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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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Feeling plantastic!

I’ve been a bit quiet here, mostly due to lack of time to sit down and write. Life has been very busy with after school sports, camps, Stephen working lots and looking after our new puppy! We must be mad to add another baby into the mix but he’s so cute and we love him so much already!

So we’re 5 months into our plant based journey and it honestly feels like we’ve been eating this way forever. We all feel really good about our decision and the effects are really noticeable now. The main one being flatulence! Ask anyone plant based or vegan and if they’re brave enough they’ll tell you that farting increases 100%. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; except if you’re in a queue or a lift!

As I’ve said before, I have a condition called Sarcoidosis and I’ve been having regular testing as I found a lump in my breast. When I first found the lump the Dr did a biopsy and a bunch of tests and diagnostics.

I was 77kg, my sarcoidosis hormone number was off the charts at 124 (normal is around 50). The CT scan showed it had spread from my lungs and chest cavity to my abdomen and the lymph nodes were around 13mm wide. My lung function test wasn’t that great either, the overall number was 52 which was pretty poor. They combine the total amount of air I’m able to blow out of my lungs, the amount of air I’m able to take in and the percentage of carbon dioxide blown out. I must admit we were pretty worried as were the Drs. They decided that treatment wasn’t a good option at this stage as it wasn’t affecting my liver or kidneys. Plus the treatment is Prednisone, which is a really strong steroid with lots of horrible side effects. So I was to be monitored, with these tests to be performed every 3 months and a warning to watch for a persistent cough and to go straight to my GP if I was worried.

A few months on and things are looking so much better. My last test results showed that my lung function has improved and the lymph nodes have shrunk! I don’t have any symptoms and I’m feeling great. The dr said its because sarcoidosis can flare up and then regress by it’s very nature. I told him I think my diet has helped. He agreed somewhat and now I am down to 6 monthly check ups.

In terms of our diet, I’ve been experimenting with a few different programmes. I found that the kids do really well with lots of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut as well as plenty of carbohydrates, veggies, beans, legumes, grains and fruits. We dont have much refined sugar, except for a treat every now and then. We’ve had some dairy free icecream this weekend, which was so yummy! I tend to use pure maple syrup or dates to sweeten my baking.

My husband is finding giving up cows milk hard and he still has some ham and cheese. He has given up butter though which is great. I’ve found an alternative called Nuttelex which although is oil based, is better than the cholesterol laden butter. I do all the cooking at home so he eats plantbased 80% of the time, which is awesome!

As for me, I’ve been doing a potato reset this last week. I managed 5 days and I lost 5cm off my waist, 3cm off my chest and .5kg! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t use salt or sugar and I didn’t really miss them. I really enjoyed the natural flavours of my food so I’ll definitely be reducing the amount of salt I use in my cooking. Now I’m back to eating normally, I’m following a plan called The Starch Solution. Its focused on high carbohydrate intake and low to zero fats. This is what works best for me in terms of feeling full, maintaining my weight loss and being healthy on the inside.

So 5 months in and I’m feeling amazing. I have lots more energy, my skin is glowing and I feel healthy. Our children are thriving too which is what every parent wants. Knowing that the change in our diet has made them healthier is an awesome feeling for me. They are also learning about healthy food choices and compassion for animals.

We’ll never go back to eating meat and dairy now. What I’ve learnt about the two industries is truly shocking. I just hope that more people turn to plants for food if not for the animals then for their health.

Until next time, keep on planting xx

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Our Journey

Hi and welcome! I thought I’d better introduce myself and my family.
I’m Simone and I’m married to Stephen. I’m originally from UK and my husband is from NZ. I’m a qualified Social Worker and trained in UK. I met Stephen in Birmingham in 2004 and we moved to NZ back in 2009 after we had our 1st son in 2006. We then went on to have 2 more children, another boy in 2015 and a daughter in 2017. Yes the last two are close together; 18 months apart in fact! We now live in beautiful New Plymouth, Taranaki. I am fortunate that I am able to stay at home with our children.
We’ve been eating plant-based food for a month now and we’re loving it. Well, the children and I are loving it. My husband misses meat and does eat it when he’s at work. I’m sure he sneaks in a pie once a week. He also still has milk in his coffee and for his weetbix (it is like cardboard!) He can’t stand almond milk, and that’s ok. I’m working on alternatives for him to try; this is a learning curve for all of us after all. Although Stephen isn’t 100% plant-based yet, he does eat all the meals I cook at home and he’s supportive of the change.
We changed to this way of eating for a number of reasons. One is for our health, the second is for the environment and third is the animals. I have a condition called Sarcoidosis and I recently had to have tests as I found a lump in my breast. Turns out the Sarcoidosis has spread throughout my body in my lymph nodes. It’s an auto immune disorder which causes inflammation. After doing lots of research about my condition and finding out that there is no cure; I concluded that I needed to change my and my family’s’ diet and lifestyle.
Now I come from an African background where meat, starch and vegetables are the normal diet. I’ve eaten meat, dairy and animal products all my life, but I’ve known for a long time now that they aren’t that great for our health. I needed a reason to change my diet and my condition was it.  A good friend of mine had embarked on a similar journey, so she suggested some documentaries to watch to get me started. I have to say, these documentaries have changed my life! If you’d like to watch any, they are: What the Health, Forks over Knives, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Cowspiracy.
What is the WFPB (whole foods plant-based) diet? Well if the food has a mum and dad don’t eat it! I love that phrase from Forks over knives. Whole foods are foods which haven’t been processed; the whole apple, the bean or grain. Plant based means food which comes from plants and not animals, so no meat, dairy, honey or eggs. Eating WFPB also avoids oils and refined sugars. I love the Forks over knives webpage as it explains it so much more eloquently!
So here on my blog I’ll be sharing our journey, how to start eating a whole foods plant-based diet, recipes, information, places to shop, places to eat, our daily struggles, meal planning, ideas for the kids, lunchbox fillers and anything else fun!
Whether you’re thinking about changing to this way of eating, converted already, want to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet or you just want more information come and join me.