Apple, Pineapple Swirl Cake

I promised my son that I would bake with him for this entire week. I have slacked off since having our daughter and he is really lacking some good baking/cooking/making a mess and loving it time.

So I decided to bake today and let everyone get involved- Hubby was holding our daughter and he gave her a few things to sample. Our son loves to smell and taste every ingredient. Watching him do it is always a blast for me. Today was even more so since he tasted the split pea flour and then promptly had to spit it out lol. Now if you have ever tasted split peas flour you would definitely know how he reacted.

But despite the incessant tasting, the accidental spills due to said tasting- yes he really loves to eat salt and sugar, and now it seems he likes nutmeg too-we still managed to make a great recipe.

So after I had seen so many recipes that did not use flour or used different flours in the cakes, I decided to try my hand at one of the recipes. And well I just can’t bake only one thing in my oven. I need to bake at least 2 things. So I tried to make Flourless Brownies. I’ll be sure to post this recipe later.

Well here it is.

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Ingredients:

Cake

3 cups brown rice flour

1 cup split pea flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup oil

1 1/2 cup dairy free milk (I used silk almond milk but you can make your own coconut milk and use that instead. This would be so much better too)

1 1/2 cup sugar.  For those of you who are moving to a healthier alternative to sugar (like i would like to do) cook 1 Bartlett pear and 1 Galla apple in 1 cup of water. Reduce until the fruit begins to caramelize. Mash with a fork or blend.

Apple Pineapple Swirl

1 Granny Smith or other cooking apple or 2 gala apples

1 can pineapple in its own juice (since I had no fresh pineapple. Insert sad face here)

1/4 cup sugar ( omit the sagar for a healthier alternative)

Method:

For Apple, Pineapple Swirl

Peel and dice apple and place it in a blender. Add drained pineapple to blender and blend until there are no apple chunks. If using sugar add it to the fruit. Cook the fruit until it is reduced by 1/3

For Cake

Mix flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Add sugar or fruit if not using sugar and oil and mix thoroughly. Slowly add milk while mixing to ensure there are no lumps in the batter.

Pour batter into a greased 9 inch round baking pan. Add Apple/pineapple mixture to the center of the batter and swirl using a knife.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350. The top should look golden but the center should be wet but cooked. Turn off the heat and let cake sit in oven to dry out a bit before letting it cool. Turn out and cool completely before cutting.

The cake will dry out when cooled. However make sure that the cake is cooked before turning off the oven.

If you want a more crumbly/sandy cake you can reduce the temperature after 45 minutes and cook the cake at 250 for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy.

Oh and because I had my “fudge” aka “flourless brownie mishap”,  I frosted my cake with it. Double yum.

image <— That’s what it looked like after 2 bites

I’ll be making this again this week so I can share it with my mother. This time it will be with the coconut milk, no sugar and fresh pineapple.  I CAN’T WAIT TO EAT IT!

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Browned Vegetable Pie

Sometimes I remember some amazing flavours from my childhood. You know, those ones that your grand mother and great grandmother only could make. Oh the memories. But alas, I remember that food was not in the least bit healthy. It was swimming in butter, oil and grease (if you ever ate the food I am talking about you would realize that those words are not synonymous as some might be wondering) 

I was not vegan then, I wasn’t even vegetarian and we ate what we had available and tasted great, not what was healthy.

Anyhow, this recipe does have a few of the flavours that I remember from my childhood days, when my great grand mother and occasionally grandmother would make homemade browning.

So I guess you can say this is a healthier, vegan tribute to old time cooking.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked garbanzos

1 broccoli stalk and top

1 large english potato

1 medium sweet potato

1 chive

1 clove garlic

1/4 red onion

1 tbsp tomato paste (you can omit this but I absolutely love tomato paste and turmeric)

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp grape seed oil

2 tbsp brown sugar (a healthier alternative would be coconut palm sugar)

2 cups water

salt to taste

Method:

Finely dice onion, garlic, chives. Chop brocolli into smaller florets and set aside. Peel and dice potato and sweet potato and set aside. Heat a frying pan and add oil and sugar to the pan. Gently tilt pan from side to side so that sugar will evenly melt in oil. When sugar becomes on the darker end of the caramel colour. Do not let it get too dark or it will be bitter and you will have to start again. (Or you could do like me and add 1 cup of water and give it a stir. then pour off 2/3 of that and add another tbsp sugar.)

