Category Archives: Mahinga Kai

Tranquility

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Zen

From Garden to Plate: Growing Sustainable Vegan Food

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From garden to plate, or straight to mouth, here is a quick look at some of the food we have been growing in our garden. With lots of learning along the way, we are enjoying the experience in learning to live a more sustainable life through this process as well as eating delicious healthy vegan meals made with lots of aroha (love).

Vegan

Growing Garden in December

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Zaedyn picks kale & nasturtium to share with Lamby (who will NEVER end up on a plate)

zucchini

courgettes/zucchini

Garden

green garden

Raw Vegan

vegan chocolate

Vegan

Raw Gluten-Free Vegan Walnut Taco Wraps

Raw Gluten-Free Vegan Walnut Taco Wraps with fresh salsa, avocado, cashew “sour cream”, & coriander (cilantro)

What are you growing in your garden, or what do you hope to plant? How do you live a more sustainable life?

Check out my growing Sustainability board on Pinterest for a few ideas!

Love of Teepees

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Has anyone else planted a bean teepee (tipi) this year?

Ours is growing pretty quickly. It isn’t too late to start now.

Teepees can be so much fun. We love them.

They are great to sleep in…

Teepee

They are a fun place to read books…

Bamboo Teepee

and kanikani (dance)…

kanikani

They are great to drink smoothies in…

Bamboo Teepee

Plus, they are great for hiding away and eating some beans 🙂

Tipi

We are still waiting for ours to come in as we planted a bit late to avoid our lamb from eating them, but they are growing so quickly. I need to get a photo update. We have yet to plant our snap peas.

Beans and peas are an easy raw nutritious snack that are fun to eat. We bought some peas that David and I have been enjoying and so has Zaedyn. He showed a lot of concentration and coordination when trying to get them out. With each one full of different amounts, we also used them as a fun way of counting. Tahi, rua, toru, whā, rima, ono, whitu, waru, iwa, tekau. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.

Zaedyn is learning about being sustainable and growing his own food in a fun and positive way. I cannot wait to see how our bean teepee turns out and watching him pick fresh beans from the plant to eat. The garden provides so many wonderful opportunities to learn and care for the environment.

Garden Beans

There are so many teepees available to purchase and many opportunities for you to make them yourself. Do you or your children like teepees?

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving

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vegan
What a beautiful way to celebrate Thanksgiving with sunflowers. I really appreciate being given these. Of course, I think everyone celebrating with sunflowers would be a much better Thanksgiving tradition!

Sunflowers are useful in many different ways. I am sure Zaedyn would love planting some and watching them grow. It is amazing how tall some of them grow. They would quickly pass him! Besides having beautiful flowers, sunflower seeds are yummy and very nutritious. Did you know that you can actually save the seeds and replant them once they have dried out? Have you ever tried to grow sunflower sprouts? Yum! I can think of many ways to use sunflower seeds.

So we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving by ordering lots, I mean HEAPS, of Raw & Living Foods from Living Foods Lifestyle New Zealand and Revolution Food Company. Okay so not exactly the reason, but I suppose I can use Thanksgiving as an excuse for my latest purchases. Yes, Irish Moss was one of those items so I will definitely be making some Raw Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie. I always seem to get carried away, but there was even more that I could have purchased. I definitely restocked a few items that I needed and added a few things that I am excited to try for the first time. Has anyone tried Pili nuts? I would love to try them, but I could not afford them after everything else I found. Let me know what you think of them and hopefully I can try them at some point. Oh, and I even bought Sunflower Lecithin. See, sunflowers really are versatile. Anyways, once I get my orders you can expect to see some exciting raw food being created.

Different Coloured Nasturtium

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Zenobia Barlow, “Confluence of Streams”
“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.”

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Edible Flowers

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sling

Zaedyn was so excited to be in the sling to help his Dad mow the lawn. He loves to be outside, and he was fascinated as he kept his eyes on the lawn mower. What a great advantage to babywearing!

After the front was mowed, we made our way out back. While the boys were mowing the lawn, I was busy trying to tidy up the garden. I had noticed that some of our nasturtium leaves were getting very big the other day. I quickly glanced over, and I saw a big yellow flower. Our very first Nasturtium!

Edible Flower
Zaedyn really wanted the big spade, but when he couldn’t quite pick it up, he settled for the small one. He was being so helpful. He was watching David dig. David would jump on the spade and put all of his weight down. Zaedyn pretended to do the same, but his two feet never left the ground. He quickly kept bending his knees almost as if he was dancing. He had David and I both laughing. It was so cute.


Since he was too busy gardening before, he had not taken notice of our nasturtium flower. After he enjoyed his yummy passionfruit smoothie, he became interested in trying the nasturtium. Eating flowers is not necessarily new to Zaedyn. He quite likes to pick flowers off the lawn to eat! He munched our edible flower and seemed quite happy. Unfortunately I did not have any more to give him, although we did have some more delicious vegan pumpkin cookies.
Edible Flowers
Vegan
What is your favourite edible flower? I started an Edible Flowers board on Pinterest that I will continue to update as well as  others. Lots of new pins on Smoothies to inspire you for Smoothie a Day ~ November.

Regrowing Mint: Water or Soil?

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Ever wonder if this actually works? I have never tried to regrow mint as it does seem to grow in abundance on its own, but I wanted to regrow some cuttings for the tamariki at the centre. With summer coming, the teachers are sorting out the garden with intentions of building a sensory area including herbs.

Mint is a hardy plant that can be easily grown by children. It makes a great addition and aromatic aspect to playdough or clay by adding hot water to fresh mint leaves and using as an essence. Add mint to water in ice cube trays and freeze. This adds a twist of a natural sensory aspect to the understanding of the physical properties of water leading to curiosity, contribution, and exploration. I am sure that the tamariki will love picking mint from their garden and knowing that they helped it to grow. This also adds to their sense of responsibility and sustainability as they develop an appreciation for the environment. There are even more learning opportunities through science concepts, collaboration, patience, and observation. The list goes on.

Gardening provides children with a real sense of purpose and a meaningful way to explore nature.

I may have cut the mint a bit longer than I should have, but I was very surprised and excited as I walked past and saw the roots. I did not know if the cuttings would regrow and was uncertain as to whether or not they should be in water or soil, but it looks like this was a success. We will continue to watch the roots grow before planting them.

Anyone else need mint? Would love to hear if anyone else has tried this, or can share successful or unsuccessful experiences regrowing plants from cuttings.

***tamariki means children

Homeopathy for Your Garden?

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arnica

Homeopathy for your garden? Has this left you in confusion or curiosity? I will admit to being a bit uncertain when first reading about homeopathy for plants, but it supposedly works! I am a strong believer in homeopathy and of course I am keen to see if it works. Why wouldn’t it?

We were busy enjoying the sunshine today and sorting out our garden. We were so excited about all of our plants, but most of them have been growing in our kitchen as we could not decide where to plant them. Our backyard is amazing, full of natural elements and a decent size, but the designated garden area has remained a bit of a mess. There are wooden boxes there, but the ivy and weeds from previous neighbours just seemed to be embedded in the soil when we first moved in. Every year, we start to tidy things up, but we only get so far. Last year, I ended up using tires with my parsley in a pot and my strawberries in one of the veggie boxes. Actually, my strawberries have been there for a few years now. I was not very good at pulling weeds out this year, and many of my strawberry plants have disappeared. I think it might be time to move the few left into a new area.

