I love nut bars, but the commercial versions often contain undesirable ingredients. Here’s a recipe for a customisable homemade version that is tasty and nutritious.
1 1/2 Cups chopped Brazil nuts (or another nut, but I choose Brazil nuts because they are one of the highest known sources of dietary Selenium, and most my children don’t like eating them plain!)
1/3 C chopped walnuts (again, you can sub out for whatever nut you like, but walnuts are another one that I take the opportunity to hide in these bars so the children will get some in their diet)
1/3 C Pumpkin seeds
1/3 C Sunflower seeds
1/3 C Dark chocolate chunks (or cacao nibs if you want a lower-sugar alternative)
1/3 C Sultanas (or another chopped dried fruit)
1/3 C Honey ( I haven’t tried this, but I’m sure maple syrup would work, if you’d rather avoid honey)
1/2 C Hulled Tahini
1tsp Vanilla Extract (or vanilla paste)
Heat your oven to 180C
Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
The next step depends on the viscosity of your honey. If your honey is runny, then you are just going to mix it together with the vanilla and tahini until homogenised. If your honey is too thick, then gently heat it in a saucepan until runny, and then mix in your tahini and vanilla.
Bake at 180C for about 10 minutes…slightly longer if you prefer a browner, slightly crunchier bar.
Allow to cool. Then enjoy!
Interested in making some delicious (and nutritious) goodies for Mother’s Day? Check out WholefoodSimply. We’ve been making a variety of the slices (like Raspberry Ripe Slice), which happen to be GF, DF and often V (Honey is used in some, but can be substituted for maple syrup if needed).
They are heavy on the nuts and nut butters…just saying, in case nut allergies are an issue for you. If you’re after something wholesome and special, Wholefood Simply is definitely worth checking out.
I couldn’t do a series of pumpkin posts without mentioning this recipe. We LOVE pumpkin bread, and this is my favourite recipe so far, from the Prairie Homestead.
It’s sweetened with honey and maple syrup, loaded with fragrant spices and delicious any time of day 🙂 It makes 2 loaves…enough to share or freeze.
It’s the kind of recipe you could add walnuts or pepita seeds too, though our children love it just as it is.
Simple, but tasty.
We were given a bottle of balsamic glaze at Christmas, and it’s added a lovely flavour to a variety of sides. It goes beautifully with pumpkin.
Approx 2kg of pumpkin, skinned and cubed
1 onion (red, if you have it), cut into wedges
Oil of choice, about 3Tbsp, we used macadamia oil
Salt, we used our Garlic and Sage seasoned salt
Optional: crumbed feta cheese
Directions: Heat your oven to 180C (fan-forced)
Pour the oil onto a baking sheet, then add the cubed pumpkin and onion wedges and toss to distribute the oil.
Sprinkle with seasoning salt.
Bake for about 45 minutes (longer if you like a bit of char!)
Sprinkle with balsamic glaze and the feta, if you choose. Serve immediately (though it can be reheated).
Pumpkin and Cashew quiche…we’ve been making this for about 10 years!
Pictured is the following recipe with the filling tripled. With such a large tribe at our place, the single recipe just wasn’t enough. The crust however, doesn’t need to be doubled unless you want to split the recipe between multiple dishes.
NOTE: The recipe calls for roasted, cubed pumpkin. So you’re prepped accordingly, make sure you have the pumpkin roasted (or at least in the oven) before you start making the rest of the recipe.
2 Cups organic baking flour
125g butter (or coconut oil)
1/2tsp salt (I use a seasoned salt, like our garlic and sage salt)
Approx 120ml of water or broth
Turn your oven to 180 C, fan forced.
In a food processor, mix the flour, butter and salt until you get a fine crumb. Then with the motor running, slowly add the water/broth. You may not need all of it, depending on your flour. What you’re looking for is a cohesive lump of dough, that’s not too sticky.
If the dough is too soft, you can refrigerate it for half an hour before rolling out. Otherwise, go ahead and roll it out straight away. It will be enough, with a little surplus, to fill a 12″ pie dish.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While that crust is baking, prepare your filling ingredients.
200g (minimum, you can use more if desired) cubed, roasted pumpkin.
1/2 C cashews (for extra crunch, you can roast these too, if desired)
1/4 C cream
150g tasty cheese
a spring onion or shallot, finely chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
In your baked pie crust, arrange the pumpkin and cashews.
Whisk up your cream and eggs in a bowl, then add the cheese, onion and nutmeg.
Pour this mix over your pumpkin and cashews. Bake at 180 C for approx. 35 minutes. All ovens are slightly different, so just check on the quiche after about 25 minutes, to check how much longer it needs. Our tripled recipe needed almost 40 minutes.
Can be eaten warm or cold…some of us even like it for breakfast 🙂
Pumpkin idea #5…Pumpkin and Cauliflower Gratin. I made this tonight as a side with our dinner, though it makes quite a decent portion and could be used as a vegetarian main course. It’s creamy and filling.
The recipe is from Well and Full, and grabbed my attention as it uses both pumpkin (puree) and cauliflower (which I had a bag of in the freezer from last year’s harvest). The only adaptions I’d make, are adding some crushed garlic and sprinkling the finished dish with sliced shallots or garlic chives.
Pumpkin chutney? Yes. A friend once gifted me a jar of her pumpkin chutney, and it was delicious. You can use this chutney just as you would any other chutney, but it especially works as an alternative to mango chutney on curries.
I doubled this recipe from The Crafty Larder, and it made 4x approx 700g jars, plus the little mason jar of chutney pictured. We tried it on Butter Chicken, and were happy with the results. 🙂
With the weather turned cold and damp this week, soup is definitely on the menu. I was looking for some savoury pumpkin ideas, and came across this one. I was impressed that so many people mentioned their children liked this recipe. I made it yesterday, and about half my children tested it for breakfast (I know for some, the idea of soup at breakfast is weird, but to me it makes perfect sense to eat a nutrient dense, easily digested meal like soup for breakfast).
I will say that the base recipe from Wholefully is comforting, but also a little plain (no doubt why so many children enjoy it). To make a slightly more adult version, I added some homemade sweet chilli sauce, upon serving. Wondering if using coconut cream instead of dairy cream, and adding some adobo hot sauce during cooking would add a delicious twist…?
I loved the addition of quinoa to the soup…definitely like a chunkier soup, and quinoa thickened the mix beautifully.
A lot of pumpkin is used in this recipe. A whole small pumpkin cubed, plus a cup of pumpkin puree!
I don’t know that I’d ever tried pumpkin pie before celebrating Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, as an exchange student. Loved it!
We grow pumpkin each year, and often end up with a surplus, so recipes like this that call for at least 2 cups of pumpkin puree, are a wonderful way to put some of the harvest to good (and tasty) use.
Though most recipes call for a sweet crust, I don’t think it needs it…the filling is sweet enough.
Makes enough pie to fill a 12″ pie dish and often a little extra for a ramekin.
Heat your oven to 180 C (Fan-forced) and then…
For the crust I use:
2 cups organic bread flour
125g organic butter
a sprinkle of salt
Approx 120ml water
*optional 1tsp pumpkin pie spice
The food processor is the quickest way to blend this, but it can be done by hand if desired. In your food processor, blend the flour, butter and salt until it looks like a fine crumb.
Then add your water slowly, while the processor runs, until you get a nice ball of dough that holds together.
This can be refrigerated for half an hour if you need to firm it up, but I roll it out right away, using a dusting of extra flour to prevent it sticking to either the rolling pin or the pastry cloth.
You can roll the pastry onto the rolling pin for an easier way to transfer it to your dish without it tearing.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, and then remove from the oven.
2 cups pumkin puree
1 1/2 cups cream (or coconut cream if desired)
150g coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1Tbsp pumpkin pie spice blend
I blend all these filling ingredients together in the food processor, and then pour into the baked pie crust. The filling will be runny at this stage, but will set as it bakes. Carefully place your filled pie back in the oven, and bake for 30-40 minutes. I start with 30 minutes, then open the oven door and give the dish a jiggle. You will be able to tell if the pie is set by watching the centre of the pie to see if it wobbles loosely, or looks set. Once set, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
The pie can be eaten warm, or chilled. Store in the fridge.
The end of summer is when we have harvested all (or most) of our pumpkins and you will be finding these pumpkins in your seasonal mixed boxes. But besides roasting them as a side at dinner, what do you do with all this pumpkin?
Our go-to pumpkin creations are pumpkin pie (I was an exchange student in the USA and took an instant liking to pumpkin pie!) and pumpkin + sweetcorn soup. But there are so many ways you can prepare this versatile veg.
Today we’re looking at incorporating pumpkin puree (very easy to make) in your porridge.
I based the trial on the recipe below, but made a few changes.
*I used dairy milk
* Skipped the maple syrup and used a sprinkling of coconut sugar and organic sultanas instead
*Used a teaspoon of a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend, rather than individual spices.
*Added more like 1/2 Cup of pumpkin puree
The result was far less pumpkin-ish than expected, which was fine. It was also only mildly sweet, which suits me, but if you’re a sweet tooth, you may want to up the sugar, or use the maple, as suggested in the base recipe.
If you regularly make porridge, the only change you would need to make to your regular base recipe, is adding 1tsp (or to taste) of the spice blend while cooking, and add the pumpkin puree close to the end of cooking and heat through.
Next up, will be our pumpkin pie recipe. I’ve got some savoury pumpkin recipes on the upcoming share list too!
Loving this autumn weather! Now we just need some more rain…
We’re pretty low in fresh produce until Tuesday. I’m also not able to make any mixed/seasonal boxes until Tuesday (for Tuesday afternoon pickup, at the earliest). By then I will have some celery, cabbage, ginger and more potatoes.
Deliveries:Tuesday 9th March, 1-2pm for orders $50+ in Toowoomba. Please place your order by Monday night. If there are items you’d like that are not online yet that I’ve mentioned here, just request them in the comments box of your order, and I can send an invoice.
Friday 12th March, 12:30-2pm for orders $50+ in Toowoomba. Please place your orders by Thursday night.
We have 4 little week-old Australorp chicks (unsexed) left from India’s last incubation. They’re $12ea if anyone is interested.
Dennis from Gran Elly Orchard (near Stanthorpe) has just delivered some gorgeous Royal Gala apples, $6.50/kg.
And, from Wednesday 3rd March, we will have a limited supply of lovely local honey, from Highfields. $13/kg, glass packed.
Pickles, ferments, relishes…how do you store them?
I’m getting asked about this semi-regularly, so thought it was time to make a post so you know how to safely store your bottled goods.
Ferments: (ie. sauerkraut, lacto-fermented pickles, lacto-fermented beets, beet kvass). These are created using the vegetable, and then a macrobiotic salt brine. The product is left to lacto-ferment at room temperature for about three days, and then moved to the fridge. Even if unopened, the ferments need to remain refrigerated.
Relishes/Chutneys: (ie. the caramelised onion and beet relish, or corn relish). These are made using vinegar and sugar, which together do create an unfavourable environment for bacteria to grow…but this doesn’t last forever, unless the product has been pressure canned. I do have an use a pressure canner for some preserves, but not these. I prefer to use less processing for higher nutrient retention. Your relishes/chutneys are shelf or room temperature stable for about 3 months, if unopened. Once opened, they need to be refrigerated. I keep them all in the cold room regardless, because the summer heat here is more of a risk than I want to take with leaving preserves out. If you are keeping them on the shelf, choose a place free from excess heat or sunlight.
Pickles: (ie the bread and butter pickles). Again, these pickles are based on vinegar and sugar, so do have some shelf stability, about 3 months, like the relishes. But the fridge is definitely preferable, and ours are always stored in the cold room. And of course, once they are opened, they definitely need to be refrigerated.
We live in what is typically a drought zone. Excellent bore water, but very little rain to speak of. This last month of rain has really beautified our area, so I got outside to ‘take a picture, it’ll last longer’, as the saying goes.
I’ve tried beet kvass before, and found it really earthy and…not something I’d voluntarily want to drink on a regular basis.
Our recent beetroot surplus had me looking at a variety of ways to preserve or ferment beet, which led me back to beet kvass. The recipe at the above link surprised me. It’s not only beet, but garlic, bay leaves, allspice and pepper. And it actually is pleasant to drink. It’s even effervescent!
Just be warned that beet is a pretty potent detoxifier and if you drink more than your body can handle, you’ll know it. Start with a shot glass of kvass and work your way up to more if you desire.
You don’t really need any special equipment to make the kvass, a large non-metallic vessel will do the job of fermenting, and then use a basic sieve for straining the finished product.
If you try it, let me know what you think.
With Christmas approaching, it’s always lovely to find local cottage/family industries to buy from. Elizabeth, at Where Deep Calls to Deep, is just such an example. Drawing from her own experience of spending years battling autoimmune disease, and then being healed, she has created calendars and journals which offer encouragement to others on their journey.
Here’s where you can check out the range.
1/4C extra virgin olive oil
1kg onions, thinly sliced
1/2 C coconut sugar (or brown sugar, but I’ve been using coconut)
1/3C raw sugar
1/2 C Balsamic Vinegar
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 bay leaf
1/2tsp ground cloves
450g tin of beetroot (we use home canned pickled beetroot)
salt and pepper to taste
1) Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes, or until just softened. Stir in sugars, vinegar, thyme, bay leaf and ground cloves. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.
2) Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 20 minutes until relish is thick. (I don’t stand over the stove the whole time, but stay nearby and stir periodically)
3) Meanwhile, drain beetroot, reserving 1/2C of the liquid. Finely chop beets and add, along with the reserved liquid, to pan. Cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes until rich in colour. Season to taste.
4) Ladle into sterilised jars and seal tightly. Store in a cool place for 1 month. Once opened, keep chilled and consume within 2 weeks. (I don’t heat process them, but do put the jars in the cold room once they’ve cooled down, just to be careful. We also don’t usually consume a whole jar in two weeks, but have not had any go off yet!)
The Bread and Butter Pickles here at Birdsong have been so popular! Occasionally I’m asked if we share the recipes…yes, we do.
We’ve made B&B pickles on both zucchini and cucumber, it works both ways. Just be aware that the first step involves salting your veg overnight…it’s a 2 day process making these pickles.
You will need:
Approx. 6 Lebanese cucumbers, or 3 medium sized zucchini, sliced finely (food processors make short work of this)
2 Capsicum (optional, but adds a beautiful colour contrast), seeds removed and finely sliced
A large onion, sliced finely
50g macrobiotic sea salt (Himalayan pink salt is fine too)
400ml Apple Cider Vinegar
200g either raw sugar or coconut sugar. Coconut sugar will give you a darker pickle.
1tsp each of turmeric, mustard powder, fennel seed
- Slice your cucumber, onion and capsicum finely. I do it all in the food processor.
- Put all these vegetables in a casserole dish or bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss the salt through, then cover the dish with cloth/wrap and leave overnight. This step is important, as it reduces the water content of the finished product.
- In the morning, put your salted veg in a colander and rinse them under cold water, then place out on clean tea towels to drain.
- Take a large saucepan and combine the vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to the boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Now you can add in the sliced vegetables to the pot and let the mixture come to a boil for one minute. Then turn off the heat.
- Using sterilised jars with vinegar-proof lids (and a canning funnel if you have one, they save a lot of mess!), pack the mixture and then pour over remaining liquid to submerge the vegetables.
- Seal, label and store somewhere cool and dark (3 month shelf life stored like this), or store in the fridge for longer shelf life. And always store you opened jars in the fridge.
This is what I shared at Tash’s funeral. I want to post it here, for more people to get a glimpse of her life and how she shared it.
“I am so thankful God placed Tash in our family, and for the 34 years we were blessed to spend with her.
It’s been said that children are an excellent judge of character. Some people are just magnets for them. Tash was one of them. I remember one day she joked about taking my 5 year old Archie, home to live with her. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed “Yeah! I wouldn’t miss my mummy.”
Our family is close and Tash especially, was a family girl. As an aunty, she was incredible. Working full-time, with a half hour drive to work each way, every day…and yet she still had the love and energy to pour out on cultivating friendships with my children. She would have them for sleepovers, build lego together and take them to lego exhibitions, at one stage was having nerf wars with them, would make crazy movie trailers with them, wrote a book for them and would play board games with them. It was beautiful how when my youngest would see Tash, he would run up to her and jump into her arms for what he called a ‘koala cuddle’.
While so many of us grow old and boring, Tash never did. She was fun, and never seemed concerned about what other people thought of her, or like she was trying to prove anything.
Her last weekend spent in Toowoomba was just such an example of her love for family. We spent a good portion of Saturday playing board games together, then Tash took some of my children for a sleepover. I had Bella for Sunday, so she could spend the day running around with her cousins.
Tash loved a party…a themed party in particular! Looking through the photos, I had to smile at her karaoke party, mafia party and her 80’s themed 30th. It wasn’t just her own birthday parties either. One year she organised a beautiful fairy garden themed party for Bella, where all her friends were able to make their own mini fairy garden to take home. Looking out at all of you who are joining us now to celebrate Tash’s life and seeing the beautiful floral themed outfits, reminds me of one of Tash’s parties.
Parting with Tash reminds me of a verse, Isaiah 40:6-8 All flesh is grass, and all it’s loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are like grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of the Lord endures forever. None of us know how long we have on this earth, and our days pass by so quickly. What are we doing with the time we’ve been given? Tash is like a flower picked in her youth before she had the chance to fade.”