Sometimes life takes over

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What a  time we have had of it this past week and a bit …. all our plans have been turned on their heads and I am more than a little discombobulated by it all!  I actually had  started a whole rant blog about everything then after some sleep (two days of 4am mornings can really alter your perspective on life) and a few days to process all the changes to our plans ahead I decided I wouldn’t bore you with it 🙂

Let’s just say that 3 breakdowns, 2 mechanics and 1 tow truck later our bus home has decided it has had enough of travel for a while.  Thankfully we were able to get her back to our base in the North Island (after she overheated at 6am on our way to the ferry) and sadly there she sits for the next few months …. until we can solve the root issue and get her back on the road.

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So here, as promised 2 weeks ago, is another recipe rather than a mad rant about our first world problems 🙂  This week is a super easy vegan sausage recipe that I found when our boy decided that being Vegan wasn’t enough and he wanted to be gluten free and sugar free also.  That meant that the quick and easy tea option we had of store bought veggie sausages and salad was out the window; so began my search for something just as easy.  Thanks very much to Vie de la Vegan (click on the link to see the original recipe) for her awesome, quick and easy ideas ….. of course I have altered it to fit our cupboard contents, and when I was trying to cook it from memory, but hopefully that justs shows how easy, awesome and adaptable the recipe is.

Quick and Easy Bean Sausages

  • 400gm can of beans
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (or other gluten free flour)
  • 1 Tb tomato paste
  • 1 Tb tamari (this is the GF version of soy)
  • Dried herbs to flavour

-Mash the beans up and then add the other ingredients until it forms a ball.

-Divide the mixture up, into 4 for large sausages or 8 for smaller ones.

-Roll into sausage shapes and put into the fridge of a little bit before frying.

-Add some oil to a frying pan and heat before popping the sausages in.

-Fry until golden brown.

See it is that easy and very delicious.  You can easily double the recipe for bigger families.  We have also experimented with different beans and herbs which has been great though we are yet to reach a consensus so I hope you have better luck with that one 🙂

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Ready to munch

Hope this finds you just where you planned to be and enjoying life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Quick and easy Scones

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With all that walking up and down the hill, from the road-schooling camp to the farm, to milk herself and a friend collected quite a stash of blackberries which were going wild along the roadside along with some rose-hips.  I think one of my favourite things about travelling around NZ is watching themselves ‘harvest’ all kinds of wild growing fruit.  Apples in Otago,  Plums in Canterbury, blackberries where ever we can find them, kawakawa fruit in Kāpiti, rose-hips in Hawke’s Bay and even the odd raiding of friend’s raspberry or strawberry patches 😉

Anyway …. what do you do with a big bowl of berries and a pocket full of rose-hips?  Make blackberry jam and rose-hip tea for afternoon tea for your siblings!  However that still leaves a gaping hole … what do you put the jam on and still cater for the vegans in your midst?  Vegan scones of course 😉

Road schooling camp

Preparing the tea party

This recipe is quick and easy  to whip up for an afternoon tea snack and super delicious.  I got it in my in-box a while ago courtesy of ‘Cook the Beans’ which is a blog I follow. She had called them Watercress Scones though I think she may have forgotten to add the said watercress into her recipe as I couldn’t find it mentioned anywhere.  Either way I made it, and modified it as I usually, with great results so there are no complaints here ….. no even from the meat, gluten and diary eaters on the bus 😉

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Ready to munch

Vegan Scones

  • 200 gm flour (GF or plain, white or wholemeal or a mixture of both as in original)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30 gms coconut oil (cold from the container)
  • 1 flax-seed egg (1 TB ground linseed/flaxseed and 2.5 TB cold water)
  • 100 ml non-diary milk (I used rice milk)

– Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the coconut oil so that it is fully blended with the flour.

– Add in the flaxseed egg and milk then ‘cut’ the liquid into the dry ingredients with a knife until a dough is formed.  You may need to help it with your hand near the end to form a ball

– Flour a baking tray and flatten dough into a fat rectangle shape.  Cut this into 12 or 16 pieces depending on the size of scone you desire.

– Separate the scones a little on the floured tray and then bake at 200 Celcius of 10 mins or until golden on top.

– Spread with jam (and butter for the non-vegan among you) and enjoy

Hope this finds you enjoying the fruits of life

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

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

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

Date and Coconut Snackerballs

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It isn’t just living a minimalist life on a bus that has made me reluctant to part with money for things I could ‘have a go at’ rather it is a trait that I have had my whole life and a trait which many New Zealanders share.  We feel that we can do anything and to be honest a lot of the time it is true!  Not true just for New Zealanders of course … true that many products out there on the shelves are actually pretty quick and easy to make at home.

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They don’t last long in this bus!!

An example of this was the other day when we sampled some supermarket tastings.  The person promoting these healthy coconut and date treats was very good at her job, I have to say, and I was all ready to take some home until I asked the price …. $9!! $9 for some balls of date and coconut??!! $9 for what looked like 10 balls maximum??!!  Well, yes, I am a little tight with my money but lets face it, that $9 I was going to part with was clearly paying for the packaging and promotion of the aforementioned 2 ingredient treat more than the food itself.

So home I came and ‘gave it a go’.  The results are pretty good I have to say and super easy.  Themselves have all given the batches I have made over the last few weeks their seal of approval, by consuming them all, and the only pit-fall I can see is that I can’t seem to keep up with demand. 🙂  So here it is for you and I’m sure that many of you out there already have your own similar story and recipe …. so enjoy and experiment.

Date and Coconut Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks

-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

 

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

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Easy Gluten Free Bread

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I have tried a variety of recipes for Gluten Free Bread it has to be said …. all with varying degrees of disaster!  I am a lazy cook by nature.  It needs to be fairly basic with not much brain power required.  It needs to be quick and easy.  I need to have the ingredients in the cupboard or readily available at the local shops.  Yes … I’m sure the sour dough, gluten free bread is delicious and very edible however I am almost guaranteed to forget about feeding the starter and it is way too much thought needed by me in advance of actually getting to eat.

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Fresh out of the oven!

Then low and behold a miracle occurred!!  Yes … I’m fairly easy to ‘wow’ when it comes to food.  While down at my local organic shop the other week I noticed a recipe sheet for Gluten Free Bread that seemed to tick most of my boxes.  Mix, cook and eat all on the same day. 🙂  Turns out it is also a pretty good loaf of GF bread too!

Thought I would share it here for you all to try and let me know your thoughts.  It lasts for a few days pretty well if stored in an air tight container.  I even tried freezing a few slices to toast at an even later date with success and without it all falling apart on me.  Sorry to the original recipe writer as the shop didn’t source it and then I have done my usual adaptations.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water, yeast and honey and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.

-Enjoy!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying some warm bread. 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Becoming Healthy Chicken Soup

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I have been a vegetarian for a long time now however my family are a long way off being veggie.  So whenever themselves are unwell, as the case has been over the past week, then we get to brewing up a big pot of chicken soup.  Chicken soup has long been a ‘kitchen cure’ for colds and flu, even the scientists have proved that it does have benefits, and it is quick and easy comfort food when you are feeling under the weather.

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Homemade soup and bread for lunch.

Hot fluids in general are great for helping clear all those ‘blockages’ in the sinuses and re-hydrating you.  If you pop in a whole heap of other kitchen cures you will have a great healing meal.  Thyme for coughs, Sage for sore throats, garlic for its antibacterial properties, ginger for its anti-inflammatory  properties (and loads more beside) and a whole heap of vegetables along with chicken on the bone makes an awesome meal to help the healing along.  If nothing else though soup is incredibly comforting when you are feeling yuck.

Lots of families have their tried and true recipes however if you don’t here is one to start you off.  After that experiment and enjoy!!

Becoming Healthy Chicken Soup

  • Chicken on the bone (I use 2 chicken breasts with the skin on)
  • Garlic (the more you can sneak in the better)
  • 1 large onion
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried sage leaves
  • Ginger (fresh is better however ground is fine)
  • Vegetables of your choice – chopped or diced depending on your preference.

-Chop the garlic and onion finely.  Fry off little with some olive oil in a large pot.

-Add in the chicken and brown a little.

-Add in the vegetables for a quick fry then add in the herbs, stirring to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom.

-Cover with water and gently boil until the vegetables are soft and the chicken cooked through and is beginning to come away from the bone if knocked.

-Take the chicken out of the pot and get all the meat off, including the skin, then chop and return the meat only to the pot.

-Allow to sit for a bit before serving.

-Enjoy.

Hope this finds you all healthy, happy and enjoying your home comforts

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz