Birthdays and the season to give

On Wednesday I celebrated my Birthday! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by. Carl made a pretty accurate statement the other day, ¬†saying this has been the fastest, yet slowest year ever….and even if that doesn’t make much sense its completely true. ¬†This year has been rough for us, I mean Ireland was amazing, but being back in South Africa has been exhausting and tough. ¬†When we first got back we tried to rent the cheapest place we could find only to find out we were not even gonna be able to afford it, we were living pay check to pay check, and not getting anything out. ¬†We could hardly feed ourselves, and with the news of baby we had to put money aside to get all the baby things we needed and prepare for all the medical costs. ¬†If it wasn’t for Carl’s parents that assisted us we wouldn’t have been able to eat at all. ¬† ¬†Our money situation has gotten better, but everything else is still crazy here, I have faith everything will work out, but its hard not to feel run down, from the constant bad luck we’ve had here.

So this year for my Birthday, because there is nothing I wanted to do in Cape Town and even though things have been extremely hard for us all I wanted to do was help the incredible amount of homeless people in Cape Town. Sometimes you just have to pay it forward. ¬† I got all the ingredients together and decided to make food packs and have ice cold water ready to give to anyone in need. ¬†I have to admit that during our long car ride stuck in the most insane African heat, I really wanted to crack open all those bottles of water and just go to town! ¬†I showed some restraint and just suffered through the heat. ¬†As we were driving trying to find the usual beggars that knock on your window asking for money, we realised as soon as you want to give people stuff they are nowhere in sight! ¬†I couldn’t believe what an easy drive we had!

We finally decided to go to this one park that we know a lot of the homeless sleep at, and off we set to try and give people food. ¬†It was really strange for me to try and get out of my comfort zone and actually go up to people to ask them if they were hungry, the guy that gave me the confidence I needed was a young man that was looking through all the trash cans for something to eat. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of complete gratitude on this mans face as he said yes, and scurried off so fast, to go eat his food. ¬†After that we felt confident and walked up to all the people sleeping on the grass with all their worldly belongings in a grocery bags, and offered them the sandwiches. ¬†They all seemed so eager and happy, as they said God bless and thank you. ¬†I was sad when we ran out of our care packages, but Carl and I both decided we want to do this more often. ¬†My heart felt so full as I almost waddled along in the heat of the day at 9 months pregnant, giving people a meal that was specially ¬†prepared for them.

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^^ Pre-Birthday sunflowers and a card.  I felt so loved! I got three cards from Carl for my Birthday.  Usually he gets me no cards, I started feeling like I was in a cardless marriage.

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^^ I made a raw carrot cake for my birthday! It was sooooo good.  Who needs sugar or gluten! Seriously! This is sooo much better.

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^^ Would you like a bite.

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^^ We collected some pine cones for our little mantel to add a bit of holiday cheer.

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^^ Birthday selfie!

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^^ The food packages contained.  A fresh sandwich, banana, a Christmas cookie, crisps and a some small candies.

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^^ Baby’s first food drive.¬†img_5201new

^^ My belly looks all wonky here, but what you gonna do! I’m growing a human!

Soon I will have another member in my December birthday gang!

Thanksgiving Cauliflower Roast with Brown Rice Stuffing

aaw, thanksgiving. ¬†The time to come together as friends and family and be thankful for all the blessing we have in our life. ¬†Lets be honest its the time to panic about your meal prep, have way too many cooks in the kitchen and the time to stuff your face with so many things you can’t believe that you didn’t get rolled out the door. ¬†We don’t celebrate thanksgiving here, but I’ve always felt like its the best holiday ever, cute turkeys, pumpkin everything, yummy sweet potatoes, and a whole lot of thankful-ness. ¬† That’s what thanksgiving means to me!

So this year lets try and be more thankful and cook some easier meals that wont have us all stressing out, so we have more time for fun and happiness. ¬†This delicious whole cauliflower roast with some roast vegetables and an amazing brown rice stuffing is the easy no fuss vegan extravaganza you’ve been looking for! ¬†Roasting the whole cauliflower makes an impressive centrepiece that’s pleasing on the eye, but even more pleasing on the taste buds, without making you feel all bloated afterwards. Serve it with some roasted vegetables and you’ve got a pretty quick main course lined up for you.

What would thanksgiving be without stuffing? that would be like Christmas without stuffing? Pure madness. ¬†This brown rice stuffing is way better for you than its bready counterpart, but its not lacking on the flavour department! ¬†Cover the entire meal with your favourite gravy and you’re all set for an easy thanksgiving meal that you wont soon forget.

GARLIC AND ROSEMARY WHOLE ROASTED CAULIFLOWER 

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Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • zest of half a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.

Directions

If you’re in a hurry, you can steam the whole cauliflower until tender and then roast it or you can just pop the whole thing in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 180 degrees C.

Trim away the leaves of  the cauliflower and the bottom stalk making sure to be careful to keep the cauliflower intact.

Drizzle the whole head of cauliflower in olive oil.  Stuff some rosemary in a couple of the florets all around the cauliflower.  Mince the rest of the rosemary.

Rub the rest of the ingredients liberally all over cauliflower.  Take the salt and pepper and make it rain ! really get it all over!  If roasting other vegetables, cut them up and scatter them around your baking dish! I would suggest you do this, as the cooked cauliflower kind of looks like a brain just by itself!  I roasted some broccoli, yellow and white sweet potato and zucchini, with a light seasoning of gram masala and covered in a bit of oil.

Place the cauliflower in the centre of your baking dish surrounded by all the vegetables, cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes covered.

Remove from oven, remove foil and roast uncovered until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.  Carve.

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Serve with the vegetables, stuffing and gravy.

EASY BROWN RICE STUFFING with CRANBERRIES AND ROASTED SUNFLOWER SEEDS

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, rinsed and soaked in water for 3 hours or overnight.
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or any other oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley or fresh
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

I soak the rice to make it easier to digest and remove the phytic acid, but if you don’t have time you can just rinse the rice and cook it without soaking. ¬†I find that soaking it also makes the brown rice cook faster and gives it a fluffier consistency.

Add the rice and vegetable stock to a pot over medium high heat, allow it to come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until fluffy. ¬†when the stock is almost cooked out I usually cover it with a lid that doesn’t have a steam escaping hole, ¬†remove from heat and allow to steam covered for a couple of minutes or until I’m ready to use it.

 

In a large skillet, add the oil and saute the onion, celery and mushroom.  allow to cook while stirring until everything is cooked through and fragrant.  Add the rice and any leftover liquid to the pan.  Season with the remaining ingredients except the cranberries and sunflowers.  Allow to heat through, stir in the cranberries and sunflowers.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve with your delicious cauliflower roast.

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and for dessert? Gluten Free sugar free pumpkin pie bars or a pumpkin custard!