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

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Winter Wellness – Part 4 – Lose the stress

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This week I am gearing up to do my first 3 hour exam in over 20 years and I am feeling the stress creeping in with each day moving me closer to it.   It is amazing how sly stress can be! Honestly, just when I think that I’m on top of things and have this study thing sorted life gets on top of me and before I know it, I’m feeling that tension throughout my body.  

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Thankfully we have lots of nature to get out into and de-stress

The bus isn’t the easiest place to study I have to say, apparently if you can be seen you must be spoken to :), and when you’re in a small town there aren’t that many quiet places to head off to either. So, I’m trying my best to get out of the stress loop by using the tools in my kete (basket) that I know work for me.  I figured that in a culture which too often rates your ability to cope under stress as an indicator of people’s success, others may like to try some of these little beauties to remove some of that stress naturally rather than having to ‘cope’ with it.

Get moving.  Exercise (aerobic especially) is proven to help relieve stress and other negative emotions such as depression.  When we move our bodies, it helps loosen and work all those muscles that you may be holding in tension, it gets you changing your focus, in increases oxygen to the brain and best of all those ‘feel good’ hormones get released.  Any kind of movement is good so pick one that you love and try and get out in nature with it to increase the benefits. 

Have a laugh.  Laughing creates a euphoric effect that will instantly release any tension you have. It can trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormone) which helps you to feel better all over and to relax.  Laughter yoga is now offered in many places and can be a great way to connect with new people however failing that it may just be a good excuse to watch those comedies, silly youtube clips and share all those jokes you have!

Count to 10.  Taking deep breathes and a wee bit of time out is an age old classic that costs nothing and is very effective. The key to this is breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth as this helps relax the whole body … it is hard to keep tension in your body with your mouth open.  Research also shows that deep breathing helps trigger the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve which helps regulate the heart, digestion and lungs) and works with the parasympathic nervous system to bring us into that ‘rest and digest’ state of being rather than stuck in ‘fight/flight or freeze’ state of being. 

Meditate.  Even 5 mins a day of meditation will help stress levels though of course the longer you meditate the greater the benefits. This doesn’t have to be a big deal just find a quite spot, close your eyes (or look downwards, relaxing your gaze) and clear your mind of as much as you can.  First thing in the morning to ‘set you up’ for the day or last thing at night to help you unwind and get a good sleep can be really effective times.  There are loads of apps out there now which can help you get into the right headspace.

Essential oils.  Scent has a powerful impact on our bodies and can bring up memories and emotions easily. This is in part due to the fact that the olfactory nerve (whose nerve fibres in the nose allow us smell) are connected to the limbic system in the brain, rather than going through the cerebral cortex (our thinking part) which triggers these ‘primitive’ responses to what we are smelling.  Lavender is the most popular relaxant but there are plenty others to try.  This link may help you to begin your experimentation with scent.

Stretch.  A good stretch can help with the physical symptoms of stress.  Like exercise it gets you moving those muscles that may have been held in tension. Try a class of yoga which will combine breathing, stretching and exercise for a real stress reliever or even a basic stretch at your desk and see how good it feels. Here is a link to a few suggestions.

Bach Flower Remedies.  As many of you know I love Bach Flower Remedies and I’m a big believer that emotions dictate our health unless we intervene.  Bach Flowers are designed to work on emotions and can target the source of your negative emotions helping to increase the positive.  White Chestnut is a classic for those who continue with ‘mental conversations and/or internal arguments’, whereas Agrimony can help those who hide their stress behind a smile.  If you want to learn more and try a treatment bottle then check out my FREE quiz to find your remedies (don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to anything) and e-mail me to make you up a bottle. Otherwise you can find out more about Bach Flowers and have your own guide by checking out my book ‘Finding Calm and Balance’ which is on sale at a special price for the next week or so, along with my other e-books.

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Only 99c (US) at the moment along with my other books

Hope this finds you a little calmer, a little less tense and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Farewell 2018

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Here we are  …… we made it! The last day of 2018 is upon us with 2019 just waiting to emerge.

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Preparing for the year ahead.

Each year at this time I sit down and take time to prepare myself for the year ahead.  I change journal/diaries (my own creation) and with that I also write down some of the activities, hopes and goals I’d like to complete in the upcoming year while seeing all the great things I have achieved in the outgoing one.  These are pretty loose I have to say and not all of them are huge.  I include things like getting a massage, reading a book, writing a letter to a friend – an actual pen and paper one that is 🙂 – along with some ‘work’ things like newsletters, ‘planning’  for homeschooling and blog posts and some more inspirational goals too.

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Hoping to get back here a bit more often next year 🙂

They often aren’t all completed, actually I don’t think I have ever done that, however that is not really the aim. Those that aren’t completed in one year just more on over to the next  …….. I have only just framed some cross-stitches I did for the kids after that being on my list for 2 years!  Rather my ‘108 Things to do’ serves as a reminder instead of a ‘must do’ list which kinda takes the pressure off while still realizing my hopes and dreams.

You may also think that 108 is an excess amount of things to write down and you’re probably correct if you try to write all 108 at once.  However I begin with with all the things I need to carry over (like updating my website so it is phone friendly), then the things I know I’ll be doing (like the monthly family blog) then add to it in drips and drabs along the year.  I only came to 108 things to do as I couldn’t get the tables to give me 100 nicely.  Then I read in a book how 108 is a sacred number 108 is a sacred number and felt kind of glad it worked out that way 🙂

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Hope I can jump into the new year with as much enthusiasm! 

With that said I’m off to get writing in that journal/diary.  I hope this finds you remembering and releasing 2018 with a smile while welcoming 2019 for all the wonderful possibilities it holds.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Vegan goodness

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So our latest culinary challenge, sorry, adventure has been delving into the world of veganism as our youngest has decided that he is now Vegan.  He has always been a bit of a picky eater around meat and is constantly worried about animal welfare so it really didn’t come as a huge shock when he announced a month ago that he was vegetarian and then followed up a week later with ‘ I think I’ll give being a vegan a try.’

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The last few pieces of our vegan shortbread.

It actually hasn’t been that bad and if anything it has been awesome not having him tempted by all the rubbishy chocolate treats that abound in every shop.  There are 2 main stumbling blocks I have hit so far though; 1) Eating out and 2) Baking.  Eating out is a bit of a mine field as it seems every thing is out on the children’s menu … have you noticed how every kid’s menu is deep fried meat of some description … and most things suitable on the adult menu are either too spicy or so expensive it makes us think twice. Thankfully we don’t eat out that much, the thought it takes is beyond my mental powers at the moment, and when we do venture out at least he is having a fairly healthy meal unlike before.

Which brings us to the second point ….. soooo many recipes rely on eggs (well the ones I currently make anyway) and even though we are pretty good at replacing the dairy it is taking me a while to get my head around using egg replacements (chia seeds and water is the main one I’m using at the moment).  I have been doing the research though to ensure that we get all the good bits into him and thanks to some great Vegan recipe books from the local library  I have found some great savoury and sweet baking ideas to keep everyone (well half of us to be honest) happy.  The one recipe that has been made the most so far is courtesy of Jennifer Katzinger’s Flying Apron Gluten Free and Vegan Baking Book.  This delicious ‘Vegan Shortbread’ (my name for it as I have returned the book and forgot the name sorry) is so easy and so delicious that I’m sure you’ll be whipping it up numerous times too.

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What I’m putting below is a half recipe of what is printed in the book as I found that was more than enough.  I also cut it into more squares than the recipe in the book indicates as we found it very rich and a little square of it was enough.  If you enjoy this recipe though I would recommend checking out the whole recipe book as has so many more delicious things to make. 😉

Vegan shortbread

  • 1 & 3/8 cups Rice Flour
  • a grind of salt
  • 1/2 Cup of coconut oil
  • 3/8 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

– Preheat the oven to 190C (375F)

– Melt the coconut oil and then add the maple syrup

– Blend all the ingredients together.

– Pour and flatten the mixture into a baking paper lined baking dish

– Bake for 15 – 20 min or until the edges are slightly brown

– Remove from the oven and cut into squares while it is still warm in the tin

– Slide onto a cooling rack and break into separate pieces when it is fully cooled.

– Enjoy!

Well that is it from me on a cold and snow predicted evening. I hope this finds you all warm, healthy and enjoying life at whatever temperature you have it at. 😉

Arohanui

Y

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

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It is winter here in NZ, well almost, so what better way to warm up than making a big pot of yummy soup?  I do love soup it has to be said and I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea quite happily however lately it has been a bit of a necessity for me as a way to rest my digestive system.

We have been lucky enough to have a free place to park our bus for the past 9 weeks, while himself has been working to restore the railway after earthquakes last year, beside a large paddock of a local Irish Pub.  While we haven’t had to pay for the spot we have felt obliged to spend a bit of money here to keep in the owner’s good books so we have been going out for tea up at the pub at least once a week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying not having to cook however my digestive system has had other thoughts.  Being a vegetarian in a small country area has its downsides … namely that there are only a few items on the menu you can have and of these few selections most contain gluten, dairy, a combination of both, or are deep fried.

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View from across the paddock back to our bus … the kids love it!

It has been an exercise in having the things that effect me least or trying to just have things sparingly.  Trouble is that I’m not that good at sparingly and I’m really not a have one and be satisfied kind of girl!  So let’s just say that over the past 9 weeks my eating has been very ‘off’ and I am now paying for that prolonged accumulation of foods that my body just doesn’t agree with.  Over the last few days I have been experiencing pain due to diverticulitis (flaring up of diverticular disease) and I completely know why it has reared up …. I only have myself to blame and myself to sort it out.

My main way, and this may not suit everyone, is to rest my system as much as I can until the pain subsides and my body feels ‘normal’ again.  I tend to go liquid for a few days so that my body isn’t having to deal with too much in the way of digestion in the hopes that it will have more time to deal with healing.  So far this has worked, on the few occasions that I have needed it, however the best plan is always to keep my diverticular disease at bay by eating well, exercising and having good fluids.

As it is pumpkin time here, and we New Zealanders love our pumpkins, I have been enjoying making up some pumpkin soup and my latest pots have been a little different after getting a few ideas at a local community dinner.  I usually just love pumpkin soup with a few onions and garlic thrown in, nothing fancy just yummy pumpkiny goodness, however I may have changed that for good after adding some coconut cream and ginger to the mix.  This recipe doesn’t really have any measurements, sorry, aside from 1 tin of coconut cream which you may want to increase if you are making  a large pot of soup. Experiment with what you like using this simple recipe as a base.

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Crown Pumpkin

Coconutty Pumpkin Soup

  • 1/2 a large Crown Pumpkin (this is the best flavoured pumpkin for soups)
  • Ground or fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Veggie stock cube
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • Water

– Fry off the garlic in a pot with a little oil

– Add in pumpkin chopped into cubes (should come to almost the top of the pot)

– Pour in coconut cream (should cover 1/2 – 3/4 of the pumpkin in the pot) and then cover the rest of the pumpkin with water

– Bring to the boil and add in the stock and ginger

– Boil until the pumpkin is all soft.

– Take off the heat and mash until you have a thick soup.  You can add more liquid if you like it runny or mash less if you like your soup chunky.

– Enjoy!!

 

Hope this finds you free of pain and full of life.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

 

 

On the road again

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After many weeks in and around Christchurch we have finally made our way south. This journey marks the first time that we are all travelling in the bus with car happily being towed behind.  It was a new experience which also highlighted the things that we still need to do or learn on the bus.  We have already become experienced at removing the car and trailer in order to back track after being led past our destination, thanks to our Tom Tom, and trying unsuccessfully to reverse with said trailer and car attached.

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Our lunch spot at Mt Peel, South Canterbury

It has been a week of changes that is for sure.  Not only the change for the kids and I to be travelling with himself but also the change of not being around family and friends and also giving up on Facebook for the rest of this month (feels very strange not to update our travels daily and yet very refreshing at the same time) along with the weather suddenly changing from a heatwave yesterday to thunder, rain and hail today!  I guess that is what happens when you travel south as Autumn approaches.

So with the cold and stormy weather around us a warm afternoon tea treat was in order.  This is a basic scone recipe from The Edmond’s Cookbook which I have just halved in order to make it fit into our little bus oven.  It still makes the same amount of scones just a smaller version 🙂

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Afternoon tea warm from the oven

Scones

1.5 Cups Flour (white or brown)

25 gm Cold butter

3 Teaspoons baking powder

1/4 Cup of currents or sultanas (optional)

1/2 Cup and 1/8 Cup rice milk – or cow’s milk … we only use rice milk because we don’t stock the other:)

  • Preheat oven to 220 C
  • Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl
  • Cut the cold butter into small cubes and then ‘rub’ into the flour mix until it looks and feels like fine breadcrumbs.  Add fruit now if you are using it.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour and butter mix and pour in the milk
  • Using a knife mix the flour and milk by cutting across it until a dough begins to form.
  • Using your hands lightly bring the dough into one ball. You may need a little bit milk if it is a little crumbly or a little bit of flour if it is sticky.
  • On a floured tray flatten the dough into a rectangle shape that is still at least 1.5cm high or higher (tray to top of dough)
  • Cut into 16 squares and bake for 10 mins or until brown on top
  • Enjoy warm or cold with butter and jam

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy and enjoying the life you have.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Changes

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We are a week into our new/old home now and loving it.  The kids have been outside more than inside as they re-discover huts and hiding places along with playing with the chickens (yes we have up our quota to 3 now) and the neighbours.

View out the back down to the chooks

View out the back down to the chooks

I have already made a batch of kombucha which has brought with it some revelations of a different kind.  Each time we move (yes there has been quite a few shifts as my friends will tell you) we adjust to things – new water, new oven, new neighbours, new surroundings. This time however we have returned to a known and I have had that false sense of thinking I know all there is to come.  It is however the first time I have had a dog here, it is the first time I am home-educating here and the first time I am making kombucha.  The batch didn’t turn out that great (I think it is the water so will be off to get some good Petone stuff for the next batch) and it made me realise that while things seem the same they are in fact ‘same, same only different’ 🙂

The new batch of kombucha

The new batch of kombucha

My kombucha actually made me realise that I needed to take a step back and just go with the flow a bit. Accept what is happening rather than trying to replicate our life of 3 weeks ago. Part of me definitely feels the urge to get back into routine as soon as I can and create a life similar to our routine down south. Partly because I feel I should and mostly because that is just me – I like to be organized and know that ‘bases are covered’. The thing is that there is a bigger part of me saying ‘let it be, take your time’ and for once I am listening to that part in a bid not to have our days filled just quite yet.

It is hard in many ways (bloody hard for someone as ‘anal’ as me) yet it feels bloody good at the same time. It is great watching the kids play, explore and discover and it is great not to feel we need to rush off somewhere…… well not yet anyway 🙂

Herself creating

Herself creating

Hope this finds you at ease with the changes in your life.

Arohanui

Y