Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bamboodies at the Beach

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After our bamboodies arrived in January, we were so excited to try them out at the beach. It was a beautiful day at Kiritihere, and they were perfect for later in the day when it started to get a bit cold.

I have been so caught up with everything else that I have not managed to share this with you until now, but I figured it was perfect timing seeing as eco peko is currently having a sale on their bamboodies! Baby bamboodies for $15, child bamboodies $20, and adult bamboodies for $25. If you do not already know about eco peko, check out their shop and my previous post about them. We love eco peko.

Before heading onto the beach, we needed to make a quick stop at the New Zealand dolphin under threat sign. If you do not already know about this serious issue with only 55 left, please check out my post to help protect the Maui’s and Hector’s Dolphins. The Let’s Face It visual campaign reached their original goal and have increased it again asking for more petitions.
Marokopa

Kiritehere Beach bamboodies

eco peko bamboodies
bamboodie

See how amazing our bamboodies are! We absolutely love how they are lightweight and soft. They kept us nice and warm, and Zaedyn even decided to go playing in the water with his. We couldn’t leave the beach until Daddy took Zaedyn down the sand dunes full of giggles and smiles, and we also found some rubbish that other people had left which definitely did not belong on the beach. We went around collecting a few things to take away with us because we did not want to leave the beach with all of this plastic to harm the environment and wildlife. As we went to leave, we even had to wait for many sheep waiting to cross the road safely. What an awesome day at the beach as usual!
Marokopa

Don’t forget to check out the bamboodie sale over at eco peko. Our bamboodies are natural with a starfish, but they also come in turquoise with a nautilus shell and burnt orange with a coral trout 🙂

Fort & Teepee

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peek a boo

A few chairs, a blanket, and some beautiful sarongs…our lounge was transformed into a magical place.

peek a boo

Zaedyn was full of excitement as he ran in and out of his new hiding place. Yes, with only one gumboot! I could not help smiling and playing along as I saw his big smiles and listened to his never ending giggles. They really are the best! We spent the entire morning playing in his new fort. He definitely had a few tickles whenever I found him.

teepee

If that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, we decided to search our garage for some of the bamboo that David cut down for us. It was quite difficult trying to put our teepee together with little hands to help, but I love that he was so curious and interested in building our teepee. I literally just took some twine and wrapped it around lots of different ways. It worked for us. The bamboo alone was exciting, but I knew we had to find some sort of cover. Hmmm…

teepee

Yip, our Winter sheet will do. We hopefully won’t be needing it for awhile anyways! Wrapped around and tucked under the twine, it completed our teepee and another new hiding place.

teepee

After a bit of playing around, Zaedyn was telling me, “Yoga,” and went looking for the yoga mat. I helped roll it out, and we found his yoga book. He was super excited about the tree pose that he is still doing it in the picture once I turned the page. I love hearing him get excited about yoga and that he can tell me tree pose and show me what it is. I think he is a clever little yogi.

teepee
Having a teepee is really exciting enough, but if you want another fun activity, why not have a tea party inside your teepee?!
gluten free scones

Add some gluten-free vegan scones, and your tea party is that much yummier than your pretend treats.

Can you tell how much fun we have been having? I was kind of getting used to our living room being crowded by a fort and teepee, but we decided to return our dining chairs back to the table until next time. However, we still have our giant teepee in our lounge, and with this much needed rain in NZ after a drought, I think it might be staying up for awhile. We are lucky enough to have a covered deck so that we can get some fresh air and still have some time outside even when it is pouring down. Do you and your little ones build forts or teepees? Possibly even some other cool hiding places in empty boxes? Feel free to share as you might inspire us in our next fort or hiding space.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS…

If you have been following us on Facebook, you may have noticed that we are going to be doing a very special giveaway with some awesome NZ businesses. A huge thank you to BeBops, ExtraFresh, Hemp Farm NZ Ltd, and Go Bamboo! I am still sorting out all of the details so feel free to check out their websites and Facebook pages in the meantime. These are all NZ based and are amazing in their efforts to support a sustainable future. If you are a vegan, eco-friendly, or gluten-free company who would like to share your products/services, please email me to be a part of our giveaway. To all of our readers, you will have some pretty exciting news coming soon and a great opportunity to win! Stay tuned for more details…

Gluten-Free Vegan Coconut Chocolates

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One of my favourite combinations, coconut and chocolate. Plus, these are extremely easy to make & very yummy, too! They seem to be disappearing out of my fridge.

