It’s not easy being green… Making all the green things, plus Zucchini Brownies!

We’ve had some big changes this year. First my oldest changed schools. A couple of weeks later, after lots of planning and meetings with her medical team, my middle child was able to join him and started her first year of school. So exciting, and plenty scary, but she is so happy about it.

So now, for the first time in a few years (!) I suddenly have a couple of spare hours during the day when the baby is asleep. As any parent knows, there is no time to waste once the baby is sleeping. It’s off to the studio, cup of tea in hand, and straight to work!

At the moment, I am not sure what direction my work will take. There will definitely be some colouring pages. But mainly, I just need to make all the things, and see what comes out of it. I’m focusing on colour, foliage and florals.

For the past two weeks, it’s been all about leafy greens. I can NEVER work on just one piece, so here’s a snap shot of what I’m making…

Since I’m all about green at the moment, I thought I’d throw in a recipe for our latest family favourite – Zucchini Brownies! I got this idea from a friend (thank you Mel), who swore the zucchini was undetectable, and she was right! I usually replace half the sugar with 1/2 a cup of granulated stevia, or you can just stick to regular sugar.

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups of gluten free self raising flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of finely grated zucchini

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of soy milk

1/2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Pour in oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
  3. Add grated zucchini and stir through
  4. Pour mixture into greased baking tray, and bake at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Creativity, making things, and Chocolate Chip Cookies! (Gluten, dairy and nut free, of course)

imageI’ve been a busy bee lately. Multiple crafty projects, a watercolour painting of my daughter (as a mermaid, because she lurves them), an embroidery of my son, an oil painting for my neighbour, designing a new kitchen (I’m so EXCITED)…

Floral Bouquet, work in progress
Floral Bouquet, work in progress

Do you ever feel like your head is swirling with ideas, and you can’t get them out fast enough?

Creativity is a funny thing. I often find it comes in giant bursts. The ideas come rushing out, I start on multiple projects, and struggle to finsh things, because I’m so eager to start the next project. My family can always tell when I’m in a creative burst, because of the mess. I run out of space in my studio, and things start to make their way out to the lounge room, then the dining table… Sorry family!

Leo dreaming
Leo dreaming
Vintage Kimono Silk Birds
Vintage Kimono Silk Birds
Even the window is getting covered in my "works in progress"
Even the window is getting covered in my “works in progress”

 

To help tackle my lack of focus (or being focused on too many things), I’ve been writing lots of to do lists. They aren’t particularly ordered. More like automatic writing, because there’s just so many ideas I want to get down, before I burst. There is something so satisfying about to do lists. Writing one out, no matter how jumbled, always makes me feel like I’m starting to achieve stuff. Invariably, because I’ve got it all out on paper, things start to happen. I start to work my way through the list, ticking things off. And then cleaning ip the mess, as each project gets resolved…

It’s amazing what you can achieve if you have a list to work with!

Naturally, all this productive stuff requires sustenance…

Yum
Yum

 

These cookies are quick and easy to make. I often take them to birthday parties, so my children can eat something sweet when the cake comes out. They are also great for the school lunchbox.

Easy Peasy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups of gluten free plain flour
250g nuttelex
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 cup of caster sugar
Half a cup of the Chocolate of your choice. We use Sweet Williams, or Plamil dark chocolate.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees

Beat Nuttelex, vanilla essence and sugar together until light and fluffy. Using a spatula, stir through flour and baking powder, and then knead gently into a soft dough. If it feels a bit sticky, add another tablespoon of flour. You should be able to roll the dough in your hands without it sticking all over you. Mix through desired chocolate. I use about half a cup, chopped up.

Roll into balls, then squash a bit flat. Makes about 20 cookies.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until they just start to turn golden. If you like them crunchy, leave them for a couple more minutes.

They will last in an airtight container for about a week.

 

Chocolate and banana pudding

This is an adaptation of a recipe from one of my favourite blogs, Wholefood Simply.   https://wholefoodsimply.com/baked-banana-custard/

This recipe has been a staple lately at my place, as my little girl loves it. I’ve played around with a few variations, and this chocolate version is very popular. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, add an extra tablespoon of maple syrup. We like it plain, but tonight we are having it with fresh raspberries and coconut milk ice cream.

Gluten, dairy, nut and soy free. Contains egg

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Ingredients

5 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

1 tin of coconut milk

1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of maple syru

Method

preheat oven to 160 degrees

combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ramekins or silicone muffin molds, leaving 1.5cm at the top to allow for the puddings to rise

Place ramekins in a baking dish, and pour 2cm of water into the bottom of the dish.

bake for 40 minutes.

Decadent Chocolate “Mousse” with fresh berries

One of the things I missed most when I embarked on the Coeliac, Food Allergy and Intolerence journey, was desserts and other sweet treats. This chocolate “mousse” is a big hit with my children, and it certainly hits the spot for me as well. It is packed full of goodness and is lovely and rich, so a little goes a long way!

Gluten, dairy, nut, egg and soy free.

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Ingredients

1 very ripe avocado

1 large ripe banana

1 table spoon maple syrup (rice malt syrup or honey also work well, you can add extra if you prefer it sweeter)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of coconut oil (this helps add richness and body. You can leave it out if you prefer)

1 1/2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder.

Pinch of sea salt

Method

Place all of the ingedients into a jug or bowl. Blend with a stick blender for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.

Serve with fresh mixed berries.

White chocolate and Apricot Cake

I made this cake yesterday, to celebrate Easter with our God daughter and her parents. It was lovely and moist, decadent without being too sickly sweet. Gluten dairy and nut free. Contains soy and egg.

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Ingredients 

2 cups of gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

2/3 cup raw or white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

100g dairy and nut free white chocolate (I used Sweet William)

image

3 egg1 cup soy or rice milk

1/2 cup of melted nuttelex or canola oil

400g tin of apricot halves

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons of apricot jam

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat three eggs. Add vanilla and milk.

In the microwave or over low heat, melt 50g of white chocolate with the nuttelex or oil. Allow to cool slightly.

Quickly beat chocolate mixture into eggs and milk.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients in. Gently combine using a spatula, it’s fine if there are a few small lumps. Try not to over mix, or the cake will become chewy.

Pour mixture into a greased 25cm (10 inch) cake tin.

Gently place apricots one by one on top of the cake, spreading them evenly across the top.

Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the sides come away from the edge of the cake tin, and the top of the cake springs back when pressed.

Allow cake to cool. When cool, remove from pan. Heat jam in microwave for about 20 seconds. Take out and stir. Pour jam over the top of the cake, ensuring the whole top is evenly covered.

Melt the remaining white chocolate. Drizzle all over the top of the cake.