Rainy day Gingernuts

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It is a cold and rainy day here in the Coromandel and I really should be finishing an assignment for an online course I’m taking however my old friend procrastination seems to be visiting … again. So what better to do on a rainy day than bake something warm and then blog about it!

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Parked up in a ‘Park over Property’ in Coromandel

These Gingernuts are super quick and easy to make along with being super healthy.  I originally got the recipe from a New Zealand blog called Isle of Flora and just changed the honey for maple syrup to create a vegan option for us.  I have also tried making them with Gluten free flour mix which creates a crunchier biscuit rather than the chewier ground almond versions.  Using the GF flour also requires a bit of water added to the mixture to make it the correct texture.  Themselves have also swapped out the ginger for some cocoa. The best thing about this recipe, aside from the fact that themselves love it, is that the dough can be eaten raw or cooked and it ticks all of our boxes on the bus. 😉

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It was an effort to keep their hands of them long enough to take the photo I can tell you.

The original recipe says that it makes 8 biscuits however we usually get at least 16 and sometimes 20 out of it so obviously it is all about size.  Clearly, living on a bus and having a wee oven has influenced the size of my baking … I only wish it influenced our appetites for these yummy morsels too! The fact that they don’t expand on cooking does mean that you can pack them pretty close together on your tray which for us means one batch rather than two.

Gingernuts

1 C ground almonds

2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 Tb black strap molasses

3 Tb maple syrup

  • Mix the almonds and ginger
  • Add the molasses and maple syrup then mix until the mixture forms a dough
  • Roll into small balls and place on tray
  • Flatten each ball with a fork (you may need to dip the fork in flour so it doesn’t stick)
  • Bake for 10-15 mins at 180C
  • Cool on the rack before devouring

Hope this finds you dry, content and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Brave or Crazy?!

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Many times on our travels as we talk to others about our life on the bus I have had people say to me, ‘ oh, I wish I was as brave as you’.  Others, I can see by the look in their eye, think we are completely off our rockers!  I’m pretty sure the ones who think we are a ‘few sandwiches short of a picnic’ are only curious to have a look so that they can go home, take stock of all the luxuries they won’t live without and congratulate themselves on not being as mental as us 😉

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Visiting the longest place name in the world

I’m not sure if it is brave or crazy (though I’d probably verge on the latter) however I do know that throughout my life I have done this many times …. thought of something I wanted to do and then just got on with making it a reality.  Anything less would somehow feel like a watered down version of life.  Bad stuff can happen where ever you are; whether you stay at home or not, whether you take risks or not, whether you travel or stay put.  It is a fact of life that  things change and how we deal with those changes can make it a positive or negative experience.

One thing I do know about the life we are living now is that it is allowing our family to experience many more of the wonderful things that life and people have to offer.  It is certainly a great way to counterbalance all those negative stories in the papers, the ones that breed fear and uncertainty.  People, on the whole, are good and life is thriving all around us when we take time to look and listen.  Our children are seeing all the amazing things our country and people have to offer along with some of the issues which we don’t deal with and try to sweep under the carpet.

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Ahuriri Estaury

My point?  That giving things a go is worth it.  Making your ideas a reality can be life changing either through you deciding to go ahead or realizing that ‘dream/goal/idea’ actually wasn’t for you after all. So go on … make the most of each day if only to put your toe in the water of possibilities.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan Burgers

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At the moment we are cruising down the the surf highway (45) around the back of Mt Taranaki.  It has been a fantastic trip with hardly any traffic, amazing scenery of surf, bush, farms, mountains all mixed together and some powerful history to find out about. It is certainly an amazing part of NZ and my highlight so far has been to finally get to Parihaka.  Since learning about the peaceful resistance to Colonial force, lead by Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, in my uni days I have been wanting to come an see it for myself.

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Cape Egmont Lighthouse (with Mt Taranaki) near Parihaka

All this catching up with family, meeting with other road-schooling families (completely by accident), touring around visiting historic sites, having bonfires and enjoying the warm days that Taranaki have been providing has given me a bit of a hankering for burgers (probably as I watched others munching into bbq food) so finally tonight I got out our old favourite and got cracking.  There is nothing like burgers, salad and hedgehog potatoes with a view of the sea.

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The sea out one side and the mighty Mt Taranaki out the other

These burgers are so easy and so yummy that even the carnivorous among us has been having second helpings!  I confess here and now that I can’t remember where I got the idea for these however I do know that I have ‘butchered’ the original so much that even they may not recognize it 😉  Until last year I had been just buying our vegan burgers until my sister asked how I made them and the guilt set in.  This recipe can be easily adapted to your liking by changing the beans you put in, using red onion instead of brown, adding spice, having beetroot instead of carrot or using ground nuts instead of flour to firm up the mixture … the possibilities to get your perfect recipe are endless!

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Almost ready

 

Vegan Burgers

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup of water – to cook the quinoa in

1 onion

1 can of drained and rinsed beans – black, red kidney or whatever your favourite is

2 grated carrots  – small to med size

Veg stock powder – I use Massel

Tamari

1/2 -3/4 cup GF flour – to firm up the mixture

  • Cook the quinoa in the water until almost all the water has gone then take off the heat, cover and put aside.
  • Finely dice onion and fry off until slightly clear.
  • Add grated carrot and beans to the onion and fry a bit longer before adding tamari and veg stock powder to taste.
  • Turn off heat and mash together until blended then add cooked quinoa and mix again.
  • Slowly add GF flour until the mixture is firm enough to form into patties.
  • Place in a frying pan and cook on each side to brown (see photo)
  • ENJOY in a bun, with some salad or whatever your favourite kai is

Hope this finds you smiling and spotting all the great things life has to offer.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Late Easter treat

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Well I had intended posting this in time for you to try for Easter however then my youngest broke his wrist and we were out of coverage for three days as we travelled along the Forgotten Highway.  I figure that it is better late than never and since these are yum anytime it is worth sharing still 😉  In fact they have been made quite a few times since as an afternoon tea snack for the walking wounded among us.

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Driving from Taumarunui to The Republic of Whangamomona

With Good Friday comes Hot Cross buns of course however since this is the first Easter we have Vegans in the house (bus) we had to put a bit of thought into the whole process. Thankfully themselves had a simple, yet effective, solution of adding some spices and raisins to our damper recipe to create our own Hot Cross buns.  I have to say that the cross side of things didn’t work out so well though as I was trying to be tricky and do icing sugar crosses – on the recommendation of a lovely Canuk I know 😉 – rather than my usual flour ones which ended in a sticky bun soaked mess rather than looking like a cross …. so I guess it is a case of less of the cross buns and more hot spiced buns really 😉

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Good to go with a huge dollop of jam!

We have tried both Gluten and Gluten free versions, topped with jam and some vegan Dark Chocolate peanut butter we found, and both have been enjoyed. The GF version did need a flax egg (1 Tb ground linseed and 1.5 Tb cold water) along with bit of extra moisture, depending on which GF flour you use, to get the correct consistency however it is not too much more hassle.

Hot Spiced Buns – Vegan

1 3/4 Cup of plain flour ( or GF flour and see notes above)

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tb oil

3/4 cup of cold water

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins (or other dried fruit if you like)

  • Mix all ingredients until they form a dough, add more flour and/or liquid as required.
  • Split the dough into 8 pieces and roll into bun shapes
  • Flour a tin and place the bun shapes in so that they are touching.
  • Bake at 200 C for 20 mins.
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy with jam 😉

 

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and all in one piece 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

A new vegan on the block

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I can’t believe that a month has passed since I have been free enough, and with the tools,  to write on here again!  The main cause for the lack of posting has been a lack of a computer … though that isn’t really a good excuse …. however I have also been enjoying spending time being off line a bit more.  We’ve been making the most of the places and people around us.  In that time however there has been a shift in the dietary requirements of the bus.  No, himself hasn’t let go of veganism but rather has been joined by me in giving it a whirl.

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Walking Te Ara Roa – Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay section.

It seemed like a bit of a natural progression really as while I was technically a pescatarian I didn’t eat much fish nor was I a huge fan of dairy due to the way it made me feel. Along with that was the fact that much of our meals are now vegan with a bit of meat, fish or eggs on the side.  While at the start of himself becoming a vegan there was much disgust at the thought that I should follow suit, the tide has changed and in fact I was getting repeated questions about why I didn’t just go vegan. After a bit of thinking and research – on vegan alcohol it has to be said! 😉 – along with a new book from the library I began my 3 week trial into the world of veganism.

I’m now into my fourth week and I have to say that it has been a fairly easy transition thanks to all the resources online and off which outline what is vegan and what’s not.  The hardest part so far is meeting up with the in-laws at their choice of restaurant which meant that only the hot chips and spring rolls were vegan due to them having pre-made all the salads with honey dressing and putting garlic butter over all the veggies.  It was an experience to say the least and definitely gave me a taste of my own medicine as when this has happened to himself in the past I have been quick to say ‘that’s fine .. it’s just one meal’, (trying not to make us seem even more ‘weird and hippy’ than they thought we were already) however when it is your ‘one meal’ it is a pretty dismal state of affairs! Lesson learnt.  Apologies given. Forgiveness accepted.

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An interesting book I got out .. more about mindfulness than veganism

So  onward and upwards embracing Veganism as a way of eating for me.  I have to say I do feel much better on the digestion side of life as after meals I feel lighter even when I have eaten my fill and I am satisfied much longer after meals than before.   There was a few interesting changes in my sleep patterns to start with although as it was at bit of a stressful time (I was teaching Infant Massage and going for my truck licence in between times) it may not be all down to the change of diet. 😉  I guess only time will tell weather it will be my new way of eating … for now I am trying to be as mindful as I can about what is going into my mouth and the way that I am living.

I hope this finds you happy, healthy and exploring new things when the opportunity arises.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Quick and easy Scones

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With all that walking up and down the hill, from the road-schooling camp to the farm, to milk herself and a friend collected quite a stash of blackberries which were going wild along the roadside along with some rose-hips.  I think one of my favourite things about travelling around NZ is watching themselves ‘harvest’ all kinds of wild growing fruit.  Apples in Otago,  Plums in Canterbury, blackberries where ever we can find them, kawakawa fruit in Kāpiti, rose-hips in Hawke’s Bay and even the odd raiding of friend’s raspberry or strawberry patches 😉

Anyway …. what do you do with a big bowl of berries and a pocket full of rose-hips?  Make blackberry jam and rose-hip tea for afternoon tea for your siblings!  However that still leaves a gaping hole … what do you put the jam on and still cater for the vegans in your midst?  Vegan scones of course 😉

Road schooling camp

Preparing the tea party

This recipe is quick and easy  to whip up for an afternoon tea snack and super delicious.  I got it in my in-box a while ago courtesy of ‘Cook the Beans’ which is a blog I follow. She had called them Watercress Scones though I think she may have forgotten to add the said watercress into her recipe as I couldn’t find it mentioned anywhere.  Either way I made it, and modified it as I usually, with great results so there are no complaints here ….. no even from the meat, gluten and diary eaters on the bus 😉

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Ready to munch

Vegan Scones

  • 200 gm flour (GF or plain, white or wholemeal or a mixture of both as in original)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30 gms coconut oil (cold from the container)
  • 1 flax-seed egg (1 TB ground linseed/flaxseed and 2.5 TB cold water)
  • 100 ml non-diary milk (I used rice milk)

– Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the coconut oil so that it is fully blended with the flour.

– Add in the flaxseed egg and milk then ‘cut’ the liquid into the dry ingredients with a knife until a dough is formed.  You may need to help it with your hand near the end to form a ball

– Flour a baking tray and flatten dough into a fat rectangle shape.  Cut this into 12 or 16 pieces depending on the size of scone you desire.

– Separate the scones a little on the floured tray and then bake at 200 Celcius of 10 mins or until golden on top.

– Spread with jam (and butter for the non-vegan among you) and enjoy

Hope this finds you enjoying the fruits of life

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

Homemade Yoghurt

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Some of you may have the impression that this is a ‘Vegan’ blog (not sure why I put that in inverted commas) however while I share a lot of vegan recipes these are relatively new for the blog, as is our journey with our son into his preferred eating style.  Rather I like to think of this blog as sharing things that are happening with us on the bus, our adventures, experiences and more often than not the food we are eating!  This week after an amazing weekend away at a Road-schooling camp I thought I would share an easy yoghurt recipe.

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At camp with other fantastic road-schooling families

This comes about only because while we were away on our road-schooling camp a local farmer came down and offered our kids (all the kids on camp that is) the opportunity to come up and give milking his cow a go.  It is one of my favourite things about New Zealand, and being on the road, that locals are eager and open to share their lives and interests with us as a family.  While himself was more interested in patting the pigs and the cows rather than trying milking, herself absolutely relished the whole experience.  I even made a second trip up with her so she could milk the next morning!  She really got a rhythm going and was rewarded with a bottle of fresh, warm milk ….. along with a desire to own her own cow. 😉 Considering she is not a big milk drinker but is a huge yoghurt consumer we thought that creating a batch of yoghurt with her reward may be the best use of this delicious liquid.

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Milking Saffy

This recipe is one that I found ages ago and which we used to make regularly before moving onto the bus.  It is very easy (just how I like my recipes) with not much milk or effort needed.  The best thing about this recipe is the fact that it doesn’t require much stove power and, as long as you remember to save a bit of yoghurt for a starter, it can keep going as long as you have a milk supply. Thankfully we have a very warm spot above our fridge/freezer where we can incubate this for the night which makes it possible to try on the bus – our first bus batch. We have halved the recipe for us this time however 1 litre fills up an old preserving jar nicely with yoghurt.

Homemade yoghurt

  • 1 litre of full-fat milk (raw is best in our option)
  • 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt (this is your starter)
  • Large glass jar with lid

– Warm the milk in a pot until it is just about to boil then take off the heat.

– Allow the milk to cool for 20 mins and then remove the skin off the milk and discard.

– Mix the warm milk with the yoghurt starter and mix gently but throughly.

– Put the lid on and place the jar into a warm place (such as the hot water cylinder) overnight or at less 6-8 hours

– Transfer to fridge the next morning (or once it has set) to help cool and set further or enjoy warm with some wild blackberries.

REMEMBER TO SAVE TWO TABLESPOONS FOR YOUR NEXT BATCH! 😉

Hope this finds you all enjoying new experiences and savouring the old ones too.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz