Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Sunshine and Rainbows!

Hello and Happy Mothers Day to all those hard working mums out there!

This week has been a journey of knowledge of colour!  I've learned so much about dyes, pigments and lakes!  I have started making a new paint for Tiny Land which would be dense enough to paint onto stones and sticks, but is great for kids!  I've struggled to get paint like this for my own kids which is safe and mostly natural.

We picked stones at the beach on Saturday when visiting Nanny for Mother's Day and are painting markers for our vegetable beds.

My test so far is really good.

Next week I am going to write a bigger piece on colourants and uses..so if you're an artist or dye yarn, or clothing, or make cosmetics, or are just curious..I hope to be able to help you.

In the meantime I offer you a Rainbow Buddha bowl recipe! Here are photos of mine, and I hope you enjoy having fun with it!

Rainbow Buddha Bowl Recipe

Red Cabbage
Red Onion - thinly sliced with balsamic vinegar


Red peppers

Orange Peppers

Yellow Peppers
Lemon slice

Steamed broccoli
Thinly sliced cabbage
Edamame Beans
Sugar snap peas

Protein and carb sources:
Potatoes - I added vegan mayo (veg oil, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder)
Chickpeas - I roasted mine in coconut sugar and paprika
Soya meat pieces - I used chicken in a teriyaki sauce and coconut sugar
Quinoa - I use Seeds of Change wholegrain rice and quinoa
Naan breads

Here are some photos of the boys enjoying the sunshine :)

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Pie Recipe and Making Beads and Veg Beds!

We are back from Cyprus where the boys and I had a great time hanging out with my sister and their cousin (and my parents!) and not having the distractions of laundry, cleaning or cooking.

As soon as I got back I was raring to go with making natural pasta beads for Tiny Land.
My youngest loves pouring, threading and fine motor skills play in general, so we made some teal, red and green stars and animal beads. I sell these on my Facebook page

We have also continued improving the garden.  I had decided to replace the shed with some raised vegetable beds, but replacing the shed is such a big project as it's on a high piece of land, that I decided to use half the double drive.

Thing is..it would cost me around £850 to have beds and soil put in, so I've started building my own!  Mad I know..as I have no childcare options other than preschool for my eldest but they are getting easier at having around and playing while I do stuff like the housework.  I like to get them involved when I can and Fin helped me build.

I had some lovely food in Cyprus including herbed boiled onions which don't sound very nice at all but were amazing!
My mum told me they were done like my grandma made onions when she had a hotdog stand!!  I had no idea about this, it's always nice to hear something new about a loved one who has passed on. The other amazing thing was a pumpkin pie!  It tasted as though they had used raisinsand buckwheat.  I made a pie today with similar ingredients and love it! So here is the recipe.  Sorry for not providing exact measurements, wasn't thinking about sharing it at the time but it's TOOOO good not to! It literally gives you ALL your vitamins and minerals except b12 and D..but you can add marmite.

Vegan and Kid Friendly Sweet Potato Pie 

2 large leeks sliced
5 small carrots sliced
4 or so sweet potatoes sliced and halved (you can also use pumpkin or butternut squash)
Half a savoy cabbage shredded (place the other half shredded in the freezer for a quick veg option).
I placed the veg in a large pot in the following order..sweet potato, carrots, leek and cabbage.
I filled it with hot water up to the top of the leeks with a table spoon of salt and simmered for 15 mins or so until the veg was cooked through but not too soft (al dente).  I then drained any excess water (KEEP THIS WATER FOR STOCK OR FOR LATER IN THE RECIPE) added about
1 cup of buckwheat
A full tin of drained black beans
1 cup of raisins
2 tablespoons Vegan Worcester Sauce
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
(you can also add marmite for b12)
A ton of ground cinnamon..about 6 tablespoons?  My son loved doing that bit!  You can add dried apricots or sub the raisins with them...they will give you extra calcium - great for vegans.

If the mixture is too dry (you will be baking it again) then use some of the water from the veg to wet it.  Place the veg in a dish and make this lovely vegan pastry from Vegan Lovlie.  I always keep the water from my tinned chickpeas but haven't as yet had a reason to use it.  So was very pleased to be using my aqua fabia today.  **You can sub the flour with rice flour for a Gluten free option**


It makes enough for about a 6" diameter pot, so I should have tripled this recipe! In the end I just used it to put a top on the veg.  We made a few holes (my son told me that's what I should do!)

I baked the pie at around 190º for 15-20 minutes.

Finley loves crunchy food so this pastry was perfect for him.  Plus the sweetness of the raisins and cinnamon made it a winner with both toddlers!

Thankfully my husband watered my seedlings while I was away, and the Aubergines looked amazing!  The tomatoes weren't doing so well until I brought them in onto the window sill from the mini greenhouse.

I have also been trying to learn how to play Bruce Hornsby and the range The Way It Is.  I always give up because I don't normally enjoy pushing through challenges that take time..and I find piano really tough.

Spiritually, I've been feeling super connected to the earth, universe and have had some real serendipitous moments.  I've started studying "A Course in Miracles" and the only teacher I found in West Sussex happened to not only live around the corner from me, but is connected to my sanctuary space - a cafe in Sharpethorne - where I read and drink coffee.  What do I read?
A Course In Miracles!

Also I can now translate my youngest - Noah's - words, which he does in full sentences but at first it sounds like just blabber.  If you really listen, you can hear him saying "I want to get down" "I want to go with you" and the other day he said "Flower" and pointed at a picture of  one.  So far he's only said "Mama, Dadda, there" one word blabbering but also he's been saying "I did it" for months.  He's 2 in May and I'm planning his In The Night Garden party already.  So proud of my boys!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Steak, Flapjacks and Flights

Another super fast week here!  We've been having so much fun just being with each other, and I've found I'm getting more done without scheduling (thinking about) it, and just DOING (being) it.

In 1 whole day I repotted some plants, played with the boys, did the usual dressing, feeding, pre-school runs, bathing, and designed and made 2 items in fabric.  1 was a dress I wanted to wear on holiday, and another was a sleeping bag type thing for the double buggy.  I'm away on Wednesday visiting my family in Cyprus and want to go out in the evening and maybe do an open mic on the guitar.  While I do that obviously the boys need to be with me but Finley no longer fits in the double buggy as there is no leg support, the legs just go down to the footrest.  There are flaps that unzip to give you access to the storage compartment beneath and so this fabric cover lifts those up and creates a leg and foot space in the buggy so they can both sleep comfortably.

We also made this week a superhero cake for Finley to eat at a birthday party.  I didn't want him to miss out and a cake was already being made.  People don't often check about diet..now I'm vegan I am more aware about gluten free, egg, dairy and nut free children but I didn't think so much about it before.  

I've also made carrot and orange flapjacks, a tomato and aubergine curry, and today made a meat recipe which is my best ever! I'm so pleased with it.  All of these I am sharing with you today!
The aubergine curry was simply stewing tomatoes, and grilling slices of aubergine then adding to the stewed toms.  Adding ground cumin, coriander and turmeric to some oil in a pan, then onions.  Once brown add to the aubergine and tomatoes!  That's it! garlic if you wish and some salt.  I used some cauliflower as rice, I just put it in my ricer attachment to the blender.

My cake recipe is from Super Golden Bakes.  I haven't tried their avo frosting yet I normally mix cocoa with coconut oil and icing sugar to make that, but this time I just iced it, painted it and made some decorations.


I learned in painting it that the food colouring is clear when mixed with water (like a dye) and is unstable and separates (the green went yellow and blue)  To make it opaque you need to mix it with icing sugar and water to a thick paste, and spread the paste on thinly to keep it flat.

The flapjacks I made because I wanted to try and make a veggie juice like a snack that the kids can have.

3 large carrots or equivalent (I used 6 small organic ones) grated finely (I use the ricer in my blender)
1/2 cup of veggie spread
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 3/4 cups of rolled/porridge oats
3/4 cups of medjool dates, de-stoned and chopped very finely
2 tablespoons of mixed seeds

Basically mix it all up, speed it into a square dish and bake at 180º for 15-20 minutes (the thinner you have spread this the quicker it takes).

Today's meat recipe is my favourite though as it's SO versatile.  It takes a little bit like turkey I suppose, a bit denser than chicken but not as beefy as beef.  You can change the seasoning to suit the meat you want.  Next time I'll add sage and riced apple and smoked paprika to see if it tastes like sausages!   You can also try chicken seasoning instead and use it as chicken nuggets!

100g Sun Dried Tomatoes finely chopped
200g Walnuts finely chopped
250g (1 punnet) Chestnut Mushrooms  finely chopped
1/4 cauliflower riced (very finely grated)
1 175g tub of breadcrumbs or equivalent of rice flour for gluten free option
1 packet of quinoa and wholegrain rice mix https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=276760869
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon of onion powder or a small onion again put through the ricer (everything needs to be in tiny pieces basically)
2 tablespoons of garlic puree if making steak
Steak, Chicken or pork seasoning.

Put everything apart from the breadcrumbs/rice flour, once chopped or riced,  in a large bowl and mix.  The mixture will be wet.  When making meatballs, roll balls in the breadcrumbs/rice and fry in shallow oil on a low heat.  When making steak, mix the breadcrumbs into the the mixture to make it hold together well and shape some into a steak.

The great thing about vegan food is that you don't have to worry about it all being cooked through - you just need to warm it up! So if you are making larger meat portions, large meatballs for example, you need to cook them for longer to ensure they are warm in the middle and crisp on the outside.

The steak really held together well for flipping - you just need to use 2 wide and flexible utensils and very carefully flip.

I then did the other sides and my steaks even held together when I shook them from the pan directly onto the plate!

Even my husband loved these (he's not vegan) and we had a glass of red wine with them.
I also made some peppercorn sauce using patly single cream, a dash of my home made elderflower wine (you can use sherry) and whole and grinder peppercorns (a LOT) and whisked in some rice flour until it was the consistency of a good single cream.

I might not be posting next week as I will be having fun in Cyprus but I hope you enjoy these recipes and I'll post in 2 weeks!

Alison x