cauliflower and zucchini fritters - lia burton nutrition

Cauliflower and Zucchini Fritters For The School Lunch Box Win

Monday saw my kiddos go back to school after the Easter holidays and truth be told I did a little happy dance.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having them home with me. It’s a time  for sleep ins, easy mornings, day trips exploring nature and catching up with friends.  It’s also a time jam packed with sibling squabbles, noise, mess and so many requests for food.  How is it that children can quite happily have one snack break and lunch at school, but at home it’s all day grazing?  Maybe I need to bring some school time structure to the holidays. Who am I kidding, that’s so not me!  School holidays also mean I get absolutely no work done. Zilch, zero, none.  Hence my happy dance at the return to a quiet house in which I can be really productive and actually get stuff done.

Their return to school also means I’m back to making school lunches and I thought I would share with you the recipe for my cauliflower and zucchini fritters.  These little babies went down a treat with my kiddos and are perfect for popping into lunch boxes.  They taste great hot or cold, on their own or tucked into a sandwich.  I use besan (chickpea) flour in my fritters, which makes them gluten free, and also imparts a lovely nutty flavour to them.  You can substitute the besan flour for any type of flour, whatever you have to hand will work.  I just have a shed load of besan in my fridge and am finding ways to use it up.

Cauliflower and zuchini fritters

Once you get the hang of the fritter, the combinations are endless.  They are really just vegetables, egg and flour at their core.  You can use up whatever veg you have lurking in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  Think grated pumpkin and haloumi, broccoli and carrot, spinach and pea.  The idea is to get creative.  The egg is important as it helps to bind everything together.   If you are cooking for someone with an egg allergy, another protein may work, like mince or mashed beans, but don’t quote me on this.

cauliflower and zucchini fritters - besan flour - lia burton nutrition

I created these fritters with my eldest in mind.  Zoe has decided that eating meat just isn’t her bag and has decided to give it a flick.  It is a decision she hasn’t come to lightly, but she is dedicated to her new found vegetarianism.  As a result of this, I have had to get my thinking hat on to make sure she gets nourishing and yummy lunches that tick all the boxes.  Lucky for Zoe, her mum’s a nutritionist and a foodie!

cauliflower and zucchini fritters - grated veg - lia burton nutrition

cauliflower and zucchini fritters - lia burton nutrition

Cauliflower and Zucchini Fritters (gluten free, vegetarian, kid-friendly)

1 free range egg
1 cup of besan flour
1 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tsp baking powder
1 small zucchini, grated
1/4 head of cauliflower, grated
1/2 cup of grated cheese
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Break the egg into a mixing bowl and whisk until it has doubled in volume.  Add half of the besan flour and mix to form a paste.  Add the yoghurt and stir to loosen up the mixture.

Add the grated vegetables, remaining flour, baking powder and cheese and mix well to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.  Add spoonfuls of mixture and cook for five minutes on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel.

I like to serve these fritters with a squeeze of lemon and a little bowl of Greek yoghurt to dunk them into.

xx Lia

the real deal pancakes

Going against the flow + real deal pancakes

the real deal pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day as my kids would want it known.  Being all about the food, I’m all for an official renaming of the day to ‘shove all the yummy, fluffy pancakes in your gob’ day.  I doubt my kids school would be so keen.  They will probably keep to tradition.  Fair enough.

In keeping with such tradition, my children’s school have a pancake morning tea.  Parent helpers file in to assist with the mammoth task of cooking more than 700 pancakes.  In keeping with my real food approach to cooking and eating, I opted to make my three kiddo’s pancakes at home and bring them up to school.  I can no longer go with the flow and allow my kiddos the supermarket shaker pancakes.  Or the lollies handed out to celebrate fellow student’s birthdays.  Or the fairy floss on LOTE day (that one I just can’t figure out!).  Or the additive and artificial-colour filled icy poles for sale at lunch time.  I had to draw a line in the pancake batter, so to speak.

The pre-packaged version is full of refined wheat flour, sugar, non-fat milk powder, maltodextrin (a form of sugar with a super high GI that is absorbed quickly into the blood stream.  Hello blood sugar spike.), egg powder, an anticaking ingredient and salt.  I understand why these ingredients are in a packet mix, they just don’t need to be in my child’s diet.  Personally, I try and mix things up a bit when it comes to flours and not rely on just wheat flour.  As for non-fat milk, that stuff is just not allowed in my house.  Milk is not a high fat product to begin with, around 3-4%, so why mess around with the real stuff to make something that tastes like milky water.

With pancakes in hand, I found my three kiddos in a sea of blue and gold.  It is deceptively hard to locate your own flesh and blood in a crowd of 350 kids all wearing the same thing. Hats on and its almost impossible!  Thank goodness for sharp-eyed teachers.  Zoe, Eadie and Mackie seemed more than pleased with their pancakes that were gloriously fluffy and large and not pale, insipid and as flat as, well, a pancake.

As pancakes are the order of the day, I thought it best to share my recipe for my fluffy, delicious pancakes that are made using real ingredients.  The kind of ingredients you will have in your kitchen.  Wholegrain flour, eggs, milk are the simple trinity that form the basis of these delightfully sin-free pancakes.

 

The Real Deal Pancakes

1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, you can you use plain wholemeal flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
3 eggs, separated
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (optional)

Whisk the flour, baking powder, milk, egg yolks and maple syrup together until nice and smooth in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until the form stiff peaks.  Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the pancake batter and mix in.  Gently fold the remaining egg whites into the mix until all the egg white has been incorporated.

Heat a large pan to a medium heat and add a small amount of butter to coat the pan once melted.  Make the pancakes as large or as small as you like them.  I usually cook two at once in the pan.  When bubbles start to appear in the top of the pancake, flip them over and cook until golden on both sides.

 

Here’s to moving forward and not going with the flow,

xx Lia

First day of school feels + Muesli bar slice

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My youngest babe is starting school next week.  My feels are all over the place.  One minute I’m thrilled to bits for this really ace kid as he is so excited to be going to school, and the fact that he looks super cute in his uniform is a bonus.  The next, a wave of pure emotion washes over me and I have water welling in my eyes.  I’m looking forward to the silence that will transcend over the house, especially after the Yell Fest 15/16 (school holidays) ends.  I can’t believe how loud an argument between a ten year old and an eight year old is!  I really can’t wait for all the extra mental space I will get with no interruptions from children requesting food, drinks, more food, the ipad and all their other really important needs to be able to focus on my little nutrition business (if you need a Nutritionist in 2016, I know a good one!).

I really can’t quite believe how quickly life travels and a milestone, such as your youngest starting school, is such a reminder of this.  Whilst I am going to miss my ace kid so freaking much, I am also so very ready for the next stage in my life.  The stage where I get to make a whole heap of goals and hit them hard.  This year of 2016 I have declared to be the year of me.  The last ten years has seen me devote so much time, energy and love towards my kidlets, and whilst I wouldn’t have had it any other way, I am now ready to make me more of a focus of the time, energy and love.

That said, I still need to get the kids organised for their imminent return to school and so I hit the kitchen this morning and knocked up a rather awesome muesli bar slice.  Me being me, it had to be nourishing and delicious, and I reckon I have met the brief.  Oats are such a great addition to your baking as they provide heaps of soluble fibre, keeping little tummies feeling fuller for longer.  Oats are also a good source of B vitamins, particularly thiamin and niacin, that assist in energy metabolism and helping fuel active bodies.

I thought it only fair that I share this winning muesli bar slice recipe, as I know quite a few mums that will be feeling all the feels about their kiddos starting school this year. And for those of you well established in the school life, I salute you, you survived the holidays.  Enjoy the peace next week.  And maybe a cheeky piece of my muesli bar slice.

 

Muesli Bar Slice

1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup puffed rice
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/3 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
125g butter
1/2 cup nut butter or tahini
1/2 cup honey or rice malt syrup
1/2 cup golden caster sugar or coconut sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C.  Line a slice tray with baking paper.

Mix the oats, puffed rice, quinoa flakes, spelt flour, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and chia seeds in a large mixing bowl.

Pop the butter, nut butter, honey, sugar and vanilla into a saucepan and gently melt everything together over a low heat.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir well to combine everything together.  Pour the batter into the lined slice tray and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden on the top.  Remove and let cool completely before slicing.

 

Here’s to moving forward

xx Lia