Burger night with a twist

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Someone was asking me if I ever thought about posting vegan recipes …. clearly I haven’t been doing enough lately so I thought I would do a wee re-blog from 2018. These burgers do take a bit of effort but they are oh so worth it. The best thing is you can substitute the beans for another type if needed and likewise with the carrot, beetroot is great in them. So without any more burgering around – little inside joke there re my spelling as a child for a takeaway order. I’ll let you imagine how that went :)- here it is ………

At the moment we are cruising down the the surf highway (45) around the back of Mt Taranaki.  It has been a fantastic trip with hardly any traffic, amazing scenery of surf, bush, farms, mountains all mixed together and some powerful history to find out about. It is certainly an amazing part of NZ and my highlight so far has been to finally get to Parihaka.  Since learning about the peaceful resistance to Colonial forces, lead by Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai, in my uni days I have been wanting to come an see it for myself. These two even inspired Gandhi with their tactics.

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Cape Egmont Lighthouse (with Mt Taranaki) near Parihaka

All this catching up with family, meeting with other road-schooling families (completely by accident), touring around visiting historic sites, having bonfires and enjoying the warm days that Taranaki have been providing has given me a bit of a hankering for burgers (probably as I watched others munching into bbq food) so finally tonight I got out our old favourite recipe and got cracking.  There’s nothing like burgers, salad and hedgehog potatoes with a view of the sea.

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The sea out one side and the mighty Mt Taranaki out the other

These burgers are so easy and so yummy that even the carnivorous among us has been having second helpings!  I confess here and now that I can’t remember where I got the idea for these however I do know that I have ‘butchered’ the original so much that even they may not recognize it 😉  Until last year I had been just buying our vegan burgers until my sister asked how I made them and the guilt set in.  This recipe can be easily adapted to your liking by changing the beans you put in, using red onion instead of brown, adding spice, having beetroot instead of carrot or using ground nuts instead of flour to firm up the mixture … the possibilities to get your perfect recipe are endless!

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Almost ready

Vegan Burgers

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup of water – to cook the quinoa in

1 onion

1 can of drained and rinsed beans – black, red kidney or whatever your favourite is

2 grated carrots  – small to med size

Veg stock powder – I use Massel

Tamari

1/2 -3/4 cup GF flour – to firm up the mixture

  • Cook the quinoa in the water until almost all the water has gone then take off the heat, cover and put aside.
  • Finely dice onion and fry off until slightly clear.
  • Add grated carrot and beans to the onion and fry a bit longer before adding tamari and veg stock powder to taste.
  • Turn off heat and mash together until blended then add cooked quinoa and mix again.
  • Slowly add GF flour until the mixture is firm enough to form into patties.
  • Place in a frying pan and cook on each side to brown (see photo)
  • ENJOY in a bun, with some salad or whatever your favourite kai is

Hope this finds you smiling and spotting all the great things life has to offer.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Books which have had an impact ….

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Lately I have been reading more books about authors and their journey into the literary world. It has made me think about how grateful I am to those who put great content out there. I has also made me think about which books have really had an impact on my life. I love reading and while there are many books I love and could rave about today I thought I’d share the books which helped shape me into the person I am 🙂

Where possible I have listed these books in the order I read them:

  • Go ask Alice – Anonymous

I’m pretty sure this book was responsible for me never being very interested in experimenting with drugs. I read this as a teenager and it made such an impact on me, an impact which has lasted a lifetime. It gave an insight into where addictions could lead and it wasn’t anywhere I wanted to go. It is an easy and powerful read and while no one really knows if it is a true story the result of me reading it was definitely a good one.

  • Animal Farm – George Orwell

A book which I had to read at school soon became a favourite of mine, one which I reread many times. I loved how it worked on two levels and the insight it gave me about how power corrupts. I remember thinking about the characters in this book constantly and playing out how things may have been different. Each had a role to play in the outcome and it opened my eyes to the reality of life and that we have a part to play in the events which occur around or to us. It also allowed me to see how different an outcome can be if we only took a different course of action.

