Gingerbread Cinnamon Scrolls

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With Christmas fast approaching and our house desperately needing some more snacks, I decided to add a bit of festivity to my usual cinnamon scroll recipe, and they were a hit!

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Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. The magic, the carols, the festivities, the catch ups and the food! Every year, I make a list of Christmas goodies to bake for us to enjoy at home and share with family and friends. When it comes to baking, spices, especially gingerbread spices, added to anything, really give off the feel of Christmas, which by the way, I love! This simple addition, really lifted these scrolls and I think they may become a regular on my baking list.

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These Gingerbread Cinnamon Scrolls, just like the plain cinnamon scrolls, are super easy to make and make an excellent lunchbox or after school snack, and are freezer friendly. Whenever I make a batch, we all have one and then the rest go straight into an airtight container and into the freezer. This means that they can be popped straight into kids lunch boxes and defrosted by lunchtime, as well as helping to keep everything cool. Or, if you’re at home, 10 seconds in the microwave is all it needs.

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My kids love scrolls (as do I!). I have made several different flavours over the 12+ months that I have been making these for and everytime, they are all gone within a week. If you’re yet to try them, I highly recommend these ones as a starting point!

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups SR flour
  • 90g butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1 tsp spice mix (see below)

Filling:

  • 3 tbs butter, softened
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbs spice mix (see below)

Spice Mix:

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

Glaze:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp spice mix
  • 1-2 tbs boiling water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place flour, spice mix and butter into a food processor and process on medium speed until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add currants and milk and process for 1-2 minutes until it forms a ball.
  3. Lightly flour bench top and tip out the dough. Roll the dough out to about a 45cm x 30cm rectangle or until the dough is about 0.5cm thick.
  4. Mix the softened butter and golden syrup until it forms a paste. Spread over the dough.
  5. Sprinkle the spice mix over the butter, leaving about a 1cm edge on the long side for rolling.
  6. To roll the dough, start at the long edge and roll tightly away from you.
  7. Cut into 1.5-2cm scrolls, and place onto prepared tray, leaving room to rise.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  10. While the scrolls are resting, prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar, golden syrup, spice mix and water into a small bowl. The glaze should be quite runny, so add more water if needed.
  11. Drizzle the glaze over the scrolls and enjoy warm or store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze.

Lemon and Raspberry Muffins

Muffins really are one of the best snacks for kids and adults alike and they can be packed full of goodness or just packed full of deliciousness if thats what you prefer.

The thing I like best about muffins is probably that they freeze really well, meaning I can make a batch and there isn’t the pressure to eat them all before they aren’t so good anymore. This allows variety throughout the weeks.

These lemon and raspberry muffins came about as we had a whole heap of lemons that Mum gave us and we had frozen raspberries in the freezer. If we had blueberries, they would have been lemon and blueberry muffins, which would also be a nice match. This is a really basic recipe and requires no beaters, just 2 bowls, one for wet and one for dry ingredients. I have used coconut oil, but you can use a vegetable oil if you prefer.

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The kids really liked these muffins, as they do any muffin. They are great for lunch boxes as they can go straight from the freezer and are defrosted by morning tea and help to keep the rest of the lunch box a little bit cool.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

Makes 18 muffins

  • 3 cups plain flour (you can use wholemeal)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g white sugar
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs natural yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare muffin tray.
  2. Place flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and mix to combine.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars until combined. Mix in the milk, lemon juice, yoghurt, zest and vanilla and mix to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and lightly mix. Add coconut oil and mix. Do not over mix.
  4. Gently fold in the raspberries and avoid over-mixing to avoid excess running of the raspberries.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins and flatten the top.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Broad Bean, Mint and Feta Dip

The broad beans in our garden have gone crazy in the past few weeks, so we have plenty to get through. This dip is a great way to use up a good amount of broad beans.

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Every year we have planted broad beans, we have had great success, although, they always seem to come later in Spring, making it tricky for getting the Summer veggies in. Some of our favourite ways to use broad beans are in a salad, in a Spring vegetable pasta dish or in our favourite meatball recipe out of Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook.

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I first made a dip similar to this a couple of years ago, but I have refined it and this recipe is the better version. It’s creamy, light and tasty with a hint of garlic, but not so much that it lingers for hours and a touch of mint which adds a freshness to the mouth, but not in the way that toothpaste does 🙂

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Broad beans have 2 shells, one which needs removing, one which doesn’t. The outer shell, which is really a pod and the inner shell, which is more visible once cooked or blanched, and does not need to be removed to be eaten. I normally leave this shell on as it provides extra fibre and it is quite time consuming to remove, but in this recipe, it needs to be removed….sorry!

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The kids have really enjoyed de-podding the broad beans and do an excellent job at it. I have been setting them up at the table with the scraps bin and a bowl and a pile of broad beans and they happily de-pod them all while I am in the kitchen cooking. Super helpful!

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This dip is great on its own with veggie sticks or crackers, as an addition to a cheese and dip platter, spread on bread or even dolloped on top of a cous cous salad.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 500g de-podded broad beans, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 100g smooth feta (I used Lemnos)
  • 2 tbs chopped mint
  • 1-2 tbs lemon juice
  • 20g grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Cover the broad beans with boiling water and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes. Refresh under cold water.
  2. Remove the shell of the broad beans. Keep the bean, discard the shell.
  3. Place the beans and remaining ingredients, except lemon juice into a food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides.
  4. Add 1 tbs of lemon juice and blitz again until well combined. Add more lemon juice until you have the desired consistency. It should be thick dip.
  5. Place into bowl and serve with veggie sticks and crackers.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Mango and Coconut Bliss Balls

You will probably find that most of the recipes for bliss balls have dates as the main base, which is fine as they work exceptionally well, however, it can leave all the different varieties having the same underlying taste.

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These Mango and Coconut Bliss Balls still have dates in them, they just also have dried mango as a large part of the base, giving them a more tropical flavour. This recipe was inspired by this one, and whenever I make bliss balls, I will (most times) add some rolled oats because the kids eat most of them and it helps to fill them up and provides some extra fibre and energy.

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The coconut in this recipe does not have to be toasted, but I would highly recommend it as the toasting process provides some caramelisation of the coconut, giving it a sweeter flavour, meaning that no other sweetness is needed aside from the dried fruit which makes up the base of these balls. This goes for the coconut used for rolling as well.

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I’m pretty sure I have mentioned in previous posts about bliss balls that my kids love them. They are a great snack and lunch box filler and excellent with a cuppa for the adults. They keep really well in both the fridge and freezer for quite some time and are a healthy snack. Having said this, they are still quite energy dense, so don’t get too carried away.

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I am yet to make these with the lime zest as limes are about $2.50 each at the moment and I refuse to pay that, but I think it will make a great addition.

Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

Makes ~18 balls

  • 3/4 cup nuts (I used cashews and almonds)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 75g medjool dates
  • 75g dried mango
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest, finely grated
  • 2 tbs cold water
  • Desiccated coconut, for rolling

Method:

  1. Cover the dried mango with boiling water and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Place the nuts in the food processor and whizz until they resemble coarse crumbs. Remove from food processor and set aside.
  3. Heat a small frypan over medium heat and place the shredded coconut in to toast. Keep and eye on this as it will only need about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat.
  4. Place dates and drained dried mango into food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Add nuts, coconut, lime zest and turmeric and whizz for 30 seconds. Add cold water as needed until the mixture comes together.
  5. Place into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.
  6. Meanwhile, toast the desiccated coconut by heating the frypan over medium heat and toasting until golden brown. Remove from heat.
  7. Remove the mixture from the fridge and using slightly wet hands, take teaspoons of mixture and form into balls. Roll in the coconut and repeat with remaining mixture.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Most people probably associate chickpeas with a hummus dip or an addition to a salad, but if you haven’t tried roasted chickpeas, you need to.

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Roasted chickpeas are a great snack, a good lunch box filler and a great addition to salads, stir fries and even a meaty dish. Chickpeas are a great vegetarian and vegan protein source, providing 15g per cup, and are also a good source of low GI carbohydrate (won’t spike blood sugar levels), fibre, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and potassium.

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My kids absolutely love roasted chickpeas, which are available at the supermarket and whole foods stores for a lot more than what it costs to make them at home. They can be a little bit time consuming, but they are easy to make and the bonus is that you can add whatever flavours you like to them. We like just salt, paprika or cumin, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t add a bit of chilli powder to spice them up or even some cinnamon for a sweeter touch.

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When I have been playing around trying to get these chickpeas right, I have found a couple of key things to do which help, but if you plan to eat them all within the day, then don’t waste your time:

  1. Once the chickpeas have been rinsed and drained, make sure you dry them really well with paper towel.
  2. Peel the chickpeas. Once again, not essential but will definitely help with making them really crispy.
  3. Allow to cool completely in the oven – don’t skip this step!

Add a tin of chickpeas to your grocery shop this week for an extra $1-2 and try this recipe this weekend. You’ll thank me!

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Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Seasonings such as smoked paprika, cumin, chilli powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  3. Thoroughly dry the chickpeas with paper towel. Some of the skins will start to come off during this drying process, the more you can remove now, the crispier they will be.
  4. Place chickpeas into a bowl, add olive oil and salt and toss well to coat. Place onto prepared baking tray and place into the oven. Bake for 60 minutes, shaking around after 30 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour in the oven.
  5. Remove from the oven and add desired flavours and toss well to coat.
  6. Add to salads or use as a snack.
  7. These will keep well for 4-5 days in a container with the lid slightly ajar – exposure to air will help to keep the chickpeas dry.

Nut Free, Lunchbox Friendly Muesli Bars

For quite sometime, I have been thinking about changing the way I make my Muesli Bars. I find that the baked ones are sometimes perfect and cut into nice muesli bar shaped pieces and other times they crumble, so I wanted to make a reliable muesli bar, one that cuts perfectly everytime, and here we have it!

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This muesli bar does not need to be baked, it sets in the fridge and it is also nut free, meaning it is suitable for kids to take to kinder or school, and perfectly safe for those allergic to nuts, which is great. You can, of course, add nuts in in place of some of the seeds if you wish, which I personally think makes them better and also makes a more solid bar when cut.

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It took me a couple of goes to get these right and there are a few key things to note:

  1. Coconut oil, alone, will not set well enough to hold together, it needs something else, which is why I have used butter and honey.
  2. Honey that has crystallised, needs to be heated and boiled for about 1 minute in order to get the crystals back into solution to help it to hold the mixture together well. One batch I made, the crystallised honey was not heated well enough and this batch crumbled when cut.
  3. The mixture needs to be pushed down very firmly into the pan with the back of a spoon before placing into the fridge to set.

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Seeing as these muesli bars aren’t cooked, you can use any dried fruit. I find with the baked muesli bars that sometimes the dried fruit can go a bit too crunchy and almost burn. I have used dried blueberries and cranberries, but dried apricots, sultanas, dates or even apple would work well also. I have included some dark chocolate in these muesli bars, which melts when the hot mixture is added, making them taste a little bit like a chocolate crackle, but this is optional. You could also omit the chocolate in the mix and melt and drizzle it over the finished bar.

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My kids love my homemade muesli bars, and the first time I made a refrigerated batch, they had nuts in them and Mark tried them and said “Mum, can I take these to kinder”?, and my response was obviously “No, they have nuts in them”, which is where the motivation for these muesli bars came from.

Give these a go and you’ll probably find you won’t buy muesli bars again.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats, toasted
  • 1 cup puffed brown rice (rice bubbles will work also)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/3 cup pepitas, toasted
  • 1/4 cup linseed
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 tbs sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 blueberries, 1/2 cranberries)
  • 70g dark chocolate, chopped (optional)
  • 85g butter
  • 60g coconut oil
  • 105g honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a slice tray 20cm x 30cm with baking paper.
  2. Place oats, sunflower seeds and pepitas onto the tray and toast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Add the coconut for the last 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it. This adds some crunch to these ingredients, but can be skipped.
  3. Place toasted oats, seeds and coconut into a large bowl and add the linseed, chia seeds, sesame seeds, puffed rice, dried fruit and chocolate and mix.
  4. Place butter, honey and coconut oil into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once coconut oil and butter are melted, bring to a gentle simmer and allow to simmer for at least 1 minute, ensuring honey has dissolved.
  5. Pour honey mixture into the oat mixture and mix well, ensuring the wet mix coats the dry mix well.
  6. Place into lined tin and press into the tin well with the back of a spoon.
  7. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight then cut into bars.
  8. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

ANZAC biscuits

Anzac biscuits….A classic biscuit that have stood the test of time. Delicious! Simple! Lasts ages! Lots of boxes ticked. Last time I made ANZAC biscuits, I added some chocolate and they were great, recipe here.

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As most people are aware, the good old ANZAC biscuit is associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, which were established during World War 1. The ingredients used in ANZAC biscuits do not spoil easily and transport well, so were made by women back home and sent as a food source to the soldiers fighting at war. Today, ANZAC biscuits are made for enjoyment and commonly sold all year round.

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The ingredients are oats, flour, sugar, coconut, golden syrup, butter, water and bicarb soda. Once combined, these biscuits will last for quite sometime and I’d be very surprised if an ANZAC biscuit ever went bad, unless it wasn’t cooked properly.img_0188.jpg

There are 2 types of ANZAC biscuits that people migrate to – crunchy/crispy or chewy. If you like your biscuits crunchy, then I suggest flattening the mixture out to a thinner biscuit before cooking and make sure they are golden before taking them out of the oven. If you prefer them chewy, then don’t flatten them out before cooking and cook them for a few minutes less. Everybody can be happy!

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I’ve always been amazed at the ‘science’component to ANZAC biscuits. When the boiling water is added to the bicarb soda then poured into the butter and golden syrup mix, it bubbles up and you need to make sure your vessel is large enough or you will have a big mess! The kids love this part.

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If you are yet to make a batch of ANZAC biscuits this year, here’s your reminder.

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Enjoy xx.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups traditional rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour (you can use wholemeal if you wish)
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbs boiling water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Place the golden syrup and butter into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to bubble slightly.
  4. In a small bowl, place the bicarb soda and the boiling water, mix quickly and pour into the golden syrup mixture. This will start to bubble and foam. Quickly pour this mix into the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine.
  5. Form mixture into balls the size of a ping pong ball and place onto the tray. Press each biscuit down gently with a fork.
  6. Bake for ~10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave on baking tray for ~ 5mins before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in an airtight container until they are all eaten!