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Crowd-Pleasing Chocolate Cupcakes

choc cupcake iced copy

It’s always a crazy time before you travel. Or maybe it’s not for everyone, but it certainly is in our home. I have a wonderful disease where I seem to be compelled to focus on the least important tasks that need completing. Examples this time were organising the bookcase, and making granola to eat on the plane… Great jobs, but perhaps should be looked at after things like actually packing.

The day before travelling is inevitably busy, and my ‘to do’ list this time was cray-zay! Zipping around to pick up and drop off last minute bits and bobs, whilst finishing off some last minute work projects was made super easy in the Ford EcoSport Titanium that I was lucky enough to borrow as part of the Kidspot Paint the Town Ford challenge – thank you very much! Awesomely practical and completely decked out technology connections to charge phone, power laptop, give me directions, fab!

meg car

And the main purpose for all this running about was of course to grab some final ingredients to make these awesome chocolate cupcakes for a gift! Another very important pre-flight activity… I love these cupcakes so much. They have a fantastic texture, and are a lovely sturdy base for any decorations. They use spelt flour as a base, which is lower in gluten than wheat, and more importantly, is more easily digested and is more nutrient rich. They are nut free, egg free and dairy free – hence the crowd pleasing. My next task is to make a gluten free version – to be continued…

Ivy cheeky cupcake copy

Dairy Free, Nut Free, Egg Free

1 cup (about 135g) wholemeal spelt flour

1 cup (about 125g) white spelt flour

1/2 cup (about 50g) raw cacao

2 tbs arrowroot

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 …

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A Pizza Tart, and my best farmer’s market tips.

pizza tartAnyone who knows me, knows that I’m farmer’s market OBSESSED! Actually, any kind of food shopping I’m generally down with. But I particularly love markets because I love finding out about where my food comes from. Here are my best tips to get the most out of your local farmer’s market:

  1. Take a basket, bag or even better a wheely trolley to carry your goods – most vendors won’t have bags or boxes to give out.
  2. Take cash, preferably in smaller notes so you don’t clean someone out of all their change first thing in the morning.
  3. Make the most out of the opportunity and chat to the producers. You will always learn something wonderful about the produce, how to store it, prepare it and maybe even a recipe or two.juiceradish
  4. Arrive early to nab the best looking produce.
  5. Arrive late to take advantage of any end of day discounts or bargains.
  6. Be inspired by the produce! Take a risk. Buy something you have never cooked with before – you will have the best advice around you on what to do with it.
  7. You will often get great deals if you buy in bulk. See if your friends want to go halves with you in that bag of tomatoes, or think about perhaps preserving some of your haul.

 

So there you have my tips for farmer’s markets. I also love how everyone is so friendly, there are always dogs, usually a great coffee van situation, loads of fabulous fresh produce, and no-one is getting upset because the person in front of them in line can’t find their rewards card and is holding up the express check-out.

MegShoppingCar

See, look how relaxed and content I am returning from a trip to the farmer’s market! Actually, this could also be due to …

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Strawberry Lemonade Strips, and my favourite car snacks

strawberry roll up 1We do a lot of day trips in our family. We used to when I was a kid too. Our car snacks included two pieces of cold toast with butter and vegemite, and actually, that was it now I think of it.

Nowadays, I rely on good quality, nourishing snacks not just for me, but for my little one. She is the first to lose her bananas if her blood sugar gets too low, and so as sanity preservation I always have snacks for when we are on the go. Car snacks are great because everyone is already sitting down and looking for a little distraction – unless you are driving of course! Car snacks are bad because they can make a fabulously horrible mess that, let’s face it, you’re probably not going to clean up straight away, and so can end up being more trouble than not.

I like to focus on things that don’t have massive mess-making potential to eat in the car, but are still interesting and tasty to eat, and healthy. This way everyone is quiet and happy, and getting some lovely nutrients at the same time – hooray!

This last weekend we took a day trip to the beach in the lovely Ford EcoSport Titanium that I have on loan as part of Kidspot Paint the Town Ford. Note: leather seats – great for car snacking – everything just wipes off!

Day tripping copy

Daytripping Ivy Beach copy

Needless to say we needed a variety of car snacks. Here are some of my favourites, for big and small people alike.

Trail mix – a classic. A mix of any nuts, seeds, toasted coconut flakes, etc. I’m a big fan of this popcorn mix, or the lemon vanilla granola I posted on Facebook and Instagram recently which I just eat as …

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Tangy Lemon Tarts, and a whole lot of lemons.

lemon tarts 1

So, I have all of these lemons at the moment. Thanks to my Dad’s burgeoning tree, I am lucky enough to get the odd delivery of a GIANT bag of lemons. Luckily, I love lemons. Not only for their taste, but their health benefits and pure versatility.

Lemons are super high in vitamin C. This is wonderful for our antioxidant status and immunity in particular. Lemons are also alkalising to the body, creating a supportive environment for good bacteria – tick. But my favourite thing about the humble lemon, is their effect on digestion. Because of their bitterness, lemons encourage the release of digestive juices and the production of bile from the liver, making them an extremely inexpensive and accessible tonic for your health. They are also a fantastic addition to salad dressings, increasing the absorption of iron from those leafy greens that you are eating.

There is some concern that the acid in lemons have potential to corrode tooth enamel. If you are eating lemon with a meal, this is not going to be too much of a problem, as the saliva produced while eating helps to neutralise the acid. If however you plan to drink lemon water, you may like to either use a straw, or rinse your mouth out with water afterwards to prevent any potential problems. From the research that I have read, it is excessive use that seems to be an issue, and the odd lemon water when you feel like you need a little digestive support shouldn’t present an issue.

Needless to say I have embarked on a lemon cooking frenzy this last week. First up was this FANTASTIC lemon vanilla granola, which I posted along with the recipe on my Instagram and Facebook accounts just recently.

lemon vanilla granola

Next were these beautiful little chewy lemon …

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Holistic Nutritionist
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