Sunday, 7 September 2014

Raw Vegan Sushi

Another day, another raw food recipe. This one is Raw Vegan Sushi. Its something that I made up on the spot as today I was running late for work, I didn't grab anything for lunch and I didn't feel like fast 'food'. So off I went to the shops to see what I could invent. These rolls were the result.


- Nori Sheets
- avocado
- Noosh (nutritional yeast)
- himalayan salt
- fresh pepper
- Spinach
- rocket
- cucumber
- alfalfa
- Tamari sauce


- scoop of avocado and mash with tsp of noosh, pinch of salt and pinch of fresh ground pepper
- spread avocado evenly over two nori sheets.
- place sliced cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, rocket and spinach on top of avocado mash.
- roll up sushi sheets. Hold until they keep their shape.
- Use a wet sharp knife to cut into bit sized slices.
- sprinkle a little tamari sauce over.
- Enjoy

I'll probably be eating these for lunch everyday this week now that I have all the ingredients at work. They were so yum and easy to make.

Raw Vegan Pasta with Pesto

Now that Summer is almost here, I will be incorporating a LOT more raw foods into my diet. The main issue I have with most raw foods is that they generally take a lot of preparation (soak nuts for hours/dehydrating/blending). I like my raw foods to be QUICK and EASY with minimal preparation and equipment.
I like a lot of pesto with my pasta but I didnt have much pesto left over from my freezer stash, only about 2 Tablespoons. So I mixed what I had with half a mashed avocado. It was devine, I will be doing this ALWAYS

So here is the recipe:


Makes enough for one lunch and one snack; or for four 'sides'

- 2 zucchinis
- handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 button mushrooms
- big handful of spinach
- pesto (recipe here) (use approx 2 Tbsp)
- half a mashed avocado
- pumpkin seeds

- Rinse Zucchinis and slice length-ways into thirds.
- using a peeler 'peel' zucchini into strips, which will resemble tagliatelle (can also use a spiralizer  or mandoline slicer)
- sit zucchini pasta in a colander to drain
- finely chop spinach and mushrooms
- mix pesto into mashed avocado
- Place zucchini pasta in a large bowl, mix through pesto/avocado mix, add spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, gentley mix.
- serve with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

This is delicious. It is so creamy and filling. I find when eating raw foods, due to a lack of calories in the food, I need to eat LOTS of it. The above recipe is what I eat for lunch, with a bit leftover for a snack later in the day. There is also enough for about four people as a side for a main dish.

A Weekend at the Beach

Last weekend, Gigi spent some time with her Dad at Golden Beach on the Sunshine Coast. From all accounts, they had a great time- Op Shopping for a new hat and sunglasses; eating ice-cream; and kayaking in the Pumicestone Passage. 

From Golden Beach, it is a short paddle across the passage to the northern end of Bribie Island. This part of the island is uninhabited and as a lovely view back to Caloundra and the coastline.  

 On Sunday, we had a 'family day' at Shelley Beach. The beach isn't very good for swimming, but its great for collection shells. When the tide goes out, it reveals lots of rock and rock pools to explore. If you arrive at high tide, I recommend walking along the beach to the north (left when facing the ocean) towards the headland. There is a number of 'streams' that meet the ocean and interesting caves at the headland. By the time you've walked back, the tide should be low enough to walk along the rocks to the south (right when facing the ocean). You are able to walk a fair distance along the rocks and there is a stunning view of Caloundra in the foreground and the Glasshouse Mountains in the background.

As a bonus there is lots of sea-life trying to find refuge during the low-tide. We chased lots of crabs, squirted water from the sea squirts and watched the sea slugs make their way across the rocks.

Gigi loves exploring, climbing and jumping across the rocks.

Monday, 1 September 2014

August Garden Update

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that despite being neglected for two weeks, whilst we were on holidays, the veggie garden is still thriving and most of my bok choys are either ready to eat now, or will be in the next few weeks. Some have been eaten by pests, both of the insect variety and the two-legged variety. My pest control methods are limited to picking off any grubs I find and feeding them to the chickens; and encouraging Gigi to eat only whats within arms reach. I have so many bok choys this year, I'm not that worried about loosing a few leaves here and there.

Happily eating raw bok choy, will not eat it in stir-fry
 I bought a small compost tumbler from Aldi and spend an afternoon putting it together with lots of 'help' from Gigi. Its only about 140L, but I thought it was a good place to start as I've never composted anything before. Our fruit and veggie scraps have always gone to the goats, with meat and dairy going to the dogs. Now that I've got chickens, I thought I'd compost their nesting box 'waste' and also the straw from the bottom for their pen.
Compost Tumbler
One afternoon, my dad used the tractor to collect broken down goat poo from the goat shed and load up two of our unused garden beds. In the raised bed, I plan to plant all of my amaranth seeds, some beans, which apparently are good feed for chickens and a few random seeds in my seed collection, which I have no idea what they are. My dad wants to plant 'real' tomatoes (not cherry ones) and rockmelon in the other garden. 

The three garden beds
 In the winter garden beds, the winter crops will be finishing up soon. I've been picking a handfull of snow peas most days and the beans are starting to 'ripen' now too. I think I might also have a late crop of strawberries, as the flowers are starting to develop into fruit.

The dill has been flowering like crazy and I'm not sure whether I should collect some seeds, or just collect new seedlings when they pop up and replant them in appropriate locations. 

