Apricot Energy Balls

I am pregnant – whoop! 17 weeks and counting and I have been craving peanut butter and jam sandwiches (something I would normally never eat). Not wanting to pick up all my pregnancy weight in one week, however, I have decided to make these nut butter and apricot energy balls.

They are a great remedy for constipation (thank you dried apricot), they taste like peanut butter and jam, if you use peanut butter instead of another nut butter (hooray) and they contain super healthy, calcium, iron and omega packed chia seeds.

Plus my Beanie-Bean loves them too.

These energy balls can be kept in an airtight container in a fridge or they can be frozen and defrosted when the craving hits.

Use gluten-free oats should you prefer gluten-free energy balls.

Ingredients:

  • 200g dried apricots
  • 50g blanched almonds (roughly chopped)
  • 50g dates (pitted and roughly chopped)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup nut butter (either Macadamia, Peanut or Almond)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut

Method:

  1. Place the almonds and oats in a food processor and pulse on a low speed until a fine crumb has formed
  2. Add the apricots, dates, chia seeds and nut butter and process further until a putty-like consistency has been reached
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl
  4. Spread the coconut onto a large plate
  5. Form little bite-sized balls by rolling the mixture between your hands
  6. Roll the balls in the coconut until they are evenly coated

Enjoy!

 

The Hunt for a Healthy Easter

When I was little, Easter was always a big celebration for the family. We would wake up, enjoy a large breakfast (my dad loved making us pancakes) and then head to church. Afterwards, the whole family would gather at one of our homes (we would alternate between my grandparents’, aunts’ & uncles’ and our’s), where all the cousins would wait in anticipation for the big Easter egg hunt, all of us ‘patiently’ hanging around outside. My grandmother would let us know that it was time to fetch our baskets by wildly running through the garden, trying to chase the Easter Bunny, calling on us to quickly look for the eggs.

Although I really want my son to have these amazing memories to look back on one day, I am very apprehensive about giving him a basket full of chocolate eggs to devour in one day.

(That was exactly what I did – and when they were all gone, my sister would get me to do her chores in exchange for her chocolates. My sister is cunning, I tell you. But, I digress.)

I have therefore come up with some healthy alternative treats, which he loves, and which will still allow him the excitement of an Easter egg hunt (without falling into the trap of bribery and corruption for the love of chocolate).

  1. Crunchy Oat Biscuit Easter Parcels

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I love these crunchy oat biscuits, not only because they are delicious, sweet and nutritious, but because Bean always helps me make the biscuits. For Easter, I decided to bake them in small ‘Easter’ themed baking cases, which I then wrapped in pieces of wax paper and tied with different colour ribbons.

Crunchy Oat Biscuit Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Almond Butter (any nut butter will work – I always choose an organic option which has no added salt and sugar)
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 cup (approx. 100gr) Dates (chopped and pitted)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Place a container with the almond butter into a bowl with warm water, allowing the butter to soften
  • Combine the oats and the dates into a mixing bowl
  • Mix the almond butter with the maple syrup and pour into the mixing bowl, mixing the wet and dry ingredients together well
  • Using your hands, roll equal amounts of dough into little balls and place these into the baking cases. Place the baking cases onto a baking sheet.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes
  • Allow the biscuits to cool
  • Place the cooled biscuits onto equally-sized square pieces of wax paper and wrap the wax paper using a ribbon

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Other treat suggestions for these Easter parcels are:

  1.  Refillable Easter Eggs

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I bought these cute little refillable eggs and plan on filling them with the following snacks:

  • Raisins
  • Cranberries
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts (broken into smaller pieces as they could be a choking hazard)
  • Popcorn (I make this using coconut oil and a low sulphur salt)
  • Pretzels
  • Blueberries

Bean loves opening containers and mixing all the ingredients together, so, for Easter, I plan on giving him a bowl so that he can mix his ‘own’ trail mix using the ingredients in the eggs.

The filled eggs also make fun rattles.

  1. Easter Toys

Instead of treats only (let’s be honest, a 2-year-old can only eat so much), I plan on hiding a few small gifts in the garden as well. As far as possible, I looked for Easter-themed toys, i.e. in the shape of a duckling or a rabbit, or with Easter-themed pictures stuck on the toy etc.

Here are some examples based on what Bean would love to find (note that these are only guidelines – you can get really creative and make something or buy different toys according to your child’s preferences):

  • Bubbles
  • Ball
  • Magic growing pets
  • Small stuffed toy
  • Rattles
  • Crayons (non-toxic) with an Easter-themed picture
  • Small Puzzle
  • Book
  • Play-doh
  • Stickers

It has been so much fun thinking of ideas to make this Easter special (yet still healthy) for Bean, instead of simply going to the shops to buy some chocolate eggs. I cannot wait to see the excitement on his face and his bubbly exclamations of,  ‘Wow!’ when he finds his treats.

Happy Easter all!