  • The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield

A friend gave this to me as a present while I was in the States. It was probably the first ‘new age’ book I had come across so maybe that was part of its appeal. Reading though really make me consider the possibility of self growth and change. It cemented the ideas I had thought about after reading Animal Farm; how we can alter the course of our lives with the actions we take. While it was a fictional story it opened up my eyes to the possibility of there being more than what we can see in the world and that I had plenty of say in how my life experience could go.

  • You can heal your body – Louise Hay

While I had come across this book in my teens (a workmate told me about it) it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I thought about it again. I was in so much physical pain at the time and nothing the medical system was doing help much. Remembering the lessons of the last two books mentioned, I thought there has to be something I can do for myself. This is when I remember Louise Hay’s book. Reading it allowed me to have a glimpse into the way my emotions were actually impacting my life. It allowed me to begin considering just how much power I had to create the life I wanted. It also gave me some insight into all those aches and pains I had which the doctors couldn’t attribute to anything.

  • Absolute Happiness – Michael Domeyko Rowland

I came across this book after himself and I saw an advertisement on T.V. for a free seminar which was happening locally. The ad obviously spoke to both of us because we simultaneously asked the other if they’d like to go. That free seminar and the paid one we went to after it along with the book was a major turning point in my life and my relationship. In fact I doubt I would still be with my husband now if it weren’t for the things I learnt and the action I was prompted to take after reading this book. It has practical ways to help clear some of the ‘crap’ that we hold onto; the stuff that we believe or carry with us which is keeping us stuck. At the time it really did help me reach a new level of happiness in my life.

  • Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – Susan Jeffers

The title of this book grabbed me straight away as from my work with Louise Hay’s book I began to see that many of my life decisions were governed by fear. In this book I saw how the power of the mind can help you create the life you want. By reframing situations and taking baby steps you can actually more beyond ‘fear’ into a place of action. It also allowed me to see, through the stories within, that I wasn’t alone which was both reassuring and affirming. Everyone is going through similar thoughts and emotions it is just that we are practised in covering them up with whatever coping mechanism we have. This book helped me to see a way through my blocks so I could begin to move forward.

  • The Four agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz

Reading this was a major ah ha moment for me. While I had been working on my self development for a while, things were still feeling like a ‘fight’ each day. It was when I read his agreements that I realised where I was getting caught up. They are so simple and yet so powerful to creating the life you want. Only four things to remember and consider each day. Four simple statements which are life changing if you put them into practise. I’m still practising them of course (probably will until I die) and reminding myself daily about them but it is worth the effort.

  • Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer

The poetry with which Robin Wall Kimmerer writes captivated me straight away. It was a book club title which was chosen for me and for that I’m very grateful! Through this book I began to look at the interconnections in the world much more on a daily basis. Looking at how we impact the living beings around us far more closely than I ever had before. I thought I was pretty good being a vegan and all but this book helped fade the lines I had drawn between myself and other living beings (both plant and animal) when they weren’t to my liking. Braiding Sweetgrass is one of those books which I feel I could read over and over while still gaining something new each time.

While this definitely isn’t a definitive list of amazing books which helped me live a happy and healthier life (there are loads of other more text booky ones for sure), these are few which were responsible for some major mindset changes in my life. If it gives you some food for thought then I’m glad … if it gets you reading and enjoying some of them then I’m even happier!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and making the most of your local library.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

What is behind it all?

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So, after a busy week of beginning back with clients I suddenly realized it was Sunday and I hadn’t even thought of what to write on here!! Thoughts went to re-blogging but as I scrolled through old posts I came across one which connected to my week beautifully. The connection between our emotions and our health.

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Thanks to My R.A. Diary for the pic

I have long believed, through my own journey, that emotions dictate so much of our health … for me probably most of it. Emotions can play a part in what I decide to eat. Emotions play a part in which chemicals are released within my body. Emotions can play a part in how my body functions and heals. Emotions can play a part in how I interact with others and how they interact with me. Emotions play a part in how I exercise along with the intensity levels I exercise at and how much I enjoy the physical activity. So, yes ….. emotions dictate so much of my health and yours too I’m sure.

More and more I am looking at how emotions are impacting physical health and using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in conjunction with my reflexology, with great results, to create change. This technique helps to dig a little deeper into the thoughts and emotions we hold around physical symptoms we may have. Thoughts and emotions which may be holding us back in some way. This conjunction of EFT and Reflexology also helps to work on issues from different aspects; physical, mental and emotional. In fact I’m so convinced of the way these two can help that it is the basis of my upcoming book!

We all have our external story about why we act the way we do or why we are the way we are but there is often an internal story too. An internal story which doesn’t always get told, not even to ourselves. Sometimes the internal story is so well hidden we are unaware it is the actual narrator of our experiences rather than what we perceive is happening. Currently I have exactly that going on. While my ankle has been sore from a fall it wasn’t until I acknowledged the shame and guilt (which will be impacting my body’s response internally) I felt about the fall with someone else happening that the pain and swelling heave shifted. Once I began to acknowledge everything I’m feeling both inside and out, rather than pushing it down, the body can make a begin to let healing happen.

So often, in my own journey and in working with others, I come across this link between the physical and the emotional. I find connections between difficult times and symptoms I have now to past difficult times I hold in my memory. I find connections between reactions to certain foods and an emotional experience in my past. I see it in others too though they are not always open to hearing that the real reason they are having a physical reaction may have an emotional root. Most of us like to look for the fault externally, something tangible which we can pin the blame on. It is the easier way but not really the most effective.

When we experience ‘trauma’ (anything which disrupts our peace and calm) we often don’t have time to process what is really happening. We just dump it all down (senses, smells, sights and sounds) and get ready to fight or to take flight. We leave the processing part for later. Trouble is we hardly ever go back to process things. Usually we push it all out of our heads, that is until a trigger associated with the traumatic event occurs and it is all back again. Sometimes we can see the connection but often we don’t as we go straight back into survival mode which doesn’t usually include rational thinking. However when we take time to look closer at the ‘background story’ and process it that is when the real healing can begin to occur.

While I don’t have any scientific proof to back this up personally, there are a lot of studies out there about the power of our emotions and the impact they have on our physical body. I’m not the only one who has been thinking about this connection which is good news to me. So my offering tonight is really some ‘food for thought’ (and a link to The Allergy Link website with their much more scientific explanation) about how emotions impact our health and well-being.

Could there be something behind what you are experiencing? Something that you could explore with the possibility of achieving even more radiant health than you already have? I hope so because if there is one other thing I believe it is that we all deserve fantastic and phenomenal health and well-being.

Hope this finds you exploring new possibilities and breaking down old patterns.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Stress – letting it go to find more balance.

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Stress in its simplest definition is a force which is put on something. A force which pushes at us from a certain direction or pulls us in another direction. A direction which we hadn’t intended to go sometimes. For many people that force is the constant demands our lifestyles make on us.  Sometimes it is stress from the demands of work, sometimes family commitments and for many it is from trying to find a balance between work and family. We often overwork ourselves in a few areas of life (employment, household chores, family demands) which creates an imbalance (we’re not doing the things we really want to do like having fun or relaxing) and can leave us feeling stressed.

As I talked to a client about stress from working too much the other day and how Bach Flower Remedies could help I realized that it may be a useful post to pop out into the world.  While Rescue Remedy is the ‘go to’ for many when they are stressed and possibly the only Bach Flower Remedy people know, this is only a ‘band-aid’ until you can find the real reason for the stress.  There are actually 38 Flower Remedies in the range and they each cater for a different emotion. Each one designed to deal with the root issue of what you are experiencing. Bach Flower Remedies work best when you match the remedy to the individual and how they are feeling.

