Today’s guest post has been written by my friend and cooking mentor, Robyn Goldin. Robyn is amazing in the kitchen and her beautiful boys’ voracious and varied appetites is a credit to her clever cooking and creativity.
Last week I made Robyn’s Double Chocolate Muffins and they were wolfed down by my entire family! Absolutely delicious, they are gluten-free, nut free (so perfect for school lunches), and refined sugar free. I made mine with coconut milk rather than yoghurt so they were dairy free too.
They are rich but make a popular treat – I hope you enjoy!
Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins
I am delighted to have been asked to guest-blog on The Shrinking Hubby this week and share one of my kids’ favourite recipes!
I thought I would start by telling you a little bit about myself. I am not a chef or a nutritionist, I call myself a ‘professional eater’ who loves to cook. For as long as I can remember I have loved food. Most of my memories are centred around food as it was an integral part of my childhood. My parents are both excellent cooks and I grew up eating wonderful, interesting food.
I only started cooking at the age of 23 when I got married and I didn’t really have much of an idea about what I was doing. But I was once told that if you can read you can cook, and so I set about following recipes from the pictures that took my fancy! I vowed not to be scared to try something new and so my love of cooking began.
Cooking became my passion, and I started Mimi’s Kitchen in 2012 after many requests to share my recipes. I have the pleasure of sharing my love for cooking with many people through cooking classes (both adults and children) and catering for small occasions.
Most importantly, I am a mum (or Mimi as they call me) to 3 very busy and hungry boys. Sometimes if feels like my sole purpose in life is to feed them and I have made it a bit of a mission of mine to ensure they learn to eat a wide variety of foods. Recently I have been interested in introducing them to foods that are lower in refined sugar and as wholesome as possible, in the hope that the higher the quality of what they consume, not only is it healthier but it will keep them fuller for longer.
I try to include my boys in as much of the preparation as I can and they all really enjoy watching the process and eating the spoils. I find that the more involved they are, the more likely they are to try something new.
I made these Double Chocolate Muffins the other day. I find the minute you tell kids there is chocolate in it, they will eat it without hesitation! Little do they know there is so much other goodness in these muffins for them. My kids loved them and they even tasted great the next day as their texture changed and became quite fudgey.
I hope you all have a go at trying these muffins. Let me know what you think. You can find me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/cookinmimiskitchen or Instagram @mimiskitchen_ or my blog www.mimiskitchen.org
Mimi’s Double Chocolate Muffins (gluten, dairy, refined sugar and nut free)
Today’s guest-post is written by a friend of mine Mandy Sacher of Wholesome Child, who is a qualified nutritionist specialising in children’s health.
As a busy mother of 3 young children (8, 5 and 4 years old) who are very fussy eaters, I struggle to come up with healthy and varied options at mealtimes that actually get enjoyed. As Mandy explains in her article below, Salmon is a wonderful super food that can really benefit the health of our children. She has shares some great tips on how to include more salmon into your family’s diet. You will also find below my recipe for The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon and Noodles our go-to favourite salmon recipe – one of the few dinners that gets demolished every time. I hope you enjoy this post!
How To Get Your Kids To Eat More Brain Boosting Salmon
By Mandy Sacher of Wholesome Child
Salmon is a super brain boosting food for babies and children. It is rich in omega-3-fatty acids (DHA and EPA) which are essential for developing brains. These types of oils are found in breast milk and are always added to infant and follow-on-formulas. Recent studies show that children whose diets are rich in these essential fatty acids achieve better results at school – especially in the areas of reading and memory performance. Evidence has also shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related behaviour/learning disabilities are more likely to have diets which are low in omega-3’s and would benefit from increasing their DHA levels.
Not only are these essential oils important for brain health, they are also crucial for healthy eye development and strong immune systems as they ward off inflammatory childhood diseases. One of the best ways to ensure they are getting enough of these fatty acids in their diets is to bump up their salmon intake. However, when choosing salmon – especially for babies and small children – it is important to take note of where it comes from and how it is fed. Many farmed salmon are fed pellets which contain genetically-modified grains and fats such as soy, corn and canola oil. Synthetic dyes may also be added to their feed to give their flesh that attractive pink colour and there is a widespread use of antibiotics and other chemicals which are not found in high quality premium grade salmon such as wild salmon or organic salmon.
Most parents reading this article are thinking “I am aware of the health benefits of salmon but how do I get my children to eat more of it?” Here are Wholesome Child’s Top 10 ways to get kids to eat more salmon. Many of these recipes are perfect for healthy lunchbox meals.
- The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon with Noodles (see below or click here for recipe)
- Coconut crumbed salmon nuggets with dipping sauces such as home-made tomato sauce, tzatziki or beetroot hummus.
- Spelt pasta spirals with creamy salmon and cheese sauce (great for winter, if your school does not heat food up send in a thermos).
- Tasty salmon hamburger patties served on a sourdough spelt bun or in a wrap.
- Savoury salmon and veggie mini- muffins.
- Home-made cooked salmon sushi rolls.
- Goat cheese, pumpkin and salmon mini-quiches
- Rice paper rolls with cooked salmon and buckwheat soba noodles.
- Salmon sandwich: layer sandwich with flaked salmon, crème fraiche, Dijon mustard and sweet potato puree
- Salmon Shepherd pies are a great alternative to meat.
- Salmon lasagne with plenty of vegetables.
So which is the best salmon for kids? Many parents who are concerned about mercury levels, taste (compliance – getting their kids to eat it) prefer organic salmon to commercially farmed salmon and wild salmon.
Organic Norwegian Salmon is reared in the ocean in their natural habitat and there are 50% less salmon per habitat than non-organic salmon. They are free to eat natural occurring food sources within the ocean that flow into their estuaries and they are reared on 100% organic feed, which is fit for human consumption (100% sustainable). There are no pesticides, no chemicals, no synthetic dyes and no nitrates. It’s really important when recommending fish for pregnant women, infants and children that we know exactly what the mercury, dioxin and PCB levels are and where our salmon come from.
About The Author:
Mandy Sacher is a paediatric nutritionist and health writer, who sources quality products for her clients. She has had over 15 years of experience in the health industry and is the founder of Wholesome Child – helping parents to feed their children RIGHT from the start!
Mandy stocks the best quality organic salmon and is located in Rose Bay, Rozelle and delivers to St Ives on Tuesday.
You can find out more about Mandy at her website www.wholesomechild.com.au, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Wholesome-Organic-Salmon or you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Shrinking Hubby’s Miso Poached Salmon With Noodles
What you will need:
- 1-2 fillets organic salmon
- 1/3 cup of good quality brown rice miso paste (found from organic health food shops or whole food shops)
- 1 packet Vietnamese Rice Pad Thai Noodles (or you can use buckwheat or soba noodles – adjust cooking time according to instructions.)
- A couple handfuls green beans (topped and tailed)
How to pull it together:
- Bring a medium-sized saucepan to the boil.
- Add the miso paste and using a whisk mix together well.
- Add the rice noodles (which generally take around 8 minutes to cook or if using different noodles adjust cooking time accordingly). Cook for 2 minutes.
- After 2 minutes, add the salmon fillet/s to the miso and noodles. Cook for 4 minutes.
- After 4 minutes add the beans and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Dish out into bowls, ensure to add a couple of ladlefuls of nutritious miso broth to the mixture and serve.
Notes: For a more grown up version – this is delicious drizzled with some tamari, a little sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. You could also add some chilli oil for a kick.
I’ve talked about the lovely ladies from The Monday Morning Cooking Club before when I shared their delicious tomato and eggplant bake (AKA Bubba’s Eggplant) from their first cookbook here and their delicious recipe for their Shallot Ginger and Sesame crusted salmon here. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of their recently published sequel called ‘The Feast Goes On’. This beautiful book has plenty more stunning recipes inside that I cannot wait to try.
I love that each recipe has been handpicked from hundreds submitted – so you know that if it makes it into the cookbook it is going to be worth making! Not all the recipes are clean, but there are several that are and I am looking forward to getting to know this book as much as I enjoyed the first. You can check out the Monday Morning Cooking Club’s webpage here and follow them on Facebook here.
This recipe was the first one I made from the new book and it was a real crowd pleaser. I have altered it to include tomatoes and lemon, which gives the dish a much different flavour, but I loved the changes and I hope you do too! (You can double it quite easily if you need to feed a larger group or if (like me) you want to freeze some for another night when you don’t have the time or inclination to cook)
Baked Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes, Lemon, Olives and Capers
(adapted from The Feast Goes On, Monday Morning Cooking Club)
What you will need:
- 1 chicken jointed (I ask my butcher to cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces for me)
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) salted baby capers (well rinsed and drained)
- 75 grams (½ cup) pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 1 lemon sliced into rounds about ½ cm/¼ inch
- 350 grams (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes
- 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 250 mls (1 cup) white wine (or chicken stock if you prefer)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme (or lemon thyme and/or fresh oregano work well too)
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to bring it together:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius (400 Fahrenheit).
Line a large roasting dish with some baking paper. Lay out the chicken and scatter the capers, olives, garlic and tomatoes on top. Pour the wine (or stock) and olive oil over the chicken, lay the lemon wedges across the top and scatter the herbs. Season generously with pepper.
Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife. If the chicken is not browned enough, turn the oven to the hottest setting for the last 5 minutes.
Well I put the question to a vote on my facebook page and it was a resounding plea for the recipe for my gluten-free, chewy choc-chip cookies – so here you go!
makes about 15-18 cookies
3 cups (350g) almond meal
50g coconut oil
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 organic free-range eggs
. cup (85g) medjool dates, pitted
. cup best quality dark choc chips
(or chopped organic dark chocolate)
Pre heat your oven to 180ÅãC/350ÅãF.
Blitz all ingredients except for choc chips in a food processor until well combined.
Using a wooden spoon stir the choc chips through the mixture until spread evenly.
Place the almond meal, coconut oil, bicarb, vanilla, eggs and dates into the mixing bowl and blitz speed 7-10 for 40 seconds or until well blended. Add the choc chips and mix reverse, speed 5 for about 15 seconds until well combined.
Using wet hands, roll 1 tablespoon of the mixture into balls, place on lined baking tray and flatten with your palm. Ensure they are spread out as they will get bigger while cooking. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, allow to cool (if they last that long!) and enjoy.
To make these cookies refined-sugar free you can use a good quality sugar free chocolate. I like the brand that is sweetened with stevia.
You can use 50g (2oz) butter instead of the coconut oil if you don’t need to keep this dairy free.
GF RSF DF TH
We all know that being a Mum is not easy ! I put a few feelers out there amongst some of the mums I know and on my Facebook page to ask what they find hardest about motherhood, and resoundingly the biggest challenge for most busy mums is definitely lack of time. At whatever stage you are with your parenting – be it babies and toddlers or school-aged kids, life seems to get busier and busier as time goes on. What often happens unfortunately, is that we tend to put ourselves last in the pecking order. In honour of Mothers Day in Australia next weekend and for all the busy mums out there, I thought I would share some of my favourite tips for making some more time in your day. I hope that you manage to spend some of this extra time on yourselves! I am also sharing a new yummy pancake recipe so that your loved ones (or even you!) can spoil yourself with a delicious, healthy and comforting breakfast next Sunday. They are Thermomix friendly but you could use a food processor or blender just as easily. Don’t you think they would be yummy to have in bed with a cup of tea and the Sunday papers next weekend? Hint .. hint ..!
Here are just some of my suggestions to increase some time for yourself during your busy day:
- Prioritise! Decide what really matters to you and organise yourself so that you can make time to fit those things in.
- Get up an hour earlier and factor some time for yourself– walk, run or even meditate. If you find it hard to get motivated for morning exercise, make sure you have a plan so you know exactly what to do when your alarm goes off. Set your clothes out the night before, fill up your drink bottle and put it next to your keys. Download some music to make your walk/run more interesting. Make a commitment by writing it in your diary or organise to meet up with a friend so you will be more motivated to go.
- Go to bed an hour earlier. The best time to get your important sleep is before midnight and everything is so much better when you are well rested (plus if you have an early night it makes it easier to wake up the next morning!)
- Don’t be afraid to ask those close to you for help if you are struggling! If you need a little time-out, your partner could watch the kids for so you can go for a walk or have a relaxing bath.
- Be clever in the kitchen – pack school lunches the night before, when you buy fruit chop it and pack it up straight away so it’s easy to grab in a hurry, freeze sandwiches in bulk, make more at dinner and freeze half/ or have for lunch the next day. Do big cook ups on the weekend so you don’t have to worry about it during the week. Cook batches of chicken, hard boiled eggs, quinoa, rice etc and keep on hand in the fridge so you can quickly pull together healthy meals. There are some great gadgets out there that are designed to make your life easier in the kitchen. The Thermomix (or thermo-type appliances) or a slow cooker can really save time. Try my Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks, my Chicken and Eggplant Bake or Greek Inspired Shepherds Pie which are all easy to make double of and all freeze beautifully.
At the end of the day we should be grateful that our lives are so full – those little people might be hard work – but they are more precious than anything! Happy Mothers Day!
The Shrinking Hubby’s Almond Meal Pancakes
– Serves 4 –
What you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups Almond Meal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminium free baking powder
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 organic free range eggs
- 1 1/4 cup water
- Organic butter or coconut oil for cooking
- Fruit, yoghurt and/or organic maple syrup or honey to serve
How to pull it together:
Put all the ingredients in your Thermomix or food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds speed 9/10 until well blended and of a consistency you are happy with. You may wish to experiment with the amount of water you use depending on how thick you like your batter.
Heat a large frying pan, add a dollop of butter (or coconut oil) and let it melt. Spoon out the batter (I did 3 small pancakes at a time). Watch carefully and when nicely browned, flip and cook the other side until ready.
Serve as you like – Some suggestions are: fruit, organic maple syrup, raw honey, almond butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dollop of greek yoghurt.
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