Energy on the go

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This past weekend we have been tramping (hiking for those of you outside of NZ) up the mountain which looks down on us in our bus which requires a bit of forethought as far as food goes.  Food has to be plentiful enough to keep everyone satisfied and yet light enough that the walk up to the hut isn’t too arduous for those carrying it, namely the parents.  With a Vegan thrown into the mix it took even more forethought …. onto the internet I go!

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Almost at the hut, looking down at Kaikōura

It didn’t take that much searching to find a fantastic recipe for Vegan (and raw) muesli bars which was created by Isle of Flora … right here in NZ! These are especially great for us as there was not dairy, sugar or gluten in them either.  As usual though, due to my nature and the fact that we are living on a bus the recipe got a few adaptations.  There weren’t too many however and they didn’t alter the recipe that much.  The end result was a nutritious, energy packed, tasty muesli bar which stood the test of time travelling up to 1100m in a backpack on a very warm day.

Before I share my adaptations I will just put a few comments about the method as some of you may be in the same position of not having amazing whizzing appliances ready to blend things at the flick of a switch.  In the original recipe  (which I followed almost to the word on my first attempt apart from using millet instead of quinoa as I thought we had run out of it) it says to pop nuts and dates into a food processor until blended smooth  …. this was my first stumbling block.  However after a bit of thought it was nothing that a strong plastic bag filled with said nuts and a lot of bashing with a rolling pin couldn’t solve. As for the dates I soaked them in 1/4 Cup of water and then mashed them within an inch of their sweet little selves! Obviously if you have these whizzy wonders of modern society then feel free to click onto Isle of Flora’s original recipe and go for it!  Otherwise stay tuned 😉

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The nut version

The soaking of dates did add a bit more moisture into the recipe which is where my adaptations came in as I increased some of the amounts to take up the moisture and added some psyllium husks.  The original recipe also calls for quinoa however it didn’t say if it was cooked or not so I took it upon myself to cook it.  I first by put 1.5 TB of quinoa (or millet) into a pot along with 7.5 TB water (1 to 5 ratio), then boiled it until almost all the water had gone.  Next I turned off the heat and covered for a while until there is no liquid left.  This gave me 3 TB of cooked quinoa which, as you’ll see, is the amount I used as opposed to Isle of Flora’s 2 TB.

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Enjoying some muesli bar at the hut

In my second attempt at these yummy little bars I left out the nuts altogether … there is only so much bashing a girl wants to do in her life …. and replaced the cup of nuts with a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin.  Any combination would be great though which you can change to suit your taste.  When it comes to taste it has to be said that themselves preferred the seed version although that may have been down to the millet in the first recipe rather than the nuts 😉  Anyway … here is the recipe and you have the original so you can decide from here on in.

Vegan Museli Bars (DF, GF, SF)

1 Cup of chopped nuts (or seeds)

1 Cup of dried dates

1/4 Cup of hot water

3 TB psyllium husks

3 TB chia seeds

1 TB pumpkin seeds

1 TB sunflower seeds

1 TB linseed

4 TB coconut oil

3 TB cooked quinoa (or millet) – see above for cooking method

6 TB desiccated coconut

  • Soak the dates in the water for 10 -15 mins then add chia seeds and mash until they form a smooth paste.
  • Add in all the other ingredients and mix until they are well blended.
  • Tip into a baking paper lined tin (mine is 20 x 17 cm) then press down smooth and evenly with the back of a dessert spoon.
  • Pop in the fridge and leave for at least 20 mins before slicing into bars.

Well that is it for this week … I hope this finds you fighting fit and climbing any obstacles in your way.

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

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

GF, DF Carrot Cake

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It is wonderful being back in our old stomping ground for the past week and we are looking forward to more of the same over the next 4 weeks.  We immediately noticed just how much warmer winter was up here though I have to say it doesn’t take long to acclimatize.  One of the best things about being here is catching up with friends.  I love watching the kids happily playing with their friends and over the past weekend we even managed to combine that with an overnight stay at the beach front … life can be hard! 😉

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Our overnight stop by the beach.

The real reason we are here though is for me to do some more teaching of Infant Massage (Yay!!) and with that comes lots of baking.  I always find it interesting the mix of people I have in each group and the dietary needs of each group.  As I like to make something yummy for our morning tea breaks I try to cater to those needs and so all the old GF and DF favourites come out to be baked like my all time favourite ….. carrot cake.

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Yummy with or without icing.

I got this recipe from a book a purchased many years ago in Ireland called ‘Eat with Joy on a Wheat-free Gluten-free diet’  By Ann O’ Dowd Fogary.   I have adapted it to be dairy free since then so below is what I have adapted the recipe to and I have put the original ingredients in brackets.  If you are keen on GF and DF recipes though I would definitely recommend her book as it is packed with great recipes for all kinds of meals and treats.

GF, DF Carrot Cake

100 gm rice flour

25 gm cornflour

1.5 tsp GF baking powder

2 eggs

75 gm  Runny honey (sugar)

100 gm Coconut oil (Butter)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

  • Melt the coconut oil (butter) and honey (sugar) together
  • Add the dry ingredients
  • Add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy
  • Add carrot.
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake at 190 C for 30-45 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean.

 

Hope this finds you enjoying the wonderful flavours of life!

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