Recipe: Sugar-Free Pumpkin Spice Choc Chip Biscuits (Paleo + nut-free)

Clint and I are going through periods of low and no-sugar eating at the moment because we need to for our health. He’s doing 30 days straight of no sugar and I’m 5 days on / 2 days off -ish.

It’s going really well for both of us; we’re each noticing improvements to our health, we’re feeling better, and we’re getting used to some of the swap foods we’ve been eating.

I went live on our Facebook page last week giving my tips for no and low sugar eating, because we’ve been through this quite a few times and can definitely give some advice on how to be successful with it. Watch the video HERE.

Yesterday I felt like baking so I had an idea of a biscuit I wanted to try.  I know pumpkin puree is a great natural sweetener and binder so I decided to try Pumpkin Spice Choc Chip Biscuits and was very pleased with the result!

They turned out nice and fluffy, quite moist and surprisingly moreish. The only negative… they’re best eaten warm. Not when they’ve completely cooled down as they then become a bit dry and definitely not as tasty. So if you wait until they’ve come out of the oven and have cooled just enough to still be warm inside, or you heat them up gently if they have cooled completely, then they are delicious! And warm biccies are so much more enjoyable in the cooler months, so it’s not a bad thing overall!

Here is the recipe for you…

 

PUMPKIN SPICE CHOC CHIP BISCUITS

(makes 8 large)

 

You’ll need:

1 egg

2.5 tbsp ghee

1 tsp pure vanilla

2 tbsp cacao nibs (as the ‘choc chips’. They don’t taste overly ‘chocolatey’ and don’t melt but give awesome crunch!)

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tsp nutmeg powder

1 tsp ginger powder

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp each of bicarb soda and baking powder (look for gluten-free and aluminium-free)

3 tbsp organic green banana flour (buy some HERE)

1 tbsp arrowroot flour

6 tbsp pumpkin puree (Jap is usually the sweetest)

Pinch of pink salt

 

To do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  2. Make pumpkin puree by peeling and dicing pumpkin then boiling until soft. Strain to remove water, then mash with a fork until no lumps or chunks remain. Let it cool slightly before adding to the other ingredients
  3. Whisk egg and ghee in a bowl
  4. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly
  5. Use a spoon to dollop about 8 spoonfuls worth of mixture onto baking paper on a flat oven tray
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until the surface of the biscuits show golden brown colour
  7. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool down just enough to handle and eat safely then serve

TIPS

  • If you’re after more sweetness and aren’t on a low/no sugar eating plan, add raw honey or Grade B maple syrup to the mixture, and/or some chopped fresh Medjool dates. Yum!
  • Add more or less of the spices depending on your personal taste
  • Instead of boiling the pumpkin pieces, roast them instead on a medium heat until cooked through but without dark brown edges. This will add more sweetness and flavour
  • For denser biscuits, leave out the bicarb soda, baking powder and apple cider vinegar. These ingredients help the mixture rise when baking and creates a fluffy texture, so without them the biccies will be flatter and more dense which some people may prefer

 

That’s it, really easy!

If you’d like ALL of my healthy green banana flour recipes grab my e-books HERE.

 

Happy cooking!

Aimee xx

Food + Cooking Coach @ Primal Influence

 

 

Recipe: Winter Warming Porridge (Paleo + oat/nut-free)

Are you like me and miss enjoying a bowl of steaming oats and honey for brekkie in Winter time? If you’re no longer eating gluten and grains and miss oats as an easy breakfast option then you’ll love my healthy porridge recipe!

 

It’s even nut-free, a bonus for those who, like me, don’t do well on nuts, or are allergic to them.

The other bonus is it’s super quick and easy to make! It even has a similar texture to instant oats.

WINTER WARMING PORRIDGE – with blueberries

 

You’ll need:

1/4 cup organic green banana flour (buy here)
1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut + extra for garnish
Pure vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg powder (to your liking)
Ayam coconut milk for drizzling over to serve (use another milk if you prefer)
1–2 cups spring/filtered water
½ cup organic frozen blueberries
Drizzle of raw honey (optional)

Other flavour suggestions: Grade B pure maple syrup, Medjool dates pitted and diced, grated apple, any berries, slices of banana

Method:

1. In a small saucepan on very low heat add the spices aand stir to draw out flavour
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir will until warmed right through and blueberries have thawed. Add more water if needed until it reaches the consistency you like
3. Transfer to a serving bowl
4. Drizzle honey on, pour on coconut milk and garnish with a sprinkle of dried coconut

 

You can leave out the blueberries and add whatever fruit you like, add chopped nuts if you like, some cacao nibs, cocoa powder for a chocolate porridge bowl… this recipe is so versatile!

Grated apple adds freshness

Time saver tips:

Measure out a few serves worth of the dry ingredients, place in a large jar, shake well and store in the pantry to grab on mornings when you’re short on time. Spoon as much as you like into the saucepan, add the water and any other flavours (such as fresh fruit) you like, stir through then serve. This saves you time getting the dry ingredients together, yay!

To save even MORE time, use clean dried fruit and add to the jar! Such as sulphur-free dried banana, berries etc.  Freeze coconut milk into ice cube trays and keep a bag of cubes in the freezer so you always have some handy, then use one on top of your warm porridge. Easy!

Enjoy and please let me know what you think!

Want to know more about green banana flour? Watch this video!

If you’d like to grab ALL of my green banana flour recipes my e-books are available to purchase HERE!

 

Aimee x

Recipe: Carrot Spice Muffins with Lemon Icing (paleo + nut-free)

I’m so excited to be launching my TWO green banana flour recipe e-books in October that I’m giving you guys a taste test with this recipe!

Yesterday I whipped up a batch of Carrot Spice Muffins with Lemon Icing and they were so delicious. Clint enjoyed one after work and because they’re full of nutrients, they’re very filling so he could only fit one in. That’s amazing, Clint usually eats a lot!

So it’s good to know that they go a long way, which is handy when you’re spending a bit more cash on the ingredients, compared to conventional baking ingredients.

As with most of my recipes, this one is free from nuts as well as the usual inflammatory suspects like gluten, grains and dairy. But it’s not missing flavour, the most important element! I love that by using quality ingredients, just real food, and utilising herbs and spices, dishes can be full of flavour without compromising on health.

I won’t waffle on anymore, here’s the recipe for you…

carrot-spice-muffins-w-lemon-icing

CARROT SPICE MUFFINS WITH LEMON ICING

You’ll need:

Muffins:

1/2 cup green banana flour (buy some here)

1/4 cup coconut flour (buy some here)

1 tsp pure vanilla (paste, powder, bean)

1 tsp combination baking powder and bicarb soda (look for brands free from aluminium, gluten and rice)

1 tsp organic nutmeg

2 tsp organic cinnamon powder

2 tsp organic ginger powder

1 cup firmly packed grated organic carrot

2 tbsp raw honey

4 tbsp coconut oil (liquified)

2 pastured eggs

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

 

(FYI: organic herbs and spices make a huge difference when it comes to adding flavour!)

Icing:

(I recommend you purchase a stick blender for making the icing, or use a small bullet blender, but anything larger will make it difficult to achieve the desired consistency because the creamed coconut is so firm)

1 tbsp raw honey

3 tbsp creamed coconut (buy some here)

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

 

To do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a muffin tray with a little coconut oil
  2. Sift the flours and powders into a mixing bowl to remove lumps (important for the banana flour)
  3. Add remaining muffin dry ingredients and stir
  4. In a separate bowl add the wet ingredients and whisk then pour into other bowl and stir until the mixture is well combined
  5. Spoon into the muffin tray, to the top of each section (that’s a decent serving size, but you can make them smaller or larger if you wish)
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins, depending on your oven, until edges are brown and a skewer inserted in the middle to the bottom of one muffin comes out relatively dry
  7. Turn onto a cooling rack and allow to cool down almost completely (a tad warm is fine)
  8. For the icing add the creamed coconut, honey and lemon juice to the stick blender jug and use your stick blender on high speed to mix it thoroughly. Lift the stick blender up and down constantly and stop sometimes to scrap edges and to ensure all of the mixture is combined well. When it’s free from lumps it’s ready
  9. Spread the icing on the cooled muffins, or use a piping tool to make a fancier appearance and texture
  10. Then serve and gobble down! These muffins are best served fresh and with a slight warmness. If you do refrigerate these just take them out and let them sit on the bench for 30min – 1 hour before serving so they’re not too cold and firm. Enjoy!

Optional extras: if you do want to add nuts to this for crunch then walnuts and pecans would be nice. Also some natural organic sultanas/raisins would be a tasty and sweet addition.

Remember you can add more or less spices and honey depending on your taste, this recipe is not strict!

Note: the ingredient purchase links above are affiliate links, we only affiliate with products and companies we 100% trust and believe in.

Please let me know what you think 🙂

For a stack more green banana flour recipes pre-order the world’s first e-books using this amazing ingredient HERE !!

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Cooking with Green Banana Flour

banana-flour-ebook-sweet

Cooking with Green Banana Flour

 

Aimee x

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For Today:

  1. Using green banana flour to create really healthy and yummy dishes
  2. The sun shining on this gorgeous Spring day
  3. It’s the weekend tomorrow!
  4. The country music song playing right now and Spotify
  5. My little container garden doing really well right now

 

 

Healthy food at the local show? It really happened!

Hard to believe isn’t it? Healthy food available at the local Show! Well we’re witnesses that it really happened… at the 2016 Sunshine Coast Agricultural Show held in Nambour we provided healthy food!

logo

I was invited to be a presenter in the Heritage Stage area over the 3 days the Show was held for in June. I decided to cook up my new creation… No Nasties Golden Chicken Nuggets with Tomato Sauce! I knew the event would attract a lot of families with kids, and I know how much kids enjoy chicken nuggets, so to provide a healthy alternative to the nasty regular varieties was a privilege.

ag show 1

 

I hosted 3 x 30min cooking demonstrations and had a great time showing show-goers how to make and cook up this really easy and healthy recipe. I received terrific feedback from so many people and gave out free recipe cards so everyone could make the recipe at home.

In keeping with the theme of the event I wanted to really focus on using local quality agriculture. I used Walker Farm Foods pastured chicken breast and thigh fillets, plus produce supplied by Sunshine Organics.

ag show 2

Because it’s such a popular and tasty recipe I’d love to share it with you guys too! So here it is, my new chicken nuggets recipe, enjoy!

 

GOLDEN CHICKEN NUGGETS WITH TOMATO SAUCE

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NUGGETS  – makes 6 large

 

250g free-range chicken mince (I used breast and thigh fillets food processed to become ‘mince’)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 cup Natural Evolution green banana flour (avail. via our affiliate link here)

1/4 cup coconut flour

Himalayan salt, pepper to taste

1 tbsp coconut oil, organic olive oil or rendered animal fat to cook in

  1. In a container add mince and garlic and with either plastic gloves on or using a large spoon mix it all together so they’re combined thoroughly
  2. In a large, flat container add the flours. Stir to combine then pick up about a tablespoon of the chicken mince mixture, shape with your hands then place in the flour mix and turn to evenly coat. Shake off excess flour. Repeat with remaining mince mixture
  3. Heat a small amount of oil in a non-stick fry pan on the stove at medium-high temp
  4. Place nuggets in the pan, turning each over once one side is coated with oil, so the other side is coated. If the pan isn’t completely flat with a raise in the centre, that’s ok. As long as each side of each nugget is coated with some oil they’ll cook fine in the centre without the majority of oil touching them. Too much oil under the nuggets can prevent the surface crisping up and cause them to become soggy, so a dry-ish area on the pan is ideal!
  5. The nuggets won’t take long to cook through. Once cooked place them on a plate to serve, or paper towel for a minute or so if they’re too oily

 

TOMATO SAUCE

 

1 brown onion, finely diced

1 organic tomato, finely diced

1/2 cup organic tomato paste

1 tsp smoked paprika powder

1 tbsp Niulife coconut amino (avail. via our affiliate link here)

2 tbsp bone broth (free e-book avail. here)

2 tbsp raw honey

Himalayan salt, pepper to taste

Oil/fat to cook onion in

  1. Place the oil and onion into a medium saucepan on the stove at low-medium temp and cook until onion is translucent
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and let simmer until it reduces to desired consistency
  3. Allow the sauce to cool then use a stick blender (or pour into regular blender) to blitz and remove some or all of the onion and tomato chunks
  4. Serve alongside nuggets in a dipping bowl or pour into a container to store in the fridge. This recipe makes a lot more sauce than needed for the 6 nuggets, so you can freeze batches of it so you always have some to thaw and use.

Enjoy!!

I’ve had parents of conventional-foods-eating kids tell me their kids LOVE these nuggets and would definitely eat them often. That makes me happy!

I hope you and your kids enjoy and benefit from them too 🙂

Thanks for reading, and I might see you at next year’s Show for more cooking and food fun!

Aimee x

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For:

  1. Finally being almost over the bad ass cold I had all week
  2. Being able to cook for people and teach them healthy recipes
  3. Getting 1hour sunshine today, it felt so good
  4. Sitting by the fire outside in the courtyard during Winter
  5. Aloe vera tissues lol

Recipe: Paleo Fish n Chips with Lime Aioli

Last night after another awesome Primal Fitness Class we popped into Woolies to grab something for dinner (yes we still shop at big bad chain supermarkets.. we sometimes need to – don’t judge!) and I had the idea to make fish n chips. Partly because we love making crispy chips out of different veggies (very rarely potato, bit too inflammatory for us unfortunately) plus there were a few choices of wild-caught seafood on special at the Deli. Yay!

So we grabbed some beautiful flathead fillets (50% off, why not?!), a parsnip and a white-fleshed sweet potato to go with the orange sweet potato we had at home.

I’d been wanting to try using green banana flour (only my favourite ingredient in the world!) with fish to fry to see how it went… so I did!

It turned out brilliantly and alongside crispy baked veggie chips and a serve of lime aioli… dinner was sorted and pretty darn enjoyable (if I do say so myself <wink>!).

Here’s the recipe for you guys to make and enjoy it for yourselves!

 

PALEO FISH N CHIPS WITH LIME AIOLI

fish n chiups

You’ll need:

500g fresh wild-caught flathead fillets

1/4 cup green banana flour (Natural Evolution available here)

About 1/2 cup healthy oil/fat to fry and bake with (I used olive oil as it was on hand, but you can use ghee, coconut oil, rendered animal fat etc)

Juice of 1 small lime

Wedges of lime to garnish

1 cup organic cold-pressed olive oil (Coles organic variety is the nicest we’ve found so far for making aioli/mayo)

1 pastured egg

About 1 tbsp roast garlic puree or garlic powder (more or less depending on your taste)

Veggies for chips (I used a combo of parsnip, purple skin/white flesh sweet potato and orange sweet potato as they all crisp up pretty well) – use a mandolin or julienne slicer to cut evenly

Himalayan salt to taste

Tip: use a flat-based fry pan so the oil/fat covers evenly

 

To do:

  1. For the chips: Pre-heat oven to 180.
  2. Cut up the veggies to about 5cm long and only 1-2 mm thick then place them flat and close together on an oven tray lined with baking paper and a thin layer of oil/fat. You may need 2 oven trays depending on how many slices of veggies you have
  3. Use your fingers or a cooking brush to spread a thin layer of oil/fat over the top surface of each veggie to ensure each piece has a nice coating
  4. Sprinkle salt over the top then place in the oven. Keep an eye on them because your oven may not cook evenly and some chips may cook or burn before others, so place your timer on to remind you to check every 2 or so minutes. Shuffle chips around as you need so they cook evenly. Keep in mind… white-flesh sweet potato hardens before it looks like it’s crispy! So check doneness by tasting a piece for yourself!
  5. Once chips are cooked to your liking place them on paper towel to absorb excess fat then place onto plates or serving dish.
  6. Alternatively you could fry the chips in a large pan on the stove.
  7. For the fish: heat a non-stick fry pan on medium-high temp with oil/fat you’re using to fry in, ensuring there’s an even layer of a few millimeters for the fish to sit in. Keep some oil/fat aside for the cut the fillets to a smaller size if they’re quite large and came in a fork-shape when you bought them, then coat in banana flour and some salt. I don’t use egg mixture to coat first as I like just a thin layer of flour so the flavour doesn’t overpower the fish
  8. Place the fish in gently to avoid fat splashing on you and let one side brown slightly before turning over carefully with tongs to let the other side brown. If you notice the first piece of fish breaking as you try to move it that means it’s cooked through so try to keep the other fillets on the first side for less time than that one 🙂
  9. Place browned fish pieces onto a plate with paper towel to absorb excess fat then place on a plate or serving dish
  10. For the aioli: in a stick blender cup add the lime juice, the egg, a pinch of salt and the garlic then blitz on high for a couple of seconds to completely emulsify
  11. Ask someone to hold onto it for you or somehow secure it to your bench then with one hand holding the stick blender on high inside the cup, use your other hand to pour in the cup of olive oil
  12. Move the stick blender up and down a few times to get all the oil blended properly. It shouldn’t take long to have a thick and slightly green looking mixture
  13. Alternatively, if using a regular blender follow all steps except turn the speed to LOW and pour in the oil VERY SLOWLY to prevent the mixture from splitting
  14. Spoon into a serving bowl or place dollops onto plates alongside the fish and chips. Garnish with lime wedges and serve
  15. Remaining aioli can last in the fridge in a sealed jar or container for a week or more

You’re done and you now have a pretty healthy version of an old favourite takeaway dish! Enjoy 🙂

 

Aimee x

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For:

  1. all the yum foods I create and eat
  2. the 30 min of sunshine I had today to boost my immune system
  3. seeing mum this weekend for her birthday
  4. our event on Saturday for kids and adults, it’s going to be so fun!
  5. The Food Network on SBS.. lol

Recipe: a Paleo dairy-free and nut-free cheese alternative

There are stacks of dairy-free ‘cheese’ recipes online and in books now. Some taste good and some taste nothing like cheese of course. Some are easy to make, some are really hard work.  Plus, most are made using nuts and not everyone can tolerate nuts well. Like me!

Most of my recipes are derived from a desire to create Paleo-friendly nut-free dishes for those who are allergic, don’t feel good eating many nuts, or just want nut-free alternatives. Especially important for school lunchboxes!

Last year I was introduced to an amazing dairy-free nut-free melting cheese recipe thanks to the legendary Aussie Paleo Chef (as known on Facebook, but just ‘Dan’ to us!) which goes brilliantly in Paleo burgers, in lasagne and on my chicken parmie recipe (in my soon-to-come Banana Flour e-book!!) and one of my fave recipes to teach people at private cooking workshops, always crediting back to the man himself of course!

If you’d like to grab his melting cheese recipe just download the Paleo Kitchen Creations e-book and enjoy the deliciousness!

So since learning that recipe, using it a lot and loving it.. I wanted to create a cheese that didn’t work only melted and could be spread onto crackers like regular animal milk-based cheese. One day I got creative in the kitchen and came up with a winner, using similar ingredients to Dan’s recipe, but slightly different. Of course though, me being me and not always organised in the kitchen, I didn’t write down the recipe as I went and couldn’t then remember the ingredients or method afterwards therefore I couldn’t replicate it so I could give it to you guys! Oh believe me, I tried! And failed… many times.

I’d almost given up but decided recently to have another crack.. and whad’ya know.. success!

I’ve finally created a spreadable cheese alternative recipe! I’ll be honest though, it doesn’t taste like real cheese, no cheese substitutes do. But, it’s a really healthy alternative and something interesting to include at dinner parties, as a snack, whenever you’d usually use cheese really.

Since it isn’t cheese and doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, let’s not call it “cheese”. Because that’s a fib after all! Instead, how ’bout we call it.. Cheezy Paleo Spread as it does have a likeness to cheese but it’s not the same as it, and that’s kinda cheezy I think! 😉

Cheezy Paleo Spread image

Ingredients you’ll need:

1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut

1/2 cup arrowroot flour

1 tbsp grass-fed pure beef gelatin powder (grab some via our affiliate link here)

2 tbsp spring/filtered water

1/2-1 tsp turmeric powder – depending on how yellow you want your cheez

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp Niulife creamed coconut (not coconut cream/milk, but dried coconut processed to become ‘creamy’)

Himalayan salt to taste

 

Kitchen bits you’ll need:

Good blender (high speed, bullet, or glass with decent power)

Whisk

Measuring spoons and cups

Round or square/rectangle container lined with baking paper or plastic wrap. Plastic wrap will probably allow for creases to appear around the edges of the cheez but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!

 

Steps to follow:

  1. In a small saucepan add 1 tbsp water and gently sprinkle gelatin powder evenly over the surface. Do not turn the stove on until the gelatin powder has absorbed some of the water and has ‘bloomed’.
  2. Turn heat to medium and whisk the liquid so all gelatin granules have dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside
  3. Add to the blender add all remaining ingredients then drizzle the gelatin water on top
  4. Place the lid on the blender and blitz on high to break down the desiccated coconut and combine everything well. You can blitz until you reach a very smooth consistency or stop before it reaches that if you prefer the texture of some of the coconut remaining
  5. As you’re blending feel free to add a smidge more water (as in 1 tsp at a time) in case the mixture is too thick and isn’t combining properly. This can depend on your blender. Basically, you’re after a well combined and thick mixture with no lumps of creamed coconut or arrowroot remaining
  6. Once it’s to your liking use a silicon spatula or food processor scraper (food processor scrapers seem to work perfectly for getting around all the grooves in blenders!) to remove the mixture and transfer to the lined container
  7. Gently tap the base of the container on a steady surface like a chopping board to help the mixture spread to the corners and settle evenly
  8. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set
  9. When it’s time to serve, take it out of the fridge, grab the plastic or paper to remove it all from the container then remove the paper/plastic so you’re left with a big chunk of yellow cheez
  10. Serve on a platter with crackers spread out around, or cut to smaller sizes if you wish. Keep in mind on a really hot day outside the cheez may melt because of the coconut oil and gelatin but it will take a while to melt completely. Use a butter knife to spread onto crackers or slide carrot sticks into it. Easy!
  11. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container or wrapped in plastic. It contains gelatin which is an animal product so it will spoil after a few days as with any animal product. The apple cider vinegar will help preserve it to an extent but if the smell or colour changes please discard it.

Enjoy!

The recipe for the Rosemary Crackers (in the image) will be in my Banana Flour e-book, so be sure to keep an eye out for that.. launching in February 2016, yay!

Cheezy Paleo Spread image (1)

I hope you enjoy creating and eating this recipe, please do let me know what you think!

 

Here are some answers to some questions I may get after sharing this recipe:

  • Why not use nutritional yeast? I have experimented with it many times and every time it leaves my stomach very bloated and gassy the next day. From what I’ve read about it, it’s so processed and unnatural in its useable state that it easily messes with digestion. And don’t we mostly go Paleo to improve gut health?! Feel free to use it if you can tolerate it well but remember it could have inflammatory effects. It would replace turmeric for the yellow effect but turmeric is so healthy!
  • Why use gelatin? Pure gelatin is so healing (so it’s actually good for digestion!) and helps create the texture of this cheez
  • Could I use other types of dried coconut? Yes but the larger the pieces the longer they’ll take to break down enough in the blender.