You may think your stress is from something happening outside of you. Something external which is responsible for triggering all this stress but actually it is your thoughts and emotions internally which really create the stress. It is the thoughts and emotions you associate with your situation either consciously or unconsciously which begin the stress cycle. Not what you wanted to hear that, I know!! The great thing is though that if this stress is created by something happening within you then you can make the change to lessen that stress, to let it go and find more balance. You can create the shift without having to wait for anything or anyone out in the world to change.

There are lots of ways to achieve this however Bach Flower Remedies can be really effective in helping making it happen. They can help in easing the stress by getting to the underlying thought or emotion and matching a remedy to that. It all comes down to ‘Why?’. When we can take a moment and ask ‘Why’, you can begin to unravel the tangle of thoughts which can perpetuate the stress. 

As you sit here reading this take a deep breath in through the nose and out through your mouth, letting the whole jaw relax.  Repeat that two more times and then ask yourself the following; ‘Why do I feel so stressed?’  ‘Why do I work so hard?’ ‘Why do I feel overwhelmed by all I have to do?’. See what comes up. Write things down if you want (that can help reduce stress in itself).

With each answer you can ask yet another ‘Why?’ to get even deeper. When you feel that you’re done, think about how you answered and look below to see if there is a Bach Flower Remedy which may be effective in helping you release those stressed feelings.

My why = I overwork because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.  Try Centaury

My why = I overwork because I like to get it right (perfectionism). Try Rock Water

My why = I overwork because I have to provide for my family. Try Red Chestnut

My why = I overwork because I fear that I’ll lose my job. Try Mimulus

My why = I overwork because I like to do it my way (not able to delegate). Try Vine

My why = I overwork because I’m the only one who can do it on time. Try Impatiens

My why = I overwork because I don’t feel that I can give up and so I need to carry on. Try Oak

My why = I overwork because I feel it is my responsibility. Try Elm

My why = I overwork because it is what I have always done. Try Chestnut Bud

Obviously not everyone has a Bach Flower Remedy kit in the home but there are numerous places which can make you up a remedy – including me 🙂 – or where you can purchase bottles of the remedy you feel you need. Sometimes just the identifying of the issue can clear 90% of the stress! If you want to find out more about Bach Flowers before you try then check out my articles and books

Hope this finds you tipping the scales in the direction you want to create more balance and less stress.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney

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This is re-blog from a couple of years ago as it is a recipe which gets used each year at this time of year. While we have a couple of feijoa trees they aren’t that productive so once again we were grateful for the many generous neighbours who have shared their bounty.

Feijoa season is upon us here in NZ and we are consuming them by the dozen! They are one of my favourite fruit and one that until very recently you never saw in the supermarket which made it all the more special and tasty when they were in season.  One of the best things about them though is that there is never any doubt when they are ready as they fall when ripe and lay just waiting for you to come along and collect them.

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Monster Feijoas from a neighbour

However even I have limits of how much fresh feijoa I can consume, so when we were gifted a huge box of huge feijoas it was time to search out my chutney recipes.  I do have a great feijoa recipe (shared it a while back if you want an alternative) which is super easy however as I was searching for my paper copy of it I stumbled across a chutney recipe from my grandmother which looked like it might just hit the spot on this occassion.

The thing that really appealed to me however was the name (Mt Peel Chutney) as I just been doing a bit of research on the Māori name for Mt Somers, where our family originally settled, to add to my pepeha. for my next Māori lesson.  While they are different places they are in the same area, for those of you outside NZ, or Canterbury, Mt Somers is only about 40 min drive to Mt Peel, and our family worked, had land and lived all around that area.  So …… I’m guessing this recipe may just be a family one, as I couldn’t find anything online with same name. Well that’s my story now anyway and I’m sticking to it 😉

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Ready to bottle up

Below is the feijoa version of this chutney that I have made though the original recipe actually says 2lb fruit (just under a kg).  As feijoas are quite ‘juicy’ you’ll see that I have increased the amount of fruit to 1.5 kg just to give it a bit more chunk rather than liquid.  Being my usual, time efficient, self I simply top and tail the feijoa and roughly dice. Then once the mixture has boiled and softened I give it a quick mash to help blend it all.  I have also used coconut sugar for the first time, not because I think it is better than sugar (honey is out for the vegan’s on the bus) but because himself has decided he doesn’t want to eat refined sugarcane anymore ….. always keeping us on our toes that one!!

Anyway here it is and I’m sure you will be able to adapt it to your own kitchen supplies and preferences, just as I constantly do. 🙂

Nannan’s Mt Peel Chutney – Feijoa version

400 gm coconut sugar (or any other sugar of your choice)

500 gm raisins

750 ml white vinegar

1.5 kg feijoa (topped and tailed then diced)

4 cloves garlic

A few good grinds of salt

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper

Optional: If you like a really spicy chutney then add in some fresh chopped chilies

  • Boil fruit, sugar and vinegar together till soft and brown.
  • Give a quick mash or blend if you want a smoother chutney.
  • Take off the heat and add the seasonings. Stir well and blend if you like your chutney smooth or leave as it is if you like your chutney chunky.
  • Bottle and label.  Heat jars in the oven before hand to sterilize and avoid cracking with hot chutney.

See, couldn’t be easier …. just my kind of recipe!!  Hope this finds you relaxing and easing through life with joy.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

The Challenge

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This past week I set myself a challenge. A challenge which I haven’t done all that well with. My challenge? To quit complaining for a week. Sounds simple right? That’s what I thought too …. as I set my intention at the start of the week it all seemed straight forward enough but as the days went by the severity of my challenge began to stink in.

It has amazed me that in focusing on not moaning, complaining or bitching I now realise just how much I do! Sometimes I hear myself saying things as they come spilling out of my mouth without any real thought … that is how ingrained my habit is obviously. Admittedly not all of it is external, sometimes I catch the thought before it leaves my mouth, but it has become apparent that my days are scattered full of wee moments of complaint. They are short lived and fleeting to be sure but there never the less.

In the process of noticing my own moaning I have also become sharply aware of others comments and/or tone. I find myself constantly questioning ‘Is this complaining about something/someone or just explaining about a difficult situation?’ What can seem like a statement is easily turned into a moan with the tone used or a look given. Sometimes I even find myself complaining in a joking way ….. having a laugh and making it feel less of a complaint. Is this still complaining when I make light of an uncomfortable situation? It may get a laugh but at what cost to me and the other person involved?

The Stress Experts blog explains it this way …. ‘So, complaining is what you do when you are in a negative state/mood and you talk about negative things, hoping someone will join you in the swill you’re swimming in.’ When I look at it that way I tend to let myself off the hook a little. My complaining tends to be an offload without wanting anyone to ‘come swim in the swill with me’ though sometimes (if I’m being completely honest) that is kind of nice too! My intention usually isn’t to ‘get at anyone’ or moan incessantly. Ultimately my intention is to take more responsibility in my life and moaning about things is pretty much the opposite of that. Hence the challenge! As Bryon Katie says (and I’m paraphrasing here) there are three kinds of business; yours, theirs and the universe’s. You can’t do jack about two of them so may as well just focus on your own business and make the most of that. Complaining about the other two isn’t going to get me anywhere and while it can be hard to ‘leave’ some stuff alone, I always feel better when I do.

I haven’t completely stopped myself whinging, complaining or moaning and I’m not even sure if that is possible if I’m being honest but I am definitely catching myself more. Catching myself both internally with my thoughts and externally which is allowing me space to either stop or redirect the conversation more. The good thing is that in complaining less and looking for the positives more I am actually helping to reduce my stress and find more balance which is something all of us can benefit from. So I’m going to continue with it this week; practise makes perfect they say.

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and loving the life you’re in …. warts and all

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

ANZAC Day

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April 25th tomorrow and another ANZAC day to commemorate. Years ago, while herself was completing an ANZAC day project, we discovered that themselves had a closer to connection to this day than we realized; making the day just a light more meaningful to us as a family. Through himself Snr’s side of the family they actually have an ancestor who served in Gallipoli. George Thorpe joined the Australian 2nd Light Horse Brigade, becoming solider #662, on 19th November 1914 at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, New South Wales.

George was an Irishman who had served the empire already in the Boer War. Somehow though he found himself in Australia just as the war broke out. I’m sure the pressure would have been felt, if not externally then internally, to sign up especially as an experienced solider. That decision may have been made all the easier as he didn’t have any dependents with him at the time; having left his wife and four children in Ireland. One of which was his youngest daughter and himself Snr’s maternal grandmother. We may never know the reason for George leaving Ireland and his family behind despite all our questions and theories. Was it to forge a better life? Were the family to follow? Was it to earn money to send home? Or had the relationship with his wife broken down beyond repair?

Whatever the reason it seems that George arrived in the state of Victoria, as many Irish did, and possibly worked as a cook in Bundalaguah area before heading to Sydney to enlist in 1914. George was sent straight to the action of Gallipoli in 1915. He was then was admitted into Rochester Row Hospital in the early part of 1916 for injury and/or illness before going back into action in France later that year. As the war progressed, and he had another stint in hospital in 1917, George was transferred to the 4th Battalion (Infantry) before being killed on 18th May 1918 in France. He has a plaque on the Roll of Honour commemorative area (panel 42) of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and is forever remembered within his family.

This year, for the first time, themselves will be wearing replicas of the medals George was awarded when they attended the local ANZAC parade. a special moment for the three of them. Of course here in New Zealand and Australia when ANZAC day rolls around with poppies worn and parades attending there is usually a morning tea after the parade where you’ll often see ANZAC biscuits making an appearance. While it is actually just a popular myth that these wee treasures were sent to soldiers in the field due to their ability to travel well (the ingredients not spoiling too fast) it is true that they now are linked in everyone’s minds with that Gallipoli campaign, the first world war and ANZAC day.

So with that in mind I thought I would create a batch and share it here. There are many recipes I know but this one from the good old Edmonds Cookbook which is another mainstay of kiwi life is usually my go-to. To ensure that everyone in the house can enjoy some biscuits I did substitute the butter for Nuttelex (vegan butter) this year. It is a super quick and easy recipe for any time of the year and and if you’re like me and go to make them then realise that you don’t have any golden syrup …. fear not as they still work out a treat 🙂

ANZAC biscuits

  • 100 gm butter (or a vegan butter of your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water

-Melt the butter and golden syrup in a pot.

-Mix in sugar then add in the coconut, oats and flour.  Stir well to combine.

-Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add into the main mixture.

-Place evenly sized balls onto a lined tray and then press down with a fork. The mixture may seem crumbly however once you start rolling it into a ball it comes together fine …. you may need to just hold each biscuit/ball as you press with the fork though.

-Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until golden

-Cool on a rack and enjoy.

Hope this finds you safe, free from the worries of war and remembering those who have gone before us.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Community Spirit

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Years ago I remember saying to someone that there was no sense of community any more and I truly believed it at the time. This person though was quick to respond … ‘In saying that you have effectively cut me out’ she said, ‘you have just told me that I’m not part of your community and can’t be because you don’t think they exist.’ I was taken aback. Is that really what I said or more to the point conveyed with my words? I listened as she talked about how we create our own communities. How we can decide to include or exclude. How we can easily have community spirit if we are willing to see the commonalities we have with others we meet. I will always remember that conversation and I will always be grateful for it.