Add the garbanzos and toss to coat or gently stir. Add onion, garlic, chive and turmeric powder and stir. Cook for 2 minutes and then add potato and sweet potato and stir. Add tomato paste, water and salt and stir to make sure the tomato past has completely dissolved.

Cover and cook until potatoes are tender. Add broccoli and cook for about 1 minute more until broccoli is cooked. By this time the water should have completely drained out and you should have your finished meal looking like this

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Depending on the size of the potatoes you might still have a bit of water. Simply remove cover and let it cook until all of the water has evaporated.

If you like a sting, serve with a dash or 2 of cayenne pepper on top.

Enjoy!

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Vegan, Pregnant and HG Part 1

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In 2009 when I got pregnant with our first I was extremely excited! I knew both of my sisters had very tiny bellies and so I just figured I would look the same when pregnant. So I opened the closet and tried on all my clothes with a pillow stuffed under them. (OK to be completely honest I was doing this before we got a positive test) However, one thing I forgot was that both of my sisters were sick while pregnant- one for 7 months and the other for the entire 9 months. And so was my mother. So it seems like it was/is hereditary. But, when I say that they were sick I am only simply saying that they had morning sickness and nothing more ( I’ll mention it eventually in another post about HG). Anyways, despite the fact that my mother ans sisters were sick during pregnancy somehow being sick never crossed my mind.

Well that is until about 5 weeks and I started to feel like I was going to die. I could not believe it was the pregnancy, so I went to the doctor who congratulated me on my pregnancy and told me it was normal.

Normal??!! You have got to be kidding! And women do this more than once!! Crazy!! (By the way I am one of those crazy women.)

Around that time I started to produce a lot of saliva, to which an old nurse at my OB/GYN office, promptly took out her medical dictionary and showed me that this condition was known as ptyalism. And to make matters worse, if I swallowed this saliva, I would throw up (sorry if this is a bit graphic for you). So here I was producing all this saliva that I could not swallow and what did I then have to do? SPIT!

That was soooooo very nasty to me and I remember pre pregnancy looking at pregnant women who were spitting in disgust. Sigh. Never judge.

It was disgusting to me and one of my sisters remarked that it was probably a good thing because I was very squeamish (where I come from we use a word, which sounds way more accurate to me but I doubt you guys would get it) and maybe this would help me prepare for all the joys of mother hood-wiping snotty noses, changing diapers which I had never done and I was 28, etc.

Well, my spitting continued and so did the extreme sick feeling, and then came the vomiting at about 7 weeks. I could scarcely eat a thing. I was suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), also known as Extreme Morning Sickness.

I was now down to eating pumpkin, potatoes, golden apples, mangos and LOTS OF SALT. And I could only drink extremely cold water and watered down grape juice and malt. And those would not always stay down…well nothing wouldn’t always stay down.

After a while of eating this, I could no longer eat the potato, pumpkin or pineapple, but mangoes remained ( I was so glad for that because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MANGOES). I added pasta, lentils, tofu and salted almonds and cashews to the very meagre list of things I could eat without immediately throwing up.

My family would joke that the only thing that might stay down was if I ate meat. I did not eat any meat but when you are VEGAN and have HG, the thought of eating meat does not just cross your mind, it lingers because you just want something to stay down. Well at least that is what happened in my case.

After about 4 months of this I developed a desire to eat 2 things I never liked-papaya and yam. There was a canteen near to where I worked that was run by a “family friend” and he had yam pie slathered in cheese. I ate it! (Hanging my head in vegan shame lol). But I wanted it and it was staying down most of the time. We also had a papaya tree and those papayas could not get ripe fast enough!

So this was my diet -salt, mangoes, pasta, lentils, papaya, baked tofu with only salt, salted cashews and almonds, extremely cold malt and water..So with the exception of that yam pie I still maintained my desire to eat mostly vegan. But to be honest, I really don’t think I could have eaten anything else.

I mean, even the prenatal vitamins were not staying down. The medication the doctor was giving me was not working so I suffered through it as best I could and did not bother taking the medication because I threw up just as much on it as I did off. And by the way, by just as much, I mean I threw up 10 or more times a day-everyday-for 9 months.

The throwing up was EXTREMELY bad for the entire pregnancy that when I got to about 7 months my husband said, “That’s enough dear. You cannot drive.” How I managed to drive during this time is beyond me. I mean I had to drive with a plastic bag in my lap, a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of almost frozen water to swish my mouth out(Sorry if this is too much for you BUT believe me I am leaving out the really gory details!). One time I had just left work and there was a lot of traffic coming up the street while I was going down. I started to feel very ill and then I threw up ALL over the steering wheel. Oh man! I can’t imagine what those people who saw me thought but I know if I were in their shoes I would have been totally disgusted.

Well the pregnancy progressed and I only had one trip to the doctor to get IVs for re-hydration  Then I finally decided to get off that cheesy yam pie and return to my vegan diet. Besides, mangoes were now plentiful and I sent EVERYONE in my family hunting for mangoes for me. Sweet memories! Oh if they would only do this for me now!

Even though I was vegan (again) and only had this meager diet, I was never anaemic. I do believe this is from all the lentils I was eating.

Well I had to deliver early via cesarean section for unrelated medical reasons. My son was born, weighing in at 5 pounds 12 ounces, which is a great size all things considered.

So at 37 weeks my HG roller coaster finally ended, that is at least until I decided to do it again the next year.

Stay tuned for Part 2

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Sautéed Garbanzos, Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

2 cups of cooked garbanzos

2 tbsp grape seed oil

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/2 tsp dried oregano

salt to taste

Method:

Heat a frying pan and add oil. Cook tomato paste in oil in one corner of frying pan until it begins to get dark. Add oregano, and turmeric directly to the oil and allow turmeric cook until golden brown.

Add seeds  to pan and allow to cook until they become slightly golden brown. Toss int the garbanzos and allow them to cook. Salt to taste.

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This really tasted lovely and I just could not help but make 2 batches of this. You can even see the steam rising  in the pictures as I snapped a quick picture before I devoured it!

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Simple, Natural Living

Over the past decades, many things have gotten a lot easier and more convenient. Fast food is very prevalent and unfortunately many of us find ourselves frequently indulging in fast food despite research is showing how bad it is for our health. Added to us consuming these conveniences, we feed it to our children, including when they are babies.

Life is more convenient, food preparation is more convenient, cleaning supplies are more convenient…and we are getting sicker because of it!!

Even though I have been vegan for 5 years now, much of the food I was consuming was highly processed and really not good for me. Living where I live, surviving on one income and dealing with food allergies have all propelled me in the direction of simple, natural living.

And here I am. Preparing 99% of our food from scratch, making healthier food choices, using green cleaning products, using only 1 item from a can (tomato paste), using natural home remedies and beauty products…

In the last year I have found many wonderful blogs, sites and information about eating healthier and being healthier. I have gained so much knowledge in this area, and made so many reforms too! Yet I have a LONG way to go. But, I’m going….

Simple, natural living seems so hard, so inconvenient, so archaic… but it is the BEST!

So right now on my list of things to do to live a more natural and simpler life I plan to:

1) Eat organic

2) Eat non GMO products

3) Compost

4) Start my own garden so that one day we will eat mostly or only food we have grown

5) Use only natural cleaning, beauty products

6) Get a better understanding of natural remedies

I’m taking one step at a time on this journey but I will reach these goals.

Soy Trial

Last week we trialed soy. So I bought Earth Balance butter and put a little on a cracker for my so to try. He tasted it, said he did not like it and that was it. Well about 2 hours later he had diarrhea and also had a breakout with eczema.

So we are maintaining our soy free diet.

Until next trial.