Gluten Free Chick Pea Cookies Recipe

I make a lot of gluten free foods because it’s just easier on the gut and easier (in general) for children’s tummies! These are awesome because they’re slightly heavier and more “chewy” than normal crunchy biscuits made with flour, although a little more indulgent than my average recipe!! Plus you can create your own flavors without any problems, yay! I’ve popped in a few variation suggestions for you too.

So without further ado…

Ingredients (makes approx 24-30)

  • 2 x 400g cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • ยฝ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup tahini (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1/3 – ยฝ cup sugar (or honey or equivalent sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Optional: 100g chocolate bits if you’d like choc-chip cookies – I use 78% Lindt dark chocolate and break it up into itty bitty pieces.

Optional: 150g chopped and pitted dates.

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients (except chocolate) in a food processor (or with a bowl and stick blender) until smooth.
  2. If adding chocolate pieces, stir through now.
  3. Drop by spoonful onto lined baking trays (approx 12-15 per tray). And bake in preheated 180โ€ขC oven for 35-40minutes. You may wish to flatten them slightly with a fork about half way through the cooking time for a more level and ever-so-slightly crunchier cookie.
  4. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

Enjoy!!

Feel free to comment below with your own variations! I think this may work with broad beans or kidney beans too but have never tried it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cxx

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Grandmaโ€™s Gluten Free Coconut Jam Drop Biscuits

It’s been forever since I wrote. I know ๐Ÿ˜ข because life. Homeschooling. Training. Sleep deprivation (I know you hear me, mamas!). Work. Life. I think I’ve got 20 unfinished posts in the queue which is just pathetic but, on the other hand, I have this yummy recipe for you & your family !! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

My eldest daughter stole it from my Mother’s old recipe book and tweaked it to meet our family’s needs. Gluten free and half the sugar of the original, and with a cooking process my two children (8 & 4 years) managed to handle and bake all by themselves. It was a winner! Try these ๐Ÿ™‚

— This recipe makes 24 biscuits —

Ingredients

  • 110 g butter
  • ยฝ C sugar (EDIT: we actually tried making these with ยผ cup and then with no sugar at all and found we enjoyed the sugar free the best! The biscuits still bake perfectly.)
  • 1 egg (or egg replacement)
  • 1 C desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp milk of choice
  • 2 C gluten free self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • ยผ-โ…› tsp of your favorite jam for each biscuit

Method

  1. Place all ingredients (except jam) in a bowl and beat with electric beater until well combined. I think it took a few minutes.
  2. Scoop by teaspoonful and roll into balls to place on a lined baking tray, flatten them slightly with flat fingers. (We had 2 trays with 12 biscuits on each). Press the tip of your little finger in the Centre of each biscuit to make a small dent and place jam in the middle. Be sure not to overfill as it’ll spread during baking.
  3. Bake in preheated 180โ€ขc oven for 35 minutes. They should appear golden around the edges at least. Allow to cool a little before eating.

We found they came out nice and crunchy with just the perfect amount of sweetness โค๏ธ

Enjoy!

How to Make Chocolate Brownies from Leftoversย 

Experiments in my kitchen are usually based on easy to access foods, as our diet – though quite varied – is basic, fresh, and healthy. This doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy foods like brownies or even creme brรปlรฉe sometimes though!
Try this recipe out for yourself and see how you like it. It’s a pretty hearty brownie and not at all “fluffy” – nor is it “hard” and sickly sweet. It’s firm almost like cheesecake but with a different texture obviously. I think even throwing grated carrot or zucchini in there as well could work! Check out the variations at the bottom. And feel free to comment if you’ve found a combo you like ๐Ÿ™‚
I only had about 400grams of leftover mashed potato (unsalted, with no herbs, is best – mine had milk and butter originally, but use ‘clean’ if you’d prefer), so these are approximate amounts so gage according to how much you’ve got to work with.



Ingredients

  • Leftover mash potato (I had *roughly* 400g)
  • 2 tbs cacao powder (raw, organic if possible)
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup/honey/nectar, to taste
  • 1 tbs sugar (raw, organic if possible)
  • 2 tbs coconut oil (cold pressed, organic if possible)
  • 2-3 tbs peanut butter/tahini/creamed coconut or nut butter of choice


Method

  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly – I just use a fork lol. Check your sweetness levels now and add more of what you’d like if necessary.
  2. Transfer to ramekin dishes (I split mine into two x 200g-ish dishes which gave 4-6 serves in total) or lined brownie tray and bake in a preheated oven (180โ€ขC) for 25-45 minutes depending on how thick/deep your pan or dish is.
  3. Allow to cool a little before portioning and eating – serve with fresh berries or sprinkled with ground cinnamon and nutmeg ๐Ÿ™‚


Variations
 

Add zucchini, choc buttons, nuts, carrot, beetroot, pumpkin, fresh ripe bananas, sweet potato/Kumara – experiment with what you like or what’s leftover! Substitute carob for cacao or swap out/substitute sweeteners depending on your preferences.

Also, I’ll be writing a little about ‘sweet’ foods and how I feed my kids in an upcoming post, just to demonstrate my approach to their nutrition, so keep your eyes open for that.
Enjoy! In moderation ๐Ÿ˜‰
Love C xx

Free Safety Rules Poster for Families

Here it is! Feel free to download, colour, and personalise yours – it never hurts to have a conversation about safety with your children and for them it’s even more empowering knowing what to do! This file will print at A4 size just fine. I ended up printing an extra one for my eldest who asked to have one to colour herself and have in her bedroom.

Here’s mine before I’d written the address in. This emergency number is for Australia however if there’s enough interest I can do other countries as well just get in touch ๐Ÿ˜›


I’ve coloured it, laminated it and hung it in an easy to see, and frequently seen, spot in the house. 

Download yours from the Printable Posters page ๐Ÿ˜›

Thanks for 

12 Travel Tips for Parents when visiting Japan

After returning from our second holiday in Japan (now affectionately known as our “Japanniversary”), I have some handy tips for all of you parents out there to save you time, energy, frustration or embarrassment for your visit to Japan. On this visit we were able to spend time again in Osaka and Kyoto, as well as Nara. Next trip we’re hoping to head to Kobe, up to Sapporo, and most probably to visit our pen pals in Osaka again.


Points for Parents;

  1. Stay hydrated! Since we spent most of our days walking with our eyes wide open and concentrating on the sights and our senses were occupied, we didn’t drink enough and this may effect the little ones more than you. Just a word though, the tap Water is chlorinated, within “safe” levels.
  2. Everything regarding the public transport is so efficient – don’t stuff it up by standing on the left or boarding before others leave the train/bus.
  3. Nishiki Markets in Kyoto are a must do as well but if you have more than 2 small children consider giving it a miss if they can’t handle squashy crowds. Samples and demonstrations are plenty and the food range is awesome.
  4. Proteins & fats are hard to come by  in restaurants and more expensive in supermarkets – considering that weight training and daily movement are part of our family lifestyle, we generally do well on consuming more protein and fats. However, staples for the Japanese are predominantly carbohydrates so bear this in mind. We took along some hydrolysed collagen to help out. Super greens won’t hurt either if you’re used to eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables and won’t have access to your own kitchen.
  5. If you’re a coffee snob like myself, consider taking along an aeropress and your own ground coffee if you’ll have access to a kettle. ‘%’ coffee in Arashiyama is excellent, but be prepared to wait atleast 30 minutes as the line often twists out the door & around the corner. ‘LILO Coffee’ in Amerikamura (Osaka) is also a must for coffee lovers.
  6. Teach your children manners – it is normal for people in Japan to be respectful and display manners and courtesy at all times. If you show and teach your children what is acceptable, you’ll find the experience all the more pleasant.
  7. If you’re heading to Osaka an absolute MUST is to take your children to the Kids Plaza Osaka! Perfect on rainy days it’s a 3 level discovery & play Centre you could probably spend 3 days in if they wanted to experience each activity to its fullest. Ages 3 & up is best I think, however there are stations for babies/toddlers which are lovely too. Nature, Science, Culture, Technology, Imagination… everything is physically and mentally engaging. Perfect. The ticket price is more than worth it and well within budget! The link is here; http://www.kidsplaza.or.jp/en/
  8. Another few awesome attractions are the Arashiyama Monkey Park (Arashiyama is approx 25/35minute bus ride from Kyoto) a 160m climb with a mountain top park which protects Japanese Macaques, and Nara Park (5 minutes walk from Nara train station) which is filled with temples, museums, historical buildings, and wild deer roaming free. A word of warning – please please please pay attention to the signage with instruction on how to treat the animals – we witnessed a number of close calls simply because people ignored warnings. They are still wild animals. Make sure you and your children respect them, please. Then there’s the Osaka Castle and citizens park – so much to see in the grounds & surrounds as well as the brilliance of the castle itself.
  9. Be aware of smoking & non smoking in restaurants – if this is an issue for you please keep an eye out for the ash trays on tables, especially if you’re not confident with your pronounciation of “can we have non-smoking please”, or don’t recognize the characters. A positive note though, in public areas and all playgrounds there are designated “Manners Stations” where smokers must smoke – I love these as it’s easy to move your children from those areas when smokers arrive.
  10. Kimonos versus Yukatas – so both are traditional dress however the Kimono is more formal and the Yukata more casual. For both males & females of all ages. But be aware, Kimonos can be worn incorrectly which may offend, so if you’re hiring one please have the attendant dress you or help you. Kimonos are also considerably more expensive and custom made to order according to your social status. The Yukata is much more affordable (and easier to put on) as a souvenir if you’re wanting to purchase something like that. Prices range from $45aud and up where as Kimonos start in the 100’s and 1000’s. 

    The Yukata is more casual

  11. Dining – everywhere is good. Haha! Some better than others but if you’ve never been to a “real” automated sushi train please do – the kids will love using the screen/tablet to order and the speed at which the made-to-order dishes come along the track.
  12. Take a phrase book or app – as with most countries, an attempt to speak the language is welcomed and often you’ll be able to get by piece by piece even if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t know any English.

I highly recommend Japan as a destination so please go and please enjoy! 

Xx C

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Book Review

It finally arrived today! Here in Australia we’ve had to wait until April to receive this wonderful new storybook. Not just for girls or teens, but for everyone ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, this book has received labeling (in positive praise of course!) using the term “anti-princess“. While that may be the view of some, I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The stories of each of the 100 inspiring women from around the world are just as the title suggests, and follow a simple, bed-time story format. Easy to read and interesting even for toddlers, each story reveals the lesson or value each person has given to the world in a way that is easy for young minds to digest. 

I personally think it’s less anti-princess, less “rebel”, but more pro-action, pro-self belief, pro-game-changer, and pro-female.

The illustrations on each double page spread are unique to the woman they portray. Completely different styles created (as expected) by 60 women around the world. Simply gorgeous.

After reading only 2 or 3 stories my 7yo decided to write and illustrate her own story (about her) in the allotted pages at the back of the book – very cool ๐Ÿ™‚

Highly recommended for all ages ๐Ÿ™‚

C xx

Buy it here !!*

Happy Reading!!

* Affiliate link used.

10 Phrases to use instead of “Don’t be Silly”.

** 5 minute read **

I’m tired of hearing people say “Don’t be silly” to their kids. 
I believe children aren’t trying to be silly nor are they trying to embarrass or annoy us. They are simply being children and more often than not are trying to have fun! Or, equally as often, have simply not been shown or modeled the expected behavior or required boundary. I often also hear this phrase used when children are presenting ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you were told “Don’t be Silly!!!” in a firm and unpleasant or even condescending tone when you were presenting a keynote to a group? Or when you’d been injured and mentioned the pain? Or were crying because of grief or sadness?

Here I give you some alternative phrases to help guide your child and maybe recognize your own need in a situation as well.

1. Wow! – How easy is this one? Put a smile on your face and secure yourself a few seconds to judge your next parenting step, whether it’s a safety, health, or behavior issue.

2. Please use an “inside voice”. (Followed by a reason, if possible) – No explanation needed.

3. That really hurt, didn’t it? It’s ok to cry to let out the pain. (Folllwed by breathing with the tummy or whichever calm-down method you use). – Sometimes I even tell a story of when I got hurt a similar way as a child & kabam! Crying stops and play continues.

4. Looks like you’ve put so much effort in to that! – Another simple one which really only requires you pay attention to what they’re doing to supply an appropriate reaction. No need to judge their creation, just show them you know they’ve put in an effort and be encouraging and supportive by using this phrase.

5. Are you excited? Or, You look so excited! – I allow my children feelings of excitement, and naming the emotion allows them to identify it. As they grew older, their squealing reduced and bright, bold statements of “I’m so excited!!!!” Came out instead. A lot easier when you’re in crowded places as well!

6. Let’s stay calm. – Saying this out loud will also help you stay calm and remember to be the adult and be the parent. I’m saying this from experience!

7. In the ____place name____ is where we sit on our bottoms/in the chair/stand in line/etc. – Attaching a behavior to a location can be very helpful. Consistency also helps with this particular phrase.

8. What makes you think/feel that? – You’ll be surprised at what you discover using this phrase. Especially if your child is 4/5+ years old, then simply “work it out together” as I like to say.

9. You’re upset! (Followed by ‘Come here and let’s talk about it’) – In the same way as point 5 works, giving a name to the feeling is the first step in being able to identify and manage their emotions. 

10. Try telling me in a clear speaking voice (or if your child has a connection to a favorite adult or character who always speaks clearly, try using them as an example). Forget baby talk or either of you competing in a bout of demands and yelling. Encouraging clear articulation and making a point of its importance simply sets your child up for the future and it makes things SO much easier for you!

I’ve found these phrases work like magic and in addition to that, the children don’t feel shamed, confused, guilty, overwhelmed or overloaded, and they learn (slowly) what is expected. Win win win.

Xx C

Why “Moana” is Disney’s Best Children’s Film Yet

Moana: A Mother’s Review;

I’m a parent of two very different children, and I wear my high alert parenting goggles when I watch or choose films with my kids. I have chosen to be a Conscious Parent and I know children take a lot from movies whether we realize what/how much of it or not. I’ll be writing about how we watch movies in a separate post ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I’m sure most of you know, Western, English speaking “children’s” films leave a lot to be desired when it comes to role models. On the whole I have been gobsmacked at watching only the 2 minute trailers for children’s films over the last 10 years because of the increase in endless violence, sexism/gender bias, terrible role models, and severity of character-on-character mistreatment both verbally and emotionally – and it’s all made out to be funny. It is just incredible ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But – never fear dear parents! A great film has arrived in Disney’s latest creation – Moana. I will be putting together a list of great films for conscious parents soon (why didn’t I do that earlier?!?!?!) but for now I’ll give you the bullet points as I know you don’t have much time!

1. Strong Role Model

This won me over for point number one as Moana displays so many admirable qualities. She’s physically, mentally and emotionally strong. She must overcome many barriers, trust her instinct, and believe in herself. Despite the fact she yearns for the sea and exploration she does so in wanting to be a better leader for her family and village as opposed to fighting or rebellion. And she’s not “super sexy” or sassy anything like that ๐Ÿ™‚

Any “attitude” throughout the entire film is only character frustration or misunderstandings as opposed to plain rudeness or malice. So the biggest things my two kidlets are repeating/taking from this film are; trying to be better swimmers (yay!), being strong, trying hard, courage, females being in positions of great responsibility, seeing through the pain of others, and well, the words “butt cheek” did enter the eldest’s vocabulary but I’m not complaining about that with everything else she’s taken away from the film.

2. Presention of Culture

Although this story and characters (I believe) are not intended to represent a specific South Pacific Island or specific Nationality, I believe that the overall presentation of the island way of life, the region, and peoples to be positive and in many ways true. Happiness, sharing, reliance on the coconut, roles within the community, dancing… And the hair – my daughter wants hair like Moanas now, and even as I write this my youngest is covering her arms with removeable sticker tattoos, haha!! I was easily able to discuss and relate my children to SO many aspects of the movie (from the boats to the dancing, tattoos, language, roles within a village community, etc) not only because of our trips to New Zealand but because I have dear friends from the South Pacific Islands and we (myself and my children) are always involved in cultural and global exploration in order to widen their circle of knowledge, wisdom and tolerance. Moana is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to exposing your children to this regions peoples if they aren’t already ๐Ÿ™‚ And I believe it’s also possible to research the less Americanized/Disney-fied versions of the story of the Demi-God ‘Maui’, for example, if you wish to further educate yourself.


3. No Unnecessary Violence and Minimal SlapStick Humor

What a relief to be able to watch a film without constantly reassuring my children that “we don’t hit others like that”, for example. I think there are two points in the film where it comes close. But this was a huge part of the appeal of this film as well as we saw that it’s only necessary to fight in self defense as opposed to attack or to be funny or provoke others. Or most importantly, when we can’t use our words effectively.

Thank you, Moana Directors, for this!

Oops, I must note though that a few scenes may frighten young children so please cuddle tight and answer their questions through those. I’d recommend ages 4 to 5 and older watch this one.

4. Great Story

Easy to follow for the children, and as I say in both points 7 & 9 the lessons were obvious, and it’s a wonderful coming of age story. I personally am happy the main character is female, too, since I have daughters ๐Ÿ™‚

As I said in an earlier point it’s a Disney-fied version of a legend, so, research further for the history behind it. Or otherwise simply go and enjoy the film! 

5. Visually Breathtaking

I’ve recently started following Andy Harkness, the creative Director behind this masterpiece, and I would have to say I’m very impressed with pretty much every element. And when you do watch it – check out the amazing texture, look and movement of the hair and also water! I just wanted to touch it all!

6. Beautiful Music

Moana and the supporting characters have far easier voices to handle. This thankfully is not a repeat of Frozen. And yes, I do have the Frozen soundtrack. And yes, I do know all the words.

Secondly the mixture of languages was refreshing and also for my children, exciting. They appreciate the culture behind the music and I think that’s a wonderful thing!

7. Lessons Are Clearer

What I’ve actually noticed with a lot of kids films (Disney’s included) is that there are a LOT of underlying themes that simply go straight over the heads of our children but not without first modeling unwanted behaviors and adding confusion or inappropriate themes to their minds. And no, I’m not a “way out hippy”, or extremely religious, or extreme anything type of parent, I’m just aware of what they’re digesting, processing and regurgitating!

8. No Hate

In this world where there is so much hatred I find it refreshing that Moana doesn’t promote hate or a separatist attitude. Love it.

9. Easy to Explain or Expand On

Winning! Even after the 3rd viewing my children still have “why” questions and I find it is so easy to explain the answers and explore the topic/question raised. We do this with all films but I’ve found this very easy to parent through ๐Ÿ™‚

10. Appropriate Themes

Following on from the last point, I don’t have to explain the ins and outs of themes they’re too little to understand or shouldn’t even be exposed to.
That just about sums it all up! I hope that what I’ve shared was helpful for you in choosing whether or not to show this film to your children. But as I’ve said I really do think it’s their best film yet ๐Ÿ™‚

*This review is my personal opinion and I have no monetary affiliation with Disney. 

Kids Shadow Puppet Movie

* Apologies if you received this via email unedited! An accidental button bump published it!
My eldest child and her friend meet every week to focus and work on a project of their choosing as part of their homeschooling fun. Yesterday, they just finished off a fantastic shadow puppet movie, inspired by Bunk Puppets and facilitated by my friend Anita! The two girls came up with the story line, characters, props and voices. Very very cool!

I am so proud of both of them ๐Ÿ™‚

Here it is if you’d like to check it out! http://youtu.be/j9yq_O7CRcU

Totally Healthy Mini Cupcakes recipe for everyone!

After a small amount of tinkering here is my latest recipe for healthy kids snacks. A friend suggested to me a couple of days ago to use kidney beans instead of flour and I was reminded of the ever popular chickpea cookies I used to make and thought about trying it out.

Now, substitute where necessary as we all have different requirements but this recipe proved to be another absolute winner in my house. Except my husband never got to taste any because they were finished too quickly – oops! 

TOTALLY HEALTHY CUPCAKES 

Ingredients – makes 24

  • 2 eggs (or egg substitute)
  • 1 tbs vanilla paste
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs baking powder 
  • 1 can red kidney beans (or bean of choice eg. Butter bean, chickpea maybe although I haven’t tried)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk powder
  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sweetener of choice eg. Maple syrup)

Note: to make these chocolate, simply replace the coconut flour & powder with cacao/cocoa powder. 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180โ€ขC and line mini cupcake tray with papers.
  2. Blend eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and baking powder until well combined, almost creamy.
  3. Add rinsed & drained beans, and remaining ingredients and process until well combined and smooth.
  4. Spoon by teaspoon into paper cases and bake for 25 mins.
  5. Try to let them cool a little before eating!

Enjoy xx