super easy wholegrain bread

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My middle kiddo loves a slice of bread or three.  If left to her own devices, she would live entirely on the stuff.  Thankfully for her sensitive tummy I’m onto her and try to limit her intake.  I also make sure that the bread she eats is the good stuff, think spelt sourdough and homemade loaves.  I devised this bread with her in mind.  It is chock-a-block full of whole grains and seeds but isn’t too bitty, you know what kids can be like.  Whilst this bread isn’t gluten-free, it is lower in gluten than most traditional wheat loaves, and is full of oats, spelt and rye which are a little easier to digest.

My super easy wholegrain bread is basically a fibre and B vitamin love bomb.  The types of fibre found in the oats and the rye do an amazing job of regulating blood sugar levels, preventing any energy sapping spikes occurring.  Fibre is also pretty handy at keep as regular, which whilst not fun to talk about is super important.  Wholegrains and seeds are a wonderfully yummy way to get a whole raft of the B vitamins into you.  At their most basic, and lets face it when it comes to what our body actually does with the food we eat nothing is really basic, B vitamins help the body release the energy from the food we eat.  What freaking superstars.  B vitamins also do a whole heap of other amazing feats, but I feel that is post all of it’s own for another time.

We often think of bread as being a carb party and whist this bread has plenty, in the complex, slow release form, it has also invited its friends protein, fibre and fatty acids along for the ride.  Which is good news for anyone eating it as they will fuller for longer and won’t be needing to hit the cookie jar anytime soon after.

easy multigrain bread

There is magnesium aplenty from the oats, spelt and pumpkin seeds however, the presence of the phytate in the fibre-rich wholegrains can act as an inhibitor for its absorption.  But don’t fear, phytates don’t block all magnesium from being absorbed so there will be some available to assist with energy generation, protein synthesis and muscle contractibility, especially heart muscle.

We all know calcium is vital for bone structure and strength but what else does this mineral superstar, found in the rye and sesame seeds, do?  Think blood clotting, muscle function, regulating blood pressure, enzyme functioning and assisting with immune defences. Phew, calcium is a busy little bee.

Zinc in the rye, pumpkin seeds assists in immune function, protein synthesis, thyroid function, insulin release and wound healing.  Whilst the vitamin E is found in the sunflower and sesame seeds acts as a potent antioxidant, helping to defend against the adverse effects of pesky free radicals.  Vitamin E requires the presence of fat to aid help the body absorb it, it being a fat soluble vitamin and all, so feel free to slather a bit of butter on your bread.  I know I do.

If you are still reaching for a plastic wrapped wholegrain loaf from the supermarket, give this one a go.  It seriously takes 15 minutes of your actual time to make, plus you get two loaves.  The rest of the time is spent being massaged and resting in the warmth, just like the bread.  You also have the added bonus of knowing exactly what is in your bread and get heaps of  bragging rights.  Instagram pic anyone?

easy multigrain

super easy wholegrain bread

250g wholemeal spelt flour
250g plain spelt flour
200g rye flour
100g whole oats
75g pumpkin seeds
30g sunflower kernels
30g sesame seeds
2 tsp salt
4 tsp dried yeast
500ml warm water
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp milk, to use as glaze
extra pumpkin seeds and oats to top the loaves

Place all the dry ingredients, except the extra pumpkin seeds and oats, into the bowl of a stand mixer.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, like a KitchenAid, don’t worry you can still make this bread.  Just pop everything into a bowl and knead by hand when the time comes.  Add the wet ingredients, except the milk for the glaze, and using a dough hook, knead for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf trays.  Once the dough has been kneaded, divide in half and shape each half into a loaf shape.  Place the dough into the trays, brush the tops with the milk and sprinkle over the extra pumpkin seeds and oats.  Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size, in a warm spot.

Pop the trays into a preheated 210ºC oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Once the loaves are golden on top and sound hollow when tapped, turn out onto a wire cooling rack to let cool.  If you are at all like me, grab a serrated knife and slice of the crunchy end piece, slather with butter and pop into your gob.

Now take a photo, pop it on Instagram #liaburtonnutrition and we can all check out your amazing loaves and clap and cheer.

 

Here’s to a house smelling like freshly baked bread.

xx Lia

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

Lunch Box Loving + Banana Bread

School lunches are a big part of my weekday mornings.  Two of my three kiddos are at school, with next year seeing all three there, I’m an old hand at the school lunch box.  I’m definitely not one of those uber-organised, make-the-lunches-the-night-before kinda girl. I’m a more of a chuck-it-in-the-lunch-box-whilst-loudly-reminding-my-girls-to-get-their-school-uniform-on kinda girl.  If I had $1 for every time I ‘reminded’ the girls to put that #$%&ing uniform on I would be able to employ someone else to do the morning routine.  Whilst the evening before isn’t my bag, a bit of Sunday baking and organisation is.  I need to have tasty, nourishing snacks and meal options on hand to pop in the girl’s lunch boxes or all they get is just cut up fruit and veg, which no kid wants to open a lunch box and find just that.  This weekend will see me cooking up a storm, accompanied by the whirlwind of mess, in my kitchen.  I’m not a clean cook, but that is a story for another day.

Today, I offer some lunch box loving I have found in my travels in internet land that may end up filling your little ones, or even your own, lunch box in the coming week.  I feel a weekly wrap up of all the good lunch box options out there may just have to become a regular feature.

Spelt muffins from Colour Me Anna.  These look like a really yummy basic muffin recipe.

Easy mini lasagne from Planning With Kids.  My bread hater loves these for lunch, either cold (kids hey!) or warmed up in and popped in her thermos.  Just make sure you remember a knife and fork.

Nut free muesli bars from Lisa Corduff.  These are an absolute winner and feature in my girl’s lunchbox often.  Even my fussy middle one likes these!

Choc-nana and sesame biscuits from Hello Lunch Lady. How good do these look?  I think it is physically impossible for Kate Berry to make anything look bad in her photos.

This Sunday’s bake off will see me busting out my banana bread as I have a glut of bananas turning a lovely shade of black in my fruit bowl.  Does the food world need another recipe for the ubiquitous banana bread?  Probably not, but I offer up this version anyway. It tastes delish and is pretty nourishing to boot.  It is gluten-free, dairy-free and processed sugar free just because that is what I felt like making when I developed this one.  It can even become a vegan super star if the eggs are replaced with a chia gel.  See here for lowdown on chia gels and other egg replacements.

 

Yet Another Banana Bread Recipe

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 large bananas, mashed
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
decorations – I banana cut into rounds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes

Preheat your oven to 180C or 170C fan forced.

Pop all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon (can it be any easier!).  Pour the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper.  To decorate simply sprinkle the banana rounds, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes on top.  Place into your preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.  If the delicious cinnamony-banana smell wafts through your kitchen any earlier, check to see if it’s cooked.  Let cool in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire tray to cool completely.  I can never wait this long and always slice off the the end piece and slather it in butter whilst still warm, but that’s how I roll.

As a parent of school kids and a nutritionist, I fully understand the importance of healthy school food.  Stay tuned for lots more info and inspo about healthy, nutritious and yummy food that you can pop into your kids lunch boxes.

Here’s to moving forward

x Lia

No Eggs? I am here to help.

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I woke this Monday morning to glorious sunshine and a disorganised kitchen.  Family life got in the way of me organising anything for my girl’s school lunch boxes over the weekend.  There were a few pieces of fruit and veggies knocking about, some cheese and wraps.  I can work with that for their lunches.  However, there was absolutely nothing in the way of a yummy, nourishing home-baked treat for their snack.  I had time to knock something together, muffins are quick and easy.  Good, decision made.  As I started to gather the necessary ingredients to whip up my super tasty, fail-safe muffins I soon realised that we had no eggs.  NO EGGS people, I never have no eggs.

Back in the day, I used to be able to amble into my backyard and find a freshly laid egg in the chicken coup.  Those days are gone.  My two girls, who provided us with pretty much an egg each a day, are now one girl who is passed her egg laying prime.  The remaining chicken, Olivia (named after a pig!), is a bossy old bird who, when given the chance, will attack the cat and the rabbit with a swift beak to the head.  She would not welcome new birds into the flock with open wings and will live out her days roaming our garden, pooing everywhere, keeping our bug population at bay for her remaining days.  Which will probably be for years and years knowing her.  I now have to buy eggs from the shop.  But I digress, back to my lack of egg problem.

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I was determined to bake these muffins now.  I had the spelt flour, oats, butter, yoghurt and blueberries on the bench already and they weren’t going away until I had a fresh batch of warm muffins to put in the girls lunch boxes.  What to do?  I let my brain tick over for a minute and thankfully it was working, despite the Monday morning.  Chia seeds.  I would make a chia gel to replace the egg.  Problem solved, muffins baking in the oven, Mother of the Year badge coming my way.  The resulting muffins where a winner, with the girls giving them two thumbs up upon their return from school.

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chia seeds on left and chia gel on right

There are plenty of baking situations when an egg replacement is necessary.  No eggs (doh), vegan, egg allergy or you just don’t like eggs.  Thankfully, there are a few kitchen tricks to ensure that egg-free baked goods are just as lovely as their egg-loving cousins.  My go to egg replacer is a chia gel as it is full of fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and magnesium.  Whilst I love eggs for their nutrition punch, I’m pretty happy making the swap to chia.  The muffins rose and the kids ate them, an out and out win in my books.  There are other alternatives such as flaxseeds, banana, apple, tofu and gelatin, with the following little infographic explaining how to use them instead of an egg.  I have also heard of nut butter and yoghurt being used too.  I’m generally not a fan of overly processed food and have never used a packet egg replacer, but they exist and if they work for you then yay.

Egg Replacers

 

Eggless Blueberry, Oat and Dark Chocolate Muffins

Makes 12

1 tbsp chia seeds (or 1 egg, whisked)
1 1/2 cup spelt flour (plain flour is just fine here)
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup unrefined golden caster sugar*
125 ml milk of choice
5 tbsp vanilla maple yoghurt**
125 g butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup dark chocolate chopped up into pretty small chunks

Make a chia gel by mixing the chia seeds with 3 tbsp of water and set aside for 20-30 minutes until the mixture becomes all jelly like.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Mix the flour, baking powder, oats and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  In a jug or bowl combine the milk, yoghurt, melted butter and chia gel and pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix everything together.  Add the blueberries and chocolate and fold through the mixture.  Fill each case with mixture and cook for 15 minutes or until golden on top.

*you can use sugar of your choice here.  Coconut, rapadura, panela all work fine, I just had unrefined caster sugar to hand.

**I would normally use plain greek yoghurt in these muffins but I turned my plain yoghurt into maple and vanilla yoghurt the night before for the kids dessert.  When using plain yoghurt I add 1 tbsp of vanilla into the mix.

 

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Now I’m off the meal plan the hell out the week so not to fall short in the lunch box organising game again this week.

here's to moving forward