Vegan Goulash

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Goodness two weeks in a row and I’m on here writing …. It seems I’m on a roll!! With the extra sunshine and daylight we are getting now it certainly makes it easier to fit in using the computer without depleting our solar energy supplies. The other added bonus is that themselves have been outside playing around the farm and exploring much more which equals undisturbed head space for me 😉  I love spring time especially when you’re out in the country.

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Themselves taking the compost down to the hens

This week is a recipe that is becoming a strong favourite in the bus and one which I’m more than happy to make as not only is it a ‘one pot wonder’, it also gets lots of veggies into themselves.  I found this recipe when himself first decided to become vegan and I was doing due diligence to ensure that I wasn’t going to leave him malnourished ;).  The original recipe has long since been left behind though as I have adapted it, once again, to our cupboard stock.  It is a super quick and easy meal to make which has the bonus of being very filling too.  I find it great for those days when we are out late as I can just cook the veg and pasta a little less then leave it all sitting in the pot (off the heat of course) to keep ‘cooking’ in the heat until we get home to warm and eat.  Himself has taken to sprinkling nutritional yeast on it while herself prefers grated cheese.

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Ready to eat

Vegan Goulash

  • Gluten free pasta (around 125gm dry)
  • 400gm can of beans (kidney or cannellini)
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Veg boullion
  • Onion
  • Vegetables of your choice (celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans etc)

– Bring water to the boil, add pasta and par cook the pasta in a pot until it is nearly soft. Turn off the heat and leave in the water.

– Rinse and drain the beans

– Dice the onion and cook, using a little bit of oil, in a large pot until it is soft.

– Add chopped veggies to the onion and fry off a little more, adding oil if needed.

– Add veg boullion (we use a heaped teaspoonful to start with) and then add the diced tomatoes.  Fill the can again with water and add this too.  If it isn’t covering all the veg then add a little more water until it is.

– Cook until the veggies are soft or to your preference.

– Add a few tablespoonfuls – sorry I’m a bit useless with the measurement side of this adapted recipe 😉 – of tomato paste, the beans and the drained pasta.

– Taste and add salt and pepper, more veg bouillon or other flavourings you like.

– Mix until combined and cook a little longer to warm the beans then you’re ready to serve.

– Enjoy by itself or with some chunks of bread.

Hope this finds you with the sunshine warming your body and the wind at your back, blowing out any cobwebs 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

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Vegan Pizza

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Here I am … back again in NZ and in the bus blogging about food.  We have just spent a wonderful 2.5 weeks away in Thailand immersing ourselves the culture, food and heat.  It took us a while to get used to a new rhythm of eating out for each meal, not having to do dishes, seeing amazing sights, getting our chores done for us and relaxing however not really that hard to adjust to. 😉  Being able to see the food being cooked and going through the markets was a real eye-opener for themselves and one I’m sure they will remember for a while to come.

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One of our eating spots in Bangkok

With the heat there tends to be more liquids comsumed and the appetitie just doesn’t seem as big. Now that we are back though the body is definitely feeling different and the difference in diet ….. going from lots of rice and noodle soups to our usual (and a bit stodgy) fare has left it feeling more than a little ‘blah’.  In addition to this it was our boy’s birthday over the weekend so there appeared all the treats that he had requested and missed by him while in Thailand.

Aside from some Vegan baking there was also a request for vegan pizza which I have recently been making with a damper base.  This damper base super quick and easy to make and much more obliging to be stretched or rolled into shape than my usual pizza base.  So it is my number one go to base at the moment ;).  While himself didn’t want anything much on his … as the photo bears witness …. this is delicious with more veg (grated root vegies, sprouts, mushrooms and fresh herbs) or with some refined beans, avocado, cornchips and salsa for a different twist.  For those of you non-Vegan (to which I am assured are the majority, by himself) a bit of cheese and/or sour cream on top finishes it all off.

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A little sparse but just as requested by our boy.

