Back in the Hood

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Funny that just over 2 weeks ago I was thinking we were losing our sense of community and yet since then (and my ‘wake-up’ call from a friend) I have been seeing it, feeling it and touching it everywhere.

I think though that this weekend was the highlight of that.  We had gone down to Christchurch to drop off herself at a Guide camp, so decided to park up the bus outside our friend’s place to have a good catch up….. and eat some delicious GF and vegan hand-crafted Canadian perogies (sorry, a secret recipe so no sharing that today) .  We haven’t had the bus at their place since the beginning of the year and yet as himself was letting the dog stretch his legs a neighbourhood boy came up to him, smiling and saying ‘Hey, it’s YOU …. I know YOU!  You’re back!’.

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Parked up in Suburbia

I love the idea that we (or maybe more correctly our big green bus) are part of his community.  I love the idea that he was excited to see that we had returned.  I love the idea that to him it seemed completely normal that a 1956 Bedford bus would be parked up in his street.  Clearly, community is everywhere when you’re looking and open to it …. I for one am very grateful that I have begun to open my eyes to that fact.

I hope this finds you embracing your own community in whatever shape it takes.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Pancakes for all

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Pancakes have always been a favourite for certain members in our house (now house-bus) and it is one of the first things that themselves could cook independently.  The process has been a long, messy and at times smoky affair however I try to keep my focus on the fact that they are making food without me having to participant!

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Tucking into the good stuff!

Since himself became vegan, pancake making has changed quite a lot.  First came the arguments (between the two of them) that herself couldn’t make some if he couldn’t eat them, then can the moaning that they couldn’t make anything yummy, then the searching of recipes to find a vegan pancake batter and then the making of two separate batches (a lot of deep breathing went with this stage – by me that is in case you wondered).  Finally we have come to the resolution that actually the vegan pancakes are just as yummy as the regular ones and so we only have to make one batch …. thank goodness for that 😉

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Make sure it looks almost cooked (lots of air bubbles and no runny batter) on the top side before you flip.

Themselves usually make pancakes as a weekend breakfast but as these pancakes take a bit longer to cook than the regular recipe, for some reason, it is worth factoring that into your timeline before staring.  Just a bit of patience in letting them cook a bit longer with definitely give you a better result (see notes with the photo above) … not that my two notice in their eagerness to munch.  Himself has he plate, knife, peanut butter and banana ready before the mixture is even in the bowl sometimes! Other times they will have them as a tasty dessert with a bit of fruit and Vegan Ice-cream 😉

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Dessert pancakes

I can’t remember where we found this recipe so apologies if you are reading this and recognize it as yours, also many thanks for facilitating peace within our tiny space.  These pancakes are quick and easy which is ideal for little bakers and creators.  Best of all they don’t need an egg (I know …. duh) but this means that for all you non-vegans out there when you do run out of eggs you now have a stand-by recipe up your sleeve.  We have only tried this with wheat flour however one day, maybe when I think I’d like some pancakes, I will attempt it with some GF stuff. Until then here it is ….

Vegan Pancakes

  • 1 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C milk (we use rice but I’m sure any non-dairy one would be good)
  • 2 TB veg oil (we use olive)
  • 2 TB water

– Mix everything thoroughly in a bowl with a fork, adding more milk if needed to get a good consistency

– Heat a frying pan and then lower the heat before adding the mixture.  You can add a little oil for cooking if you like.

– Spoon mixture into a frying pan and cook until the top had lots of air-bubbles in it then flip – see photo above

– Enjoy with your favourite toppings

Until next time  I hope this finds you enjoying the tasty bits of life.

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.

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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

Honey Biscuits

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For a long time I have wanted to find out more about the ‘Blood Type’ Diet.  It is something that I have heard about many times over the years and something that intrigued me …… well ok, truth be told most things about eating, food and health interest.  Anyway the other day while perusing the local op shop (charity run second hand shop for those of you outside NZ) I managed to find a copy for only $2.  For that price I couldn’t really resisted could I?!

It has been a very interesting read.   Most things that are recommended for my Blood type are actually things that I found true for myself through listening to my body, monitoring my health and well-being over the last 15 years.  All things I learnt about myself well before reading this book.  It was a kind of confirmation both for myself and added a bit of belief to the lifestyle changes he was advocating.  There were also some things that it recommended as being beneficial for me which I know through experience aren’t which goes to show that we are all individual and still need to listen to our own bodies and tailor our lifestyles to that rather than a set formula.  All of that aside though there were also some recipes contained in the book which. of course, I was eager to sample.

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These little sweeties come out a bit like madelines in my mind.

This recipe was a carob chip cookie recipe however there seems to be a bit of a shortage of carob chips in this particular small rural township, if there ever was a supply, so I decided to simply try it without.  I’m not sure when I’ll ever be able to make a recipe as written in a cookbook!!  I’m too eager to try them out and too lazy to do the extra shop required ;).  They turned out very yum despite the missing carob chips and very sweet due to the honey component.  If you’re wanting an easy gluten free, dairy free cookie recipe then I would definitely give this one a try.

Honey Biscuits

(as adapted from Eat Right for your Type’s Carob Chip Biscuits)

  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 175 ml honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 215 gm rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp Mixed spice or allspice or any spice you like 😉

-Preheat oven to 190 C (or in my case as close to that as possible)

-Mix everything together in a bowl. The mixture will be quite runny still.

-Place teaspoonful size lump onto a baking paper lined tray.  They will grow a bit.

-Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden.

-Place on a baking tray to cool before enjoying them with a cuppa.

 

Hope this finds you enjoying life with lots of energy to spare.

Arohanui

Y

 

Autumn breakfast options

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Here we are back in coverage, enjoying a beautiful autumn on the east coast while parking up for the next couple of months in Kaikoura while himself does some work to restore the local rail network after earthquakes last October. It has been a busy 2 weeks of travelling from the bottom of the South Island up to nearly the top of the South Island while catching up with friends and family along the way.

Many of the aspects in our life took a back seat (such as school work, blogging and journalling) to the travels and socialising however domestic life continues regardless of the location or dwelling.  Dishes still need to be done, floors swept – yes, swept as we lack any modern devices at the moment to assist … soon though my dreams may become reality 🙂 – and food prepared.

I have continued to make our bread, which is a bit of a staple food now, and as I let you know the other week our ferments are still on the go.  Another staple I have been making at the moment is muesli so that now that some of the other cereals have been used up we have an option besides toast in the morning.  Muesli is a great autumn transition food before the winter porridge appears and is also a fantastic way to get a few more nutrients into themselves without much effort on my behalf which makes it a very appealing plan!

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Warm and toasty out of the oven … hard for themselves to resist especially with some creamy raw milk we were given!

This muesli is super easy as it is really just chucking in what ever you like and then drizzling with oil before baking in the oven, of course you can also have a raw version by omitting the oil and oven part.  I have been making muesli for a few years with a honey and oil drizzle, then when the price of honey went up and we noticed the effects of honey on our youngest I began to just use oil without any objections.  What you don’t know doesn’t hurt you I say! 🙂  I do add a few dates chopped up and coconut so that is a fair bit of sweetness to soothe the soul.  Below is what I use to create our morning muesli however it is really just a guide for you to explore and create your own, dependent on tastes. I don’t use a measure either (sorry), rather I just chuck in a bit of everything with oats being the majority of the mix

Morning Muesli

Oats – largest portion

Pumpkin Seeds

Sunflower Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Desiccated Coconut

Dates – chopped

Almonds -raw

Olive oil or similar (optional: omit if you want raw muesli)

  • Mix everything thoroughly, especially the chopped dates as they will clump together if not mixed into the dry ingredients.
  • Drizzle olive over the top and mix well again.
  • Bake in an oven at around 200 C, watching and mixing occasionally until it is golden brown.

Play and enjoy.  Until next time I hope this finds you all basking in the sunshine of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz