Monday, 31 July 2017

Georgia Road Trip - July 2017

Just got back from a lovely few days in north Georgia, little road trip with my little one to visit family. I made a separate post on road trip food for babies.

Hiawassee, Georgia
Sadly I didn't get to see the sights of Hiawassee this time around, it was just were we stayed but it was very pretty.



Helen
About 30 minutes from Hiawassee is the Alpine style town of Helen, quite touristy for it's German look and food and also river tubing!



Nacoochee

Just next door to Helen is the tiny area of Nacoochee which has a three floor antique store and a coffee shop and an old working mill across the road (apparently famous for grits).


Tree Hugger GF Pizza (with added olives) at Nacoochee Village Tavern & Pizzeria. GF beer too!
The pizza was pretty good, shame there wasn't a lot of toppings and we had a mixed experience of service.



Crane Creek Winery, in Young Harris
This winery has vegan wine and is ridiculously gorgeous!
I chose a Zusa which was like a dry riesling.





Brasstown Bald is Georgia's tallest mountain and subsequently the highest point in the state, reaching 4,784 feet above sea level.
We did the 0.6 mile hike, very steep, to the top. There is a shuttle service also, included in the admission price.




Clarkesville 

On the way see Mark of the Potter we needed to eat so we stopped in Clarkesville which had some lovely shops, boutiques, antiques and home wares.

We ate at Midtown Grill because they had veggie burgers (Gardein) and their fries were really really good.


Mark of the Potter, super cute pottery store located right on the Soquee River. Very picturesque and lovely pottery, I especially like the factory seconds area :)



Got this lovely "factory second" bowl that was perfect for a salt piglet...





Juliette

On the way home I had to visit Juliette, the filming location for Fried Green Tomatoes and with a fully functioning Whistle Stop Cafe (and apparently the best fried green tomatoes around). Unfortunately nothing vegan on the menu and everything cooked in lard but a gorgeous town none the less and well worth the stop. Not much changed since the filming apparently the town was fairly empty after the mill shut own in the 1960's and was revived by the filming of the movie.











Macon, Georgia
Just 20 minutes from Juliette is Macon and just off the highway was Back to Edenz. Everything is vegan and it's a buffet so they charged by the pound, at least half of the items were gluten free - as you can see I didn't starve ;).





Forgot to mention on the trip up to Hiawassee I drove the Savannah way, which was very pretty and stopped in Commerce at the Lodge factory store and they have a factory seconds area in the back. Got this lovely cast iron pan for $16.




Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Lentil Patties

This recipe is based on one from "Squirrels - Cooking for babies and Children" by Diana Mitchell who used to run an amazing vegan restaurant in Brisbane Australia. Luckily a few of her cookbooks are still floating around on Ebay, I was luckily to receive this one as a gift from a family friend.



Lentil Patties

Ingredients

2 cups cooked brown/green lentils
1 cup cooked mashed potato
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflowers
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds (I ground mine)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped finely
small bunch of herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme or parsley)
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying


Method

I used a food processor to blitz the lentils, nuts and onion but the original recipe doesn't call for that.
Mix the all ingredients together well and divide into patties.
Fry in a small amount of oil on a low-medium heat until nicely browned on both sides.
Allow to cool on some paper towel before serving.
I broke them into pieces for my little man as he is a bit of a choker.

Tiny Tofu Squares

These were inspired by a mother at the baby gym we go to. They are super easy to make, easy for little fingers, soft for chewing and delicious as well! I am willing to admit I steal a few out of his bowl, they are so good!


Tiny Tofu Squares

Ingredients

1 block of tofu (I used firm but the mother used soft so the choice is yours!)
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
2 Tbls coconut aminos or Bragg's Liquid Aminos
Coconut oil


Method

Press your tofu well if you are using medium- firm tofu.
Slice tofu into small squares around 1/4".
In a food storage container place the tofu squares, garlic and aminos.
Put the lid on tight and shake gently to coat the tofu in the marinade.
Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer.
Use a tsp of coconut oil in a not stick frying pan and heat on low-medium.(You can easily do this with out oil as well).
Place a layer of tofu squares on the frying pan, it may need two batches depending on the size of your pan.
Let lightly sear on all sides (a couple minutes per side) before moving to paper towel to cool.
Serve at room temperature or heat slightly in the microwave when serving.
Not all the sides need to sear, they will still taste great!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Gluten Free Vegan "Vegemite"

Should really call it Sesamemite because it has sesame flavour due to the tahini. I really liked this recipe though. It doesn't taste exactly like Vegemite but is very pleasant and I think I will add less soy next time and more coconut aminos. I found it a bit too salty. Recipe from Unconventional Baker.


Gluten Free Vegan "Vegemite"

Ingredients

½ cup black tahini sesame butter
4 tbsp tamari (I used half tamari and half braggs/coconuts liquid aminos)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes


Method

Place all ingredients in a blender and process into a creamy and smooth consistency.
(I used a food processor because my blender isn't that great.)
Store in the fridge.
Lightly spread on non dairy buttered toast and enjoy!

Brown Rice Pudding

This is based on a Beach Body recipe. This is a delicious, easy and comforting  dessert.  My 18 month old goes nuts for it, even straight from the fridge! Perfect use for that leftover rice too! You can add spices too if you like.


Brown Rice Pudding

Ingredients

1½ cups unsweetened almond milk
1½ cups canned coconut milk
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)


Method

Combine almond milk, coconut milk, rice, maple syrup, and extract in large saucepan.
Mix until well blended; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches a boil.
Reduce heat to low; gently boil, covered, stirring occasionally so that it does not burn, for 20 to 25 minutes, or until creamy and serve or store in individual containers in the refrigerator.

Road Trippin' Food Prep for Baby

I'm going on the road to visit family in a few days and I thought I'd share my method on how to get the food situation sorted. If you're like me you don't want to chance it when travelling - especially when fast food might be your only option. I am travelling alone with baby (17 months) and am doing around an 8 hour driving day (one way), then spending a few days in a  small town where I'm not sure what the culinary options will be. My little one is a bit behind on the solid food so I do still give him mushy food along with some age appropriate solids, so these might be more suited to travelling with a 1 year old, although every child is different.

I made a bunch of things I know freeze well, and separated them into meals, that way I can keep them in a cooler in the car and if they defrost at least the meal is all together. I tried to give him enough variety so that he wasn't eating the same thing every day but so that I wasn't having to cook too much extra food. A few of the recipes are from "Baby Nosh" by Jennifer Browne.

So what I have here is just about everything spread out;
4 breakfast meals, 4 lunch meals, 4 dinners, 2 car meals, 3 desserts and snacks.
Desserts are brown rice pudding, frozen.
I will also pack some coconut/almond milk and Tiny Tofu Squares which are a great snack or meal adder.


The regular meals are;
Breakfast
Oatmeal fills him up and is long lasting. I often serve with a banana in pieces for him to eat by himself.
B1 - Pear & Yellow Beet Oatmeal*
B2 - Pear & Apple Oatmeal
B3 - Pear & Yellow Beet Oatmeal
B4 - Pear & Peach Oatmeal
*I have a container there of the oatmeal mixed with cinnamon that I just microwave with the frozen items and some coconut/almond milk.

Lunch
These meals are easily defrosted and eaten at room temperature.
L1 - Spinach Pikelets, Date Balls 
L2 - Sweet Potato Patties, Carrot Balls, Banana Energy Balls
L3 - Oatmeal Banana Bakes, Spinach Pikelets, Date Balls
L4 - Lentil Patties, Carrot Balls, Apple Almond Biscuits

Dinner
These are mushy meals that consist of foods I have cooked and frozen in ice cube trays. I microwave for a minute of so then mash together. He usually has brown rice pudding or chia seed pudding for dessert dinner or lunch.
D1 - Sweet potato, chickpeas, quinoa & melon
D2 - Spinach, peas, brown rice & apple
D3 - Sweet potato, quinoa, apple, strawberry & lentils
D4 - Brown rice, peas, tofu, beets & peach



Car & Snacks
Here are the car meals and snacks, I chose items that can defrost on the way and will taste fine without a microwave, plus are not too messy for eating at rest stops etc.
C1 - Spinach Pancakes, Carrot Balls, Banana Energy Balls
C2 - Lentil Patties, Apple Almond Biscuits, Date Balls
Cascadian Farms Organic Cheerios (sugar free)
Organic Bananas

Sunshine Juice

This juice is delicious and packed with Vitamin C for when you're sick or think you might be coming down with something.


Sunshine Juice

Ingredients

4 Valencia oranges
2 carrots
2 sweet apples (I used gala)
4 strawberries


Method

Remove rind and tops/bottoms as required and put all items through a juicer.
Stir and serve immediately. Serves 2 large glasses.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

"Cock"-A-Leekie Soup

This is a traditional Scottish soup involving chicken and leeks. I loved the Iain Hewitson recipe for this when I was younger so I thought I'd make a vegan version, unfortunately I couldn't find his online. I used a bunch of different recipes online to make this as I couldn't find one I liked. This is a lovely hearty soup, great for winter months and when you're sick. The rice makes it more of a hearty meal but you can leave it out or replace it with your choice of grain (traditionally rice or barley). If you're not adding a grain you can add less stock.
Additionally, a bit of history, this dish was the soup choice on the Titanic the night it sank.


"Cock"-A-Leekie Soup

Ingredients

3 pitted prunes
2 teaspoons Scotch
1-2 Blocks extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4 inch strips or squares (alternatively you can use faux chicken strips)
1 teaspoon kosher salt or "chicken" salt if you have any
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vegan butter
3 medium leeks, (light green and white only), halved and cut into 1/2 inch slices
3-5 carrots
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
5 Sage leaves
1 sprig Rosemary
1 bay leaf
6 cups vegan chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup uncooked rice


Method

In a small bowl combine the prunes with the Scotch and 1 tablespoon of water and set aside.
Season the tofu with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper (or you can do this the night before).
In a large frying pan over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoons of the butter.
Saute the tofu on each side until well-browned, about 10 minutes, then leave to the side.
Add the remaining butter to a large sauce pan/soup pot, saute the leeks over medium-low until tender, about 25 minutes.
Place all the herbs in a nut milk bag (or tie with twine/add loose but the bag means you don't have to strain the soup later).
Add the herb bundle, the tofu and the broth to the pot.
Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook the soup for until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 25 minutes, if using rice add it in about 10 minutes from the end.
Remove the herb bundle and discard.
Add the prunes, and their liquid to the soup.
Season with salt and pepper, simmer for 2 minutes before serving.
Remove the prunes if you want to - if you leave them once stored the soup will be slightly sweeter so it's completely up to preference.
After being stores the soup but have become thick due to the rice so just add some extra water or stock before reheating.

Fresh Artichokes

I never thought I'd make fresh artichokes because it just looked so daunting!! But it turns out not so hard, although a little fiddly. A very impressive starter or tapas dish. You don't get much artichoke heart/meat in each one so economically it's definitely cheaper to buy them in a jar and honestly the taste wasn't so different (except that the jar variety is normally marinated). Found this great YouTube video on how to prep the artichokes.


Fresh Artichokes

Ingredients

2 Artichokes
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Aioli sauce for dipping (optional)

Method

Set a large pot of water to boil on the stove while you prepare the artichokes.
Cut the tip off the artichoke and the end of the stem (not all because most of the meat is in the stem).
Cut the artichoke length ways into halves and then quarters. You need a SHARP knife.
Pull out the "flower" in the middle which is a the spiny inedible part, usually pink or red.
Place artichokes in the water and boil for 30 minutes or until tender. You may need to do this in batches.
Drain well and arrange on serving plate.
Drizzle with good quality olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Aioli makes a great dipping sauce!

Chia Seed Pudding

This is a very easy pudding to make and have ready for whenever you want something sweet, a quick breakfast or an easy baby dessert! My 18 month old loves them! There is some dispute on what ratio is the best but this is what works for me. I garnish with berries and hemp seed hearts.


Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients

2 cups non-dairy milk (I like coconut because it gives it a very creamy texture)
6-8 Tbls chia seeds
1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
1 Tbls maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
1/4 tsp of cinnamon or all spice (optional)


Method

Whisk all ingredients together and divide into containers of choice.
Refrigerate overnight.
I like small (1/4 cup) containers because they are perfect for baby.