Carrot Cake vegans can enjoy

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I love carrot cake!! It is by far my favourite among all cakes and something that I pine over every time we go anywhere near a cafe since becoming a vegan.  When I was just avoiding gluten and diary I had a great recipe, or I’d just scoff some regular cake knowing the upcoming consequences, though as it has eggs in it this is sadly no longer an option.

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Hitting the road and avoiding the rain for the weekend.

Thankfully I have the Flying Apron’s cookbook (by Jennifer Katzinger), with has loads of vegan/GF recipes, which includes a carrot cake recipe.  It is such a delicious version of carrot cake that even the non-vegan on the bus have given it a seal of approval by declaring ‘it almost tastes like real carrot cake’! 🙂 I have tried this recipe both using just walnuts and also using a mixed nut selection (cashews, brazil, hazelnut, almond and walnut) with equal success.  I don’t tend to ice the finished cake though as it is so sweet with all that maple syrup, however I guess that it just personal taste, and I usually don’t want to wait that long to get munching

I confess though that while I made two cakes in short succession last week (a taster cake and then a cake for Infant Massage) I completely forgot to take any photos of either of the cakes!  My dilemma for what to do was short lived as I quickly decided to make another one, all in the name of work of course :), however once started I realized that we actually didn’t have enough maple syrup and I really couldn’t be bothered driving all the way into town to get some.  So ……. I thought I’d just give it a whirl without the sweetner.

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My new favourite dessert.

While it was certainly sweet enough for us it was a bit on the dry side without the maple syrup.  Having a motto of ‘waste not, want not’  we did come up with a good remedy for our dry, unsweetened version, which was to have it as a dessert with a blob of Coconut Yoghurt.  It was actually really delicious I can tell you, so much so that I plan to make it again and have it warm as an actual planned dessert.  Now to think of more opportunities to make it as I’m pretty certain this will quickly be my new favourite dessert.   So I’ll share with you the recipe as found in Flying Apron’s cookbook (by Jennifer Katzinger) and let you decided how much sweet syrup you wish to put in ……… Good to have options in life 🙂

Vegan Carrot Cake

(slightly altered from the original in Flying Apron’s cookbook )

  • 1 Cup of brown rice flour
  • 1/2 Cup Buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Olive oil
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Cup maple syrup (or reduce as you wish)
  • 3/4 Cup Grated carrot
  • 3/4 Cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 Cup of chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1/2 Cup of raisins

-Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl – including carrot, nuts, coconut and raisins

-Add in the wet ingredients and mix well

-Pour into a baking paper lined tin and bake at 190C for around 40 – 45 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean.

-Remove from tin and cool before enjoying  ……. if you can wait that long.

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

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Vegan shortbread

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Another week and another recipe … I admit that I’m feeling quite smug to actually get a post out each Monday for over a month!  Sometimes we are constantly playing and experimenting with recipes then there are other times that all those old recipes are easiest option.  While I do post other things on here … planning a winter wellness series of posts soon, it seems that the food posts are always the favourite so I’ll oblige again this week at the end of a long weekend. 🙂

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Snow coming a bit closer to home after a winter blast of weather

This recipe comes from a great wee book that we got two years ago 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.

This shortbread recipe (she calls it Maple ‘Butter’ Bars) is quick, easy and very delicious.  We have altered it a little from her original as she uses Palm oil for some inexplicable reason while we prefer coconut oil, which is easy to get in the supermarket and a little more environmentally friendly.  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 the excess off the top then return to the oven for a little extra baking with the same delicious results.

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Scored into bite size pieces while still warm and 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.  Anyway it went down a treat last week so I thought that I would share the recipe with you.  Have a play and see what your favourite flour combo is 🙂

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

Quick and Easy Snacks

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The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap.  So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.

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Making the most of the good weather …. walking up Hapuku River

These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home.  That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway, and combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls.  Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves.  Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it 🙂

These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily.  I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that.  Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds).  We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.  

Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!

Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground LSA (optional)

-Soak the dates 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 45 with this recipe) and put into a container.

-Refrigerate and enjoy

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Packed up and ready to go to class

Hope this finds you all enjoying tasty treats with your loved ones.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

All things sweet

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So the recipe this week is surely the furthest I can get from becoming healthy, being vegan, gluten free or sugar free!  Out of the five weeks of baking I do for the parents at Infant Massage this recipe is the most sugar laden … and probably the most irresistible of them all.  Herself also loves it when I make these because it is the one week she doesn’t have a little (vegan) brother competing for the left overs … just her father at the end of the day 🙂

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Drying the covers for the upcoming class.

So as the covers (from the duvet that everyone sits/lies on) have been washed and are getting blown dry on the line ready for Wednesday’s class I thought I would share what I made last week for everyone. They are in hot demand and so in between guarding cookies from certain wee hands, offering them at Infant massage and letting herself and her father enjoy the leftovers I only just remembered about a photo as the last few were about to be devoured  ……. herself did suggest that I make more so you could all see a full batch, fresh and warm, though I have declined that offer 🙂

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Even this photo was hard to get with little hands trying to nab them!

It is actually thanks to herself that we have this recipe as she found it many years ago when researching how the chocolate chip came into existence ….. Thanks Ruth Wakefield …. so I guess it is only fair that she gets the spoils.  It has been a rare treat ever since and having two vegans on the bus has made it even rarer and it has been over a year now since these beauties were fragrancing -yes, it is a real word – our wee bus.

Though it is sugar laden you can reduce some of this by using 90% chocolate or reducing the sugar if you are so inclined.  You can also add in some nuts to replace some of the chocolate.  Another version I have tried was with white chocolate, which I bought by mistake, which everyone loved.  I’ll leave it to you to play with and enjoy though I’d love to hear about any good variations you find.

Chocolate Chip Cookies 

This is half the original recipe and still makes around 45 biscuits.

1 1/8 Cup Flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

125 gm softened butter (1/2 Cup)

3/4 Cup raw/brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 large egg

1 Cup of broken up dark chocolate (the darker the better and the less sugar). One block is more than enough.

  • Pre-heat oven to 190 C
  • Melt the butter and beat with the sugar until blended
  • Add the egg and vanilla essence, mixing well.
  • Mix in the flour and baking soda.
  • Add chocolate in and stir well into the dough
  • Drop teaspoon sized balls of dough onto a lined tray (baking paper is good).  They will flatten and expand on baking so leave room for this
  • Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the cookies begin to flatten and brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack …. if you can wait that long!!

Hope this finds you enjoying life’s sweet treats, happy, healthy and content.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz/

Paraoa Panana – Banana Bread

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It is Infant Massage time again and that means bringing out the old favourites as well as a few new recipes to keep those parents nourished.  I love teaching the classes and seeing all the little ones soaking up good massage vibes as well as the parents enjoying my baking. It is definitely one of the best bits of my job ……. and as for themselves as they always get the left overs, so they think it is the best bit of my job too!

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Infant Massage in action last year

Last week was the first session and I decided to go for good old Banana Bread (Paraoa Panana in Māori).  This recipe is a repeat however it really is so easy and so yummy that it is worth bringing it to the foreground again 🙂  I found this particular little treasure in a free magazine from a local health shop a few years back and since our bus-hold (thinking this is our version of house-hold) love banana bread it has been a very well used recipe.

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A few pieces left over for themselves

It comes from a book by Daisy Dagg and Amber Vito called Kai for Kids eBook and while the original recipe had half honey and half maple syrup in it we have just replaced the honey with all Maple Syrup without much change to the flavour.  I’m sharing the gluten version this time however we have used GF flour with success in the past (see post from Feb last year) …. in fact the only reason I’m not baking it for the class with Gluten Free Flour is so that I won’t scoff all the left overs this time!! 😉

Paraoa Panana (or Vegan Banana Bread)

1 Cup Wholemeal flour

3/4 Cup self raising flour (or regular white then add 1 tsp baking powder to the recipe)

1/3 C melted coconut oil

1/2 C pure maple syrup

4 mashed bananas (large)

1/2 C shredded / desiccated coconut

2 Tb chia seeds

1/2 C rice milk (or other milk alternative)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • Melt coconut oil in a pot and stir in the maple syrup, rice milk, vanilla essence and mashed banana
  • Add in the chia seeds and stir well
  • Add in all the other dry ingredients and mix until blended well
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and bake at 180 Celsius for around 35-40 mins or until a cake-tester (skewer) comes out clean.
  • Cool and Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you surrounded by those who love and believe in you, enjoying the present moment and nibbling on something nice.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney

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Feijoa season is upon us here in NZ and we are consuming them by the dozen! They are one of my favourite fruit and one that until very recently you never saw in the supermarket which made it all the more special and tasty when they were in season.  One of the best things about them though is that there is never any doubt when they are ready as they fall when ripe and lay just waiting for you to come along and collect them.

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Monster Feijoas from a neighbour

However even I have limits of how much fresh feijoa I can consume, so when we were gifted a huge box of huge feijoas it was time to search out my chutney recipes.  I do have a great feijoa recipe (shared it a while back if you want an alternative) which is super easy however as I was searching for my paper copy of it I stumbled across a chutney recipe from my grandmother which looked like it might just hit the spot on this occassion.

The thing that really appealed to me however was the name (Mt Peel Chutney) as I just been doing a bit of research on the Māori name for Mt Somers, where our family originally settled, to add to my pepeha. for my next Māori lesson.  While they are different places they are in the same area, for those of you outside NZ, or Canterbury, Mt Somers is only about 40 min drive to Mt Peel, and our family worked, had land and lived all around that area.  So …… I’m guessing this recipe may just be a family one, as I couldn’t find anything online with same name. Well that’s my story now anyway and I’m sticking to it 😉

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Ready to bottle up

Below is the feijoa version of this chutney that I have made though the original recipe actually says 2lb fruit (just under a kg).  As feijoas are quite ‘juicy’ you’ll see that I have increased the amount of fruit to 1.5 kg just to give it a bit more chunk rather than liquid.  Being my usual, time efficient, self I simply top and tail the feijoa and roughly dice. Then once the mixture has boiled and softened I give it a quick mash to help blend it all.  I have also used coconut sugar for the first time, not because I think it is better than sugar (honey is out for the vegan’s on the bus) but because himself has decided he doesn’t want to eat refined sugarcane anymore ….. always keeping us on our toes that one!!

Anyway here it is and I’m sure you will be able to adapt it to your own kitchen supplies and preferences, just as I constantly do. 🙂

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney – Feijoa version

400 gm coconut sugar

500 gm raisins

750 ml white vinegar

1.5 kg feijoa (topped and tailed then diced)

4 cloves garlic

A few good grinds of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Optional: If you like a really spicy chutney then add in some fresh chopped chilies

  • Boil fruit, sugar and vinegar together till soft and brown.
  • Give a quick mash or blend if you want a smoother chutney.
  • Take off the heat and add the seasonings. Stir well
  • Bottle and label.  Heat jars in the oven before hand to sterilize and avoid cracking with hot chutney.

See, couldn’t be easier …. just my kind of recipe!!  Hope this finds you relaxing and easing through life with joy.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Something for the cold nights

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Here we are back in the South Island after a quick trip up North for himself to do work.  For the first time I was really looking forward to getting back to the South Island and parking up the bus, which has to be a good sign I think,  and themselves were super excited to get back so they could snuggle some chickens!

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Themselves with Bertie and Gertie

While the days are gradually getting shorter and cooler I have been enjoying a delicious evening drink thanks to a post from the Minimalist Baker.  I have pretty much followed it by the book this time (I know shock, horror …. or as a friend used to say hock, shorror!)  Though as we didn’t have any ground black pepper in the bus, much to the disgust of himself, I decided to add a few grinds from our pepper grinder.  I’m not sure of the overall impact, as combining pepper and turmeric magnifies their effects, however I do know that I keep forgetting about my pepper ‘grinds’ and biting down on the lumps I find and, well ….. spicy bursts do occur!!

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Straight out of the fridge 

Anyway here is the recipe and to see more then please visit Minimalist Baker’s post.  You only need an old jar to shake the dry ingredients up in first then pour in the wet and stir.  I have been storing it in the fridge and using 1 heaped teaspoon full of an evening with some warmed rice milk.  There are loads of health benefits to this turmeric drink (which you can see on the original post) however I confess that I’m more about the taste which is why I’m still using this recipe, drinking it, enjoying it and sharing it with you 🙂

Evening Turmeric Drink Mix

4 TB ground turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground black pepper – or if you’re daring a few grinds of the old pepper mill 🙂

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground clove

1 Tb melted coconut oil

4 Tb maple syrup

2 Tb hot water.

  • Mix (or shake) the dry ingredients up in an old glass jar – gotta love recycling!
  • Pour in the wet (water, oil and syrup) and stir until everything is blended.
  • Store, sealed, in the fridge until needed.
  • Mix 1-2 tsps with warmed milk (or milk alternatives) and stir well before enjoying.
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Almost ready to enjoy

Until next time I hope this finds you happy, healthy and revelling till your heart’s content

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz