Finding a healthy cookie at the store to add to my kid’s lunch or snack box is pretty much impossible. Our kids can’t have certain preservatives, which eliminates a lot of options, and most of the cookies that you can buy at the store have a lot of sugar or sugar substitute. The best way for me to provide healthy snacks for my kids is to make it myself.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 6 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup cooking oil (olive or canola)
- 1/4 cup low fat milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup raisins or chocolate chip (raisins are obviously more healthy, but chocolate chips are always nice)
- 1 1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
You can add 1/2 pecans or walnuts, but the kids school is a nut free school, so I have left that out of the ones I’m sending to school with the kids.
Start pre-heating the oven to 375F (190C).
Put the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and stir it all together. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix it all together.
After it’s all mixed well together then add the raisins or chocolate chip, and the oatmeal and fold it all together.
Put down parchment paper on your baking tray and drop teaspoon size clumps of cookie dough 1” apart on the tray and bake it for 10 – 12 minutes.
At the moment our oven is dead, so I did this in a toaster oven and it still worked out pretty well. It would probably also work on a BBQ like I did my Aussie Damper recipe, but it’s always hard to regulate the temperature.
The original recipe that I based this recipe from can be found here.
Since I arrived here in Canada I have definitely been missing some of the Australian food. A classic recipe that we’ve been having a lot is a modern variation on traditional Aussie Damper.
One problem that I have had with my old recipe from Australia is that one of the ingredients that we had in Australia is not available in Canada. I’ve turned three lots of damper into raw lumps of burnt, uncooked damper dough.
Here is a version of damper using ingredients that I can get here in Canada, so that I can finally stop wrecking damper and disappointing the family.
- 2 Cups of Flour
- 4 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoons Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 – 1.5 cups Milk
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt) together in a large mixing bowl.
- Using a pastry cutter cut the butter into the dry mixture. You use the pastry cutter so that you can get it to fine crumbs instead of creaming the butter.
- Slowly add the milk into the mixture so that it forms a soft dough.
- After it’s a soft dough then dust the dough with some extra flour and knead the dough until it is smooth and then form it into a round loaf.
BBQ Cooking with a Pizza Stone (My usual method):
- Preheat your BBQ to about 375F
- Dust the pizza stone with flour
- Place the round damper loaf on the pizza stone and cook for 30 – 40 minutes, until the damper sounds hollow when tapped.
Oven Cooking (I do this when it’s raining)
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Dust baking tray and place damper on the tray
- Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the damper sounds hollow when tapped.
Campfire Cooking (I haven’t tried this method yet)
- Grease a Dutch / Camp oven and dust it with flour
- Add the round damper loaf and cover
- Place the camp / Dutch oven in the fire and cover with the coals and hot ashes and cook for about 30-minutes
- Take the oven out of the fire and test the damper by tapping on it to find the hollow sound
The damper is great for dipping into hardy soups or stews and I love it with home made chilli.
Our favourite way to eat it though is smothered in golden syrup. Because of the butter that is added when it’s being made we don’t have to add more butter to it.
Normally we use white flour, which gives the best flavour, but for a healthier option I sometimes use whole wheat flour instead. The whole wheat flour makes for a denser loaf of damper so I usually have to use a bit more milk when making the dough and increase the cooking time by 5 or 10 minutes. If you find that this burns the outside of the damper then you can try decreasing the temperature slightly.
Here is the original recipe that I used. It used self-rising flour, which they don’t have here in Canada and was causing me all the grief.
As part of Jamie Olivers’s Food Revolution he has recently released some free toolkits. The toolkits are designed to help you start the food revolution in your home, school and local community.
The four free toolkits are:
- Learning how to start to cook
- Cooking with your kids
- Facts about flavoured milk
- Start changing your school’s food
You can download these four free toolkits on Jamie Oliver’s web-site here.
Right now Martha Stewart is giving away a free cookbook. The book that she is giving away is the Martha Stewart Living Radio’s Summer Grilling Cookbook.
Martha Stewart does a weekly radio show on Sirius/XM Radio. They made this cookbook specially for this coming BBQ Season.
You can download the free book over on the Martha Stewart Living Radio web-site here. One nice thing about the download is that you don’t have to register or provide an email address, it actually is free.
There are a few good looking recipes in there that I might look at trying out this summer. Here are a few that look pretty good:
- Grilled Corn with Cheese and Chile
- BBQ Pork Ribs
- Grilled Chicken
- South African “Burned” Coffee
We’ll see how we go this summer, but I am definitely looking forward to this summer BBQ season.
In case you missed it, you can download the Martha Stewart Living Radio’s Summer Grilling Cookbook here.
This is one of my family’s favourite meals. Whenever I tell my son that I’m making stir fry, this is the one that he wants.
- 400 grams Hokkien noodles
- 1/4 cup of water
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 500 grams chicken cut into cubes
- 1 medium sliced onion
- 2 medium finely diced carrots
- 1/2 green sliced pepper / capsicum
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
Heat the cooking oil in a large wok. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and stir fry until the onion starts to soften. Add the diced chicken to the wok and continue to stir fry until the chicken has started to brown. Then add the carrots and the pepper / capsicum and continue to stir fry until they have fully cooked through.
Then add the water, sweet chili sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce and rice vinegar to the wok and stir it all through. Once stirred through add the hokkien noodles and stir until the noodles are fully heated through.
Tonight I am making Meat Balls, Couscous and Salad for Dinner. It is a very easy and fast meal if I have pre-made meatballs, which I usually do. Tonight however I will be making the meatballs from scratch, so it will probably take a bit longer…
- 400g Premium (low fat) Minced Ground Beef
- 1 x Brown Onion
- 1/2 Red or Green Capsicum (Bell Pepper)
- 2 x Cloves of Garlic, or 2 tsp Minced Garlic
- 2 x Sliced of Bread – Preservative Free
- 2 x Eggs
- 1 tsp Dried Parsley
- 1 Tbsp Steak Seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Spice)
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Put all of the ingredients other than the ground mince into a food processor and blend until it is pretty smooth.
Mix the food processor mix into the ground mince beef. You’ll get a bit messy here, since you will need to use your hands for this part.
In the mean time you will want to be pre-heating your BBQ or grill to medium hot for cooking.
After you have mixed in the meat and your garlic / onion / capsicum mix you will want to start to form balls out of your meat mixture. The size of your meatballs will depend on your preference, but the bigger they are, the longer they take to cook on the BBQ or under the grill.
After you have made your balls of meat start to cook them until there is no pink in the middle, rotating them throughout the cooking process. I prefer to cook them on the BBQ, but they cook well under the grill as well.
Prepare your couscous as per usual and a simple side garden salad.
This is one of our favourite meals as a family. It’s easy for me to make and everyone seems to enjoy it.
My wife is a huge sweet tooth and if we have chocolate in the house it is gone within days. She also doesn’t read this blog, so I figure that it is safe to write on here where I hide the chocolate so that she can’t find it.
So, where is the best place to hide chocolate from a sweet tooth?
The best place that I have found to hide chocolate, or other sweets for that matter, is in the vegetable or fruit crisper in the fridge.
The fruit crisper may not work if your sweet tooth likes their fruit, but as long as they don’t like fruit it could work for you.
I used to try to hide the chocolate near the back of the fridge, behind some of the regular food, but it usually got discovered.
Hiding it in the fridge crisper has worked for about a month. I just have to be careful that there is no one else around when I go to take out the chocolate. If I’m not careful the game could be up in an instant, and them I’m back to find a new hiding place for the chocolate…
Where do you hide chocolate and sweets from the sweet tooth in your house?
I made this last night when we didn’t have much time for dinner, but wanted something tasty and healthy for dinner. It makes enough scrambled eggs for a family of four.
- 7 x Eggs
- 1/4 cup of Water
- 2 x shredded/grated Medium Zucchinis
- 1/2 diced Capsicum / Bell Pepper
- 1 x diced Brown Onion
- 4 x Bacon Rashers
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- Ground Pepper
- Shredded Cheese
Break the eggs into a mixing bowl with the water and stir it all together.
After the eggs are mixed with the water (the whites and yokes are mostly mixed together) add the shredded zucchini, ground pepper, salt and parsley. Stir it all together in the mixing bowl and set it aside.
Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and start cooking the bacon and onion together. When the onion is started to get soft add the capsicum and continue to fry.
When the bacon, onion and capsicum are cooked lower the temperature a bit and add the egg mixture to the frying pan and mix it in with the cooked ingredients.
Make sure that you stir the mixture on occasion to make sure the egg doesn’t burn and stick to the pan.
The egg mixture is cooked when the eggs stick together nicely and there is no more water in the mixture.
When the mixture is cooked dish it up and put the shredded cheese on top. You might want to mix it in near the end of the cooking process, but my son can’t have dairy, so we just put it on the eggs after they are dished up. The cheese still melts through the egg mixture, as long as you haven’t waited too long.
I usually serve this with just buttered toast, but some people might like to also add tomato sauce / ketchup to it.
This is one of our kid’s favourite muffin recipes. I quite regularly include it in my kids school lunch boxes.
It’s a fun recipe for the kids to help prepare as well. If cooking with young kids I find it best to cut up the apples before they start to help.
- 2 x Apples – finely diced
- 2 x very ripe Bananas
- 1 1/2 cups of Wholemeal Self Rising Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 x Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1/2 cup of Low Fat Milk
Start the oven preheating to 180C (350F).
Stir the flour and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Then add the apple and mix it through.
Add the eggs, oil, banana and milk and stir it through.
Grease a medium size muffin tray and fill the 12 muffin spots equally with the batter and place in the preheated oven for 20-minutes, or until cooked.
Update: I originally tried with recipe with 3-apples, but that was too much apple. The 2-apples in the revised recipe above works out much better.