Quick and Easy Snacks

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The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap.  So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.

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Making the most of the good weather …. walking up Hapuku River

These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home.  That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway, and combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls.  Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves.  Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it 🙂

These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily.  I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that.  Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds).  We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.  

Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!

Snackerballs

  • 1 Cup dried dates
  • 1 Cup boiling water
  • 2 Cups desiccated Coconut
  • 3 Tablespoons black chia seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground LSA (optional)

-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

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Packed up and ready to go to class

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

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

GF, Vegan Lasagne

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The cold, wet weather has started, daylight savings has ended and the comfort foods are being sought out!  Himself has had a bit of a fascination with Garfield over the last year and we have been searching loads of charity shops for Garfield bits and pieces to help his need to create a ‘collection’ however one of the things that stands out in most of the books is Garfield’s love of lasagne.  This has brought up quite a lot of discussion as we had never had it … even when there were more meat eaters … and themselves have been left wondering what all the fuss is about.

Corrected garfield with words

 

Then the other week at a Maths Club shared meal lasagne (the meat version) appeared on the menu and herself finally got to sample it.  She was smitten and loads more discussion about why Garfield loved it so much occurred which then brought up the next question ‘how could create a GF, vegan version to suit the whole family?’.

We already had a ‘tince’ (tofu and onion mashed into a tomato sauce) which himself had created for his tince pie and then for our spaghetti tofunaise.  So it was really just working out how to get a good white sauce to create layers for a vegan lasagne after we spotted some gluten free and vegan lasagne sheets in the local supermarket.

We have made white sauces before however due to us mainly having rice milk in the bus the sauce has still been quite sweet. On our initial attempt we did try coconut and almond milk thinking this may help it be more savoury along with some nutritional yeast however it was still not quite right. In the end it was Soy milk that did the trick and gave us a good white/cheese sauce …… it has been a while since I tried ‘proper’ cheese sauce so I guess it is down to personal taste here though we did get our meat eaters approval so it can’t of been too far off!

Anyway the end result was a very comforting and filling meal which the whole whānau (family) …vegans and meat eaters alike …. enjoyed.  Below is the basic recipe we used however we have also layered in spinach leaves and/or other veg like grated carrot or courgette.  Whatever tickles your fancy and leaves you feeling satisfied will work with this easy recipe.  I’ve tried my best to give you accurate measurements of ingredients where I can however as you know (if you follow my blog) I’m a bit of an experimenter and a ‘chuck it in’ kind of cook …… so it gives you a chance to play 🙂

Vegan Lasagne

  • GF pasta sheets (or regular if this is a necessity)
  • Vegan cheese (we used Veesy Vegan cheese as it is a softens a bit more like melted cheese)

‘Meat’ section

  • Tofu (at least 300gm size block)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • Powdered Veg stock or herbs
  • Mushroom (optional)

-Fry off the chopped onion, mushroom and garlic until soften

-Add in diced tofu and powdered veg stock and or herbs to flavour and stir as it cooks a little

– Add in enough tomato paste and water to cover the tofu and cook over a low heat briefly

-Turn off the heat and mash the tofu mix.

-Add more tomato paste and/or water if needed to create a good consistency for layering into the lasagne (not too dry and not too wet)

‘Cheese sauce’ section

-Melt the coconut oil and take off the heat to mix in the flour

-When the oil and flour are a smooth paste then add the milk and mix well (all off the heat)

– Stirring constantly put the sauce back on the heat and continue cooking, and stirring, until it thickens up.

-Take off the heat and add in the nutritional yeast and stir well.

-Add more soy milk, if you wish, to get the sauce to a good consistency, ensuring there is enough of it for all the layers.

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Ready to layer up

Putting it together section

  1. -Layer the bottom of an ovenproof dish with pasta
  2. -Cover the pasta with a layer of tofu mix
  3. -Cover the tofu with a few slices of cheese. You can also layer in your spinach etc here if you wish.
  4. -Cover the cheese with white sauce

-Repeat steps 1-4 until you get near the top of your ovenproof dish.

-Finish off with a layer pasta with tofu mix (or just tom paste if you’re running low of tofu mix) on top and slices of cheese at the very top.

-Bake in the oven for at around 30 mins at 180-200C

-Enjoy with salad or other veg as you wish 😉

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Ready to eat

Hope this finds you enjoying warm, hearty meals with those you love.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Fermenting on the road

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It has been 10 weeks tomorrow that we have been on the road.  There are lots of things we have changed about the way we are living however there are a few that have remained the same …. my ferments are some of these.  I was determined to keep up my kombucha and milk kefir on the road and so far so good.  It felt so good having this practice continue that I have even tried to do another batch of sauerkraut.

The large kombucha jar simply gets a screw top lid put on it and placed in a cupboard with ‘non-slip’ matting on the bottom whenever we travel.  When we arrive at our destination  out it comes, the lid is taken off and on the bench top it is left.  Easy as!  I did notice though that after a week or so the kombucha didn’t taste as sweet as my usual batches however soon I realised that where it was sitting never got sunlight on it, as it did in our house.  My solution?   I simply try to get it into the sun for a bit each day (when I remember) and it seems to be back to its usual sweet, fizzy self.  I usually only leave it for a week before creating another batch and apart from judging cooling time for the tea before adding to the SCOBY. The SCOBY is incredibly healthy and continues to grow happily, thankfully.  I have given loads away and still had to pop this big bit (see photo) in the compost today.

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Another Sunday and a fresh batch of Kombucha on the go

The kefir grains, which I use in Rice Milk, are much easier.  They are transferred into fresh milk daily as I consume the fizzy goodness for breakfast.  The other equipment needed is a clean jar (I have 2 in total to swap), a plastic spoon and the milk.  Once again they are simply popped into a drawer with the cups when we travel and then brought out onto the bench while we are parked.  I think they would be my favourite ferment for ease of making (without thought involved) and also that I get to enjoy it everyday without running out.

Finally my sauerkraut.  We came onto the bus with a jar just freshly opened, so that lasted us for most of the 10 weeks however when that came to an end I had to either justify storing an empty jar or fill it.  I decided on the latter.  As we had found some fresh, homegrown radishes in a road side stall I decided to create a radish, cabbage and carrot version.  It is the first time I have used radishes and I’m hoping for a kimchi taste (fingers crossed!).  The process of preparing the vegetables, while very messy and harder to clean up when you are trying to converse the water you have, was straight forward enough and I was feeling very pleased with my self as I packed it tightly into the jar.

Into the cupboard it went … out of sight and out of mind.  Well that was until we next stopped and I realized that my sauerkraut had been jiggled around so much that it had seeped out in all directions as it fermented away.  I have had this happen before at home when I didn’t have a tight seal on the jar or there isn’t enough room for ferment to do its thing.  So after a lot of cleaning up and double bagging the jar we are all set.  Time will tell on the taste and I will have to remember to be less enthusiastic with the amounts of vegetables I am preparing next time to avoid a repeat performance!

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Bagged up and ready for fermenting

Well that is it for now … just a wee insight into domestic life on the bus. 🙂 Until next time.  I hope this finds you enjoying your own little rituals

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

‘Life Changing Loaf’ recipe

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It seems only fitting that the woman who helped me bring my daughter into the world and hence changing my life forever would then give me this recipe for ‘Life Changing Bread‘ 10 years later, almost to the day. Thank you to the most amazing Douala in Ireland, you know who you are.:)

This recipe for ‘The Life-Changing Loaf’ is so, so delicious and worked just like the writer said (even the original photo and mine look similar!) that even though I have only made it once I had to share. I did change it …. of course you already knew that I would … only because of my lack of checking that I actually had enough sunflower seeds and because I wanted it nut free.  The thing is that it worked perfectly anyway which just goes to show how great this recipe is.  I did find it interesting that she considers this loaf pretty much gluten free even though it has oats in it as I have always believed that oats do contain gluten.  I did include them in my loaf as oats are something I can tolerate more than other grains however the person I got the recipe from used quinoa flakes instead.  I’ll leave that decision up to you.

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Fresh loaf

Please check the original blog for the recipe of ‘Life Changing Bread’ and guidelines that they give however below I will put the recipe which I used and the modifications I made.  In the original recipe they use a silicone loaf tray however as I don’t have one of those I simply lined my regular loaf tin with baking paper.  In doing this I was able to lift the paper to check if the loaf was staying together before baking.  The down side of this was that I did have to mix the ingredients in separate containers first before pushing down into the tin.

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Delicious as toast also

Life-Changing Loaf

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup whole linseeds
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 ½ cups rolled oats (jumbo ones not the ‘quick’ or fine ones)
2 Tbsp Black chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (actually I just ground a bit in)
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 ½ cups water

  • Melt coconut oil and honey in a large pot then whisk in water.
  • Combine dry ingredients really well and then pour the wet ingredients over.
  • Mix everything thoroughly  until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes thick
  • Tip into a lined loaf tin.  Press in and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
  • Let sit out on the bench for 2 hours. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  • Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down on a baking paper lined tray and bake for another 30-40 minutes.
  • Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
  •  Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!

So there it is!! Experiment, play, bake and enjoy lots of nourishing goodness.  One thing is for certain … I will be making this again and again.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Ugly Muffins – now GF, DF and SF

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Well … the oven is still waiting for parts?!! So we have well and truly tested out our bus oven and kitchen over the last week.  The bread baking in particular is proving easier than I thought … my only real ‘issue’ is that I have to pre-heat the gas oven to get it to the correct temperature as it doesn’t have a gas mark guide on the knob.  Those of you that know me and my baking habits will know that this is a new experience as I am forever plonking stuff in a cold oven and adjusting cooking times after that!

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Warm out of the oven.

The other baking of biscuits and other snacky morsels is also going really well.  So my recipe this week is one that I made in the bus for my Infant Massage course and it went now a treat.  I have shared a version of this recipe before however since then I have modified it further so that it is gluten free. These are a super easy and a super yummy snack with no worries of over indulging – well not much :).  NB: If you do use the patty pans then let them cool fully otherwise half the muffin will be stuck to the paper – I have learnt the hard way 🙂

Ugly Muffins – GF version

  • 1 finely diced apple – I leave the skin on
  • 3 large bananas mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Rice flour
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– Mix everything together in a bowl

-Either grease a muffin tin or put patty pans in

-Scoop mixture into muffin tin or patty pans

-Bake at 180 C for 10-15 mins or until they are golden on the top.

-Enjoy

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

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

 

Easy Egg and Dairy Free Cake

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Well our days here have been very busy as we have finally got our house-bus and are in the midst of preparing everything to hit the road.  It is super exciting however it is also a bit mental at times so I have been trying to find ways to  get everything done in the best possible way.  The recipe I’m going to share is one that is around on the internet and is a very basic chocolate cake which we have been using as a stand-by last minute recipe for a while now.  It is a very easy recipe to whip up and is particularly good if you need something for ‘egg-free’  friends or if you need to bake many cakes without breaking the bank buying eggs. 🙂

This recipe is a favourite with my daughter too and she often whips it up when she gets the baking urge.  It also is good for baking as cupcakes as well as a whole cake.  We have even eaten it warm from the oven with berries and cream for a pudding … in fact it is very versatile and fail free which is why I thought I would share. I think the original recipe had a bit more sugar in it which we have reduced down as we were consuming less sugar and so could taste the sweetness in things more.  I have put the original recipe here the best I can remember (before I just wrote out the recipe my daughter uses) and then our adaptions in brackets.

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Too good (and warm from the oven) for herself to resist.

Chocolate Cake (Egg and Diary Free)

  • 1.5 Cups Flour (both wholemeal and white work)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar (we usually use honey and have also used dextrose which can make it a little crumby)
  • 1/8 Cup Cocoa
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Cup oil (any oil that you like … we use Olive)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (also made with other ‘flavours’ )
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (white vinegar though I’d sure any would be fine)

-Mix the dry ingredients

-Add the wet ingredients

-Mix very well to ensure there are no ‘pockets’  of flour

-Pour into a lined cake tin and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes

-Ice, sprinkle with icing sugar, decorate with berries or leave plain and ENJOY.

 

Hope this finds you all well and enjoying the changes of season happening around us all.

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