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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Caffeine Free Chocolate

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There is something about chocolate’s creamy consistency and smell which gets me sooner or later.  However when I gave up sugar a few years back (when I was very good about it and avoided it completely that is)  I found that the sweet sugary smell was actually too much for me.  Instead of being attracted I was actually repelled??!!  That is when I came across a few recipes for raw chocolate that didn’t have all the additives or case loads of sugar in it.

The chocolate recipe (which is also DF, refined Sugar free and caffeine free)  I’m going to share has been a work in progress for a while.  You see it has not been that successful and so it gets stashed away for a while until I feel the urge to try for a healthier chocolate again.  Recently though with a birthday coming up, and after consuming some very expensive carob bears, I thought about my chocolate recipe again and the possibility of making it caffeine free by using carob instead of cacao powder.

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Not a great photo sorry of the delicious little morsels. 

As I said before it hasn’t always been successful.  My biggest problem was that the ingredients won’t blend fully and then would separate during cooling leaving a layer of cocoa butter.  Anyway with a lot of ‘holding my mouth the right way’ and effort I managed to create some caffeine free chocolate from only 3 ingredients.  In fact I have managed to make it on more than one occasion and had rave reviews even.  So, I thought to myself, time to share …… however the recipe wasn’t that willing.  I couldn’t quite believe that I had got it to work several times and now when I wanted to make and photograph the chocolate for the blog it wouldn’t co-operate!  Arrrgghhhh??!!

I’m not very good at letting things go though so I persevered and finally got it to work again.  The recipe below is what I used and the steps however I am giving you the heads up that the said recipe is a little temperamental …..  Too much stirring upsets it as does adding ingredients in a different order…. well that is my experience so far 🙂 .  It really is too delicious not to share though so here it is.

Caffeine Free Chocolate

  • 75 gm of cocoa Butter
  • 2 Tbs runny honey
  • 4 Tbs carob powder

-Get your moulds ready so that you can pour the warm chocolate straight away.

– Melt the Cocoa Butter in a small pot.

-Take off the heat, add the honey and give a small stir

-Slowly add the carob powder stirring in small amounts at a time until it is all added.

-Pour into the moulds and refrigerate.

-Enjoy

Hope this finds you full of appreciation of the good things in life and I’d love to know how you get on!

Arohanui

Y

http://www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Marmalade

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It has been a very busy past few weeks and the job list seems to keep on growing.  One of these jobs is to make the most of our own food as it is at this time of year our orange and grapefruit trees are laden with gorgeous golden fruit.  We end up giving loads away as we can never quite seem to cope with our abundance and there is only so much marmalade you can make and eat!

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However tonight I will share our refined sugar free marmalade with you.  I apologise now for the lack of accuracy in measurements (I tried my best to measure what I put into my latest batch) however it really does depend on how sweet your fruit is and on how sweet you like your marmalade to how much honey you want to plonk in. 🙂

Honey Marmalade – makes approx 4 x 225 gm pots

700 gm oranges (approx) (this can also be a mixture of grapefruit and orange)

1 lemon

Water to cover

250 gm runny honey

  • Finely dice up the oranges and one lemon and place in a bowl.
  • Cover fruit with water and cover with a plate. Leave to sit over night.
  • In the morning transfer fruit and liquid into a thick based pot and add honey.
  • Boil until the liquid has reduced and the marmalade has thickened.  A good test is to put some marmalade onto a saucer and run your finger through it.  If the marmalade stays apart then it is ready and if it runs back together it needs more boiling and reducing.
  • Bottle into warm sterilised jars.

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Hope this finds you enjoy the fruits of your life.

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

 

Crochet Cake – DF, GF & SF delight

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This cake got its name after I continually made it for a series of crochet ‘catch-ups’ we were having as a safe option for the GF amongst the group.  It is in fact a very simple and delicious gluten free, diary free and sugar free cake which, if served warm, can also be used as a yummy dessert.  After having to prepare some shared food for a course the kids were attending I realised that I was yet to share this  recipe on here (well I think so anyway).  So here goes!

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Straight out of the oven

Crochet Cake – aka diary free, gluten free, sugar free delight

1.5 Cups dates

1.5 Cups of boiling water

1/2 Cup Olive oil

2 eggs

2 ripe bananas – mashed

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp GF baking powder (2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda, 1 part arrowroot)

1 Cup rice flour

1/2 Cup desiccated coconut

  • Soak dates in the boiling water for 10-15 mins before mashing into a smooth thick paste.  If this is still a bit watery you can heat it slightly.
  • Mix in olive oil to the date paste and stir until blended.
  • Add eggs and bananas to date/olive oil mixture and mix until blended fully.
  • Add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix until everything is blended.
  • Line a cake tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 50-60 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Near the end of baking you may want to cover the cake with tin foil to allow it to keep cooking without the top getting too dark. It does take a while to get it fully baked.
  • Enjoy warm with yogurt/whipped cream or allow to cool on a rack to enjoy later.

Hope this finds you enjoying lots of natural sweetness in your life.

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