Gingerbread Smoothie (vegan)

gingerbread-smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk (homemade is best!)
1/2 banana (use sliced frozen banana for a cool smoothie)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (can omit if it’s too spicy)
1/2 tsp honey or agave syrup if vegan

Method:
Pop it all into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Pour into a drinking vessel and enjoy!!
Dust with extra cinnamon on top. xx

gingerbread-smoothie2

Kale Chips

Kale Chips by Natalie

So easy! So tasty and sooo good for you! High in fiber, Vitamins A, C, K, calcium and iron, filled with antioxidants, great for your heart and no fat! duh! Now why wouldn’t you want to get this into you? Asides from sticking a few leafy leaves into your smoothies, my favourite way to eat Kale is ‘chips’!

Now, I generally tend to make a serving or two rather than the whole bunch. Since we need to bake them lightly, they do shrink down, which means you’ll get about half or less of what you started with! Go organic if you can, grow your own – even better.

How to make ’em:

3-5 leaves per person/ serve

Rinse the leaves well and pat dry.

Stick in a small roasting pan or dish, and add about half a tsp of coc0nut oil (i prefer coconut, but any type works).
Give the leaves a good rub to spread the oil over them.

Sprinkle with a good crack of pepper and crack a smidge of sea salt.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees (celsius) for about 5-10 minutes. I find sometimes it’s quicker depending on the kale, so keep an eye on it!
It’s ready when it’s dark and crunchy looking – but not burnt to a crisp.

Taste is amazing, a melt/dissolve in your mouth sort of thing! Finger licking good, and it’s got the boyfriend’s seal of approval.

Raw cashew and date bars (and balls)

Raw-cashew-date-bars

Ingredients:
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup cashews
1 scoop Vanilla Perfect Fit Protein (here)
1-2 Tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

Method:
Put all ingredients into a food processor and whizz until all blended.
Roll out flat for bars, or scoop teaspoonfuls and roll in your hands to make balls.

I like a bit extra crunch, so I pressed some more pumpkin seeds on top of the bars.
For the balls, I finely chopped up the pumpkin seeds and rolled the balls in.

So tasty! Keep in the fridge in an airtight container or they get a bit sticky.
I cut pieces of greaseproof paper and wrapped them around the bars and tied with string. Who wouldn’t want to eat those?!

Tamahere Twilight Market + last chance to grab a book!

ferguson-tamahere-market

Come along to the Tamahere Twilight Market, on Saturday 7th December. It’s gonna be jam-packed with tons of goodies from heaps of stall holders, making it the perfect stop for Christmas shopping! It’s also your last chance to buy a copy of my popular kid’s book, Ferguson’s Night Fright. Along with the book, I’ll be selling cards, art prints (a couple framed), stickers, magnets and bookmarks!! Something to tickle every little fan’s delight. You can find out more info about the book on my full website here.

See you at the Tamahere Twilight Market on Saturday 7th December!

Ferguson’s Night Fright is on Facebook here. 

Strawberry & Balsamic Muffins

Strawberry and Balsimc vinegar Muffins, Dairy free and vegan

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup almond milk (or half milk / half syrup) *see note
1/3 cup rice bran oil (or similar)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Strawberry Options:
Option 1) 1/2 cup fresh strawberries AND 12 strawberry slices (for the muffin tops)
Option 2) 1 can strawberries, drain and save the syrup, chop and pat dry. Use 1/2 cup of syrup with 1/2 cup of milk.

Notes:
* You can use regular milk instead of almond or non-dairy.
* Strawberries out of season? I use Option 2, canned strawberries and use 1/2 cup syrup with 1/2 cup milk for extra flavour.
* Flour: I often sub 1 cup of flour with almond flour, adding an extra 1/2 tsp of baking powder to help rise.

Step 1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a muffin tin with muffin patty cases.

Step 2. In a small bowl, place 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and add your strawberries to soak.

Step 3. In a bowl or jug, whisk together the sugar, rice milk, canola oil and the other 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the soaked strawberries mix (save 12 slices/pieces for the muffin tops) and coat them in the dry flour – this stops the muffins from going soggy.

Step 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full and then place a balsamic-soaked strawberry slice in the middle of each one.

Step 5. Place in the oven and cook for about 15-20 mins.
Check on them occasionally to see when they are done – test with a skewer. Mine are usually done at about 18 mins!

Sea Salt and Choc Chunk Cookies

Sea salt and Chocolate chunk cookies - dairy free

140 g butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup (white) sugar
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp sea salt or fleur de sel* (plus more for sprinkling)
1 egg, lightly beaten
200 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Step 1. Brown the butter, on medium-low heat on the stove until it foams up and smells nutty. Stir in the vanilla extract and cook for a further minute. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes while you get the rest of the recipe together.

Step 2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest and salt. Pour in the butter and mix until combined (it will look like slightly wet clumpy sand with no floury patches). Add the egg and mix in quickly, then add the chopped chocolate and mix. Don’t mix for too long!

Step 3. Take large spoonfuls and roll into a ball shape in your hands. Flatten slightly on a tray. These will be a little crumbly – try slightly wet hands (a teensy amount of water). Cover your cookie tray with cling film and refrigerate for an hour or so (the longer you wait, the better the texture and flavour).

Step 4. When ready to bake preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. When ready, sprinkle the cold cookie dough with a little bit of sea salt and pop into the oven Bake for 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned and set. Cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Then eat them all… Yum!

santa-brownies

Santa Hat Brownie

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dairy-free choc chips (try Pam’s choc drops)
3/4 cup dairy-free spread (try Olivani)
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Icing:
1-2 cups icing sugar
1-2 Tbsp water

Strawberries, hulled, to decorate top.

Method:
Preheat oven to 190C, grease and line a 20cm baking pan.
Melt choc chips and butter (or spread) either in microwave at 30 second intervals, or in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (don’t let the water touch the bowl).
Add the sugar, soy milk and vanilla essence to the melted mixture and stir well.
Add the flour to the wet ingredients, and using a wooden spoon or a whisk, mix quickly – don’t overmix, just get the lumps out!

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes – it tastes best if it’s still a little bit moist. Cool in the tray.

When completely cool, use a round cookie cutter or glass to make brownie rounds.
Mix icing sugar and water together to make thick icing – you may have to gradually add a little more icing sugar.
Spread a small amount over the top of the brownie rounds, and top with a hulled strawberry upside down. Add a dab of icing on the strawberry tip to make the white Santa hat pom-pom.
Chill in fridge until set and then serve!

Date Truffles

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp tahini
1 1/2 cups LSA (ground Linseed, Sunflower seed and Almond)
1/2 cup coconut for rolling

Method:
Chop up dates and put in a suacepan over low heat with a dash of water to make a mushy consistency. Add the honey, and keep mushing things as it heats up. Once it’s all nicely mushed, add the tahini.
Gradually add the LSA to make a rolling consistency that is not too dry or wet. Roll into small balls, and then rollin coconut to coat. Refrigerate to make firmer balls.