Vegan Damper/Pizza base

makes one large pizza or 2 small (22x27cm)

  • 1.5 cups white flour
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • Pinch/grid of salt
  • your selection of dried herbs (basil, sage and thyme are nice)

– Pre-heat the oven to around 180-200 Celsius

– Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until they form a dough.  There is no need to knead however you may want to stick the dough together a bit with your hands.

– Divide into half if you are making two pizzas or leave in one lump then stretch and roll out the dough onto a baking paper lined tray.

– Apply topping as you wish and bake for around 10 mins or until cooked.  I gauged this by the base rising up a little in ‘bubbles’ or by the cheese melting on non vegan ones.

– Enjoy!

Until the next blog (whenever that may be) I hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying life to the full.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Drowning in Goodness

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The time just seems to slip away on me at the moment.  The days are getting warmer and sunnier and as a consequence the opportunities to do more are mounting up ….. yes, I feel that I am currently drowning in goodness!

This is a first-world, privileged problem to be sure yet that doesn’t make it feel any less real and at times I have to pinch myself a bit and say ‘WTF …. you have so much.  If there is too much going on let go of something.’  However this is where my biggest fault lies …. I’m useless at letting go!! I like to thing I’m getting better on the material side however that internal voice that keeps telling me I need to do more is constant.

As a consequence I sign myself up to too may things or decide I want to get too many things done in a certain time frame …. I accept the free language course, I plan a workshop, I offer to volunteer, I begin to re-vamp website, I write that blog – yay, doing that ;), I create new power-points, I work on an EFT programme all at the same time as home-schooling, keeping house and trying to keep sane! Yep … so really feeling like I am drowning in goodness.  How do you let go of all that goodness though?  How do I prioritize which gets my attention first?  Usually it is the loudest ones that get first dibs … themselves that is ;).

So here I am sharing a thought instead of the power-point I was hoping to have completed or doing course work that I was hoping to finish.  Here I am letting go of all the demands (for the next hour or so at least) and going to enjoy the fresh air in my lungs and the Spring sunshine on my face.

Sometimes a break

I hope that if you’re reading this and feeling the same you can join me in my life-ring … before diving back into it all.

Arohanui

Y

Home comforts of GF bread on the road

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So, I know … it has been a while since I posted, longer than I planned anyway.  It seems that one down side to bus life in Winter is the reduced solar power we have.  My old laptop is the one thing on the bus that needs to be plugged into a regular (i.e. not solar) plug and sucks up the power fast which means that I either have to duck into the library to use it for any length of time or wait until a sunny day! Well here it is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I thought I would get onto a blog post at last.

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Themselves in the bus … looking south to Oaro

We are just back from a quick overnighter down the coast.  It was only 30 mins away and yet with SH1 closed it was such an awesome break.  Parked up right on the beach without the hum of traffic made us all feel very spoilt and themselves spent hours on the rocky shore exploring and playing.  It is wonderful having our home with us where ever we travel and being able to have those home comforts too.  One home comfort I have been enjoying lately is some homemade Gluten Free bread (and toast).  The shop stuff is good but it usually comes a quite a price and invariably gives me a bad case of wind …. enough said!!

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Slices so well and I even got an ‘It looks just like shop bread’ seal of approval comment.

Anyway … this recipe is one that I shared last year but if you are like me and completely forgot about it while basking in the Summer sun then here it is again.  Actually I have a lovely mum from one of Infant Massage Courses to thank for the reminder and I’m so glad she did.  This loaf recipe is super easy!!  It is my favourite kind of recipe in fact … the chuck it all in and bake kind ;).  I have changed it only a little since last time so as to accommodate my vegan child however you can’t really tell anything is different and it makes a fantastic loaf.  This GF loaf will last quite a few days in an airtight container, slices really well and can be frozen for toasting later.  I have to say, with many other recipes tried and tested, that this really is my favourite Gluten Free bread recipe. Hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp black chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water and yeast and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.

-Enjoy!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and warm,  possibly enjoying some yummy GF toast 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Back home again

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Well after 3 weeks of staying in foundation-ed accommodation rather than our wheeled one, due to a right royal break down, I for one am very happy to be back home on the bus, happy to have my home comfits and happy to be in my kitchen again …. God I never thought I would utter those words!

As it was an unexpected, side of the road (thank goodness in cell phone coverage), night time break down it was a bit of a mad rush to collect everything we needed and get out of our tilting bus before the tow truck came to collect.  Our little Honda Jazz doesn’t have that much room in it either after a big dog, mouse in a cage, 2 children and 2 adults are within so it was a bit of a haphazard pack to say the least.  As it was the tow truck didn’t come until the next morning … All Blacks seemed to have priority there and little did we know at the time it was going to be three weeks before our beloved would be with us again.

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On her way to the mechanic the next morning.

Had I known I probably would have packed differently.  I would have packed better with a lot more thought involved.  I didn’t though and we still survived 😉  It is strange though when you have to stay/live in other people’s homes especially when they have been set up for holiday makers.  They don’t have the same ‘essential’ items you have, pantry basics aren’t there, ovens function differently – if at all, things are ‘missing’ that you would normally use.   So you have to make do, you improvise, you shop a little differently knowing that soon you’ll be re-united with your kitchen and you take a lot of deep breathes ….. ok, maybe that was just me using the blunt knives! 😉

As we thought it would be only a week we began with the ‘it’s only a few days’ attitude … the shop bread would do (after a lot of reading to ensure it was vegan), baked beans became a staple food and cereal was more sugary than normal, much to the kids delight.  Then we realised it was going to be more than a week so the veggies started to appear more frequently and the bags of food we had grew from 1 to 3. That is until we got the call that it was going to be longer still at which point the pantry staples began to be brought, flour and yeast for making bread again … we had all tied of the shop stuff by this point, and I even ventured to make some bread in a rice maker when our oven wouldn’t work in the holiday home ….. our food store was beyond the bag point now and I was stocking cupboards instead.

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Rice Cooker bread … yes it can be done with a lot of patience for the long slow bake.

Now though, we’ve been home for 3 days and it is awesome!  Sure the cupboards here are bulging a little with double ups as I tried to fit everything in but it is so nice to have everything we need (not what anyone else needs clearly) to cook and eat smoothly.  I’m guessing themselves are feeling the same as they are back into cooking tea mode with a flourish ….. tonight was himself with pineapple rings (egg free batter of course for the vegan), homemade beans (yes, beans are an obvious favourite now) and chips.

We are still on the homemade ‘take away’ menu many nights however their range is expanding and tomorrow herself has planned a 3 course Vegan meal.  I think the ‘Masterchef Australia’ watching with Nan has been a bit of a help too as I heard her explain that there would be a side of lettuce boats with carrot, peas and dressing ;). So I’m loving being back home, loving being able to create healthy food and most of all loving that someone else is cooking evening meals! There is a lot to be said for being home and having those home comfits.

Hope this finds you all enjoying your own dwellings where ever and whatever they are.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Vegan goodness

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So our latest culinary challenge, sorry, adventure has been delving into the world of veganism as our youngest has decided that he is now Vegan.  He has always been a bit of a picky eater around meat and is constantly worried about animal welfare so it really didn’t come as a huge shock when he announced a month ago that he was vegetarian and then followed up a week later with ‘ I think I’ll give being a vegan a try.’

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The last few pieces of our vegan shortbread.

It actually hasn’t been that bad and if anything it has been awesome not having him tempted by all the rubbishy chocolate treats that abound in every shop.  There are 2 main stumbling blocks I have hit so far though; 1) Eating out and 2) Baking.  Eating out is a bit of a mine field as it seems every thing is out on the children’s menu … have you noticed how every kid’s menu is deep fried meat of some description … and most things suitable on the adult menu are either too spicy or so expensive it makes us think twice. Thankfully we don’t eat out that much, the thought it takes is beyond my mental powers at the moment, and when we do venture out at least he is having a fairly healthy meal unlike before.

Which brings us to the second point ….. soooo many recipes rely on eggs (well the ones I currently make anyway) and even though we are pretty good at replacing the dairy it is taking me a while to get my head around using egg replacements (chia seeds and water is the main one I’m using at the moment).  I have been doing the research though to ensure that we get all the good bits into him and thanks to some great Vegan recipe books from the local library  I have found some great savoury and sweet baking ideas to keep everyone (well half of us to be honest) happy.  The one recipe that has been made the most so far is courtesy of Jennifer Katzinger’s Flying Apron Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  This delicious ‘Vegan Shortbread’ (my name for it as I have returned the book and forgot the name sorry) is so easy and so delicious that I’m sure you’ll be whipping it up numerous times too.

flying apron

What I’m putting below is a half recipe of what is printed in the book as I found that was more than enough.  I also cut it into more squares than the recipe in the book indicates as we found it very rich and a little square of it was enough.  If you enjoy this recipe though I would recommend checking out the whole recipe book as has so many more delicious things to make. 😉

Vegan shortbread

  • 2 & 1/4 cups Rice Flour
  • a grind of salt
  • 1 Cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)

– Melt the coconut oil and then add the maple syrup

– Blend all the ingredients together.

– Pour and flatten the mixture into a baking paper lined baking dish

– Bake for 15 min or until the edges are slightly brown

– Remove from the oven and cut into squares while it is still warm in the tin

– Slide onto a cooling rack and break into separate peices when it is fully cooled.

– Enjoy!

Well that is it from me on a cold and snow predicted evening. I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and enjoying life at whatever temperature you have it at. 😉

Arohanui

Y

Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons

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It is funny just how much I use coconut in my recipes considering I have always thought of myself as not enjoying coconut things. Anyway …. it does seem to be a go to sweet addition to many recipes which allow for taking out sugar or other fillers.  I think all of my offerings, bar one, for morning tea during my 5 week infant massage course have coconut added!  Not that anyone seems to mind and this week my offering of chocolate peppermint macaroons was a bit of a hit so I thought I would share it one here for everyone to find.

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All that is left from a batch of 30!

I did get this recipe, before I adapted it a bit, from Hungry Cub.  She had shared a delicious raspberry recipe however, in usual form for me, because I did not have all the ingredients I opted for a chocolate peppermint one.  Mine look no way near as beautiful or perfect as hers either ….. I tend to go for the natural, just chucked together look it seems and not just in my baking  either ;).  Anyway (looks aside) they taste yum, are very easy to make and best of all they are dairy free and gluten free!

Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons

2 Cups of shredded coconut

1 1/4 Tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 Tablespoons runny honey

a few drops of peppermint essence

2 egg whites

For the coating – optional

50gm 90% dark chocolate (this is dairy free)

1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 C
  • Mix the coconut and cocoa together and mix well.
  • Add the honey, vanilla and peppermint essence into the the coconut mixture and make sure it is well blended.
  • Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
  • Fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
  • On a baking paper lined tray put teaspoonful size piles of the coconut mixture and bake for 10-12 mins or until they are browning a little on top.
  • Once the macaroons are cool fully melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler (a small bowl over a pot of boiling water is my method).
  • Dip the base of each macaroon into the chocolate and place on a baking paper lined tray to set.  If you have extra you could also drizzle some chocolate over the top of the macaroons for an extra chocolaty treat.
  • Place the tray into the fridge to set fully and store there until serving or in-between servings if they last that long!
  • Enjoy

Well that is it for this week.  Until next time when I will probably share some Vegan recipe we are trying, now that my boy has decided that is his preferred eating, I hope this finds you healthy, happy and enjoying all the sweetness life has to offer.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz