Best vegan & GF brownie

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Becoming Healthy

Well it has been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.

Checking out the Manawatu over the long weekend here in NZ

It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe

I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff 😉 While it is vegan…

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Vegan Comfort Cookies

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Every Baby Reflexology or Infant Massage course I bake up some goodies for the mama’s to munch on and invariably chocolate chip cookies are on the menu. I confess I have a major sweet tooth … one that is uncontrollable at times …. however since becoming a vegan it often means I just watch others enjoy good cookie.

Finally some cookies we can enjoy without having to buy them

I have tried some recipes that I have found online (like this vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I tried a couple of years ago) but many of them involve weird and wonderful ingredients or lots of prep. So after much thought I have created a recipe to put things right in the world … for these vegans anyway 🙂 This one is fairly minimal prep, uses things I have in the cupboard and is gluten free and sugar free (depending on the chocolate you use). Both the vegans in the house think they are delicious. The non-vegan have other thoughts, probably due to them being a softer chewy biscuit than the regualar crunch, so maybe worth trying before you go offering them at your next afternoon tea!

It does involve a bit of time in prep but not a huge amount; the soaking of the dates, preparing the chia seeds and the chopping of chocolate and the main ones. I have tried the recipe now with three different types of vegan chocolate all with similar results. I used eating chocolate, both sugar laden and sugar free, though with the sugar free one I had a slight after taste from the stevia sweeter. Himself actually preferred these so I guess it is just personal preference. I see that Sweet William has a baking chocolate, sugar laden, which may give an even better results if I was able to source it here.

So here it is for you to try at home. I’d love to hear your feedback, especially if you have ways of improving them 🙂

Vegan Comfort Cookies

1 1/8 C Gluten Free Flour (I use Edmonds)

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 C Coconut oil

2 TB chia seeds

2 TB boiling water

1/2 C dates

1/4 C boiling water

1 tsp vanilla essence

3/4 C chocolate bits (for sugar free I use Sweet William or Loving Earth, or for minimum sugar I use Whittakers Dark Ghana)

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Prepare a date paste with the 1/2 C dates and 1/4 boiling water. Combine & leave to sit for a bit before mashing together
  • Prepare a vegan egg using the chia seeds and 2 Tbs boiling water mixed together
  • Melt the coconut oil
  • Blend oil, chia seeds, dates and vanilla essences together until completely blended.
  • Add the flour and baking soda
  • Add in the chocolate bits
  • Create small balls and place on the baking tray. Flatten a little with a fork
  • Bake for 10 mins and then leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • ENJOY!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy, warm and dry!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Frozen Vegan Fudge Ice Cream

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With my newsletter due out in the next few weeks it always makes me realise just how little I have been on here! It makes sharing the blog post on my newsletter a little tricky so I thought I’d better rectify things 🙂 In my defense we have been away in the bus while herself was on the Spirit of Adventure, I’ve been busy with more reflexology clients as well as teaching and aside from that we have been having Sundays completely off screens and internet as a family. As Sunday is usually the day I write my blog I often forget about blogging until mid week, when I’m working, which then means I just don’t get on here.

The Spirit of Adventure coming back into Auckland

While I do have a vegan chocolate chip cookie I’m working on for next week’s blog I thought it was a good chance to share another recipe we have been enjoying. I found this quick and easy recipe for Coconut fudge in an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe book that was in sight as I waited at the checkout. Due to it’s adaptability it has been a winner for us, especially with the few good days that Summer and Spring offered us. Themselves think it tastes like hard ice cream despite it being called fudge in the recipe. Hence our slight name change 🙂

The original recipe had tahini in it however themselves weren’t that impressed with that so we have tried a few alternatives. Substituting in almond butter, all nut butter and peanut butter have all been successful here though I have to say that the batch I made with almond butter and golden syrup (because I had run out of maple syrup) was the favourite so far and the fastest to disappear. We have been cutting it into small blocks and eating like that straight from the freezer however you can also leave it out for bit to soften. I used black tahini (which produced the grey ones you can see in the photo) but equally yum with the usual tahini …. and probably a more appealing colour 🙂 Ultimately though it is a great recipe to play around with and create your own wee frozen treats.

Straight out of the Freezer

We just create half batches at a time so that is the recipe I have shared with you. I used a loaf tin with some baking paper as a liner; to make it easier to get out and slice once it is frozen. As you can see you can also jazz it up a little by sprinkling some sesame seeds to top before you freeze it. So without further prattle here is the recipe for you to play with ……

Frozen Vegan Fudge

1/2 Cup coconut cream

1/4 Cup Nut butter or Tahini

1 Tbs Maple syrup or Golden syrup if you want it sweeter

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbs Coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt

  • Blend all the ingredients in a mini blender/kitchen whizz until smooth
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish
  • Freeze for at least 2 hours
  • Remove and slice ready to eat.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoy life in whatever shape it is taking.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Active April

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Daylight savings has ended here in NZ and the colder mornings have begun. Thankfully though after a rainy and mixed bag of weather over Easter the sun is shining again to help me ease into the day. Getting out in nature each morning while I walk the dog is one of the things I love to do and one of the things that really helps me to feel balanced and on top of things for the day.

Making the most of the blue and green effect to positively impact our health is easier than you think. Check out these ideas for getting Active in April and just move them into nature ….. or move nature into your space a bit more 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Alternative Vegan shortbread (Paleo too)

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Time to get baking again! I’m planning a baby reflexology course next term and on the outlook for some new recipes. So when this little gem came into my inbox courtesy of The Minimalist Baker I had to give it a whirl; an alterative to vegan shortbread which is also grain free! While we didn’t do the whole shebang of making s’mores like they did we did indulge in the shortbread recipe and we’re loving it! Even the diary eaters among us are saying it is good and asking for more 🙂

Fresh out of the oven … with a few bits already sampled.

I haven’t bothered to change anything in the recipe; didn’t need to! It is already a one pot wonder and it is already super quick and easy. The only thing I think I would do next time is just cut it into squares and bake like that rather than worrying about cookie cutters. In saying that though it does look pretty in different shapes and it stays together much better than the other vegan shortbread recipe when using a cutter.

Below is the recipe as I created it and the tips I used however if you want to make some s’mores out of them – by adding a caramel and chocolate layer – than check out the original recipe here. I have to confess that the way she spelt her s’mores was what got me to open the link, due to confusion, and explore!

Vegan, Grain Free Shortbread

  • 1 1/4 cup of ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2Tbs maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp salt

-Melt the coconut oil. Once melted add in the maple syrup and vanilla essence.

-Add in the ground almond and salt and combine fully.

-Form the dough into a ball and then place in between two sheets of baking paper.

-Keeping the dough between the baking paper; roll into a rectangle shape a few mm thick depending how crunchy you like your shortbread. If you do this on the baking tray you can save yourself a job of transferring the dough 🙂

-Place in the fridge for at least 15 mins to chill.

-Remove the top sheet of baking paper and cut, gently, into squares

-Bake in a preheated oven, at 160 Celsius, for 7-10 mins or until the edges are golden. I went for 8 mins which was just right.

-Cool and enjoy

Hope this finds you healthy, happy and loving the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Read an e-book week!

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Just a bit of a heads up that all my e-books are now 50% off for the ‘Read an E-Book’ week over at Smashwords!