Let me know if you have any questions to add!

Thanks,

Aimee xx

 

5 Things I’m Grateful For:

  1. Our long weekend away in NSW going to a family wedding, seeing new places and staying with amazing friends
  2. The sun out today so I can get some Vitamin D!
  3. Healthy recipe creating
  4. All Dan’s wonderful advice and inspiration
  5. You guys reading our blogs!

Our bug adventures – Part 1

That’s not a typo, it is actually meant to read “Our bug adventures”, not “Our big adventures”.. did you get a bit confused there for a second?!

If you read the blog post we did about our 2015 Paleo Camping Retreat you’ll know we’re open to eating bugs, because one of our awesome sponsors Primal Collective gave us tubs of roasted crickets! They actually just taste like savoury popcorn, serious! And as we’ve discovered recently catching and cooking up some bugs ourselves.. there’s not a great deal of flavour. Generally speaking anyway. It’s more the mindset and the look of them that’s hard to get your head around. But once you get past that and free yourself of the ick-factor so many people naturally have at first, it’s really quite a positive experience!

Humans have been eating bugs since humans first walked the earth. Insects are just another rung on the food chain ladder. But these days, with the modern conveniences we’re used to such as shops selling pre-cut pieces of attractive-looking muscle meats.. we are really out of touch with what our food originally looked like, where it comes from and how it lived before it served the purpose of feeding another form of life. I.e. Us!

The fact humans do naturally eat bugs for survival and fuel seems to have been forgotten.

So because this is such a unique thing in the eyes of most, Clint and I thought we’d write about our bug hunting and eating adventures in the hopes of inspiring others to get on the insect train!

Our friend Dan the Aussie Paleo Chef has been eating bugs for a while. He often sends us photos of scorpions and other insects he finds in the bush near him in Canberra and then cooks up at home in coconut oil and other typical paleo flavourings. He’s really inspired us, we’d wanted to do this ourselves for a long time but were always a bit nervous about the safety of it. There’s so little information on the internet about which bugs are safe to eat, we just didn’t want to eat something that ended up being poisonous. Of course!

But a few weeks ago a new friend of ours saw an article we shared on Facebook by Stirring Change on eating dehydrated ants and indicated she was keen to try this herself. So we asked if she’d like to come on a bug hunt with us and she jumped at the chance!

We picked a day and a location and off we went into the bush to catch us some bugs! Our friend Sarah and her son had a list of edible insects they’d found online and Clint and I were pretty well read on the bugs in the area that would be safe to consume. We took some gloves, plastic containers and headed down the main track of a local parkland, turning over logs, sifting through leaf litter and basically looking in all the places we figured bugs would be.

We must admit, it was a pretty slow process! There weren’t as many rocks and logs as we’d hoped, but over the course of an hour or two we ended up a few keepers…

bugs1

That big sucker is actually a giant centipede! Plus there’s a witchitty grub-type thing, a bush cockroach and a beetle.

bugs2

This little guy is a regular centipede. Not to be confused with millipedes which we read are not safe to eat. To tell the difference, centipedes only have one leg per body segment, whereas millipedes have more.

“But don’t centipedes contain poison?” I hear you say? They do indeed but we’d read that cooking the bugs cooks out this poison, making them totally safe to eat!

Only 4 bugs (the beetle didn’t seem worth it so we didn’t include him) and 4 people to share around to.. hmmm. Sarah ended up letting us take them home to eat. I think she was still too nervous to cook them up herself! We didn’t mind!

She had wanted to score a haul of ants to take home to dehydrate, but when we started trying to catch some ants at the beginning of our trek we soon realised they are pretty hard to get! They’re really quick, so when you manage to get one or more in a container, you have others trying to get out at the same time. We figured we’d need to design our own ant-catcher contraption, or go home and Google for some ideas. So that’ll be for another bug hunting expedition!

Clint and I took these few bugs home and fried them in just coconut oil and salt. The centipedes and roach turned out perfectly; nice and crispy. The grub, however, wasn’t so nice, but we found out later from our friend The Free-ranging Chef that we needed to cook it slightly differently so we’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time.

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Yes, there’ll be a next time! We’re already planning the next Bug Hunt! Cos, well, you could say … we’ve caught the bug for it..! haha sorry, couldn’t resist!

Next week we’re planning to try catching ants with a homemade trap (cos they are fast little buggers and tricky to catch!) to dehydrate. Plus more general insects so we can keep experimenting and hopefully enjoy a bigger feed!

So as well as the actual bug hunting, we also eat farmed bugs. The roasted crickets are great, but recently we also found out about cricket FLOUR! Or “powder” to be exact, because of the texture roasted crickets become when broken down.

Our new friends from Bugsy Bros in Brisbane sell packets of cricket powder and kindly gave us some to play around with. I’ve been cooking with it and really like it!

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I even used it in a recipe I gave at my last Sunny Coast cooking demo… Mini Banana Muffins… and the tasters when down a treat! They’re a great addition for kids and adults lunchboxes because they’re small but filling and nourishing. That extra protein helps you stay fuller longer, and the exclusion of nuts, and even coconut flour, means there’s less chance of bloating and feeling ‘heavy’ after eating, unlike many paleo muffin recipes.

Would you like the recipe for the muffins so you can easily test out the cricket powder without it being a really strong and overpowering taste experience? And also to hide it from the kids? Here it is!

mini muffins

MINI BANANA MUFFINS

You’ll need these:

1 cup Natural Evolution banana flour (found here)

3 tbsp Bugsy Bros cricket powder (grab some here)

3 large organic bananas (brown spots are best!)

1-2 tsp each of pure vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg

Honey to sweeten (1 tbsp. – 1 cup.. It’s up to you!)

1/2 tsp each of bicarb (aluminium-free), baking powder (gluten and rice-free) and Himalayan salt

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 pastured eggs

3 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee

Do this:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor (or leave out bananas if you want chunky muffins. Add them in at the very end and blitz for a second or two) and mix well
  3. Grease some mini muffin trays/moulds with coconut oil or ghee, then spoon mixture into trays/moulds and place on a baking tray in the oven
  4. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown on top

Tip: place slices of  banana on top before baking to make them prettier!

Ideas: swap banana for pumpkin or sweet potato (to help bind and moisten but with less sugar), add dates for extra sweetness, add whole blueberries, turn into savoury muffins with grated veggies and savoury spices/herbs… there are so many ways to change this recipe to suit your health needs and tastes!

These muffins are nutrient-dense so a few are very filling and great for school and work lunchboxes. They are nut-free which is great for schools or when having kids’ friends over who have allergies. They can be made coconut-free by using ghee or olive oil instead of coconut oil (the cricket powder is high in protein so it’s a perfect swap).

Storage Tip: Double the quantity, make large batches and store in bags or containers in the freezer to thaw and use when needed! For use within a few days store in an air-tight container out of the fridge.

So there you have it.. you’re up to date with our recent bug adventures and even scored a healthy and yummy recipe you can use insects in!

We hope this inspires you to step outside your comfort zone and try bugs if you haven’t before. Life’s so much more interesting and fun when we walk outside of those boring comfort zones and try new experiences 🙂

Please let us know how you go with bug hunting and/or eating, we’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned for Part 2 🙂

Aimee (and Clint!)

 

PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY INSECTS ARE CLASSED AS CRUSTACEANS DUE TO THEIR SHELLS SO ALWAYS BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU CONSUME IN REGARDS TO ALLERGIES

5 Things We’re Grateful for Today:

  1. Trying cool new foods like bugs and cricket powder
  2. The rain on the garden today
  3. Clint having a good birthday yesterday and loving his gifts
  4. Special friends who bring joy to our lives
  5. Natural movement and play
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