Banana, Apple & Coconut bread – Its totally VEGAN!

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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

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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!
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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

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Ingredients :

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

pinch of salt

2 table spoons olive oil

 

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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.

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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

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Severe with hummus or guacamole for a lovely snack!

 

 

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

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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…

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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!

The Healthy Nut Bar

Ah, coconut bliss. It’s morning tea time and all you really want is a little pick me up and a smoothie that will leave you feeling refreshed and healthy all at the same time. You reach for the little health snack you bought at the health food shop.  You know it’s health because it’s organic, gluten free, and high in protein. It’s not too big, not as filling, but it will do, cause you know it’s healthy. You couldn’t have this every day though, because the price tag per square will see you paying upwards of $3-$4, which will pretty much send you into poordum by weeks end. So what do you do? Well, make it yourself really. Stop denying the hippy in you, it’s need to make everything at home and just get on with it. Yes, it may be a disaster the first 5 times but you can be comforted in knowing the it cost less than buying 7 of those bars. So you give it one last go, because well, you are deep in now and there is no turning back, and you nail it!

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As you take your first bite, you taste every single flavor, and your taste buds are not confused, but excited about the next mouthful. Chewy with a hit of crunchiness it fills you bite after bite after bite.  You chase it with a warm cup of tea, at which point you are content. You could have another, and not feel guilty for it.

 

Be sure to use your bulk bins as much as possible as this will save you a lot more money than buy individual pre packed. With bulk bins you buy only what you need with smaller chance of wastage.

What you will need:

1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

1/2 cup of walnuts

1 cup Brazilian nuts

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup desiccated coconut

10 dried figs

2 table spoons olive oil

2 table spoon maple syrup

1 table spoons blackstap molasses

 

Preparation:

1. set your oven to 400 F

2. place nuts in a food processor, blender or hand blender cup and blend  into a meal. Don’t make it prefect, some chopped chunks are good!

3. Empty into a bowl, add desiccated coconut, and mix well

4. cut figs into thin or thick slices, mix well

5. add wet ingredients and mix well

6. spread into a square baking pan, to desired thickness. Do not use baking sheet. the heat from the pans metal on the bottom will help toast from underneath.

7. Place in oven for 7 mins – 10min do not turn on candy crush or your food will burn. Stay close by

8. Remove pan from oven. Let Stand for 1 -2 mins.  Using a sharp knife, cut columns and rows tables into your bake. Do not remove. Leave to completely cool.

9. No go over your lines again and separate individual squares. Store in container in fridge for extra firmness and enjoy daily

 

 

 

Quinoa waffles – Coconut island banana nut bliss! wiggle wiggle wiggle

Starts like any other day. It’s waffle/ pancake day. He looks forward to Sunday mornings. As the sun shows it’s face and the light passes through the turquoise shades of the bedroom window, you feel his excitement build, as he tries patiently to wait for the rest of the house to wake. Tossing and turning he can no longer resist the urge to poke at me and his brother. A hand gently reaches over followed by a head peeking over the other side, “mama, are you awake?” he says loudly in his whispering voice.  I sense the hope in his voice that I will answer, which will lead to a domino effect of a 13month old summersaulting  over my body to find the voice that woke his slumber. I try to be still, in the hope that he will wait just a little longer, but my efforts are meaningless  and up pops beaver with a light in his eyes as he scans for his companion and best friend. Everyone is awake, it’s breakfast time ! As we make our way to the kitchen, a memory floods over me.  ‘ These waffles are going to take gluten free to another level.”

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It hits the pallet with the hint of coconut, just beneath the aroma of cinnamon. The texture is moist and smooth.  As you chew, the sharpness of the sunflower butter takes you to an exotic island, there you sit eating coconuts, bananas, & nuts. It’s a banana nut bliss. Full of richness and nutrients, every bit makes you feel nourished. and guilt free.

Stuff you need: makes – 6 waffles

quinoa – 1/2 cup : Well, what can I say but it has it’s own recognised day! Thats right this super food is pretty awesome and great to have when your diet has been cut down to a teeny tiny list laking in essential nutrients required to sustain you. It is abundant in protein, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, zinc & potassium. It really is super

brown rice  –  1/2 cup : really really really rich in niacin! Yes something we all need to help us avoid hight cholesterol. It also helps in healing impaired digestion. It doesn’t stop there though, it has been shown to successfully treat acne as well as prevent extremely painful migraines. The winner in my book is the use of treatment in depression and impaired memory. With winter knocking at the door, this will be my go to vitamin to keep the winter blues away. So when in doubt this winter, eat brown rice

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virgin coconut oil – 1 table spoon: Thanks to the medium chain fatty acids, you won’t need bile to digest this fat. This is great news for those with fatty livers as it is absorbs through the gut. It also helps with protein metabolism, and we all know how we need our protein. So don’t over do it, but don’t fear it either.

olive oil –  50ml

egg –  2 egg whites & 1 yoke

baking powder – 1 teaspoon

rice milk (homemade) – 200ml

cinnamon – 1 teaspoon

banana – 1 medium (whole): potassium, potassium, potassium

sunflower seed butter –  2 table spoons:  Another seed on  my superfood list. If it’s not on yours, it should because it has everything! High in protein, niacin, rich in folate and calcium why would I eat anything else. It’s got an abundance of iron and a fair amount of potassium. Eating this will make your vegan intolerance free diet a breeze and delight.

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Prep:

First turn on your waffle iron.

Once you have done that, seriously mix together your flours and dry ingredients, oils, eggs, and rice milk. Do not put in the banana or sunflower butter. Be warned the coconut oil might have bits that are undissolved. Don’t worry about it, just mix it as well as you can and the heat from the waffle iron will do the rest. Place 4-5 tablespoons of mix on each side of the waffle iron plate. Close iron on mix and let cook. remove when lightly brown or to your crunch!

To serve: Place waffle on the place, top with at least 1 tablespoon of sunflower seed butter and spread over waffle. Top with banana and enjoy!  For added sweetness, dress with maple or agave syrup.

 

My food intolerances & allergies – the 4 week elimination diet

So though I have been on a health quest all my life due to wheat and intolerances, it never accrued to me that I might still be eating the wrong things. I decided it was time to have a visit with my naturopath as I still had some allergy symptoms but was still eating healthy. We sent my blood work to the lab to check for IgA, B, antigens to foods and the results were shocking! So for the next 4 weeks I will be on a elimination diet until my next visit with my doctor. I am optimistic that this will only make me better and even more healthier so I welcome the challenge. To follow my progress make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel. I will upload daily progress vblogs  http://www.youtube.com/user/Naturallyzoefriendly

Here are a list of foods I can not eat for the next 4 weeks:

dairy ,
coffee,
blueberries ,
cranberries,
honey,
sugar,
baker’s yeast,
brewer’s yeast,
fish ,
almonds,
amaranth,
kidney beans,
lima beans,
soy,
string beans,
buckwheat,
corn,
wheat,
gluten,
hazelnut,
lentil,
oat,
green peas,
pecan,
rye,
sesame seeds,
spelt,

Blueberries & Buckwheat squares oh yay – Our visit to Blue Dot Farm

Our visit to blue dot farm wonderful. The hour drive out of the city was wonderful and pleasant, nothing short of amazing. Watching the wonderful green lush of evergreens line the edge of the roads, I began to appreciate all that nature offers.

As we approached the farm just off the main road, I began to feel my excitement build. My heart began to palpate and I felt as though I could not breathe. I could feel every beat as my heart pumped with glee.  We were about to harvest our own food.

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A two story home sat at the edge of the field, silent and still. It was early and there was little movement. Surrounded by trees and bush, it was a sight of tranquility. As we walked towards the building, I felt my mind confirm. “this is right, this is what we are suppose to do”. Build a relationship with our farmers. Like us they are people and not just a farm, but people that put their passion into providing us with nourishing food. To repay them and say thank you it made sense to physically say thank you and help harvest and show our appreciation for all the work they had done.

The bushes were new, young and organic. None more than two years old. They were beautiful. Filled with clusters of fresh, deep blue berries that were firm to touch and sweet to taste. Time past and buckets filled. We roamed the lanes in search of more berries and more peace. It was therapy. I began to sense a deep calm as I stood among the trees, observing the enjoyment among all those involved. The children laughed and ran with joy, picking and packing. They understood, a deep appreciation was being set in them.

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The summer has been brilliant. I can not find any fault with the wonderful warmth we were lucky to have this year.  Appreciating every ounce of D providing rays even on the hottest of days. As the summer comes to a close, I eye the many punnetts  of blueberries upon the shelf, knowing that not long from now, they will be a distant memory until the summer returns once again. I remember our farm host that allow us to be a part of their process. I remember the faces behind the boxes of clear plastics sealed with rubber bands. I remember were they began and how far they traveled.

We love making these delicious squares. I love that it is dairy free, margarine free, and low in sugar. They are easy to make anyone can do it. They make great snacks for school lunch boxes and morning and afternoon teas. Once made they can be frozen and eaten over a few weeks. They are awesome.

Buckwheat &  Blueberry Squares

What you will need:

1 cup of fresh organic blueberries

1 !/2 cup organic buckwheat flour

2 eggs

6 tablespoons of olive oil

1 level teaspoon aluminium – free baking powder

4 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/2 cup almond/soy/rice milk ( your choice)

2 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses

Preperation:

Mix  olive oil, maple, molasses, eggs, and baking powder together until mixture looks creamed. Next add buckwheat flour and non dairy milk and mix well. Finally add blueberries and mix through.

Set oven to 400 F. Oil pan and place mix in pan. Place in oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until ready. Let stand to cool. Serve.

Rosemary & Fennel Hummus – Simply yum!

The first bite is total bliss. After about a minute you realise your mouth and all digestive path are tingling with excitement. Ah, the rosemary, a gentle sensation that leaves your insides feeling refreshed and warm. Than the sweetness, not always there but pop in ever so often. It’s bliss! As you reach for another bite you are met with a new experience again and again and again. As the rosemary settles mind begins to feel alert and your eyes see clearly. Ah, snack, who lives without them?

IMG_3606I really love my rosemary and fennel hummus. It is something very different for me as I like to use more herbs as food and medicine. Ensuring I can reach therapeutic levels and gain the benefits of my food. As snack is just as important to me as my children, I want to know that I am giving them something that will not just quench their hunger but also nourish them holistically. So was born my first herbal hummus

You are going to need the following:

1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas or as it’s also called channa – they are high in protein, just what your body needs to function

2 table spoons of tahini – now if you can not buy the tahini because of the cost, you can buy sesame seeds, and simple add them to the recipe. It has the same effect. It has 0 cholesterol which is awesome, high in calcium which our heart needs and high in protein. Just two table spoon of this butter, gives you 8gms of protein.

Rosemary fresh is best from a 2 -3 inch stick – I used most of the leaves for this recipe. Great for increasing circulation,  strengthening capillary walls. This rich herb also stimulates circulation to the head helping to improve memory and concentration! I wonder if it helps with procrastination? It also aids the body from recovery from long term stress, something I can always use.

Fennel: I just love fennel, it is great for wind, bloating and low appetite. A great herb for children in low does. With it’s ability to also increase milk production, it is great for lactation mothers as well. Oh yay.

3 table spoon of apple cider vinegar – wonderful for the gut, stimulating digestion, helping to lower blood glucose. Remember though, less is more

garlic:  The awesome bulb this one is. Helping with everything from digestion, to lowering blood cholesterol levels, protects against blood clots, lowers blood pressure, and blood sugar. on top of that it has an antibiotic effect. So if you are feeling ill with cold, have lost your appetite, the fennel in this should get things going enough for you to eat more hummus to get more garlic to help you. Garlic does help to prevent circulatory issues and stokes by keep the blood thin so beware if you are on blood thinners.

1 table spoon of olive oil

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

1/2 cup of filtered water

pinch of salt 

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combine ingredients and process until creamy and all the rosemary are no longer visible.

Serve with fresh raw vegetables & naan bread

Enjoy!

Zoe friendly muesli

So like everything else in my life, I am obsessive about what goes into my body. I am very limited with my breakfast these days, as I am always pressed for time (professional procrastinator) , so I like to know that I can eat something healthy and small whiles juggling an infant and child, my house, and work.

A little history. In 2005, I came across a little white book, issued by green peace to help you buy foods which were GM free. I was shocked to find that both my favorite go to breakfast cereals were in the red. So began my journey to GMO free eating and introduction to the organic life. Any way, lets just say I found a new love for muesli and porridge, with the regular sunday treat of  homemade pancakes.

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As the time went on, I spent more money on toasted muesli than I’d care to think about and all the while wishing they would put less sugar, or more nuts, or just give me more for what I was paying. Over time they ingredients got better but so did the price increase. Healthy eating was in and at a hefty  price.

I was never satisfied with the ingredients and wanted more of a zoe friendly version. Just to remind you, the zoe friendly version would consist of the following:

low GI, low sugar, high protein ( up to 10g per serve), high fiber, dairy free, wheat free, Organic, GMO free, preservative free, high anti oxidant, pesticide free. That is not asking for much, right?

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In 2011 we moved to the States, and that is when it all changed! Toasted muesli did not exists, at least not the way I knew it. I found the granola very sweet and limited in almost all things Zoe friendly. That is when I re introduced myself to the bulk bin. I have not looked back since.

Zoe Friendly Homemade Muesli

You will need the following

1 bowl

1 mixing spatula

2 baking trays

ingrediants: all organic if possible

4 cups of rolled oats

1   1/2 cups cranberries

1   1/2 cups raw almonds

1   1/2 cup cashews

1    cup pepita seeds 

1   cup flaxseed/linseeds

6  Tbsp olive oil

2  Tbsp blackstrap molasses 

3  Tbsp real maple syrup (grade b)

alternative for nuts – peanuts, brazilian nuts, pecans, hazelnut, sunflower seeds

alternative for cranberries – rasins, sultana, dried blueberries, dried cherries, chopped dried apricots

alternative for maple – honey, agave

alternative for oil – coconut oil

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Preparation :

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Next add 3 Table spoons of olive all or your alternative oil. Next add your molasses, followed by the remainder of your oil. Now add your syrup or alternative syrup. Mix it all together and place in the freezer for 5 -7 minutes. This will allow the syrup and oil to harden and leave your end result a lot crisper. Set your oven temperature at 185 – 205 degrees c or 365 – 400 degrees f. Remove mix from freezer and spread evenly on trays. Do not oil trays, do not put baking paper on trays. If you let mix in freezer in too look because you were checking your fb and now its frozen, let it stand for a few minutes to warm than spread. Place in oven. Set timer for 3 minutes. Stay off your fb! Take out after 3 minutes, fluff with fork and put back in oven for another 3 minutes, set timer again incase you ignored my fb warning. Remove after 3 minutes and fluff once more. Turn off oven and put trays back in for a final 3 minutes. Remove and let stand for about 30minutes to cool. Store in glass or BPA free container. ENJOY
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