{RECIPE} Raw Veggie Pesto

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I have a bit of a fussy eater of a toddler on my hands lately. I think it has something to do with teething but none-the-less it makes me worry when she refuses to eat veggies. Or anything. Seriously, some days she eats nothing but 2 strawberries and a whole lotta booby! I started wracking my brains of ways to get some greens into her. She loves carbs and cheese so that was a starting point for my ideas. Except I wanted to eliminate the cheese and minimize the gluten!
One of her favourite things to eat, even on a bad day, is “cheesy scrolls” – pesto and parmasen cheese on pastry, turned into little scrolls in the oven. Bought traditional pesto is full of crap, including cheese/dairy and not to mention the actual Parmesan I would sprinkle on top! And it doesn’t have any veggies in it apart from basil which is technically a herb. Thinking cap on… and ta-da! Behold the veggie-filled raw homemade pesto!
This recipe is an altered version of the Supergreens Pesto by Belle Gibson. I’ve tweaked amounts, added new ingredients, and am very happy with how this tastes! If you give it a go, take a pic and hashtag #hippiemumma on IG or leave me a comment here, I’d love to hear some feedback!
Ingredients:
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
2 large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
40g basil
40g parsley
200g walnuts (try different nuts!)
2tbs savoury yeast flakes
80ml macadamia oil (olive oil will work fine too)
3 cloves of garlic
juice of 2 lemons
And its so easy to do –
Whack it all in your food processor and blend for a few minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice, until you have your desired pesto consistency.
Store the pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge, it should keep for a few weeks.
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The savoury yeast is a vegan’s best friend. It has a cheesy flavour that Olivia can’t deny. She even loves it sprinkled on steamed broccoli florets, and popcorn! It is full of B Vitamins too.
You can use the pesto on almost anything but here are a few ideas:
Stirred through zoodles (raw zucchini noodles, shown below) or pasta.
As the base for some scroll bites – pastry is all you need, cheese optional!
As a spread on wraps/sandwiches.
To dip veggie sticks or crackers in.
Straight from the jar (I do this, it’s good).
Anywhere you’d use traditional pesto. 
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Raw Cheesecake Recipe

I hate cheesecake. I always have. But raw cheesecake… well I could eat that every day! It’s soooo good. And whats better is it’s actually good for you! And so easy to make even though it doesn’t look like it. I wanted to share this post now, because with the weather warming up (at least here in Oz!) it’s a great dessert to take to a backyard BBQ or to have stashed in your own freezer as a sneaky dessert at night.

There’s lots of raw cheesecake recipes floating around lately. I’ve adapted this one from here. Because who doesn’t love berries? You can easily leave the berries out if you want though.
Raw Cheesecake
For the base:
  • 3 cups macadamia nuts or peacans (I’ve tried both with happy results)
  • 1 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
In a springform pan lightly spray some coconut oil on the base and then sprinkle a layer of desiccated coconut over it. This will prevent the crust from sticking.
In your food processor, combine the base ingredients well. You may need to add an extra date or two. 
Press the mixture down firmly into your tin and then pop it in the freezer.
For the filling:
  • 3 cups cashews, soaked for 2-3 hours in filtered water
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup raw honey or agave
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
Combine all the ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust to taste (I often put some more lemon juice in). Pour half or 3/4 of the mixture over the top of your base and tap the pan on the bench to remove air bubbles. 
Place some frozen raspberries in the mixture… just gently press them in with your finger.
Add a handful of frozen berries to the remaining filling in your food processor and blend until the berries are combined. Pour this over the top of the plain filling and then place the cheesecake into your freezer carefully.
Leave it in your freezer until it’s firm… at least 4 hours. You can remove it from the pan once it’s frozen and slice it. I keep mine in the freezer and take a piece out onto the bench top 30 minutes before eating it. If you had this for a party, I’d recommend taking it from the freezer to your fridge about 3 hours before you want to eat it!
You could also make a raspberry sauce up to drizzle over it before serving by blending some dates and berries together. I usually just top it with some berries and maybe a drizzle of agave. Options for this cake are endless!

It’s not the cheapest of cakes to make but it does last quite a while, as it’s kept frozen, and it’s large!
I want to take this cake to someones house and see if they notice that it’s not a “real” cheesecake… that would be fun 😉

Visual Veggies

Let’s talk veggies.
The above picture is from today’s produce shop with the hubby. I’ll probably duck out to the shops mid week to pick up a few odds and ends, but this is the bulk of our produce for the week. I should clarify those oranges will last longer than a week though – it was just cheaper to buy that many at once 😉
It might be obvious to some, but I’ll list what we have here:

  • 1 big ass box of oranges, fresh from a local orchard ($10! Bargain!)
  • 1 kilo bag of carrots (most of which is for a cashew, curry and carrot soup)
  • chunk of watermelon
  • 4 punnets of strawberries
  • 2 brown onions
  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • 5 apples
  • bag of mushies
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 2 washed potatoes
  • 1 kilo bag of tomatoes
  • pack of baby spinach leaves
  • 7 limes
  • punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • bananas
  • 4 grapefruit
  • 2 avos
  • 1 zucchini
  • garlic
  • sweet potato
  • green capsicum
  • 3 corn cobs
  • some pumpkin
  • lettuce
I had a few stragglers from last week lurking in my fridge too, like a red capsicum and corriander etc.

I wanted to take a picture because I wanted a visual of how much produce we were eating a week. Is most of it green? Is it a lot? Is it not enough? Obviously there are variants. Like what meals I’m cooking for the week. And what’s on special. But it’s given me a general idea of how much fruit and veg 2.5 people (O doesn’t eat quite as much as we do!) eat in a week.
My thought’s are

  • It’s more than I thought
  • Not enough greens
  • Less fruit than I thought
  • Nice variety
Have you ever done this? Why not take an image of your weekly produce shop? Maybe it can motivate you and others to eat more fresh and colourful foods. Maybe you’re doing better than you thought!

Blueberry & Banana Smoothie

Some mornings (or really any time of the day) I just can’t be bothered to create a meal. I can’t be bothered to think and I can’t be bothered to spend lots of time in the kitchen. And I can’t be bothered I don’t have the time to sit down and eat a meal let alone scratch my arm sometimes (ah, children). 
My solution on these types of days is this: SMOOTHIE! There’s always some spare vegies or frozen fruit in our house, and experimenting is half the fun. This one is full of antioxidants and is very filling! A great breakfast smoothie to get you going for the day.
Blueberry & Banana Smoothie
1 banana, fresh or frozen
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/4 cup coconut water
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs flax meal
1 tsp agave or raw honey
Blend all ingredients thoroughly. Enjoy immediately (chia turns to a pudding!).

Cacao Nut Slice

This recipe isn’t my own. I’m not sure where it’s come from and who to credit, as my mum once emailed it to me and I’ve been making it every fortnight since! She still makes it regularly too as it’s such a healthy and delicious snack for at home or on the go. It’s kind of like a healthy crunchy muesli bar. It’s a staple snack in our house.
DISCLAIMER! The recipe below contains sugar. I know, I know… smack me on the wrist 😉 I’ve eliminated so much sugar from my diet that I really don’t panic about having 1/2 cup of it in this whole recipe. The slice takes about 2 weeks to eat so if I wanted to justify it, I could get my maths cap on and work out the tiny amount of sugar I’m consuming each day by eating one piece. But, I don’t care. It’s full of healthy nuts and seeds, and the carob and cacao powder pack a punch of nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals too. I eat cacao every day, and you should too! So here is another way to get it into you.
Cacao Nut Slice
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamias, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries*
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar*
  • 125g butter*
Line a lamington pan with baking paper.
Combine all but the last 3 ingredients in a bowl. 
Place honey, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan and stir over heat until boiling. Simmer, and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Pour it over the dry mix and combine well. Press mixture into the pan and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes or until browned. Let it cool in the pan before slicing into squares, rectangles, whatever shape you want!
Store in an airtight container in your cupboard. 
* Notes:
You can use sultanas instead of cranberries if you’re on a budget.
You could try using coconut sugar, but I’m yet to test this.
I use Nuttelex instead of butter as I’m dairy free, and sometimes I use half Nuttelex and half coconut oil. I’m not game enough to try 125g of coconut oil, as I’m suspicious it may make the slice too sloppy and fall apart. If you try it, let me know!
If you don’t have cacao and carob powder, you could use 3/4 cup of Milo as that’s what the original recipe calls for.

A Different Take On Jam

I love toast. I love jam on my toast. I love jam on lots of things. Even just jam out of the jar! But the jam you buy in the supermarket is full of sugar. And preservatives. And other things you don’t need in your body. And the jam you might find that doesn’t contain all those nasties are so expensive.

One day I made my own jam and I was very skeptical, because this wasn’t your usual preserve jam. No, this was jam made from chia seeds. I give O chia seeds soaked in water or almond milk for breakfast every morning, so I know it goes a great jelly like consistency. And it’s often used as a binder and egg replacer in vegan recipes. So it made sense to work as a jam but I just wasn’t sold.

And then I ate it. SOLD. I eat it from the jar with a spoon while watching TV at night. It’s that good. I love it!

I came across quite a few recipes like the one I’m about to post. This one is my own, but they’re really all the same and it’s so versatile. You can add anything you want, and have some fun experimenting!

Raspberry Chia Jam

500g frozen raspberries (defrosted), or fresh berries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tbs lemon juice

Mash your berries. I used a potato masher but I suppose you could also throw them in the blender. I like my jam a little chunky though so I don’t over mash! Stir in the sugar. I used coconut sugar which is like brown sugar but unrefined and is a low GI sugar. Add the lemon juice and then stir through the chia seeds. Make sure it’s all combined nicely. Pop the mixture into a air tight jar and leave it in the fridge overnight. It’ll be perfect for your toast or pancakes in the morning! It’ll last about 3 weeks in the fridge.

You could use any berry but I haven’t tried anything other than raspberries yet. You could do mixed berries, blueberry, blackberries etc. You could also add some orange peel, or maybe some vanilla essence. Maybe even some mint.

Let me know if you try this or come up with any variations!