Chocolate chips cookie vegan style

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After a very wet trip to Kāpiti island today it was onto baking up a storm for week two of my Infant Massage course and enjoy the warmth of the oven as soon as we got back.  I traditionally make chocolate chip cookies for our morning tea kai this week, if there are no allergies in the group that is.  However as the first batch came out of the oven and herself (the official tester of all things non-vegan) had a taste we realised that I had used dark chocolate that was a bit too dark; that is too bitter for the sweet cookies I was aiming for.

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Kaka checking us out over on Kāpiti Island

So ……  I thought I would make a batch of another delicious chocolate chip cookies we have the recipe for and best of all himself and I could give them the taste test!  I found this little gem of a recipe thanks to Jordan Rondel and her post in a magazine within the NZ Herald.  I have only changed a few things from the original recipe due to my usual reasons; lack of ingredients, buslife, ease of baking and most importantly  …… pleasing all the different eating styles on this here bus. 🙂

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Warm out of the oven

Aside from pre-steaming of the pumpkin for mashing, then allowing it to cool, this is a really quick and easy recipe.  Those of you with pumpkin puree on your supermarket shelves may have an even quicker time of it 🙂  With himself being refined sugar free most of the time I also replaced the regular dark chocolate with some sugar free chocolate that we can get easily. It doesn’t really change the taste and of course you can always put in your favourite kind.  One of the things I really love about this recipe though is the fact that you can eat it raw or cooked. Hope it becomes one of your healthy (well mostly healthy) favourites too.

Vegan style chocolate chip cookies

  • 110gm of mashed pumpkin (I just steam some then mash)
  • 250gm ground almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 75 gm maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 80 gm broken up dark chocolate (I use Well Naturally so that himself can eat it)

-Mash the pumpkin and allow it to cool fully.

-Mix in all other ingredients except the chocolate.

-Add chocolate bits and mix well.

-Roll into small balls and place on a baking tray then flatten slightly with a fork (you may need to dip the fork in some GF flour to stop the sticking.

-Bake for 10-15 mins or until golden at 160C

-Enjoy!

Hope this find you warm and dry, enjoying the little comforts of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Oranges a plenty

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Over the last few weeks I have been in the garden a lot, not because I particularly like gardening I have to say but because it is something that I don’t mind being interrupted from.  With themselves being a bit more needy since battling chest infections there have been quite a few interruptions lately so figured it was better for me, and them, that I happily interrupted.  While I managed to get most of the weeds out there is one thing that I am constantly collecting which won’t be stopping anytime soon … oranges.

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Just one of our trees …. with our place in the background.

We have two amazingly plentiful orange trees and 2 just as plentiful sweet grapefruit trees supplying more fruit than we can keep up with at the moment. So of course the marmalade recipes have come out in a bid to use some of the fruit up … aside from all the juicing and fresh munching that is going on.  I have tried making sugar free marmalade before by using honey however as himself is not eating honey anymore I had to put my thinking cap on.

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Preparing our chunky style marmalade

I have played around with different marmalade recipes quite a bit over the years;  reducing refined sugar, trying coconut sugar and as mentioned honey all with varying degrees of success.  The key thing I have noticed is that when you reduce or replace sugar the boiling time becomes a trial of patience.  Rather than the quick rolling boil that usually occurs it becomes a slow reducing exercise until the marmalade reaches the correct consistency.  My latest play with recipes has come up with something that I’m pretty pleased with and themselves are happy to eat so it is a win/win as far as I can see 🙂 Hopefully it will be something that you can use or modify if need be to make it yum for your family too.

Refined Sugar Free Orange Marmalade

  • 1 kg sweet oranges (approx)
  • 2 large eating apples
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ( or whatever amounts tickles your fancy)

– Slice the oranges depending on how you like your marmalade (thick or thin) then put in a large pot.

– Peel, core and grate the two apples and add to oranges.

– Just cover the orange and apple mixture with cold water and leave overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to sit.

– Next morning (or later that day) boil the fruit until it is soft and the volume has reduced a bit. Use a wooden spoon to push the juice out of the fruit a bit as it cooks.

– Add maple syrup and boil for a little longer before testing on a saucer. Place a little bit of marmalade on a saucer and allow to cool. It will be ready when you can run your finger through the juice and it stay separated for a bit.  With sugar marmalade it will stay separated however with alternative sweeteners it just takes longer to come back together.

– Spoon into warmed, clean jars and store until needed.

– ENJOY!!

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Hope this gives you ideas to spark a bit of experimenting and finds you in the best of health heading into the new season.

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

 

 

 

Big Bird’s Banana Bread

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Tonight’s recipe is courtesy of my son and his Sesame Street book. 🙂  I have to confess that life has been very busy this past week and so there has been very little time for anything but the basics let alone baking.  So that equals no photos this week sorry.

This is an easy recipe which he loves to make himself (after a few times with help) and the bonus is that it has no refined sugar in it and is also egg free for those times when our hens aren’t willing.  It is a good one for wee hands to make themselves or a quick one to whip up when the need arises.  Thanks Big Bird 🙂

Big Bird’s Banana Bread

3 peeled ripe bananas

1/4 – 1/2 C honey (depends how sweet you like it and how ripe your bananas are)

1/4 C melted butter

1/2 tsp baking soda

1.5 C whole wheat flour

  • Melt butter in a small pot
  • Mash bananas and mix with the melted butter
  • Add baking soda, flour and honey
  • Mix well until fully blended
  • Pour into a lined cake tin
  • Bake for 1 hour  (or until the skewer comes out clean) at 180 degrees Celsius
  • Cool and enjoy

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

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

 

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