Ingredient: Cinnamon
Cookies

Pecan Cookies – gluten, dairy and egg free

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

Few things are more comforting in life than the smell of freshly baked cookies (fresh baked bread and ground coffee are up there too). It’s home, it’s childhood memories and a great big hug all wrapped into one.

‘Free From’ cookies don’t have to be tasteless, dry or gritty and just because you have to avoid gluten and dairy, doesn’t mean you can’t experience that same home-baked, fresh cookie experience.

The ideal mix of crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle, this cookie recipe is gluten, dairy and egg free, but is so tasty, I’d put money on no one telling the difference, or even caring for that matter.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

This recipe includes chopped pecans, but if you want to make it nut free, just change this part of the recipe for something else, such as raisins or chocolate chips. The combinations are endless, really. You can take out the cinnamon and add ginger, substitute the vanilla for almond essence or for a citrus flavour, add orange or lemon juice.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life

These are so easy to make, my 10 year old made a batch all on her own. She used dark chocolate chips, instead of nuts or raisins and kept the cinnamon. It was a lovely combination.

Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Pecan cookies - A Free From Life
Pecan Cookies - Gluten, dairy and egg free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
14 20 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and mix together well. Set aside
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric whisk. Add the golden syrup and vanilla extract
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar and continue to beat to until the mixture is incorporated into a soft dough
  4. Weigh out the pecans and chop, either by hand or in a coffee grinder. Add these to the dough and mix well
  5. Take desert spoonfuls of the dough and make into a round before putting onto a baking tray (lined with non-stick parchment paper) and flattening with the back of your hand
  6. Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 12 minutes or until golden
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Uncategorised

Carrot cake muffins – gluten and dairy free

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

It was my birthday yesterday, so naturally this calls for cake.

gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

Deciding on carrot cake muffins with ‘cream cheese’ topping, I set about converting a recipe. I’m not a fan of overly sweet things, really I’m not. Not since I’ve been doing yearly sugar detoxes anyway. Whilst I enjoy the occasional sweet treat, I find when I bake myself, I can reduce the sugar considerably and still produce a treat that satisfies.

I’m also a fan of wholesome cakes – my chocolate courgette cake being a family favourite. The sweetness of the carrots, combined with juicy raisins and the crunch of chopped walnuts, just fits the bill.

As you can see, I went a little overboard and made 24 muffins, which is a lot of cake, but I wanted to make plenty to share the birthday love!

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life

 

The muffins came out a lovely golden brown. They held well and the result was a delicious, moist cake.

If you would like to try them for yourself, you can find the recipe below.

Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Gluten and dairy free carrot cake muffins - A Free From Life
Carrot cake muffins - gluten and dairy free
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Servings Prep Time
24 20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 5. Line 2 muffin trays with paper cases.
  2. Beat together the oil, sugar and eggs
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the tapioca, sorghum and quinoa flours with the baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat together until fully incorporated.
  5. Grate the carrots and finely chop the walnuts. Add these, along with the raisins the the mix and stir in.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. To make the cream cheese frosting: Sift the icing sugar and cream with the margarine. Add the vanilla extract and cream cheese, then beat together until smooth. Once the cakes are cooled, spread the cream cheese frosting on to each muffin, then refrigerate until set.
Recipe Notes
Le Coin de Mel
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Health, Snacks

No bake protein energy balls

Raw protein balls - A Free From Life

Raw protein balls - A Free From Life

I love making these energy balls. Call them what you like: raw protein balls, energy balls, no bake protein balls, you can find many variations. Essentially, though, they’re all a version of the same thing.

What I didn’t like about the recipes I found, was that most seemed to add either honey or dates to bind the mixture and add a little sweetness.

After quitting sugar over Lent, I’m trying to maintain that lifestyle and even if I kid myself that a little honey won’t harm, it will in terms of adding sweetness back in to my life and leading to cravings again.

Honey and dates are still sugar, even if they are in another form.

That’s why I took all the ingredients I love and made my own version.

Raw protein balls - A Free From Life

My daughter loves these. She does over 12 hours of gymnastics a week and therefore needs something energy-packed after school to help her get through training.

One or two of these protein balls is more than enough to fill you and keep you sustained.

If you’re used to having sugar, you might find these bitter. Think of bitter chocolate truffles and that’s kind of what you’re getting. Rolling each ball in a little cinnamon though, adds just a touch of sweetness to balance out the cacao.

Raw protein balls - A Free From Life
No bake protein energy balls
Print Recipe
A no sugar raw protein energy to treat
Servings Prep Time
14 15 mins
Servings Prep Time
14 15 mins
Raw protein balls - A Free From Life
No bake protein energy balls
Print Recipe
A no sugar raw protein energy to treat
Servings Prep Time
14 15 mins
Servings Prep Time
14 15 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh the almonds and hazelnuts in to a food processor and blitz until chopped very fine
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until fully incorporated
  3. Form the mixture into ball and either roll in cinnamon, or sprinkle on top
  4. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving, then store in the fridge in an air tight container
Recipe Notes
Free From Farmhouse
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Breakfasts

Banana and almond porridge

Porridge recipe - A Free From Life

Porridge recipe - A Free From Life

I was never a fan of porridge. Partly due to the texture, partly to the fact I don’t really like milk either.

This porridge recipe has converted me though. I love it!

It’s our ‘set you up for the day’ breakfast and the great thing about this recipe is you can make it your own by adding any combination of fruit and nuts.

This is a warm breakfast that will fill you up and start you out on the right foot. It doesn’t take long to make, as you can prep it the night before. However, if you don’t have time, you might like to try making these overnight Bircher pots that you can take to work with you.

One Pot Bircher Muesli - A Free From Life

 

I’ve included all the fruit you might need to add to your porridge in the ingredients section below. You don’t need to use all of them at once. Some ideas of fruit combinations have been included in the instructions section.

Porridge recipe - A Free From Life
Banana and almond porridge
Print Recipe
creamy, filling and delicious, this porridge will set you up for the day
Servings
4
Cook Time
10 mins
Servings
4
Cook Time
10 mins
Porridge recipe - A Free From Life
Banana and almond porridge
Print Recipe
creamy, filling and delicious, this porridge will set you up for the day
Servings
4
Cook Time
10 mins
Servings
4
Cook Time
10 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Make the night before: Measure the oats, milk and vanilla into a bowl, stir and leave in the fridge
  2. In the morning: Put the porridge in a large pan with the almond butter, coconut oil and mashed banana and heat on a low to medium heat.
  3. Add more milk to the porridge to stop it from sticking to the pan and keep adding to make it the desired consistency (I don't like mine too thick!)
  4. For the fruit toppings, try the following combinations: 1. Stewed apple and pear with cinnamon, 2. Strawberries, blueberries and bananas, fresh or stewed, 3. Apple and strawberry puree (you can make these the night before and re-heat, or make in the morning and serve hot over the warm porridge)
  5. Plain natural yoghurt also goes well with the porridge and fruit
Recipe Notes

The variations are limited to your imagination, using the same base porridge.

Overnight oats - A Free From Life

Adding the almond butter, gives the porridge a protein boost, which along with the oats, will help keep you fuller for longer.

Soaking the oats overnight makes them easier to digest. It also means they take less time to cook and you end up with a smoother, creamier porridge, not the gritty, lumpy stuff that, if you're like me, put you off eating it.

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Breakfasts

Mother’s Day breakfast ideas – decadent French toast

Mother's Day breakfast ideas - A Free From Life

Did you know it is Mother’s Day on Sunday? Not that I’m hinting or anything. It’s just that I made this breakfast for my kids the other day and it occurred to me what a lovely breakfast it would make for someone’s mum on Mother’s Day… and in bed too… with a cup of tea (just saying).

Mother's Day breakfast ideas - A Free From Life

This is so easy that I made it on a school morning and considering my eldest daughter has to leave the house at 7.30am, that just shows how little effort it took. Not that your mum needs to know that and when she sees it, she will never know that something so lovely and elegant took so little time.

My recipe uses homemade spelt bread, but of course you can use any bread you like. This is also a great way to use up stale bread (but again, not something mum needs to know). I also used coconut milk, which is my favourite dairy free milk. It’s fresh, clean consistency makes it so similar to cow’s milk, but with just a hint of coconut flavour, it has a natural sweetness too.

If you’re plotting ways to spoil your mother this weekend (and I’m sure you are), making breakfast is just one idea. As a mum, I can tell you that the little things mean a great deal and I know such a gesture will be really appreciated.

Mother's Day breakfast ideas - A Free From Life
Mother's Day breakfast ideas - decadent French toast
Print Recipe
Easy to make, fool proof and healthy breakfast idea to spoil your mum with this weekend.
Servings Prep Time
1 5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Servings Prep Time
1 5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Mother's Day breakfast ideas - A Free From Life
Mother's Day breakfast ideas - decadent French toast
Print Recipe
Easy to make, fool proof and healthy breakfast idea to spoil your mum with this weekend.
Servings Prep Time
1 5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Servings Prep Time
1 5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Whisk the egg with the milk and vanilla extract, then add the cinnamon
  2. Pour the egg mixture into a shallow bowl and put the slice of bread into it, turning to allow the bread to soak up the mixture on both sides
  3. Transfer the bread to a non-stick pan and fry on both sides until golden brown (you can finish off under the grill if you prefer)
  4. Put the toasted eggy bread on to a plate and top with the strawberries and blueberries
  5. Add the yoghurt to the fruit and drizzle with maple syrup (optional)
Recipe Notes

It really is that simple. In fact, I only added measurements to make it easier to follow. I don't tend to measure things out and so if I'd wrote this recipe in the manner of how I make things it would read: a glug of milk, with a splash of vanilla extract and a sprinkling of cinnamon. That's the beauty of cooking though, you can just go for it and trust your judgement and if you are a little bit over or under, so be it.

Have fun with this recipe and hope you like it (or your mum does!).

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Breakfasts

Porridge with apple, pear and cinnamon puree

With the weather becoming so cold this week, I wanted to send my kids out to school having had a warm and filling breakfast. Porridge is the obvious answer and I made this really easy version the night before.

Porridge with Apple, pear and cinnamon puree - A Free From Life

When you soak oats overnight, you don’t need to cook them, although warmed up, just seem to set you up for the day. Cooking up some chopped apple and pear, with a sprinkling of cinnamon just added to that warmth.

Apart from peeling and chopping the fruit, it didn’t take long to make. I only cooked the fruit through for a few minutes, just enough to start to soften. Then I whizzed it up in the blender to make a smooth puree.

image

Although this comfortably serves four people, by adding a little extra milk to taste (depending on how thick you like it), this went round all five of us. I also made this recipe gluten and dairy free.

 

Porridge with apple and pear puree
Print Recipe
A hearty porridge of oats soaked overnight, for added convenience and nutritional value. Guaranteed to warm you through on these chilly autumn mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Porridge with apple and pear puree
Print Recipe
A hearty porridge of oats soaked overnight, for added convenience and nutritional value. Guaranteed to warm you through on these chilly autumn mornings.
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-5 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Weigh out the oats into a large bowl and add the milk and vanilla extract
  2. Store the oats in the fridge overnight
  3. First thing: In a saucepan, warm the chopped apple and pear with the cinnamon until starting to soften. Transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth
  4. Divide the porridge into bowls and add milk, stirring to the desired thickness
  5. Warm through in a microwave for 1-2 minutes and then top with the puree. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes

It's easier to divide in to bowls and then warm through, as it takes less time. Also, for my family, we have different milk requirements, so we need to do that anyway. For this recipe, I use a coconut milk (Koko) and add more of the same for my dairy intolerant son. My husband prefers almond milk and the girls have cow's milk!

You can, of course, add any combination of fruit you desire. Strawberry and peach is particularly nice too, but I have to say, apple and pear with cinnamon is my favourite. With the cinnamon and the vanilla, you don't need to sweeten this porridge, but if you do feel the need, try adding a teaspoon of honey, drizzled over once warmed through.

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