Something for the cold nights

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Here we are back in the South Island after a quick trip up North for himself to do work.  For the first time I was really looking forward to getting back to the South Island and parking up the bus, which has to be a good sign I think,  and themselves were super excited to get back so they could snuggle some chickens!

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Themselves with Bertie and Gertie

While the days are gradually getting shorter and cooler I have been enjoying a delicious evening drink thanks to a post from the Minimalist Baker.  I have pretty much followed it by the book this time (I know shock, horror …. or as a friend used to say hock, shorror!)  Though as we didn’t have any ground black pepper in the bus, much to the disgust of himself, I decided to add a few grinds from our pepper grinder.  I’m not sure of the overall impact, as combining pepper and turmeric magnifies their effects, however I do know that I keep forgetting about my pepper ‘grinds’ and biting down on the lumps I find and, well ….. spicy bursts do occur!!

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Straight out of the fridge 

Anyway here is the recipe and to see more then please visit Minimalist Baker’s post.  You only need an old jar to shake the dry ingredients up in first then pour in the wet and stir.  I have been storing it in the fridge and using 1 heaped teaspoon full of an evening with some warmed rice milk.  There are loads of health benefits to this turmeric drink (which you can see on the original post) however I confess that I’m more about the taste which is why I’m still using this recipe, drinking it, enjoying it and sharing it with you 🙂

Evening Turmeric Drink Mix

4 TB ground turmeric

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground black pepper – or if you’re daring a few grinds of the old pepper mill 🙂

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground clove

1 Tb melted coconut oil

4 Tb maple syrup

2 Tb hot water.

  • Mix (or shake) the dry ingredients up in an old glass jar – gotta love recycling!
  • Pour in the wet (water, oil and syrup) and stir until everything is blended.
  • Store, sealed, in the fridge until needed.
  • Mix 1-2 tsps with warmed milk (or milk alternatives) and stir well before enjoying.
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Almost ready to enjoy

Until next time I hope this finds you happy, healthy and revelling till your heart’s content

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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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

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

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It is winter here in NZ, well almost, so what better way to warm up than making a big pot of yummy soup?  I do love soup it has to be said and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea quite happily however lately it has been a bit of a necessity for me as a way to rest my digestive system.

We have been lucky enough to have a free place to park our bus for the past 9 weeks, while himself has been working to restore the railway after earthquakes last year, beside a large paddock of a local Irish Pub.  While we haven’t had to pay for the spot we have felt obliged to spend a bit of money here to keep in the owner’s good books so we have been going out for tea up at the pub at least once a week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to cook however my digestive system has had other thoughts.  Being a vegetarian in a small country area has its downsides … namely that there are only a few items on the menu you can have and of these few selections most contain gluten, dairy, a combination of both, or are deep fried.

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View from across the paddock back to our bus … the kids love it!

It has been an exercise in having the things that effect me least or trying to just have things sparingly.  Trouble is that I’m not that good at sparingly and I’m really not a have one and be satisfied kind of girl!  So let’s just say that over the past 9 weeks my eating has been very ‘off’ and I am now paying for that prolonged accumulation of foods that my body just doesn’t agree with.  Over the last few days I have been experiencing pain due to diverticulitis (flaring up of diverticular disease) and I completely know why it has reared up …. I only have myself to blame and myself to sort it out.

My main way, and this may not suit everyone, is to rest my system as much as I can until the pain subsides and my body feels ‘normal’ again.  I tend to go liquid for a few days so that my body isn’t having to deal with too much in the way of digestion in the hopes that it will have more time to deal with healing.  So far this has worked, on the few occasions that I have needed it, however the best plan is always to keep my diverticular disease at bay by eating well, exercising and having good fluids.

As it is pumpkin time here, and we New Zealanders love our pumpkins, I have been enjoying making up some pumpkin soup and my latest pots have been a little different after getting a few ideas at a local community dinner.  I usually just love pumpkin soup with a few onions and garlic thrown in, nothing fancy just yummy pumpkiny goodness, however I may have changed that for good after adding some coconut cream and ginger to the mix.  This recipe doesn’t really have any measurements, sorry, aside from 1 tin of coconut cream which you may want to increase if you are making  a large pot of soup. Experiment with what you like using this simple recipe as a base.

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Crown Pumpkin

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

  • 1/2 a large Crown Pumpkin (this is the best flavoured pumpkin for soups)
  • Ground or fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Veggie stock cube
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • Water

– Fry off the garlic in a pot with a little oil

– Add in pumpkin chopped into cubes (should come to almost the top of the pot)

– Pour in coconut cream (should cover 1/2 – 3/4 of the pumpkin in the pot) and then cover the rest of the pumpkin with water

– Bring to the boil and add in the stock and ginger

– Boil until the pumpkin is all soft.

– Take off the heat and mash until you have a thick soup.  You can add more liquid if you like it runny or mash less if you like your soup chunky.

– Enjoy!!

 

Hope this finds you free of pain and full of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz