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

Some ways to stay sane this (any every) Christmas

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After venturing out today I was reminded how mental shopping, any shopping,  in December can be. Even the routine grocery shop turns into an expedition of willpower, tantrums (usually me) and requests.

In the midst of the madness today I remembered that last year I wrote a little something about keeping sane at this time of year so I thought I would share it here again. Enjoy 🙂

Here a few suggestions, in no particular order, of ways that you can retain your sanity this December and get through Christmas happily.  Some may grab your attention more than others and some may work for you better than others.  Give some of them a go and you might just be surprised how relaxed your Christmas can be.

  • Wait until Christmas Eve to put up the decorations and tree then do it as a family. Now this may sound like it will add more stress, in reality though you won’t have all those decorations continuously falling off due to kids or animals, you’ll save on power by not having to have it lit every night, there will be no temptation of squeezing, shaking and generally molesting the presents (my past time as a child).  It will make you feel calmer because best of all you’ll be able to sit in the evening without a tree to remind you that the ‘Silly Season’ is upon us.
  • Have a pot luck Christmas meal.  Yes a pot luck meal for Christmas.  Invite everyone around and let them know which kind of plate of food they need to bring. Some people who like the traditional meal may find it odd at first however they too will be converted when they see how relaxed the host/hostess is and how great it is to sample and share each other’s cuisine.  Best off all they will take all those plates home – yay less dishes to wash too.

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  • Write a list of people you wish to give presents to then decide at least ½ of them to give homemade gifts to and the other ½ to get present for under a certain price tag.  Homemade gifts don’t need to time consuming, expensive or elaborate.  Make a huge batch of biscuits (cookies for those in the North) and put them in a pretty container or even a few of your recipes printed onto some coloured card for those who have been wanting them.  There are lots of easy ideas out there and if you need more inspirations then look out for next week’s post 🙂
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  • Create a document on the computer with lots of photos from the past year inserted and share what you have been up to.  Then send this out my e-mail instead of Christmas cards where possible.  It will save you so much time, money and effort of writing all those addresses!  Some people still love getting mail in their letterbox (that includes me) so you could always print out the letter and photos to send to them.
  • Avoid the shops from December 15th onwards.  ‘WHAT???!!!’  You are asking.  ‘IS SHE CRAZY??!!’Well yes I am a little bit but honestly if you think about what shopping is like after this date then you’ll know what I’m talking about.  The shops are mental around Christmas!  Of course you will still need to go shopping for groceries, I’m just talking about a little forward planning of buying presents and the Christmas essentials (crackers, nibbles etc) before this date.  After all by the end of November most shops have started putting out their Christmas wares and discounts
  • Only have over the people that make you happy or go to the people who you want to be with.  Life is too short to waste energy and time with people that don’t make you shine.  It may be hard the first year to be selective, once you see the benefits though and how enjoyable the day can be you’ll never go back to being surrounded by energy sappers
  • Smaller is better – it really is.  Decide on one gift (that is one item) for each person you are going to get presents for.  It will make you really think about the gift and so it will be that much more from the heart.  If you find it feels too hard to think of one gift they maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be buying for them after all

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  • Go out to a neutral setting.  This can be a great way to get more people you love into one setting.  For those in the Southern Hemisphere it may prove a little easier when the sun is shining however I’m sure that with a few heads thinking there would be a neutral setting big enough to accommodate.  The great thing is that everyone is on equal ground, everyone has to bring goodies and everyone can leave when they wish
  • Have a Christmas walk as part of your Christmas Tradition.  Not only will it give you a break from the house, presents and food it will make you feel so so so much better.  Exercise will improve your mood, increase your energy and also help negate any Christmas over indulgences.
  • Try out some EFT or meditation. Both these techniques are free, able to be done anywhere and will help you to feel calmer and more relaxed even when the S#*% hits the fan!  Meditation can be as simple as finding a quiet spot and sitting with your eyes closed for 10 mins while clearing your mind.  EFT works by tapping on meridian points while talking about how you are feeling.  For a ‘how to’ guide for EFT check out www.eftuniverse.com

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Hope this helps in maintaining your sanity in the silly season.

Arohanui

Y