Jellybeans

There are many “wow” moments in parenthood. Sometimes they’re big ones, other times they’re beautiful bits of daily life that make you fall in love with your family just that little bit more. I had one the other day, and it was all over a packet of jellybeans.

Bodhi had been obsessed with jellybeans for a while. Obsessed in a way that a five year old does so well, with every supermarket trip spent running to the candy aisle and gazing at these mysterious sweets that he had never tasted but frequently imagined. He wanted those jellybeans with every fibre of his little being. 

Sweets are something we do very rarely, so I tried – and failed – to distract him. He asked about jellybeans several times a week, even telling me that he was dreaming about them and imagining holding them in his hand. 

Last week I found some vegan jellybeans – unhealthy enough to be sweet and colourful, but healthy enough to be free of anything artificial. He jumped up and down and cheered when I bought them, but waited patiently until a ‘junk food day’ before he could have them. 

On Monday, my wide-eyed little boy got his jellybeans. He flung himself into my arms bubbling with professions of love and clutched that packet with everything he had. His hands practically shook as he tasted the first one. His eyes closed and he sighed – they were “perfect”.

Then my boy gave me one of those wow moments.

In between savoring his jelly beans he came over to pop a few in my hand, then ran to the other side of the house to give some to daddy. Sebastian had been given four or five, and Bodhi the rest of the pile, but instead of eating his long awaited stash he looked at his brothers high chair tray with those few colourful beans and then at his own pile.

“No, that’s not fair, is it?” he said, then gathered up a handful of his precious sweets, placed them in front of his brother, and sat stroking Sebastian’s hair while he excitedly ate, saying “Here you go brother. You deserve good things.”

 After all his giving, Bodhi ended up with around a quarter of his jellybeans left. And he didn’t care. Not one bit.

After their treat Bodhi sat in the doorway to his room with Sebastian curled up on his lap, head over his heart, chubby toddler arms wrapped around his big brother.

This was my wow. Because it’s in these little moments that he shows me ‘him’. In these moments, while I still have the privilege of knowing him better than the world does I get to see who he is, and I love him all the more. 

I am blessed to have so many wows. Some are like this. Some happen at the dining room table when he announces “Every woman in the world is beautiful when she has heart love.”, or when my husband and I are grumpy at eachother and he walks up to his Dad with the courage of a lion and sticks up for his mum (even when I was probably at fault ;). Some are wows because we help eachother come back to the best of us at the times when we’re frustrated or angry or upset. Some are wows of beauty, others of rawness and trust.

Some push me, some catch me: all humble me.

Thank you jellybeans, you brought sweetness with you.

 

cuddles

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

 

I seem to make a lot of desserts…

I did some cooking today. A lot of ‘try and see if it works’ recipes. Some, to put it mildly, did not work. Others did, so I’m sharing those here. I’ll start with my favourite…

(all recipes in this post are gluten, dairy, soy and sugar free. The only possible exception is the museli slice/cookies recipe, as this depends on what ingredients you choose to use)

Baked Raspberry Stuffed Pear with Rice Milk Custard and Toffee Drizzle

(If you don’t like pears this recipe would work beautifully with an apple too)

For this recipe I used a red Anjou pear like this… redanjou…but any firm flesh pear would work fine. I’m listing the ingredients to make one serve, that way you can increase them for however many people you’re cooking for.

  • Remove the core from one pear and place it in a baking paper lined dish. Stuff the hole of the pear with raspberries (I used frozen ones). Bake at 180C until cooked (but still holding its shape, no need to overcook).
  • When pear is cooling prepare the custard. You want one cup of ricemilk for this. Pour almost all into a saucepan, leaving a little in the cup. To the ricemilk in the cup add a tablespoon of cornflour and a half a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Combine until smooth. If you’d like this to be sweet add a teaspoon full of honey too. Warm the milk in the pan on a low heat and as it begins to warm add the mix from the cup, stir continuously until it thickens.
  • Pour the custard into a dish and add your pear and raspberries in the middle.
  • To make the toffee you just need a little honey. I used a tablespoon, but you could use less. In a small saucepan warm the honey over very low heat, stirring as you bring it to the boil. Allow it to simmer/bubble for a couple of minutes until you see it get a slight caramel colour (careful not to burn!). Turn heat off and allow the bubbles to settle (happens very quickly) before spooning it over your pear and custard.
  • Grate a little lemon rind on top then pop it in the fridge or freezer for around 5 minutes to harden the toffee.
  • It’s lovely cool but even nicer eaten when still warm inside, which it will be at this point.

