With three hungry growing boys in my house well four including the biggest boy, hubby. I must have my pantry stocked and fridge full most of the time. Healthy snacks I like to always have on hand so I know they are getting used to healthy eating habits as they grow up. At times it can be hard to think of new ideas I don’t buy a lot of packet or pre-made snacks unless I know exactly what’s in them and I stay clear away from supermarket sugar filled packaged food. While we eat a lot of fruit, veggie sticks, nuts and smoothies at times the kids want something hot and tasty to fill them up. These homemade sausage rolls are ideal for hungry bellies yet still nutritious and without the nasties.
This is such a handy recipe to have sausage rolls make easy lunch ideas, afternoon tea snacks, party food and great for BBQ entertaining. The frozen pre-made ones from the supermarket well god knows what is actually in them the processed so-called meat they use may taste ok but we all know it’s not healthy for us with all the additives and preservatives that they contain.
If you have ever thought of making them yourself this recipe is ideal. I actually made it even healthier by substituting the pastry with sheets of mountain bread wraps bought from the supermarket. They contain little calories and no artificial nonsense. They crisp up a treat and you or the kids will never notice the difference, well my kids didn’t. I’ve used organic lean beef and added some hidden veggies for extra goodness. You can also make and par-cook then freeze them to have on hand when needed. They are just too good not to try them for yourself.
Homemade Hidden Veggie & Beef Sausage Rolls
2 tsp olive oil
500g lean organic beef mince
1/2 leek thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 carrot, peeled and grated finely
1 zucchini, grated finely
2 tbs tomato paste
10 sheets mountain bread
1 egg whisked
3 tsp sesame seeds
- Preheat oven 160’C line a tray with baking paper
- In a large frypan heat oil and garlic and leek. cook for 2-3 mins until leek has softened
- Add carrot and zucchini cook for a further 3-4 mins
- Take off the heat mix together with the mince meat in a bowl. Add tomato paste and season with salt and pepper
- Lay 2 sheets of mountain bread on top of each other. Spoon 3 heaped tablespoons of mince meat mixture on one end of the sheet to make a log shape.
- Roll to enclose, cut into three pieces and place on baking tray
- Repeat with remaining sheets and filling
- With a sharp knife make little slits on the top of the sausage rolls, with a pastry brush the sausage rolls with whisked eggs and sprinkle with sesame seeds
- Cook in the oven for 25-30mins or until golden and crisp and filling is cooked through
Yes it’s actually a thing I googled it! Really just meaning mini pizzas with eggplant as the base which can be eaten as a appetiser, snack or with antipasto.
With my influx of basil pesto in the house and the family eggplant delivery I received from my sister-in-law the other day I was eager to use them both. I was making a traditional eggplant parmigiana for dinner and had some eggplant left over so I decided to bake some extra thick cut slices with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of oregano in the oven for 15-20mins until was just cooked through without being mushy.
Topped with some extra tomato passata I’d made, spooned some of the Homemade Basil Pesto from the other day and topped with some shredded cheese. Popped back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese was melted and we had a delicious pre dinner appetiser. It is a great idea for entertaining, something a little different and suitable for vegetarians. I just called them mini eggplant pizzas but soon discovered there was an actual name for them. You learn something new everyday don’t you. hehe
One thing I have been mad about lately is the spice turmeric. There has been a lot of chat about this golden spice in recent times for its wonderful medicinal health benefits. Even though the Indian & Asian culture has been using it to flavour and colour their curries and traditional dishes for centuries the western culture has finally caught on to the many wonderful benefits it contains including anti-inflammatory properties, cancer prevention, improves brain function, prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease, helps with arthritis pain, and also has proven benefits to help against depression.
But how do we use it?
Well apart from the usual use in curries and indian/asian dishes I like to use it to flavour all sorts of vegetables such as baked cauliflower, pumpkin, sweet potatoes anything really it gives it a subtle spiced flavour without being too over powering. I also add a couple tablespoons to my polenta coating to make these eggplant chips and wow did it come out delicious. You can either buy the powder or use fresh turmeric peel it and grate a 5cm piece, warning though can no will stain your hands, chopping boards and well anything it comes in contact with so if this bothers you use kitchen gloves and be careful in the preparation.
I served them with a Turmeric Garlic Aioli and well I have to say I am now turmeric obsessed! So hopefully in the future I’ll be an elderly woman still happy, fit and active with all my heart, joints and marbles in check. This definitely fits the saying “A teaspoon a day will keep the doctor away!”
Turmeric Spiced Polenta Eggplant Chips with Turmeric Garlic Aioli
1 large eggplant cut into thick chips
1 1/2 cups polenta (cornmeal)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric powder or 5 cm piece fresh peeled and grated turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 eggs whisked
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 200’C
- Place Polenta and spices and seasonings in a medium bowl. Place whisked eggs in a separate bowl
- Coat the eggplant chips first in the egg then into the polenta mix making sure to generously coat them evenly
- Place eggplants on a lined baking tray drizzle with olive oil
- Bake in oven for 15mins then turn over and cook for further 10-15mins until golden and soft in the centre.
- Serve with Turmeric Garlic Aioli
Notes: Can be served as a starter or as a side with your favourite protein meat or fish.
Is there even a thing?
Changing some of the ingredients in your favourite weekend drinking snack or hangover meal can still be tasty without all the excess calories that you kick yourself for eating later on.
Inspired by issue 6 Donna Hay Fresh & Light Magazine where she included some lighter more nutritious alternatives to the heavy, cheesy Mexican favourite was a brilliant idea and was too eager to try it out. Perfect for a lazy weekend in front of the Netflix wouldn’t you agree?
*Warning this has a good kick of heat so adjust the hot paprika/cayenne to your personal heat levels Or omit it for a mild child friendly version.
The leftovers of any of the lentil mix is also great for topping of baked sweet potatoes or on toast with poached eggs, as a stuffing in capsicums (bell peppers) or mushrooms, the possibilities are endless.
Smokey Lentil and Brown Rice Nachos
A quick and easy weekend dish that is perfect for lounging around or having friends over
1tsp olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup cooked brown rice
400g can lentils drained and rinsed
400g tin crushed tomatoes
1 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper or omit for a mild verison
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
300g mission corn tortilla chips
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/2 cup labne or Greek style yoghurt
1 zucchini spiralised
Baby spinach leaves
1/2 avocado sliced
- Preheat oven to 180’c (350’F)
- Heat oil in a large frypan and add garlic cook for 1 min.
- Add lentils, rice and cook for 2 mins, stirring occasionally
- Add the tomato, hot paprika, smoked paprika, water, salt and pepper
- Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside
- Place corn chips on a baking tray, top with rice and lentil mixture, and scatter the mozzarella cheese place in the oven cook for 2-3mins until cheese has just melted
- Top with labne or yoghurt, spiralised zucchini, baby spinach and sliced avocado
- Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil to serve
School is back next week woohoo.. I mean wow that went quickly. I’ve quite enjoyed the sleep-ins well not having to be dressed, rushed and out of the house every morning. But like all good things they must come to an end and it’s back to reality, routine and the early morning chaos. My middle son starts prep (first year of school) this year and to say he is excited is an understatement.
He is looking forward to the challenges and friendships and of course joining his big brother at school. It will be an adjustment for all of us and I hope I don’t get too teary but I can’t promise anything. He is my mummy’s boy and I’ve loved having him home with me. Now he will be out in the big wide world of school and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Excited for his next phase but also a part of me finding it so hard to let go. Sounds silly, but to me it is a big deal the next step in their little lives.They are no longer tied to you everyday and having mummy protect them from harms way. It’s more than just school work, they build their confidence and independence that will stay with them for years to come. It’s kind of a big deal!
Enough of the emotional stuff I still have some days left to prepare myself. In the meantime I have started thinking of some lunchbox ideas to distract me. I like to pack fresh fruit, veggie sticks, rice crackers, sandwiches and some healthy snacks they are the usuals in my kids lunch boxes. I do like to make some homemade treats when I get a chance as I hate all the supermarket kids snacks that are targeted as “school snacks” but are mostly all filled with excessive amounts of sugar and still cheeky additives and preservatives. Still don’t know how they get away with it.
Muffins are a great treat though making them without sugar can sometimes leave them underwhelming and bland which may come back at the bottom of their school bag. I love this recipe I found that does include a little sugar but unrefined coconut sugar, also is sweetened by grated apple also making it super moist, the added blueberries for extra fruity flavour and contains quinoa flakes for added superfood slow releasing energy . Well sounds perfect for getting them through the day doesn’t it.. Win for me, but was it a win for the kids? Happy to say the kids sampled them and it’s a tick from them too. They can be easily wrapped and put in the freezer, then just taken out the night before to pack in their lunch boxes. I will be posting more healthy lunch box fillers in the coming weeks. Hope you are ready for school to start I’m sure there will be many mummy coffee dates planned and leaps out of bed that morning from parents and maybe like me some happy tears.
Recipe from Donna Hay Fresh and Light magazine issue 5
Blueberry, Apple & Quinoa Muffins
1/2 quinoa flakes
1 cup milk
2 cups wholemeal flour sifted
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup grapeseed oil or light olive oil
1 green apple grated
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
1 tb maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 180’C (350’F)
- In a large bowl place quinoa flakes and milk and let soak for 10mins
- Then add all remaining ingredients (except quinoa crumb and blueberries) and mix to combine
- Add blueberries and gently stir through
- Divide into 12 capacity well-greased muffin tin
- To make quinoa crumb combine quinoa flakes and maple syrup and rub together to form a crumb.
- Top onto muffins and bake for 30mins or until cooked through
- Set aside for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack to cool.