Recipes

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Feel that sunshine on your skin!

 

Spring has arrived. The sun is in the sky and the trees are in bloom. Sit back and enjoy our Spring Nutrition Newsletter, with lots of great nutrition news, recipes and family eating tips for the season.

 

We break down getting kids into the kitchen, the new American Academy of Paediatrics statement on additives and child health and what it means for food storage, vegan diets for children, and a host of nutrition tips and recipes.

 

Take a look inside!

 

Cheers,

Click here!

x Bloom 🌿


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When my children wanted to cook cornflake cookies recently, I realised that I had an opportunity to improve on an age old favourite and turn into something that could go into their lunch boxes.
My lunchbox baking criteria is that it must include a wholemeal or wholegrain base for fibre, B vitamins and longer lasting energy. I also like to include fruit, veggies and/or seeds.
With most Australian schools being nut free, I frequently try to include seeds in my cooking as they are an equivalent source of important nutrients such mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, fibre, protein and minerals like phosphorus and magnesium amongst others. Chia seeds are slightly unique in that they are a very good plant source of Omega 3 (ALA) fatty acids. Most seeds contain Omega 6 (although linseed is also a notable source of Omega 3). Our bodies can’t make ALA and so we must source it from our diets. Nuts and seeds along with olive oil and leafy green vegetables are all good sources. Chia seeds are also particularly high in fibre, so including them in your families diet can really help your child hit their daily fibre requirement.

They may be expensive but a small amount goes a long way! I hope you have fun making these cookies with your kids!

Cornflake Chia Cookies

Ingredients

125g butter softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
pinch of salt
2 cups of crushed cornflakes

Method:

Heat Oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Using an electric mixer beat butter and sugar together and light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until mixed. Fold in the flour, baking powder, chia seeds, crushed cornflakes and salt.
Shape into small balls and place about 5cm apart on a baking tray. Cook for around 15 mins or until lightly golden.
Store in an airtight container in your freezer for 3 months.

Note: this recipe was inspired by a classic cornflake recipe found on taste.com

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As the cold weather starts to hit hard in this part of the world hot chocolates start to become the drink of choice. In fact in my house I often offer up a hot chocolate for “dessert”.

Another Mum recently asked me whether there was a better choice between a hot chocolate, Milo or Ovaltine. Good question! 

I guess the first thing to be aware of when adding flavours to your milk, is that you are adding sugar (note there are some sugar free versions available). I’m personally happy to add some sugar into my child’s diet when I know it’s packaged up in a food that also delivers them beneficial nutrients (you can read more about my thoughts on sugar here). Milk is a great source of calcium, protein, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. Ideally kids should aim for 3 serves of dairy a day to meet their calcium requirements.  If your child’s diet is otherwise balanced, a small amount of sugar added to milk is not harmful.

Products such as drinking chocolates, Nesquik (Australian version) or alike, are simply coco powder, sugar and/or added flavours. Milo and Ovaltine differ in that they also include a small amount of aditional nutrients, namely iron, vitamin C, vitamin D, extra calcium, phosphorus and a range of B vitamins. On average these products (when made according to instructions, roughly a tablespoon per glass of milk depending on the product) add between 2 – 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar to your child’s diet and around 60 – 80 additional calories. If you want to know more about how much sugar you should be allowing in your child’s diet click here. 

The additional nutrients offered in products such as Milo can be beneficial for some children. For example a standard serve of Milo provides about 35% of a 4yr olds requirement for iron, which can be handy if your child doesn’t eat red meat. As always, it’s preferable to use real foods to meet your child’s nutrient requirements, and I wouldn’t recommend using these products on a daily basis.

You can avoid the commercial products all together and flavour your child’s milk another way. Recently I’ve been making my children a nourishing cinnamon and vanilla hot frothy milk which they just love. For the everyday version I omit the sugar and cream, but if I’m dressing it up as something special, I go all out and add a little wow. I hope your kids enjoy this as much as mine!

Vanilla Cinnamon Hot Frothy Milk (enough for 4 children)

600ml milk 

2 cinnamon quills (or 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, but be aware this will leave a strong cinnamon residue at the bottom of the cup)

2 teaspoons vanilla essence 

2 tablespoons of castor sugar (you can omit this if you want to and the drink still tastes great, albeit less sweet)

Optional: whipped cream to serve  

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat gently over low heat. Once hot use a hand whisk to vigorously whisk until the milk becomes frothy. If you have a coffee machine with a frothing function you might like to use this to create a denser froth for the top. Top with whipped cream if using and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Enjoy!


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It can be tricky to find a recipe for a lunchbox cookie that meets the brief; a good source of nutrients, enough protein and fibre to keep the kids full, not too much sugar, no nuts, and tasty enough that they actually eat them!

 

I’ve tried many a cookie recipe, and played around with a few favourites to come up with one that all 6 members of our family really enjoy. After posting some pics on instagram, we were asked by people to share the recipe… so here it is.

 

It’s definitely not your traditional choc chip cookie, and may not be sweet enough for some, so check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe for modification tips if needed.

 

Chia sunflower double choc cookies (Dairy free)

Ingredients

100g Nuttelex olive oil light, melted and cooled

1/4 c maple syrup or honey

1 egg

2 tsp natural vanilla essence

 

1/2 c ground sunflower seeds

1/2 c wholemeal self raising flour

1 1/2 c quick oats

1/4 c cocoa powder or cacao

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 tsp mixed chia seeds

 

1/3 c dark choc chips ( I use Callebaut Belgian Callets from Costco, and they are dairy free)

 

Method

Mix all wet ingredients together (cooled melted nuttelex, maple syrup, egg and vanilla essence) until combined.

Stir together all the remaining dry ingredients, except for the choc chips) removing any lumps.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. The final consistency shouldn’t be too wet. (If it is, scatter through some more oats)  Then fold through choc chips.

Roll into balls, and place on tray with 5 cm space between, and press lightly to form a cookie shape.

Bake at 180 deg for 15-18 mins, or until cooked to your liking.
(15 min is perfect for my oven which runs quite hot)

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

 

NOTES

They may soften and become more like a whoopee pie consistency if not all eaten on the first day, but my kids really like them either way.

These cookies are on the more savory side of a sweet cookie! If your kids prefer a sweeter cookie you may need to start with more maple syrup, or add a little brown sugar, and gradually decrease the amount of sweetness. Or use a few extra choc chips 😉 .

You can also make them egg free if you need to for allergies or vegan diets, by simply omitting the egg, but decrease the oats to about 1 cup, otherwise the mixture will be too dry.
My best advice is to have a play around and see how they work best for your tribe… the cookies you get to taste test along the way are all in the name of science 🙂
x Angela @ Bloom 🌿

 

 

 


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My dear friend (and fellow dietitian), Kellie originally gave me this recipe nearly 20 years ago! Over the years I’ve tweaked it, and now it’s a regular favourite in my house. One of the things I like about this recipe is that it makes a huge batch (depending on how big you make each pattie), which means there’s always plenty to go in the freezer for another meal.

You’ll notice a that I use full fat beef mince for this recipe. Most of the time I would recommend low fat mince and leaner cuts of meat to reduce your saturated fat intake. When it to hamburgers however, they become awfully dry if made with low fat mince. Most kids will reject meat that is too dry or tough. In fact changing to mince in this dish to full fat, was the simple change I needed to make to get ALL of my kids to eat it.

Now adults listen up. If you really want to take your burger to the next level then it’s all about the relishes in my mind. I simply can’t go past Beaver Brand Extra Hot Jalapeño Mustard (https://chilemojo.com.au/beaver-jalape-o-mustard-368gm.html). You can thank me later, in the meantime get out and BBQ!

 

Ingredients:

900g full fat beef mince
1 cup wholemeal bread crumbs (made from day old bread or whatever you have lying in the freezer!)
1 egg
1 carrot finely grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp of dried Italian herbs
2 Tablespoons of Beerenberg Tomato Sauce (or similar good quality tomato sauce)
2 Tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce
1 Teaspoon of Keens Curry Powder
Salt and pepper to season (note: I omit the pepper as my kids dislike the flavour)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and use hands to shape into a variety of large (adult size) and small (golf ball size is fine for young children) patties. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cook on the BBQ (or griddle pan inside) for about 4 mins each side or until cooked through.

To serve I like to use rye rolls for the adults and small dinner rolls for the kids. I usually also serve these with sweet corn cooked on the BBQ and maybe some sweet potato and potato chips (see Instagram for our recipe) as well as variety of salad which they can choose from to add to their burger. Using dinner rolls keeps the “grain” portion of the meal in check and serving a variety of salad and veggie options keeps the meal balanced and high in veg.

Enjoy!

Julia @ Bloom

 


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Every time I mention to someone that I cook my roast chicken in the slow cooker, I get a rise of the eyebrow and a “How do you do that?”. To be honest, it wasn’t very long ago that I didn’t know how to do it either, but with four kids and raft of after school activities, I figured out a way I could do a roast without being present to cook it! Now this isn’t a new thing, plenty of people before me have cooked their roasts in a slow cooker, in fact google “slow cooker roast chicken” and you’ll find plenty of recipes to try. The other great thing about a slow cooker roast is that the meat is so tender it literally starts to fall off the bone. This is great for lots of children who really struggle with chewy or tougher cuts of meat.

Now my roast isn’t fancy. It’s primarily about speed and flavour, so for that reason I reserve extra garnishes and rubs etc for those occasions when I have more time to spend. I simply focus on adding the bare essentials to ensure a delicious meal. You can add vegetables to your slow cooker too, just don’t expect them to turn out “crispy”. They will cook slowly in the juices of the chicken and will still be delicious, but they’re not roasted. For the record I usually sit my roast on a bed on onions and chopped pumpkin or carrots (or all 3!). Because my kids love a crispy roast potato (who doesn’t?) I cook the potatoes separately in the oven (hint: if you like your potatoes extra crispy, par-boil them first for about 10 mins, then rough up the skin by vigorously shaking the saucepan once you’ve poured the water out, or using a fork to “scratch” the surface of each one. Drizzle with your choice of butter or olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake at 200 degrees C for about 45mins. To speed up the process, I do the par-boiling earlier in the day so all I have to do when we get home is pop them in the oven). I find a 1.3 kg chicken feeds my family of 6, and cooks in about 5 – 6 hours on a low setting. If you need a longer cooking time because you’re at work etc… try a larger chicken.

 

Ingredients:

1.3 kg chicken
lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Onion – quartered
Pumpkin – cut into large chunks
Carrots – cut into large chunks

1-2 Tablespoons of plain flour

 

Directions:

Wash chicken including the cavity and pat dry. Prick a lemon all over and place inside the cavity. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (note: many kids will prefer you to season with salt only).

Add a generous amount of olive oil to a frying pan on medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides (about 3-4 mins per side). Whilst you are browning the chicken, chop any veggies you’re using and place in the bottom of the slow cooker.

When you’re chicken is nicely browned, place on top of your veggies (breast side up) and cook on low for about 5 hours. After 5 hours check if the juices are running clear. If so your chicken is done!

To make a gravy simply pour out any liquid (there should be plenty) into a small saucepan and gently heat. Whisk in 1 -2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir until thickens.

Enjoy!

Julia @ Bloom


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I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of cauliflower at the moment!
It seems to be the new “it” food, and whilst we’re not into the whole concept of superfoods here at Bloom Nutrition (all fruit and veggies are good for you, it’s aiming for 2 & 5 that really needs to be our focus) I do enjoy seeing all the new ideas people come up with for cooking and serving a veg once it becomes popular.
One of my favourite ways to eat cauliflower is in a salad. If you read my blog post on lunch ideas (here), you’ll know I like to prepare a base that I can then pull into a salad on the day. With this recipe I prep the cauliflower, pearl barley and dressing at the beginning of the week and simply layer it and add the baby spinach come lunchtime.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Julia @ Bloom 🌿 x

 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD

Makes 4 serves

Ingredients

1 whole cauliflower cut into florets
Olive Oil – 2 Tablespoons

1 cup of pearl barley – cooked as per instructions on packet

Spice Mix:

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy!)
1 Tablespoon Tumeric

 

Dressing:

200g natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon dijion mustard
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

To assemble:

1 bag of baby spinach
Pepitas

 

Directions:

Roughly chop your cauliflower into florets. Toss first in olive oil then in the spice mix. Lay on to a baking tray and cook for about 20mins at 180 degrees or until a skewer will pass through easily.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Whilst cauliflower is baking, cook pearl barley according to instructions on packet.
Mix together ingredients for dressing.

