Thai Curry Paste time!

The colour of your paste will really depend on how much dried red chillies or fresh coriander you use. For red paste don’t use any coriander leaves. Well on with it. I have to say this is the easiest and most fun I have had in a while. After all who doesn’t like thai curry?  There  is nothing like the wait of an order at a restaurant or order in to get the gastric juices flowing. The anticipation and excitement of the first bite of that awesome red/green curry to take your body to a food comatorium. Yah, just made up that word so don’t look it up! Thai curry does that to the mind. There you lose your mind and you begin to hear voices. Gentle whispers,  “you could soo make this”!

20160114_141941

 

You head to the store the following day, searching frantically for the best curry paste: mild. red. vegan, gluten free, and everything zoe friendly. You find one in the array of glass bottled pastes and spices from across the sea. You are ready!

Ingredients in, rice cooked, you are on a roll. Dinner served, and to your bewildered surprised, it taste like absolutely nothing you just had in the restaurant!!!!!!! After much research. you conclude making your own paste  is the only way to wake up form this.

Finding your way to your local International District, you start your journey to being the greatest cook there every was, in your house. So what do you need?

  1. Galangal – don’t even think of skipping on this cause without this well….
  2.  Lemon grass – seriously do not make me repeat myself!
  3. Dried red chillies – you know your limit. I however, always like to push the boundaries. Avoid if you have ulcers, because you and I both know it will kill you. Finally, remember chili burns twice
  4. Garlic – use 2-3 cloves. Don’t over  do it, you might live to regret it.
  5. Shallots – no, not green onions, or spring onions.The other one, mini purple onion, the size of a giant garlic.
  6. Finally, coriander roots – good luck finding this lot at your local. You may have to make your way to your nearest ID. Whiles there be sure to grab another curry for the sake of research.

 

Alright, alright, on with it.

Putting it all together.

Seriously this is really easy. Soak about 5-7 dried chillies and galangal bits in filtered water. Leave for about an hour. Once done, put everything in a mortar and smash away. Be sure to wear googles, chili water travels! Use pestle until you get a paste. However, should you find yourself once again with voices in your head, as the words of singer eSNa rings true, you might find yourself saying “ani’t not body got time for this”. If this is you, pack it all up, dump it in the nearest blender, and it does not have to be your own, and turn that baby on! You are done!

Ok, go out there and start master cooking. Have a great weekend!

Banana, Apple & Coconut bread – Its totally VEGAN!

20150726_171950-2

It was a miracle that I even managed to get this right the first time round. My resources were limited you see. My cupboard seemed bare, I refused to dip into my extra funds to buy more food, as I have placed myself on a budget and a strict diet of use what you have and stop being wasteful. The kids had had a fun day of mini golf, had enjoyed the fresh air, and were now sitting comfortably on the couch, awaiting something to eat. A snack to hold them till dinner would arrive. So, I went hunting. One banana on the counter, and a desperate dig in my backpack for the banana we had dragged to a picnic and back the day before, we were on our way. Showered with luck and creativity, coconut oil sat in the cupboard, a cup of chia seed in a ziplock, 1/2 an apple in the fridge, 1 cup of coconut sugar to last the week, 1/4 cup of desiccated  coconut , and a small ziplock of barley flour, the magic happened. I was certain this would go down in history as the most interesting baked good any desperate person could make, but alas, I was wrong. Instead, the house filed with the smell of bananas and coconut, warmed by the gentle kiss of the sun. It was soft and moist. The chewiness of the coconut was subtle and blissful. We were left with only one word. MORE!

Ingredients

2 – ripe bananans

1/2 – an apple

1/4 cup – desiccated coconut

1/2  cup – coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon – baking soda

3 tablespoons – chia seeds

2 tablespoons – unrefined coconut oil

1 1/2 barley flour ( you can substitute with any flour you wish)

1 cup of water

20150726_171543 (1)

Prep:

  1. Pre heat oven to 410 degrees Fahrenheit or 210 degrees celsius
  2. Place chia seeds, banana, sugar, and apple in a blender and puree.
  3. place coconut oil and baking soda in bowl and mix well.
  4. add banana chia see mixture, and mix well
  5. add flour and coconut, mix well
  6. finally add water.  Mix well.
  7. Oil loaf pan with oil, place mixture in pan and place in oven until brown. This should take about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and place loaf on cooling rack. Once cool slice, and enjoy!

Morning Start – Quinoa Breakfast of Vegan, allergy sufferers champions!

I can hear myself chewing. It’s not the quinoa as you might first think, but the sweet crunch of apple and nuts which were carefully chosen to compliment this awesome meal. Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day for me. Take away the daily routine of rush in the morning to get 2 children ready, 1 for school, and a Mr two, time is never on my side. Being a vegan with allergies and makes things a little more challenging. So what to do, what to do. Pick a meal that will give you everything you need in one sitting of various multitasking, because you only get one chance at this. So here is what you will need

20141202_094341

1/2 cup of quinoa – this is your super food. Great for getting in your iron, protein, calcium and carb it pretty much covers all the nutrients you need.

1/2 a medium apple – low sugar, high fiber, great for lowering blood sugar and lets face it, what fun is anything without apples

5 dried sulfur free apricots – in the winter months, I love apricots. You don’t need alot of it to get what you need. When dried, these fruits are high in vitamin A which is great for your immune system! So throw more than 5 on if you are keen on them.

1 tablespoon chai seeds – the other super food. Rich in calcium, omega 3, mucilage, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, it is up there in the comparison chart with flaxseed and sesame seed. It also decreases blood pressure and fibrinogen and C-reactive. For this reason, If you are on any anti hypertensive medication be sure to speak to your healthcare practitioner as chai seeds increase the effects of those medications.

protein levels1/4- 1/2 cup of walnuts –  High in protein, fiber, and must importantly antioxidant and omega oils

1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses – great source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, B6, potassium, manganese, and even calcium. A little goes a long way

1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 cup of warm nut or soy milk (optional)

Prep:

Cover your quinoa with water and let it soak over night. In the morning rub grains between your finger whiles still in the water. You might have noticed the foam that is on top. That is your saponins. Rub the grains to get the rest of. throw water away and rinse again. Discard water and cover with 2 cups of fresh water. Place on stove on leave to boil. let it boil till grains expand. This should take less than 10mins as you have already presoaked. Once grain is open, discard remaining water, place in bowl and began to cover this remainder ingredients and enjoy.

note: If you forgot to soak your grain, simply cover with 4 cups of water in pot, place on stove, and let it boil till the water turns yellow, form becomes visible on the liquid surface and grains have opened (this usually takes about 10 – 25 mins depending on your stove and heat setting), remove from stove, discard water and rinse under clean water. Continue the remainder steps.

Adding warmed nut or soy milk gives it a really hearty touch

Making Homemade Rice Crackers

Reaching over in that middle aisle, you grab a pack of the rice crackers you love soo much, and probably the only ones you can eat thanks to the long list of allergy foods that you can no longer  eat. The price shows $ 2.99 which at first seems steep, as you glance over at the organic NON-GMO version sitting at about $4.00, you  begin reading the ingredients to compare. It reads: Rice, Salt. Is it really worth paying 3 – 4 dollars for a packet of crackers which will only last a few hours? What happens when you have 2 packs in the week, or goodness should you have a party for all your gluten free, vegan friends, how on earth do you buy enough for them. Let not forget the kids that eat you out of house and home, and pretty much live on rice crackers. As the calculations of cost begin to pile in your brain, you can’t help but wonder; could I make this at home? At $2.00/ LB  Organic rice comes fairly reasonably and cheaper than a packet of non organic rice crackers. In truth you can make them at home, all you need is patience, drive and rice! So lets get started

100_1198 100_1196

 

Ingredients :

1 cup of organic rice ( jasmine or short grain brown)

pinch of salt

2 table spoons olive oil

 

100_1193

Prep:

Rinse rice till water runs almost clear. Add 3 cups of filtered water to white jasmine rice or 4 cups to short grain brown.

Put on stove to boil.

Cook until soft but still damp. If you need to add more water for longer cooking add 1/2 – 1 cup .

Turn oven on to 220 degrees F

Once soft but not dried, empty into food processor, or heavy duty blender, or a bowl to use hand blender

Blend till smooth.

Mix pureed rice and oil in bowl with salt to taste. It should be very gooey.

Pour mixture on to a metal baking sheet and spread no higher than 1cm.

Place on top shelf  in oven for 30mins or until surface of mixture becomes rubbery.

100_1195

Remove tray and place cooking weights or 3-4 butter knives on top of surface

Increase temp to 300 degrees F

Place tray back in oven and bake for 30 – 40mins till the rice starts to harden.

Turn off oven and leave try in oven to cool.

Once cool break rice spread/cracker into bite size pieces

100_1196

Severe with hummus or guacamole for a lovely snack!

 

 

How to make soy milk

I really enjoyed making this, and even though I can’t have soy at the moment, I really felt a sense of accomplishment once I finished making soy milk all by myself. I have spent the last 12months really trying to make as much as I can at home, to ensure it is whole, not preserved, fresh and clean. For me, this meant learning to make many of the organic foods that I usually pulled off the shelf, such as nut milks, nut butters, breads, breakfast cereals etc. Along the way I have learnt soo much. At first I really found it scary and to be honest felt that some foods were meant to be made in facilities, but as the months have gone on, I have began to step outside my comfort zone. This week, I challenged myself to something that I have long felt was beyond my reach, as I had placed soy in a category all by itself. Once I began to see it as any other legume, I felt more comfortable to explore what can be done with it. With that, I took on soy milk, one of the last remaining foods, I still buy off the shelf. Now I have comfort in knowing that I don’t really need to do that anymore, and now I have infinite boundaries I feel comfortable jumping over! So with that, lets make soy milk.

100_0766

You are going to need:

1 cup of organic GMO-free soy beans. Use the bulk bin if you can, it will be cheaper

12 cups of filtered water

a massive pot that can hold at least 15 cups of liquid

unbleached cheese muslin cloth or sieve

100_0734

Preparation:

1. place soybeans in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of filtered water. Leave for  18hrs. After 18hrs throw water away after 18hrs, wash beans till all beans skin are gone.

2. place beans in a blender and add 1 cup of filtered water. Blend till smooth

3. Place soy content in pot and add remainder 9 cups of water.

4. Boil on high for 10mins, stir with spoon occasionally to prevent soy fiber from sticking to bottom of put. Skim of any foam layer that forms on top of milk, do not stir it back into the milk.

5. After 10 mins lower stove to medium to low heat and leave to cook for 45 – 1 1/2hrs depending on how creamy you want it.

6. Once cooking time is reached, place cheese cloth over a bowl (see jar & cheese prep)

7. carefully strain milk. Squeeze excess milk out of cloth and save soy pulp( akara) in fridge

8. sweeten milk as you please with vanilla extract or blend with dates. You can also leave it unsweetened.

9. pour milk in warm jars (see jar prep below). Seal, label and store!

10. Enjoy your homemade, healthy, fresh soy milk as you like

100_0761

100_0746 100_0739100_0744

Jar prep & cheese cloth prep:

1. Place jars & lids in pot and cover with water. Boil for 5-10 mins .

2. Carefully remove jars and place on clean dish towel rims up.

3. place cheese cloth in pot of hot water with stove OFF. Leave till ready to use

How to give your toddler water play in the winter months.

If there is one thing all parents can agree on, it’s that children love water, the love to drink it, pour it, lay in it and just about cover everything in it. Child development research shows that water play has essential benefits in child brain development.

Yes it can be messy, wet, and a pain to clean, but it is also a calming and enjoyable exercise for little people. Water play helps in the development of hand-eye coordination, learning to lift, pour. Whilst, they don’t really care about it right now, it sets the foundation for early mathematics and some science concepts, such as differentiating between heavy and light items, those that will sink and those that will float. Water play also allows toddlers to develop concentration and focus as well as some problem solving skills.

100_0682100_0681

In the summer months and living in countries with warmer climates, this can be easily achieved by allowing little ones outside with a bucket, visiting paddle pools, water fountains, and so on. Water play during the winter months can be challenging until you step outside the box. Bring it indoors, make it simple, make it safe, make it fun.

Here is a simple and easy way too bring water play to your toddler during the winter, when you are sharing each others’ company indoors.

You will need the following:

1. Time, lots of it. This kind of play is a free range play that does not need to be rushed

2. 3-6 items (toddler hand size) that sink and float

3. A stool about 8-10 inches high. No higher or you might find them in the sink. Step stool will also cause them to climb in the sink, so only use them with constant supervision.

4. 2 medium towels

5. bath room sink

6. water

100_0679100_0669

Monterssori set up

1. Take your toddler with you to collect all items needed. Make sure to let them carry some light things, and have a designated stop where they are to be place. Make sure to say the name of each item being used as well.

2. Work together to set up towels. Ask your toddler to help you place the towel on the floor by showing her which end to hold. Allow room for error.

3. Next have your toddler carry stool from designated spot and place on top of towel in front of sink. Work together to cover stool with second towel.

4.  Next fill sink with warm water.

5. Ask toddler to carry water play items to sink and place next to stool. Once task is complete, allow toddler to place items into sink on his own.

6. Give some space and let them work and have fun. Best to leave them till no longer want to play.

7. Pack away using prep step but in reverse!

More detailed video coming soon…

Not into Montessori? Use these steps

Prep: place 1 towel on the floor where the activity will take place, in front of the sink. Next place stool on top, and cover the stool with second towel. Next clean sink and fill with warm water. Remember there might be some drinking of the water so make sure to keep everything clean. Next place water play items in sink and let your little one loose.

Alternative set up

Don’t have a sink, or your sink is too high? Don’t worry you can follow any of the above steps with the following changes

1. Use a large camping basin.

2. Place on coffee table. For set up see step 2&3 of the monterssori set up

3. continue all other steps

4. stay close and keep a watchful eye, with water below your toddler head, you want to make sure they do not try to put their face in it. Safety first

5. Have fun

How I cut/ trim my hair for healthier hair & better hair growth

I have used this method over the last 9months and notice a big difference in how my hair grew all over. I really think it helped in making my front and sides grow a lot better. This method can be used for any hair type from straight right through to coily. Gave it a go if you can, and see if it makes a difference for you!

xoxo

Gluten Free, Lactose Free Ginger Bread Cookies

I thought we could do this together as we go along and see how things turn out. It is 3pm on Monday December 23 2014, and I have just turned on the oven to 380 F.

In progress

100_0591

ImageImage

What you will need:

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup brown rice flour

2 table spoons virgin coconut oil

2 table spoons olive oil

2 table spoons blackstrap molasses

2 teaspoon ground ginger or more if you like it spicey

1 min I am going to put the cookies in the freezer for five minutes…

100_0586

2 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of cardamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1/3 cup Demerara sugar

Preparation:

Mix oils, egg and spices together till smooth.

Next add baking soda and eggs and mix till eggs are blended

Now add molasses and mix

Add flours and mix will into a soft dough

Roll dough into a ball and press down till 1/2 inch thick.

Cut shapes with cutter and place on metal try, no baking sheets!

Place in freezer fro 5 minutes.

While that is happening, place oven on 380 F

Remove raw cookies from oven and place in oven.

Leave for 20 minutes on top shelf, 25 max. Any longer and it might start to burn. Enjoy!