I don’t think I’ve never made jam before. It’s not something I really eat though when I do, it’s because my mother in law (who makes awesome jam) or my brother in law (who also makes awesome jam) have given us some jars. I had considered making some myself just to tick if off a culinary bucket list but the thought of using so much sugar always put me off.
Enter the Oh She Glows Cookbook recipe for Magical Chia Seed Jam. Arthur and DeeW would eat a jar of store bought strawberry jam with a spoon if they could. I figured if we made our own, they might just be happy enough with it and stop nagging me to get some from the shops.
This recipe is super simple: strawberries, vanilla, a little maple syrup and a heap of chia seeds in a saucepan. The tricky part, when it came to the kids, was the chia seed. That could have blown the whole op. Bad photo:
DID MY KIDS SAY HEY THAT IS NOT FROM THE SUPERMARKET THIS JAM IS AN IMPOSTER? (Arthur age ten and DeeW age nearly-seven)
DeeW: “This is the best jam I’ve ever tasted. I’m going to have a jam sandwich for supper every day”.
Arthur: “Really good. You can taste the real strawberries. Can I make the next batch?”
Sure, it’s a sweet dish and chances are they would like it, but my challenge was a) potentially having them be turned off by the sight of the chia seeds and b) they love the jam from the big labels sold in supermarkets and may well have done the “but the supermarket jam is bettaaaaaaah” nagging. As it turned out, they nagged for jam sandwiches ALL the time. Drove me nuts.
I know what you’re thinking. Of COURSE my kids would eat this because muffins are one of those things lots of kids won’t refuse. And my kids are usuaaaally no exception to that. But may I present to you the hemp seeds. I love them and their distinct flavour, which stands out for me when I make baked goods, but the kids may not appreciate this the way I do.
So far I haven’t had much luck with adding ‘bits’ to muffins, like nuts and seeds. Arthur and DeeW pick them out and request I don’t put ‘bits’ in them. I get the aversion to bits. I struggle a bit putting an orange in a smoothie because the blender doesn’t break all the bits down. I was also traumatised by bits when I was a kid and help my grandma wash the dishes. She’d fill the sink with hot soapy water and throw the dishes in and one of us grand kids would wash up. I hated putting my hands in the water because I could feel all the bits floating around. So there are some bits that creep me out a little.
Anyway, I used a Dreena Burton recipe for Apple-Hemp Muffins from Vive le Vegan! I love Dreena’s books and her baked goods have never let me down. But would my picky anti-bits kids eat these?
Arthur: “These are really good. Really yum. Just right. No, you don’t need more cinnamon. These are great”.
DeeW: “they’re good. But only if I have one. Maybe I will like it again tomorrow.” I must point out here that DeeW dropped half the muffin and was a little upset when I told her it was the last one and she asked if I could make them again.
I made these muffins with oat flour and spelt flour (the recipe calls for oat and whole wheat pastry flour) and I left out the cardamom as that isn’t always a child favourite in my experience. I love cardamom in some smoothies too but thought I best leave it out this time. I’m going to make these again for sure but use a different flour combo. Maybe some kamut, barley or millet.
I love kale chips. I love the very idea of kale chips. I’ve only ever made one recipe in the dehydrator but not for a long time. For MoFo, I decided to go with a simple oven recipe.
I tore up some washed ‘n’ dried kale leaves and rubbed them with a little oil and sprinkled them with salt and nutritional yeast. When I make roasted chickpeas for Arthur, I use those same ingredients so I figured this would be familiar enough…
DID KALE SAVE THE DAY? (Arthur age ten and DeeW aged nearly-seven)
Arthur: “Mmm, not bad. Oh hang on. No, not good. Not good at all.”
DeeW: “Good, thumbs up. Wait a minute, I changed my mind. I need to spit it out.”
WHAT IS GOING ON? I do not understand.
I mean can you imagine my delight at their first sentence? Are they reading my blog and trying to mess with me? Are they being paid? I was all “oh my goodness the chips!” because the chips were really good and sure, I got the tray to myself. But STILL. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.
Stromboli is such a brilliant invention. Pizza in a LOG. What more could one ask for!
Our pizza of choice at home is a vegan Hawaiian (or Tropical), which in Australia consists of ham, cheese and pineapple. For the vegan version I use Redwood Cheatin’ Ham Slices and for the cheese I use either Notzarella or the stash of mozzarella Daiya I recently bought. For the sauce I use those Aldi organic pasta sauces.
I wanted to get Arthur and DeeW involved so they took turns with layering the ham and Daiya. I left out the pineapple as it would have made the stromboli a bit too soggy. So we pretty much rolled the dough out in to a long flat sausage shape, then made a long line of ham slices with the Daiya and pasta sauce scattered on top. Roll it up, cut some slits, watch the kids in hysterics because we’re cooking a giant log… fun for all the family.
DID THEY STOP THEIR OOMPA LOOMPA-ESQUE PEALS OF LAUGHTER AND EAT THE STROMBOLI? (Arthur age ten and DeeW age nearly-seven)
Arthur: “This is really good but there’s a bit too much sauce and cheese. I prefer pizza but this is good. Hmmm. Just not with so much sauce and cheese.”
DeeW: “Good, but too much cheese. Next time make it without the cheese. That’s all.”
I think I’d save a lot more ham and cheese making a stromboli than a pizza. I’m glad Arthur and DeeW liked it but Husband won’t go near the vegan versions of meats and cheeses. He’d probably have a vegetarian version with mushrooms so I’ll consider that next time. Mine was made with some leftover Tofurky sausages, spinach, sundried tomato and Daiya and the dough is from a Jamie Oliver recipe I love.
I’m counting this as a success because Arthur and DeeW said I should make it again. The log wins!
Smoothies are fab. Unfortunately half my family don’t agree. Husband really doesn’t like them and DeeW appears to be heading the same way. That leaves Arthur and I as the smoothie fans.
As Arthur won’t go near vegetables I put them in his banana smoothies. This way, he gets his leafy greens and other veg. Luckily for me he’s always keen to try a new flavour smoothie so today I blended up a mix of banana, hemp, cacao and hazelnut. He loved the hazelnut milk I made in the past so I was pretty confident he’d like this…
I don’t know why the horse is in the photo.
DID THEY DRINK IT?
DeeW: “Disgusting. Sorry if that’s rude, but you told me I should be honest. So my honesty brain says this is disgusting.”
Arthur: “Really good. Not as good as plain banana smoothies. The plain hazelnut milk is better but I could have this again. Just not too often.”
This was more an experiment to see if DeeW would come around. She’s more likely to go for a pink drink, so my next smoothie experiment will involve berries. If I can get her drinking that, I can hopefully sneak in other stuff