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Crispy Hashbrowns

Potatoes are one of my favourite vegetables. They so versatile, but also very filling and contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, fibre, potassium, magnesium and folate (vitamin B9].

We love hashbrowns, especially the crunchy bits on the outside. They go with anything and you can eat them anytime!

In my quest to cook them without oil, I discovered that using my sandwich maker or grill produced a crispy result while still being fluffy inside.

Depending on how many people you’re feeding, you’ll need to either cook 2 batches or like me, use both the sandwhich maker and the George foreman grill. This recipe makes enough to feed 2 adults and 3 children. I use 2 potatoes per person, so you can adjust that number as you need to. You can also sub some potatoes for zucchini, kumera, onion and carrot.

I top ours with pan fried vegetables cooked in liquid seasoning and fresh garlic. You can add anything you like!

Ingredients:

10 medium potatoes (any variety)

1/4 cup chopped parsley (or any fresh herbs)

2 chopped garlic cloves

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp mustard powder

Method:

Pre heat your sandwich maker and/or grill to toast or medium setting

Scrub the potatoes and grate them into a clean tea towel

Squeeze the water from the potatoes

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix everything together, making sure the potatoes are well coated

Spread half of the mixture onto the grill, making sure it is even. Repeat with the other grill if using

Close the grill or sandwich maker ensuring the lid is flat. Cook for approximately 15 minutes (each machine is different so adjust cooking time as needed). Be careful not to lift the lid too early. If the hashbrowns haven’t crisped up enough you’ll pull it apart.

Carefully remove your hashbrowns and enjoy on its own with a dipping sauce or top with your favourite vegetables.

The best bit is that you only need to gently wipe you machine, as no oil is required!

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Transitioning workshop

Simone’s Plant Based Cooking Classes are your gateway to creating and eating vibrant, mostly organic and healthy vegan food.

I believe that food should serve your body and mind well. The plant based lifestyle is a way of fueling yourself that is enjoyable, simple and sustainable.

This 3 hour transition class will give you the information, tools, motivation and recipes to start your own journey into discovering plant based foods.

The topics we’ll cover are:

* The science

* What is a plant based diet?

* Discover your why & motivations

* What to eat?

* How to start

* How to include your family

* Recipes

* Shopping lists

* Goal setting & planning
The cost of the workshop is $100 per person and includes:

* A work book with all the information you need, including motivational tips, resources and useful websites.

* My ebook of family friendly recipes (worth $25)

* Nibbles & light dinner
Numbers are limited to 10, so book early as places will fill up fast. Come alone or bring a friend, but you’ll leave with a new community of friendship and support.

It will be held at @the open space in New Plymouth 3pm – 6pm.

Email or call me to book your space.

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Christmas Chocolate Slab

Christmas is just around the corner. If you love chocolate as much as we do, then you’ll love this Christmas themed treat. I serve it with a platter of other goodies but you can serve it alone. I’ll also be giving away little bags as presents for my kids’ teachers. If you can resist eating it, you could wrap the pieces up for your tree decorations. 

I use 90% cocoa dark chocolate drops as its not too sweet, but you can use whatever you like. The cranberries add a chewy sweetness and the raspberry powder gives a sharp, sweet pop which you’ll love.

This recipe makes enough to line a 9 by 9 inch square pan. It comes out quite thin, so if you want thick chunks, simply double or triple the amount of chocolate you use! 

Ingredients:

1 cup dark chocolate drops 

2 tbsp almond milk

1/4 cup cranberries 

1/8 cup pistachios, crushed 

1 tsp Fresh As Raspberry powder 

Method:

Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, with a bigger bowl on top 

Line your rectangular tray 

Add the chocolate and milk to the bowl and stir occasionally until melted. If the chocolate is too thick, add a little more milk

Once melted, pour the chocolate into your lined pan. Sprinkle over the cranberries, pistachios, then the raspberry powder 

Place the tin into the freezer for 20 mins until the chocolate is solid again

Once solid, remove the paper from the tin and roughly chop the slab into pieces

The slab will keep in an air tight container for a few weeks, but it won’t last that long! 

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Lentil & Kumera Lasagne

We love lasagne so I’ve been trying some new recipes and this one is our favourite.

There’s no story today, just the recipe because its amazing!

Ingredients:

For the filling

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 small carrots, grated

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and drained

1 tbsp Braggs liquid seasoning

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp white miso paste

1 700 ml jar of passata + the empty jar filled with water

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 medium orange kumera, sliced into 1 cm discs (any thicker and you’ll have to pre cook them)

3 dried wholemeal lasagne sheets, ready to cook

 

For the cheese sauce:

2 cups cauliflower, steamed

1.5 cups cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours (overnight is best)

1/2 cup Braggs nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp Braggs liquid seasoning

3/4 cup of water

*Vegan Parmesan for the topping

 

Method:

Pre heat your oven to 200° and move the rack to the centre

Add all the filling ingredients to a large saucepan and stir

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover

Cook for 25 minutes until the lentils are nearly cooked. Check the sauce every 10 minutes. You may need to add extra water, half a cup at a time to ensure the sauce doesn’t dry out and the lentils don’t become gluggy. Stir after every addition of water

Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste

Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool

In a high powered blender, add all the cheese sauce ingredients, (except the vegan Parmesan) and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Add a little more water if needed to ensure the sauce is smooth

In a large rectangular oven proof dish, add 1/2 of the filling and shake the dish to ensure it is even

Layer the kumera on top of the lentil filling

Layer the remaining lentil filling on top of the kumera

Layer the lasagne sheets onto the lentil filling, breaking them to fit

Spoon the cheese sauce onto the lasagne sheets and ensure all of the sheets are covered

Sprinkle the sauce with vegan Parmesan

Cook in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes until the kumera is cooked (check with a fork)

Once cooked, allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting

Serve with a salad and enjoy!

 

  • If your oven dish is small, adjust the amount of lentil filling you use. Otherwise it will drip all over your oven
  • Place a clean baking tray on the shelf below just in case of dripping
  • If you’re using tinned lentils, reduce the cooking time of the filling. It will only take 10-15 minutes for the veggies to cook. Also reduce the amount of water you add by half. You won’t need to add any extra water while cooking either
  • If you don’t use all of the cheese sauce, store it in the fridge for up to a week. It makes a lovely pasta sauce

 

 

 

 

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Smoothie Bowls

I only started making smoothie bowls a few months ago. I would see so many elaborate and stunningly beautiful pictures of them on Instagram and think ‘I don’t have time for that’.  I was so in awe of those amazing photos, I thought I’d give them a go. I spend around 10 minutes making them, with 2 toddlers and a tween telling me they’re hungry. If I can do it, you can too!

We love smoothies, but they can be a bit boring. My children love bright colours and food which looks different and fun. You can dress up a smoothie bowl with anything you have in your fridge and pantry. I use a mixture of grains, nuts, seeds and fruit. My kids love a smiley face on top of the brightly coloured base mixture. The trick to the floating face, is to make sure the smoothie is thick. You won’t be drinking it through a straw and you don’t want the toppings to sink! I like to use frozen bananas to make ‘nice cream’, which is nice and thick.

A smoothie bowl is typically topped with nuts, seeds and fruit which provide essential nutrients, vitamins and protein. Some people only use fruit and/or protein powder in the smoothie itself. That doesn’t keep my kids full for long at all. My favourite tummy filling, protein loaded things to add are:

* soaked oats

* cooked quinoa

* cooked buckwheat

* cooked kumera (sweet potato)

* Cannellini Beans

Mix it up a bit and try something different each time. I don’t use plant milk in smoothies, I only use water. This is only because almond milk is expensive. Water works just as well and if I want a creamier consistency, I use avocado.

If you or you children haven’t tired spirulina powder before, just try a little bit first and look out for a tummy upset. It isn’t recommended for children under 1 yr, so please consult a professional before giving it to your baby.

I hope you have as much fun creating these bowls as I do.

This recipe make 4 smoothie bowls. I make individual smoothies in my nutri bullet.

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats, soaked overnight in 1 cup almond milk

4 tsp spirulina powder

4 heaped tsp ground flaxseed

4 bananas

4 tsp chia seeds

4 tsp sunflower seeds

4 tsp blueberry & apple jam

8 tsp peanut butter

1/4 cup water

Pure maple syrup, optional (I add a tsp to each smoothie to dull the taste of the spirulina powder)

Method:

In the blender add: 1/2 cup of the soaked oats, half a banana, 1 tsp of spirulina powder, 1 heaped tsp of flaxseed, 1/4 cup water

Blend until smooth

Pour into a bowl and top with your favourite toppings and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Sunday Funday

I love sundays. We always have a family outing in the mornings; today was spent at the beach. While the toddlers slept this afternoon, I got to cooking. It was a mega cook up for next week’s lunches.

I made:

1. crispy baked chick peas. They marinated for 2 days in braggs liquid seasoning, pure maple syrup and liquid smoke. They are so delicious, I had to force myself not to eat them all.

2. Brocolli and spinach tots. I used chickpea flour instead of breadcrumbs and they turned out absolutely delicious!

3. Blueberry and apple chia jam. I added the chia seeds after I had blended the fruit. It sets in the fridge and is good to eat after 30 minutes. It’s the easiest jam I’ve ever made!

4. Spelt flour and raisin scones. With only 4 ingredients, these scones only took 5 minutes to make and cook in 10! They’re lovely with the jam.

5. Date and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I use buckwheat flour for these cookies, as it creates an amazing texture alongside the peanut butter. I use just enough flour to hold everything together. They melt in your mouth.

6. Date, almond and oat cookies with vanilla are a favourite.

7. Potato curry balls coated in buckwheat flour and breadcrumbs.

8. Dinner was the potato curry mix as patties with rice and veggies.

I’ll only need to add veggies and fruit to the lunchboxes now which will make life much easier.

If you’d like any of these recipes, look out for my next lunchbox workshop!

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Warm Quinoa Salad

I’ve been making this salad for a few years now and it never fails to please. Its filling, nourishing, colorful and delicious!

You can have it as a side or a main and your friends will be mighty impressed when you turn up for the pot luck with this.

Using seasonal veggies, you can mix it up every time. You can also change the dressing depending on the veggies you use.

This recipe is based on the veggies I last used, so feel free to use what you like and what’s in season wherever you are

This recipe makes 5 portions for a main meal. It will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days.

Its great the next day for lunch with a salad or in a wrap.

GF, Vegan, Plant Based, Oil free, dairy free

Ingredients:

For the salad

2 cups quinoa, washed and drained

1 large orange kumera (sweet potato), peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

7 medium roasting potatoes skin on, chopped into bite sized pieces

2 tsp braggs liquid seasoning or soy sauce, separated

2 zucchini, chopped

2 handfuls of green beans, chopped in half

1 white onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, chopped (I used portobello)

2 carrots, sliced into batons

1 tin black beans, rinsed and drained

For the dressing:

1 avocado

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup water

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200°

Line 2 baking trays with a silicone mat or baking paper

After washing the quinoa and removing any stones (they’ll be a different color), place it into a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a bowl spray the potatoes and carrots with a teaspoon of braggs liquid seasoning or soy sauce. Place onto one of the baking trays and cook for 20-25 minutes until brown and crispy

Put the kumera onto the other baking tray, place into the oven 10 minutes after the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes until brown

While the quinoa, potatoes, carrots and kumera are cooking, chop the onion and mushrooms. Heat 2 tbsp of water or veggie broth in a frying pan and cook the onions and mushrooms on low, add the green beans. You may need to add a tablespoon of water or stock every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick.

Chop or grate the raw zucchini into a large mixing bowl

Once the mushrooms and onions are cooked, remove from the heat

When your potatoes, carrots and kumera are cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays

Add all the dressing ingredients to a nutribullet or blender. Pulse until smooth and creamy

Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If you like it thinner, add a little water

Add all of the salad ingredients into the bowl with the zucchinni

Pour over the dressing and gently mix until it’s evenly coating the quinoa and veggies

Serve immediately

Notes:

* Technically quinoa is gluten free based on the definition of gluten created for those with celiac disease. However; quinoa does have “gluten like” storage proteins that can mimic proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye (Gluten Free Society)

* Quinoa can be subbed for wild rice for a different texture

* Millet is a cheaper alternative to quinoa, although it doesn’t contain as much protein

* The black beans can be subbed for any other beans you have

* Pure maple syrup can be subbed for any sweetener you prefer. If you don’t use a liquid, you’ll need to add a little more water to the dressing

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. Let me know how you liked it, here or on Facebook

Simone x

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Peanut butter caramel slice

I’ll keep this brief as I know you just want the recipe!

A few things to remember.

* it is plant based so there is no added oil, no dairy, no refined sugar and no refined flours

* it won’t taste exactly like the one filled with the above ingredients; it’s better!

The recipe makes around 20 smallish slices, depending on how big you cut them.

Store them in the fridge for as long as they’ll last…around 4 days in our house.

Ingredients:

2.5 cups dates, soaked for at least 2 hours in boiling water (the longer you soak the dates, the easier it’ll be to process them)

3 tbsp of the date water

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

3 tbsp organic smooth peanut butter (use one which is made with only peanuts and no added salt or sugar)

3 cups organic rolled oats

200g quality dark chocolate (I use Whittakers 70% cocoa dark Ghana)

3tbsp plant milk

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180°

Line a large rectangular baking tray with baking paper. The tray needs to be at least 4cm deep

Drain the dates reserving 1/4 cup of the water

Transfer the dates to a food processor and blend to a paste. Add a tablespoon or 2 of water if required. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times

Add the peanut butter and pure maple syrup, blend until mixed

Add the oats 1 cup at a time. Blending until mixed, in between adding each cup. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. If your food processor bowl is too small, transfer the mixture to a regular mixing bowl and mix by hand

Pour the mixture into your lined tray, pressing it down evenly with a metal spoon

Cook for 20 minutes

Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool

Break up the chocolate and place into a microwave safe bowl with the plant milk

Heat on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate is melted

Pour the chocolate onto the oat base and spread evenly

Place the tray in the fridge for at least 45 minutes (this part is torture but well worth it!)

Remove the slice from the tray by lifting the sides of the baking paper

Place onto a chopping board and slice into desired sizes

Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

* For a smoother base, blend the oats into flour before adding to the date mixture

* For a crumbly base, sub 1.5 cups of oats for almond flour

Enjoy and don’t forget to let me know if you make it x

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Chunky Tomato soup

This soup is so tasty and comforting, you’ll be making it every week like I do.

You must know by now that I love 1 pot meals which require minimal effort. This is one of those meals. You can add whatever veggies you have on hand or that are in season.

We always have leftovers so I divide it up into small containers for the freezer.

This recipe was inspired by a jar of passata I had in the pantry and my husband’s love of tomato soup. A month or so ago, he was sick and only wanted tomato soup. I had a think and just grabbed the ingredients I thought would fill him up, provide essential nutrients and taste great.

This recipe makes 5 servings with lots of leftovers.

Ingredients:

1 700g jar passata

1 tin crushed tomatoes or whole and just roughly chop them

3 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp miso paste

1 small red onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 large celery stick, chopped

1 cup organic dried lentil, split peas & barley mix (not the packet soup mix as it has lots of salt and other things added to it)

1 tbsp tomato paste

1.5 litre homemade vegetable stock

2 cups quinoa penne pasta or whatever pasta you like

Method:

• Reserving the pasta and half of the stock, add all your ingredients into a large saucepan

• Bring to the boil, then turn down to a low heat

• Cover the saucepan with the lid and cook for 20 minutes

• Remove the lid, add the remaining vegetable stock, stir and cook uncovered for a further 20 minutes or until the dried pulses are cooked

• With 10 minutes cooking time left, add the pasta. You’ll need to stir the soup occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick

• Taste the soup and add seasonings to your taste

• Add more stock if you prefer a thinner consistency

Serve with fresh basil & crusty bread or toast and enjoy x

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Banana & dark chocolate muffins

As you probably know by now, I bake all the lunchbox items and we love muffins! These ones are pretty simple, a bit decadent and very yummy.

I’ve used Whittakers 72% cocoa dark Ghana instead of chocolate chips. Only because I actually bought it to eat a few weeks ago and I forgot about it. Just goes to show that I’m not addicted to sugar and chocolate as I once was!!

So, these muffins will freeze really well if they last that long. They’ll keep for a week in an air tight container in the fridge.

This recipe made 12 small muffins and 2 large ones.

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp pure maple syrup (I didn’t use it, but if you want some extra sweetness put it in)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 flax egg

3/4 cup of chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

2 cups wholemeal flour

2 cups plant milk (I used rice milk)

Method:

1. Pre heat the oven to 180°c

2. Prepare the flax egg and leave it in the fridge (1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp water)

3. Mash the banana

4. Add vanilla, cinnamon, flax egg and maple syrup if using and mix

5. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder

6. Add flour mix and milk to the banana and mix well

7. Stir in the chocolate

8. Spoon into muffin cases and cook for 15 minutes until golden and well risen

Let me know what you think if you make these xx