Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

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Today we took some time to harvest the last of the baking apples from the tree.  It is the last of our fruit … excluding tomatoes …. and makes it feel like autumn is really here, especially as the rain has just begun.  Apple crumble on the menu tonight I think however what to do with all the extras and the peels?

I have an apple cider on the brew which I’m hoping will be drinkable so thought I’d get some more apples ready for a second brew ….. fingers crossed.  I also was reminded about an easy apple cider vinegar recipe I had, only uses the peels and cores of the apples, which was successful many years ago.   I have decided to just be lazy and re-post it below with a few notes in italics 🙂  I’ll keep you posted on the Cider!

‘A while ago I was given a link to making your own apple cider vinegar and I have to say that at the time it fell into my ‘lovely, but no time to do now’ basket.  However as the apple harvest time came and I was given some apples along with all the apples coming from our trees I thought it was time to get cracking and make some!

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This recipe from Janella Purcell (sorry link doesn’t seem to be working now) is almost too easy for words!  It is simply making the most of your waste as you prepare your apples for stewing or baking…… I know isn’t that awesome 🙂  So, as I cut, peeled and cored I popped all the skins and cores into a large jar beside me. Then when it was full I added a couple of tablespoons of honey (I’m trying with maple syrup this time due to veganism on the bus now) and covered with filtered water.  Yes, that is it …. oh and the patience to let it mature 🙂

Once you have your jar full of honey, water and apple leftovers you need to cover with something breathable and wait.  After 2 weeks you can take out all the apple for composting, leaving behind the liquid, and then stir daily for 4 weeks while the mixture turns into Apple Cider Vinegar then bottle up.

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Now while it all seemed (and is) very easy I have to say that the end result was a little different from what we were all expecting.  I’m not sure if it is because there were a few stray seeds that lingered in the liquid or just the type of apple used.  Either way there is a distinct taste of ‘corn chips’ when we tasted it neat ….. no, not what we were expecting either but there you are.  (This makes me laugh as I forgot about that!! The longer we had it sitting in the cupboard the nicer it got so I think the moral of the story is to brew and let it sit for as long as possible) All in all, I think that it will be a recipe that I’ll venture to try again 🙂 True to my word I am :)’

Hope this finds you making the most of what you have at hand.

Arohnaui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Connection Challenge & Vegan Flapjacks

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We are into our second week of lock-down here in New Zealand though many here have decided to use a Māori reference of rāhui instead.  I kind of like that term so may begin adopting it … rather than using a term of imprisonment! I have to be honest though and say that not much has actually changed for our whānau aside from Himself working from home and the few activities we partook in being cancelled.  We are now adjusting to online keyboard lessons, judo via YouTube and Rangers (Girl Guides) on Zoom 🙂

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It has given me a bit more time to do some other work, hence the time to blog and bake 🙂  It has also inspired me to create a bit of a challenge for people – a connection challenge.  With the mail stopped (well for us anyway) and all these businesses bombarding my inbox with their updates I thought it would be great to receive some real mail from friends and family.  I have begun with an email to a friend, themselves have done likewise.

The best thing is that it made me feel great that I may be putting a smile on someone’s face and that there may just be an email coming back to put a smile on mine!  I know that everyone has gone on social media more but there is nothing like a personal letter/email to really make you feel that you are connected.  All the more important at the moment when you can’t physically connect. It could be to a loved one, a friend or even someone you have admired for a while.  Copy the photo below and share as much as you want on Social media …. just get writing as well 🙂

Connection challenge with border

Give it a go … it will make you feel great!

 

So I thought I should give you a bit of nourishment to see you through all those letters/emails of connection that you’ll be writing 🙂  This is a flapjack recipe which I have adapted to make it vegan.  I only discovered these delicious morals when we lived in Ireland and then I couldn’t get enough of them!  Those of you in Ireland and the UK will know them well with the name flapjack.  Those of you in NZ may know them as porridge biscuits … so I have been informed.  Either way they are a quick, easy and delicious treat.

Vegan Flapjacks

300gm rolled oats (the smaller ones are better)

50gm desiccated coconut

75gm coconut sugar

125gm coconut oil

40ml maple syrup

  • Melt oil and stir in sugar and maple syrup until well mixed.
  • Add to rolled oats and coconut mixture and mix well again.
  • Place in a baking paper lined tin (I used 23cm x20cm).  Pressing it down flat as much as possible.
  • Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins or until you can see that the oats are golden. 160 C if you have a fan oven
  • Take out of the oven and score into squares while it is warm.
  • Allow to cool fully in the tin.   You can put them in the fridge to really set them too as the coconut oil does soften quickly
  • ENJOY!
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Warm out of the oven

 

Until the next blog … whenever that fancy grabs me …. kia ora, kia kaha ā kia manawanui (Be well, be strong and be patient)

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Tapping World Summit

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Apologies for the lack of blogging!  I haven’t been doing much baking lately as I have been spending time taking part in activities which make me feel renewed ……I have to confess that while I love baking the scoffing part of it doesn’t usually fill me with feelings of renewal 🙂  Hence it has taken a back seat for a while.

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Sunset walks with himself

Instead I have been focusing on learning some languages, getting into nature each day, playing my guitar and getting on top of some emotional baggage.  It is amazing how much ‘rubbish’ I was holding onto, even when I thought I had dealt with issue!  After tapping each day and doing my other renewing activities, I have been blown away by the changes I have been experiencing and how much more my days are flowing.

So in case any of you want to feel a bit renewed I thought I would share this link to the Tapping World Summit.  It has been on for the last 10 days however this is a link to be able to listen and tap along to all the talks.  It is time sensitive so it will be ending very soon however I thought it was worth sharing; Tapping World Summit

I hope it gets to you in time … if not then check out YouTube for some free tap along videos on a host of topics.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Banana and Walnut loaf

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Almost the New Year and time to welcome in 2020!!  Many thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout this tough old year, both in person and online.  I’m all focused on having a much less emotionally charged 2020 🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful break over the holiday season.  We had a very quiet Christmas here and actually made the most of upstairs to decorate.  Himself isn’t a big Christmas fan, in fact he doesn’t like it at all, so we keep all the carols, presents and decorations at bay for him.  Then it was just a quick overnighter at family and making the most of the great weather we have been having.

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Themselves enjoying the river

This week is a quicky post as themselves are waiting to watch a family DVD and I thought I’d sneak out while they clean up after tea 🙂  The recipe tonight has been taken from The Liver Cleansing Diet by Sandra Cabot and is listed in there as Banana Muffins.  As part of my bid to resolve a few health issues I have been looking for a few more body nourishing recipes and came across this one in the recipe section of Sandra Cabot’s book.

I have tried this as muffins however with the GF flour thrown in they came out a little dry.  So I decided to double the recipe and reduce the flour a bit which seems to have worked out not too bad … even himself is eating it!  It does take a while to cook through as it is quite dense but once the top browns it is there.  If you find, once you cut into the loaf, that the middle isn’t quite there then it toasts up a treat 🙂

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Banana and Walnut Loaf (GF, RSF and vegan)

4 ripe large bananas

2 Tablespoons of maple syrup

4 Tablespoons of Olive oil

2 Tablespoons LSA

4 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 Cups GF flour (I use Edmonds premixed)

1 Cup of chopped walnuts

  • Mash Bananas and mix with the other wet ingredients.
  • Add in the walnuts and flour and mix really well to ensure there are no flour lumps
  • Transfer mixture into a baking paper lined loaf tin and cover with tin foil
  • Bake at 180 C for 60-70 mins, taking off the tin foil about half way through baking.
  • Allow to cool before enjoying with a cuppa

Hope this finds you enjoying the last moments of the old year and enthusiastically entering the new year.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan & GF Christmas Cake

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As you can see I haven’t been very active on the blog front lately.  It feels like our December has very quickly disappeared in between weekends away with themselves, catching up with friends and doing jobs around here preparing for visitors to stay.

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The candy cane tree

That hasn’t stopped themselves though getting super excited about Christmas!  They have been writing loads of Christmas letter, making presents and wrapping up a storm.  They have even had a bit of animal tending thrown in as they found a baby bunny and a baby bird abandoned in the backyard.  However with all the cleaning, weeding, creating, caring, wrapping and writing I haven’t thought much about Christmas kai at all let alone a Christmas Cake! So here is a bit of a repeat recipe from last year (that we are going to make again tomorrow) to get your chops around 🙂

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Feeding baby bird just before we put it outside (after it called its parents and they replied) where its parents came and continued to feed it until it got up the strength to fly away.

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 couple of times I have baked it so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days with success although day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂

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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.

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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

Ginger-Nut Bites

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It is the final week of my Infant Massage course tomorrow and the final week of baking for all those wonderful mamas.  It has been such a lovely group and I always love seeing just how much the bubas enjoy the massage (or not some days) and grow over that time.  Themselves have also loved catching up with friends each week while I teach especially with all the amazing weather we have been having ….. well that was until Summer officially arrived on and the rain started. 🙂

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Themselves enjoying the local river.

So with the weather feeling a bit cooler I thought I would warm the insides of everyone a bit with some good old ginger-nuts.  This recipe is delicious, easy and able to be eaten raw or cooked so win/wins all round I say.  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.  I tend to double up the recipe to get a decent batch and because themselves love these yummy morsels it also means I have a chance to get some 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 … always a bonus when your oven is a tiny bus one.

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Ready to go in the oven – with a bit of ground almond to help with the flattening part.

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 rice flour or ground almonds so it doesn’t stick)
  • Bake for 10-15 mins at 180C
  • Cool on the rack before devouring

Hope this finds you warm, happy and content regardless of the weather outside.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Christmassy Snacker balls

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I know, I know …… it is way too early to be thinking about Christmas!! Themselves however have had other ideas and they are super excited about it.  They have even been buying each other presents and because of their excitement they have also been giving them to each other already.  Clearly they are confident that there will be a supply of gifts coming on the actual day from us and others :).

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Seedlings in our handmade, compostable pots

All their chatter about December has started me thinking ahead though and what we are actually going to do this year which is a bit overwhelming, in the middle of work, at times. Thankfully in between all the Christmas talk they have been busy growing seedlings and getting their own garden plots ready.  Today they got the frames all built with the help of himself, and began transplanting everything in.  It has been great to see how eager they are to grow and care for their little seedlings and how excited they are to have their own gardens.  Long may it last and fingers crossed that we have some delicious fresh, garden grown peas, beetroot, lettuces and carrots for our dinners soon.

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Herself and her new māra kai (garden)

Anyway …. with another week of Infant Massage to make snacks for and themselves chatter about Christmas kai I thought I would do a bit of a twist to my usual Snacker Ball recipe (click here to see that one).  As regular supermarket cherries aren’t actually vegan due to the colouring in them I have opted for cranberries to give it a ‘cheery, red’ look.  However you could always swap them out for cherries or other fruit and even add a bit of almond essence for a more ‘christmassy’ taste.  It is one of those recipes that you can play around with easily to get it just how you and yours love it. So without further ado  ….. here it is 🙂

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Some extras for themselves

Christmassy Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup cranberries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 100gms dark chocolate (broken up into small pieces)

-Soak the dates, chia seeds and cranberries in the water for 10-15 mins and then mash into a smooth paste – of course if you have a blender this is easier 🙂

-Stir in the other ingredients and mix until fully blended

-Shape the mixture into small balls (makes around 50 with this recipe) and put into a container.

-Refrigerate and enjoy

Hope this finds you all calm and without any Christmas stress mounting.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Chocolate chips cookie vegan style

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After a very wet trip to Kāpiti island today it was onto baking up a storm for week two of my Infant Massage course and enjoy the warmth of the oven as soon as we got back.  I traditionally make chocolate chip cookies for our morning tea kai this week, if there are no allergies in the group that is.  However as the first batch came out of the oven and herself (the official tester of all things non-vegan) had a taste we realised that I had used dark chocolate that was a bit too dark; that is too bitter for the sweet cookies I was aiming for.

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Kaka checking us out over on Kāpiti Island

So ……  I thought I would make a batch of another delicious chocolate chip cookies we have the recipe for and best of all himself and I could give them the taste test!  I found this little gem of a recipe thanks to Jordan Rondel and her post in a magazine within the NZ Herald.  I have only changed a few things from the original recipe due to my usual reasons; lack of ingredients, buslife, ease of baking and most importantly  …… pleasing all the different eating styles on this here bus. 🙂

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Warm out of the oven

Aside from pre-steaming of the pumpkin for mashing, then allowing it to cool, this is a really quick and easy recipe.  Those of you with pumpkin puree on your supermarket shelves may have an even quicker time of it 🙂  With himself being refined sugar free most of the time I also replaced the regular dark chocolate with some sugar free chocolate that we can get easily. It doesn’t really change the taste and of course you can always put in your favourite kind.  One of the things I really love about this recipe though is the fact that you can eat it raw or cooked. Hope it becomes one of your healthy (well mostly healthy) favourites too.

Vegan style chocolate chip cookies

  • 110gm of mashed pumpkin (I just steam some then mash)
  • 250gm ground almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 75 gm maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 80 gm broken up dark chocolate (I use Well Naturally so that himself can eat it)

-Mash the pumpkin and allow it to cool fully.

-Mix in all other ingredients except the chocolate.

-Add chocolate bits and mix well.

-Roll into small balls and place on a baking tray then flatten slightly with a fork (you may need to dip the fork in some GF flour to stop the sticking.

-Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden at 160C

-Enjoy!

Hope this find you warm and dry, enjoying the little comforts of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Crochet Cake – DF, GF, SF delight

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My plan was to share a new recipe on here today …. that is until I got word at the 11th hour that the Infant Massage Course  I was running (through the local Women’s Centre who needs a minimum number of participants) could go ahead.  Then it was all guns blazing to organize everything, including baking some morning tea!

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Looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow 

So I thought I would share, and make, an old favourite to take the pressure off a bit.  This cake got its name after I continually made it for a series of crochet ‘catch-ups’ we were having as a safe option for the GF amongst the group.  It is in fact a very simple and delicious gluten free, diary free and sugar free cake which, if served warm, can also be used as a yummy dessert.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as everyone else does …. it has sparked a big discussion between themselves now that we have happy chickens producing our eggs.  Are eggs, produced by happy hens, which occur regardless of what we do (a bit like fruit on a tree) allowable on a vegan menu?   I think that debate will go on for a bit!!

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Crochet Cake – aka diary free, gluten free, sugar free delight

1.5 Cups dates

1.5 Cups of boiling water

1/2 Cup Rice Bran

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas – mashed

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp GF baking powder (2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda, 1 part arrowroot)

1 Cup rice flour

1/2 Cup desiccated coconut

  • Soak dates in the boiling water for 10-15 mins (in a large bowl) before mashing into a smooth thick paste.  If this is still a bit watery you can heat it slightly.
  • Mix in olive oil to the date paste and stir until blended.
  • Add eggs and bananas to date/olive oil mixture and mix until blended fully.
  • Add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix until everything is blended.
  • Line a cake tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 50-60 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Near the end of baking you may want to cover the cake with tin foil to allow it to keep cooking without the top getting too dark. It does take a while to get it fully baked.
  • Enjoy warm with yogurt/whipped cream or allow to cool on a rack to enjoy later.

Hope this finds you enjoying lots of natural sweetness in your life and sunshine to warm your days.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Veggie Flatbread

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After a week of off and on rain is has been nice being in the garden a little, watching the strawberries turn red, the washing blowing on the line, themselves gardening and the chickens scratching.  Yes …. after what felt like an eternal wait for themselves we have got ourselves a little brood.

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The latest addition to the whānau

There was so much discussion about breeds and so much searching that I thought they would never decide however in the end, due to their first picks not being available, they went for a brown shaver each. In the meantime I had posted on FB about bantams and someone replied, so we quickly went from no chooks on Wed, to two on Thursday then four on Saturday!  They are taking their time getting used to each other, tending to stick in their pairs for now 🙂  I don’t think the Shavers had been outside at all so the first couple of days for them was quite funny to watch as they discovered wind, sun, rain, bird song and of course themselves snuggling them like crazy.

Anyway onto the recipe you say … and I shall.  This week is a great one for using up leftover veggies.  I have been experimenting with a biscuit recipe that called for mashed pumpkin and ended up with loads of leftovers.  Bread is one of my big loves, even though the feeling isn’t always mutual, so what better to make than flatbreads to get a bit of a doughy fix.  It is another super easy one that you can adapt to suit the tastes of your whānau (family).  I used mashed pumpkin and buckwheat flour this time however I have also made kumara and rice flour ones for a sweeter version and also plain old spud ones. Of course the flour you use is also interchangeable for those gluten munchers among you 🙂

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Frying flatbreads in the pan

They don’t take long to fry up if you already have the cold mashed veg so are great for an on the spot snack or addition to any meal … even breakfast.  Themselves really love them and heap all sorts of toppings on.  I’m sure you’ll find them a hit in your household too.  I haven’t put any amounts in this recipe as it really just depends on what you have …… any amount works as long as you get the doughy consistency to be able to shape your ‘discs’ for frying.

Veggie Flatbread

  • Mashed Veg (kumara, pumpkin, potatoe or any combo)
  • GF flour (buckwheat or rice works well)
  • Oil – for cooking)
  • Salt and/or herbs (personal taste to dictate here)

-Add salt and/or herbs into the mashed veg as you desire.

-Mix in enough flour with the mashed veggies to form a soft dough. It may still be a little sticky but this will work out with a bit of flour as you form into discs.

-Spoon or grab out balls of dough which you can then flatten (going around in your hand) into discs, using more flour to help. If the dough is soft and sticky then make a little thicker.

-Fry in the pan with a little bit of oil if desired until brown on each side.

-Enjoy with salad bits or whatever your favourite topping is 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz