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Brocolli pasta al fredo

Since coming home from our holiday, I’ve not been as motivated or inspired as I was before. I think it’s the coming back to reality and the routine of normal life.

However, I was inspired by the So Vegan recipe I posted to my Facebook page yesterday. I adapted their recipe as my basil plants aren’t doing so good and I don’t have any walnuts at the moment.

This recipe is so quick, it only takes 15 minutes from start to finish and uses only 1 pot! It’s perfect for lunch or a quick dinner. It’s not only quick; but it’s full of nutrients, fiber, protein and flavour.

Josiah whose 2.5 yrs ate a big bowl and Janayah who is 1 yr ate a decent bowl for lunch today. The rest will be eaten by Jamari after his rugby game and if there’s any left I’ll freeze it for Janayah’s lunches.

Ingredients:

For the pasta:

2 cups whole grain pasta or spaghetti

1 large head of broccoli, chopped (you can also add mushrooms)

For the sauce:

1 can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

2 tsp garlic (I use 3 because we love garlic)

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (for a cheesy flavour. Leave it out if you don’t like it)

1 tsp mixed herbs (I used dried)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

Pinch of salt and black pepper

1 plant milk (I use rice milk as almond milk is too sweet)

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

1. Boil the kettle

2. Cook pasta as per packet instructions

3. Chop brocolli

4. Add all sauce ingredients except the lemon juice into a blender

4.5 if using mushrooms, cook them in water in a frying pan for 5 minutes. Add the sauce, cook on low stirring occasionally. Add more milk if you’d like it thinner.

5. With 5 minutes cooking to go, add the broccoli to the pasta

6. Once the pasta is cooked and the broccoli is to your liking, drain the water

7. Add the pasta and broccoli and lemon juice to the sauce and mix through. We add salt and pepper once we’ve tasted our food.

Serve alone or with a salad or garlic bread

Easy peasy! Let me know if you make it and what you think xx

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Apple & buckwheat muffins

These muffins are so moist and yummy, perfect for babies as finger food, toddlers and kids’ lunchboxes.

I whipped these up in 10 minutes using just one bowl, awesome huh?! I even took a call from my good friend Llywela in UK while I was spooning the mixture into the cases.

My baby was asleep and my toddler started out wanting to help but ended up doing water play instead.

I’m loving baking using buckwheat flour, its such a healthy alternative plus its gluten free.

If you’re after a quick, healthy muffin recipe these are it.

Ingredients:

3 small apples, skinned and grated

1 flax egg

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinammon

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Method:

1. Prepare the flax egg (mix 1 tablespoon of ground linseed with 3 tablespoons of water and leave in the fridge while you grate the apples)

2. Skin and grate the apples into a bowl

3. Add the cinnamon, pure maple syrup, almond milk, baking powder, flour, and flax egg to the apples

4. Mix well

5. Spoon mixture evenly into 12 silicone muffin cases

6. Cook on 180° for 15 – 20 mins until a skewer comes out dry. The skewer will be a little sticky but thats good!

7. Leave to cool on a wire rack

Easy peasy!! Let me know if you try them and what you think.

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Buckwheat, oat and date cookies

These are a variation of my other buckwheat cookie recipe. I wanted to make a cookie with less sugar so I’ve subbed the dark chocolate for dates in this one and left out the flax egg and maple syrup. I got 9 medium sized cookies from this recipe but you could make them smaller.

They aren’t as sweet as the ones with dark chocolate, but the kids still love them. My 1 yr old really enjoyed chewing on one and I’m happy as they’re full of great plant based ingredients.

I love these kinds of recipes because all you need is a food processor and a baking tray! The cookies are quite filling so although you want to eat lots, you cant.

They freeze and defrost well and are perfect for the lunchboxes. I store them in an air tight container in the fridge.

Ingredients:

1 cup dates soaked in boiling water

1/4 cup of the date water

1 very ripe banana

1/2 cup of buckwheat flour

1.5 cups rolled oats

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°

2. Soak the dates in boiling water (if you use medjool dates you don’t need to soak them)

3. Blend the dates, vanilla and water in a food processor until they are broken down

4. Add the banana and blend until mixed

5. Add the baking powder, cinnamon, buckwheat flour and half the oats. Blend until well mixed.

6. Add the rest of the oats and blend until just mixed, leaving some oats intact. The mixture will be quite sticky

7. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or baking paper. Spoon the mixture onto the tray in cookie shapes

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are brown

9. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack

Enjoy and let me know if you make them. I’d love to see your photos!

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It’s about the journey, not the destination

I’m writing this on the drive back home from Ohope Beach. We’ve just spent 5 nights there; our first holiday in 2 years and our first as a family of 5. We had a great time just being together and doing fun stuff.

As anyone with young children knows, going away is like a military operation. It’s not always relaxing, but the break from the usual routine and being all together is awesome.

So I did some meal planning before we left and took a few nights dinners with us. I had planned on topping up at the local supermarket for extra veggies and stuff as we needed them. We had also decided that we would eat out and that this may take us away from whole foods. We were ok with that as it was only going to be for a few days.

Well it turns out my meal planning wasn’t so great after all! I was 2 dinners short and had completely forgotten about lunches. So we ate lots of hot chips (fries), sandwiches, potato chips, weetbix and fruit. Stephen and Jamari had a couple of hamburgers and hotdogs and I tried a piece of fish and some blue cheese. We also tried some Bio cheese, which we didn’t like at all. Some might call me a hypocrite but I don’t care. This is my family’s journey to a healthier diet; its fraught with temptation and a lifetime’s worth of ingrained meat and dairy eating. We’re bound to have the odd slip up.

What I did learn on this particular journey is threefold.

1. When travelling with the family I need to be much more organized and prepare easy meals and snacks for us.

2. We’re really lucky in New Plymouth that there are lots of eateries who cater for plantbased/vegan diners. They’re always happy to make an existing dish vegan or make something totally fresh just for you.

3. Eating a plantbased diet is what my body needs and prefers. I have honestly felt like crap these last few days. I’ve been lethargic, bloated, nauseous and I haven’t slept well; although the sleeping could be attributed to our youngest children waking constantly in the night, every night!

So, we’re human after all! I do love this new way of eating as it makes us all feel so much better physically, mentally and socially. We’ve had lots of conversations about why we are plantbased over the last week and we’re positive we’ve made the right choice for our family.

In an effort to do more for our environment and to teach our children about sustainability, we’ve been trying to cut down on our use of plastic. We already use metal straws, take reusable bags to the fruit and veg shop, I use calico produce bags, I shop at Binn Inn where I can buy in bulk and take my own containers and I use beeswax wraps instead of glad wrap (cling film).

We’ve got a way to go on this journey of ours and I’m not sure what the destination is, but I really do believe that by sharing our journey and experiences we as a family can make a difference.

We just went through Mokau and it’s a lovely feeling when you can see the top of our mountain.

We’re nearly home, Taranaki really is like no other.

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Buckwheat & oat cookies

Here’s another cookie recipe which is yummy and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups buckwheat flour

1.5 cups rolled oats

2 over ripe bananas

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (add more if you’d like it sweeter)

1 flax egg

2 tsp baking powder

1tsp vanilla essence

3/4 cup of dark choc chips

Method:

Blend the bananas and vanilla essence in a food processor until smooth.

Add the flour and blend until well mixed.

Add the oats and mix, but leave some oats whole.

Add the choc chips and give it a quick pulse to mix them in.

Spoon the mixture into cookie shapes on a baking sheet and cook on 200° for 10-14 mins until cookies are brown.

This recipe makes 20 decent sized cookies. They are great for the lunchbox and will keep in the fridge or freezer.