fruit free muesli

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For a long time, one of my favourite things to eat on a cold Melbourne morning used to be a big bowl of hot toasted muesli. In fact, it used to be one of my favourite things to eat as an afternoon delight too. However, since discovering all my tummy sensitivities, it’s now highly fraught with danger: gluten in bran and oats (I know, controversial), fructose in all that sweet dried fruit, fructose in the added fruit juice, added sugar, added this, added that…it’s a mine field (and a mind field)! And a sad state of affairs. How can something so simple be so bad for me? Unfortunately the majority of pre-packaged cereals – and the cereal aisle in a supermarket more generally – are the same.

Well, I walked in to work this week to find my colleague’s bag of muesli sitting on the kitchen bench. Now, it’s not often you see the words ‘Fructose Free’ on any kind of packaging, but Aussie Health Snax have done it – I soon found out after a quick google – on a number of cereal products. Brilliant! Go Aussies!

The only thing is…I’m a little bit of a Scrooge when it comes to this stuff. I get that the market is smaller for these companies trying to cater for people like me, and I understand that this has to be reflected in their prices. I really do. And for those who prefer the convenience of someone else sourcing the ingredients, having it made, packaged AND delivered to their door – I totally get that a lot of the time you would rather save the time (as opposed to the money).

I – on the other hand – get a lot of pleasure out of spending the time strolling around food aisles, designing and redesigning my recipe ideas, discovering alternatives and of course, playing with measurements, utensils and flavours back in the kitchen itself. And to be frank, at $9.95 for a 700g bag, I can spend $20 and end up with twice that in mixture PLUS ingredients left over to mix up a whole other batch once I’ve eaten my way through the first lot. But please, don’t get me wrong – their products look great, and to be fair, I drew my inspiration from one of their bestsellers, Organic Quinoa Blend of Fruit Free Muesli and couldn’t be bothered going the extra mile to include the quinoa on my first run so…each to their own. I’ll give it a go next time though…famous last words.

  • 2 cups puffed brown rice
  • 2 cups corn flakes
  • 1/4 cup natural almonds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup linseeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut, shredded
  • 1/4 cup LSA meal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1 tblsp cinnamon, ground
  • vanilla concentrate extract (to serve)

Optional additions…
2 cups quinoa, cooked and toasted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cacao nibs

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I quite literally just dumped everything in a big bowl, stirred it through and poured in into an air right container for storage. I might even try drizzling with coconut oil and toasting the whole lot in the oven next time…as I said earlier, with some quinoa. The best thing about making your own muesli is there are no rules! Mix ‘n’ match, pick ‘n’ mix and for goodness sake – enjoy!

I topped this batch with some (fructose free) fruit – banana or berries – soy milk and a little drizzle of vanilla concentrate extract. Or go without the fruit – still tasty, hot or cold! And outrageously easy. If you can spare the time. You can definitely spare the money. Just beware the psyllium husks – and the chia seeds, if you include them – those babies are machines at soaking up liquid, so have your milk at the ready if you like your muesli moist and creamy. Dare I say, we’re heading into bircher territory. And I say: go there.

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two sweet nut balls

spirulina & sesame balls

Ok, before you run away – don’t freak out at the colour of these. I promise they won’t burst into tiny green alien goop balls in your stomach. Spirulina is a rich vegetable protein and high in vitamins which make it a great addition to any diet, though particularly for vegetarians, and (look out: fun fact ahead…) is apparently used by NASA as astronaut food! So as that dark green cloud settles over the rest of your ingredients (and down your front, and on the bench, and under your nails) just remember, you’re entering a space age where everything radiates a little brighter and a little stronger. This is the new norm.

  • 1 tblsp spirulina powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds or linseeds
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds for coating

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coconut & almond balls

While they look less like alien fodder, these little balls of bliss could be described as ‘out of this world’. Proof: I took a full batch of these to work and between six, these little beauties were devoured. So make sure you cover all your bases and leave some extras at home in the fridge because once you offer these up over morning tea, trust me on this – you’re going home empty handed.

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 3 tblsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds or crushed nuts for coating

Alternatives and additional extras (measurements may vary to taste/consistency):

  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1 tblsp rice malt syrup (instead of stevia)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set aside a small dish containing the extra crushed nuts or sesame seeds.

Roll a tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball in the palm of your hands. Roll each ball in the dish of nuts or sesame seeds until they are covered all over.

Place the balls on a tray or plate lined with grease proof paper. Keep refrigerated so that they stay firm, but perhaps pull them out half an hour before you serve them up so that they soften slightly before everyone pounces.

Makes 14-16.

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choc nut balls

choc nut balls

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WARNING: PROCEED CAREFULLY – HIGHLY ADDICTIVE

Inspired by Sarah Wilson’s chocolate nut balls and Nora (Gedgaudas)’s nut balls, come these tasty morsels of nutrient-dense goodness. I have had to impose a strict rationing on these as I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion jolting back to the quiet stillness of my kitchen from some far-off delightful planet, to find one hand scratching around on the bottom of that once abundant jar of chocolatey balls, clutching it fiercely to my chest with the other, licking and smacking my coco-nutty lips in wonder. Only when I realise the gluttonous beast has defeated my feeble mind again do I sadly replace the empty jar back in its rightful place. The belly ache that comes later from much too much nutty coconut bliss is almost like the war cry of the beast – and I know we shall meet again on the battle field. One day…soon.

  • 1/2 jar nut spread (preferably almond, but whatever takes your fancy)
  • 2 1/2 cups raw mixed nuts, crushed roughly (my mortar and pestle get a work out here!) or chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, softened (or a couple of tblsp of non-dairy Nuttelex, melted)
  • 4-5 tblsp coconut oil, melted or unsweetened powdered/crushed vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Optional extras (measurements to taste/consistency)

  • almond meal
  • LSA
  • chia and/or sesame seeds
  • psyllium husks
  • stevia
  • cacao nibs
  • protein powder (Sarah Wilson suggests 180 Natural Protein Superfood which already contains most of these extras – without all the undesirable ones on top!)
  • goji berries

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and adjust the dry-wet levels by adding any extras – if you have too much liquid, chia seeds and psyllium are great for soaking up any excess and helping to hold these babies together.
Roll little handfuls of the mixture into bite size balls and place on a tray or plate lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for an hour until they are firm. These will keep for a few weeks (if your gluttonous beast doesn’t come to visit first) but keep refrigerated to be sure they don’t soften or melt. They’ll travel with you pretty easily but just be aware to keep them wrapped in grease proof paper or transported in a cool bag (or similar) if they can’t be in a fridge for an extended period of time.

Makes around 24 balls.

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spirulina + sesame balls
coconut + almond balls