Energy on the go

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This past weekend we have been tramping (hiking for those of you outside of NZ) up the mountain which looks down on us in our bus which requires a bit of forethought as far as food goes.  Food has to be plentiful enough to keep everyone satisfied and yet light enough that the walk up to the hut isn’t too arduous for those carrying it, namely the parents.  With a Vegan thrown into the mix it took even more forethought …. onto the internet I go!

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Almost at the hut, looking down at Kaikōura

It didn’t take that much searching to find a fantastic recipe for Vegan (and raw) muesli bars which was created by Isle of Flora … right here in NZ! These are especially great for us as there was not dairy, sugar or gluten in them either.  As usual though, due to my nature and the fact that we are living on a bus the recipe got a few adaptations.  There weren’t too many however and they didn’t alter the recipe that much.  The end result was a nutritious, energy packed, tasty muesli bar which stood the test of time travelling up to 1100m in a backpack on a very warm day.

Before I share my adaptations I will just put a few comments about the method as some of you may be in the same position of not having amazing whizzing appliances ready to blend things at the flick of a switch.  In the original recipe  (which I followed almost to the word on my first attempt apart from using millet instead of quinoa as I thought we had run out of it) it says to pop nuts and dates into a food processor until blended smooth  …. this was my first stumbling block.  However after a bit of thought it was nothing that a strong plastic bag filled with said nuts and a lot of bashing with a rolling pin couldn’t solve. As for the dates I soaked them in 1/4 Cup of water and then mashed them within an inch of their sweet little selves! Obviously if you have these whizzy wonders of modern society then feel free to click onto Isle of Flora’s original recipe and go for it!  Otherwise stay tuned 😉

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The nut version

The soaking of dates did add a bit more moisture into the recipe which is where my adaptations came in as I increased some of the amounts to take up the moisture and added some psyllium husks.  The original recipe also calls for quinoa however it didn’t say if it was cooked or not so I took it upon myself to cook it.  I first by put 1.5 TB of quinoa (or millet) into a pot along with 7.5 TB water (1 to 5 ratio), then boiled it until almost all the water had gone.  Next I turned off the heat and covered for a while until there is no liquid left.  This gave me 3 TB of cooked quinoa which, as you’ll see, is the amount I used as opposed to Isle of Flora’s 2 TB.

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Enjoying some muesli bar at the hut

In my second attempt at these yummy little bars I left out the nuts altogether … there is only so much bashing a girl wants to do in her life …. and replaced the cup of nuts with a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin.  Any combination would be great though which you can change to suit your taste.  When it comes to taste it has to be said that themselves preferred the seed version although that may have been down to the millet in the first recipe rather than the nuts 😉  Anyway … here is the recipe and you have the original so you can decide from here on in.

Vegan Museli Bars (DF, GF, SF)

1 Cup of chopped nuts (or seeds)

1 Cup of dried dates

1/4 Cup of hot water

3 TB psyllium husks

3 TB chia seeds

1 TB pumpkin seeds

1 TB sunflower seeds

1 TB linseed

4 TB coconut oil

3 TB cooked quinoa (or millet) – see above for cooking method

6 TB desiccated coconut

  • Soak the dates in the water for 10 -15 mins then add chia seeds and mash until they form a smooth paste.
  • Add in all the other ingredients and mix until they are well blended.
  • Tip into a baking paper lined tin (mine is 20 x 17 cm) then press down smooth and evenly with the back of a dessert spoon.
  • Pop in the fridge and leave for at least 20 mins before slicing into bars.

Well that is it for this week … I hope this finds you fighting fit and climbing any obstacles in your way.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Back in the Hood

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Funny that just over 2 weeks ago I was thinking we were losing our sense of community and yet since then (and my ‘wake-up’ call from a friend) I have been seeing it, feeling it and touching it everywhere.

I think though that this weekend was the highlight of that.  We had gone down to Christchurch to drop off herself at a Guide camp, so decided to park up the bus outside our friend’s place to have a good catch up….. and eat some delicious GF and vegan hand-crafted Canadian perogies (sorry, a secret recipe so no sharing that today) .  We haven’t had the bus at their place since the beginning of the year and yet as himself was letting the dog stretch his legs a neighbourhood boy came up to him, smiling and saying ‘Hey, it’s YOU …. I know YOU!  You’re back!’.

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Parked up in Suburbia

I love the idea that we (or maybe more correctly our big green bus) are part of his community.  I love the idea that he was excited to see that we had returned.  I love the idea that to him it seemed completely normal that a 1956 Bedford bus would be parked up in his street.  Clearly, community is everywhere when you’re looking and open to it …. I for one am very grateful that I have begun to open my eyes to that fact.

I hope this finds you embracing your own community in whatever shape it takes.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

A weekend away

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It is amazing how something with the same name can take on so many different guises.  A weekend away can be anything from sedentary to active, entertaining to down-right un-interesting, even to those involved. This past weekend was one of those; it had so much packed into it that I’m left feeling very grateful and yet somewhat exhausted! It was a massive mixture of emotions, weather, personalities, scenery, activities and thoughts.

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On the Kaikōura Inland Road

Thursday night arrived and we all bundled into the bus to begin our journey up to visit friends in Nelson the ‘Cider Festival’ with lots of eager anticipation.  It wasn’t long however before this was replaced with a lot of nervous anticipation as our bus decided that she no longer really want to use a particular gear.  Thankfully himself is a confident and capable driver … I would have been even more of a nervous wreck than I was if I had to drive that night …. and we got to our first destination (2 hours away) with a the simple strategy of leaving that gear alone.

The trip to Nelson was looking less than promising, however after a phone call to the mechanical (thank goodness we have such an awesome one) we were assured that all would be good. With this knowledge we headed on our merry way and making good time decided that we could catch up with another Road-schooling family.  Clearly, however, our beloved bus didn’t get the memo about ‘everything being ok’ and as we neared our destination it began to make a strange sound.  It wasn’t until we arrived and then saw a puddle of liquid under the front of the bus that we realised a bit of first aid was needed.  Luckily our friend had a heap of mechanical experience and knowledge so with her help we (the royal we that is) sorted out what we thought the issue was and proceeded to eat, drink, be merry and have some awesome conversations.

liam and his bbq at the sturrocks

Making the most of the bbq himself insisted on being with us …. a winner over the weekend!

The next morning we woke early, albeit a little tired from a late night and the nervous tension of the previous day, to get into Nelson, ready to see our other friends and begin tasting some cider.  Unfortunately it seemed that our bus was also a little tired and refused to start without a ‘jump start’  from our willing friends when the time for departure came.  Issue number three duly noted.  This didn’t hold us back though and we had yet another wonderful day with friends in the sunshine tasting cider, eating yummy food and watching themselves race around the venue trying out all the children’s activities provided.

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Enjoying the Cider Festival in Nelson

With the AA (Automobile Association) card at the ready on our final morning we tried to get the old girl to go ……. without success.  So after our second ‘jump-start’ in two days we got on our way, with everything sound tickey boo, and decided to keep the bus running until we made it back to Kaikōura to remove the need for more jumper cables.  It was half way home that the bus had obviously had enough and despite letting us now use all the gears she won’t let himself go into high ratio which meant a slow trip of no more than 70km rather than the 90km speed she should have been getting up to.

It was almost painful to listen to her refusing to go into high ratio but clearly not happy to be driving along in low ratio and it made me wonder how often we do this ourselves.  How often to we keep going (or let other drive us) when really we need to get something sorted? How often do we refuse to step up the gears and put in a bit more thought or energy to get us out of ‘grunting’ along in life?  How often do we create a story about what our capabilities are to justify what we are willing to do or not do?

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Himself sorting out our ‘girl’ with lots of encouragement

Over the weekend through conversations and observations I came to see that I am very guilty of this.  I keep telling myself that we are losing our sense of community and yet everyday I am part of one … the fact that you are reading this now confirms it … or part of creating a new kind of community.  I choose to believe my old story rather than own the new reality I have.   I ‘grunt’ through life thinking about the things I can’t do or haven’t got rather than stepping up to the higher gear and checking out all the amazing things I do have.  I make up ‘stories’ about having to do things for others when actually it is my choice to be ‘busy’ rather than taking ownership of the actual things I really want to achieve, the things which may challenge me or leave me feeling a little vulnerable.

It was certainly an interesting weekend that has left me deciding to question myself a bit more, move into the ‘higher gear’ a little more often or at least notice those times when I’m hanging around in ‘low ratio’ and grunting along.  Anyway those are my musing now that we are safely back in our paddock in Kaikōura and if it makes sense to any part of you then I invite you to begin the exploration into your ‘operating systems’ as I am doing with mine.

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Back in Kaikōura …. our bedroom view

Hope this finds you in good working order and smoothly navigating the roads ahead.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Pancakes for all

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Pancakes have always been a favourite for certain members in our house (now house-bus) and it is one of the first things that themselves could cook independently.  The process has been a long, messy and at times smoky affair however I try to keep my focus on the fact that they are making food without me having to participant!

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Tucking into the good stuff!

Since himself became vegan, pancake making has changed quite a lot.  First came the arguments (between the two of them) that herself couldn’t make some if he couldn’t eat them, then can the moaning that they couldn’t make anything yummy, then the searching of recipes to find a vegan pancake batter and then the making of two separate batches (a lot of deep breathing went with this stage – by me that is in case you wondered).  Finally we have come to the resolution that actually the vegan pancakes are just as yummy as the regular ones and so we only have to make one batch …. thank goodness for that 😉

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Make sure it looks almost cooked (lots of air bubbles and no runny batter) on the top side before you flip.

Themselves usually make pancakes as a weekend breakfast but as these pancakes take a bit longer to cook than the regular recipe, for some reason, it is worth factoring that into your timeline before staring.  Just a bit of patience in letting them cook a bit longer with definitely give you a better result (see notes with the photo above) … not that my two notice in their eagerness to munch.  Himself has he plate, knife, peanut butter and banana ready before the mixture is even in the bowl sometimes! Other times they will have them as a tasty dessert with a bit of fruit and Vegan Ice-cream 😉

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Dessert pancakes

I can’t remember where we found this recipe so apologies if you are reading this and recognize it as yours, also many thanks for facilitating peace within our tiny space.  These pancakes are quick and easy which is ideal for little bakers and creators.  Best of all they don’t need an egg (I know …. duh) but this means that for all you non-vegans out there when you do run out of eggs you now have a stand-by recipe up your sleeve.  We have only tried this with wheat flour however one day, maybe when I think I’d like some pancakes, I will attempt it with some GF stuff. Until then here it is ….

Vegan Pancakes

  • 1 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C milk (we use rice but I’m sure any non-dairy one would be good)
  • 2 TB veg oil (we use olive)
  • 2 TB water

– Mix everything thoroughly in a bowl with a fork, adding more milk if needed to get a good consistency

– Heat a frying pan and then lower the heat before adding the mixture.  You can add a little oil for cooking if you like.

– Spoon mixture into a frying pan and cook until the top had lots of air-bubbles in it then flip – see photo above

– Enjoy with your favourite toppings

Until next time  I hope this finds you enjoying the tasty bits of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan Goulash

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Goodness two weeks in a row and I’m on here writing …. It seems I’m on a roll!! With the extra sunshine and daylight we are getting now it certainly makes it easier to fit in using the computer without depleting our solar energy supplies. The other added bonus is that themselves have been outside playing around the farm and exploring much more which equals undisturbed head space for me 😉  I love spring time especially when you’re out in the country.

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Themselves taking the compost down to the hens

This week is a recipe that is becoming a strong favourite in the bus and one which I’m more than happy to make as not only is it a ‘one pot wonder’, it also gets lots of veggies into themselves.  I found this recipe when himself first decided to become vegan and I was doing due diligence to ensure that I wasn’t going to leave him malnourished ;).  The original recipe has long since been left behind though as I have adapted it, once again, to our cupboard stock.  It is a super quick and easy meal to make which has the bonus of being very filling too.  I find it great for those days when we are out late as I can just cook the veg and pasta a little less then leave it all sitting in the pot (off the heat of course) to keep ‘cooking’ in the heat until we get home to warm and eat.  Himself has taken to sprinkling nutritional yeast on it while herself prefers grated cheese.

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Ready to eat

Vegan Goulash

  • Gluten free pasta (around 125gm dry)
  • 400gm can of beans (kidney or cannellini)
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Veg boullion
  • Onion
  • Vegetables of your choice (celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beans etc)

– Bring water to the boil, add pasta and par cook the pasta in a pot until it is nearly soft. Turn off the heat and leave in the water.

– Rinse and drain the beans

– Dice the onion and cook, using a little bit of oil, in a large pot until it is soft.

– Add chopped veggies to the onion and fry off a little more, adding oil if needed.

– Add veg boullion (we use a heaped teaspoonful to start with) and then add the diced tomatoes.  Fill the can again with water and add this too.  If it isn’t covering all the veg then add a little more water until it is.

– Cook until the veggies are soft or to your preference.

– Add a few tablespoonfuls – sorry I’m a bit useless with the measurement side of this adapted recipe 😉 – of tomato paste, the beans and the drained pasta.

– Taste and add salt and pepper, more veg bouillon or other flavourings you like.

– Mix until combined and cook a little longer to warm the beans then you’re ready to serve.

– Enjoy by itself or with some chunks of bread.

Hope this finds you with the sunshine warming your body and the wind at your back, blowing out any cobwebs 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

Vegan Pizza

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Here I am … back again in NZ and in the bus blogging about food.  We have just spent a wonderful 2.5 weeks away in Thailand immersing ourselves the culture, food and heat.  It took us a while to get used to a new rhythm of eating out for each meal, not having to do dishes, seeing amazing sights, getting our chores done for us and relaxing however not really that hard to adjust to. 😉  Being able to see the food being cooked and going through the markets was a real eye-opener for themselves and one I’m sure they will remember for a while to come.

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One of our eating spots in Bangkok

With the heat there tends to be more liquids comsumed and the appetitie just doesn’t seem as big. Now that we are back though the body is definitely feeling different and the difference in diet ….. going from lots of rice and noodle soups to our usual (and a bit stodgy) fare has left it feeling more than a little ‘blah’.  In addition to this it was our boy’s birthday over the weekend so there appeared all the treats that he had requested and missed by him while in Thailand.

Aside from some Vegan baking there was also a request for vegan pizza which I have recently been making with a damper base.  This damper base super quick and easy to make and much more obliging to be stretched or rolled into shape than my usual pizza base.  So it is my number one go to base at the moment ;).  While himself didn’t want anything much on his … as the photo bears witness …. this is delicious with more veg (grated root vegies, sprouts, mushrooms and fresh herbs) or with some refined beans, avocado, cornchips and salsa for a different twist.  For those of you non-Vegan (to which I am assured are the majority, by himself) a bit of cheese and/or sour cream on top finishes it all off.

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A little sparse but just as requested by our boy.

Vegan Damper/Pizza base

makes one large pizza or 2 small (22x27cm)

  • 1.5 cups white flour
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • Pinch/grid of salt
  • your selection of dried herbs (basil, sage and thyme are nice)

– Pre-heat the oven to around 180-200 Celsius

– Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until they form a dough.  There is no need to knead however you may want to stick the dough together a bit with your hands.

– Divide into half if you are making two pizzas or leave in one lump then stretch and roll out the dough onto a baking paper lined tray.

– Apply topping as you wish and bake for around 10 mins or until cooked.  I gauged this by the base rising up a little in ‘bubbles’ or by the cheese melting on non vegan ones.

– Enjoy!

Until the next blog (whenever that may be) I hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying life to the full.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Drowning in Goodness

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The time just seems to slip away on me at the moment.  The days are getting warmer and sunnier and as a consequence the opportunities to do more are mounting up ….. yes, I feel that I am currently drowning in goodness!

This is a first-world, privileged problem to be sure yet that doesn’t make it feel any less real and at times 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!! I like to thing I’m getting better on the material side however that internal voice that keeps telling me I need to do more is constant.

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 offer to volunteer, I begin to re-vamp website, I write that blog – yay, doing that ;), I create new power-points, I work on an EFT programme all at the same time as home-schooling, keeping house and trying to keep sane! Yep … so really feeling like I am drowning in goodness.  How do you let go of all that goodness though?  How do I prioritize which gets my attention first?  Usually it is the loudest ones that get first dibs … themselves that is ;).

So here I am sharing a thought instead of the power-point I was hoping to have completed or doing course work that I was hoping to finish.  Here I am letting go of all the demands (for the next hour or so at least) and going to enjoy the fresh air in my lungs and the Spring sunshine on my face.

Sometimes a break

I hope that if you’re reading this and feeling the same you can join me in my life-ring … before diving back into it all.

Arohanui

Y