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It's the weekend. The sky is grey, the rain hits hard on your window, the temperature outside is 8 degrees! You're wondering what to cook for your family for breakfast, or more importantly, you are thinking about what food might satisfy your hunger and warm your spirit. Why not muffins? They are the most versatile, comforting food I know. Especially on cold, wintry days.
I've been cooking these little gems of goodness for years. I’ve fed my daughter’s school rowing crew muffins for breakfast before school, and my son’s mates have devoured plates of them taking a break from backyard cricket. When school fairs came around it was so easy to put a few dozen muffins in the oven and arrive at the fair with them hot.
Although all my muffin recipes make 24 small muffins, or 12 medium-sized muffins, I’m now more inclined to cook meal-size muffins and make a delicious, satisfying meal of them. They are easy to freeze. You can let them thaw on the bench or heat them up in seconds in the microwave to enjoy with a morning cuppa. Pack them in school lunch boxes or take them to the office and make your work colleagues envious!
In my new Muffin E-Cookbook, I’ve included the most popular muffins from my bestselling Muffin Book, published in 1995, with adaptions I know you will love, and I've created new muffin ideas too. You'll discover new ingredients like - coconut flour, coconut oil, gluten-free flour mixes and a variation of refined sugar substitutes and dairy alternatives.
Once you start creating muffins there's no end to the variations you can make. Choose ingredients in season. Explore options using different combinations of your favorite spices. Marry fruits with vegetables together. Use the fruit or vegetable fibre from juicing for a super high fibre muffin. You’ll find sweet and savory and gluten free options as well as vegetarian and vegan delights too. Enjoy. Julie.
I grew up in regional Victoria, on a sheep farm. My earliest recollection of my mother in her farm kitchen is of her stirring a large soup pot on a wood stove. In that pot, simmering gently, would be meat bones, chunks of meat (usually lamb), vegetables, barley, split peas, lentils, and of course, Mum’s secret herbs and spices. My mother cooked all our food on a wooden stove. She belonged to a generation of women who knew precisely how many logs of wood it took to burn a fire to create a heat just right to make a light sponge, a batch of scones or simmer a pot of soup, sometimes for days! I remember Mum's soups being so delicious and hearty and the kitchen smelling of her love.
I still make soups that need to simmer for hours on my gas stove, in my suburban apartment, and as they simmer, I often think of the resilience of the women of my mother’s generation. I wonder would they scoff at my fast soups that take less than thirty minutes to cook. Of course the only way you can cook a fast soup and have it tasting half as good as your mother’s soup is to have a good stock on hand, either one you have already prepared or a purchased one (definitely not stock cubes!)
In this book, we'll look at how to make simple, cheap, home stocks and what's good to buy to have on your pantry shelf for emergencies.
To a good quality stock, you can add seasonal vegetables - like sweet potatoes and red peppers, flavored with smoky paprika. What about white potatoes and leeks with the addition of coconut cream; perhaps carrots, leeks and apple with ginger? These fast soups rely on a good stock to blend with the flavor of the vegetables and herbs and spices you choose. Your soup will take as long as it takes for the vegetables to soften, and then to puree. This is usually around thirty minutes. Enjoy. Julie.
I'm not a vegetarian nor am I vegan, but I do love my veggies! I find myself eating more and more of them as I get older (perhaps that’s wiser) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and as snacks in between. I even hide them in meat hamburgers, muffins, pasta sauces, omelettes, and frittatas to make sure I’m eating my quota of veggies every day. You might say I eat way too many of my Vegetable Sausage Rolls, but just knowing they are full of vegetables surely is my get out of jail card.
I hope this collection of some of my favorite veggie recipes will inspire your imagination and motivate you and your family to eat lots more vegetables. Why eat them, and how many should you eat a day? Well for me, the most obvious reason to eat more veggies is simply because they taste great, but more importantly, they are loaded with lots of necessary vitamins and minerals and they are full of healthy insoluble fiber that supports gut health, adds bulk to your diet, and prevents constipation.
As calories go, vegetables are typically lower in calories per cup than many other food options and they make you feel full for longer. So, what’s daily quota? Adult women need about 2 to 2.5 cups of vegetables every day and an adult man needs around 3 cups. Children from two to three years of age and upwards should eat at least one cup of mixed veggies per day with amounts increasing as they get older. Here, you will learn many new tricks to get more vegetables into daily diet. Hope you will love my Half and Half Burger which are half meat and half vegetables or perhaps you will fall for the All Or Nothing Veggie Burger (all vegetables). If you don’t tell anyone, no one could ever imagine that my Red Cake is full of nutritious beetroot! I often use the fiber from my fresh juices in my muffin recipes. It adds flavor, moisture, and important insoluble fiber. Again, unless you tell someone, no one would guess! Happy vegetable eating. Enjoy. Julie.
In 1994, I published my best-selling book, ‘Juicing for Health’. So popular was the juicing craze through the 90’s that this book sold over 500,000 copies worldwide! It was part of the health revolution that saw sales of juicing machines explode around the world. The juicing revolution meant more and more people were getting their nutrition faster because without the fiber, removed in the juicing process, the nutrients were more rapidly absorbed. Fresh juice machines for the home, and fresh fruit juice bars saw people who didn’t even like fresh fruits and vegetables, or didn’t have time to eat whole fruits and vegetables in their daily diet, suddenly loading up on essential vitamins and minerals and enzymes known to support strong immune function. The big concern at the time was that although drinkers of fresh juices were certainly getting more nutrition into their diets, they were missing out on essential insoluble and soluble fiber so important for gut and intestinal health. I have found a solution to this problem. I particularly like to fold about a tablespoon of the fiber from the juice I am making back into the juice before drinking it. I will often juice carrots and apples first and add the fiber of the carrot and apple back to the juice before I juice other ingredients on top. By adding the fiber back into the juice, it gives a feeling of fullness in the drinking of it.
I like to blend whole pieces of fruit and vegetable into a smoothie either using a base of fresh juice or almond milk, coconut milk or soy milk before adding a yogurt high in probiotic value and a protein powder.
Fresh juices may provide key components of disease-beating agents as well as being an ideal meal replacement for weight management. Vegetable juices contain half the kilojoule value of fruit juices, so these are best for weight management. Both juices are high in water. Hydration supports weight loss by speeding up the body’s metabolism and assisting with the flushing of toxins and waste from the body. In meal substitute juices it's important to add the fiber back into the juice before drinking.
Salads created from fresh fruits, vegetables and greens or a combination of all, combined with pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, seafood or lean meats, and dressed up with a low-fat homemade dressing, with lots of added fresh herbs, are not just tasty meals they are a dynamic health giving package of vitality and energy. Some might say a life force meal!
Always on my Christmas table, alongside an array of cold meats and fish are salads such as Orange, Cucumber and Mint; Hearty Two Potato Salad with a Mustard Mayo Dressing; Assorted Salad Greens with a Raspberry and Balsamic Dressing with lots of fresh herbs; Roasted Roma Tomato and Garlic with Feta Salad and Avocado and Apple Salad with a Kale Pesto Dressing. These salads never fail to rekindle memories of wonderful family gatherings.
My summer salads take advantage of the wonderful variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits available at my local fresh food market. They include salads like – Asparagus, Snow Peas and Beans with Pancetta; Baby Beetroot in a Honey Soy and Sesame Dressing; Char-Grilled Mushrooms, Roquette and Parsley Salad; Tomato and Red Onion Salad in a Vinaigrette; Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Chili Tahini Dressing and Pasta Salad with Red Pepper Mayo Dressing.
To the matter of dressings - it costs a lot of money to buy prepared salad dressings in your supermarket and most of them contain lots of salt, saturated fat, preservatives, additives, and flavor enhancers. It's far better, easier, and cheaper to make your own from a good quality olive oil and a good vinegar.
Sometimes, my salads are are a meal on their own and sometimes they complement a protein - like lamb, beef, fish, or chicken. Many recipes will satisfy the vegetarians and vegans in the family or those of us who want to have a meat free day every now and then. Hope you love my salads. Enjoy. Julie.