Posts tagged breakfast

All the latest recipes – breakfast, treats & dinner, done.

Regardless of how busy a family is, the annoying truth remains that people want to be fed, every day. So while term 1 ended up being kind of crazy at VSHQ, recipes were made and food was scoffed.

The plan was to take lovely proper photos of these recipes before I posted them, but along with darning the hole in my favourite Seed jumper and filing my tax documents in a logical system, it’s just never going to happen, so here’s all the recipes that kept us going (with dodgy iPhone pics)…


Banana & frozen raspberry smoothie

2 small overripe bananas
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
2 tsp berry nutrition powder of your choice (there’s a massive range in chemists these days)
Several dollops of greek yoghurt
Enough milk to make it the consistency you like.

Pop everything in the blender/food processor & blitz.

Serves 2


Quick bacon, pea & pasta soup

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a saucepan on med/high heat.


250g bacon
1 red onion
2 sticks celery
1 big carrot (all finely diced).

Sauté 10-15 mins. Stir sometimes.

Stir in …
2 tsp Italian herbs.

Pour over …
1 litre chicken stock &
3 cups frozen peas.

When back to the boil, serve over cooked pasta. Top with pepper, herbs, Parmesan.

Serves 2 adults, 3-4 kids.


Corn & carrot fritters

Mix 1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups corn kernels
1 large carrot (grated)
2 tbsp fresh herbs
2 whisked eggs
1/3 cup milk.

Fry in a med/hot lick of oil until golden each side.

Great topped with pepper, avocado, sweet chilli, cottage cheese & a squeeze of lemon.

Makes about 8.


Six-ingredient potato salad (dairy-free)

Put 1kg salad potatoes (unpeeled) into cold water (cut any bigger ones in half first).

Bring to boil. Pierce with a knife after 10 min to check cookedness 😄. Drain.

Meanwhile whisk….
1/2 cup mayonaise &
juice of 1 lemon in a salad bowl.

1 grated carrot &
1/2 fennel bulb (finely sliced).

Toss in hot potatoes. Season. Scatter 1/2 bunch dill.

Serve hot or cold.


Oozy chocolate, raspberry & banana muffins 

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar

In a jug whisk…..
1/4 cup oil (of your choice)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Wet stuff into dry stuff then stir in…..
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup chocolate chunks/chips
3/4 cup frozen berries.

Bake 180c for 30 mins. Makes 12.


I am chucking recipes up on Facebook and Instagram, so keep in touch there. And don’t forget that my gloriously gorgeous “Vegie Smuggler’s Kitchen Collection” cookbook, with its 125+ family-friendly recipes will become an e-book only mid this year. So if you want a piece of real-life Vegie Smuggling fun, get in quick. Visit the shop here.



Like these recipes? Check out my cookbooks to find a bunch more meals that your family will love.

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How to make it through winter with warm toes….

Welcome to winter, day one. Are you over it yet? The good news is that there’s only about 91 days to go until our feet start to thaw and the little wafty bits of pollen plug up our sinuses.

In the mean time, I’m going to spend the next three months wearing bed socks and cursing the impulsive moment that saw me chuck my old kitchen blinds (I blame pre-renovation enthusiasm rather than stupidity), without checking in the budget to see if I could afford to replace them this year. Winter mornings are gonna be chilly.

Hopefully next week I’ll be back with THE BIG REVEAL – the new kitchen is due to be completed this week! Excited much? Me, yes.

Then I’ll be back onto cooking up these recipes, which are tried and true ways to cheer you up and keep you thriving through the winter…

Warm porridge with this tasty topper

This 1 minute recipes adds oomph & pizzazz to your daily porridge.

Tomato & lentil soup

Love your body with this nutrient-packed tomato & lentil soup.

chicken and tarragon one pot winter warmer by vegie smuggers

Chicken & tarragon (or thyme) one pot keeps everyone happy, from grown-ups to toddlers

Mmwwwwaaaahh aah aah aah aaaaaaaaaahhhhh

Pecan chelsea buns have no benefit, except for the gifting of extreme HAPPINESS to those of us still daring enough to enjoy sugar & flour.