That conversation made me rethink, it made me see a world of possibilities where before I only saw closed doors. I now know that many of those closed doors were of my own making due to not feeling confident enough or good enough to count myself as included. Ultimately though it was my perspective on the possibility of community which kept me out. I have been someone who is always on the move, spending just a few years in one place before shifting again. I am also a little impatient by nature so when I didn’t feel instant inclusion I equalled that with lack of community. I thought community was only about neighbourhoods and only available to those who were settled. By definition though a community is a social group, of living things, with something in common, be that where they live, their beliefs, their interests, their gender, their customs, their history, their way of life or their identity. Which means that community was, and still is, always there even if not in my immediate vicinity. I didn’t see that my shared interests allowed me to make mini communities everywhere I went. They may not have been long lasting ones however they were just as meaningful at the time.

We are lucky now to have the internet to enable us to be connected to even more people; to be a part of even more communities. The opportunities to be part of a community are endless it seems. Sometimes though this isn’t always a positive thing as some social media sites point us towards echo chambers through their algorithms. It can take effort to find the right community. Sometimes there are conditions on joining communities. Levels of achievement required; strength, intelligence, looks, piousness. Levels which many can’t obtain even if you wanted to. Often too the best communities are those who don’t ask for anything but there are times too where it can be hard to discern the true nature of the group until you are part of it.

Having been lead merrily up a few ‘garden paths’ before I looked around me and exclaimed ‘ WTF’ has led me to look a bit closer before I leap. Removing yourself from a community, especially an unhealthy one can often be harder than joining. For me the best kinds of communities are those that uplift while still challenging you and your perspective on the world, just like my friend did all those years ago. They are the ones I seek out with vigour. All life has evolved to grow and flourish even if only for a short time; communities can help us achieve this.

While it can take time to find ‘your’ community and time to find ‘your’ people it can be so worth the wait. There may be times when what you thought you wanted in your head isn’t the community you want in reality. That’s ok. There may even be times when you question the community you are in …. well in my experience that is … and that is ok too. Ultimately though as I weave my way through life and connect with various people I try and draw on a quote I heard a few years back (pictured above) to help guide me …. ‘At the end of the day I would rather be excluded for who I include than included for who I exclude.’

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Hot Cross Buns time

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I know, I know …. I’m a bit late in posting this for Easter but I forgot all about sharing this last week and posted my macaroon slice instead. Surely it is better late than never?! Well, hopefully 🙂

With Good Friday comes hot cross buns of course however since we have Vegans in the house we had to put a bit of thought into the whole process over the years. With the cost of using butter these days more and more things in the bakery section are actually vegan … hot cross buns included… thankfully. Well that is at our local supermarket anyway and it is always good to check with the Bakery department to confirm. They are well sort after items though so a few years ago themselves had a simple, yet effective, solution of creating our own vegan hot cross buns at home.

Some gluten free buns almost ready to go in the oven … just need a bit of flattening 🙂

By adding some spices and raisins to our damper recipe we were able to create our own quick and easy hot cross buns – dairy, egg and sugar free (until the jam is splodged on that is). While we have played around with creating crosses on our buns in the past it has been a mixture of wins and losses so this year I just went for the good old basic version; cross free. We have tried both Gluten and Gluten free versions, topped with jam and some vegan Dark Chocolate peanut butter, and both have been enjoyed. I have to say that the gluten version is much less painful!

If you are keen on creating gluten free buns then they are best eaten warm on the day. They also need something to help bind the mixture. I have used a flax egg (1 Tb ground linseed and 1.5 Tb cold water) along with bit of extra moisture, depending on which GF flour you use, to get the correct consistency. I have also use an egg replacer with the gluten free version to help with the binding effect which the gluten provides in the other recipe. When using the egg replacer you often need to add a bit more flour in as the dough ends up on the runnier side due to the amount of water they suggest mixing in. As usual though with many GF recipes, especially bready ones, it is often going for the correct consistency/texture over set measurement 🙂

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Good to go with a huge dollop of jam!

Whichever way you create these there is one thing for certain. The smell of spiced baking in the oven definitely makes it feel like Easter and a treat waiting to be enjoyed.

Hot Spiced Buns – Vegan

1 3/4 Cup of plain flour ( or GF flour and see notes above)

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tb oil

3/4 cup of cold water

3 tsp mixed spice

1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit if you like)

  • Mix all ingredients until they form a dough, add more flour and/or liquid as required.
  • Split the dough into 8 pieces and roll into bun shapes
  • Flour or line a tin and place the bun shapes in so that they are touching. With the GF ones I push them down a little so they are flatter and a ‘good’ shape as they don’t rise the same.
  • Bake at 200 C for 20-25 mins. Gluten free version will take a little longer
  • Remove from the oven and enjoy with jam 😉

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and rested after the long weekend

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Macaroon Slice

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It is the final week of Infant Massage this week. It has been a great course and while it has been a little different than other times as far as numbers attending I have really appreciated those who have come regularly. It is always so lovely to watch how the babies grow and develop over the course of six weeks and also how they grow to love getting a full body massage. Teaching this course is something which I never tire of and teaching at the Women’s Centre is something I am always very grateful for too.

A previous group of awesome mamas and bubbas

In the past I have offered this course over five weeks so this one is a little different in having a sixth week. Having that extra week also meant I needed another tasty morning tea offering …. time to try a new recipe. While I have made macaroons in the past it was before I became vegan. Eggs and honey weren’t going to cut it this time. After a bit of a search online though I managed to find a good vegan macaroon recipe (Thanks A Virtual Vegan) which wasn’t too complicated. As I read the recipe though and saw how they had used an ice cream scoop to get perfect sized treats and realized that I may have to modify the recipe a little. For one I didn’t have the scoop to place them beautifully on the tray, which in and of it’s self wasn’t a biggie, but I really felt the desire to have a slice this week. The thought of not having mucky hands also appealed 🙂

So …. I have basically adapted the original ingredients into a new format. In the original recipe she states not to use shredded coconut as it won’t work but as that was the majority of the coconut I had it was included in my version. Waste not, want not! By having the shredded coconut as a base I still needed to add the finer desiccated coconut though to absorb some of the moisture. I also increased the cooking time a little due to the coconut being cooked in a tin as a slice rather than smaller amounts. Then once the coconut part was cooled I melted chocolate to pour on top …. as I said pretty much the same ingredients just put together a little differently 🙂

While none of the mamas or bubbas in this course have any allergies or food preferences I like to make the most of the opportunity to try some recipes and introduce others to vegan baking. With Easter looming this week too it may just make a good break from all the eggs while still giving you a chocolate hit.

Macaroon Slice

2 cups of shredded coconut (the big long stuff)

1 cup of desiccated coconut (the fine small stuff)

1/2 cup of sugar

5 Tablespoons of Cornflour

1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons canned coconut cream (I used Fia Fia brand which is thick and creamy)

100gm Dark Chocolate approx (depends on how thick you like your chocolate topping)

Sprinkle of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 140 -150 C
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Blend well so everything is combined
  • Add the coconut cream and add some more desiccated coconut if the mixture is still too wet. It should be able to hold together without any liquid coming out. Mix really well.
  • Place mixture in a baking paper lined baking tin which is around 21 x 21cm (I like the ones that can put apart so you don’t have to risk breaking the slice) and pack down evenly
  • Bake for 25-30 mins or until a little golden on top
  • Allow to cool in the tin in the oven
  • Once the coconut part has cooled use a double boiler to melt the chocolate
  • Pour the melted chocolate onto the coconut base, spreadly evenly, and then place in the fridge to help set
  • Once the chocolate has set remove from the tin and slice into pieces using a warm knife
  • Enjoy

Hope this finds you having a wonderful weekend and looking forward to an awesome Easter break … however that looks for you.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz