Banana Oat Slice

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have been thinking this week about how much food we throw away.  I absolutely abhor food going to waste and at my house we do pretty well, we are great at finishing our plates and leftovers usually go in the Kiwi’s lunch for work, everything else gets composted,  but I am guilty of the shrivelled up greens in the bottom of the fridge, the half eaten cauliflower slowly turning brown and the bowl of leftover rice where I cooked too much but not quite enough for another meal.  I guess planning plays a good part in reducing waste but also having a good recipe to use up all those odds and ends helps too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For some reason bananas seem to be out of flavour in my house at the moment.  I think it is because over summer they were ripening so quickly, I mean they were nearly green and inedible one minute then the next they were brown and the fruit flies were homing in on them.   So we have all got out of the habit of grabbing a banana for a snack and the fruit bowl has a banana imbalance. There are so many things a brown banana is good for though.  Today I thought I would show you a super healthy snack that makes use of soggy, over-ripe bananas, it is packed full of slow release energy and contains no added sugar.  To top it off kids love it so it makes a great, guilt-free lunch box treat.

I feel a bit of a fraud calling this a recipe actually because the basic slice is literally just mashed bananas and oats combined then baked.  We do, however, like to pimp it with a mixture of dried fruit and seeds but the combinations are endless.  It couldn’t be much easier, Oscar my 3 year old loves to help make it and as baking with a preschooler goes this one isn’t too taxing!

So start by taking 3 bananas and mashing them.  Add in 2 cups of oats and a cup of your chosen fillings.  For the oats you can use either wholegrain rolled oats or quick oats.  I like to mix them having a cup of each, the rolled oats add texture and have undergone less processing, while the quick oats are quite fine so they help to bind the mixture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The fillings I used today are 1/3 cup shredded coconut, 1/3 cup sultanas and 1/3 cup total of pepitas, sunflower seeds and Oscar’s absolute favourite at the moment, dried pineapple.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once the fillings are in mix together until everything is combined.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then press into a lined 22cm/9″ square baking tin and bake at 180’C/350’f for about 20 mins or until it starts to turn a lovely golden brown at the edges.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The timing isn’t crucial with this, if it is under done it will just be a little moister, the more you cook it the firmer and drier it becomes.  Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last up to 5 days or wrap it up in some cling wrap and stick it in the freezer for up to a month.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 


Banana oat slice 

Prep time: 5 minutes,  cook time: 20 minutes
serves 12 – cost per serve $0.25

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats (rolled or quick)
  • 3 bananas mashed
  • 1 cup of any combination of the following: shredded or desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, seeds – linseed, sunflower, pepitas etc., chocolate chips or cacao nibs, dried fruit – raisons, sultanas, chopped dates, chopped apricots, pineapple, apple, cranberries, goji berries, etc.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’f and line a 22cm/9″ square baking tin
  2. In a large bowl mash the bananas really well
  3. Tip in the oats and other chosen ingredients
  4. Mix everything together until well combined the pour into the lined baking tin
  5. Press mixture down using the the back of a spoon or fork then place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes or the edges start to turn golden brown
  6. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before removing and placing on a cutting board to portion.

The slice will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.  Alternatively wrap in cling wrap and freeze for up to a month.

Immunity Boosting Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What a week!  It has been a short week due to the Queen’s Birthday public holiday and that has thrown me completely.  Monday is normally a kindy day so it sees me running around manically trying to restore the house to some semblance of order after the weekend.  This week not so, by Thursday it still looked like a battle between the laundry and Oscar’s toys had taken place in the living room and the rest of the house was in a similar state.  To top it off the boys both have had sniffly noses and the stormy weather has been starting to close in again after a brief reprieve.

I made up a pot of this soup to combat the sniffles and the early onset of winter blues.  I love it, it is so fresh and zingy, it is a cinch to prepare, taking around 20 mins to cook, it costs just a few dollars to make and is full of vitamin C rich ingredients.

Prepare the veggies by chopping and peeling and then get to work by gently frying the onion in a tablespoon of oil.  It should take 5 mins or so until they are softened and starting to turn a nice golden brown.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Add a touch more oil and turn up the heat.  Fry off the garlic and ginger for a minute until nice and fragrant.  Then chuck in the rest of the carrot and potato.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mix everything together and then top with the orange juice (,zest if using) and hot stock, pop the lid on and bring to the boil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When it reaches the boil remove the lid and reduce to a rapid simmer, cook for 15-20mins or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.  Allow to cool slightly before blending.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And your done!  This soup is delicious served hot with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of chilli flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper in winter, but in summer it is really refreshing served chilled.


Carrot, Orange and ginger soup

Serves 4-6 – $0.90-$0.60 per serve
prep time: 5 mins, cook time: 20mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 thumb sized piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 500g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • zest of one orange and juice of 2 oranges or 2 cups of bought orange juice
  • approx. 500ml hot veggie stock, homemade or made from a cube
  • cayenne pepper or chilli flakes to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Start by pouring a tablespoon of oil into a large saucepan or stock pot and gently frying the onion until golden brown.
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant.  Mix through the carrots and potatoes and pour over the orange and stock.
  3. Bring to the boil with the lid on then remove the lid and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook until the carrots and potatoes are soft, around 15-20mins.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before blending until smooth, taste and season if necessary.
  6. Serve hot or chilled and topped with a pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes (optional).

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is ‘Junk Free June’ and although we tend not to eat a whole heap of rubbish I am making a concerted effort this month to avoid heavily processed and shop bought treats so I thought I would share one of our favourite, homemade sweet treats this week.  This cake is seriously insane, none of my photos do it justice.  It is fudgey and moist, rich and dense but at the same time it isn’t stodgy so it doesn’t leave you with that heavy, full feeling when you finish your 3rd slice!  I can’t take credit for this one, it comes from an awesome cookbook Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood which is full of delicious, healthy and mostly guilt free recipes.  This one appealed to me not only because it is really simple to make but also it makes two cakes and freezes well so I can put one away for a rainy day.   It is so popular with our friends and family that it has become our go to chocolate cake – added bonus, it is so moist it doesn’t need icing.

Quinoa can be a bit expensive but for this cake you only need a very small amount.  Most supermarkets sell it in their bulk bins so if you don’t use it on a regular basis you can buy just enough for the cake.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You need to cook the quinoa before you add it to the cake batter so start by rinsing it in cold water this helps to remove the natural coating quinoa has called saponin, which can make it taste bitter. Once rinsed, drain it and tip it into a saucepan with 330ml of cold water, pop the lid on and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for around 15 mins or until the water has been absorbed then with the lid on set aside and allow it to steam for another 10 mins.  When the  10 mins are up fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and transfer to a bowl to cool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Meanwhile gather the other ingredients together.  Into the bowl of a food processor place the milk, eggs and vanilla and blitz briefly.  In a separate bowl combine the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Once the quinoa has cooled you can add it along with the melted butter to the wet ingredients in the food processor and blend for 1-2 mins. The mixture will increase in size as the ingredients are aerated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 The hard work is done now, all that remains is to pour in the dry ingredients and blend for another minute then divide the batter between two greased and lined, loose bottomed, 20cm/8inch cake tins.  The mixture will be runny like a pancake batter with a few little speckles of quinoa that escaped the fury of the processor blade!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pop the tins into an oven preheated to 180’c/350’f and bake for around 40 mins.  Test by inserting a knife or skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is cooked, if not bake for another 5 mins and then check again.  When they are ready to come out resist the temptation to remove the cakes from their tins, instead set them aside to cool completely before de-robing them!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I know it doesn’t look much so you will have to take my word for it and try it yourself and I promise this protein and fibre packed beauty will become a favourite with your family.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Makes 2 Cakes, Serves per cake 6-8 – $4.50 per cake (when using free range eggs)
Prep time: 25 mins – Bake time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (125g)  white or golden quinoa
  • 1 1/3cups (330ml) water
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (225g) melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 1 cup (90g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Rinse quinoa in cold water until the water runs clear.  Place the quinoa and 1 1/3 cups (330ml) of cold water into a small saucepan.  Place the lid on and over a medium heat bring to a boil, simmer for 15 mins or until the water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat but leave the lid on and allow to steam for a further 10 mins.  When it is ready fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  2. Next preheat the oven to 180’c/350’f and prepare two 20cm/8inch loose bottomed cake tins by lining the bottom and greasing the sides.
  3. Into the bowl of a food processor crack the eggs, pour the milk and spoon the vanilla.  Blitz quickly to combine then add in the cooked, cooled quinoa and the melted butter and blend again until the mixture is smooth.  It will fluff up a bit which is fine.
  4. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and stir briefly to ensure an even mixture.  Gently add the dry ingredients to the batter in the food processor and blend one last time until the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cakes to cool completely before removing from their tins.

The cake will keep for up to a week in an airtight container or frozen for 1 month.