Banana & Walnut Bread

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Without any face to face Infant Massage or Baby Reflexology courses lately there hasn’t been a pressing need for baking. The other month however, after herself baked and decorated yet another master piece, I felt like making something a little sweet for me too. That combined with all the rainy weather we have been having has sent me into the kitchen to create!

Cloudy skies that lighten for a bit before pouring with rain

The trouble is that so many things don’t agree with me that it can be hard to find something to hit the spot. Something vegan and gluten free was required. Combined with this I have been trying to have a better relationship with the food I’m putting in my body; being more mindful about what comes in, how often it comes in and how it impacts my health. There are definitely up and down days however on the whole I am feeling much better physically and mentally as a consequence. As part of that process I have been finding and using a lot more vegan recipe books from the library in a bid to nourish my body and of course find some new sweet treat recipes.

Although I have shared another Banana and Walnut Bread recipe a few years back, I really think this one is much better as it is a more flavoursome and denser. It is a super easy, fail safe recipe however in my usual style it is an adaption from the recipe I first saw, which was called Banana Bread, to suit both what I had in the cupboard and my own tastes. While I found the original recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ by Dr Petra Bracht, which despite the name actually has a whole heap of delicious recipes, what follows is my adaption of it. The book is worth the purchase or at least getting it out of the library just for the nourishing recipes within!

Sliced up ready to enjoy

As with most of the bread recipes I use, I cut up the loaf on the first day and freeze the slices. Two slices per bag waiting to be toasted up and enjoyed at a later date. This recipe toasted up better than most and is so nice warm that I highly recommend using this option for yourself …. or enjoying it straight out of the oven! The recipe in ‘Vegan Intermittent Fasting’ used chocolate but as my body doesn’t like it very much, this was swapped out for walnuts. Not only because I love them but because of they are good for the brain and body. I also changed the flours to create a gluten free version using a combination of two gluten free flours. Completely omitting the sugar from the recipe created an even healthier sweet treat too.

Banana & Walnut Bread

  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 3 ripe bananas (I often use frozen too)
  • 100ml unsweetened soy milk
  • 3 Tbs Almond Butter
  • 1 Tbs Apple cider Vinegar – see here if you want to make you own for next time 🙂
  • 150gm buckwheat flour
  • 150gm rice flour
  • 60gm chopped walnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 Tbs baking powder

– Preheat the oven to 180°C

– Blend the first five (wet) ingredients together until smooth and well combined. I just have a hand blender that I use as everything fits in the large ‘cup/jug’ that comes with it

– Mix the last six (dry) ingredients in a bowl

– Combine the wet and the dry ingredients ensuring that you mix really well. There is a tendency for the walnuts to get a flour coating on them if everything is not blended well

– Pour the mixture into a baking paper lined load tin

– Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

– Remove from the oven, you should be able to easily lift the loaf out with the sides of the baking paper, and place on a cooling rack.

– Allow it to sit for at least 15 mins before slicing and enjoying with a cuppa 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Frozen Vegan Fudge Ice Cream

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With my newsletter due out in the next few weeks it always makes me realise just how little I have been on here! It makes sharing the blog post on my newsletter a little tricky so I thought I’d better rectify things 🙂 In my defense we have been away in the bus while herself was on the Spirit of Adventure, I’ve been busy with more reflexology clients as well as teaching and aside from that we have been having Sundays completely off screens and internet as a family. As Sunday is usually the day I write my blog I often forget about blogging until mid week, when I’m working, which then means I just don’t get on here.

The Spirit of Adventure coming back into Auckland

While I do have a vegan chocolate chip cookie I’m working on for next week’s blog I thought it was a good chance to share another recipe we have been enjoying. I found this quick and easy recipe for Coconut fudge in an Australian Women’s Weekly recipe book that was in sight as I waited at the checkout. Due to it’s adaptability it has been a winner for us, especially with the few good days that Summer and Spring offered us. Themselves think it tastes like hard ice cream despite it being called fudge in the recipe. Hence our slight name change 🙂

The original recipe had tahini in it however themselves weren’t that impressed with that so we have tried a few alternatives. Substituting in almond butter, all nut butter and peanut butter have all been successful here though I have to say that the batch I made with almond butter and golden syrup (because I had run out of maple syrup) was the favourite so far and the fastest to disappear. We have been cutting it into small blocks and eating like that straight from the freezer however you can also leave it out for bit to soften. I used black tahini (which produced the grey ones you can see in the photo) but equally yum with the usual tahini …. and probably a more appealing colour 🙂 Ultimately though it is a great recipe to play around with and create your own wee frozen treats.

Straight out of the Freezer

We just create half batches at a time so that is the recipe I have shared with you. I used a loaf tin with some baking paper as a liner; to make it easier to get out and slice once it is frozen. As you can see you can also jazz it up a little by sprinkling some sesame seeds to top before you freeze it. So without further prattle here is the recipe for you to play with ……

Frozen Vegan Fudge

1/2 Cup coconut cream

1/4 Cup Nut butter or Tahini

1 Tbs Maple syrup or Golden syrup if you want it sweeter

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 Tbs Coconut oil

Pinch of sea salt

  • Blend all the ingredients in a mini blender/kitchen whizz until smooth
  • Pour into a lined loaf tin
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish
  • Freeze for at least 2 hours
  • Remove and slice ready to eat.
  • Enjoy 🙂

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoy life in whatever shape it is taking.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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