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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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

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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

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.

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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

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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

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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

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.

Almond Milk Made Simple – What!

Wow, is the first thought that comes to mind as the rich white liquid hits the pallets of the mouth. It’s fresh and cool. The hint of cardamon is enough to have you wanting more. You remember you only made 6 cups, so you better go easy. Next time will be even better. You have complete control over how thick and rich you make it, from lite to full. Why has it taken soo long to get you here when all you need was just a few little ingredients.  You know the benefits of almonds, from the richness in Vitamin E, the high fiber, the vitamin B, protein, calcium, and mono saturated fats. You know the phytosterols in it helps to lower cholesterol. You know that you need to be aware that almonds can still be an allergy and intolerant food so be aware.  Yes, you knew all that. You also remembered to save your almond pulp to make desiccated almond to add to your granola and backing after all it’s all about wholefoods  and complete foods to get the full benefit of your almonds.

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Soo What Do You Need To Make Your Own Almond Milk:

1 1/2 cup of almond. (organic /pesticide free)

7 cups of filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of cardamon seeds

sieve or cheese muslin clothe

mason jars

blender/food processor/ hand held mixer

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Prep:

Place almonds in a container with 1 cup of filtered water. Leave in fridge for 24-36  hours. Make sure to cover it.

Sterilize your mason jars.

Next. Empty water out and place almonds and cardamon in processor along with the reminder 6 cups of filter water. If you would like your milk to be lite, add an additional 2 cups of filter water. Process until water is white and almond is broken down.

Pour through sieve or muslin cloth. Save almond pulp for making desiccated almond to add to your backing or granola. It’s all about wholefoods.

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Place in empty sterilsed mason jars and store.

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Enjoy!

Smoothie of the week – Melon berry bliss!

Yum!  A burst of citrus, that leaves a sweet mellow taste on the tip of your tongue. Cooling,  and my the aroma that hangs at the back of your tongue. Oh, yes the apricots. That’s what that is. Every soo subtle, that it’s gone before you realise what just happened to your mouth. The water melon lingers as a reminder that something exciting just happened to your mouth as it makes it’s way to your stomach. You reach over for another taste of bliss.

IMG_3624Having a fruit smoothie during your day is such a wonderful way to get your body refreshed and filled with an abundance of anti oxidants, nutrients and fibre. It’s easy to do and you can drink it on the run. And lets face it, It’s a wonderful way to get more fruit in you than you could chew in a single day! So get to it!

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You will need the following:

2 cups of chopped watermelon – high in lycopene , which is important for prostate health. Keep in mind, it is high on the glycemic index and should be eaten with other foods that will help low the glucose effect

1 fresh apricot– High in Vitamin A as well as potassium

1 peeled orange with with the pericarp still attached – contains Vitamin, flavanoids and calcium

7 medium strawberries –  high in Vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

1 plum

1 cup of blueberries -high in lutein, potassium. Vitamin A & Vitamin K. Lutein has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. It also can turn the skin bronze. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting. Be aware K can interfere with blood thinning medication. It is however a good way of getting Vitamin k into breastfeeding mothers, and pregnant women with low platelet counts

BLEND EVERYTHING TOGETHER TILL SMOOTH – IE AND ENJOY!

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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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