Gigi enjoying a snow pea
Checking out the Dill Flowers

The chooks have picked up their egg output, as they mature. We are getting at least two to three eggs every day, although they refuse to lay in their nesting box and have instead chosen to lay under a bush in the garden. Just another reminder that despite my preferences and wishes, animals do whatever suits them. Another example is in the photo below, where my ladies have turned my seedling box into a dust bath. All four chooks get in there and have a roll around. Needless to say, all the seedling either were eaten, scratched out or died. I have no intention to do anything to keep them out of the box, instead I'll find somewhere else to grow seedlings. Life is about picking your battles after all. 

August Holiday in Fiji

As mentioned in my prior post, my Mum, Gigi and I had a holiday together for two weeks in Fiji. It was brilliant. Such a great holiday destination for kids. Gigi got disruptive and throw tantrums at times. None of the islanders batted an eye, apparently everyone knows and accepts what Toddlers are like.

I also found it interesting, that everywhere, men, women and older kids all fussed over Gigi- saying hello, asking her name and occasionally giving her a kiss on the cheek.  I know that some people would probably be bothered by that, but i thought it was great, and Gigi responded really well to it.
Singers serenading some guests
We stayed at the Wyndham Resort on Danarau Island, which I have to admit was beautiful, even though resorts are not really my preferred method of holidaying. The staff were great and very patient with kids. It wasn't unusual to see an activities staff member being followed by two or three kids. Every evening, there was a 'torch lighting ceremony' where a man dressed traditionally, went around the resort lighting all fires with a torch. Every evening he was followed by a pack of 10-20 kids.
Nana and Gigi on the bus. Most had no windows, just rolled up canvas.
We didn't hire a car or anything and found it really easy to get around via the local bus system. The buses are AMAZING, they seemed to go everywhere we wanted and only cost a few dollars per trip. Plus we met and chatted with heaps of interesting local people, who were more than happy to offer advice for where to visit and how to get there. If the bus didnt go to where we wanted, it always went within a few kilometres and it was easy enough to flag down a cab to take us the rest of the way.

Nana, Mumma and Gigi at the Mud Pools at Sabeto
Mumma and Gigi

Gigi 'snorkeling' 
South Sea Island
Our highlights of the trip were the mud pools at Sabeto, which we caught a bus near, then a cab the rest of the way; the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, which is about 1km from the mud pools and I recommend doing both on the same day; a day cruise out to South Sea Island; a trip down to Natadola Beach, again the local bus can drop you off near it and it is easy to get a cab to the beach; and the Village of Viseisei, where we met a lovely family with kids around Gigi age, who befriended us.

Gigi at Natadola Beach
Some local kids at Natadola Beach

As we stayed in a resort, food was ridiculously expensive. We asked a staff member where a good place was to buy food and she told us to catch the bus into Nadi from Danarau and to get off at the last stop, as there is a Fresh Market there. The market was fantastic! So much fresh fruit and vegetables for sale and quite cheap too! Also the market is open every day, with different produce each day. We bought all our food needs- bananas, pineapples, papaya, eggs, watermelon, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, butter, raw honey, cassava, cucumber, bok choy, zucchini, herbs etc. I couldnt get over the variety of food and the freshness. There were also a lot of foods i'd never seen before, like taro, some giant green banana (apparently sweet, not a plantain), yams, some weird spiky fruit and something that looked like a yam, but i think was Rutabaga?
We cooked all our meals in our unit and took fresh fruit and picnics with us everyday to try and save  money to spend on experiences and adventures. 

Green gazebo at the garden of the Sleeping Giant
Nana and Mumma at the Garden
Gigi and Nana at the Garden

In my suitcase, I packed seven outfits to last the two weeks (obviously had to wash a few times) and the rest of my suitcase I filled with Gigi's clothes that no longer fit her. Initially I thought I'd give them to a Church, but I ended up giving them to the family we met in Viseisei village to use for their kids and to pass around to other family members or friends. I also took several story books and gave those to the kids, as well as hats and some shoes.

Gigi and the village kids harassing a chicken

saying goodbye at the airport
 I would definitely like to make Fiji a yearly holiday, but I think the next time we go, I'll try to find us a farm stay or a BnB to stay at. Danarau Island is a fake island, created by developers and full of 4-5 star resorts. Definitely not a place to experience the 'real' Fiji.
All in all, we had a fantastic trip and I hope Gigi will retain some memories of it.

Back from holidays and settling in to regular routine

Well I haven't written a post for about 6 weeks because we've been super busy.

The last weekend in July was my niece, Asha's 2nd birthday party. My sister in law made her a gorgeous Peppa Pig Cake. And Gig, Asha and Lily had a great afternoon.

Unfortunately I came down with a really bad cold that weekend, almost bordering on flu-symptoms. It was such bad timing because I had heaps going on at work and Gigi, my mum and I were flying out to Fiji for a holiday at the end of the week. Lucky for me our lemon tree has been absolutely loaded, so I spend a week absolutely smashing down Lemon/Garlic/Raw Honey 'Juices'. I ate about six lemons and three bulbs of garlic in four days. Luckily I couldn't smell myself, but my family and colleagues assured me that I absolutely reeked of garlic. The magic potion worked though, and I went from deaths door on Monday, to bouncing off the walls on Thursday and ready for an adventure in Fiji.

Magic Potion
 We've had so many lemons that my Mum has been going crazy making Lemon Tarts left, right and centre. I think she made maybe 6 tarts in two weeks to give away to friends and eat.