I am not sure if you can really go wrong with chocolate and coconut. I have followed a few recipes or come up with my own, and they always turn out delicious. I cannot seem to find my recipe at the moment, but I have even made a raw vegan version using a young coconut. I used to love Almond Joys and Bounty Bars, and these are the perfect vegan treats that remind me of them. This time, I was inspired by Tasty Yummies.

I have a very small mini muffin case and a slightly bigger one. I mixed 1 1/4 cup of shredded coconut, 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, 2 TBLS agave (any vegan sweetener should be fine), and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I am sure that they would pop out alright from these, but you can grease them with coconut oil if you like. Then I packed the coconut mixture down into all 12 spots and popped them in the freezer. Easy peasy.
vegan almond joyAfter waiting for about 45 minutes, I popped each one out and set an almond on top of each. Now onto melting chocolate.
vegan almond joyThe recipe called for chocolate chips, but you can really use any sort of vegan chocolate. A block of dark Whittakers is the perfect amount. I debated about making some adjustments as I often find that melted chocolate is always a bit melty while you are trying to eat whatever you have made, but I decided to keep it simple. I knew that they would be yummy either way, even if I ended up with chocolate on my fingers.

I melted my chocolate, poured some into the 12 slots of the slightly bigger muffin case, popped each of the frozen coconut mix and almonds down, and then covered them with more chocolate. I thought this might be the easiest way, but the original recipe suggests using a fork to dip into the chocolate which would also work. If you do it this way, leave the almond out, dip in the chocolate, place the almond on top, and then pour chocolate over. Once all of mine were covered, I placed them back into the fridge to harden for another 45 minutes or so.
vegan bounty bar
Yum! I decided to keep these in the fridge and have been noticing them disappearing. They really are that yummy. Oh, how I love chocolate and coconut. These are definitely worth making, and the hardest part is probably being patient while you wait for them to set in the freezer and fridge. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Vegan Bagels with Cherub Dairy-Free Cream Cheese

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gluten free bagels

We waited so patiently to take these out of the oven as they smelled delicious. Our house still smells amazing! This is the first time that I have ever made bagels and experimented with yeast so I still feel that there is a bit of room for adjustments, but we definitely enjoyed these nonetheless.

My inspiration for these bagels was the recipe from Fork and Beans. Actually, I was just going to try out Cara’s recipe, but we needed to make some adjustments to work with what we had. If you haven’t seen her blog yet, she has some pretty amazing recipes that you may want to try.

Coming across this recipe on Pinterest along with the new release of New Zealand’s Cherub Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Alternative made me super excited for bagels and cream cheese. I grew up enjoying bagels and cream cheese. In California, there were bagel shops which made fresh bagels daily. It used to be pretty exciting to go buy fresh bagels from the bagel shop for breakfast. Now, I cannot even remember the last time I had a bagel with cream cheese, but I do remember that they were yummy.

gluten free bagel

So onto the recipe now. I was going to buy brown rice flour at Bin Inn the other day, but since they didn’t have any sorghum flour, I figured that I would get it when I came back. In the end, I ordered the flours online, but they only stocked white rice flour. I decided that it would have to do. Then I completely overlooked the fact that I didn’t get arrowroot powder either because they did not stock that either. My alternative was replacing the same amount with tapioca starch. Oh, and I ordered my flours from Gluten Free Store Ltd. The prices seemed a lot cheaper than many other shops, but unless you live in Auckland or close by, it may not be worth it. My shipping costs were extremely high! You can even pick up your items if you live in Auckland.

polentaAfter mixing my dough, I found it to be a bit dry. I was tempted to leave it, but then I could not resist wetting my hands and trying to make it a little better, but I did not want to make it too wet. Turns out, I probably should have. As this is something completely new to me, I did not want to risk ruining it. I should usually just go with my instinct though. As you can see in the pictures, they were not exactly perfect since it was a dry dough, but they still looked yummy. After letting them sit and boiling them in water (something I had not known before about bagel making), I set mine in polenta and then onto my tray. If you have cornmeal, that will work fine as that was what the original recipe called for anyways. As I am still stuck with finding a cooking brush, I had to just spoon some of my glaze on and add my toppings. I chose to add poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion flakes, and cumin seeds. You can play around with all sorts to come up with your favourite type of bagel. I am pretty sure I will stick to everything bagels as they are my favourite!

gluten free bagel

dairy free cream cheese

vegan cream cheese

Zaedyn gave it 2 thumbs up! He was lucky enough to have a little try a couple weeks ago from Hazel. I have been waiting to open ours knowing that it would have to be eaten within 7 days, but with plans to make bagels today, Zaedyn enjoyed some Cherub dairy-free cream cheese alternative on Orgran Toasted Multigrain Crispibread with Quinoa and on toast. He was a little bit uncertain about it at the start, but I think he has grown to like it. It is probably such a different taste than what he is used to, but he continued to eat it and was full of cheeky smiles.

dairy free cruskits

dairy free bagels

What do you think of Cherub Dairy-Free Cream Cheese alternative?

It is hard to know whether or not you will like it, but I definitely think that you should try it at least once to find out. Alternatives might not always be the same as what you remember, but at least they are cruelty free and over time your taste buds change. If you are someone who misses cream cheese or is just a bit curious like I was, you can order online or buy from stockists. Alice from Angel Food has done an awesome job providing dairy-free and vegan treats, and Cherub Dairy-Free is the next step which creates local dairy-free alternatives. I love the fact that these are being made right here in New Zealand. To find out more, you can visit their website, join their Facebook page, and check out an awesome interview from Doctor Feelgood.

Oh, and as far as the bagels, they were a super yummy way to enjoy Cherub’s cream cheese, but I think I will be experimenting a bit more to adjust the bagel recipe. I think that they could be just a bit softer in texture, but I am still loving the yummy smell coming from our kitchen. Let us know how else you enjoy your cream cheese alternative.

Vegan Red Lentil Dhal

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vegan curry

As I posted on our Facebook page since I couldn’t resist sharing earlier, Zaedyn gave a big thumbs up for our red lentil dhal we enjoyed for tea tonight. Can you believe it is the first time we have made this type of dish?! I suppose it isn’t a dish that I am familiar with making, and it really wasn’t until I was looking for early foods to try with Zaedyn that I even cooked red lentils.

As I am looking for ways to help increase my iron, I came across this super easy and yummy recipe for red lentil dhal. I pinned it onto my lentils board and have been thinking about it ever since. We finally had all of the ingredients and time to make it. Well, 10 minutes to make really isn’t long at all. See, I told you it was easy.

Now, curry paste is one of the ingredients, and I found it hard trying to find a vegan one in the supermarket since many contain ingredients such as shrimp paste. This makes things a bit tricky as well since I am sure many curry dishes that you might order from a restaurant will most likely not be vegan, but it isn’t a dish that you would possibly expect not to be. To be safe, we used a red Vegan Curry Paste from the Cruelty Free Shop. They also have a green and yellow one. If you are in NZ, the Vegan Society has a Korma Curry Paste and some other ingredients under Indian in their toolkit which you may find at your local supermarket. I have also just found some recipes online to make your own curry paste. Do you buy or make yours?

We pretty much followed the recipe. It might not be my recipe, but I do not see the reason to change something that is already great. It really was as simple as boiling the red lentils for 10 minutes and then adding the rest of the ingredients. We seemed to have the rest of the spices already, & we used Ceres Organic Coconut Milk. As the recipe only called for a 1/2 cup, please let me know if you have any other favourite ways to use coconut milk.

Of course, you cannot forget the rice, and we decided to steam some vegetables as well. We made broccoli, cauliflower, and snap peas.

I was really impressed and so excited to see how much Zaedyn enjoyed this new meal. I did not find it too spicy, but you can always adjust to you and your little one’s taste. Zaedyn loves rice so he was pretty excited. He seems to be loving broccoli at the moment as well, sticking the entire piece in his mouth, one after another! I gave him my broccoli, and he seemed to like eating what else was on my plate in addition to his own. He even left the table only to come back asking for mine and saying, “More” as he continued to keep eating more lentil dhal off my plate.

Vegan

As you can tell, this was a complete success. He had his bath and still came back looking for more. He makes me laugh. I would love to hear if you have any other favourite lentil recipes or ways to use up the rest of our coconut milk. If you decide to try this recipe, I hope you like it as much as we did. We have quite a bit leftover. I wonder if I can eat this for days in a row, or whether I might be able to freeze some. Any thoughts?

Win an ERGObaby Carrier

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Do you use an ERGObaby carrier for your little ones? Do you know about babywearing? Check out my previous post from Babywearing Week to learn more about babywearing.

To me, the carriers are a bit like cloth nappies. People choose different ones for various reasons to suit you and your family’s needs. Before Zaedyn was born, we had decided to use a sling. We received an awesome Nature’s Sway sling, and we even ended up getting a beautiful Maya Wrap sling. I don’t want to repeat myself too much so check out my post to see our slings in action. They really have been wonderful for us. To this day, Zaedyn still does not use his pram. We do have one, but he has never been very keen to sit in it. Well, it is currently collapsed down in our living room since we needed space in the car, and he loves sitting it in and pretending to drive. However, any walks with the pram end with me holding Zaedyn and pushing an empty pram!

We often hold Zaedyn wherever we go, but it is amazing how much that bit of extra support with a sling really helps. We are quite an adventurous family and have traveled all over New Zealand and overseas, many places which would not have suited a pram anyways. I have lost count of how many walks we have been on down to beaches, up the Mount, or to different waterfalls.

Getting to my point, Belly Beyond is having an ERGObaby giveaway which we would absolutely love to win. We also want to tell you about it in case you want to enter as well. As Zaedyn is almost 2 now, he is getting a bit heavy for us on some of our adventures. We really feel that an ERGObaby carrier is just what we need and would love for you to help support us in winning as well.

I was going to wait until next week until I shared some amazing news with everyone, but seeing as the photo includes this information and another reason why we are really hoping to win this carrier, I will share Zaedyn’s special announcement now…

vegan brother

We are very excited about the arrival of another little vegan bubz. I know that Zaedyn will be an awesome big brother, and we look forward to seeing our family grow. You will most likely be getting some updates and possibly a look back at my pregnancy with Zaedyn.

Once Zaedyn arrived, we seemed to travel even more to show him exciting places and provide him learning opportunities through exploration. We are hoping to continue to do so, and the thought of having an ERGObaby carrier will be very helpful. As my puku grows, our walks down the hill to Raglan with all of our beach gear and surfboards while holding Zaedyn is going to get a bit more difficult.

New Zealand

If we win, we will definitely be going on all sorts of adventures using the ERGObaby carrier and will write a post with our feedback to let you know how it is working for us. If you already use this carrier, or another one, please let us know what you think as well.

Please click on this link and LIKE the photo to help show us your support. It would mean heaps to us!

If you would like to enter the giveaway as well, click here.

Thanks so much, and we are very excited to announce our special news with you.

