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

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Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

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It is winter here in NZ, well almost, so what better way to warm up than making a big pot of yummy soup?  I do love soup it has to be said and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea quite happily however lately it has been a bit of a necessity for me as a way to rest my digestive system.

We have been lucky enough to have a free place to park our bus for the past 9 weeks, while himself has been working to restore the railway after earthquakes last year, beside a large paddock of a local Irish Pub.  While we haven’t had to pay for the spot we have felt obliged to spend a bit of money here to keep in the owner’s good books so we have been going out for tea up at the pub at least once a week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to cook however my digestive system has had other thoughts.  Being a vegetarian in a small country area has its downsides … namely that there are only a few items on the menu you can have and of these few selections most contain gluten, dairy, a combination of both, or are deep fried.

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View from across the paddock back to our bus … the kids love it!

It has been an exercise in having the things that effect me least or trying to just have things sparingly.  Trouble is that I’m not that good at sparingly and I’m really not a have one and be satisfied kind of girl!  So let’s just say that over the past 9 weeks my eating has been very ‘off’ and I am now paying for that prolonged accumulation of foods that my body just doesn’t agree with.  Over the last few days I have been experiencing pain due to diverticulitis (flaring up of diverticular disease) and I completely know why it has reared up …. I only have myself to blame and myself to sort it out.

My main way, and this may not suit everyone, is to rest my system as much as I can until the pain subsides and my body feels ‘normal’ again.  I tend to go liquid for a few days so that my body isn’t having to deal with too much in the way of digestion in the hopes that it will have more time to deal with healing.  So far this has worked, on the few occasions that I have needed it, however the best plan is always to keep my diverticular disease at bay by eating well, exercising and having good fluids.

As it is pumpkin time here, and we New Zealanders love our pumpkins, I have been enjoying making up some pumpkin soup and my latest pots have been a little different after getting a few ideas at a local community dinner.  I usually just love pumpkin soup with a few onions and garlic thrown in, nothing fancy just yummy pumpkiny goodness, however I may have changed that for good after adding some coconut cream and ginger to the mix.  This recipe doesn’t really have any measurements, sorry, aside from 1 tin of coconut cream which you may want to increase if you are making  a large pot of soup. Experiment with what you like using this simple recipe as a base.

crown pumpkin

Crown Pumpkin

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

  • 1/2 a large Crown Pumpkin (this is the best flavoured pumpkin for soups)
  • Ground or fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Veggie stock cube
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • Water

– Fry off the garlic in a pot with a little oil

– Add in pumpkin chopped into cubes (should come to almost the top of the pot)

– Pour in coconut cream (should cover 1/2 – 3/4 of the pumpkin in the pot) and then cover the rest of the pumpkin with water

– Bring to the boil and add in the stock and ginger

– Boil until the pumpkin is all soft.

– Take off the heat and mash until you have a thick soup.  You can add more liquid if you like it runny or mash less if you like your soup chunky.

– Enjoy!!

 

Hope this finds you free of pain and full of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

On the road again

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After many weeks in and around Christchurch we have finally made our way south. This journey marks the first time that we are all travelling in the bus with car happily being towed behind.  It was a new experience which also highlighted the things that we still need to do or learn on the bus.  We have already become experienced at removing the car and trailer in order to back track after being led past our destination, thanks to our Tom Tom, and trying unsuccessfully to reverse with said trailer and car attached.

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Our lunch spot at Mt Peel, South Canterbury

It has been a week of changes that is for sure.  Not only the change for the kids and I to be travelling with himself but also the change of not being around family and friends and also giving up on Facebook for the rest of this month (feels very strange not to update our travels daily and yet very refreshing at the same time) along with the weather suddenly changing from a heatwave yesterday to thunder, rain and hail today!  I guess that is what happens when you travel south as Autumn approaches.

So with the cold and stormy weather around us a warm afternoon tea treat was in order.  This is a basic scone recipe from The Edmond’s Cookbook which I have just halved in order to make it fit into our little bus oven.  It still makes the same amount of scones just a smaller version 🙂

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Afternoon tea warm from the oven

Scones

1.5 Cups Flour (white or brown)

25 gm Cold butter

3 Teaspoons baking powder

1/4 Cup of currents or sultanas (optional)

1/2 Cup and 1/8 Cup rice milk – or cow’s milk … we only use rice milk because we don’t stock the other:)

  • Preheat oven to 220 C
  • Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl
  • Cut the cold butter into small cubes and then ‘rub’ into the flour mix until it looks and feels like fine breadcrumbs.  Add fruit now if you are using it.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mix and pour in the milk
  • Using a knife mix the flour and milk by cutting across it until a dough begins to form.
  • Using your hands lightly bring the dough into one ball. You may need a little bit milk if it is a little crumbly or a little bit of flour if it is sticky.
  • On a floured tray flatten the dough into a rectangle shape that is still at least 1.5cm high or higher (tray to top of dough)
  • Cut into 16 squares and bake for 10 mins or until brown on top
  • Enjoy warm or cold with butter and jam

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Changes

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We are a week into our new/old home now and loving it.  The kids have been outside more than inside as they re-discover huts and hiding places along with playing with the chickens (yes we have up our quota to 3 now) and the neighbours.

View out the back down to the chooks

View out the back down to the chooks

I have already made a batch of kombucha which has brought with it some revelations of a different kind.  Each time we move (yes there has been quite a few shifts as my friends will tell you) we adjust to things – new water, new oven, new neighbours, new surroundings. This time however we have returned to a known and I have had that false sense of thinking I know all there is to come.  It is however the first time I have had a dog here, it is the first time I am home-educating here and the first time I am making kombucha.  The batch didn’t turn out that great (I think it is the water so will be off to get some good Petone stuff for the next batch) and it made me realise that while things seem the same they are in fact ‘same, same only different’ 🙂

The new batch of kombucha

The new batch of kombucha

My kombucha actually made me realise that I needed to take a step back and just go with the flow a bit. Accept what is happening rather than trying to replicate our life of 3 weeks ago. Part of me definitely feels the urge to get back into routine as soon as I can and create a life similar to our routine down south. Partly because I feel I should and mostly because that is just me – I like to be organized and know that ‘bases are covered’. The thing is that there is a bigger part of me saying ‘let it be, take your time’ and for once I am listening to that part in a bid not to have our days filled just quite yet.

It is hard in many ways (bloody hard for someone as ‘anal’ as me) yet it feels bloody good at the same time. It is great watching the kids play, explore and discover and it is great not to feel we need to rush off somewhere…… well not yet anyway 🙂

Herself creating

Herself creating

Hope this finds you at ease with the changes in your life.

Arohanui

Y