This makes a really delicious winter dessert.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Dipped Almonds

Hubby loves these :)

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp cocao powder
  • 1 tbsp chocolate protein powder – vanilla would work too (I use a dairy free version)
  • 6 drops vanilla essence
  • 6 drops natural hazelnut flavour extract (there are a few of these around. This is an optional addition to the recipe. If you don’t have this but would still like the hazelnut flavour I’d suggest replacing the protein powder for a teaspoon hazelnut meal)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Warm the coconut oil to soften it a little then add other ingredients. Dip the almonds and place on a lined tray to harden in the fridge. Done <3

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(Note: These make a yummy, healthy and filling snack, but the protein powder does give the chocolate more texture. If you’d prefer a smoother choc coating and to just rely on the protein in the almonds feel free to exclude the protein powder all together :)

Mocha Protein Pancakes

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of these because they were made in a flurry of kitchen activity. That’s a shame because they looked good and tasted even better. Moist, delicious and healthy. Yum <3

(note that my measurements tend to be generous – so heap those tablespoons ;) This makes a few medium/large sized pancakes. If you want to make more just increase quantities)

  • 1 tablespoon almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons gluten free self raising flour (I use Orgran self-raising)
  • 1 egg (whole egg or egg white, up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon dairy free protein powder (I used vanilla flavour)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  •  1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1teaspoon instant coffee (I used organic decaf) and 2 teaspoons cacao dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb or baking powder if your choice

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix. I find gluten free flour tends to be harder to get lumps out of, so you may find a beater easier for this.

Cook on a greased pan over very low heat (like other higher protein pancakes they take a little longer to cook through and are prone to burning if the heat is too high).

Enjoy with either honey, maple syrup or if you want to be decadent mix a little honey or maple syrup with some cacao powder for a delicious sauce (you may want to warm the honey a little to soften it for this). If you want to avoid any extra sweetener some fresh banana or strawberry slices would be delicious <3

Chocolcate Museli Slice/Crunchy Museli Biscuits

This one can be either depending on how you prepare it. The ingredients that you use for this are pretty flexible, the idea is for a museli mix that you’ll enjoy. This is what I used and it worked beautifully.

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup rice flakes (I got the pure rice flakes, which are just rolled brown rice)
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used dried apricot, dried apple and dried mango)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used Brazil nuts and almonds)
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey (add an extra teaspoon if you’d like it a little sweeter – I did :)

If you’re making the biscuits…

knead the mix to combine ingredients (you might be more skilled than me and able to do this with a spoon!) and press into biscuit shapes on a lined baking tray. Bake at around 150-170 until they start to brown slightly. They’ll crisp up as they cool.

If you’d like to give them a chocolate drizzle try this. It sets nicely…

  • warm a little cacao butter on the stove (depending on how much drizzle you want), and add cacao powder to taste. I added a generous teaspoon of cacao to a generous teaspoon sized piece of cacao butter. Remember that cacao butter is slightly bitter, so you’ll want to sweeten it unless you enjoy bitter chocolate. I used honey, which gave it a lovely flavour but wound up a little sticky due to the fact that honey and cacao butter separate. If you’re going to use honey as your sweetener I’d suggest a little lecithin added to emulsify :) Alternately sweeten with a little stevia or xylitol.

Drizzle this on top of the biscuits and enjoy :) I used cacao butter for this as it sets better at room temperature than coconut oil does. If you’re happy to keep your biscuits in the fridge then coconut oil would work just as well and need less sweetening.

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If you’re making the slice…

Spread your museli mix on a tray and pop it in the oven until you see it start to brown ever so slightly. This gives it a nice toasted flavour. If you’d rather it be raw it’s perfectly fine to skip this step.

Combine cacao butter (or coconut oil, up to you) with cacao powder and a sweetener of your choice then pour into a lined container or baking tray. Quantities are up to you here as it depends how much chocolate you want at the base and how dark you want it. Assume that you’re using around twice the amount of cacao butter or coconut oil than cacao powder. Add about a teaspoon of vanilla essence and whatever sweetened you choose – just remember that honey doesn’t combine as well with cacao butter so you may want to add an emulsifier or use something else.

If you don’t mind the whole slice becoming a little chocolatey then add the mix now, pressing it onto the chocolate base. If you’d rather a slight separation, chill the chocolate base for a few minutes to get it a little firmer, then press the mix on top. Slice and enjoy :)

This is best eaten fairly fresh as it has a nice crunch to it, but can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoyed for several days. My five year old loved this one :)

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Happy snacking!

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Tooth

I usually eat healthily except for the occasional block of chocolate or packet of potato chips that force me to eat them. Oh, or the times when I get busy, or lazy. Then I eat hot chips sometimes. Ok, a lot. And toast. Toast is a meal isn’t it?

Anyway, I’d gotten into the habit of eating too much sugar lately. It’s kind of unbecoming, not only because it’s unhealthy for me, but because it makes me put on weight and gives me zits. On my forehead. Gross. Then because I feel fat and zitty I reach for more chocolate… or chips. You can imagine how that turns out.

So I’m trying to cut out all junk for 21 days… after which point I’ll hopefully be back in great habits so wont bring it back. It’s going well, aside from my husband who hopefully checks the pantry around 15 times a night just in case cheezels have magically appeared.

So far I’ve swopped my lazy/busy lunches for rice cakes with hommus and salad, I’m juicing more and am doing my best to avoid anything fried. Fact is though, I’ll always have a sweet tooth, so today, when I had a little kid free time I got into the kitchen and prepared some treats ahead… they might even distract hubby away from the cheezel hunt ;)

Choc Vanilla Fudge Protein Balls

DSC06540These are all kinds of awesome.

They’re dairy free depending on which protein powder you use. I used Phyto Protein Pea Protein Isolate in Vanilla flavour. Tastes nothing like peas (phew), and it’s great if you want to avoid the whey that’s usually in protein powder. It’s organic too. If you don’t have this one, or you’re fine with dairy you could use any other.

This recipe makes about 8 balls. If you want more, just double the quantities.

  • 4 tablespoons almond meal
  • 1 heaped tablespoon vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey (a big gloopy one, don’t try to make it flat and neat!)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder (I use organic dutch press as I find the flavour is nicer)

Combine ingredients in a bowl then roll into balls and chill in the fridge. Done!

Healthy Coconut Rough

  • DSC065414 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1-1.5 cups coconut (I used dessicated, but shredded would work too. Use 1 cup if you want more chocolate around your ‘rough’)
  • 3 tablespoons cocao powder

Coconut oil is usually firm at room temperature, so if you want to soften it do so by placing your bowl ‘floating’ inside another bowl filled with boiling water. It softens quickly. I wouldn’t suggest heating it on the stove because it tends to make it separate a little as it cools, so the coconut oil sits on top. Tastes fine like that, but doesn’t look great.

If you have a food processor, or you’re just less lazy than I am there’s no need to soften it, just mix ingredients in a bowl :)

If you haven’t softened the coconut oil then you can shape your ‘rough’ pieces on a tray and pop them in the fridge to set. If you have softened it then best to pour it into a lined plate or tray and break it up when it’s firm. This one will keep for several weeks in a sealed container in the fridge, so, like the balls, it’s easy to make ahead.

 

‘Caramel’ Biscuit Slice

DSC06531Sooo good. And super quick to make. This one was inspired by this recipe on PaleOMG blog http://paleomg.com/caramel-pecan-bars/ which I made a while ago. I wanted to try out my own version.

Base

  • 1 cup peacan meal
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 10 Medjool dates
  • 10-12 tablespoons coconut milk or cream.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

For the base just combine ingredients in a bowl then press into an oven tin. I used a loaf tin for mine. Cook it at about 150-175 until it’s feeling a little crispy to touch and is coming away from the sides. It’ll be browning a little, but not too much. Mine took around 30-40 minutes, but yours might take more or less depending on the tin you’re using, your oven etc.

While that’s cooking take the seeds out of the dates and soak the dates in hot water (freshly boiled) for about 10 minutes. Just enough water to cover them.

While that’s soaking get yourself a nice cup of tea and ignore the dishes ;)

Drain water from the dates and pop them in the blender or food processor with the vanilla essence and the coconut milk/cream. You might need more or less than the amount I suggested, depending on the consistency you want and how big the dates are. Blend until smooth. This might involve a bit of shaking/hitting the blender and swearing… or you could use a spoon to push it down when needed, but the swearing works too. If you have a food processor you probably wont need to swear at all, but feel free to if you want.

Cool the base then apply the ‘caramel’ to the top. I chopped some nuts as a garnish but you could use any garnish you like. Or nothing. This will keep in the fridge for about a week, unless you eat it sooner ;)

Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding with Berries

DSC06537Okay, I admit, I came up with this one to use up the rest of my coconut milk. But it’s still delicious. It’s best served warm or at room temperature. If it’s left in the fridge it tends to thicken more, so if you do plan to chill it increase the quantities of water and coconut milk a little.

  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 can coconut milk or cream
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoon cocao (you could use more if you want it stronger)
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey (depending how sweet you want it)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 heaped teaspoons cornflour

Put rice and water in a saucepan and cook until rice is becoming tender. Add coconut milk, cocao, honey and vanilla essence, and continue to cook on low until rice softens and liquid begins to reduce. Dissolve the cornflour in a few tablespoons of water and stir through, keeping it on the heat until it thickens nicely.

Serve with berries (or anything else you want) and a drizzle of maple syrup <3

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I use raw honey in these recipes because it works for me, but if it doesn’t agree with you, or you’re fully vegan then substitute it with the sweetener of your choice. I’d just advise reading up on agave before you reach for it…

I hope you enjoy the recipes. Let me know if you’d like to see more food posts like this on the blog in the future <3

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013