Anyways, the other day when we were out playing in the garden, I thought it would be awesome to incorporate some of the plants alongside what will hopefully become an inviting play area for Zaedyn. The entire backyard is exciting to Zaedyn, but I can see this area further developing, especially with a bean teepee. I did not want to block Zaedyn’s climbing area as he was resourceful in using these logs as a natural climbing frame.
Nature

Logs

Zaedyn needs to be just a little bit taller, but he knows his limits. I observed as he was busy making his own fun and being adventurous. He is willing to give everything a go. I love how the aspect of nature brings out some amazing dispositions that are reflected though his play and cheeky personality.

Garden

Some plants would look beautiful here…

Nature

I will come back to a few more natural play ideas, but let’s get back to the garden. I put my kale outside yesterday and noticed a huge change today already from the wind. I have had great success growing plants in my kitchen only to put them outside not to thrive as they were previously. I remembered receiving a homeopathic newsletter talking about Arnica for transplanting plants. I quickly tracked it down and had a quick read. All you need to do is add a couple pillules or drops of Arnica to the water in your watering can and water your plants. As you would take Arnica for shock, plants benefit as well from the shock of transplanting them. Isn’t that amazing? It makes a lot of sense to me and is so easy as well.

I do not have any background with homeopathy and plants, but would love to read this recommended book Homoeopathy for Farm & Gar­den by Vaikunthanath Das Kaviraj. You can even use homeopathic remedies as natural herbicides. Anyone else interested? Check out Homeoplant.

Now added to Zaedyn’s play area is kale, some nasturtium, and blueberry BlueMagic. I hope that it will manage the shock of being outside and continue to thrive. Our parsley is always in abundance! Having bought miso from the Herbal Dispensary yesterday, I almost have all of the ingredients I need along with fresh parsley from the garden to make Edamame Dip. Thanks for pinning it for me, Mum. I am very curious as to how this will taste. Will definitely share my thoughts once I have made this dip.

I was going to continue the post with Zaedyn’s exploration in the garden with natural resources and the happiness that comes with sunshine, but I have been sidetracked and it is far too late for me to still be awake right now. I will still post about this soon though and will leave you with a photo from today in case you have not seen it already on Facebook. Zaedyn is rehydrating with a fresh young coconut after running around heaps with Kai, our rāpeti/rabbit.

Young Coconut

As you make your way out into the garden, remember that you can use homeopathy for your plants as well as yourself for things such as hayfever or even bee stings (hopefully not something you will come across). Hope everyone continues to enjoy the sunshine.

Our Veggie Garden

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courgettes

last year’s veggie garden

Yum! We utilised tires for our last year’s garden as we were not exactly sure what to do with our veggie boxes, and I cannot say that much has changed. The area still seems to be such a mess! Weeds and ivy always take over the area. We have previously thought about putting some stones down. I would love to completely renovate the area into a beautiful garden, but I am just not sure where to begin. I look forward to spending lots of time out in the garden this summer with Zaedyn and seeing him pick his own fresh fruit and veggies to eat.

We did not end up planting a whole lot or spending much time out in the garden last year between the holidays, work, and spending time at the Mount and in Rarotonga. I am really looking forward to this year’s garden and still deciding what to plant and how we can manage to sort our garden area out. We will definitely look at planting courgettes, yellow squash, cucumbers, capsicum, and strawberries again. Unfortunately a lot of my strawberries have seemed to disappear over the last few years, but I still have a few that I am going to look at replanting. Our parsley is always growing, and I am still looking at where to plant the mint, kale, passionfruit, blueberries, nasturtium, and guavaberry within our garden. They are currently in pots until I hopefully clear the area out and create our beautiful garden! Always hopeful intentions and am hoping that this year will be full of edibles for Zaedyn. So far I have also thought about baby tomatoes, beans, and jicama. I love jicama! I have not been able to find fresh jicama yet in New Zealand, but I will let you know if I ever do. A quick research and I came across some jicama seeds from King Seeds so I might need to order some. I could get lost on their site as I would love to grow all sorts.

I will continue to keep you posted on how our garden is going. Please feel free to share any tips, ideas, or even what might be growing in your garden this year.