Quick and Easy Pasta

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I had great plans for getting on here over the past few weeks with recipes to share, honest I did.  However, as life sometimes goes, nothing really panned out how it should.  The recipes either went slightly wrong or the end effect was not quite as delicious as the picture had you believe.

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Enjoying the garden in lieu of jobs I should be doing!

Aside from that life took over again as we celebrated our youngest’s birthday, celebrated our youngest great nephew’s birthday, caught up with family and remembered my mum on the first anniversary of her death.  It has been a whirlwind of activities and emotions which has seen me tend to coast through each day rather than set a plan. Trying out new recipes wasn’t really high on the priority list though with an upcoming Infant Massage Course in Nov I was happy for the distract ….. and the tasting opportunities 🙂

So I thought that I would at least share something with you … a very quick and easy pasta salad dish which himself stole and copied from some restaurant many years ago.  It has transformed over the years as our eating habits have changed which is just the kind of recipes I love.  Now instead of regular pasta and feta we have plonked in GF pasta and tofu along with whatever mixture of veg, olives and tomatoes take our fancy.  It really is an easy one to do and great if you have to prepare a meal ahead of time as you can have it cold or warm and as everything is pretty much optional you can be creative and make it just how you and yours like.

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Ready to serve

Stolen Pasta Delight

  • Packet of Fusilli – GF or regular
  • Red onion
  • Capiscum
  • Tofu (can replace with feta and add in last)
  • Fresh tomatoes  (chopped into large cubes)
  • Olives
  • Olive oil (for cooking in and drizzling on afterwards if you wish)
  • Zucchini (chopped)
  • Mushrooms
  • Anything else you want to pop in 🙂
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Dried Italian Herb Mix

-Boil the pasta until it is el dente, strain and leave to cool

-Fry up the onion, mushrooms, capsicum and zucchini until they are close to being s

-Add in the  fresh tomatoes and tofu with a little bit of Dried Italian Herb mix and continue to fry off until you can see the tomato is cooked.

-Remove from the heat and blend gently with the pasta and other ingredients (olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta etc).

-Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil leaves and drizzle a bit more oil on if you wish.

-Enjoy

Hope this find you happy, healthy and enjoying each day as it comes.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Party time, Chocolate cake time

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And just like that our youngest is another year older! Yes, it is party time in this household and as he is really into Stars Wars at the moment it is a themed one for the first time.

I have to confess that we’re not really the ‘go all out’ type of family over birthdays, it is usually a quiet family occasion with maybe some close friends. However, after a fairly trying and difficult year it was really nice to have something happy and positive to focus on after all the other rubbish that has been going on.  Themselves have been finding Star Wars things left, right and centre lately where we would normally not have noticed them at all ….. like garden ornaments in our local hardware store 🙂

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Our hardware shop find … himself made the light-saber to make it look all the more authentic.

So we have been decorating, preparing and baking up a storm for our little gathering.  I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit smug at actually making the requested storm-trooper head cake look like a storm-trooper head …… there were a few nail-biting moments I can tell you.  Thankfully with a good vegan chocolate cake recipe, a little thought before hand and a free day put aside we got there 🙂

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The cake all finished

Himself has been sugar free and gluten free (along with vegan) for a while now, he is so much better at sticking to his principles than I would ever be, however for his big day he decided that a bit of gluten and sugar were needed to produce a super yummy cake for all.  I thought I had shared this recipe a while back however since I can’t find it I will share again.  It is a great vegan cake which you can adapt to make GF, sugar free or loaded up with Gluten and sugar 🙂 This cake doesn’t rise a huge amount so, because we needed a bit of depth, we decided to create two and layered them up with jam in between.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 1 &1/2 Cups of flour (you can use GF premixed flour too)
  • 1/2 Cup of sugar (we have also reduced this to 1/4 C, used maple syrup instead & used dextrose)
  • 1/8 Cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Cup cold water
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tb white vinegar

-Mix all the dry ingredients together.

-Add the water, oil and vanilla essence in and mix until smooth

-Add the vinegar in and stir thoroughly

-Pour into a baking paper lined tin

-Bake at 180 Celcius for 20-25 mins or until the cake tester comes out clean.

-ENJOY

 

Hope this finds you celebrating your own milestones and may the force be with you 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Oranges a plenty

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Over the last few weeks I have been in the garden a lot, not because I particularly like gardening I have to say but because it is something that I don’t mind being interrupted from.  With themselves being a bit more needy since battling chest infections there have been quite a few interruptions lately so figured it was better for me, and them, that I happily interrupted.  While I managed to get most of the weeds out there is one thing that I am constantly collecting which won’t be stopping anytime soon … oranges.

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Just one of our trees …. with our place in the background.

We have two amazingly plentiful orange trees and 2 just as plentiful sweet grapefruit trees supplying more fruit than we can keep up with at the moment. So of course the marmalade recipes have come out in a bid to use some of the fruit up … aside from all the juicing and fresh munching that is going on.  I have tried making sugar free marmalade before by using honey however as himself is not eating honey anymore I had to put my thinking cap on.

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Preparing our chunky style marmalade

I have played around with different marmalade recipes quite a bit over the years;  reducing refined sugar, trying coconut sugar and as mentioned honey all with varying degrees of success.  The key thing I have noticed is that when you reduce or replace sugar the boiling time becomes a trial of patience.  Rather than the quick rolling boil that usually occurs it becomes a slow reducing exercise until the marmalade reaches the correct consistency.  My latest play with recipes has come up with something that I’m pretty pleased with and themselves are happy to eat so it is a win/win as far as I can see 🙂 Hopefully it will be something that you can use or modify if need be to make it yum for your family too.

Refined Sugar Free Orange Marmalade

  • 1 kg sweet oranges (approx)
  • 2 large eating apples
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ( or whatever amounts tickles your fancy)

– Slice the oranges depending on how you like your marmalade (thick or thin) then put in a large pot.

– Peel, core and grate the two apples and add to oranges.

– Just cover the orange and apple mixture with cold water and leave overnight (or for at least 8 hours) to sit.

– Next morning (or later that day) boil the fruit until it is soft and the volume has reduced a bit. Use a wooden spoon to push the juice out of the fruit a bit as it cooks.

– Add maple syrup and boil for a little longer before testing on a saucer. Place a little bit of marmalade on a saucer and allow to cool. It will be ready when you can run your finger through the juice and it stay separated for a bit.  With sugar marmalade it will stay separated however with alternative sweeteners it just takes longer to come back together.

– Spoon into warmed, clean jars and store until needed.

– ENJOY!!

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Hope this gives you ideas to spark a bit of experimenting and finds you in the best of health heading into the new season.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

The holiday let down

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Well I’m at a bit of a loss for inspiration this week after arriving back from a warm winter break in Fiji to the strong icy winds that we have blowing here at the moment.  All I really want to do is snuggle up in bed with a good book!!  So following that thought I’ve decided to just go with the ‘lazy flow’ and share my e-books with you ….. in case you have the urge to snuggle up with a book too 🙂

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Take it Easy

In this busy interconnected and wired-up world stress seems to be a natural part of daily life. Right? Wrong! Life doesn’t have to be a rush. What if you could take it easy and create a ‘stress-less’ life for yourself? With my simple tools and ideas you can discover simple ways to reduce your stress and be on your way to creating exactly that – A ‘Stress-Less’ Life. This e-book will guide you through five simple steps to help you create a life where you are enjoying your days and experiencing less stress while improving your health and well-being.

 

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Magnificent Mamas (really for anyone though as it has all my pearls of wisdom in it)

Regain balance, rediscover the joy in each day and live your dream with this 12 week program. Life is busy and when children are added to the mix life can get hectic. Often it is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter and forget to give time to yourself along with remembering your dreams. Now Magnificent Mamas with take you through week by week to create the life that you want and can have. There are tips and ideas for finding balance, for self- care and for achieving your goals and dreams.

 

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Creating a Vivacious You

Losing weight and feeling great doesn’t have to be complicated or cost lots of money. In a world where we are bombarded with new ‘diets’, ‘quick fix’ solutions and numerous products for improving our lives it is easy to forget that actually the basic rules for having health and well-being still apply. This book guides you through some ‘back to basics’ steps which will help you to feel healthier, feel happier and help create your ideal body.

 

 

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Finding Calm and Balance

This comprehensive guide has everything you need to use Bach Flower Remedies with confidence. Find out how you can begin to gain more balance, more calm and less stress naturally through using Bach Flower Remedies. This guide covers what Bach Flower Remedies are, how to select them for yourself and others, how to use them and affirmations to support your chosen remedies along with a section on using Bach Flower Remedies with children. If you are interested in becoming healthy naturally and healing then this is a must have book for you.

 

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Mother’s Little Helper

Discover easy, natural remedies and ideas for healing your children with Mother’s Little Helper by Yossarian Fay. This book is loaded with ideas to help you to continue on your journey of Becoming Healthy and ensure your children are becoming healthy too. There are recipes, kitchen cures, a section on using Bach Flower remedies with children, information on how to use EFT and reflexology with your children, making this a must have book for your collection.

 

Hope this finds you relaxed, mentally nourished and ready to enjoy the week ahead

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Sometimes life takes over

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What a  time we have had of it this past week and a bit …. all our plans have been turned on their heads and I am more than a little discombobulated by it all!  I actually had  started a whole rant blog about everything then after some sleep (two days of 4am mornings can really alter your perspective on life) and a few days to process all the changes to our plans ahead I decided I wouldn’t bore you with it 🙂

Let’s just say that 3 breakdowns, 2 mechanics and 1 tow truck later our bus home has decided it has had enough of travel for a while.  Thankfully we were able to get her back to our base in the North Island (after she overheated at 6am on our way to the ferry) and sadly there she sits for the next few months …. until we can solve the root issue and get her back on the road.

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So here, as promised 2 weeks ago, is another recipe rather than a mad rant about our first world problems 🙂  This week is a super easy vegan sausage recipe that I found when our boy decided that being Vegan wasn’t enough and he wanted to be gluten free and sugar free also.  That meant that the quick and easy tea option we had of store bought veggie sausages and salad was out the window; so began my search for something just as easy.  Thanks very much to Vie de la Vegan (click on the link to see the original recipe) for her awesome, quick and easy ideas ….. of course I have altered it to fit our cupboard contents, and when I was trying to cook it from memory, but hopefully that justs shows how easy, awesome and adaptable the recipe is.

Quick and Easy Bean Sausages

  • 400gm can of beans
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour (or other gluten free flour)
  • 1 Tb tomato paste
  • 1 Tb tamari (this is the GF version of soy)
  • Dried herbs to flavour

-Mash the beans up and then add the other ingredients until it forms a ball.

-Divide the mixture up, into 4 for large sausages or 8 for smaller ones.

-Roll into sausage shapes and put into the fridge of a little bit before frying.

-Add some oil to a frying pan and heat before popping the sausages in.

-Fry until golden brown.

See it is that easy and very delicious.  You can easily double the recipe for bigger families.  We have also experimented with different beans and herbs which has been great though we are yet to reach a consensus so I hope you have better luck with that one 🙂

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Ready to munch

Hope this finds you just where you planned to be and enjoying life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 6 – Lymphatic system

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This will be the final part of my Winter Wellness series.  I hope you have enjoyed it and found it useful,  I’d love to hear from you if there is something else you want to know about or you think I could cover otherwise next week it will be back to recipes 🙂  This final ‘Winter Wellness’ post is taken from an article I wrote a while back on the benefits of Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Treatment, which I’m trained in, and which came to mind as I had two calls last week about reflexology treatments in this area.

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Getting some exercise with themselves before the next rain shower

It does read more like an article still than a blog post; I have tried to adapt it a bit ….. though no sense in re-inventing the wheel is there? 😉  Anyway, here it is in all its glory and if you are interested in treatments then it won’t be too long before I will have my clinic in one place again, as opposed to the home visits I now offer. Exciting times ahead!

Our health depends on many things but maybe two of the most important are the body’s ability to circulate blood and lymphatic fluid.  The importance of blood you likely know however the Lymphatic system is just as important as it is this system which helps defend the body against disease by clearing waste and toxins, by helping maintain fluid balance in the tissues and by absorbing fats from the intestines to transport back to the blood.  In fact it is a vital system in our bodies as without it our cardiovascular system won’t work and our immune system would be hard-pressed to cope.

The Lymphatic system is designed for transportation and as such it needs to keep moving.  There are fluids found between the cells or which actually seep out of the cells (intercellular fluid) which slowly begin to accumulate and must be returned to the cells and the blood stream to help maintain homeostasis in the body.  This is where the lymph system comes in; it gathers those fluids, checks it, filters it and then returns them to your blood via the subclavian veins just above the heart.  Unlike the circulatory system however (in which blood flows) the lymphatic system (in which lymph fluid flows) doesn’t have a pump and needs us to move our bodies in order to have the lymph fluid moving.  This system relies on movement of our muscles, their ‘milking’ action, and the changes in the thorax through deep breathing to keep it flowing.

This means that if you lead a sedentary lifestyle your lymphatic fluid may not be flowing as it should and your lymphatic system may be hampered, causing toxins and waste to build up within our bodies. The more waste left in our system the harder our body has to work.  Our body is effectively running on a system of ‘tubes’ and ‘fluid’ so when toxins and waste clog these up we suffer!  Think of a river. When it is flowing it is clear and clean, when it is not flowing it begins to stagnate then it becomes a perfect home for bacteria and disease to build.  The Lymphatic system is no different.  At first it may be a sluggish feeling in the morning or a headache which we just can’t seem to find the cause of.  Eventually it can cause much more serious issues within the body such as swelling, arthritis, skin disorders and more.

Thankfully there are many actions we can take in our lifestyle to help the Lymphatic system work better and ensure that it is doing its job.  In using preventative measures, we can improve and promote our health and well-being while avoiding dis-ease in our bodies. As the Lymphatic system is important in this it makes sense to keep it flowing and healthy and it is important.  As a reflexologist of course the first thing I think of is to have a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage which will work on the lymphatic system while allowing you to relax and de-stress.   It is an excellent support to the Lymphatic system, especially if you have trouble with mobility and best of all it will help you feeling more relaxed and lighter at the end of a session.  It is a very unique and special thing to have.

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There are some cases where having a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage is not recommended however and these include: cases of cardiac or renal impairment, first trimester of pregnancy, cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis, having high or low blood pressure or if the foot if injured in any way.  If you are not quite ready to treat yourself to a reflexology lymphatic drainage routine or you feel that it isn’t for you then there are many things you can do at home, in your everyday lives, to ensure that you are keeping a healthy lymphatic system which will help to have a good immune system too.  Try some of the following out:

Exercise– this will help to keep your lymphatic system flowing and moving as it ‘massages’ it into action.

Good Food– a healthy diet means that less toxins and waste products end up in your system. Eating over processed, sugary foods may over load the lymphatic system.

Drink plenty of water– the body needs water to keep everything working properly, including the lymphatic system.

Deep breathing– this ensures that your cells are healthy and oxygenated along with stimulating the lymphatic system.

Dry brushing– long strokes towards your heart for around 5 mins before a shower will stimulate the lymphatic flow.

Herbal teas– they are great mixture of hydration, favour and medicine (depending on what you have).

Use natural beauty products– means less toxins coming into your system via the skin which gives the lymphatic system less of a load.

Wear loose clothing– this lets the lymphatic fluid flow where as tight clothing tends to slow the whole thing down.

Hope this finds you having a great start to the week and ready for all there is to come.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Winter Wellness – Part 5 – Cold & Flu fixes

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Our days here have been very varied lately … one day overcast and rain the next bright sunshine and balmy temperatures.  It is hard to know whether you’re coming or going!  I’m not complaining though as while I love the warm days for my morning walks with the dog, I am also very partial to inside days where I can snuggle up with a good book, especially now that the study has finished and the exam completed.

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Picnics with the chickens in the sunshine – as viewed from out back window

Even with all the temperature changes we have thankfully got through winter pretty much illness free… touch wood … however now that the stress of my exam has passed, I can feel my body relaxing and clearing a few things it was obviously ‘storing’ up until I was less stressed.  It’s murphy’s law I guess that as soon as you go on holiday or have a break those cold or flu viruses get you. The body loves coming back into balance and will take every opportunity to do so 🙂  Thankfully, that isn’t me at the moment but it did make me think about a few home cures which I regularly use to help feel a little better a little faster if those breaks from stress end up with my body succumbing to illness.

As always, they are very ‘back to basics’ ideas, ones that our ancestors probably used with success long before we were reaching for all those cold and flu medicines.  See if there are a few that will work for you.

Rest.  The verdict is out! Rest and sleep are the best treatment for most ills and for keeping others at bay.  Getting as much rest as possible early on, rather than pushing through, can help the body to fight the ‘bad guys’ before the bugs overwhelm the body. Sleep really is that good, so make sure you make time to snuggle up when you are feeling the effects of a cold or the flu.

Fluids. Replacing all the fluids you are losing via nose blowing and coughing is a really important part of helping your body heal.  Our bodies need water to function correctly so make sure the fluids are good quality; that is non-fizzy, decaffeinated, sugar free options.  Hot fluids can help loosen congestion so herbal teas (see below for idea) or slices of lemon with honey can be a good option and a soothing too.  It is also a perfect to time to make a big pot of soup that you can dip into through out the day, ensuring you get all the vitamins and fluids you need. Here is a great chicken soup recipe (from before we had vegans on-board)

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Fresh lemons ready for making some lemon tea

Wash your hands.  This seems like a really obvious one I know however it is easy to forget to wash your hands after each blow and/or sneeze when you’re wallowing in how grotty you feel.  Colds are spread easily, both for you to ‘catch’ the first time and to re-infect yourself, through virus-infected airborne droplets or by direct contact with infected secretions so by washing your hands regularly you can cut down the risk to yourself and others in the family.

Herbs.  Using the healing properties of herbs to boost your health can be an easy, and often overlooked, aid to healing.  Try out some of these herbs in your meals or make a soothing cup of tea with them.  While gathering fresh herbs from your garden is delicious, dried herb will have stronger medicinal properties and may be easier to access when you’re feeling under the weather. Sage is a great one for helping with sore throats as it is both an antiseptic and an analgesic. Basil can ease headaches. Thyme is a tried and true herb for coughs. Rosemary for helping to clear the head.

Food.  Eating real, fresh food (combined with herbs) is one of the best way to get any extra nutrients that your body may need.  It can be easy to grab quick and easy processed/packaged kai (food) however this isn’t always going to serve your body well or help you get rid of those cold/flu symptoms any sooner. Garlic is a great addition to meals, as it is both an antibacterial and an antiviral food which will help knock those ‘bugs’ on the head.  Or you could do like my Mum used to and have it raw (chopped up very finely of course) in a honey sandwich! I have to admit that even as a vegan this is still my go to when I feel a cold coming on. Salt water gargles can also be a great way to get you on the road to recovery, another go to for me in the early stages, and an easy fix from home.

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your day.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz