Almond and Pecan Granola

Granola has been on my list of things to experiment with for age and I have finally got there.


Ever since I started making my own muesli bars and having them as a snack crumbled over yoghurt, I have seen the need for homemade granola in my life. Even though the muesli bars, when crumbled are essentially granola, I needed a more nutritionally sound version, which didn’t have chocolate and butter as ingredients, so it could be a healthy, family friendly breakfast option.



Claire (2 and a half) has always been a bit funny with breakfast and especially so since the arrival of her little sister Elise, 3 weeks ago. I am yet to find a fool proof breakfast that she will happily eat most days without a 30-40 minute nagging and bribing ordeal. I am hoping that this granola is a solution, as she enjoys my muesli bars with yoghurt. Fingers crossed!!


The key ingredients to a granola are:

Oats – old fashioned rolled oats. These provide a low GI source of carbohydrates and soluble fibre.

Nuts/Seeds – these can be any type of nut or seed that you have on hand. Today I have used almonds, pecans, peptitas, sunflower seeds and buckwheat groats. Nuts and seeds provide a good source of protein to help to keep you full.

Fats/oil – Fats and oils help the granola to clump together and contributes, along with the sweetener, to the caramelisation. I have used coconut oil this time, but I am keen to try olive oil at a later date. You could also use butter, but the oils will make the granola more crispy.

Sweetness – the natural sweetener or sugar adds to the crispiness and caramelisation of the granola. I have opted for natural sweetness so have used dates soaked in boiling water combined with freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and coconut oil. I love the natural sweetness that dates soaked in boiling water gives – its something that I use often when baking as well. Other options for sweetness include honey, brown sugar and rice malt syrup.

Flavour – this includes spices, salt and vanilla, which are all added in small amounts, but together complement and enhance the flavour of the base ingredients. Dried fruit can also be added to granola, but is best added at the end, once the granola is out of the oven. I have opted for no dried fruit in this batch.



Enjoy xx.


  • 3 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 50g dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped)


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Chop the dates and place into a small bowl, add boiling water and set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. Place oats, nuts, seeds and coconut into large bowl and mix to combine.
  4. Mix cinnamon, ginger and salt in a small bowl and add to oat mixture once combined and stir well.
  5. Once the dates have sat for 10 minutes, add the orange juice and maple syrup and using a stick mixer, blend until smooth. Place this mixture into a small saucepan along with the coconut oil and vanilla and heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
  6. Pour oil mixture into the oats and stir well, ensuring that the dry mix is thoroughly coated.
  7. Spread out onto prepared baking tray and bake for ~30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the tray in the oven after 20-25 minutes to allow the granola to cook evenly.
  8. Once cooked, allow the granola to cool completely before placing into a container. If you want large clusters, then the less handling the better.
  9. Serve with yoghurt and fruit for a delicious breakfast or snack.


Homemade Yoghurt

Yoghurt is a staple in our house, and most weeks we will go through 2-3kg between the four of us, which becomes costly, spending at least $15 per week on yoghurt alone. So, late last year, I decided to purchase a yoghurt maker, it was around $50 and to make 1kg costs about $1.50 plus electricity, so it has already paid itself off.


The yoghurt maker I bought was this one from Little Green Workshops, a company based in Queensland. A yoghurt maker is pretty much just a temperature controlled vessel, and is designed to keep the yoghurt at a set temperature for the culture to develop for a period of time. You could do this without a yoghurt maker and use an oven or similar, but a yoghurt maker is much easier.




The ingredients are simple, milk and starter culture. You can use any type of milk you like, but so far I have only used full cream milk, but from what I have read, coconut milk makes a really good coconut yoghurt if you have issues with dairy or are vegan. You can buy starter culture or you can use a bought yoghurt that contains culture or use some of the previous batch, which is what I do. I have a designated jar that I put ~1/2 a cup of yoghurt into as soon as it is made and store it in the fridge for the next batch. This minimises any contamination from spoons being dipped in and out of the tub.


Getting a nice thick yoghurt can take a bit of practise. A lot of recipes will say to add in 1/2 cup of milk powder per batch to thicken it up, which works, but I prefer the taste without the milk powder (as do the kids). Another option is to strain the yoghurt through a tea towel or muslin. This allows the whey to strain out, leaving a thicker yoghurt, which is how Greek style yoghurt is made. I usually only strain it for 5-10 minutes, but if you want a really thick yoghurt, strain it for longer. I have used the strained whey in bread and it makes no difference to the loaf, just adds a bit more protein.




Each batch I make is ~2kg. I will divide this into 2 x 1kg tubs, one which is left as natural yoghurt for cooking and for the kids, and then the other tub has some flavour added to it. The flavour can be anything you like, but my go to flavours are raspberry, apple and cinnamon, mixed berry or vanilla bean.


If you have considered purchasing a yoghurt maker, I highly recommend it, you will not only save money, you will also realise how easy it is to make yoghurt just as you like it.

Enjoy xx.


Makes 2kg

  • 2L full cream milk (or other milk)
  • 1/2 cup bought yoghurt or yoghurt from a previous batch

Apple and Cinnamon Flavour (per kg)

  • 1/2 cup stewed apples
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Raspberry/Mixed Berry (per kg)

  • 1/2 cup fresh/frozen berries
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Vanilla Bean (per kg)

  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbs pure maple syrup


  1. Pour milk into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Using a digital thermometer, bring the temperature to 88°C.
  2. Carefully pour the hot milk into a large bowl. Place the bowl into a sink full of cold water to cool the milk down. Using a digital thermometer, reduce the temperature to below 43°C.
  3. Once cooled, pour the milk into the yoghurt maker, along with 1/2 cup starter and stir gently to combine. Place the lids on the yoghurt maker, turn on and leave for 8-12 hours.
  4. Remove from the yoghurt maker and immediately scoop out ~1/2 a cup of yoghurt and place into a sterilised glass jar to use as starter for the following batch. Refrigerate starter and yoghurt.
  5. Once cool, if you would like to increase the consistency of the yoghurt, place a tea towel or muslin cloth over a colander and place the colander in a bowl. Pour the yoghurt into the cloth and allow to strain until desired consistency is reached. Place into tubs, flavour as desired and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  6. Apple and Cinnamon Flavour: Using a stick mixer, blend the stewed apples and cinnamon to a puree. Mix through the yoghurt
  7. Raspberry/Mixed Berry Flavour: Using a stick mixer, blend the berries (if using frozen, allow to defrost) and maple syrup to a coulis and mix through the yoghurt. Add more maple syrup if desired.
  8. Vanilla Bean Flavour: Place the vanilla bean paste and maple syrup into a bowl and mix well to combine, then mix through the yoghurt.

Bircher Muesli

As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and making breakfast a wholesome, nourishing meal like bircher muesli is sure to keep you going.


Many of my clients ask me what is a good alternative to porridge in Summer and I have 2 main answers 1. Natural muesli and 2. Bircher muesli, and this is because they both contain oats, which are full of fibre, vitamins and minerals and they are low glycemic index, so have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and provide a greater satisfaction than something like a flaky cereal. When making a batch, portion out the same amount of oats you would if you were making porridge – I recommend about 1/3 cup raw oats per person, which once soaked would become about 2/3 cup.


Traditionally, a bircher muesli is made with apple juice or similar to soak overnight, but I personally think that it is too sweet made with juice and it just provides excess sugar that is not needed as you can get the flavour from spices, yoghurt and fresh fruit.


Of late, I have been having a bit of a struggle with finding something that the kids will consistently eat well and in a timely manner for breakfast, but 3 days in and bircher is still looking good. Marks is gone literally in a couple of minutes and he asks for more, and Claire does pretty well also.


A normal muesli can get a bit boring day in day out, so why not mix it up every now and then. Bircher takes a little bit more planning and preparation than normal muesli, but it is well worth it. And the best thing is that it can become a different breakfast with the simple substitution of different spices, nuts, fresh fruit or yoghurt that is added. My favourite topping is 1-2 dessert spoons of natural yoghurt, stewed peaches (with a little bit of rosewater added) and 1 tbs of mixed nuts and seeds. I usually toast up a combination of sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and shredded coconut and add about 1 tbs to my bowl in the morning. These will keep well in an airtight container indefinitely.

Enjoy xx


Serves 6

  • 2 cups traditional rolled oats
  • 2 apples or pears, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (or mixed spice)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • Water
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  • Toasted nuts, seeds and shredded coconut, to serve
  • Fresh fruit, to serve


The night before:

  1. Place oats, cinnamon and sultanas into a ceramic bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Add grated apple or pear and mix. Add enough water so that it just comes to the top of the oats and mix well to combine.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. This will keep for about 4-5 days in the fridge. The apple will start to go brown, but to prevent this, you can add the juice of 1/2 a lemon into the mix.

In the morning:

  1. Portion out about 2/3 cup of bircher muesli mix into a bowl.
  2. Top with 2 dessertspoons of yoghurt.
  3. Add fruit of your choice (I like fresh berries or stewed stone fruit).
  4. Sprinkle with ~ 1 tbs of toasted nuts, seeds and coconut.




Pancakes are a special breakfast in our household and they are an absolute hit!


They are simple to prepare and can still be a healthy breakfast option if made correctly. I use wholemeal flour and don’t add any sugar to the mix and I always make sure we have them with fruit and yoghurt to make sure that the kids get some protein and fruit in to keep them going.


The difference between thick and thin pancakes is literally the difference between using plain flour or self raising flour. This recipe makes thick, fluffy pancakes, but if you’d prefer more crepe style, thinner pancakes that you can roll, then substitute the SR flour for plain flour and add some more milk.


You can also use any fruit you wish as the topping.

Enjoy xx


Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal SR flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

For the topping:

  • Natural yoghurt
  • 3/4 cup berries, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted


  1. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium sized bowl. Make a well in the centre and add lightly beaten egg and milk. Using a whisk, stir until well combined and the mixture is smooth. Leave the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the fruit. Chop all the fruit and mix together in a bowl. Set aside until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to warm setting, ~50-70°C.
  4. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat and add coconut. Cook until golden, stirring to prevent burning. Place into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Using the sam frypan, cook the pancakes. Place a ladle full of mixture into the frypan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble. Using a spatula or egg lifter, flip the pancake and cook for a further 1-2 minutes on the other side. Place onto a plate in the oven and repeat with remaining mixture.
  6. To assemble, place pancakes onto plates, top with 1-2 dessertspoons of yoghurt, 1-2 dessertspoons of fruit, a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of coconut.





French Toast

My family seem to be creatures of habit when it comes to breakfast, alternating between muesli and porridge in Winter or bircher muesli in Summer and often toast for the kids afterwards. So, each week, I try to mix up our breakfast to give the kids something special and have a nice family brekky. The go to is usually pancakes, but it could also be eggs or, in this case, french toast. All of these options are winners with the kids.


I like french toast from a nutritional perspective because it makes a piece of toast much more nourishing, adding protein and often more vitamins and minerals if fruit or veggies are added on top. I’m regularly telling clients to swap their 2 pieces of toast with vegemite at breakfast for something more balanced and filling. Suggestions often include 1 slice of toast with avocado, cheese and tomato, french toast or 2 eggs on 1 slice of toast, so at least there is some protein in the topping and something of substance to help keep them full for more than an hour. By soaking a slice of bread in egg and milk then frying it, nutritionally, it’s actually not too dissimilar to a slice of toast topped with a scrambled egg.


French toast can be had sweet or savoury. In this case, I have opted for the sweet variety, but keeping the added and refined sugar to a minimum. For the bread, I have used a loaf of wholegrain fruit bread that I made in the bread maker, but a bought fruit loaf is fine, just look for a sourdough or wholegrain fruit loaf as it will be lower GI, which will keep you fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels more stable.


Enjoy xx


Serves 4

  • 4 slices of wholegrain or sourdough fruit bread
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup of reduced fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  • 2 cups Mixed berries, fresh or frozen, to serve
  • Pure maple syrup to serve


  1. Cut 4 x 1.5cm slices of fruit bread.
  2. To make the egg mix, place eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and whisk well to combine. Pour into a shallow dish big enough to fit a slice of bread.
  3. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat.
  4. Place one slice of bread into the egg mix and allow to sit for ~ 30 seconds, turn it over and soak the other side for a further 30 seconds. The bread will be quite soggy, be careful not to over soak it as it will fall apart.
  5. Transfer the slice of bread to the hot frypan and cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining slices.
  6. When cooked, place onto plate and top with 1-2 dessert spoons of natural yoghurt, 1/2 cup of mixed berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

**If you want this to be less healthy and extra indulgent, once removing from the frypan, rub ~1/2 tbs of butter into the toast and sprinkle with 1 tsp cinnamon sugar (1/2 tsp castor sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon) before adding the berries and yoghurt.

Orange and Cardamom Porridge


Porridge is a Winter staple. It warms you from the inside out, it’s filling, it’s hearty and it’s SO good for you.


I do love porridge, but to be honest, I don’t cook it as much as I should. As far as the kids go, Mark loves it and will happily inhale a bowlful, Claire, on the other hand, much prefers muesli, yoghurt and fruit. Aaron will have a lot more porridge over Winter to help to warm him up after his morning swim in the bay – no wetsuit….crazy!!!


Now, I don’t really like the term superfood, but if I were to select a superfood, oats would be one. They are low GI, so they keep your blood sugars stable as well as keeping you full. They are a great source of soluble fibre, which helps to keep your gut healthy, drawing more water into the gastrointestinal tract and the beta glucans (sugars found in the cell wall of plants, including oats) can help to lower cholesterol. If you have the choice between quick oats and rolled oats, choose the rolled oats, nutritionally, they’re much better for you.


Many people love porridge as it is, but I do like to mix it up occasionally to keep it exciting. Quantity wise, I usually allocate about 1/3 cup (raw oats) per person as porridge it deceptively filling. I have used the seeds out of the cardamom pod to give the flavour, but ground cardamom will work just as well. If we have chia seeds, I will always add some of these to our porridge to give an extra source of protein, essential fatty acids (omega 3’s) and fibre.

Last night, I stewed some rhubarb with orange zest and juice, so this accompanied the porridge quite well.

Enjoy xx


Serves 3

  • 1 cup traditional rolled oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • Zest of 1 orange, cut off in thick strips
  • Seeds of 1 cardamom pod, finely crushed or 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • Roasted slivered almonds, toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds to serve


  • 1 bunch rhubarb, cut into 5cm lengths
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod or 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbs castor sugar
  • 1 tbs water


  1. To make the rhubarb, finely grate the zest of 1 orange and place into a medium saucepan with rhubarb, water, sugar, vanilla and juice.
  2. Place over medium heat and allow to boil. Stir gently. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until rhubarb is tender, ~5 minutes. NOTE: Rhubarb will cook very quickly and will turn to mush, so if you want it to hold it’s shape, keep an eye on it.
  3. Once cooked, place into an airtight container and refrigerate until needed.
  4. To make the porridge, place oats, cardamom and orange zest into a small saucepan, top with water and 3/4 cup of milk and allow to soak for 15 minutes (if you are short on time, you can cook straight away).
  5. Place saucepan over medium heat, add the chia seeds, stir and bring to the boil, stirring to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat once the porridge it hot and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add remaining milk and cook until oats are soft and at the consistency you prefer. Remove the chunks of orange zest.
  6. Divide between 3 bowls and top with rhubarb, some of the rhubarb juice, toasted almonds, sunflower seeds and coconut. Add more milk if desired

Carrot and Blueberry Muffins


Another batch of healthy muffins, another hit with the kids! These are great for kids (and adults) of all ages and make a great lunchbox snack.


Most Fridays I try to bake something for the kids, with the kids to make snacks easy over the weekend. By encouraging them to help me (not that they need much encouragement), I find that they are more willing to eat whatever it is that has been cooked. It also helps to teach them the basics of food and that food doesn’t need to come out of a packet, not that my kids have much packeted food, which I’m sure they think they miss out…one day they’ll realise!


Muffins are a great snack where vegetables can be included along with fruit to make them super tasty. And even though the kids see the veggies going into them, they are not deterred at all. These particular muffins are pretty much a healthy carrot cake with some blueberries added. Top it off with cream cheese icing and everybody’s tummy is happy.


Peeling the carrot is very important when making any sort of muffin or cake containing carrot. If you don’t remove the skin, once baked, the carrot skin can start to turn green, making it look like mould. So to avoid any confusion, take the time to peel the carrots.


Whenever I make muffins, I use my trusty silicone patty pans, which are obviously reusable, but also only hold about 1/2 a cup of mixture, so are a perfect size. And, at this size they also make a good breakfast option (maybe without the cream cheese icing) served with a couple of dollops of natural yoghurt and a cup of tea. If you are serious about having these for breakfast, you could replace half of the flour with rolled oats to make them more wholesome and filling.


These muffins will keep well for about 4 days in the fridge or will also freeze really well.

Enjoy xx


Makes 16 muffins

  • 2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6-8 dried dates, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (in juice NOT syrup)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 125g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbs milk


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line muffin tins with patty pans.
  2. Place the dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water (~1-2 tbs) and leave for 10 minutes to rehydrate.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Add the eggs, oil and milk and stir well.
  4. Add the grated carrot, dates (including liquid), blueberries, pineapple and walnuts and mix to combine. Do not over mix or the mixture will turn blue from the blueberries.
  5. Divide mixture between patty pans and cook for ~25 minutes until they spring back when touched. Allow to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, prepare the cream cheese icing by beating cream cheese and icing sugar with an electric beater until smooth. Add in milk and beat for another minute and spread thinly over muffins.