Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sports candy - or otherwise known as 'fruit and nut balls'

Giggle and Hoot are a hit in our house. The other morning Hoot and Jimmy were talking about 'sports candy' aka bananas. I am not a lover of bananas at the best of times, let alone when snacks are needed in the car or  stroller - way too stinky and messy. But I thought the concept wasn't bad - make healthy things the desirable option!

A few weeks ago we went to North Queensland for a holiday and a number of the cafes stocked these yummy fruity and nutty balls - Bliss Balls. Zara thought they were delicious so yesterday afternoon we experimented! I haven't included any cacao in my version but I am sure some good quality dutch coco powder would add a nice depth to this tasty treat. The quantities below are very rough - simply change it as you want.

Here goes - Hegerty Sports Candy

You can skip the steps to toast the nuts if you want. But I am a firm believer that nuts taste much better once they have been lightly toasted - especially if you think they might not be super fresh.

1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pepita
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 good handfuls of juicy sultanas
2 good handfuls of dates
2 good handfuls of cranberries
desiccated coconut

  1. Toast the almonds on the stove in a fry pan. You will need to swirl the pan constantly otherwise they will burn. It will only take a few minutes. (Otherwise you could toast in the oven at 180 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes - just watch them as they will cook really quickly).
  2. Toast the pepita and sunflower seeds on the stove in a fry pan. As per step 1.
  3. Once the toasted nuts have cooled put them in a food processor with the dried fruit.
  4. Pulverize the nuts and dried fruit - adjust the consistency as required. It will need to be moist enough to roll. If it is too moist add some desiccated coconut. If it is to dry add more fruit.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls - ideally about the size of a 5 cent piece.  
  6. Roll the small balls in desiccated coconut.
  7. Store in the fridge and enjoy!

The finished product! 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Promised a healthy cake to a 2 year old but our chickens haven't produced any eggs

So I deleted the earlier version of this post by accident... need to learn how to use the Blogger mobile app and my laptop at the same time. Probably didn't help that Hugo was screaming at me... as it turns out I am a blogging idiot.

Zara, Hugo and I on a Friday head to "Paint and Play" - a fabulous free initiative held in parks around Canberra. Zara loves going to "paint and play" and according to her play dough and painting are the "best". And seeing her "friends" is great. Mind due "friends" at this stage just seem to be other small people who look at each other and smile. This week was better than normal because there was a visit from a fire truck. No ordinary fire truck it came - complete with flashing lights, sirens and water. The kids could even climb into the truck and pretend they were firemen... Zara was a little scared of this and was happy just to watch.

To convince Zara to have her afternoon nap (without protest) I promised her that when she woke up there would be cake... after a quick trip to the fridge and then the chicken house I realised this might not be so easy so much for last weeks repair job. We had no eggs - silly mummy don't promise something you might not be able to deliver.

We have three chickens - Nugget, Korma and Tikka who up until recently have reliably laid eggs. Previously when we have had egging issues all instances could be attributed to our four legged friends who like to get into the chicken house and steal eggs. Last weekend after finding a few new holes around the pen it got "fixed".... However it appears the repair job had worked but the girls have just stopped laying.

So after a quick bit of research I found some options for egg substitution... Now this cake could have gone really badly because not only was I experimenting with egg substitutes but we also had a new packet of Natvia - a sugar substitute to try. I have seen a number of recipes on Sugar Free Kids that use this product and thought it was worth a go, if it was healthier and less calories.

Fruit and nut loaf

Fruit and nut loaf

60g margarine
350g dried fruit (sultanas and prunes) roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 small pears grated
1/2 teaspoon of bicarb
1 cup Natvia Sugar Substitute
1/2 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and prepare a loaf pan (grease and line with baking paper).
  2. Sour milk by adding vinegar to the skim milk.
  3. Put the margarine, dried fruit, pears and boiling water on the stove in a pot. Bring to the boil. Once the fruit is plump and the margarine melted take of the heat.
  4. Stir through the bicarb - it will foam and this is good.
  5. In a mixing bowl put the Natvia, flour, walnuts and spices. Stir in the fruit mix and milk. Combine well.
  6. Put into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until it is cooked through.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Sneaky melting moments

Our house has been on a diet for the past 3 months and we are about to enter another round next week so now is my chance to make some sneaky lemon melting moments. We have an informal house rule  - no using the kitchen aid therefore no treats! A major change from the normal 2 to 3 baked goods a week coming from our kitchen.

Michelle Bridges your 12 week challenge rocks and we have been pretty religious following the rules but you need a blow out every now and then... A little bit of the challenge has rubbed of by making these biscuits in mini.

I have been dreaming of making and eating melting moments for weeks and with our lemon tree laden I could not resist any longer. The lemons this year have been hit and miss (some rock hard and others juicy). Probably has something to do with the general neglect our tree has faced - other than the random pee from the boys of our house (scientifically proven to help).

Lemon Melting Moments Recipe
Makes 16 mini biscuits

180g butter
60g icing sugar
60g custard powder (Birds works well)
180g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

100g butter
2 cups icing sugar (may need more)
Juice of 2 lemons

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and prepare a biscuit trays.
2. Cream butter and icing sugar. Once combined slowly beat in the custard powder.
3. Slowly beat in flour and baking powder.
4. Make small balls (about the size of 10 cent piece) and push down lightly.
5. Bake for 15 mins - until golden brown. Transfer to a wire tray and cool.
6. For the icing - cream the butter and icing sugar, add the lemon juice. Transfer to a piping bag.
7. Once the biscuits have cooled pipe in the icing.