To assemble, add about a cup of baby spinach to your bowl. Layer with 1/2 cup of cooked barley and scatter with a 1/4 of the cauliflower florets. Dollop around dressing and sprinkle with a few peptias.

Enjoy!

 


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Ingredients:

1 onion diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 zucchini grated
2 sticks of celery diced
1 potato diced
2 carrots diced
1 tin chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup risoni pasta
2 cups of chicken stock
1 x 660ml Passata
2 x chorizo sausages, diced

To Serve:

chilli flakes
fresh basil
grated parmesan

Directions:

Heat Large heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Add diced chorizo and cook until browned (about 3-4 mins). Remove from saucepan.

In oil from chorizo cook onion, garlic, carrot and celery until soft, about 4-5 mins.

Add grated zucchini and cook for a further minute.

Add passata, chicken stock, potato and chickpeas.

Add any extra water necessary to adequately cover veges.

Bring to boil and simmer for 30mins.

Add risoni and cook for a further 10 mins.

To serve top with chilli flakes, parmesan and fresh basil.


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Makes 21 serves

Ingredients:

13 medjool dates (pitted)
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling)
2 tsp coco powder
2 TBS of light coconut milk

 

Method:

Put all ingredients into your food processor.

Blitz until the mixture resembles a cookie dough consistency.

The mixture should be firm enough that you can roll it into balls easily.

Using your hands roll into small balls, and coat in desiccated coconut.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.


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This recipe is a little akin to a baked muesli bar.

It’s fairly energy dense (but also highly nutritious) because of all the seeds, so cut it into small squares to serve.

x Bloom

 

Makes: 20 pieces

Ingredients

125g butter melted
1 cup of cornflakes crushed
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
2 Tablespoons sunflowers seeds
1/3 cup pepitas

 

Method:

Using a food processor grind the chia, sunflowers seeds and pepitas until fine.

In a large bowl add the seed mix to the remaining dry ingredients.

In a saucepan over low heat melt the butter, golden syrup and castor sugar. Mix until castor sugar had completely dissolved.

Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients until well combined.

Flatten mixture into a 20cm x 20cm square loaf tin.

Bake for approx. 15 mins or until golden at 180 degrees celsius. Cut into small squares for the lunchbox.

Keeps frozen for 3 months


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We love bananas 🍌…

I always smile when there is a recipe that says “Here’s a way to use up left over x…”. With 6 hungry mouths to feed, we very rarely have left over anything in our place these days!

So when I plan to make banana bread, I often have to sneak to secure away 4 gorgeous bananas to make this lunchbox treat. Yes, 4 pieces is a decent amount of fruit to go into one loaf, but the result is soft, and moist, and requires less added sugar than many other recipes.

Sometimes we throw in dark chocolate chips, sometimes nuts, and sometimes I make a double batch to freeze for later. It works well all ways.

The recipe is dairy free and super simple. It requires few ingredients and is a great source of energy, fibre and potassium – perfect for active, growing little bodies.

(I also laugh when a recipe says allow to cool before cutting and serving… like that’s going to happen!)
x Bloom

Ingredients

1/2 cup dairy free margarine (we use Nuttelex)
1/2 – 2/3 cup caster sugar, depending on your tastes
2 eggs, beaten
4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups Wholemeal, Self Raising flour

1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp natural vanilla essence

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
In a large bowl, fork mash bananas to a slightly lumpy puree.
Mix in beaten eggs, cinnamon and vanilla essence.
In another bowl, cream margarine and sugar, then decant this into the banana and egg mixture, and mix through.
Sift in the wholemeal SR flour into the wet mixture, tipping back in to the mixture any wholemeal flakes that are left in your sieve.
Fold the flour into the wet mixture until it is combined, being careful not to over mix.
Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin, and bake for around 50 minutes, checking with a skewer to see if it’s cooked through.
Remove from oven and let cool in the tin for 5 minutes before taking out ( …If you can! I’ve found this just helps it stay together when you peel off the baking paper.).

Slice and serve warm if the hungry hoards are there, otherwise allow to cool before storing whole, or slicing and wrapping for lunches.