Spirulina Ice & Chisel

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ice and chisel

After our fun with spirulina playdough, I had been thinking about something I had pinned awhile back and how perfect it would suit this hot weather. The pin was frozen ice with dinosaurs and the hours of fun using a chisel to get them out. Since we do not have any dinosaurs, I debated about using his animals. I did not want to ruin them in the water, and I wasn’t sure if it was a great idea to be freezing animals since this kind of goes against what I believe. I mean, in no other circumstance would I be freezing animals, but then I thought about how much Zaedyn loves his animals and how it would be a great way for him to help save them.

I decided to freeze the animals in water, and add some colour on top after it was frozen. I was a little bit impatient letting it freeze for long enough though. I mixed a bit of spirulina into water, poured it on top, and placed the container back in the freezer. Since I did not wait long enough, the top layer mixed with the layer beneath. It actually worked out perfect to create more of a blue ocean, and the spirulina did not stain the animals.

The next day, we found the animals frozen in the freezer and brought them outside with Zaedyn’s hammer and chisel. He was very curious and uncertain about what we were doing, but he was also very interested. After showing Zaedyn what to do, he had a bit of fun, but also wanted Mummy’s help. We made sure to be very careful not to hurt our animals while trying to save them. Zaedyn loves to hold the hammer around the other way for some reason. No matter how many times you help him turn it, he makes sure to show you that is not the way he likes to do it. It was great to see him exploring with this new activity. He loved seeing the ice crack, and he had the biggest smiles on his face when the animals were free.

This is a great exploration activity for hand/eye coordination, understanding properties of water, perseverance, and having a bit of fun. Of course there are always more learning opportunities that arise with each child! I would love to keep doing this with Zaedyn and see how different or similar things go. Let me know if you do this with your children, or if you end up trying it. It is such a simple, yet fun learning opportunity that is great for warm weather (or even cold) and as an alternative to using hammers at a workbench.

Gluten-Free Spirulina Playdough

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gluten-free playdough

Ever wondered about gluten-free playdough with no food colouring? It is definitely possible! Some of you might be wondering if there is any point, but for some children even playdough is a huge concern. If a child cannot consume gluten, playing with playdough is still entering their skin and you never know what might end up in their mouth. I have never stopped Zaedyn from playing with white flour playdough as that is what we used at the centre, but seeing as we only buy gluten-free flour that is what we make at our house.

Another big concern for me in playdough is food colouring. There is a lot of controversy about the dangers and effects of food colouring, but an even bigger concern for me is the fact that they can be tested on animals or contain crushed insects.

Rather than use food dye, we opted to use some spirulina powder to make our playdough green. There are a number of ways to create your own natural dyes from juicing a variety of fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, or even tea bags. Check out this gluten-free pink playdough simply from using raspberry tea! I would love to hear any of your favourite playdough recipes or clever ways to make your own colours.

Spirulina Playdough
Zaedyn was pretty excited to play with the playdough as we have not made any for awhile now. After exploring the texture with his hands, the animals needed to come and join the fun.

Spirulina Playdough

Spirulina Playdough

He loved making lots of animal footprints in the playdough. This really sparked lots of imaginative play as Zaedyn was chatting away and setting the scene with his animal friends.

Spirulina Playdough

Of course this including feeding his lamb….

Spirulina Playdough

as well as Lamby and Kai giving kisses. Even through his play, you can really tell how much Zaedyn loves and cares for animals. It always makes me smile to see his compassion for animals shine through in every aspect of his life.

I am also always amazed at how something as simple as playdough can create endless amounts of fun and allow for different creative play whenever it is used. Playdough involves sensory play, imaginative play, and inspires lots of dispositions.

Do you remember playing with playdough as a child? Do your children have favourite materials they like to use while playing with playdough? Some ideas include kitchen toy sets, rolling pins and cookie cutters, golf tees and hammers, popsicle sticks or matchsticks, animals, natural resources, pompoms or pipe cleaners, etc. There are endless materials to provide, and I am sure your children will be creative and find their own materials to use through this open-ended exploration.