 

3 Ingredient Homemade Bread

This is such a quick, easy and versatile recipe for freshly baked bread, ideal for a picnic, a ‘braai’ or barbeque or simply because it’s so tasty and you feel like some bread. There is nothing better than biting into a warm slice of freshly baked bread, that delicious just-baked smell still wafting through the air, after all.

The base for the bread is really simple and the ‘flavour’ options are endless. I love making a raisin loaf if I feel like something sweeter, or a sweetcorn and cheese loaf for something a little more savoury. Making a kale and feta loaf is a great way to sneak in those extra greens into your child’s diet (with the added benefit of being able to serve up green bread).

I use the same recipe for savoury muffins as these are convenient to freeze and reheat as a quick meal or snack for Bean. Note: muffins only require 20 minutes in the oven. See recipe for Super Kale Muffins here.

Basic Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough) then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Raisin Loaf

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Ingredients:

  • Same ingredients as listed above
  • ½ cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1 cup raisins

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar/xylitol
  4. Add the egg, buttermilk & raisins and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough) then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Sweetcorn and Cheese Loaf

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Ingredients

  • Same ingredients as listed above
  • ¼ cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1 tin sweetcorn kernels (drained well)
  • 2 cups grated cheese (I use Cheddar but any hard cheese will do)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a regular sized bread tin (I like using coconut oil for this)
  3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar/xylitol
  4. Add the egg, buttermilk, corn & cheese and mix well
  5. Pour the mixture into the bread tin
  6. Place the tin into the oven and bake for approximately 75 minutes
  7. To test whether the bread is baked, poke a skewer, knife or toothpick into the centre of the bread – if it comes out clean (i.e. no sticky dough), then the bread in ready
  8. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container

Enjoy!

For more great recipes, click here.

Oh-So-Delicious Banana Muffins

These deliciously tasty, lemony and nutty banana muffins are Bean’s new favourite snack and my husband (who is not a fan of banana) steals one every now and again when he thinks I am not watching. They are super quick and easy to make and contain no added sucrose or dairy.

This recipe makes 9 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups regular cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup Xylitol
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • extra coconut oil
  • 3 bananas
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup chopped pecan nuts
  • 3 tbs almond milk

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Spread a thin layer of the extra coconut oil into the muffin tray
  • Combine the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • Mash the banana and add the lemon zest
  • Mix all the wet ingredients into the banana and zest mixture
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well
  • Place equal amounts of dough into the muffin tray
  • Place the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes
  • Once baked, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container

Enjoy!

 

Yummy Cheesy Scones

This recipe is based on my mother-in-law’s fail proof, easy-to-make recipe for scones. I simply changed the oil type and added in some cheese for flavour, so that Bean can eat them on their own as a snack or for breakfast. The scones take about 30 minutes to make and bake, so they are ideal for busy-body, on-the-go moms like myself and they are delicious: so much cheesy goodness! Best of all, this recipe has no sugar in it – so it is perfect for toddlers.

Recipe makes 6 scones.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • extra coconut oil
  • ¾ cup milk (estimate – see method below)
  • ½ cup grated cheese (cheddar or gouda)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C
  • Spread a thin layer of the extra coconut oil into the muffin tray
  • Combine the flour, baking powder and cheese in a mixing bowl
  • In a cup, add the coconut oil and the egg (beaten)
  • Top up the egg and coconut oil mixture with milk so that the combined mixture measures 1 cup.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix using a knife (this is important as the success of a well baked scone lies in the fact that the dough is not overworked).
  • Place equal amounts of dough into the muffin tray (although this is not the traditional way of baking scones, it does make the baking process a lot easier).
  • Place the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Once baked, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

They are great on their own or with jam and cream.

Enjoy and let me know how yours turned out!

Gluten & Diary Free Cinnamon Biscuits

I am one of those lucky moms who was blessed with a child who loves his food and because he is always hungry, I am constantly on the lookout for healthy snack ideas. Sadly, most ready-made snacks are packed full of added sugars or preservatives and so, I have recently started baking. For those of you who know me: do not fall off your chairs in shock as you read this – I have managed to find and create some fail proof recipes which are really easy to make!

When I told my sister and brother-in-law about this recipe, they wrinkled their noses in disgust. ‘Gluten and diary free biscuits? Poor Bean’, was all they managed to say, but Bean claps his hands excitedly every time I give him one, munching the whole biscuit in a matter of seconds. These biscuits are  not only tasty and healthy, my gluten and diary intolerant half brother can indulge in these as well. They are also quite soft, which makes them great teething biscuits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x cup almond flour
  • 1 x tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 x tsp (heaped) ground cinnamon
  • 1 x tsp baking powder
  • 1 x tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 x egg
  • 2 x tbsp good quality extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 x tbsp honey (for children 1 year and older – this can be replaced with 1 x tbsp apple puree or banana puree)
  • 1 x tbsp raisins

Method:

  • Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Combine all the dry ingredients and all the wet ingredients separately
  • Add the  wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well
  • Roll the mixture into little balls of equal size and place these balls onto the baking sheet, flatting them into a round biscuit shape using three fingers
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes
  • Let them cool down and place them in an airtight container for storage

Enjoy!