This is my new favourite slow-cooker soup - you'll find the recipe in my new e-book!

This is my new favourite slow-cooker soup – Tuscan minestrone that smells OUT OF THIS WORLD and tastes even better. You’ll find the recipe in my new e-book!

If you love slow cooking, you'll love my latest e-book!

If you love slow cooking, you’ll love my latest e-book!

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There’s a touch of both worthiness and authority in every bite of this salted-cinnamon granola

The term ‘wholefoods’ kind of irks me. Partly because it’s imbued with such worthiness and partly because it gets thrown around so often, with such authority and I’ve never really known what it means (except that I’ll pay a hefty surcharge if I see it written on a packet).

Finally I looked it up and was pleasantly surprised to realise that ALL THIS TIME, I have been living the wholefoods dream and I didn’t even know it.

You know, those carrots I buy? WHOLEFOODS.

And the organic meat I cook with? WHOLEFOODS.

And the cashews I feed the kids after school? WHOLEFOODS.

Because wholefoods just means that you buy unprocessed ingredients and cook stuff.

I was, of course, stoked by this discovery and quite delighted by my unwitting cool-ness and ability to throw my new word into conversation, with both authority and worthiness.

I think the problem with much of the new health-food evangelism is that it is spouted by born-again healthy people. Extreme folks who used to drink 20 can of Coke each day, but after imbibing their first green smoothie four months ago, have now seen the light and have set a new mission to pervade the entire electronic world with their message. Which is, of course, is delivered with authority and worthiness.

For me, my food history is boring. I definitely eat better now than I did 10 years ago, but I’ve always enjoyed clean food and cooking. Which makes my story dull and less compelling. I have less authority and worthiness. Although now that I realise that I’m a wholefood-devotee of 40 years, without weight or health issues, perhaps I do have the chance to up my personal sell with motivational spurtings about ‘wellness’ and ‘holistic living’.

So while ‘wholefoods’ can be a blurry term, ’whole grains’ are quite a specific thing. According to the Whole Grains Council (yes, they exist) this is the definition…. “100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.” The theory being that they deliver more fibre, nutrition and help prevent disease. (I’ll leave the science of all that up to the sciencey-people to quibble over.)

Paleo folks dismiss the entire grains oeuvre, but I’m still a fan. I feel good when I eat them. I feel nourished and happy and well. So I eat them. And I’m quietly delighted when I find a little gem of a book being published like Megan Gordon’s “Whole Grain Mornings”. So many lovely & original ideas for people like me, who still quietly eat carbohydrates (behind closed doors, of course).

Apparently she’s terribly famous for ‘Marg’s Granola’, and she generously shares the recipe. It’s a basic granola that you can twist & adapt to suit your own household, which is what I’ve done here…

vegie smugglers salted cinnamon granola

Worthy, authoritative, but most importantly, DELICIOUS.

Salted Cinnamon Granola

4 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups nuts & seeds (I like flaxseeds, pumpkin, sunflower, flaked almonds & pecans)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or cassia, if you can get your hands on it)
1/4 cup sweetener (seriously, don’t email me, just use whatever damn sweetener you like, or leave it out altogether if you’re born-again sugar free)
1/4 cup liquid fat (again, your choice, I like olive oil. Coconut oil also works fine) And just quietly, 1/4 cup barely does it, if you want serious crunch, you need a bit more.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a big deep oven tray. Mix all these ingredients together, pop them evenly into the tray and bake for about 35 minutes, stirring a couple of times along the way.

When cool, combine in with…

2 cups dried fruit (I like currants, sultanas & dried apple)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups bran bits. This is optional, leave it out for a wheat-free granola
2 cups puffed corn. Again, this is optional, but I like to pad my granola out a bit – it’s not a cheap breakfast, after all.

Mix everything together and ENJOY your breakfast, knowing that each spoonful contains its own little bit of both worthiness and authority. AND its delicious.

vegie smugglers cheese spinach sticks

Earlier this week I published an easy little recipe for cheese & spinach sticks. Did you see it? Click over to Mother & Baby for that one.


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‘Yes!’ excited children, ‘you CAN have ice-cream for breakfast!’

My kids love that Optus ad on the TV – the one where Josh Thomas is saying ‘yes’ all the time. I’ve got to assume it’s because it’s so lovely to consider a land where you get a ‘yes’ answer to everything you want.

A few years ago in parenting land, it was emphasised often how important is was to always say ‘yes’ to your children. It was NEVER ok to say ‘no’. I can’t even remember why it is now, I think something to do with exploration and self-esteem and creative play. When they said, “I want lollies.” I’d say, “yes, great idea, but right now we’re going to have some fruit.” And in the shop they’d say, “give me the toy,” and I’d say, “yes, I agree that this toy is lovely, what a great choice you’ve made, but right now we’re going to pop it back on the shelf so that it’s ready for some other child.”

I’m exhausted just remembering it.

Fair to say that my kids are pretty familiar with the word ‘no’ these days and I genuinely can’t remember at what stage that shift occurred. Now they only ask if they think there’s a reasonable chance that I’d say yes, which is what makes this breakfast dish so fab. They’d never ever ask for ice-cream at breakfast time (they only really eat it at Nanna’s house), so imagine their excitement when I offer them a bowl of it.

This breakfast has been a bit of a lifesaver over winter as it’s a power punch of vitamins first thing in the day. It’s kept the sniffles at bay and lifted their spirit and energy levels on quite a few mornings. And eating ice-cream on a cold winter’s morning? Well, they’re so damn excited by this recipe that it’s never been an issue. Although I have been waiting for almost-Spring to share it, figuring that other children might be more sensible than mine.

vegie smugglers breakfast ice cream

‘Yes!’ to a breakfast treat that also packs in nutrition.

Breakfast Ice-cream

To get an ‘ice-cream’ consistency, either the berries or banana (or both) need to be frozen – this winter I’ve just been using regular bananas and frozen berries – play around and see what consistency your kids prefer.

1 banana
1 cup frozen berries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup spinach leaves (I grow silverbeet and English spinach in my Vegepod and use whichever is available)
1/4 cup milk (soy or rice also both work)
1 tbsp C Berry Blast powder – This is an organic vitamin C powder by NutraOrganics. I love their products and am happy to support my friend Vanessa’s small family business.

Pop everything into a blender or mini-food processor and blitz until it’s a consistency to suit your family.

Serves 2-3 kids.


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Sneaky goodness at breakfast time

Year 4 has arrived and with it the joy of times tables.

Like the daggiest of mums singing along to top 40 songs I’ve no clue about, my rendition of the times tables is pretty patchy.

I’m good for the 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s. Even my 6s aren’t too bad, but once I hit the 7s I’m in trouble. Regardless, I sing along with Miss F with conviction… “seven times five is 35, seven times six is foooorrrrrrrrrrtttyyyyy… (I stretch it out so I can do some silent addition onto the previous answer) TWO! Seven times seven is 49, seven times eight isssssssssssssssssssss (pausing until she answers first and I just join in)sssssssssssss… 56!

Even more proof that my kids are smarter than me. Must be all the morning goodness that I’m shoving onto their porridge at the moment. Last year we enjoyed our magic morning powder throughout the winter. This year I’ve stepped it up a notch, cramming in even more nutrients via walnuts and cutting out the sugar. Adding in a few sultanas and currants sweetens it to acceptable levels. Although dad’s version tends to have a bit of brown sugar added in, too.

Blitz the mix until it's a texture that suits your household.

Blitz the mix until it’s a texture that suits your household.

Sugar-free porridge topping

1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pecans
1 tsp cinnamon

Pop everything into a blender and blitz until a texture you find appealing. I like mine quite gritty, but others might prefer a finer powder.


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Dad’s turn to slack off (and be feted)

Back in May, I was quite vocal about what it was that I was looking for in my Mother’s Day. Now, as September dawns, it pains me to admit that it’s now Dad’s turn to pop the feet up, be reminded of his awesomeness and generally made to feel as though he’s king of his domain (one day won’t hurt us, will it?)

So possibly you’ve got a big brunch planned. And of course there’ll be bacon, a bit more bacon. Maybe a few chippolatas and a bit more bacon. To go with it, chuck together this brunch frittata. The best bit of it is that you can actually make it up the night before, store it in the fridge and then bake it in time for when your family descends the next morning. Handy!

See ladies, quietly, I’m still looking out for us, even though it’s not exactly our turn.

Impressive and easy - my favourite combo.

Impressive and easy – my favourite combo.

Make-ahead Brunch Frittata

2 potatoes
4 spring onions, finely sliced (use some of the green bits too)
½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
6 mushrooms, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup bread cut into a 1cm dice (this is a great way to use up day old sourdough)
1½ cups grated cheese
5 eggs
½ cup milk
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes. You could bake them, boil, steam or microwave them until just tender (I use the microwave as I find it the quickest and easiest way).

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line an 18x28cm slice tin with baking paper.

Once cool enough to handle, peel away the potato skins and chop into a rough dice. Add to a large mixing bowl.

Tip in the vegies, bread and cheese. Combine well.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Season well. Pour onto the vegies and mix. Tip the mixture into your slice tin and fiddle bits around so that the mix is evenly distributed and firmly packed. Leave a few cherry tomatoes on top for presentation.

Bake for 40 minutes until set and golden on top.

Cut into 8 brunch-sized slices. Serve alone or with chipolatas and bacon.

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June giveaway (and why I love bread)

Wasn’t there a lot of pressure a while back to give up bread? I was still working in magazine-land at the time and naught a model nor stylist nor photographer would DARE have it pass their lips (but then joyously they discovered QUINOA and were saved from the evil rampaging of processed carbs).

Me? I’ve always loved bread and have never had issues with it. A warm crusty baguette is pretty much as good as life gets. Sourdough downright seduces me and I find it IMPOSSIBLE to walk through Townhall station without grabbing a Luneburger loaf.

In the burbs I’ve always been happy with Bakers Delight bread, particularly the cape seed and the hi-fibre, low-GI white, which is a great option for the kids. So when they got in touch and asked to team up I was more than happy. You can see my recipes on their website here

In return, they’ve given me a bunch of prizes for my June giveaway. Up for grabs are two vouchers for $40 each and 5 kids merchandise packs which include a ruler, pencil case, pencils & lunch bag.

To enter you must be in Australia and you must be a Vegie Smugglers subscriber. Check out the Bakers Delight website and then comment below about which of their products is your favourite and what you like to do with it (stay nice!).

I’ll start… this is what I do with a slice of low-GI white…

Bread tart cases.

Bread tart cases.

Easy egg tarts

Cut a big round of bread from a slice, push it into a greased muffin tin, spray with oil and grill until a bit golden. Then pop in some prosciutto and cherry tomato before cracking in an egg (in a smaller muffin hole, you won’t fit all the egg-white). Then bake until set to your liking and sprinkle over salt, pepper, parmesan and parsley.

And there you have it, a gorgeous, quite posh looking egg tart, done with the minimum of fuss. Your turn…


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Social media etiquette and a simple breakfast idea

Let's keep in mind that we all love our kids and are all doing our best.

Let’s keep in mind that we all love our kids and are all doing our best.

Last week’s Facebook battle was a bit of a doozy. I won’t lie – I didn’t walk away from it unscathed. There’s no need to rehash the topic but it did make me realise two things.

1. I need a formal social media etiquette policy.

I love debating stuff. Being forced to defend my stance does help to cement my reasoning. And sometimes one of you will present a fabulous argument that makes me change my mind. When people are too fixed to consider the alternative views then it’s not really a debate or discussion, it’s an argument. And for some reason, arguments on the Internet are vicious and full of personal attacks. And that’s not fun for anyone. Which is why I’ve written this policy…

When I comment on Vegie Smugglers pages, I will try to…
* Be real & genuine

Please treat my blog and Facebook page like the real world. Despite the fact I post under a blog name, I am a real person and I’m venturing online with the same spirit with which I approach my whole life. I’m connecting with people, talking to them, forming friendships and having interesting conversations.

* Be open minded

Enjoy chatting to people here who are different to your regular circle of friends. Share information; feel free to passionately state your case in a considered and rational way. Then read and discover the other opinions. Foster empathy and understanding of others.

* Admit mistakes & be thoughtful
So if you wouldn’t say something in real life, don’t say it on my page. And if you do say nasty stuff then shame on you, apologise! If you do it more than once then you’re not welcome here and will be banned.

* Have fun

Please enjoy the Vegie Smugglers pages. Enjoy sharing your opinions in considered and passionate ways. Help each other, make friends and learn something new.

2. Now, the other thing that last week’s discussion did was strengthen my resolve around this whole vegie-smuggling thing.

The more I work on my business, the more passionate I get about helping people make little changes that will improve their lives.

For me, food is the foundation of everything. Good food enriches your soul. It leads to good health, which leads to positive behaviours, enthusiasm and motivation for life.

Perhaps it sounds silly but I really believe that introducing new ingredients and finding new healthy meals that your family can enjoy together will improve your life. By making good food choices you’ll feel better about yourself, you’ll improve the health outcomes and behaviour of your children and create a positive environment. And your life will just be that bit more interesting.

Regular readers will know that I am not even nearly fanatical about anything. A bit of white flour, sugar and wine can enrich our souls too. But I will always discourage consistently lazy eating habits. Considering that childhood obesity is still increasing, I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help families make good choices.

Here’s an example of what I mean. You can buy sachets of quick oats in the supermarket. They’re expensive and the flavourings taste a bit weird, but they’re easy. How about instead, buy the plain box of quick oats. They only take 30 seconds longer to cook. Then sprinkle this powder over the top. The result is an aroma that will make you swoon, some sneaky nutrition and a little bit of magic to make you smile first thing in the day. From soulless to spectacular with the minimum of fuss.

Magic powder to make your day awesome.

Magic powder to make your day awesome.

Magic Morning Powder

1/2 cup LSA mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix together and sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons over your steaming hot porridge.

Thanks for stopping by.

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How to smuggle vegies at breakfast

At what stage in the day do your kids start eating vegetables?

If they have cereal and toast for breakfast, then a lunchbox of sandwiches and fruit, it’s quite possible that no vegies pass their lips until late afternoon.

The current Australian government guidelines suggest that a five year old child should be eating 3-4 serves of vegetables a day. Which is quite a lot. (BTW – If you don’t know what a serving size looks like, there’s a really handy visual guide in the beginning of a fabulous book called Vegie Smugglers 2.)

To have a chance of hitting that quota, it’s a great idea to start sneaking the healthy stuff in in as early in the day as possible before tiredness turns your little angels into grouchy and disagreeable monsters (or perhaps that’s just my kids).

Sneaking in some vegies at breakfast isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can make the breakfast burrito recipe from Vegie Smugglers 1. Or you can do a little baked egg dish with capsicums and eggplant. Pop a bit of corn in scrambled eggs. For a quickie, just put some avocado & tomato on toast. Or maybe you want to whip up a green smoothie.

They are my latest addiction. I used to come home from school drop offs needing tea and toast, but I’ve replaced that habit with one of these smoothies and find they fill me up and give me an energy boost in the middle of the day.

There are stacks of recipes for them, but this is my current favourite. I find for my kids to enjoy them, I need to load it up with frozen banana. Like the ice cream I made recently, using the frozen bananas gives them a real ‘thick shake’ texture that the kids can’t resist. And I find serving them up in a pretty cup never goes astray.

