ANZAC Day

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Well done Kaikoura … that is the best service I have been to!  Yes, today we remember all those who have gone before us and fought in our names.  It is ANZAC day.  For those of you overseas it is the day that Australians and New Zealanders remember our soldiers and all those lost fighting in wars. The date however is special to those Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who landed on and fought in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

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Anzac Day in Kaikoura

I have been teaching Infant Massage this morning (just managed to sneak it in before the service began) and since I provide the morning tea sustenance what better than ANZAC biscuits on Anzac day? Again this is hardly a recipe for becoming healthy, although I will post a healthier alternative one of these days, however it is a big part of our lives and something that I only make at this time of year so it seems fitting to pass it on here.

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Anzac Biscuits

There are many recipes I know … this one is from the good old Edmonds Cookbook which is another mainstay of kiwi life. 🙂

ANZAC biscuits

  • 100 gm butter
  • 1 Tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water

-Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot.

-Mix in sugar then add in the coconut, oats and flour.  Stir one

-Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add into the main mixture.

-Place  teaspoonful onto a lined tray. The mixture may seem crumbly however if you press it together a little and flatten the teaspoonful it will bake together nicely.

-Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until golden

-Cool on a rack and enjoy.

Hope this finds you safe, free from the worries of war and remembering those who have gone before us.

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

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

 

GF, DF Griddle Cakes

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These are super easy and fast to make and delicious!  Herself loves making pancakes on the weekends and since they don’t really sit well with me I thought I would create my own GF and DF version.  I have to say that after playing around and trying numerous mixtures of flours these Griddle cakes are the best mix I have managed.  Basically I have swapped the flours and milks to make a basic pancake recipe gluten and dairy free so I’m sure there are a million and one other versions online if these don’t tickle your fancy.

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Warm and ready for breakfast.

They are thick (the mixture is thick so the cakes are too as the mixture doesn’t run) and just the right taste to be able to use as a toast or pikelet substitute.  I also cooked these in coconut oil, something new for me I have to say, which actually made them all the better.  I have had them for breakfast with spreads, for breakfast with a poached egg and for lunch with some salad.  As with most GF things though they are best used on the day they are made however they can be made in the morning and still tasting good at lunch.  Actually, to be completely honest,  they haven’t lasted beyond lunch for me to know if they would be good after this!

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Just as delicious with lunch.

Anyway … enough chat. Here is the recipe.

GF, DF Griddle Cakes (makes 12-15)

1/3 Cup Rice Flour

1/3 Cup Buckwheat Flour

1/3 Cup Coconut Flour

1 Cup Rice Milk

1 Egg

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until they are well blended.
  • Heat a cast iron pan (griddle) and put some coconut oil in.
  • Spoon in the mixture and flatten a little into a round shape.  I fitted about 3 cakes into the pan at a time.
  • Cook until there are air bubbles/pockets appearing on the surface and then flip.
  • Remove when they are browned on both sides.
  • Enjoy!

It really is that simple.  As I said before there are probably heaps of other alternatives to these that you can find online however why not play around and get your own ‘sweet’ mixture?  They are a great, quick ‘whip up’ meal when time is short and a yummy afternoon treat with jam too if need be.

Hope this finds you enjoying life to the fullest.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

GF Lamingtons

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Well after two gloriously warm and relaxing weeks in Australia I thought I would continue the theme into this week’s blog.  I should mention here that I have been guilty of calling these little treats a Kiwi classic however after a trip to a Queensland museum it seems that I stand corrected and declare that Lamingtons are in fact born and breed in Australia …. unlike the Pavlova but then that is another story. 🙂

Anyway I had a great GF sponge recipe given to me by a friend which when I replaced the sugar for honey turned out a little denser than hoped so waste not want not …. we made Lamingtons.

GF sponge

I have adapted this from a magazine cut out which a friend sent so apologies if it is yours and please let me know.

3 eggs – separated

50 gm runny honey

grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon

70 gm of potato flour or cornflour

  • Preheat oven to 180 c
  • Beat the egg yolks, honey,lemon rind and juice until thick enough to leave a trail for 8 secs when the whisk is lifted. This is a fair bit of whisking so electric is a good option.
  • Fold te sifted flour slowly into the egg yolk mixture using a metal spoon.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and fold into the mixture.
  • Pour into a lined tin and bake until it is firm to the touch, puffed and golden – around 20 -30 mins for my oven.

My GF Lamingtons

  • Cut your cooled sponge into small squares
  • Get 2 bowls ready.  One with desiccated coconut and one with runny SF jam (if you want to make it refined sugar free) or runny icing.
  • Dip each small square into some runny jam (I watered down my refined sugar free plum jam)
  • Dip each jam coated square into the coconut ensuring all the jam is covered.
  • Pop on a plate and …. Enjoy.

Hope this finds you creating your own sweet treats and enjoying life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Back to Basics Pie

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In this household, mainly due to my aversion to thinking about and cooking evening meals, our children each cook one night a week.  The menu pretty much consists of homemade ‘takeaways’ such as nachos, pizza, fish and chips and tortilla however my eldest is beginning to branch out a little more, a little more often.

She loves pies, well actually anything pastry orientated to be truthful, and making mince pies for tea is a favourite – we haven’t quite got to the catering for all your dinner guests including your vegetarian mother ……. Anyway this has proved a bit trickier for her since we have be making a point of buying Palm Oil free as all the pre-rolled pastry has said oil in it.

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Almost ready for the oven

Although I have offered to show her how to make pastry it has always been declined …. until recently that is.  Over the last few weeks she has seen just how easy pastry can be to make and also how much yummier it is to eat!  So I thought I would share this very simple pastry recipe (from Edmonds Cookbook) which works equally as well for both sweet and savoury dishes.  It does make a lot of pastry though so either half the recipe or begin thinking of dessert ….. apple parcels anyone? 🙂

Back to Basics Pastry

2 Cups flour

125gm Cold Butter in small cubes

Cold Water

-Rub the butter into the flour until it is the consistency of breadcrumbs.

-Slowly add and mix in cold water until a dough begins to form.

-Lightly and quickly knead the dough together.

-Roll out on a floured board and use as desired.

Yes it is that easy!  The results are so much better than shop pastry too so go on and give it ago … that is the gluten and diary tolerant amongst you 🙂

Hope this finds you healthy, happy and full of energy.

Arohanui

Y

http://www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Yay for the real foodies out there!

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Thank goodness there are ‘real’ foodies out there who are creative and innovative in the kitchen! Otherwise honestly what would I have to blog about 🙂  My forte, I feel,  is in adaptations of recipes and in passing along good ideas so this week I intend to do just that.  This is a substitute for tomato paste/sauce which contains no deadly nightshades and which the awesome Hungry Cub blog has brought to my attention.

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Simmering the carrots and beetroot.

I ventured to make this up today ready for tea tonight (still deciding between pasta, nachos or pizza ….. so definitely in an easy dinner mood) and found it very easy to make. Mine did turn out quite sweet though even with the apple cider vinegar added in so I did add a bit of Worcestershire Sauce and tamarind puree to give it more of a tomato paste taste.  Seems my thinking was not entirely new however as I found a similar ‘Nomato Sauce’ recipe over on ‘Enjoying this Journey’.

Anyway here is the recipe with adaptations that I made and if you wish to see the two original recipes then please hit the links above 🙂

Nightshade Free Sauce (makes 750ml)

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 brown onion, roughly diced
3 garlic cloves, roughly diced
2 cups peeled & cubed beetroot (1 large or 2 medium)
2 cups peeled & cubed carrot (approx 2 carrots)
Dried herbs – basil and thyme
1 cup veg stock  (sadly I just use some veg bouillon and then add water)
a few good grinds of salt
2 Tbsp Tamarind puree and some Worcestershire sauce if desired.
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
8 pitted black kalamata olives

  • Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until they are translucent and softened.
  • Add beetroot and carrot and cook for 5 mins before adding the herbs and stock.
  • Cover and simmer until the veggies are soft – around 30 mins. You may need to add a bit more water for cooking (which I did) which will effect how much sauce you end up with.
  • Remove from heat and cool before blending smooth.
  • Add the AVC, olives, tamarind paste and some Worcestershire sauce to taste and blend again.
  • Transfer into a container.  Hungry cub says to use within the week or freeze 🙂

Hope this finds you enjoying life and the food in it.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar

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A while ago I was given a link to making your own apple cider vinegar and I have to say that at the time it fell into my ‘lovely, but no time to do now’ basket.  However as the apple harvest time came and I was given some apples along with all the apples coming from our trees I thought it was time to get cracking and make some!

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Preparing our Apple Cider Vinegar while stewing apples.

This recipe from Janella Purcell is almost too easy for words!  It is simply making the most of your waste as you prepare your apples for stewing or baking…… I know isn’t that awesome 🙂  So, as I cut, peeled and cored I popped all the skins and cores into a large jar beside me. Then when it was full I added a couple of tablespoons of honey and covered with filtered water.  Yes, that is it …. oh and the patience to let it mature 🙂

Once you have your jar full of honey, water and apple leftovers you need to cover with something breathable and wait.  After 2 weeks you can take out all the apple for composting, leaving behind the liquid, and then stir daily for 4 weeks while the mixture turns into Apple Cider Vinegar then bottle up.  For the original recipe then head over to Janella’s website.

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The brew on the go.

Now while it all seemed (and is) very easy I have to say that the end result was a little different from what we were all expecting.  I’m not sure if it is because there were a few stray seeds that lingered in the liquid or just the type of apple used.  Either way there is a distinct taste of ‘corn chips’ when we tasted it neat ….. no, not what we were expecting either but there you are.  Diluted with water it tastes fine though not as strong as shop ACV however the initial tasting has put off other family members for good!  All in all, I think that it will be a recipe that I’ll venture to try again 🙂

Hope this finds you making the most of what you have at hand.

Arohnaui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

GF, DF, RSF Anzac Biscuits

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So the Hungry Cub blog has done it again!  Yet another yummy recipe without a hint of dairy, gluten or refined sugar in sight 🙂  Her blog is great, with loads of simple, good, healthy food so if you are into getting more recipes then I’d recommend following Hungry Cub so you can get them coming straight to your inbox 🙂

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Ready to pop in the oven!

Anyway even though we are in the midst of the last of the apple harvest and busy stewing up apples along with starting Apple Cider vinegar (details and results in a few weeks) her Anzac Biscuit recipe looked so simple, yummy and healthy that I couldn’t resist making it and sharing!  You can find Hungry Cub’s  original Anzac recipe here and keep reading for my version which, only through laziness to actually check the recipe, is slightly less blended and chunkier 🙂

GF, DF, Refined Sugar Free (RSF) Anzac Biscuits

Makes 20 small biscuits

  • 1/2 Cup of dates soaked for at least 3 hrs
  • 3 Tbs cashew Butter (Pics is Awesome without other oil added)
  • 1/2 Cup Slivered Almonds (I used a 70gm packet which was just over 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Cup of desiccated coconut

-Drain dates (liquid not needed) and blend with cashew butter until smooth.

-Add other ingredients and mix until blended well

-Roll into small balls and place on a baking tray. Then flatten slightly with a fork

-Bake at 180 C for 10 mins or until golden.

-Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and giving a thought for those who have gone before us.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Allergy Sufferers look away!

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This is definitely not a post for anyone wanting gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, vegan or paleo recipes.  The warning has been issued so it is up to you how you proceed 🙂

I have to say that since beginning  this blog and let people know about my sugar free journey I am often amused by people’s comments about my ‘healthy’eating.  While I guess my eating is fairly healthy I still eat what makes me feel good physically and mentally … unfortunately that actually cuts out most of the old treats I used to partake in. People often assume too that because I am blogging about vegetarian things or sugar free recipes that my children and husband eat like I do…… which is so not the case!

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Our March treat – Hedgehog Slice

With my children (and often with myself) I tend to work on the 80/20 rule where 80% of the time I try my hardest to nourish them well so that the other 20% we can relax and enjoy life.  It has to be said though that this is not a everyday 80/20 rule.  Some days we are 95/5 (that 5% is for both healthy and ‘unhealthy’ foods depending on the day), some days we are 50/50……. we live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with treats, goodies and processed delights and as much as I would love to only give my children whole, organic and natural food while adapting recipes constantly I also value my sanity quite a lot 🙂

So it is that every year around this time we have a family treat.  You see it is Girl Guide Biscuit time here in New Zealand.  That special few weeks in the year when we can get Girl Guide biscuits before they are sold out,  never to return until March the next year and having a Brownie (junior Girl Guide) who has to sell the elusive biscuits means that every March we end up with a small stash.  The children get to buy their own choice (usually chocolate minis) and I buy a couple of packets of plain to create my favourite slice for them – Hedgehog Slice.

Some call it Fudge Cake however a few years back when we were having a home-school hedgehog day we found this recipe (thanks and apologies to the actual owners as I have no record of where I found it) and, realising it was my all time favourite slice, decided to make it so the name stuck.  Me being me I have actually tried to adapt it (sorry just can’t help myself) and I have made this slice without the sugar and using sunflower seeds instead of nuts. The results were a bit crumbly around the edges and otherwise very yum 🙂  Here however, without any further waffle, is the orginal and this week’s ‘not of the allergy suffer’recipe

Hedgehog Slice

1 packet of broken Girl Guide Biscuits (or any plain 230 gm packet of biscuits)

115 gm butter

1/4 cup of sugar (as mentioned this can be left out)

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 egg – well beaten

3/4 cup of chopped nuts (I usually use almond or cashew) (can replace for sunflower seeds)

1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Melt the butter and sugar in a pot over a gentle heat.
  • Remove pot and stir in cocoa and egg.
  • Bring just to the boil – stirring constantly – and remove from heat again.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Press mixture into a lined/greased square cake tin and put in the fridge
  • When cold ice with chocolate icing (icing sugar, a blob of butter, cocoa & a small amount of hot water) and slice.  It is just as yum without the icing too.
  • ENJOY!

Hope this finds you working out the balance which fits you and yours.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz