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Soaked Pancakes with Grapefruit and Blackberries

Soaked Pancakes with Grapefruit and Blackberries

 

grapefruit and backberry pancakes

 

Pancake Day

Pancake Day is coming up, so I want to share my latests favourite recipe for pancakes. Any excuse is good enough for pancakes for me, but which one is better than Pancake Day?? At the moment I love our soaked pancakes with grape fruit and blackberries. I make part of the batter on the night before I bake the pancakes, leave then to soak overnight and add the fruit in the morning.

grapefruit and backberry pancakes Why soaking grains?

Soaking the pancake batter is something I learned from the website Kitchen Stewardship. She wrote a whole post about why soaking grains is good for us, which is super interesting.  I won’t repeat her here, but I just want to say this about it briefly: Soaking grains makes the nutritional goodness a lot more available to our bodies. What a waste to pass too much of all that precious food through our bodies without making the most of it’s nutritional value, don’t you think?

I also started with her soaked pancake recipe but slowly altered it to make it into my own as you find it here below.  You can soak the dough for 12 up to 24 hours, simply covered with a kitchen towel on the kitchen top. I promise it doesn’t go off, I have tried it lots of times! It also saves time in the morning if you want to have them for breakfast. You only need to add a few extra ingredients.

Grapefruit

Citrus fruit is still in season, but grape fruit isn’t generally as popular as the oranges and the tangerines. It definitely isn’t in our house! So, I wanted to give it some extra love in our family.  Adding it to the pancakes is just a gentle introduction to this beautifully pink fruit.   Maybe you can let the kids deal with the grapefruit: washing it thoroughly, grating the zest and juicing it. This may get them more interested in this pretty fruit.

I have used the last blackberries we had in the freezer from last Summer’s foraging. Other berries like blueberries or raspberries are more easily found in supermarket’s freezers and would of course be just as good.

Happy Pancake Day!

 

grapefruit and backberry pancakes

 

Grapefruit muffins More Than Just Carrots

 

PS: I recently made these muffins with grapefruit as well, which we all loved! The recipe is actually a
doughnut recipe from Kitchen Sanctuary, a great food blogger to keep an eye on.

 

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Nutty Jammy Dodgers with Chia Jam

Nutty Jammy Dodgers with Chia Jam

Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots

Valentines Day

So next week is Valentines Day!  Are you celebrating Valentines Day this year?  Maybe you have some time off next week with the kids and you have time to do some baking? Making these jammy dodgers will provide some fun entertainment for at least half a day, that is for sure. These heart shaped treats would also work great on a Alice in Wonderland themed party!

Valentines Day is just another date in the calendar for me really, but this time I thought it would be a good occasion to finally make these jammy dodgers I have wanted to make for a while. Since we had the Linzer torte at Christmas and New Years, I have had this idea to make a healthier version of jammy dodgers.

Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots     Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots     Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots

Chia Jam

For the jam, I made some chia jam from frozen strawberries. As it is the middle of winter now, that is the best way to get berries I find. You boil a sauce of the strawberries, sweeten a bit with honey. The chia seeds add some extra nutritional value to the jam, but they are critical for the texture. When added to a liquid, these tiny seeds generate a gel, this makes the jam thicken without having to add loads of sugar.

If you use quantities in the recipe for the jam, that will give you a an extra pot for other use. Keep it in the fridge for at least a week.

Nutty Pastry

The pasty I used is very similar to the one of the Linzer torte. I had a little play with the cookie cutters, some circles, some hearts and that was all there was to it! As with the Linzer torte these biscuits become better as they get the chance to sit for a while. I made plenty to make sure there are some left for when they are at their best, which is after about 1 week.

Healthier?

So all in all, these are not what you could call ‘really healthy biscuits’ as they still contain quite a lot of sugar.  Nevertheless, they are definitely a lot better than shop bought ones because they have:

  • wholemeal flour as opposed to white flour
  • a big part of the flour is replaced by hazelnuts
  • the jam is only a little bit sweetened with honey as opposed to 60 % of refined sugar in most shop bought jams
  • the chia seeds bring in some extra nutritional value to them

Conclusion, there is still a fair amount of sugar and calories in these biscuits, but less of it. They contain more fibre and more nutritional value. So if you are planning on indulging anyway, why not enjoy making these chia jammy dodgers with the kids and have the treat a little bit healthier and definitely far richer in flavour as well!

Enjoy!

Chia Jammy Dodgers

Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots

Chia Jammy Dodgers from More Than Just Carrots

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Apricot and Cashew Energy Bites

Apricot and Cashew Energy Bites

Apricot and cashes energy balls

I first made these apricots and cashew energy bites last winter.  We had just one day where there was some snow here in Kent. It was rather pathetic, there was just a tiny little bit. Nevertheless, the kids were very excited and they were outside playing even before it was light. There was so little they used a hand brush and a dustpan to bring it together. They just managed to make a mini snowman!

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Marinated salmon cubes with stir fried green vegetables

Marinated salmon cubes with stir fried green vegetables

Marinated salmon from More Than Just Carrots

Marinated Salmon Cubes: The easy part

These marinated salmon cubes are one of our favourite ways of eating fish at home at the moment. Soya sauce has always been popular, so we use it for all sorts of marinades: for chicken, for cod and also for salmon. We started to have these salmon cubes with stir fried noodles and veggies. Everybody loved them, especially the salmon cubes, they were always picked out first!

Marinated salmon from More Than Just Carrots

 

The marinade is made out of soya sauce, fresh ginger, sesame oil and a little bit of honey.  This mix gives the salmon a great rich flavour and a tiny bit crispy on the outside but sill very soft and delicate on the inside.

The veggies on the other hand…

Because the salmon cubes were so popular I started making them more often and in other combinations.  The latest is with these stir fried green vegetables.  Both my husband and I absolutely  love them. Unfortunately the kids are not convinced yet.  I have made this geen stir fry a few times now and the kids aren’t very keen at all! Both cabbage and leek still seem really tricky for my kids. That is just the best excuse to be making these again and again though, that is for sure…

I won’t give up!

I really think they will start liking this dish because it doesn’t have any tricky tastes to it, there is nothing bitter, sour or spicy in it. It doesn’t even have cumin or coriander both tasting fairly strongly. It does have got honey, peanut butter and soya sauce in it, three tastes they all really love. So what else can they ask for?

The trick is to get them so far that they will taste it a few times, enough so they will realise this is their type of flavour. I hope, that is! Anyway, maybe your kids are leek and cabbage lovers already. If they are and they like peanut butter as well, they will absolute devour these.

The recipe for the vegetables is very much inspired by a recipe from Dale Pinnock‘s cookbook called The Medicinal Chef. A wonderful book full of healthy recipes and it has a lot of information about health benefits from different types of food.

If you like the marinated salmon, you might want to try my recipe for the marinated cod as well. That has proven to be popular with the kids as well!

Marinated salmon from More Than Just Carrots

Marinated salmonfrom More Than Just Carrots

 

 

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Wholemeal Spaghetti with Rucola Pesto and cherry tomatoes

Wholemeal Spaghetti with Rucola Pesto and cherry tomatoes

Rucola Pesto from More Than Just Carrots

Super quick dinner

Spaghetti pesto is one of the most easy and quick dishes to get ready. It is so perfect for a busy weekday tea when there is no time for real cooking and especially when nobody had thought ahead about dinner at all. This really needs no more than the time for the pasta to cook. So what is that, 10 minutes, even less? You make the pesto while the pasta is cooking.

Rucola Pesto from More Than Just CarrotsThis time I didn’t make pesto out of lack of time. It was simply because I had two bags of rucola in the fridge. (I do get confused by the name, it is sometimes called rocket, roquette and arugula as well). These 2 bags ended up there in our fridge because at New Years Eve we decided to skip the starter. We gave good playing and thorough chatting and catching up priority over food! It was so absolutely the right decision, sometimes there is just too much to talk about!

Freezable

Rucola has a fairly strong, peppery, taste so even as an adult I don’t like a plate full of it, it needs to be softened with something. Nuts, parmesan and the olive do just that. The other great thing about pesto is that it freezes well. I freeze what is left in smaller portions that can be taken out whenever it come to use.

Rucola Pesto from More Than Just Carrots

Colour on your plate

The bright green colour of rucola is just like spinach and basil perfect for a beautiful bright green pesto.

Simply serve with wholemeal spaghetti and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes give a lovely refreshing taste and feeling in the mouth that work well with the specific taste of the rucola pesto. Of course, their beautiful contrasting red colour makes it looks so much more appetising as well!

Nutritional Value

Rucola has amazing nutritional value, too much to sum up here, but it has lots of vitamine C, K and A and is rich in folic acid, so really worth adding some to your diet and introducing it sooner than later to your kids. This rucola pesto is a perfect way to start!

Enjoy!

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Linzer torte

Linzer torte

Linzer torte from More Than Just Carrots

This little Linzer torte is what was left after our New Years Eve dinner.  I had never eaten this traditional Austrian cake before until just before Christmas when we were invited to a friend’s house. She is a wonderful cook anyway, but oh my, this was so delicious. I do have a sweet tooth, I know I do, but this was just so tasty!

I immediately decided to make it for our New Years Eve dinner. It turned out Linzer torte needs to be made at least 1 week in advance but better even longer. That worked extremely well with our festive schedule. Bake it before all the hussle and bussle and then quietly leave it to get ready on it’s own for the last big party at New Years Eve.

Our big cake had stars on top like my friend’s had. Traditionally Linzer tortes have a lattice design, but these little flowers are cute as well, especially with Christmas behind us now. I might try one with hearts for Valentine’s!

Linzer torte from More Than Just Carrots

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Granola with cinnamon and dried apricots

Granola with cinnamon and dried apricots

Cinnamon Granola with dried apricots from More Than Just Carrots

Happy 2017! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and fantastic New year just like I did. We had a great time! I have very much enjoyed the way celebrating and travelling becomes easier when the children grow up. It was just relaxing and fun this year. I wasn’t the zombie that I have been in the previous years. Short and endlessly interrupted nights didn’t make me the best company in the festive season in the past few years I am afraid. But I am back now, all awake and clear in the head! The kids had a great time decorating their mini gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve!

Today though, is a different story: it is the first day of the end of the holidays for us. It was the first less relaxing breakfast in a while, yesterday I made pancakes still…  This morning only, I realised we had run out of our oh so practical and yummy granola. It is my favourite breakfast when there is no time for anything else.  So first thing after the school run, I quickly made us a new batch and took a few pictures so I could share it with you.

Making granola is so easy to make and quick to eat. It takes maximum 15 minutes to prepare it, 30 minutes in the oven and you are done.  Simply have it with yoghurt and fruit in season and you are good to go. Remember the citrus fruit at the moment, they are in season and we absolutely need the vitamine C to fight those colds! Frozen berries also work really well if you have got some.

If your kids are not convinced yet, have patience. Mine aren’t totally keen yet either. They do like it on it’s own, they pick on it, especially when it comes straight out of the oven, but they won’t have a full bowl for breakfast. I think it is a start though, they may come round still if I keep offering it. It works well as topping for puddings and ice-creams as well.

 

Cinnamon Granola with dried apricots from More Than Just Carrots  Cinnamon Granola with dried apricots

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Mini Gingerbread House

Mini Gingerbread House

mini gingerbread house from More Than Just Carrots

I absolutely love gingerbread houses! They can be so pretty, some really are pure art! And how much fun is it to decorate them with the kids!? They get totally excited when they even come near gingerbread houses! Icing! Sweets!! Yay!!

The only thing about them of course, is the amount of sugar that is involved. After all the hard work to make the house and decorate it, somebody needs to eat it all and than it just gets too much, even for Christmas.  Or maybe, especially with Christmas actually, when we are overfeeding and indulging all over anyway.

mini gingerbread house from More Than Just Carrots
In the past we have decorated cardboard houses with sweets instead. That was still super fun, but at least the walls didn’t need to be eaten. Last year the kids simply decorated cardboard nativity stables with crafty things, there were no sweets involved at all! They loved doing that just as much.

When I came across these lovely mini gingerbread houses that fit on a mug, I thought that was a great idea for us to do this year. It has all the fun, all the sweetness, but in small quantities. I think that is a fantastic way of doing it for the kids. They need to learn moderation when it comes to food.

Once your kids go to school and get a bit more independent, it becomes very difficult to avoid sugar in their diet altogether. You are just not always in charge. To be honest,  I don’t even think that is really necessary anyway, but they do need to learn moderation. They need to learn to have lots of the good foods and little amounts of the not so healthy foods. In that perspective a with icing and sweets decorated gingerbread house definitely needs to be small!

mini gingerbread house from More Than Just Carrots       mini gingerbread house

I have no cake decoration experience nor skills as you can probably see from my rustic houses. Neither have I got the equipment that I think the experts must be using. I don’t intend to learn to get better at it either as there is too much sugar involved for my liking, but basic skills and equipment can make doo in this case I believe…

We’ll just take a little bit of those tiny cake decoration sprinkles and mini smarties or chocolate chips with us on Christmas eve and the kids can have a go at filling up the tiny empty spaces on the walls of these houses!

 

Instructions:

Download the template for mini gingerbread houses here:

mini-gingerbread-house-template

Or copy from below on squared paper (squares here are 1/2 cm).

mini-gingerbread-house-template

If you don’t like reading instructions, you can simply follow these pictures. If you like more detail please read the instructions below. Have fun and do enjoy the result! I am looking forward to hearing how these mini gingerbread houses turned out for you, please do let me know in the comments below!

mini gingerbread house from More THAN JUST CARROTS

 

 

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Healthier Mince Pies

Healthier Mince Pies

Mince Pies from More Than Just Carrots

It is Christmas soon, naturally, it is also time for mince pies! At least it is here in England. It took me a few years living in England before I got into them. As many other immigrants I thought they had mince meat in them and couldn’t get over that. Until my curiosity got the better of me and I was brave enough to ask someone directly. They laughed of course, I tried some and obviously I loved them! I have learned now that you can’t get round them around Christmas anyway, they are everywhere! They are part of the wonderful Christmas tradition this country cherishes so much.

Less and More

Healthier Mince Pies by More Than Just Carrots

The better I start to know some types of food, the more I want to make them myself. That is how I got to make my own mince pies this time. Given the characteristics of mince pies, I couldn’t make them in the traditional way. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a recipe on a website for healthy kid’s food to contain alcohol, would it? So firstly the brandy had to go; I replaced it with orange juice.

Talking about healthy cakes is always a bit a contradictio in terminis anyway, that is why I use the word ‘healthier’ in those cases. I try to only keep the amount of sugar and butter we really need to have it tasty and delicious, definitely no more than that.

That exact amount depends on what you are used to. The same counts for salt, the more you have it, the more you need (want). When you consistently have less sugar, your body doesn’t crave it so much anymore. When I occasionally go for the full sweetness, I immediately want more, I find it hard to resist seconds. If I don’t for a while it just doesn’t comes to mind so much.

Healthier mince pies from More Than Just Carrots

I left the suet (this is a particular type of fat) out of the filling as well. I know it is a big element in the traditional recipe, but I just didn’t think we needed it. The sugar in the filling seemed too much to me as well, as the berries and the apples are so sweet already. My last change was that I doubled the amount of apple that went in.

A Dutch touch

The pastry I used, is the one I usually use for a traditional Dutch apple cake, it is a softer type of pastry because it uses icing sugar instead of caster sugar. There as well I reduced the amount of sugar a little, but it still has plenty of calories and sweetness in there, promised!

Half an hour in the oven and ready they were! They turned out a bit more rustic than the shop bought ones but the spices and the fruit make the taste and not so much the sugar and the butter. They are really yummy and well approved by true Brits as well!

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