Vegan vanilla strawberry cake 

The ultimate treat for a very special day or cake smash. This cake is perfect for vegan diets or those with dairy, egg and nut allergies. All of the ingredients are easily accessible and budget friendly.

The recipe can be adapted for gluten and wheat free by subbing the flour for gf flour, it can also be made soy free by omitting the yogurt or changing it to coconut yogurt.

Ok this is unashamedly girly. I was keen on being as gender neutral with my kids upbringing as possible. I think girls look cool in blue and I even bought my son a doll at age 1. But, in my case, my kids absolutely epitomise their gender stereotypes. I am sure to be eye ball rolled at when my super hero loving 3 year old boy is seen next to his tutu clad 2 year old sister. So, this is how this cake became what it is. And you know what, I love it. My kids are great individuals who I value as they are, tulle and all.

My daughter Daisy knew it was her birthday coming up and she specified a “pink sprinkle cake with a horse and a rainbow” numerous times, then told everyone about the cake she wanted. So, knowing how important this was to her, I whipped it up on a uni student budget.

This is based on the whacky cake or depression cake.

It has sugar in it but I cut the amount in half seems as the yogurt was sweet too. 

First batch, the test batch was made into 12x large muffins to share at daycare and I just doubled the batch for a large cake. I would recommend doing muffins as a test first. It is a pretty easy recipe however you might be keen to adjust the sweetness or tweak according to what you like before diving into the all important birthday cake!


Ingredients (double for a large cake)

  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • Half cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 dessert spoon white vinegar
  • 4 or 5 dessert spoons olive oil (or other veg oil)
  • 1 tsp strawberry essence 
  • A few drops of pink food colouring
  • 1 pottle of soy vanilla yogurt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Grease muffin tray or cake dish
  3. In a bowl, mix flour and sugar
  4. Make three small indentations with the back of a spoon into the dry mix
  5. In one groove, put in vanilla essence
  6. In one groove, place vinegar
  7. In one groove, place olive oil
  8. Pour water over the mix and combine
  9. Add yogurt and strawberry essence and combine
  10. Drop in a two or three random drops of pink food colouring and, using the tip of the spoon, swirl
  11. Pour into dish and bake. A small cake needs about 30min, muffins 25 min and a double recipe large cake is 50min
  12. Skewed test (see if a knife comes up clean) to see if it has cooked

The icing is just dairy free margarine, melted with icing sugar, strawberry essence and pink food colouring.

Top with sprinkles and decorate accordingly.

Simple and delicious.

It was a hit and accounted for the four people with food allergies and our vegan friends. It was such an amazing feeling to not have to worry about my kids food allergies at our party. It was just a little do at home so it could be an entirely a safe food zone. We did kid snacks of bliss balls, fruit, popcorn and crackers then a “sandwich station” with roast meats, salad and veg for the adults.


Much love from my family to yours

Aleshia and little miss Daisy xx

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Why do we believe that we are not good enough to have the life we dream of?

Low self esteem and feelings of not being good enough hold us back as humans.

This is how powerful the mind is.

It took my preschooler to make me wake up and look around at my life.

My three year old said to me “Mummy the house is very grey”
“Yes, Johnny, we painted all the walls grey”
“Mummy, I don’t like grey. I want a blue room”

More recently, and significantly, we were stuck in traffic and my three year old asked “Mummy, do we live in a city?”
“Yes, we live in a city. It has cars and buildings, see. A city”
“Mummy, I want to live in a beach please”

At three, he is wiser than me. At three he can see that we can manipulate our lives to achieve favorable outcomes and he KNOWS what he wants from his environment and his life. His world is so black and white, he doesn’t see why we can’t just go and live at the beach in a colourful, vibrant house. We could learn something from that.
Our environments are part of our well being. What does yours look like?

My daughter will surround herself with anything she finds pleasing to look at – flowers, ribbons, glitter etc. When did I stop doing this for myself? When did that part of being a female who likes pretty things become less of a priority to me? I want flowers, they make me happy, so I should damn well buy the flowers. I am always thinking of what others want, what will nourish their well being, but rarely do I treat myself in this same manner.

Imagine the life that you have always dreamed of, what does it look like? Who is in it? Who is NOT in it?

Where are you living?
Are you happy in your occupation?
Are you healthy? What are you doing to maintain good health?

Are you worried about the future? Are you always looking back into your past? What about right now. Right now is all we truly have and it is yours to build the life you dream of.

You can picture it.

Why do we get stuck in a rut? Finances? Health? Jobs?

Why can’t we just throw away multi tasking and focus on uni tasking to move forward to that which we want? In this case, it would be uni tasking towards moving to the beach. It makes the decision black and white. It means that you sit down, figure it out, and do it. Uni tasking is tunnel visions where the excuses of why you should not prioritize one thing fall away – they don’t fit in the tunnel with your vision.

Is it low self esteem holding us back? I know my Dad has always put down my achievements by saying “I never thought my daughter would be able to do that” and that comes from his low self esteem. He never believed in himself. You can have all the intellegence in the world but if you don’t believe in yourself then you wont have the confidence to take a step in the right direction. That’s why some smart people stay in their comfort zones, not progressing, and other less intelligent people lead epic lives. I know my Dad wanted a better life but he never believed he deserved it, he would roll his eyes at people who owned boats or nice cars etc. He catagorized people as “us” and “them”. This is such a common concept. We think nice lives are for other people, the people we see on instagram, not for ourselves. But screw that, you lead your own life, never mind them.

You owe it to your three year old self to know what your dream life is and be unstoppable in the pursuit to obtain it.

House on the beach illustration

 

Natural birth does happen

Posting here to remember this story forever and also to fill up the World Wide Web with more stories of positive, natural birth with the purpose of helping to remove fear from childbirth.


Two years ago I was 38 weeks pregnant with who I thought was “Eleanor” and then a little flower landed on my tummy (in the pic), then as my Dad was talking to me about the baby later that day the song came on the radio “That’s not my name”, then everywhere I looked I saw fields of beautiful Daisy’s. I said to my husband Scott, “I don’t think her name is Eleanor”, and he said he had been thinking the same thing that day. At 39 weeks she was born in a full hippie, sunset-over-the-Auckland-harbour hypnobirth, laughter in the room and smiling faces, no drugs, water birth, two hour labour with 7 min of pushing. Peaceful and calm, dare I say easy (in what I call a healing birth, as my first birth wasn’t straightforward however it was still a natural birth). This baby didn’t cry, instead she simply looked up at Scott and I. That natural birth experience sealed it for me, this 2kg dot was a little Daisy.

I believe babies pick their own names and our crazy little wildflower with a love of crystals, Buddha statues and kefir water most certainly picked hers out for herself!

When Daisy was newborn, I was told by a Mum at a toddler music class, “oh but she is so pretty and a daisy is a weed”. I told this a Mum that the only reason a weed is called a weed is because of its inability to grow in a straight line and there is something I quite like about that. ❤️🐣🌸🌼🍃🌈

“Leave medicines in the chemist ’s pot if you can cure your patient s with food”. – Hippocrates

Eat Well Be Well Poster

Poor diet, inadequate physical activity and poor quality of nutrition are detrimental to our health and well being.

Yet diet related diseases are on the rise.

Choose to eat well, be well.

 

Reference –

Public Health Intelligence (2012).
Nutrition and the Burden of Disease: New Zealand
1997 – 2011.
Retrieved from

Blissball Cheesecake Pie – Dairy, egg, nut, gluten and wheat free!

Looking for a simple cheesecake pie recipe which is suitable for all occasions? I bust this bad boy out for entertaining at brunch (goes with coffee as it does dessert wine), for Christmas day, for birthdays… all the time! It is always a winner.

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Fairly certain it is a no fail cake too, my 3 year old can make it (supervised). So feel confident that you will be able to bake one too!!

My children have multiple food allergies and this cake was made so they could eat a cheesecake safely. There is no dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no wheat, no gluten and no soy in the recipe. There is refined sugar from the chocolate itself, no sugar is added.
Need this to be vegan or vegetarian? Sub gelatine for agar agar!

This chocolate berry blissball cheesecake pie (whatever it is) is the easiest cheesecake to make, with the added bonus of having superfood benefits from pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, berries and gelatine! Now you can have your cake and eat it too.

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The base is a standard blissball recipe with a little trick in the cooking method to get it to set properly.

It can be made in a muffin tray for cute wee individual desserts, this is a little more fiddly though so just grease it up so they don’t get stuck.

Hot tip – Pop strawberries on top of the base and pour the filling over them for a great visual effect!

BASE

  • 1 cup dates (medjool dates work better here), soaked in boiling water, then discard water after 10min
  • Two dessert spoons cocoa or cacao
  • Half a cup or more of dessicated or shredded coconut
  • Quarter cup sunflower seeds
  • Quarter cup of pumpkin seeds
  • Two dessert spoons of chia seeds
    NOTE – The quantities of seeds can be mixed, as long as the ratio ends up being half a cup. Alternatively, just use dessicated coconut.

FILLING

  • One 250g block of dairy free dark chocolate. I use whittakers 50% cocoa.
  • 500g full fat coconut cream. I use ayam however kara coconut cream works well too.
  • 4 teaspoons of gelatine.
  • One teaspoon vanilla essance

TOPPING

  • One punnet of strawberries, diced into wee triangles and squares
  • One punnet of blueberries
    NOTE – The topping can be whatever you have on hand, we defrost frozen blueberries in winter. Edible flowers would be lovely on this too!

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METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F
  2. Grease a cake pan
  3. Using a food processor, whizz together the base ingredients
  4. Knuckle into the cake pan, being careful to avoid cracks.
    Top tip: As above, I didn’t have enough base ingredients to completely cover the sides. That is OK, the base only needs to cover the bottom and anymore up the sides is just a bonus. I think it gives a cool effect when some patches are left on the sides.
  5. Fridge for 15 minutes, bake for 15 minutes then fridge again for 15 minutes to set the base.
  6. In a saucepan, melt the chocolate
  7. Add coconut cream and vanilla to the chocolate
  8. Add in 4 teaspoons of gelatine (or quantity as advised on the packet)
  9. Pour the filling into the cake dish, over the base.
    Top tip: If there is more filling than base the is fine, let it drizzle over.
    If there is more base than filling, add another layer using an even darker chocolate or with berry jam/coconut cream/gelatine for a multilayer cake with WOW factor.
  10. Fridge overnight
  11. Serve with berries on top and great company.

Easy as pie!!

Enjoy.

Aleshia Dearlove xxoo

An open letter to my diabetic Father, from a health sciences student with nutrition qualifications

Dear Dad,

I know you have had diabetes for 20 odd years now.

I know you wont read this letter but I will continue to write it to you anyway.

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I know you grip tightly to the belief that type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition which requires a progressive requirement for multiple medications to prevent hyperglycemia over time.

I get that you, like many others, adopted the psychological mindset that fears fat and associates all fat with heart disease.

I know you saw a dietician back in the 90s who promoted the NZ ministry’s low fat diet as a healthy norm and told you to cook with canola oil and eat your 4-6 pieces of toast with margarine.

I have seen how scared you are to die in pain of heart failure. I wonder if you know that of those with diabetes, most die from a cardiovascular event. Diabetics also lose limbs, the organs such as kidneys shut down and the retina in the eye stops functioning, causing blindness. You lose control over going to the bathroom.

Do you know how many of my study papers feature “Diabetic in his 60s died of heart failure”. Dad, that’s you.

Yes, I have found your chocolate stash by the bed, the ice cream in the freezer, the cakes hiding in the cupboards. You eat toast with jam, plenty of fruit and adore mashed potatoes. You eat more sugar and carbohydrate than anyone else I know. I am not here to tell you to “just stop eating that”, if that was an effective way to get through to your mind then it would have worked 20 years ago. I need an outlet to explain what science is proving to be true because it is driving me insane keeping it locked up in my brain where you don’t want to hear it. Truth is Dad, the way to manage diabetes is through a low carbohydrate lifestyle. I don’t care if you need to package it up and get on the Paleo or The keto diet or Atkins trends, just give it a go for three months.

Alternatively, try the Mediterranean Diet for three months –

mediterranean-diet-pyramid

Summarised points of interest –

  • There is potential to reverse dependency on medications by lifestyle changes
  • Low carbohydrate diets are not a new thing, they have been used to treat diabetes since 1797. Insulin only came along in 1921. Low carbohydrate diet being used to treat diabetes only declined in popularity when it was thought that all fat caused heart problems.
  • Carbs turn into cholesterol
  • Diabetes New Zealand still isn’t up with the latest research. They recommend 3-4 serves of carbohydrate at each meal. Somehow I don’t think they are referring to non starchy vegetables such as broccoli when they make this suggestion. The evidence actually points the other way, in favour of low carbohydrate diets.
    Specifically, they recommend 180g carbohydrate or more if the person is very active but research points to carbohydrate restriction of 20-50g as being effective.
  • Extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil IS BETTER than the refined with solvents plastic canola oil crap which you so dearly cling onto. Good quality olive oil helps prevent plaque from sticking to vessel walls and lowers cholesterol.
    Here is an extract on some research I did on olive oil for a uni paper:
    “Olive oils health benefits relates to the type of fat it provides. Healthy olive oil helps to reduce risks of developing degenerative health related conditions such as heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, asthma and arthritis. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat, with LDL cholesterol particles that are less likely to become oxidised than less healthy fats. Olive oil can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol which researches believe prevents it from adhering to vessel walls which forms the plaque that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
    Replacing other fats with olive oil can help to lower cholesterol levels, lower levels of triglycerides and can help a person to get better control over sugar intake”
  • Because of the nature of type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia from a low carbohydrate diet is rare. You will still be getting enough carbs from non starchy vegetables to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Evening meals influence blood sugar levels on the following morning after breakfast. Yes, that means your bag of potato chips at 10pm affects your blood sugar scores the next day. Instead, try some good fat and protein. Chilled coconut cream and stevia, maybe?

High fat, low carb diets do require high quality non-starchy foods. I have made you a treatment plan for a better quality of life, and less dependence of increasing the doses of medications, as below:

This is info on what you restrict:

Portions to be restricted (across all food groups)

Low fiber, high processed foods restricted.

Carbohydrate restrictions as this has the most impact on blood sugar levels. Work out how many grams of carbohydrate are eaten. Aim for 50g. Also restrictions on serving sizes of carbohydrate.
Restrict foods with sugar, refined carbohydrates, high glycaemic load foods, high glycaemic index foods to prevent blood sugar levels rising.
Restrictions on foods which contain carbohydrates which include grains, pasta, and rice; breads, crackers, and cereals; starchy vegetables, including potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash; legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils; fruit and fruit juices; milk and yogurt; and sweets and desserts.

Fast foods, refined foods, processed foods and junk foods need to be restricted

This is what I would recommend to you:

Eating a sensible low carbohydrate, low glycaemic index diet that is high in fiber, low in saturated fat, and low in concentrated sweets. A consistent diet eaten about the same time every day as this will help your doctor to prescribe the right medication for you.

Concentrate on non-starchy, low carbohydrate, vegetables for fiber such as kale, broccoli, spinach, salad greens and green beans.

Well balance the diet by adding proteins and good fats meals.

Eat moderate portion sizes

Exercise recommended

If open to further support: take oral magnesium, fresh tumeric and almond milk lattes and use stevia for sweetness

What a typical day might look like
With the objective to keep blood sugar levels stable, depending on the blood sugar results of the yourself and your exercise:

Breakfast – Tea, scrambled egg, avocado (one piece multigrain toast optional)

Lunch – Spinach/kale based salad with pumpkin seeds, tofu or meat, small portion of brown rice

Dinner – Baked Fish with green bean salad (red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, feta), quinoa

Dessert – Cup of herbal tea and avocado/feta salad if you need more food

Snacks – a handful of nuts, baby carrots/cucumber rounds with hummus

Note – BROWN rice.

Top tip: Keep a log book with medication and foods eaten, exercise, time of day, blood sugar levels to get a visual of improvements, and something to share with your doctor.

It can be difficult to change your psychology of diet and heart disease. But you are not getting any better. You are getting worse and worse, don’t think that you have to get worse just because of age and there is nothing you can do about that. You can control it by minimizing the rate of decline.

It is so hard to study this and obtain more and more info which you don’t want to hear. Ignorance is bliss until you are the dead guy in the medical text books I read about.

I am not worried that this will fall on deaf ears. I worry it will fall on blind eyes from diabetes related retina damage.

Yes, it’s a hard life having a daughter who loves you so much she shares information with you because wants you to live. Gosh!