Oh la la! This is the fancy cocktail version.

Oh la la! This is the fancy cocktail version (avec trashie).

Green smoothies

1/2 cup firmly packed spinach leaves
1/2 cup pineapple pieces
1 frozen banana, peeled, sliced
1/2-3/4 cup rice milk (you need a watery milk, so skim would work, but full fat isn’t so nice)
1 tsp white chia seeds

For an added kick, I also pop in 1 tbsp Nutra Organics super greens & reds food powder (click my affiliate link below to check out all their products).


I put everything in a glass jug and use my stick blender to whizzy it all up into fab green goodness.

This will make enough to divide nicely between 2 adults and 2 kids.

So they’re my suggestions. What about you? Have you got a smoothie recipe or some breakfast vegie-smuggling wisdom to share?

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Can’t help myself… bad habits

My life saved by a stamp, contact and some blu-tack

Inevitably, with modern life being the tricky thing that it is, parts of our lives fall into ruts and nasty little habits emerge. They evolve slowly and sometimes it can take a while before we notice that they’re there.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a little ‘perspective’ fairy hovering in the background, ready to tap me on the shoulder and give me a bit of rude truth from time to time. She could let me know how many nights I’ve missed readers this week, point out that there’s a pile of unopened mail under the kitchen table and possibly even let me know if my current love of leggings is unsuitable for a lady of my age.

Tough gig though, being a perspective fairy. No one likes to realise they’ve been doing a bad job of anything. She’d need to be a fast flier to avoid the swats and insect knock down spray.

So it takes a little courage to take a step back from time to time and reassess how life is going – and look for the little (or big) signs that are telling you when it’s time to have a think and take steps to make adjustments and repairs wherever needed in order to obtain better outcomes.

For me recently, I’ve needed a big overhaul of my discipline system to accommodate my growing kids. Old parenting techniques weren’t working and most days I was just being the house shrew. “Gee your throat must be sore after all that yelling” said Mr Meat & Potatoes (AKA the perspective fairy).

So I’ve pulled my socks up and we’ve got a new star chart in place. Elegantly executed by the ever industrious Miss F (who individually contacted 40 star stamped pieces of paper), we’ve got a new system where stars are pretty easy to earn and can be transferred into either 5 minutes of iPad time or 25c. Took a bit of effort to get it going but it has totally turned the dynamics around from me yelling and them ignoring, to them looking for ways to be good.

On the food front I noticed that my own breakfast routine had come unstuck. I used to be a muesli girl, but I’d tired of my favourite brands and started buying other cereals that are on the healthy scale, but are still outrageously sweet.

My second perspective fairy was Rosemary Stanton (she specialises in Rude Truth, doesn’t she?!). I’m reading her “Choice Guide to Food” (which is really practical and great) and she pointed out that even those of us who read the product labels are possibly being duped. Instead of admitting to a cereal being 50% sugar, many manufacturers use two or three sources of sugar, so that each percentage is lower and they can appear further down the ingredient list. She offered such an easy fix that I feel stupid for being lazy and buying the boxed stuff. MAKE YOUR OWN. It’s cheaper. Yummier. Healthier.

This morning I tucked into my homemade muesli and it was so yum, that the extra 10 minutes it took to make the huge batch seemed entirely worthwhile.

Toast some bits (like nuts, oats & coconut) to increase the flavour and it’s delicious.

Toasted muesli

Use whatever grain, seeds, nuts and dried fruits you like.

Rolled oats
Flaked almonds
Pecans, roughly chopped
Shredded coconut
Pumpkin seeds
Oat bran
All bran

Spread the oats on a tray and bake at 180C – stir once or twice until golden.

Repeat with the almonds, pecans and coconut (stay near – they burn quickly). Toss together in a container with the other ingredients and you’re done.

PS. Did you know that most cereal serving sizes are ½ cup? Might be worth measuring your cereal out into a bowl to see just how much that is – I’ve been having waaaaaay more.

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