Monthly Archives: August 2012

Thailand Post

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     Zaedyn and I have been waiting patiently for our parcel to arrive. Different postal services are always bringing packages to work. Knowing that we had a special parcel coming for us, I have been very curious and excited; however, none have been for us. Then when I went into the staff room for morning tea, I saw a slip in my locker telling me that I needed to pick up my package. I get them sent purposely to work so that I do not have to go downtown to get them, but of course they decided to deliver my package out of hours. Oh well. Still excited knowing what had arrived, Zaedyn and I went downtown at lunch to collect our special delivery from Thailand: Rattan Balls.

     Zaedyn was watching intently as I opened the box. He began talking as he does and making lots of funny noises to show that he was curious and excited as well. If only you could hear him. He would pull one out, examine it closely, show me, and throw it off to the side as he had a look at the next one he pulled out. He explored the rattan balls and was very playful as he made his own fun. They are also great for developing gross motor skills as he has already been practicing throwing and kicking them around. I can see the fun we are going to have in our exploration with these.

     So how and where did I find these? I had been searching online to find my Mum a birthday present and somehow ended up seeing these rattan balls on Etsy. I seem to get sidetracked when it comes to Pinterest and Etsy. Anyways, listed for indoor and outdoor decoration as many people would use them for, I instantly thought how cool these would be as a natural resource for Zaedyn to explore and even learn his colours. I have been interested in buying him some rattan balls, but I had never seen bright ones like these before. My one concern was what was used to make them these colours. Although I am not sure exactly, I was assured that they were safe. The products are hand made when ordered, good customer service, and they even made us 25 instead of 20 for only $10.78 NZD. Even with an extra $13.95 for shipping, these are well worth it. I am always looking for natural learning resources that are appealing and provide tamariki with opportunities to learn through nature as they develop an understanding about their world. We even found a special basket to put them in with a koru on the front. To me, this represents the growth that will come with new ideas and opportunities in Zaedyn’s ongoing learning through nature.

     Not sure how we always look for presents with no luck, but Zaedyn almost always seems to end up with something new. Anyways, It was time to go back to work, and Zaedyn decided to bring his sunnies along. What a beautiful sunny day it was again until the few thunderstorms passed in the late afternoon. We must be getting closer to summer!

Spicy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

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See the Vegan label

     Spicy! Hot out of the oven and served with raw celery, my cauliflower buffalo wings were definitely spicy. Why would I want to make these, and what’s with the cauliflower?

     My twin sister introduced me to Gardein products a couple years ago when we were visiting California. Although I am not a huge fan of fake meatless products, I really enjoyed being able to go out to eat at the Yardhouse with family and enjoy a yummy meal: Gardein Orange Peel Chicken served with baby corn, bok choy, and rice in a sweet orange glaze. Usually I am very limited to my options on the menu, but there was an entire Gardein section of meals to choose from. Gardein products are not gluten-free as it is a substitute made from soy, wheat, pea proteins, vegetables, and ancient grains, but I chose to try it anyways. With all of these options, David and I were quick to choose to go back to the Yardhouse again for our next special meal out with family. However this time we all chose to try the Gardein Boneless Wings as an appetizer during Happy Hour. Spicy, but yum. David laughs at me as I am still skeptical of fake meat items, letting him try it first to confirm that it isn’t actual meat and then trying it myself to still question and make sure that it is actually a substitute.

     Back in Cali again visiting a few months ago, we went out to eat at the Yardhouse and tried both the Gardein Orange Peel Chicken and Boneless Wings again. I could hardly get through my actual meal after having our appetizer so was lucky to have leftovers for dinner as well. I also tried the Buffalo Wings at the Veggie Grill for lunch another day. David did not used to enjoy spicy foods, but he has become more tolerant since having been with me. He really enjoyed these meatless buffalo wings. We do not usually eat out at restaurants or eat a lot of meatless products as such, but they were just a different alternative that we would be happy to eat on occasion. The only problem is that they do not make things like this where we live. Our new find this summer was Trader Joe’s vegan version of Orange Chickenless which I am sure would be on the menu every night if David somehow managed to find a product like this in New Zealand.

     So through my search for other things one night through Pinterest and blogs, I randomly came across Spicy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings. This really interested me as I love cauliflower. Anyways, I finally gave it a go tonight. Don’t think I have the recipe quite right as I need to make a few adjustments, but I can see how this can be a yummy healthy alternative and will be attempting to recreate this again. I will also be trying a different version of meatless wings from the Native Foods blog. Can’t wait to see what these ones will turn out like as well as I can see my husband liking this version. I might need to think about adding cauliflower to my garden seeing as I am out again already and know that I will be wanting hummus and cauliflower for lunch tomorrow.

Spicy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

Cauliflower?

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Who mistakenly buys a cabbage instead of cauliflower? Possibly only me. I was so excited to find lots of yummy fruits and vegetables at the shop over the weekend since the one near us doesn’t seem to carry much and there is not a lot growing in my garden yet either. I obviously was not paying much attention. I am hopeful of a very yummy garden soon where we can eat the produce we grow, especially with beautiful sunny days like today. Anyways, I was pulling all sorts off the shelf and needed to buy a full cauliflower because I am back to eating my favourite: raw cauliflower and hummus. I was gutted when I was really hungry with my hummus and cauliflower out only to realise that it wasn’t actually a cauliflower. Not sure how I managed not to notice as I put it in the cart, however, it worked to my advantage.

Zaedyn and I quickly popped into the fruit and veggie shop downtown this afternoon to buy cauliflower, and I always look over to where my fresh young coconuts usually are even though I had been told that they probably won’t be in the shop for awhile. I still get disappointed when I look and don’t see them, but as I kept walking, I saw a box of them that are now half gone. Besides Zaedyn, I know one other person that will be just as excited as me. Yes, we do get super excited about finding yummy fresh young coconuts, even if they are only from the shop and not fresh from the island on the beach. Now I have three yummy coconuts in my kitchen for Zaedyn, Brigitte, and I. Can’t wait to crack them open. They always make me think of Rarotonga now and am hoping to get back there again so Zaedyn can pick some fresh ones straight off the tree for me.

Zaedyn Tai finding young coconuts in Rarotonga

Oh, and I managed to buy an actual cauliflower which I can snack on as I also attempt a new recipe: Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. Will keep you posted on how they turn out.

What Do You Rock?

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     What do you rock? We are loving Lavender Mint Revival. Rockin’ green has seven natural scents to choose from. We have experimented a bit with this eco friendly laundry detergent due to uncertainty about our water hardness, rockin’ a soak, and trying new scents. Natural ammonia bouncer, Funk Rock, to de-funk nappies is a must as well. I think Zaedyn’s nappies are about due for a good soak.

     With Cloth Nappy Week came sales, and this prompted me to try some new products. I bought some Shake it Up Pail freshener although I cannot say that I have really used it much. I guess I have been more excited about my next buy. Having looked at the air fresheners a few times previously, I can’t imagine being without our Melody Spray. If you do not already use this, you should consider buying some. Occasionally, I walk past the laundry room and quickly spray our Lavender Mint Revival whether it really needs it or not. Yes, an odour neutralizer that comes in natural yummy scents as well! Oh, and I almost forgot about our cool green magnetic laundry scoop which fascinates Zaedyn when he comes to help with the laundry. Rockin’ Green is a safe and eco friendly laundry detergent great for cloth nappies and so much more.

     So what are we rockin’ tonight? Lavender Mint Revival with Zaedyn’s new Speckled Frog nappy. Love getting fluffy mail! What a wonderful surprise from Brigitte tonight. Zaedyn was pretty excited walking around holding his nappy. Seeing as I love the colour green and cloth nappies, I was pretty excited as well. Another awesome nappy to add to Zaedyn’s growing stash. Thanks heaps, Brigitte!

     Oh, and something else to be excited about. Another incredible edible! Yum. We are going to have blueberries growing in our garden. What a beautiful plant. I cannot wait to be able to pick fresh blueberries with Zaedyn. I think that we really need to get our garden sorted now with all of these yummy new edibles waiting to be planted.  ~ Ready for sunshine ~

Blissful ~ Chocolate Mint

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Our Fresh Mint

     Chocolate? Raw cacao that is. A live superfood full of antioxidants! Plus phenylethlamine (PEA) and Anandamide (The Bliss Chemical). Lucky for me, chocolate is full of goodness for our bodies. With fresh almond milk in the fridge and mint leaves growing in our kitchen, I couldn’t resist the thought of chocolate mint. I quickly blended my almond milk with raw cacao powder, a banana, fresh date, and mint leaves off our growing plant with lots of aroha…~blissful~

raw almond milk, raw cacao powder, banana, fresh date

Fresh Raw Almond Milk

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Presoak 2 1/2 cups raw almonds in filtered water for 12 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse, & repeat with new fresh water.

Add almonds to blender (it is not a Vitamix, but it will do) along with 6 cups of filtered water and a pinch of Himalayan Crystal Salt.

Blended almonds, water, and Himalayan Crystal Salt.

Pour in a nut milk bag, squeezing out the milk into a container.

Fresh Raw Almond Milk. Can be added back in the blender with dates, stevia, agave nectar, or vanilla to sweeten.

Almond pulp left in the nut bag which can be saved and used in other yummy recipes.

Zaedyn Tai enjoying some fresh raw almond milk.

Blend 1/2 cup fresh raw almond milk, 1 banana, & a big teaspoon of raw organic spirulina.

Simplicity ~ Yummy Spirulina Smoothie

The Herbal Dispensary

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Black sand, long left breaks, sunshine = happiness. To add to that, we continually come across something new to explore such as Bridal Veil Falls, camping in a teepee at Solscape, laying in a hammock, wandering aimlessly down the Main St., having a picnic harbourside, talking to cows, frolicking along different bays, collecting natural resources, playing with driftwood, and just making our own fun. Our find this arvo: The Herbal Dispensary Raglan.

Haere Mai ki Whaingaroa, Welcome to Raglan. Our happy place…

     My Dandelion Chai is all gone, and I was searching online to find more when I came across The Herbal Dispensary Raglan. Another reason to go to Raglan, of course! As many times as we visit Raglan, we have never been inside the Herbal Dispensary. You have to cross the road at the end of town near the harbour to get to it, possibly why we never seem to make it that way. Fortunately for our bank account, Zaedyn had thought sleep was overrated on the drive over so I was rushed to shop as he was knackered and ready for a moe.

     The first thing I noticed was sprouts and kale. I have been wanting to grow my own kale! Everywhere I looked, I saw familiar products that I love and can not easily be found in shops near us. As Zaedyn and David know, I can spend a lot of time in health food shops. I stood there looking at almost every item and contemplating in my head what exactly I wanted to buy. What was I looking for again? That’s right, dandelion chai. Somehow on my way to find it, I seemed to have collected cacao & raspberry raw organic little bird macaroons, alfalfa sprouts, kale seeds, an organic kale plant, vanilla pods, passionflower tea, and star anise. The amount of herbal teas seemed endless. Although there was plenty more that I wanted to buy, I am pretty happy with what I found, especially the macaroons that seem to be disappearing. Plus, I filled up half a loyalty card to get $10 off within 6 months if the rest of my card is stamped. I am pretty sure I can manage that!

    Where to next? Zaedyn could not decide between sleep and play. Although he was so tired, there were far too many things to explore. A quick stop at the Raglan Roast for a soy flat white, and off we went toward Whale Bay. Coffee has come and gone in my life from owning my own espresso machine and making myself lattes to giving it up completely. I splurge in California as I love my iced soy latte from Starbucks even though the espresso there is a bit strong for me now. At the moment, I am happy to enjoy an occasional soy flat white. Raglan Roast is a must stop as it seems to be my favourite cafe in New Zealand. Besides dandelion chai, Golden Fields also makes caffeine free coffee substitutes which I have yet to try as I mistakenly thought they contained gluten. Although they contain malt and barley extract which I immediately read, they are gluten free.

     Not a lot of swell at Whale or Manu Bay, but the sun was shining and there were still waves rolling in. Here is a collage to share of our afternoon at Manu Bay with a cheeky little boy who did not fall asleep until our drive home. He thought that he was pretty clever making his way up stairs. He also enjoyed splashing in the tidepools before slipping in to completely soak his jeans. Oh well. Might as well start early on your tan, Zaedyn. He stood there in his Honey Child nappy pointing to his puku and laughing at his Dad. Finally, the rocks were a lovely place to breastfeed before wandering back to the car.

What a fantastic day at Raglan, and a great new find in our favourite beach town. …~ Holistic approach to health and healing ~… Almonds are currently being soaked in filtered water. I will be making fresh raw almond milk in the morning to add to my favourite spirulina smoothie. Yum! Off to bed now. Ka kite apōpo.

Easy Peasy Mexican Style

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Spicy Guacamole Gourmet Dip: onion, rock salt, cajun spices, sun-dried tomato, garlic granules, coriander

Add spice sachet to 2 mashed avocados

Mix well & stir in 2 fresh chopped tomatoes (can be chilled for 20 minutes)

Mix into Mexican rice & organic mixed beans: chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans, white cannellini beans. Topped with fresh tomato, spicy guacamole dip, fresh coriander, & served with chips

Incredible Edibles: Garden of Passionfruit

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Passionfruit vines spreading across my fence in full bloom with heaps of fruit waiting to be eaten. Oh how I wish this was what my garden looked like! Instead, I have a decreasing bank account with passionfruit at $30 NZD or more per kg and a sad looking passionfruit vine surrounded by weeds in my garden. However, a new passionfruit plant was brought to work today for me from Tidy Gardens. I was unbelievably excited by this surprise. Not having had much success with my previous location of passionfruit, I have been determined to replant some in hope to have full vines of fruit to live off.

I had never tasted passionfruit before coming to New Zealand. I was a bit uncertain about this fruit as one of the first things I was told was that they tasted the best when they were wrinkled and yuck looking on the outside. Now I am fussy when it comes to fruit, and I am pretty good at examining what it looks like before eating it. Regardless, my curiosity urged me to try passionfruit and feijoa together for the first time a few years ago. I am not exactly sure of my first reaction to the taste as I was just excited to be trying something new. Since then, I seem to hunt out passionfruit before they are really coming into season and continue to find ones late in the season. At work the other girls were given chocolate bunnies for Easter. Instead, I received beautiful flowers in a kete with apples and yummy passionfruit. It is pretty safe to say that passionfruit is one of my favourite fruits alongside coconuts. Not to mention the awkward silence and loud crunching noises I make when chewing passionfruit seeds.

Passionfruit for Easter Prezzy

To think my day couldn’t get any better, Katrina is also going to bring in some Nasturtium seeds for me. I have had great intentions of growing edible flowers in the past, but have somehow never managed to fully develop my garden to incorporate these. How beautiful these are going to look on top of a salad, and yummy, too. I can’t wait to see what Zaedyn is going to think. He loves to go out in the garden and pick flowers to eat, edible or not. In time, we will have to teach him about wilderness survival and edibility, but for now he can grow up in a backyard full of edible flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Even the possibility of this awesome bean tipi.

At the moment, parsley seems to be the only thing growing. Lucky for our rabbit, Kai, who loves to eat parsley. I cannot wait for some sunny weather and time to spend tidying up our garden and planting my passionfruit along with some other incredible edibles. Look out for some future blog updates on my beautiful garden to be.

Zaedyn loves to eat passionfruit, too!