What can we do?

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As most of you have seen we have had the most horrible event here in NZ last Friday.  Such a senseless act of violence and terrorism has seen so many families and communities, not only here but around the world, left with loss, confusion, grief and fear.

our culture

It was in my hometown and while I no longer live there it made me feel so confused that anything like that could happen in Christchurch.  I also felt incredibly powerless to help in a meaningful way.  Then this came into my inbox and I thought it is actually so good I would share.

While it is obviously targeted to the Christchurch terror attack it has valuable message for being able to put your grief and confusion into action while creating a compassionate future.  Already here in New Zealand good discussions and law changes are coming out of this horrendous attack.  Sad though that we had to wait until so many innocent lives were taken.  Maybe you can find something the email below to help you process your feelings and the world around you feel a little better.

‘ Like many New Zealanders, I have spent the weekend absolutely devastated.

Friday started off with so much hope. I joined our young people for their school strike against government and corporate inaction on climate breakdown. I watched as thousands of rangatahi took a collective stand for Papatūānuku in Wellington’s Civic Square. I cried happy tears.

Then a man with a murderous weapon, inflicted with the ideology of white supremacy, shot, hurt and killed Muslim men, women and children who had gathered to pray. I cried mournful, sorrow-filled tears and it’s been hard to stop ever since.

Below is a list of ways that may help you channel your anger and grief, as well as show solidarity with the Muslim community and the people of Ōtautahi/Christchurch.

Donate to the victims and families

The New Zealand Islamic Information Centre has set up a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood (a crowdfunding platform for Muslim people) with all funds raised distributed to the victims and families affected by the Christchurch attack. All proceeds will go towards helping with their immediate, short-term needs.

The New Zealand Council of Victim Support Groups has also set up a crowdfunding campaign on Givealittle. Victim Support says it will use all donations received to the page to provide support and resources for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. This one has already raised $3 million from everyday New Zealanders, which I think is a bright spot in an otherwise very dark time.

Attend a memorial vigil

In Māori culture, one of the most important aspects of losing a loved one is the tangihanga or tangi. The word means to weep, and to sing a dirge (a lament for the dead).

People travel from all around the country and world to come together at these funerals to share in the grief of loss and memories of those who pass. They are an important part of our culture. I see public vigils as serving the same purpose. Here are a few happening around the country over the next week:

  • Invercargill – Sunday 17 March from 11am – 12pm.
  • Wellington – Sunday 17 March from 6pm – 7pm at Basin Reserve.
  • Christchurch – Thursday 21 March from 8.30pm – 9.30pm at Cathedral Square.
  • Dunedin – Thursday 21 March in the Octagon.
  • Auckland – Friday 22 March from 6pm – 7pm at Aotea Square.
  • Nelson Race Unity Day – Sunday 24 March 24 in Victory Square.

Listen to the perspectives of Muslim people

Like with any religious, ethnic or age group, there are multiple perspectives and experiences within the Muslim community. Muslims are an ethnically diverse demographic hailing from 80 different countries around the world. They have been in Aotearoa since 1860.

Widening the articles we read, and the podcasts we listen to, to include a range of Muslim writers or producers is one way we can begin to understand these different perspectives. Here are a couple of pieces that have been written in the wake of the Christchurch attack.

Here is a podcast that came out in 2017, but is essential listening for anyone wanting to understand what life is like for a Muslim person living in New Zealand today.

  • Public Enemy is an award-winning four-part podcast series from RNZ looking at the growing Muslim communities in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and how elections, counter-terrorism policies, war and xenophobia have changed lives.

Condemn racism

This violent attack on Muslim people who were praying peacefully was based on the gunman’s idea that white people are superior to people of colour. This idea was fuelled by the renewed rise of neo-Nazis, xenophobia and far-right extremism all over the world.

For the last few years, powerful people with platforms (some politicians, some media commentators, almost all giant tech corporations) have stoked racial division to sell ads, generate headlines and create fear among us for cheap votes and clicks.

This racism and hate was also allowed to fester, because we have not been doing enough to condemn casual racism when we see it.

Report Islamophobic and xenophobic comments when you see them. Read this guide from Amnesty International on how to tell someone you love they are being racist.

This is a good book for people working through how they might be complicit in white supremacy.

You can also check out the NZ Human Rights Commission’s toolkit on their Give Nothing To Racism website.

Volunteer to teach former refugees and migrants English

English Language Partners New Zealand has a volunteer teaching programme providing free English lessons to former refugees and migrants. They will train you to provide those who need it with the language skills and confidence necessary to integrate and participate fully in Aotearoa.

Volunteer for The Red Cross

Contact your local Red Cross and see what they need. Volunteer tasks may include setting up a home for a refugee family, helping them with everyday admin such as enrolments, budgeting and shopping, and generally welcoming them into New Zealand.

Take action to end hate speech

For the last few months, our team has been researching the links between online hate, online misinformation and the rise in hate crimes.

One thing is abundantly clear: Extreme words lead to extreme actions. We need to do all we can to stop both.

Sign this petition that we’re delivering in a couple of weeks if you want our government to crackdown on online hate and misinformation:

I support an end to hate speech and misinformation online.

Take action to ban semi-automatic weapons

A member of the ActionStation community, Nik Green, is calling for a ban on all semi-automatic firearms. You can sign his petition today:

I support stronger gun laws

There are many other ways you can take action. Find your local Muslim community support group or mosque and reach out to ask how you can help.

Some people have been pledging to form human chains of protection around mosques so Muslims can worship and pray. Others have offered to accompany Muslims to wherever they need to go if they do not feel safe going out in public. We will be in touch again soon with other ways you can help as we find them.

Sending aroha (love) and kaha (strength) to all at this horrific time. Especially to our Muslim, migrant, and refugee communities,

Laura, Madeleine, Eliot, Leroy and Kassie, on behalf of the ActionStation team.

P.S. If you need someone to talk to about grief or trauma you may be experiencing, please call or text 1737. Both are free, confidential and available 24/7.

With special thanks to The Spinoff who originally published some of these ways you can help.’

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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Christmas Cake!

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The sun is out here in Kaikōura and it is finally feeling like Christmas is on its way!!  So of course with Christmas comes the proverbial cake.  Last year we just missed out on having a cake as I didn’t think I had a recipe, then low and behold as I was sifting through the recipe book I came across this beauty.  I have actually had this recipe for a long time, since my sugar free time four years ago, without realising that it was actually vegan.  At the time it lost out to another recipe, as I was still eating eggs, only to be found the other month when I was searching for birthday cake recipes.

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Enjoying some pre Christmas sunshine …. homeschooling outside 🙂

Sadly, I can’t remember which book I got the recipe from all those years ago and I have altered it quite a bit over the couple of times I have baked it (both four years ago and now) so if you recognize it please let me know so I can credit the original correctly 🙂  I have halved the recipe so that it fitted into my bread loaf tin which also meant that it was consumed in a timely manner.  As with many GF vegan recipes the sooner the munching is completed the better … we stretched it to three days to see what it was like with success though day three wasn’t as yum as day one and two’s munching 🙂

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Decorated and ready to go in the oven

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blogs for a while I like simple and quick recipes. This one is a little out of the norm for me as it required cooking and mashing some kumara prior to mixing everything in one pot …. thankfully I survived the ordeal as it wasn’t quite as daunting as it seemed when I first read it 😉  I figure one extra dish for some yummy Christmas cake was worth the effort ….. at least once a year that is.  The almond essence and decoration definitely gave it that Christmassy look and taste while using the vanilla essence instead, and flagging the decoration, produced a good fruit cake for any occasion.

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 …. now for the munching to begin

So here is it for you to play around with and enjoy over this festive season and beyond ….

A Merry Vegan Christmas Cake

1 Tb maple syrup

250 gm of raisins or sultanas

1 Cup of water

1 small apple (peeled and grated)

62 gms chopped almonds – or in my case bashed almonds 😉

1/2 cup of mashed kumara (doesn’t matter if it is cold or warm)

1.5 Tb olive oil

1 tsp almond essence (vanilla also works fine if you just want a fruit cake)

3/4 Cup rice flour

3/4 Cup buckwheat flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

extra almonds to decorate – optional

  • Bring maple syrup, fruit and water to the boil in a large pot then remove from the heat.
  • Add apple, bashed almonds, kumara, essence along with oil and mix well.
  • Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well again.
  • Pour into a baking paper lined tin and gently press in extra almonds to decorate.
  • Bake at 160 C for 45 mins and then leave to cool in the oven for the next 15-20 mins before placing on a cooling rack.
  • Store in an airtight container and enjoy.
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Even got a thumbs up from the non-vegan among us!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday season enjoying the good things life has given you and remembering lots of special memories.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Elder-flower Treats

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Hello again …. I know it has been a long time since I last wrote.  Life has well and truly had me by the ‘short and curlies’ – as my Mum would say 😉 – and I’m only just starting to feel like I’m getting back on track.  At the start of October my Mum passed away, in her home just as she always wanted, and since then just getting through the basics of each day has been the focus.  Grief is a strange beast that is for sure!!

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Mt Fyffe treating us to a surprise sprinkle of snow in Summer

Our plans needed to dramatically alter as a consequence of Mum’s death and though it was a shock to absorb all the changes it has also brought some unexpected pleasures.  Instead of still being in the North Island we are now back in the Kaikōura (South Island) and the way we have been welcomed back has been a real tonic for the soul.  Themselves have also been given opportunities to care for animals here, build with the Community shed and re-unit with friends through local groups while I have already been asked about running more Infant Massage courses … Yay!  Our arrival also coincided with the all the overgrown and wild Elderberry flowering which lead us to do a little experimenting.

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Preparing the mixture

We don’t really get Elderberry growing as well in the North Island so while I had heard that you could turn the flowers into fritters I was yet to try it. After a bit of research on which parts actually are edible, themselves went on a huge flower forage and we began to create.  While pictures on most of the blogs for elderflower fritters make it look like you can eat the stems of the flowers in the recipe it is only the flowers that are safe as the stem, if too much is consumed, will create a bit of nausea.

The recipe I have below is pretty much our pikelet/pancake recipe (vegan style) with the flowers added in.  Using another recipe as a guideline for any other vital ingredients I may need we added a little bit of icing sugar however the pollen is super sweet so unless you have a very sweet tooth you probably won’t need to add it. We tried this recipe two different ways; doughnut style (spoonful dropped in hot oil) and pikelet style (spoonful dropped in hot pan). The doughnut style were definitely the favourite of themselves, evidence by the lack of photos as they scoffed them before I could clean up and get the camera! However I opted for the pikelet style as the repeat recipe  …. less greasy and less cleaning up too 🙂  Sorry if this is a little late for the elderberry flowers blooming in your neck of the woods but hopefully you can remember it for next year 🙂

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Half way there

Elderberry treats

1 Cup GF flour (I used Edmonds ‘ready mix’)

1 Cup Rice milk or sim

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb water

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tb icing sugar (optional)

1 cup of elderberry flowers (just the flower heads not the green stalks)

  • Mix everything until a smooth paste is achieved
  • Heat a pan then place spoonfuls into the hot pan.
  • Wait of the top of the pikelet to ‘bubble’ then flip to cook the underside.
  • Enjoy by themselves or with your favourite topping
  • If you want the doughnut style then drop small spoonfuls of the batter into hot oil and wait until they are golden before removing. Drain very well before eating … if people can wait that long 🙂

Until next time, when (fingers crossed) I’ll be sharing a Vegan/GF christmas Cake that I’m trying out, I hope this finds you surrounded by those you love and making the most of them.

Arohanui

Y

Homemade Yoghurt

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Some of you may have the impression that this is a ‘Vegan’ blog (not sure why I put that in inverted commas) however while I share a lot of vegan recipes these are relatively new for the blog, as is our journey with our son into his preferred eating style.  Rather I like to think of this blog as sharing things that are happening with us on the bus, our adventures, experiences and more often than not the food we are eating!  This week after an amazing weekend away at a Road-schooling camp I thought I would share an easy yoghurt recipe.

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At camp with other fantastic road-schooling families

This comes about only because while we were away on our road-schooling camp a local farmer came down and offered our kids (all the kids on camp that is) the opportunity to come up and give milking his cow a go.  It is one of my favourite things about New Zealand, and being on the road, that locals are eager and open to share their lives and interests with us as a family.  While himself was more interested in patting the pigs and the cows rather than trying milking, herself absolutely relished the whole experience.  I even made a second trip up with her so she could milk the next morning!  She really got a rhythm going and was rewarded with a bottle of fresh, warm milk ….. along with a desire to own her own cow. 😉 Considering she is not a big milk drinker but is a huge yoghurt consumer we thought that creating a batch of yoghurt with her reward may be the best use of this delicious liquid.

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Milking Saffy

This recipe is one that I found ages ago and which we used to make regularly before moving onto the bus.  It is very easy (just how I like my recipes) with not much milk or effort needed.  The best thing about this recipe is the fact that it doesn’t require much stove power and, as long as you remember to save a bit of yoghurt for a starter, it can keep going as long as you have a milk supply. Thankfully we have a very warm spot above our fridge/freezer where we can incubate this for the night which makes it possible to try on the bus – our first bus batch. We have halved the recipe for us this time however 1 litre fills up an old preserving jar nicely with yoghurt.

Homemade yoghurt

  • 1 litre of full-fat milk (raw is best in our option)
  • 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt (this is your starter)
  • Large glass jar with lid

– Warm the milk in a pot until it is just about to boil then take off the heat.

– Allow the milk to cool for 20 mins and then remove the skin off the milk and discard.

– Mix the warm milk with the yoghurt starter and mix gently but throughly.

– Put the lid on and place the jar into a warm place (such as the hot water cylinder) overnight or at less 6-8 hours

– Transfer to fridge the next morning (or once it has set) to help cool and set further or enjoy warm with some wild blackberries.

REMEMBER TO SAVE TWO TABLESPOONS FOR YOUR NEXT BATCH! 😉

Hope this finds you all enjoying new experiences and savouring the old ones too.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

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

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

Back home again

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Well after 3 weeks of staying in foundation-ed accommodation rather than our wheeled one, due to a right royal break down, I for one am very happy to be back home on the bus, happy to have my home comfits and happy to be in my kitchen again …. God I never thought I would utter those words!

As it was an unexpected, side of the road (thank goodness in cell phone coverage), night time break down it was a bit of a mad rush to collect everything we needed and get out of our tilting bus before the tow truck came to collect.  Our little Honda Jazz doesn’t have that much room in it either after a big dog, mouse in a cage, 2 children and 2 adults are within so it was a bit of a haphazard pack to say the least.  As it was the tow truck didn’t come until the next morning … All Blacks seemed to have priority there and little did we know at the time it was going to be three weeks before our beloved would be with us again.

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On her way to the mechanic the next morning.

Had I known I probably would have packed differently.  I would have packed better with a lot more thought involved.  I didn’t though and we still survived 😉  It is strange though when you have to stay/live in other people’s homes especially when they have been set up for holiday makers.  They don’t have the same ‘essential’ items you have, pantry basics aren’t there, ovens function differently – if at all, things are ‘missing’ that you would normally use.   So you have to make do, you improvise, you shop a little differently knowing that soon you’ll be re-united with your kitchen and you take a lot of deep breathes ….. ok, maybe that was just me using the blunt knives! 😉

As we thought it would be only a week we began with the ‘it’s only a few days’ attitude … the shop bread would do (after a lot of reading to ensure it was vegan), baked beans became a staple food and cereal was more sugary than normal, much to the kids delight.  Then we realised it was going to be more than a week so the veggies started to appear more frequently and the bags of food we had grew from 1 to 3. That is until we got the call that it was going to be longer still at which point the pantry staples began to be brought, flour and yeast for making bread again … we had all tied of the shop stuff by this point, and I even ventured to make some bread in a rice maker when our oven wouldn’t work in the holiday home ….. our food store was beyond the bag point now and I was stocking cupboards instead.

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Rice Cooker bread … yes it can be done with a lot of patience for the long slow bake.

Now though, we’ve been home for 3 days and it is awesome!  Sure the cupboards here are bulging a little with double ups as I tried to fit everything in but it is so nice to have everything we need (not what anyone else needs clearly) to cook and eat smoothly.  I’m guessing themselves are feeling the same as they are back into cooking tea mode with a flourish ….. tonight was himself with pineapple rings (egg free batter of course for the vegan), homemade beans (yes, beans are an obvious favourite now) and chips.

We are still on the homemade ‘take away’ menu many nights however their range is expanding and tomorrow herself has planned a 3 course Vegan meal.  I think the ‘Masterchef Australia’ watching with Nan has been a bit of a help too as I heard her explain that there would be a side of lettuce boats with carrot, peas and dressing ;). So I’m loving being back home, loving being able to create healthy food and most of all loving that someone else is cooking evening meals! There is a lot to be said for being home and having those home comfits.

Hope this finds you all enjoying your own dwellings where ever and whatever they are.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz