entire weekend nursing my back. It is a itty, tiny bit better…I think. Ironically standing and moving around isn’t the most painful. Sitting down is. Work today is going to be torture I’ve decided (corporate job, sitting all day – you get the jest).

Anyways, I decided to make an antioxidant rich smoothie bowl this weekend with pitaya aka: dragon fruit. I figure the more antioxidants and super-foods I can get into my body the faster my body will heal. Speaking of my back again, you’ll never guess how I tweaked it! I was bending over to put my shoes on and then I sneezed. That’s it, that’s all I did. Crazy, right?! Granted, I already have had a bad back for the past 7yrs or so, but seriously… Sneezing can cause a strained muscle, which in turn then causes inflammation and presses on my sciatic nerve causing all this crazy pain. So the moral of this story is treat your back right while it’s still good. Do your yoga and core exercises regularly and lift heavy objects with your knees, not your back.

Ok, so back to this smoothie bowl. It’s delish, packed with antioxidants and as a bonus it’s pretty! Smoothie bowls seem more like a treat to me than a smoothie. Maybe it’s because I’m eating it with a spoon and it reminds me of a frozen treat.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup frozen mango
  • 1 frozen pitaya pouch
  • 1/4 Cup – 1/2 Cup boxed coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 T honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • Toppings of choice (bee pollen, coconut flakes, chia seeds, nuts, sliced fruit, etc.)

Directions

  1. Place everything in your blender and blend well. If the mixture seems too thick add a bit more milk. If you prefer it to be sweeter add a bit more sweetener, blend again and taste to see if it is to your liking.
  2. The mixture should be thick enough to spoon it, a bit thicker than what a smoothie would be. Scrape out the smoothie into a bowl.
  3. Add whatever toppings you like. I sprinkled a bit of bee pollen, unsweetened coconut flakes and chia seeds on top of mine. Get creative and enjoy!

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

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Let’s talk biscuits today! Flaky, tender, buttermilk biscuits. A good buttermilk biscuit pulls on my heart strings. I immediately get taken back to my childhood. We would have biscuits for breakfast with eggs and bacon or sausage. We would have biscuits for dinner served with sausage gravy. We would have biscuits as a dessert with some butter and honey or jam.

Basically I ate a lot of biscuits growing up. I have zero biscuit regrets!

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The only thing that has changed from my childhood biscuits to the biscuits I make as an adult for my children is the quality of ingredients. As a kid growing up on a farm we had cheap, refined white flour. Flour was flour, right? Now, I only use unbleached flour with no added in suspicious ingredients. Organic is even better. Bobs Red Mill flour is typically what I use.

Growing up a common ingredient used was shortening or lard. You get nice flaky biscuits this way! Again, it was cheap and it worked. Butter works just as well if not better, but we saw using so much butter in a dough as a waste. Why waste the butter in a dough when you can use it to smear onto the finished biscuit? I use a good quality butter such as Kerrygold butter. This butter is made from grass-fed cows and the taste is superb. I believe happy and healthy cows will produce a much higher quality milk/butter than sad, unhealthy cows. The same goes for buttermilk. Get a good quality thick buttermilk.

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Can you see those little chunks of butter in the dough above? Those are the secret weapons that make a flaky biscuit! Here are a couple of tips to making awesome biscuits. First, make sure everything is very cold. Your butter, buttermilk, eggs, even the bowl you mix it in. Cold = good. Next tip is how you “cut in” the butter. You can cut up the butter into little squares before you mix it with the flour. Or you use a cheese grater and grate your butter as if it was a block of cheese. The cheese grater trick works great! Just remember to keep your butter cold before cutting or grating.

I use a pastry blender to “cut in” the butter to the flour. This the easiest and most efficient way to do this. Push down the butter into the flour with with pastry blender. Move it all around to incorporate the butter and flour all the while you are pushing (aka: cutting) the butter into the flour. After you do that you will end up with a buttery ball of tacky dough like shown above. Now after the butter has been cut in you will want to cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 45mins to chill the dough. You can leave it overnight and have the dough ready to roll out in the morning for quick homemade biscuits.

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Here’s the dough after it’s been chilled. My daughter is helping me “smoosh” out the dough. I tape down some parchment paper to a clean a counter (this makes clean up so much faster) and sprinkle some flour onto the parchment paper and flour my hands. Then I plop the buttery dough ball down onto the floured surface. I knead the dough and add a sprinkle of flour as I go until the dough is no longer tacky. This doesn’t take long. A couple of minutes worth of kneading should get the job done. I don’t use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. The dough is tender enough to do this by hand. I generally shape it into a circle with it being about 1/4 of an inch thick.

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Use a biscuit cutter and cut out the biscuits. Quick tip: Always flour your biscuit cutter before cutting out the biscuits and re-flour it as you go to prevent sticking. After I cut out first set of biscuits I gather up the dough scraps and re-roll out. I do this no more than 2 times or the dough will become too worked and warm.

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Brush the tops with an egg wash mixture. This gives them that nice golden color while baking. I place the cut out biscuits fairly close together. This guarantees a higher rise on the biscuits.

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And there ya go! Fresh, hot, buttermilk biscuits. Ready to be devoured.

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Look at that tender, flaky goodness! My mouth is watering all over again.

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So there you have it. Homemade southern buttermilk biscuits. Cut them in half and serve with a pat of butter. Or my personal favorite way: a pat of butter and drizzle of honey! Or make up a skillet full of sausage gravy to serve over the biscuits. The possibilities are endless. I will have to share my sausage gravy recipe with y’all later. I promise it will be worth the wait!

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 sticks or 24 Tablespoons very cold, salted butter (grated or cut into small cubes)
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1.5 Cups buttermilk, plus 1 T

Directions

  1. In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.
  2. Take the grated or cubed butter and cut into the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender  to cut in the butter with the flour until the dough comes together and the butter is pea sized.
  3. In a separate small bowl beat 2 of the eggs. Pour the eggs in with the dough and fold in well with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated.
  4. Pour in the 1.5 cups of buttermilk into the dough mixture. Mix until well combined and the dough is tacky. If it seems too dry add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk at a time and mix well until dough becomes sticky/tacky.
  5. Cover the bowl and place into the fridge for a minimum of 45mins or up to overnight.
  6. After dough has chilled for at least 45mins, pre-heat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. While oven is heating, tape down a good sized sheet of parchment paper onto your work surface (or make sure work surface is very clean). Sprinkle a liberal amount of flour on to parchment paper covered work surface. Plop dough down into the center of the floured work area.
  8. Flour hands and knead the dough until it’s easy to work with and no longer sticky. You may need to add a sprinkle of flour. This should only take a minute or 2 to have the dough come together.
  9. Start pressing out and shaping the dough into a circle that comes out to be 1/4 of an inch thick.
  10. Flour your biscuit cutter and cut out biscuits. Place the cut out biscuits close together onto lined baking sheet. Take the excess dough pieces and re-roll back out to another circle and cut out biscuits again. You can do this one more time if need be.
  11. Take the last egg and beat in a small bowl with the tablespoon of buttermilk. Brush the egg mixture onto the top of each biscuit.
  12. Place baking sheet of biscuits onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15-20 or until golden brown.
  13. Take the baking sheet out of the oven to cool for 10mins. Now, enjoy the biscuits while still warm. Best served with butte and/or honey.