This a bit of a reblog/rehashed blog today. I remembered that I wrote about this six years ago as I was feeling overwhelmed on the weekend. Overwhelmed at all the awesome things I had going on. Overwhelmed with how I could fit them all in and still feel calm. I like knowing that I get certain things done each day ….. a routine if you like but not with any set time frame but lately it is a rush to get those things done and everything else that is going on.
This is a first-world, privileged problem to be sure yet that doesn’t make it feel any less real. Sometimes I have to pinch myself a bit and say ‘WTF …. you have so much. If there is too much going on let go of something.’ However this is where my biggest fault lies …. I’m useless at letting go especially when I’m enjoying it all!! I like to think I’m getting better on the material side however that internal voice that keeps telling me that I need to do more is constant. I get ideas and then I want to make them a reality even when they push my boundaries. As a consequence I sign myself up to too may things or decide I want to get too many things done in a certain time frame …. I accept the free language course, I plan a workshop, I agree to go out, I offer to take people places, I write that blog – yay, doing that ;), I work on writing my book, bake for my Infant Massage class, I work on an upcoming EFT course all at the same time as home-schooling, taxing themselves, keeping house and trying to keep sane!
Yep … so really feeling like I am drowning in goodness at the moment. How do you let go of all that goodness though? How do I prioritize which is deserving of attention first? Usually it is the loudest ones that get first dibs … themselves that is ;). So here I am sharing a thought instead driving someone somewhere or preparing for this weekend’s workshop. Here I am taking a breath and letting go of all the demands for the next little bit to enjoy sitting down with a book while the rain comes down outside, the baking cools and the washing spins away.
I hope that if you’re reading this and feeling the same you can join me in my ‘life-ring’ of rest … before diving back into it all.
So, I’m still taking advantage of a few re-blogs especially as they are relevant to my week ahead. Each week I create something in my kitchen to nourish the mamas who attend my Infant Massage courses and this week I am going with a tried and true recipe. So quick and easy while being oh so delicious and nutritious.
From May 2019 …. The sun is still shining here and for the end of May the days are surprisingly warm …. especially in our little sun trap. So with the temperature outside being balmy for this time of year and the temperature inside being hot, due to babies needing to be fully undressed for massage, I thought that a cooler treat would be ideal last week.
These super easy treats came about, as many things do, through my resistance to pay for something that I was sure I could make at home. That ‘give it a go’ mentally is definitely a kiwi trait I think, definitely a very strong trait of mine anyway. Combine that with a bit of frugal living and … well … you end up trying to create at home (making 45 of them) what would cost you $9 in the supermarket for just 10 balls. Back then I named these little treats Snackerballs, after themselves telling me that they weren’t ‘Frooze balls’ ….. then low and behold a year or two later I see that ‘Snackaballs’ appeared on the shelves. Obviously onto a good thing with the name back then, shame I didn’t trademark it 🙂
These are another ‘one pot wonder’ which you can whip up quickly and easily, adjusting them to your taste-buds pretty easily. I just store them in the fridge so they can be made whenever and last for ages … if they aren’t gobbled up before that. Over the years of making these we have tried lots of variations; adding different things like cranberries at Christmas, grated chocolate, nuts, seeds, carob and recently ground LSA (Linseed, Sunflower seeds and Almonds). We found Healtheries LSA Superfruits , which is super yum, a while ago when making some apple crumble and I have to say that adding this did give the snackerballs a bit more firmness which I quite liked. Though it does have a bit of sugar added to it (in the blueberries for some reason) which some of you may what to avoid.
Anyway here is the basic recipe I worked out and then the only limit is your imagination!
Week two of my current Infant Massage course and we’re onto the sweet stuff! I haven’t made this brownie for a few years as it really is too good (and hard) to resist!! Even without having to worried about dietary requirements this vegan and gluten free brownie is still my favourite ….. even the apprentice baker in the house has given it their seal of approval. This is may be the only recipes I make which involves accurate measurement and baking temperature but the results are so worth the extra effort. If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m more of a slap, dash, one pot/bowl kind of baker so the fact that I have made an exception with repeatedly making this recipe may give you an idea of how delicious this brownie is 🙂
From Novemember 2020 ……. Well it’s been a very long time since I have been on here. Life just seems to have ticked along and without any Infant Massage course mamas to nourish I haven’t really been doing that much baking.
It is the first time I have had lots of allergies in the class so my planned chocolate cookies were out and I needed to find a good alternative. Start the internet search for something just as chocolatey! Thankfully Loving it Vegan came to the rescue with their awesome Vegan Gluten Free Brownie recipe
I have to say that this is the best brownie I have had in a long time – both before and after becoming vegan. Even the non-vegans in and around the house were fighting to get a piece of this delicious stuff 😉 While it is vegan and gluten free it is far, far, far from being sugar free! Probably best baked when you have a crowd to feed as it is very hard to resist having ‘just one more piece’.
I haven’t made any changes to this recipe however as there is quite a lot of ads and writing before the recipe appears on Loving it Vegan, I thought I would share it here as I used it and highlight some key parts.
The original blog post has both cup and weight measurements however I found that my NZ cup measures didn’t equal the South African weights given. For best results I just went with weights which is what I’ll share below along with the NZ options for great vegan chocolate ….. Whittakers of course 🙂
Another thing I learnt when trialing this recipe was that you need a tin that can separate (expandable ones are perfect). The brownie is very dense and heavy so trying to remove it from the tin only resulted in ripped paper and broken up brownie …. much to themselves delight I must say. Thankfully I had just such a tin that I picked up in a second hand shop ages ago that expands from a square tin to a rectangle. If you can’t find one or don’t have one then the circular tins with the removable bottom would be the best bet.
The last bit of vital information is to know the actual temperature of your oven. When I first cooked this brownie it came out a bit too gooey so taking the advice from the blog I got my trusty oven thermometer out – thanks Linette 🙂 – and checked where things were at. The inside oven temp was about 30C below what the dial said so once I cranked it up a bit and retested we were good to go. Of course you can just bake it a bit longer too 🙂
With another Infant Massage Course starting tomorrow it is time to get baking!! So I thought I would share, and make, an old favourite to take the pressure off a bit as the wrist is coming along but still not 100%. This cake got its name after I continually made it for a series of crochet ‘catch-ups’ we were having. It was a great option for the GF (Gluten Free) and RSF (Refined Sugar Free) amongst the group. It is in fact a very simple and delicious gluten free, diary free and sugar free cake which, if served warm, can also be used as a yummy dessert.
I hope that you enjoy it as much as everyone else does. It it has sparked a big discussion between themselves though as the original recipe had eggs in it. Are eggs, produced by happy hens, which occur regardless of what we do (a bit like fruit on a tree) allowable on a vegan menu? The Vegan said no and the Meat Eater said yes. I think that debate will go on for a bit!! In the mean time this vegan has decided to err on the side of caution and I have made this version with some Organ Egg Replacer 🙂
The cake does end up quite ‘moist’ and can sometimes seem uncooked in the middle. I think the vegan version with egg replacer even more so. Leaving it in the oven a little longer can help with this. Thankfully though there is nothing in it that can cause any tummy upsets but if you prefer your cake firmer then think of this as a pudding dish. It has to be said that personally I’m happy with however my sweet stuff comes so gobble it either way 🙂 Give it a go and see what you think.
2 egg replacer (I used 4 tsp Organ Egg replacer to 2 Tb cold water for this one) or 2 eggs for non Vegan version
2 ripe bananas – mashed
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp GF baking powder (2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part baking soda, 1 part arrowroot if you want to make your ow)
1 Cup rice flour
1/2 Cup desiccated coconut
Soak dates in the boiling water for 10-15 mins (in a large bowl) before mashing into a smooth thick paste. If this is still a bit watery you can heat it slightly.
Mix in oil to the date paste and stir until blended.
Add egg replacement and bananas to date/olive oil mixture and mix until blended fully.
Add all the remaining dry ingredients and mix until everything is blended.
Line a cake tin with baking paper and pour in the mixture.
Bake at 180C for 50-60 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean. Near the end of baking you may want to cover the cake with tin foil to allow it to keep cooking without the top getting too dark. It does take a while to get it fully baked.
Enjoy warm with yogurt/whipped cream or allow to cool fully on a rack to enjoy later.
Hope this finds you enjoying lots of natural sweetness in your life and sunshine to warm your days.
It could be said that attitude is the key to a successful life or at least a happy one. As Winston Churchill is quoted as saying ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.’ Our attitude can change how we perceive the world. Our attitude can change how people perceive us. When our attitude is more on the negative side then much of what we encounter day to day feels like life is out to get us, that everything is a challenge. People may even avoid us due to our negativity and we see that as evidence rather than the wakeup call it could be. No one likes to be around a ‘downer’ or a ‘whinger’. On the flip side, when our attitude is good, we see that our day-to-day experiences can bring us so many riches; lessons in compassion and tolerance, experiences in different ways of living, opportunities to grow. People gravitate towards us due to our willingness to be open to life which then enhances our positive attitude. What you reap is what you sow.
As I procrastinated about writing this, I came across a post on FaceBook (see below) which gave me more food for thought. Aside from giving me a chuckle, it was interesting to see the comments some people had put. One had added ‘Realist: the glass is half full if you are in the process of filling it, and half empty if you are in the process of emptying it’ while another had mused ‘If you don’t know how to solve the problem, get rid of the problem’. How we experience life really does come down to our thoughts and attitude. Though I think for most of us our attitude isn’t ever truly positive or negative. We are constantly in transit. Even those who seem to have a bad attitude can be found having a good attitude about the things or people they find important. We are all just swinging through life being an optimist, a pessimist or a realist. Sometimes even being like the cat who just does whatever they need to make space for themselves. It all depends on our initial attitude to our daily encounters.
Something I have learnt though over the years is that even in all this swinging we still have a say in our attitude. Ultimately, we can decide to act, speak and think a certain way. Our thoughts impact our feelings. Our feelings impact our actions and our actions impact how we are in the world. It is up to us to decide. If I choose to come at life from a perspective of gratitude, I look for the positives more and I usually find them as what you focus on tends to predominate. Then I find my attitude to life improves. Having a gratitude attitude allows us to see how much good we have and that this may not be the case for everyone. Which is all the more reason to have a good attitude about the life we are in and the good stuff we do have. If I choose to come at life from a perspective that everything is happening for a reason then I can take things in my stride more, knowing that it will all work out in the end. After all I have survived 100% of my days and experiences on earth so far …. A pretty good ratio if you ask me.
I have definitely lived life from the other perspective though; an ingratitude attitude. Thinking that everything was dangerous, life was out to get me and anyone being nice had an ulterior motive. I was suspicious of everyone and as a consequence of this attitude people often took a wide berth or only put up with me in small doses. I was quick to see what could go wrong and while some may see this as being realistic I knew, or at least felt, different. I didn’t see that the more I focused on the negative the more it showed up. Having a negative attitude was actually repelling what I really wanted; to be accepted as myself and feel that I belonged. Thankfully with some personal growth work I am starting to recognize my part in creating a good life through the attitude I choose. It takes time of course but most importantly it takes noticing the thoughts that permeate my days. Noticing them without judgement just as they are and then seeing if I can improve on them a little next time around.
Now, I like to think of my attitude as an aged whiskey; getting more refined, picking up positive notes from what is around me, becoming smoother and more palatable over time. I definitely feel and notice the changes in my attitude to life internally but maybe, just maybe, for those around me my improving attitude is still a little hidden within the barrel. Baby steps I guess.
Hoping that this finds you in the best attitude you can muster today or at least noticing where it could improve 🙂
With my upcoming Infant Massage course confirmed as going ahead I have had baking on the mind. This awesome recipe and reblog is from Jan 2017 …….
It seems only fitting that the woman who helped me bring my daughter into the world and hence changing my life forever would then give me this recipe for ‘Life Changing Bread‘ 10 years later, almost to the day. Thank you to the most amazing Douala in Ireland, you know who you are.:)
This recipe for ‘The Life-Changing Loaf’ is so, so delicious and worked just like the writer said (even the original photo and mine look similar!) that even though I have only made it once I had to share. I did change it …. of course you already knew that I would … only because of my lack of checking that I actually had enough sunflower seeds and because I wanted it nut free. The thing is that it worked perfectly anyway which just goes to show how great this recipe is. I did find it interesting that she considers this loaf pretty much gluten free even though it has oats in it as I have always believed that oats do contain gluten. I did include them in my loaf as oats are something I can tolerate more than other grains however the person I got the recipe from used quinoa flakes instead. I’ll leave that decision up to you.
Please check the original blog for the recipe of ‘Life Changing Bread’ and guidelines that they give however below I will put the recipe which I used and the modifications I made. In the original recipe they use a silicone loaf tray however as I don’t have one of those I simply lined my regular loaf tin with baking paper. In doing this I was able to lift the paper to check if the loaf was staying together before baking. The down side of this was that I did have to mix the ingredients in separate containers first before pushing down into the tin.
1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/2 cup sunflower seeds ½ cup whole linseeds 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds 1 ½ cups rolled oats (jumbo ones not the ‘quick’ or fine ones) 2 Tbsp Black chia seeds 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (actually I just ground a bit in) 1 Tbsp honey 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil 1 ½ cups water
Melt coconut oil and honey in a large pot then whisk in water.
Combine dry ingredients really well and then pour the wet ingredients over.
Mix everything thoroughly until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes thick
Tip into a lined loaf tin. Press in and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
Let sit out on the bench for 2 hours. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down on a baking paper lined tray and bake for another 30-40 minutes.
Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.
Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
So there it is!! Experiment, play, bake and enjoy lots of nourishing goodness. One thing is for certain … I will be making this again and again.
With my cast coming off this week I am constantly thinking about my hands and how they are going to function post cast. That combined with an anniversary of a friend’s death had me find this blog from March 2019 (post Christchurch Mosque terrorist attack) which I’ve ‘fiddled’ with 🙂
My mind is still filled with all those families who are now learning to live without their loved ones. I constantly think about how magnified their emotions must be, not only with grief but also dealing with the way the loss occurred, of what the future holds and possibly a sense of uncertainly in their own community.
For that reason I thought that I would share a bit of my Healing Hands workshop so that people can put it to use at home or out and about as they deal with everyday situations which may trigger huge emotions to surface. Reflexology is such a great tool for well-being and since feet aren’t always that practical to get to when emotions arise, I love to use hand reflexology. It is a bit of self love and soothing that you can be using, anytime, anywhere, without anyone being the wiser.
Reflexology is a natural, holistic treatment which works on the principle that everything in the body is connected. It is is a mixture of ancient wisdom and modern thinking where by the nerve endings in the feet and hands can be massaged in a particular way to help bring the body back into balance. (Read more here… third article down)
What I’m offering here is a very basic guide as to where some points are in the hand which can help elevate the stress reaction as emotions come up. The points shown in the images are ones you can rub and/or massage to help bring you some calm in order to move forward. For the purposes of self calming and self love it really doesn’t matter how you approach the massage rather focus on breathing deep while holding the intention of calm and love with you as you work so that your body can respond in kind. In fact I would suggest any hand rubbing, twisting, shaking and clicking with the intention of release would be fantastic!
These points relate to parts of the body which frequently come into play as part of our stress (fight or flight) response. Our breathing can quicken so rubbing the top of our palms (lung points) can help bring our breath back into balance. Our heads can spin so rubbing the fingertips (head, brain and sinus points) can help to bring clear thinking back into play. Our shoulders and back tense up so rubbing the base of the little finger (shoulder point) and along the edge of our thumb and wrist (spine and nervous system) can ease the tension for example.
So without further ado I’ll let you look below and give it ago ……… don’t be shy, just try it and you’ll be impressed with how much more relaxed you can feel. NB: Since this I have made a video guide to follow for a full hand reflexology session then here is a one you can use.(video work by herself a few years ago). It isn’t exactly the same as below as it is a general routine rather than specific to stress but still hits similar points.
Healing Hands Mini Stress Relief Routine
Pictures are all shown palms up.
Remember to take care of yourself so if anything hurts then ease up or miss it out.
These are only guidelines, if you find a technique which is better for you then go with that.
If it seems too much and overwhelming then just focus on one or two points to start with.
Breath as deep and slow as you can throughout the routine if possible.
Begin with shaking out your hands then squeeze, twist and pull each thumb and finger. Rub hands together gently (front and back) while taking some deep breaths before starting the points below.
Head and Brain points: These are your finger tips. Rub/massage in a circular motion with the thumb of the opposite hand or whatever feels good for you. This will help to bring calm and balance to the mind as well as hitting on some endocrine and sinus points.
2. Chest and Lung points: This is the area is at the base of your fingers and the top of your palm. You will feel the metacarpal heads (the other side of your knuckles) and the base of these is pretty much the lower part of this point. Using the thumb or fingers of the opposite hand rub/massage across this area. This will help to balance your breath and give more oxygen to the brain to bring calm.
3. Diaphragm Points: This is at the base of the lung area or just below the bony metacarpal heads. Using the thumb of the opposite hand ‘caterpillar walk’ or rub across this line in both directions. Again this helps with bringing balance to the breath.
4. Solar Plexus Points: This is the in the centre of the diaphragm line above and in line with the middle of your palm. You should press on this point with the thumb of the opposite hand while taking slow, deep breaths. Do three breaths .. pressing in as you breath in and release at you breath out. Repeat as many times as necessary to bring almost instant calm.
5. Shoulder Points: This are located at the base of your fingers and the section at the bottom of your little finger. Using the fingers or thumb of the opposite hand work across the area … first the ‘line’ and then the section at the base of the little finger. Notice any tenderness (not pain just tenderness) and breath into it to help ease away the tension from this area of the body.
6. Spine points: This area runs along the outside of your thumb and along the bottom of your palm. There are various ways to work this area on yourself so see which feels the most comfortable – work with thumb of opposite hand in a ‘caterpillar walk’ style, work with fingers of the opposite hand, rub with the whole of your opposite hand. If you think of the tip of your thumb as your head then work up towards the head will bring more calm energy and working down towards the wrist will bring a relaxing calm.
7. Adrenal Points: These points are found near the fleshy part at the base of your thumb and likely to be found by the tenderness there. Best worked in a gentle circular motion with the opposite thumb while the fingers of the opposite hand ‘cradle’ the hand being worked. Remember to breath as deep as you can while working these points 🙂
I hope this finds you safe and secure with another tool in your kete (basket) while feeling a little more calm.
We are into our second week of lock-down here in New Zealand though many here have decided to use a Māori reference of rāhui instead. I kind of like that term so may begin adopting it … rather than using a term of imprisonment! I have to be honest though and say that not much has actually changed for our whānau aside from Himself working from home and the few activities we partook in being cancelled. We are now adjusting to online keyboard lessons, judo via YouTube and Rangers (Girl Guides) on Zoom 🙂
It has given me a bit more time to do some other work, hence the time to blog and bake 🙂 It has also inspired me to create a bit of a challenge for people – a connection challenge. With the mail stopped (well for us anyway) and all these businesses bombarding my inbox with their updates I thought it would be great to receive some real mail from friends and family. I have begun with an email to a friend, themselves have done likewise.
The best thing is that it made me feel great that I may be putting a smile on someone’s face and that there may just be an email coming back to put a smile on mine! I know that everyone has gone on social media more but there is nothing like a personal letter/email to really make you feel that you are connected. All the more important at the moment when you can’t physically connect. It could be to a loved one, a friend or even someone you have admired for a while. Copy the photo below and share as much as you want on Social media …. just get writing as well 🙂
So I thought I should give you a bit of nourishment to see you through all those letters/emails of connection that you’ll be writing 🙂 This is a flapjack recipe which I have adapted to make it vegan. I only discovered these delicious morals when we lived in Ireland and then I couldn’t get enough of them! Those of you in Ireland and the UK will know them well with the name flapjack. Those of you in NZ may know them as porridge biscuits … so I have been informed. Either way they are a quick, easy and delicious treat.
300gm rolled oats (the smaller ones are better)
50gm desiccated coconut
75gm coconut sugar
125gm coconut oil
40ml maple syrup
Melt oil and stir in sugar and maple syrup until well mixed.
Add to rolled oats and coconut mixture and mix well again.
Place in a baking paper lined tin (I used 23cm x 20 cm size tin). Pressing it down flat as much as possible.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins or until you can see that the oats are golden. 160 C if you have a fan oven
Take out of the oven and score into squares while it is warm.
Allow to cool fully in the tin before removing. Storing them in the fridge to really set them is good as the coconut oil does soften quickly
Until the next blog … whenever that fancy grabs me …. kia ora, kia kaha ā kia manawanui (Be well, be strong and be patient)
My child, As you climb Life’s journey To the best of my ability I will have your back And steady your ladder Always I will encourage you So whenever you look back You will see my smiling face Supporting and proud Cheering you on Unwavering I will be At the foot of your ladder
This re-blog (from July 2014) seemed a good reminder for me as a find myself getting frustrated at times by what I can’t do rather than remembering how lucky I am to only have a temporary ‘disability’. In a way this broken bone has provided many positives and given me plenty of insight into the wonderful life I have and the amazing people I have around me. We are hard-wired to focus on the negative for survival but focusing on the positive is so much more rewarding and enjoyable!
We have had some beautiful weather here on the Coast. Freezing mornings to be sure however clear blue skies and loads of sunshine have visited us for the last 7 days! It has been fantastic and over the weekend we made the most of the sunshine to travel south with a friend of himself’s to visit the glaciers.
Himself and I have visited these glaciers before some 10 years back however we have only driven past the turn off since living on the Coast. It was definitely on our ‘to do’ list to be sure so it was great to have the push, from a visitor, to join in on an expedition. The first thing that struck us – apart from the fact that we were majorly overdressed for such a glorious day – was just how far the glacier had retreated. Instead of the 30 min walk, of our previous trip, to reach the glacier it was now 45 mins and then that was only to a lookout which was 500 m from the glacier. We, all the adults that is, felt a sense of shock and horror that the children with us would probably not be able to bring their children to see the same sights due to global warming. It also made me realise just how important it is to visit these places now and appreciate them now, while we still have them!
The walk up had changed too as it was now a smooth track to walk upon, leading us ever closer to the beauty of the ice. Themselves did a magnificent job of walking there and back which was helped no doubt by the distraction of someone new to ‘talk to’ – the reality is more ‘talk at’ 🙂 Although we passed quite a few people on the track the look out was fairly free of tourists so we were able to have a good look and enjoy the peace and beauty of the whole scene. There was a bit of talk about safety and staying behind the ropes. There were also memories of how far down the valley it was before and of how people used to be able to climb onto the glacier from the end of the walk, correct equipment attached of course. This is no longer the case and a view from the lookout is all that is possible without paying a chunk of change.
After a quiet walk up with only the birds and themselves chatter around it surprized me to suddenly be inundated with noise from above. Helicopters and airplanes were now on their circuit from town over the glacier, following each other at intervals with their eager tourists and filling the air with pure noise pollution. I guess it is one of the prices we pay for having a tourist fed economy. I found myself, along with everyone else our group, constantly looking up to the skies to see where they were or to berate them for the amount of distraction they caused.
Then I realised that maybe I should be berating myself for allowing the noise to distract me. I was in fact paying that small distraction far more attention than the enormity of beauty I had around me and thought how like life that is. How often do we get caught up in the small, annoying and insignificant rather than focusing on the important? How often are we distracted by the minor issues or events rather than staying focused on the major ones? I know it is very often for me. I am easily swayed into looking up into empty skies rather than focusing on the beautiful path I’m already on. So this week I am going to go back to basics and focus on the now, on the beautiful path I am on and see where that brings me too. How about you?