My five titles available through Smashwords

I have 5 books now for under $2 US including a 12 week life coaching course to keep the year rolling along in the right direction, a guide to living a ‘Stress-Less’ life and a comprehensive guide to Bach Flower Remedies. They are all easy reads with loads of health and life coaching tips in them; the best bits I use on myself and those I work with 🙂

Check it out while the deals are still on and enjoy an e-book as the changing seasons play outside.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Mindful March

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Hello again! Here we are into the third month of 2021 and officially (here in NZ anyway) we are in autumn. I don’t think the planet knows it yet though as we have been enjoying warm balmy days lately and they don’t seem ready to end anytime soon 🙂 We are making the most of the sunshine, getting out for walks, enjoying strawberries and tomatoes in the garden along with having our day brighten by the sunflowers blooming next door.

The neighbour’s sunflowers in full bloom

Today I was teaching the first day of my course ‘Balancing Life as a Mum’ and it was fantastic to be back in the Kāpiti Women’s Centre. Though we still have some social distancing requirements it was wonderful to be with a group of women for the morning doing what I love. One of the topics was around journaling, which is one of the oldest forms of self help and one of the easiest, though sometimes one that we don’t make time for. When I arrived home I saw an email from Action for Happiness and was pleased to see that the action for today was all about noticing the good around you, which was one of the journaling options. While they don’t mention to jot it down, if you did it would help you boost your happiness even more 🙂

So I thought I would share Action For Happiness’ Mindful March calendar all ready for making the month ahead a great one!

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

A Merry Vegan (& GF) Christmas Cake

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Well, I thought I would be good and post this before Christmas all ready for Christmas Eve baking ….. as with many GF recipes it is best eaten within a day or two so plenty of time to get the ingredients ready 🙂 It is the same one that I share each year but figure better to have it in your face than searching for it!

Decorating the letterbox

Themselves have been super busy, in and out of activities over the past month: combinations of activities, lessons, competitions (both Judo and sailing), broken collar bones (himself), holidays and a tummy bug (herself) has meant the time has flown by and it is hard to believe that the end of the year is so close. This year we are hanging close to home which will be the first time in a while … have to say I’m looking forward to not having to travel! The excitement is building for themselves though and while they have decorated the letterbox for a neighbourhood search, Christmas Eve is the big night when we get the tree up and the decorations out proper. Another Christmas Eve highlight each year is to drive around the area looking at all the Christmas lights ….. though this does mean a tight schedule for Santa to arrive 🙂 Now all we need is for the weather to improve as it still doesn’t really feel like Summer is properly here with all the muggy, overcast days and rain we have been having.

Merry Christmas …. the non vegan have also been doing some gingerbread reindeer making

This recipe is pretty easy and great for us as it means the vegans amongst us still have a taste of ‘traditional’ Christmas fare. I have halved the original recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner (it is best eaten within 2 days). Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the few of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly.

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 🙂   I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

SAM_0650

So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and who love you, enjoying each other.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Shortbread -Vegan style

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I have posted this one before but though it is such a quick and easy make that it was worth sharing again ….. especially as I have just been baking it for an Infant Massage the other week.

This recipe comes from a great wee book we got when himself (then aged eight) decided that he wanted to become Vegan.  As I tend to feel better without gluten I was trying to find a way to still bake yummy treats without gluten, eggs or butter  being involved and began trawling the library for books.  Thankfully Jennifer Katzinger was a step ahead and had already written her book; Flying Apron’s Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  It is a great ‘go to’ resource as it has a mix of sweet and savoury treats which have all been tested in her bakery.

As close as I get to homemade shortbread 🙂

The end result of the she calls Maple ‘Butter’ Bars is so like shortbread that I have just given it that name 🙂 It is a super quick, easy and very delicious recipe.  The only thing we have altered from her original recipe is to use coconut oil instead of palm oil.  I have noticed though that the quality of the coconut oil does change how it bakes in the oven so wanted to mention here that if you find you have coconut oil bubbling away on top of your shortbread as it bakes then fear not.  We have had this once or twice and simply pour a bit of the excess on top then return to the oven for a little extra baking with the same delicious results.

SAM_1817
Scored into bite size pieces while it is still warm in the pan

We have also played around with the flour that we use over the years.  I love a mix of brown rice flour and buckwheat however the non-vegans on the bus prefer it when I use the Edmonds GF flour so I guess it is just personal taste for you and yours.  I have given the full recipe below however I usually just do a half recipe as it is very sweet and moreish.  I also cut them into bite size biscuits so that it goes a bit further. 

Vegan Shortbread

  • 2 3/4 Cups GF flour (1 3/8 buckwheat and 1 3/8 rice, all rice or premixed works)
  • 1 cup of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

-Heat the coconut oil in a pot until it is just liquid then add the maple syrup in along with the vanilla essence and stir well

-Mix in the flour until it is well blended in.

-Spread the mixture into a baking paper lined tin.  Preferably a tin that you can open and slide the baking paper out of at the end. You want a layer about 1/2 to 1 cm thick.

-Bake at 190C for 30 mins or until the edges are golden and hardening a little.

-Remove from the oven and use a knife to ‘cut’ into small pieces.

-Slide the baking paper with the scored shortbread intact onto a cooling tray.

-Cool and enjoy.

Hope this finds you warm where ever you are 

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Best vegan & GF brownie

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Well it has been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.

Checking out the Manawatu over the long weekend here in NZ

It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe

I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff 😉 While it is vegan and gluten free it is far, far, far from being sugar free! Probably best baked when you have a crowd to feed as it is very hard to resist having ‘just one more piece’.

Delicious vegan and gluten free brownie

I haven’t made any changes to this recipe however as there is quite a lot of ads and writing before the recipe appears on Loving it Vegan, I thought I would share it here as I used it and highlight some key parts.

The original blog post has both cup and weight measurements however I found that my NZ cup measures didn’t equal the South African weights given. For best results I just went with weights which is what I’ll share below along with the NZ options for great vegan chocolate ….. Whittakers of course 🙂

Another thing I learnt when trialling this recipe was that you need a tin that can separate (expandable ones are perfect). The brownie is very dense and trying to remove it from the tin only resulted in ripped paper and broken up brownie …. much to themselves delight I must say. Thankfully I had one that I picked up in a second hand shop ages ago that expands from a square tin to a rectangle. If you can’t find one or don’t have one then the circular tins with the removable bottom would be the best bet.

The last bit of vital information is to know the actual temperature of your oven. When I first cooked this brownie it came out a bit too gooey so taking the advice from in the blog I got my trusty oven thermometer out – thanks Linette 🙂 – and checked where things were at. The inside oven temp was about 30C below what the dial said so once I cranked it up a bit and retested we were good to go. Of course you can just bake it a bit longer too 🙂

So without anymore chatter onto the recipe ……

Vegan GF brownie

  • 272gm GF flour (I used Edmonds)
  • 84gm cocoa powder
  • 400gm white sugar
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb instant coffee
  • 240ml soy buttermilk (240ml regular soy milk and 1Tb fresh lemon juice combined and left to curdle)
  • 240ml coconut oil (melted)
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chunks (Whittakers Dark Ghana smashed up)
  • 88gm vegan chocolate chips (Pak n Save have these)

– Pre heat the oven to 180 C (check your oven temp and adjust if necessary)

– Mix the soy milk and lemon juice and leave to curdle

– In a separate bowl combine all the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder and mix well

– Add melted coconut oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined

– Add buttermilk and mix well

– Add chocolate chips and chocolate chunks. Mix well.

– Pour into a lined square tin (preferably one that you can separate)

– Bake for 40 mins or until the top cracks and only thing on the cake tester is possibly chocolate.

– Leave to cool for 15 mins before removing from the tin then put on a cooling rack.

RESIST the urge to slice and eat now …. it is so much better completely cold – we know, we tried 🙂

– When the brownie is completely cooled then cut into pieces with a hot knife.

Well that is it for this week ….. see you next time I’m inspired to get into the kitchen 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz