Tuesday, 31 January 2012

I'm Giving 'Macro' a go...

Hello folks..please forgive my lack of posts over the weekend. The fall I had on Friday hit me harder than I realised on the day. So I've been keeping to myself and trying to keep it together. We did venture out on Sunday afternoon to visit our pals D & B which was a great relief and a much needed distraction from the pain. I guess it goes without saying that I didn't get back into the kitchen. But I still remain hopeful that it will happen soon. And when I do...I am going to try Macrobiotics for four months.

My bargain second hand copy of Modern Day Macrobiotics ~ Brown/Brown
I have to confess that I had always considered Macrobiotics as a fad. I was forming this opinion on no information, ignorance and a tiredness of the celebrity 'diets' culture. My first real contact was whilst reading The Kind Diet by Silverstone. I know..I know..it's not lost on me that I was reading a celeb cookbook..lol. The Kind Diet had been recommended to me so many times by other friends and some of my readers but because it was a 'celebrity' diet I didn't immediately take any interest. Then I made a recipe from someones blog and then when I left a comment on the site the next day..I found it was a recipe taken from The Kind Diet. So the next day, I paid a visit to my local library and found I could request a copy of the book. I did and I still have it checked out to this day...lol. It's sat next to me as I type..lol. I read the book from cover to cover and found that I was drawn very clearly to the Macrobiotic information and recipes. Armed with this information I started to research a little more, each day. I found that I was feeling increasing eager to try this way of eating and living.

I bought Modern Day Macrobiotics second hand, it came in the post last Thursday and I didn't get a chance to even glance inside the cover until Saturday evening. There was so much information to take in...I felt like I was cramming for an exam. lol. I found myself developing a new form of Tai Chi as I tried to get my brain to take in the energy information. So now I look at vegetables and hands fly into 'Up', 'Down', 'Out' and 'Horizontal' energies gestures..I am hopeful one day I won't have to do this but it really is helpful. lol. And I am still cramming...there is so much information to take in and cooking methods and the reasoning for it. It's also quite tricky to find some of the fermented products where I live. My Love was online last night buying packets of Burdock and Diakon seeds so we can get planting as soon as the cold weather is over. lol.

Why am I choosing to try this way of eating? Because I feel so ill and full of pain I need to feel like I am doing everything I possibly can to help myself. I need my op and I want to give myself the best possible outcome and recovery from it. The whole subject of 'eating to heal yourself' has always been interesting to me and I'm only surprised I didn't see the link with Macrobiotics before now. I'm staggered.

The book I'm reading has several different ways of using Macrobiotics and I am choosing the Healing Plan. Brown asks you to commit to the plan for 4 months and that is what I am going to do. I shall start it this weekend as I still need to purchase a few products first. Who knew Umboshi plums would be so hard to track down? lol. But I am excited and hopeful and fully prepared to commit to the four months and I shall share with you my daily findings...and of course the recipes and results. I shall also be cooking other recipes and creating my own as My Love isn't going to be following this plan...just me. So there will be a healthy and fun mix of recipes for you guys.

Is it going to be a challenge? Yes..most definitely. Am I going to want to throw the towel in at times? I should imagine so. It's going to take me out of my comfort zone and I would be naive to think it was going to be plain sailing through the four months. I am looking forward to the challenge and prepared to meet it head on. I want to feel well as soon as I can and I think this will help...

So my questions are...have you tried Macrobiotics? How did it make you feel? If you are Macrobiotic...what words of wisdom can you share with me? I would appreciate all words of advice...

I found a recipe I haven't blogged about in my archive yesterday and it's the final one. So that will be the post for tomorrow....I am at hospital on Thursday so I will be back on Friday.

Hope you all had a great weekend and your week is going well? Thank you for your loyalty during this period of ARGHHHHness. ;o)


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Friday Afternoon Bargains....

Well despite that fact that I had a bad fall 'up' the stairs in a coffee shop...yesterday afternoon's jaunt out of the house went well. *sighs* OK that was a bit of a fib. It hurt before the fall and then afterwards I was shuffling along like 100 year old..infact I think I was probably over taken by a few! This made for a very frustrating trip out of the house, for me and my poor Mum who was worried sick. So I am now sporting a bump on the left hand side of my head and bruising and pulled muscles down the right hand side of my body...and then just to take the mickey as we were leaving the shop, I smacked my right knee into a stupid wooden ledge! Marvelous! It would've been funny if I was the hapless fool in some funny movie. ANYWAY.....lol

I found some cream coloured vegan wool to get me started on my challenge and in the same shop I found the most beautiful plate for £1. It shall be starring in many food photos in the future. But the bargain of the afternoon was found in a shop we stopped at on the way home. My Mum was in search of a container for one of her dried ingredients so whilst she was doing that My Love and I ventured off into the other aisles...which is where we found our bargain.

I found this photo of one online and although it's not a great photo I think you can get the gist..lol. My mobility isn't that great today..(what a shock lol) so I couldn't take photos.
It is a Multi-Use Bottle which is foldable, rollable and refillable. Use can fill it and freeze it and it comes with a carabiner type connector for clipping onto your belt etc for easy carriage. And they were a freaking steal at 99p each. Online and other outdoorsy type shops have been selling them for at least £6. So I now own a lovely green one and My Love a black one. With the hope of using them when I am feeling much better..post op..and enjoying our lovely walks and hikes again. An investment for the future healthy living.

I am now going to go and enjoy some much needed family time with my sister and the gang of little ones..I love family day...just wish I wasn't so bruised. But I'm sure I'll manage some cuddles anyway..especially floating on this painkiller cloud I am currently on! ;o)

Happy Saturday all and I hope you are having fun? Be warned..watch out for those tricky cafe stairs and hidden wooden thingys on the way out...they sure do hurt if you don't lol.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Challenge Lists ~ Knitting

Yesterday I blogged about making some lists to keep myself sane. lol. And on these lists I have set myself some small challenges that I can start now and keep at, for the rest of the year. No matter what state my health is in or how much pain I'm in at the time. Sadly until the results of the upcoming op come to fruition..I have to make allowances for this condition to be part of my life...Anyway...

One of the first challenges I have set myself, is to...knit something. Yep..you did read that correctly. Hey! Knitting is very Rock and Roll now..don't ya know? ;o) lol

Challenge 1 ~ Knit a blanket.
Some talented people out there may laugh at this challenge and think "..That's not a challenge!.." However, if you had seen my past results you would be gasping in horror! lol I have always had the skill to knit as my Mum taught me as a small child. My Mum is one those lucky people that knitting and crocheting comes easily. She can do both without watching what she's doing, read any pattern and make up her own and still produce beautiful things. Lucky her, eh?

Me? Well I can cast on...when I have searched my memory for how to do it. Once I get started I can produce a lovely set of fresh new stitches on my knitting needle. Fancy, eh? lol And I can master the knit stitch...and that's about it. I used to be able to do a pearl stitch..and even do one of each to produce a lovely product. But that skill has disappeared into the memory vault and doesn't seem to want to come out. And ask me to read a pattern...sorry...I wish you could hear how much I was laughing as I typed that word. I have never been good with patterns..it's like a whole new language to me. Like learning Italian..I want to be able to do it..but somehow it's eluded me so far..lol. I can knit a very fetching scarf..multi coloured and all! But that is as far as my skill in knitting goes.

So the challenge is to knit a square each day (or more if I'm on rest dammit ) with the aim of making a large blanket for our bedroom by next winter. The colours I'm hoping to use are cream, deep red and deep purple. Hopefully in a couple of months when I've brushed up my very basic skills I will then ask my Mum for a refresher course and hopefully when she has finished laughing at my request...she will teach me how to read a pattern and then produce something other than 'knit stitch' squares and scarves. lol.

So challenge one from my list decided. I am escaping the house this afternoon for a couple of hours to go in search of some wool. Then I will have the fun job of asking My Love to retrieve my 'knitting bag' from the depths of the storage room. That will be fun! lol.

Hope you are having a fantastic Friday folks...Kitchen Day Sunday...48 hours...not that I am counting...lol


Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sunshine and the pain...

The sunshine and the pain..(Pic from Google Images ~R~)
It was such a lovely surprise to open the curtains this morning to a sunny morning. We've had a run of grey, drab and wet weather here..I know...I know! I live in England but it's not always that way..lol. Seeing the sun shining made me think of all the spring things I would like to be doing and suddenly I wanted to make lists..hush...I know lists make some people scream in horror! I don't live my life by lists but I like to make them to ease my mind. I felt a spark of 'happy' fill my heart and then it was shortly followed by a deep stab of familiar pain. Suddenly things didn't look so sunny.

So I was left with a choice..I either gave in to this painful sadness and feel blue for the rest of this sunny day...or I make a choice to try and do things differently. I chose the latter and although I am in a staggering amount of pain I have set myself goals to achieve today. Not earth shattering goals and sadly not kitchen duties...but I can make a start on menu planning for the weekend...set up daily writing goals...research goals and finally...get my bloody lovely iTunes library under control. lol. Hopefully I will feel like I have achieved something by the end of today and not feel like the pain is in control of me. Grrrrrr....hear my resolve?? lol

Sunshine is barely there now as the clouds are started to slide back in place but my resolve is stronger than the sun today. And I am determined that no matter what I will make it into the kitchen this weekend.

Thank you for stopping by and staying with me...

~R~ aka 'I am determined...hear me roar!' lol

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Majulas Apple Crumb Pie

Kitchen Play List:  Extreme ~ More Then Words
                                      Madeleine Peyroux ~ A Little Bit
                                      Harry Connick.Jr ~ And I Love Her
                                      Harry Connick.Jr ~ And I Love You So
                                      The Gossip ~ Listen Up!
                                      Bowes & Morley ~ Don't Take Your Love Away
                                      Colbie Calliat ~ Fearless

NB: I made this dessert some time ago and I found it in the archives today...So as I'm still resting..I am without current recipes. (Insert many frustrated expletives here!) lol. It was a very tasty dessert and we all enjoyed it. Something a little different...that's always good, right? ~R~

I found this recipe from a search on the internet for Indian Dessert. I needed a recipe that wasn't full of sugar or could be converted easily as my friend S is a diabetic. He loves the occasional treat and I always try and find him something tasty but won't send his sugar levels up past the moon. It wasn't perfect but with a little tweaking it would be good enough. 

The results were a soft apple base with an almost flapjack topping. The smells as it baked were causing hunger pangs all over the place. lol. All who tried it loved it and I had to email the recipe to my friend S today. 

Bubbling hot straight out of the oven!
Mijulas Apple Crumb Pie
(Recipe from Mijulas Kitchen)

4 green Granny Smiths Apples peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbsp water
3/4 cup oatmeal (not Jumbo oats)
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup Splenda and 1/4 sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter ( I used Pure/Soya)

Pre-heat the oven to 375'F/190'C/Gas Mark 5 and have a pie dish ready to use. 

In a bowl mix together the oatmeal, walnut, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and butter. Rub in as though making a crumble. 

Peel and slice the apples and spread over the bottom of the pie dish, making sure they are even. 

Spread the oatmeal mixture over the apple slices and make sure it's even and the apples are covered. 

Put the pie dish on the centre shelf of your oven and bake for 20 minutes. 

Take it out of the oven and carefully tilt the plate a little and press a spoon down to get the juices running onto it. Spoon the juices up and over the crumb mix. Spooning the juices over the crumb mix will keep them moist and crunchy. (It does! lol)

Place it back into the oven and back for a further 15 minutes. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Delish!

So good...there was no leftovers! What a surprise! lol
 Make this for yourselves...you're worth it! Enjoy!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ice Hockey, family, car disasters, friendship, hummus & green olives, drums and shakers...

It is a simple fact that My Love and I would have gotten nowhere this weekend emotionally and physically without our close circle of friends. And we are extremely thankful for each and every one of them. Friends are the family you choose.

This is so very true...
The weekend started off really well and we enjoyed our family time with my sister and the gang of little ones. Our plans for Saturday evening were simple..our friends D & B were coming over and then we were all going to watch my little brother G play Ice Hockey. It was B's first time at an Ice Hockey game...my brother lives at the seaside so we planned to visit a Chip Shop and enjoy a bag of Chips on the sea front before we went to the match. Simple...no? Yes...until our car died. Refused to start..battery was just fine..but refused to start. So very stressful! B offered to drive in her car so we quickly decamped to her car and made our way. Chips were successfully enjoyed sat in front of the dark sea and then we made our way to the Ice Arena.

The Stormers ~ my bro is the one with the orange gloves
I think B is now an Ice Hockey convert..lol. She enjoyed the game greatly and so did the rest of us. Although the Stormers lost to the Cobras we enjoyed every second of the game and I was very proud of G even if he did end up in the Sin bin..lol. After the game we made our way home and after D & B dropped us off we tried the car again..still dead. Bugger! What a nuisance.

Our plans for the Sunday was to visit with friends in the city near us..they had invited us to spend the afternoon with them, join them for a meal and then watch/participate in the African Drumming group they are part of. We had been looking forward to it so much and we knew they had gone to a lot of trouble foodwise for my vegan ways and My Loves 'Sali' food issues...we really didn't want to let them down.

Our friends J & S came over Sunday morning and My Love and S spent an hour outside trying to work out the problem with the car as S is very handy with all things mechanical. But after many attempts the car was still dead. They offered to take us to our friends house in the city and we were truly humbled by their offers of help. B had offered to bring us home if we could get there....friendship eh?

So we had a choice to make...stay home and be miserable about the car and finances crisis we are about to face...or take our friends offer of help and spend some much needed time with them. It took us about 5 minutes to make our decision...lol...we struggle with letting people help us. (Much to the annoyance of those close to us!)

Before we knew it we were in their Landy and making the journey to A & C's house. It was really good to see A & C and spent a couple of hours feeding their Brennan musical gadget..we take a stack of CDs with us each visit and feed them into this mass storage unit...we enjoyed catching up..drinking tea and mainly...laughing. And did we ever need a laugh. It is always so easy spending time with them.

A Brennan...also known as Bella!
We were soon joined by D & B and we then enjoyed a lovely cold Sunday evening meal. The table was filled with fresh salad veggies, a selection of hummus, various breads, flavoured dipping oils and dressing, a bowl of green olives and in the kitchen there was a fish platter for the non-vegans. We sat around the table and devoured the spread and enjoyed just being together and relaxing. I particulary loved the green olives, hummus's, rocket, peppers and breads. It was a lovely meal with great company.

There were at least six hummus selections and I enjoyed the Chilli, Caramelised Onion, Sun Blushed Tomato varieties.
I am always 1 happy person with a bowl of green olives in front of me..lol
Once the meal was over we decamped to the lounge and I watched in wonder as it was transformed into a music room filled with many various drums and percussion instruments. Bella played good music in the background whilst we waited for other members of the group to arrive. My Love was strapped into a Djembe drum and was given a quick beginners lesson. lol.

Djembe Drum
As I'm still not on form I chose to try the percussion instruments...I started with four shakers that had stones in the shells...

I had four of these lovelies and enjoyed playing them.
then chose some Bean Shakers which where beans that had been dried in their skins and made a really good sound...

Bean Shakers...I played a 'train track' with these..lol
and at the end of the evening I had a go at one final 'shaker'...I'm not deliberately being vague..I have just forgotten the name of it..lol.

Mystery shaker! lol
The group were fantastic...My Love enjoyed playing the Djembe and confessed to getting completely lost during one piece of music. But A & D were very patient and very good instructors. D also played a drum but also played percussion too and was really good at getting across what they needed from me. I loved every second of it...I was in awe at how they all worked together and at how much they were all 'buzzing' from it. And I have to say that I was enjoying it so much that I found it hypnotic and forgot what I was supposed to be doing during the 'mystery' shaker piece of music. I was off somewhere else and feeling so happy. I know I've always enjoyed Drum music but didn't realise it could 'chill' me out so much..lol. In what seemed like mere moments everyone was packing away their drums and it was time to go home.

 D & B drove us home and when we came back into our house and sat down with a cuppa...I was quite emotional about our friendships and how they had rallied around us. So thank you guys...each one of you are individually special people and our lives wouldn't be the same without you.

And the car....
Currently residing in Car Hospital! We are awaiting 'that call'...
I've had a little set back but I am hoping to back in the kitchen very soon. Otherwise you may hear me screaming...

Thanks for stopping by...

UPDATE: The car issue was the camshaft sensor...and the car is now running and My Love is on the way to pick it up! Phew! lol. Just incase you were interested...lol ~R~

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Finding giggles amongst the blues...

I would be a liar if I said that I'm not feeling blue today. I think it is a case of the 'resting blues' and I haven't been in my kitchen for nearly 2 1/2 weeks. I forget that I get so much out of cooking and I often joke that it's where I go to for therapy. Give me veggies to prep and I zen out. I try to keep it real and give myself regular reality checks...after all there is light at the end of the tunnel now. But the 'sat in a chair resting' gets me down after a while.....Anyway...

In the spirit of laughter being the best medicine I have been trying to do things that cheer me up..last night I had some Lemon Sorbet for dessert and ended up with the giggles after every mouthful as I got hit with the Zing!

This morning I watched a new TV show that I've never seen before and on so many levels it shouldn't have been funny but it had me in tears laughing. Who knew?

And during some research this afternoon I found these two bumper stickers and they made me smile too...so I wanted to share them with you.

Once again..thank you for sticking with me..I promise normal service will be resumed very soon...I hope! ~R~

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fun with Fruit by fellow bloggers...

Sadly I am still on 'rest' so I've been spending a lot of time researching macrobiotic vegan foods..and when I'm up and running again I shall be trying some of it out. Very interesting stuff but not much to blog about yet..lol

The resting is killing me....Urgh!
Some of my time has been spent on Pinterest.com and I now have 43 boards? Could be more but feel free to come along and check them out. Click here for my link..

I have been filled full of the lush fresh fruit love and truly in awe at some of the fresh fruit creations 'Pinned' on there and here are just a few. Nature's jewels for sure...Hope you enjoy? ~R~
Fruti Kebobs ~ AmysFinerThings.com  (Not a vegan site)
Fruit Tree ~ Ginger&Garlic.com (Not a vegan site)
Funny Fruit ~ Babble
Beautiful ~ witandwhistle.com
Fruit Bouquet ~ Soutv's

Fruit Pops ~ Bakers Royale (Not a vegan site)

Are you drooling yet? lol

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Rocket and Roses Spicy Parsnip, Carrot & Chickpea Soup

Kitchen Play List:  Mozart Adagios Play List

Black Mustard Seeds..just lovely...
NB: I am still off kitchen duties..sorry. And I have to confess going a little stir crazy! *sighs* Anyway..I created this soup a few weeks ago when I was making the first attempts at Salicylate free cooking and I needed to create something with spices..needed to...NEEDED TO! lol I was holding off posting it until I had made it again so I could photograph the lovely soup to go with it but as with the other photoless posts of recents weeks I shall update with photos when I can. Thank you for staying with me...Your support is greatly appreciated. ~R~

Maybe it's an instinctive response to all Salicylate Free cooking I've been creating lately...but today I needed a thick, intensely spiced and aromatic soup. As I pulled ingredients from cupboards, pots and the fridge I could almost feel myself purring like a cat. I chopped, rinsed and drained and measured out spices and stock and stirred with one heck of a smile on my face. I didn't even need to taste it...I felt elation flowing through every cell of my body...happiness and joy humming in every bone...and my taste buds were acting like a blood starved vampire. lol. 

I am 100% supportive of My Love and the new dual menu I am having to implement at the moment but cooking the Saliyclate meals are hard work..not physically...but emotionally. I always knew I enjoyed cooking and it made me happy. But I didn't realise how much I would miss the colour, aroma and taste of regular vegan food. No wonder My Love was so ill because almost everything we ate daily was choc full of the stuff. And I find it hard to make a warming spice filled dish for myself and then serve My Love the Salicylate meal..knowing that My Love would be devouring the spice filled dish in days gone by. Still it could be worse....I have to remember that. Bigger picture and all that...

This soup is just lovely. Everything I needed it to be and more and easy to make too which is always a plus, no? lol 

Rocket and Roses Spicy Parsnip, Carrot and Chickpea Soup Serves 4
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen)

1 tsp olive oil or water to steam saute
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
5 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 14oz tins of chickpeas, rinsed and drained separately
3/4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
6 cups of veggie stock

Heat the oil in a soup pan and cook the onions, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until they are tender. Then add the garlic, carrot and parsnips and stir well to coat and then add the first half of the chickpeas to the pan. Then add the spices and stir well to prevent the veggies catching on the bottom of the pan. Stir well to coat the veggies and chickpeas with the spices and when the spices begin to warm and become fragrant slowly add the veggie stock. Stir to combine. 

Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Test the veggies at this point and when they are tender blend the soup with a hand blender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then add the second half of the chickpeas and the remaining mustard seeds. Heat through to warm the chickpeas and then serve.

Enjoy! I know I did...lol 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Kiwi Pops

Keeping Busy Play List: Shakira ~ Complete Albums Playlist

Fantastic idea from ohdessert.net
We are still buried under two rooms worth of 'stuff' but are hopeful that today we will have completed the change around by tonight. Can you hear the hysterical laughing as I type that..coming from both of us! I'm fairly sure the nervous twitch will be making an appearance soon too. lol.

As you know I have been exploring Pinterest.com and I found this dessert idea on there. It was such a simple idea that it was one of those..."Oh my god..now why haven't I thought of that before?..." But I'm glad I have found it and I will be trying it out at the next 'gathering'. I'm fairly certain it's dairy milk chocolate used in this version but I will be trying mine with vegan dark chocolate of course. It's a fantastic dessert website with good recipes that can be veganised. So thanks to ohdesserts.net for sharing the wonderful photo and the idea...

OK back to the room tranformations...Happy Sunday folks...and thanks for sticking with me through the 'rest' this last week.


Saturday, 14 January 2012

The rooms they are a changing....

Sanity Play List: Abba ~ Gold Album (to keep us moving..lol)

Yup..that's where we are at! lol
As with all good plans..it started off with such a simple idea...and then turned into chaos. lol. I am on light duties but not back in the kitchen until tomorrow..hopefully. So we decided that this weekend we would get a 'quick' job done around the house. We are in effect swapping two of our main downstairs rooms around. My workroom and our dining room...I use my workroom everyday..and the dining room some of the time. So My Love suggested we swap the two around so I could have a little more space for all my writing and stuff. And I agreed as long as we could extent the dining table fully in the other room..and it did! Excellent!

So yesterday we started to make the move...and really we worked long into the night..we both collasped into bed and when we got up this morning we really couldn't tell that we have done anything. Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh! I'm sure when it's all finished we will collaspe in a heap and look at the two new rooms and love it. I will personally be happier when 'my things' are back together in one room and not feel so...well..unsettled. And the new dining room is looking spendid and we shall definitely use it more.

Once more into the breach my friends...lol....and hopefully there will be less hair pulling today...lol

Hope you are having a great weekend? What are you doing?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Joy's Banana Bread

My Love's Kitchen Play List: Nelly Furtado ~ Grass Is Always Greener
                                                         Muse ~ Time Is Running Out
                                                         Garbage ~ Run Baby Run
                                                         Norah Jones ~ Humble Me
                                                         Echobelly ~ Nobody Like You
                                                         Luke Morley ~ Face In The Crowd
Yes..still on rest duties so really My Love should be writing this posting but is blog shy so it's a joint effort. lol. My Love found this recipe during a search for baking recipes that would be Salicylate Free or Low. The recipe was found on Mudspice.wordpress.com and for the original recipe on that blog click here.

2 Delicious Joy's Banana Bread Loaves..can you smell the banana? lol
My Love had to adapt it quite a bit but it wasn't a hassle..for the original recipe and all the various options..i.e Gluten Free..etc click the link above. I am posting the adapted recipe as My Love made it.

It's a beautiful banana bread..let me tell you. I've had two pieces so I should know..lol. It looks like it's going to be quite dense but it's not...it's light and so tasty. It would be easy to become addicted to this loaf. lol. My Love chose to make two loaves so there would be some to freeze for when a work snack is needed in the future. And it really did make two good size loaves. If you are struggling with willpower right now..this probably isn't the recipe for you..just yet anyway..lol. It smelt divine..

Joy's Banana Bread close up..it won't last long..lol
Joy's Banana Bread Makes 1 loaf
(Recipe adapted from Mudspice.wordpress.com)

3/4 cup golden caster sugar or 3/4 tsp powdered stevia
1/2 cup of vegan margarine or oil (ML used Sunflower oil)
3 bananas, mashed with 1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp soya milk
1/2 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp baking soda with 1/2 tsp lemon juice (ML used the latter)
1 3/4 cups wholemeal flour
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350'F/180'C/Gas Mark 4 and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl stir all the ingredients together and when combined pour into the loaf tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Checking at the 40 minute mark as it depends on your oven etc.

Leave to cool in the tins and then turn out. Leave as long as your willpower will allow you before you cut into it. lol. Enjoy!

Thanks for Mudspice for sharing a great recipe...


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

My name is Red..and I am a PinInterest addict! lol

Hello folks..I have lost a day! No..really! As I'm still 'resting' I decided to explore the world of Pinterest.com. I have seen its 'button' showing up on more and more blogs and websites over the last month.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite  Definition taken from Pinterest.com

My Love webmaster signed Rocket and Roses up to it but as we were having trouble with my techno gadgetry at the time I didn't follow it up and since then it's been sat on my To Do List. So far this week I have researched Salicylate Acids, uploaded every CD I own to my ITunes library and researched future recipe ideas..and the only two jobs left were to sort my ITunes library into play lists (Yawn! lol) and look into Pinterest. I have read so much I have book grooves in my hands so I needed a day off of that..so I was left with Pinterest.com.

Warning! This is addictive!
So after breakfast this morning I got comfy...haha!..and opened my laptop with the intention of having a quick look around the site and then passing the day reading and maybe taking in a movie. (I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating these days are!..lol) At first it was interesting and I clicked through several screens and then decided.."What the heck..I'll start 'a' board..."

9 hours later......My Love comes home and I am still sat with the laptop..mid Pinning..22 boards...123 Pins..and 10 likes...later. I hadn't moved from my seat all day. I hadn't eaten and was just grateful that I made myself a bucket of my usual morning Nettle & Peppermint Tea and large bottle of water to keep myself hydrated. Seriously it's 10.54pm as I'm writing this and in the back of my mind I'm wondering if I should just 'check in' before I go to bed. My doctor would be delighted with all the rest I got today! lol.

So I have two new buttons on my blog..one appears on each individual blog posting and that allows you to Pin photos to your own Pinterest boards. The second which is on the main page, right hand sidebar allows you to Follow my Pinterest page.

But please don't hold it against me when you realise you too have become an addict! lol.

Hoping to be back in the kitchen on Saturday if I keep Pinning it will help,eh? No..oh well it was worth a shot. lol.

Happy Pinning..
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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Sweet Potato & Kasha Burgers and White Potato & Kasha Burgers (Salicylate Low Version)

Keeping Me Sane Play List:  Natalie Imbruglia ~ Big Mistake
                                                         Shakira ~ Fool
                                                         Whitesnake ~ Still of the Night
                                                         Slash ft Adam Levine ~ Gotten
                                                         Shakira ~ Underneath Your Clothes
                                                         The Eagles ~ How Long
                                                         Bobby McFerrin ~ Circle Song 6
                                                         Mark Ronson ft Lily Allen ~ Oh My God

Today is Mystery Ingredient Challenge day and this week the ingredient was Buckwheat Kasha. The fact that we found Buckwheat Kasha here in England was so exciting in itself as I have tried for years to find some..and I did, but it cost a small fortune. In the last few years in the towns and city closest to us we have had small communities of Polish people making a home. So the supermarkets have started to stock some of their homeland products and Kasha happened to be one of them. Thank you Polish folks..

So we picked up a box of the Buckwheat Kasha and a box of the Barley Kasha..and I was informed that the Buckwheat was my mystery ingredient this week. lol. But I was happy with that and began researching the uses of it. I found this burger recipe during a web search on Diet,DessertandDogs.com The blogger had adapted it from a recipe she had found in Nettie's Vegetarian Kitchen. And I've adapted the recipe again, as sweet potato is High in 'Sally' acids and so I rewrote a 'Sally' Low version. As I adore sweet potato, I shall be making both kinds.

Yes..you read that right. I 'shall' be making them at some point. Those of you who follow this blog will know that I have a health issue that frequently 'lays me low' and I have to abstain from kitchen work..which drives me completely insane..Urgh. This last week has been one of those times but today I was hoping to get back in there and get started. My mind is very willing...my body..is so not on board with this plan. I cannot wait to have my operation..lol.

Hopefully the burgers will get made tonight or Friday and so I will update this posting with the photos so you can see how lovely these burgers look. But I decided to post the recipes anyway...I also think that there is a lot of oil used in these recipes so will reduce the amounts greatly when I make them. I'll update the posting when I do...

Glorious Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato & Kasha Burgers Makes 8 large or 16 small patties
(Recipe found on Diets,DessertsandDogs.com)

1 1/2 cups dry buckwheat kasha
3 cups water or veggie broth
1 tsp sea salt or 1/4 tsp if using broth
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp toasted sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/4 cup almond butter or tahini
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 green spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

Dry roast the kasha in a heavy skillet over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add 3 cups of water/stock and salt, bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and cook over a low heat until the water/stock is absorbed and kasha is tender, about 15 minutes.

Cook the onion in 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat until softened. Add the celery and carrot, cook for another 5 minutes until softened.

Stir together kasha, vegetables including the potato, almond butter or tahini, basil, green onions and soy sauce until combined. Keeping hands moist, form into 8 large patties or 16 smaller patties. Heat remaining 3 tbsp oil in large skillet over a med-high heat. Cook burgers for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on the outside.

Authors note: I baked half and fried half of these, just to see how they'd hold up in the oven. They worked just fine with both cooking methods, though the baked ones never acquired that crispy blackened exterior that the fried ones had. Still yummy though..Diets,DessertsandDogs.com

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes
NB: This is my adapted version which is Salicylate Low..hopefully..I'm still new at this! lol

White Potato & Kasha Burgers makes 8 large or 16 small patties
(Recipe adapted by Red for the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen..from Diets,DessertsandDogs.com)

1 1/2 cups of dry buckwheat kasha
3 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 large white potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/4 cup cashew nut butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 green spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (Free of spices..)

Dry roast the kasha in a heavy skillet over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Add 3 cups of water and salt, bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and cook over a low heat until the water is absorbed and kasha is tender, about 15 minutes.

Cook the onion in 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat until softened. Add the celery and carrot, cook for another 5 minutes until softened.

Stir together kasha, vegetables including the potato, cashew butter, parsley, green onions and soy sauce until combined. Keeping hands moist, form into 8 large patties or 16 smaller patties. Heat remaining 3 tbsp oil in large skillet over a med-high heat. Cook burgers for 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on the outside.


Monday, 9 January 2012

Garlic Soup with Potatoes, Italian Style

Kitchen Play List: The Doors ~ Bird of Prey
                                       Placebo ~ Protege Moi
                                       The Cure ~ Truth, Goodness & Beauty
                                       Norah Jones ~ The Long Way Home
                                       Elvis Costello ~ Beyond Belief
                                       Dodgy ~ Prey For Drinking
                                       The Doors ~ When The Music's Over
                                       Neil Young ~ Cinnamon Girl

OK picture this...a steaming hot bowl of smooth, creamy soup with beautiful green flecks. The mellow scent of garlic and the savoury goodness of potato and the lushness of fresh flat leaf parsley. Look I know this isn't as good as a visual photo but I confess we forgot to take a photo of this gorgeous soup. Lol. OK so things aren't back to normal around here yet..lol. I'm still out of the kitchen but I am 'supervising' lol. This soup is adapted from a soup recipe in Donna Klein's cookbook The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen.

It was one of the  first recipes I tried out when I bought this cookbook...oh at least 6 years ago and is one of My Love's favourite soups. I've adapted it because in it's orignal format it had quite a lot of 'Sally' stuff in its ingredients. So I kept to the overall flavour but re-wrote the recipe and My Love made it and it tasted just great. And you aren't bowled over by garlic as the title suggests..it's a mellow flavour that blends in with the other ingredients really well.

Please forgive the lack of photo but it's safe to say..it's creamy and smooth...has depth of flavour and is just...Yummy! lol.

Garlic Lovers Unite! lol
Garlic Soup with Potatoes, Italian Style Serves 3-4
(Recipe adapted from A Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen/Klein)

1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped

1 1/4 lb potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 " cubes
1 large head of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled
6 cups water
low sodium salt to season
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

In a large deep sided skillet heat the oil and then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and garlic and stir well to coat. Then add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cook until the potatoes are soft. Then season with the salt and blitz the soup until it's smooth and creamy. Serve.


Saturday, 7 January 2012

Rocket and Roses Roasted Pumpkin Dessert Pie with Cocoa and Oat Topping ~ Gluten Free

Kitchen Play List: The Union ~ Siren's Song Album

7/1/12 I have been 'off kitchen duty' for the last few days due to my silly body acting up. So I haven't been able to bring you recipes etc. Today is the last day of this nonsense (can you tell I am being my usual impatient self?? lol) and will be much happier when I can bring you the usual content. I've looked back into my archives and found these two recipes. They were made the same day as the Rocket and Roses Pear and Ginger Dessert Pie. Now this Pumpkin pie was very much a Marmite pie...you loved it or you hated it. lol. I liked it and My love..not so much. My pal D liked it and B..not so much. lol. However the second recipe I created to use up the leftover topping..everyone who tried it..loved it. lol. Normal service will hopefully be resumed tomorrow and I am looking forward to getting back.

During this time of 'being good' I have plenty of time to think...and now major changes are coming. I'm changing my understairs cupboard into a pantry..swapping two of the rooms in our house around..I can't wait. lol. My Love is sorry now for even making the suggestion...lol. But I am very excited.

I have been reading about Simplifying via the Vegan Flower blog. Molly and her husband are currently going through this process and I think it maybe starting to rub off on me. lol.

OK hope these recipes can fill the gap until I'm back tomorrow..lol. Happy Weekend All! ~R~

I think I temporarily lost my marbles the afternoon I created this recipe. I had finished cooking for the day and cleaned down the kitchen and made myself a cuppa and was going to sit down and do some writing. Personally I blame the coffee I had been drinking that week..I do..I'm usually a strictly herbal tea gal..but for some reason that week I had been craving Hazelnut Coffee...will I ever learn? lol. Apparently..not! lol. I had been trying out Manifest Vegan's sweet pastry recipe which is also GF and I had ended up with two blind baked pasty shells and I had made a Pear and Ginger Dessert Pie with one and was lost as what to do with the other. We don't eat a lot of pie in this house. Unless it's a very special occasion or festive holiday..so I was stumped. 

Earlier in the week I had cut...hacked...axed into a glorious Crown Prince Pumpkin and made a frittata with some of it...at the same time I had also cut some into wedges (skin left on..) and using a piece of kitchen towel with a drip of sunflower oil, rubbed the flesh over and then put then onto a baking sheet and left them to roast in the oven. When done I brought the tray out and left it on the surface to cool. Then the rest of the day happened and I simply popped them into an airtight container in the fridge. When we ate the Frittata we both agreed that it was a very sweet pumpkin and how nice a dessert would be....*spark* lol 

So, facing the empty pie shell, and that the day I baked these pies was Thanksgiving in the US I decided to throw my hat into the Pumpkin Pie arena. Now it's the first time I have ever...ever...used Pumpkin as a dessert so it did freak me out a little. lol. But I wanted to keep it very simple so I made up my own little pot of Pumpkin Pie Spices...2 tbsp cinnamon..2 tsp ground ginger...2 tsp nutmeg and 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves and got out my Maple Syrup and got to work on the filling which I then poured into the pastry case and leveled off. 

But I felt it needed something more. So inspired by the Pear and Ginger Pie, I got the pot of oats out once again and set to work making another oaty topping. I remembered an American pal of mine who was obsessed with Pumpkin and Chocolate together as a combination and that is how the cocoa topping came together. 

Now I really didn't need all of the topping on this pie so I used half and saved half for another recipe that will follow shortly but there is no reason why the spare topping couldn't be frozen until needed. 

Rocket and Roses Roasted Pumpkin Dessert Pie with Cocoa & Oaty Topping
Rocket and Roses Roasted Pumpkin Dessert Pie with Cocoa & Oat 
Topping Serves 8
(Original recipe from the Rocket and Roses Vegan Kitchen except the GF pastry which is 
all Manifest Vegans work) 

1 Manifest Vegan GF blind baked pastry shell

 3lb roasted pumpkin wedges, skins and charring cut away
2 tsp Maple Syrup
1/2 pumpkin pie spice blend

1 2/3 cups/5oz gluten free oats
1/3 cup/2oz demerara sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa
1/3 cup/2oz vegan butter or margarine

In a blender or using a hand blender blitz the pumpkin flesh, maple syrup and spices together until smooth. Spoon into the pastry shell and smooth across to make an even surface. 

In a bowl mix together the oats, sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract and then using two knives cut in the margarine until a large crumb consistency is found. Spoon half of the topping into a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use and spoon the other half onto the pumpkin pie to leave a domed crumble topping. 

A pie awaiting the hot oven..looks good enough to eat at this stage,  eh? lol
Place in a pre-heated 375'F/190'C/Gas Mark 5 oven and bake for 30 minutes until the topping has darkened but not charcoaled! lol. 

Serve immediately as a hot dessert or leave to cool and then refrigerate as a cold dessert. Serve with vegan vanilla or chocolate ice cream, pouring cream or custard. 

But most importantly...enjoy!