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Easy & Healthy Slow cooker Beef Stew

13 Nov

 

stew-words

As you are all aware I am all about EASY cooking. I hate complicated recipes with a million steps that take forever to make. I am after easy, quick & nutritious meals that I can put on the table for my family with a minimal amount of effort.

Hence why I loooove my slow cooker. That thing is awesome, its almost like a personal chef hanging out in your kitchen while you get on with conquering the world or the housework!

This stew is simple & easy to make, its a throw everything in, let it cook for hours & then finish it just before serving deal.

I try & get everything into the slow cooker while readying the kids for school, that way meal prep doesn’t cut into my work day & when the kids come home from school we can hang out – because I already have dinner covered ๐Ÿ™‚

To make for fast prep time, I don’t even peel the vegetables, we purchase Organic vegetables which I just wash & chop which helps to cut down on prep time & also delivers more nutrition per serve. But we all know I do it, because I am lazy!

The flavours of this stew are hearty & simple, you could definitely add some fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme, but my little people object to “green stuff” in their food so we stick with traditional hearty beef flavours & lots of vegetables.

This makes a lot of stew, so if you don’t like left overs (you must be crazy) halve the recipe. I like to serve the leftovers on toast or top it with dumplings so that my family doesn’t feel like they are eating the same thing all the time. But it means you get two meals out of one dinner – which is a huge win in my book!!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1.5 kilogram chuck beef roast, or some other cheap cut, cut into 4cm cubes
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 5 Tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 750mls Beef stock (I used bone broth – but either will do)
  • 2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme leaves
  • 4 Bay leaves (just be sure to pick them out before serving or the kids will complain about the foliage in their food)
  • 4 large carrots roughly chopped
  • 6 large potatoes roughly chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes chopped into large pieces as they can fall apart during cooking
  • 1 cup frozen pea’s
  • Himalayan salt & pepper to season
  • 1/4 c plain spelt flour
  • 1/4 c water

Place the beef, onions, garlic, tomatoes, beef stock, worcestershire sauce, thyme, carrots, potatoes & sweet potatoes into your slow cooker & leave on low for about 6-7 hours, or if your in a hurry place it on high for 4-5 hours.

stew-cooking

I like to place a tea towel over the top of the slow cooker to keep all the steam in & help the cooking process along – it seems to cook things faster even though the slow cooker is on low as it’s retaining the heat.

About thirty minutes before dinner add in your frozen peas, taste & season your sauce with salt & pepper. Mix the spelt & water together in a small bowl until there are no lumps, stir this into your stew & cook covered for another thirty minutes so it can thicken up.

This recipe normally makes two meals for our family of four, so you will have left overs!! Left over stew tastes even better the next day over toast or you can top it with dumplings, bake it in your favourite pie shell recipe or top it with mashed potatoes & a little cheese to make a heartier version of cottage pie. Two meals for the effort of one, makes this Mama very happy.

Enjoy

 

Left over roast Chicken Soup

13 Sep

chicken-soup

Eating Organic isn’t cheap, but we feel like it’s worth it for our families health.

Organic chickens are quite expensive here in Australia, so when I buy one I need to get the most out of it, this recipe allows our family to get two meals out of the one Roast Chicken.

This soup is perfect to make the day after having a roast chicken dinner, any chicken that has been left over can be turned into a healthy & hearty soup, ensuring zero waste & helping to stretch the family budget.

This soup can be made using just about any vegetables that you have lying around in the crisper, it’s perfect for cleaning out the fridge!

It is simple, hearty & tasty as its not a broth style soup, but more a cream of chicken soup.

It makes a great, cheap end of the week meal, you can use up any leftover vegetables & get the most out of your roast chicken left overs, instead of leaving them to spoil in the fridge (like I used to do!).

Our kids love it & I am sure it’s helping us to keep the winter flu germs at bay.

chicken-soup-2

Left Over Roast Chicken Soup a’la Mama Going Natural

  • Four large potatoes cut into 1 cm cubes
  • Three large carrots cut into 1 cm cubes
  • One Zucchini cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1/4 cauliflower cut into 1cm cubes (stalks & all)
  • 2 onions finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons good quality virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme Leaves roughly chopped
  • 1.5L chicken stock
  • 1/2 c frozen pea’s (additional item, because I have a pea lover in the family)
  • Your left over Roast Chicken Carcass
  • Himalyan salt & pepper to season
  • Cream or Natural yoghurt for serving (makes soup so much creamier)

Place your olive oil in a large heavy based pot to warm (I like to add a few shakes of himalayan salt & pepper to the oil to season it). Place in your cubed vegetables, onions, thyme & garlic. Cook gently over a low to medium heat to sweat out the vegetables for approximately 10 minutes.

Once the vegetables start to look cooked, add in your chicken stock & let it simmer gently for 10 minutes.

While your soup is simmering away begin to pull apart your chicken. I pull all the meat off the bones, even off the neck (waste not, want not!). I roughly chop this chicken into large pieces about 4cm’s cubed. I then place half of it in the soup pot to simmer away. I place the chicken skin in as well (if there is any left) but you don’t have to, I just feel it adds to the flavour.

Let your soup cook for another five minutes then pour half of it into a bowl or blender & puree till smooth & creamy. Pour this back into your soup pot & add the rest of your chopped chicken. Taste & season with salt & pepper accordingly.

Add your frozen pea’s (if you too have pea-loving kids) & let your soup simmer for another five minutes.

When you are ready to eat your soup ladle it into bowls & top with your choice of yoghurt or cream for an extra indulgent soup experience.

This soup is super easy & although it seems simple on the flavours it tastes great, but best of all the kids will scoff this without complaining!! That makes for a win around here!!

Enjoy

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Refined Sugar Free Butter Cream Icing

13 Jun

butter-cream

My kids will eat anything if you smother it in Butter Cream. I am not such a fan, I find it sickly sweet & can’t see the point of baking them healthy treats if we are going to smother them with that much icing sugar.

So I have been on the hunt for a compromise & I am happy to tell you I have found it!!

This icing contains no refined sugar, I sweetened mine with Maple syrup, but I have tried it with pureed dates (its just best in a caramel or cacao version as it comes out quite caramel coloured), I have also used pureed banana’s, honey & coconut sugar & they all worked great. So feel free to substitute with your preferred sweetener.

I sweetened this batch with maple syrup & then added a few frozen raspberries to give it a natural slight pink colour which my girls went crazy for.

If your kids are used to traditional butter cream icing I would double the maple syrup & then slowly start reducing it batch by batch, otherwise they may decide they don’t like it straight off the bat & you could have a mutiny on your hands.

I like this icing better than butter cream, because its light & fluffy. I find traditional buttercream to be quite dense & heavy, this has a lighter consistency more like whipped cream, but it’s not prone to melting & curdling like cream can do.

This icing is a little more complicated to make than my usual recipes, but its well worth the effort & it isn’t so bad once you get the hang of it.

The first time I made this, I was sure it was going to be a massive fail, but it does actually work, so persevere with it.

I know you, like me, have probably tried hundreds of healthy substitute recipes where it says it tastes as good as the real thing. Only to make it & wonder what the hell the writer is used to eating, because it is nothing like what it’s supposed to be. This is not one of those recipes, I promise.

Once you make it this will become your standard go-to icing recipe.

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Refined Sugar Free Buttercream Icing a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3 T plain spelt flour
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

In a pan cook the spelt, milk & maple syrup over a low heat until it thickens to a thick pudding like consistency. I use a spatula to constantly stir & flatten out any lumps on the bottom of the pan as it thickens.

Once your mix resembles thick pudding (this should take 5-7 minutes worth of cooking time) scoop it into a bowl & top with cling wrap. Push the plastic wrap down onto the pudding so a skin can not form as the pudding mix cools.

I am always in a hurry, so I place my pudding mix into the freezer to cool, but you can always refrigerate it & use it later if you have the time.

Once your pudding mix is cold, put the butter & vanilla essence into a stand mixer & beat till the butter is soft & creamy. Add the cold pudding mixture & continue beating on a high setting. It may look like a curdled mess, but just keep beating it. It will eventually start to come together & look like whipped cream, but don’t be shocked if it needs to be whipped for 5 or more minutes for this to happen.

Once it has come together you can add additional flavourings like cacao powder, or tint it with hopper food colourings. I like to add dried beetroot powder or a few frozen raspberries to mine to make a pink toned cream, but you can add blueberries or a hint of turmeric to create other shades without the nasties.

It can be used straight away or kept in the fridge to be used later (it may just need re-whipping for a minute or two so it comes back light & fluffy). It pipes well & spreads just like butter cream just without all that sugar ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy

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Overnight Oats – two ways, peanut butter oats & chocolate brownie oats

17 Mar

Does anyone else hate breakfast time?

My family seem to think that I moonlight as a short order cook & no one can ever agree on what we should all eat.

That was, until we started doing overnight oats.

These are perfect for a family breakfast.They are ready to eat straight from the refrigerator, they are healthy & sustaining & best of all you can easily make 100’s of variations so you can please every member of the family.

We make them with a wide variety of fruits & flavours but these two recipes are our family favourites. Who can go past chocolate for breakfast – its a kids dream come true!!

And as for the peanut butter oats, with the addition of chia seeds they are creamy, sweet & salty goodness in a jar – they also make a decadent post work out snack.

Make breakfast the night before & de-crazy your mornings, ok if you have rugrats…..I can’t promise your mornings won’t be crazy but at least breakfast will be taken care of ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

peanut butter oats

Peanut Butter Overnight Oats a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter – I use crunchy because I like the chunks of nuts
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • Banana to add on top before eating (optional)

Mix all liquids in a bowl, add the oats & chia seeds & immerse them well in the liquid

Spoon into your jars & screw on the lids tightly or cover with cling wrap & leave in the refrigerator overnight. Its as easy as that.

These oats will be ready for a super yummy breakfast & will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

 

chocolate overnight oats

Chocolate Brownie Overnight Oats a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats

Mix all liquids in a bowl, add the oats, immersing them well in your liquid

Spoon into your jars & screw lids on tightly or cover with cling wrap & leave in the refrigerator overnight

 

 

Enjoy

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Healthy Lemon Yoghurt Pound Cake

2 Feb

lemon-pound-cake

Who doesn’t like a slice of pound cake with a cup of tea in the afternoon?

Heck as a Mum, I am grateful for anytime that I get to sit quietly & savour a cup of tea & a slice of cake!

In our house that usually means after the rugrats have gone to bed. That is if I have enough energy left after the craziness of the day ๐Ÿ™‚

So bake this cake & hide it away until you can sit down & savour a bit of me time ๐Ÿ™‚

It is lovely & decadent with a rich crumb, but the subtle lemon flavour with the slight tang from the greek yoghurt make this cake much lighter & more delicate than you would expect. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of earl grey tea – just saying ๐Ÿ™‚

This cake yet again is super easy to make, do I bake any other way??

Healthy Lemon Pound Cake a’la Mamaย Going Natural

  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1 c greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 3 eggs
  • zest & juice of two lemons
  • 1 1/2 c spelt flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt

Pre-heat your oven to 170degrees.

In a food processor, mixer or thermomix mix the coconut sugar & butter until well creamed. Add in the yoghurt, eggs, lemon juice & zest mixing to combine. Add in the remaining ingredients & blend until just mixed. Pour into a well greased ย or lined loaf pan.

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Enjoy

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Peanut butter chocolate chip slice

10 Oct

peanut-butter-slice-2

This slice may not be 100% healthy, but it is 100% yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

Peanut butter & chocolate, there is no better combination. The saltiness of the peanut butter with the sweet creaminess of the chocolate, pure heaven…………….. I can’t think of anything better.

And to make things even better this recipe is super easy to make, you can be enjoying a warm piece of peanut chocolate goodness in as little as thirty minutes.

So this is a great one for when the sugar cravings hit ๐Ÿ™‚

peanut-butter-slice

Peanut butter, choc chip slice a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 c spelt flour
  • 1/2 t bicarb soda
  • 1 c chocolate chip

Pre-heat your oven to 175degrees.

Beat the butter & sugar in a mixer, once they are creamed, add the egg & beat till well combined.

Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips & mix till combined. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Press into a well greased or baking paper lined tray & bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

And very soon, you too will be enjoying peanut, chocolate goodness.

Enjoy

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Zuchini Slice

14 Sep

Zuchini-slice

Zucchini slice is a staple in our house, it makes the menu plan every week. Yes, every week!!I can make this slice in my sleep!!

This slice ticks all the boxes, its healthy, quick & easy to make, can be eaten hot or cold, is great to batch make & freeze, but best of all everyone loves it!

Miss four & six like it cold in their lunch boxes, Mr Mama Going Natural likes a huge slab heated after work as a pre-dinner snack & me, well I just like it anyway I can get it – because it disappears around here.

I like to make a double batch & once cold portion into single serves that I then cling wrap & hide in the freezer as quick lunchbox snacks. They go into the lunch boxes straight from the freezer & are ready to eat by lunchtime.

I make this zucchini slice with all the ingredients my family like, so feel free to add or omit any ingredients. If you don’t have rugrats I would recommend adding a little ground pepper – I can’t even add a single grain, my girls can sniff out pepper a mile away & will declare the offending food too spicy. I figure the mister & I are going to be stuck eating bland, un-herbed food for about another five to ten years! After which this house will be spice city!

The only other thing I would recommend is using as bland an olive oil as you can find, as that can add a certain spicy element – which the rugrats will sniff out.

What makes this slice so delicious is the caramelised bacon & the parmesan cheese, it makes for a yummy, flavoursome cheesey slice, just without all the calories.

Zuchini Slice a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3 large zucchini’s grated
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 shallots sliced
  • 2 T parmesan cheese powder
  • 1 can corn kernels drained
  • 1 1/2 c grated tasty cheese
  • 5 rashes of bacon sliced
  • 5 sundried tomatoes sliced finely
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 c spelt flour
  • 1 t baking powder

Slice your bacon into cubes & then saute until nice & caramelised, let it cool while you assemble the other ingredients.

Place the Zucchini, shallots, corn kernels, sundried tomatoes & cheese in a bowl & mix well, add your cooled bacon. Add the eggs, oil, salt, flour & baking powder & stir till combined.

Pour into greased or lined baking dishes & bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

You can sprinkle the top’s with additional cheese for added yum factor ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy

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Healthy Gluten Free Skinny Baked Passionfruit Cheesecake

25 Aug

passionfruit cheesecake

Who doesn’t like a good baked cheesecake?

But who likes all the calories that comes with it? Not me!!

Sometimes it feels like I just go to the gym purely to counteract all the goodies that I eat!!

This cheesecake recipe is fantastic because I can indulge my sweet tooth without the guilt or need for some time with the treadmill ๐Ÿ™‚

I make this cheesecake in loaf pans so its more like a cheesecake slice, because the little bite sized squares only total about 30 calories each, which means I can indulge without my jeans getting tight.

If you prefer to make it into a decadent cake it still only totals about 230 calories per slice (thats provided you get ten slices out of your 9inch pan :).

The other thing I love about this cheesecake is that we pretty much always have the ingredients in the fridge & you can always substitute, if you don’t have any cottage cheese make your cheesecake all on yoghurt (provided its thick greek yoghurt) & add another egg, got some ricotta cheese use that in place of the cottage cheese, this is a really versatile recipe that can be adapted depending on what you have in your fridge.

But the thing I love more than the fact that its low calorie, easy to make & has common ingredients, is that its cheap to make! Cream cheese is so expensive here in Australia – it can cost $10 just for the cream cheese to make a standard baked cheesecake. Where as all the ingredients for this cake won’t set you back $10 which means either more money in your pocket or eating cheesecake more regularly, which is a win/win in my book.

This cheesecake is creamy, decadent & everything you expect a cheesecake to be so go forth & get baking your wallet & jeans will thank me ๐Ÿ™‚

passionfruit-cheesecake-bite-out

Excuse the bad photo, I was too busy stuffing my face with cheesecake to get a good photo ๐Ÿ™‚

Healthy Gluten Free Skinny Baked Passionfruit Cheesecake a’la Mama Going Natural

  • BASE INGREDIENTS
  • 1/3 c shredded coconut
  • 1/3 c coconut oil
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 3 T coconut sugar
  • FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 c cottage cheese
  • 2/3 c greek yoghurt
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • TOPPING INGREDIENTS
  • 8 passionfruit or small tin of passionfruit pulp
  • 3 T water
  • 2 T arrowroot
  • 4 T or to taste coconut sugar

Blend all base ingredients in a blender or a thermomix till they make a smooth paste. I leave the oats a little chunky as I like the texture, if you want your base to be more like the traditional biscuit base then blend for longer until it makes a smooth dough.

Spread your base out in a 9inch round springform tin, using a heavy glass to pack down the base, place the cake tin in the freezer while you make the cheesecake filling & pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees.

Place all cheesecake filling ingredients in your blender & blend till silky smooth. Take your base out of the freezer & pour the cheesecake mix over the base.

Place in the oven & bake for 25 to 30 minutes, it will still be slightly jiggly in the middle but will firm as it cools.

Whilst your cheesecake is cooking make your passionfruit topping by placing the pulp of 8 passionfruit into a small saucepan over low heat. Add the water & sugar & cook till sugar has melted. Mix the arrowroot with an additional 2 T of water in a small cup till smooth. Pour into your warm passionfruit mixture & stir well while it thickens. Let the mix gently come to the boil while stirring then let cool.

Once your cheesecake has cooled pour your passionfruit topping over the cheesecake & refrigerate for at least four hours before eating ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy

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30 Second Mandarin Cake

21 Jul

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We have had an abundance of Mandarin’s this summer.

We have been eating them like crazy, but still don’t manage to get through them fast enough, so I got to tinkering in the kitchen & came up with this super easy, super yummy, light, moist cake that even the little miss’s like.

This is a take on the 30 second Orange cake, but Miss 4 & 6 never really seemed to like that one, they found it “too spicy”, their word for anything with flavour…….god forbid!!

This Madarin cake goes down a treat as there is none of the bitterness that you can sometimes get with an orange cake, it has more of a delicate sweet flavour, like the Mandarins themselves ๐Ÿ™‚

I make this cake in my Thermomix but it could be made in a food processor or blender just as easily.

30-second-mandarin-cake

30 Second Mandarin Cake a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 4 large Mandarins (I prefer to use seedless)
  • 225gm butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150gm coconut sugar
  • 300gm spelt flour
  • 2 t baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Peel 2 of the Mandarins & leave 2 with the skins on. If your kids are more adventurous than mine & you want more of a citrus punch then put all 4 ย Mandarins’ in with there skins on. If your Mandarins’ have seeds I would recommend taking them out as they will just add bitterness to the cake. Place your Mandarin’s into the mixing bowl with the butter & mix at speed 8 for 15 seconds until the mix is smooth.

Add remaining ingredients to the bowl & mix at Speed 4 for 15 seconds until the batter is nice & smooth. The batter will be slightly runny but never fear it will come together.

Bake in a 20cm round cake pan for 50-60 minutes.

This mix also makes great muffins, just spoon into muffin pans till three quarters full & bake for approximately 20 minutes – they make a great lunch box treat.

Enjoy

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Healthy Indulgent Mango & Coconut Tea Cake

3 Feb

mango-cake

What can I tell you, its the season for indulging around here!!

Summer! Its the season for indulging our sweet tooths, enjoying the abundance of tropical fruits & long lazy summer days around the pool. This cake recipe is divine its light, fresh, fruity & just plain yum!! This cake barely lasts a day in our household & is often requested because its just so divine. And like most of my recipes its super easy & foolproof (I mean I make it after all!).

Mango & Coconut Summer Tea Cake a’la Mama Going Natural

  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 125gm butter
  • 1/2 c coconut cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c spelt flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 c ground almonds
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 mango’s peeled & cubed – 1 for the cake & 1 to add to the cream
  • 1 c cream
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t coconut sugar

I make this cake in a pot ย – because I suffer from a little known illness which makes me allergic to creating & washing dishes! I think the medical term for it is Laziness, but who cares what they call it, who wants to wash dishes all day long – not me! Place the butter & sugar in your pot (if you too have an illness like mine) & gently melt the butter on a low heat. Stir to start your sugar melting. Take off the heat & add the coconut cream & let cool for five to ten minutes. Once your mix has cooled down add the vanilla extract & the eggs one at a time beating them in. Then gently fold in the dry ingredients (be sure not to beat the mix too much) until your batter is smooth. Split your batter between two round cake pans & top each cake with an equal amount of mango bake the cakes at 160 degrees for twenty minutes. Let cool before tipping your cake out of your pans or they will crack. Beat cream, vanilla & 1 t coconut sugar with a whisk until you get stiff peaks. Lay your first cake down on a plate, top with the reserved cubed mango & spoon the cream into the centre – it will get smooshed out (thats a technical cooking term) when you place the other cake on top. Dust with icing sugar if that’s your thing ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy

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