Sunday, March 21, 2010

A New Dehydrator and Old Food Photos

A few weeks ago I splashed out and bought a 9 tray Excalibar dehydrator! I was so excited, it was a purchase I that had been on my wish list for a while. We have put it to great use, drying mountains of apples, zucchinis, pears, peaches, grapes and more. It has pride of place in my kitchen - I have moved my almost unused microwave and put the dehydrator in its place!

apples with cinnamon sprinkled on. Mmmmm

zucchini chips with moroccan seasoning. Too good. 

The following are some old photos (when I say old, only from when we returned from Bali! So not that old really.) Just trying to catch up.

A crepe from Vegan Brunch, if my memory serves me!

Walnut bikkies from 1000 Vegan recipes
A tiffin lunch for the kids. On the left is a spaghetti sauce I spent AGES making.
The sauce.

Semolina Potatoes for breakfast.

An absolutely DELICIOUS burger! The patty was out of 1000 Vegan recipes and I made the bun.

I made peach jam!!!!! My first jam ever, and so good! I gave some to the next door neighbour and Popeye's mum with a loaf of freshly made bread. Oh and the same to my vegan friends in Frankston.

A raw breakfast. It ROCKS! It's called Raw Porridge. Soak a couple of handfuls of nuts (I like peans, cashews and almonds) overnight. Soak a handful of sultanas for 20 minutes, then place nuts, sultanas and chopped apple into food processor. I topped it with chia seeds and ground flaxseeds. Very filling.

A raw school lunch.

Raw Chocolate! Not bad, quite fudgey. I chopped it and add it to our banana icecream. 1T coconut oil, 1 -and-a-half T of agave, mix. Add 1t vanilla, mix. Add 2T cocao, mix. Pour into a small container lined with glad wrap and put in the freezer for a while. Mmmmmm

My raw 'diet' went really well for about 9 days. I was really enjoying it and feeling great. I have had a LOT of difficulty keeping up with making different meals for everyone - cooked for the kids and raw for me. The kids ate a lot of raw too, but I was still making them a cooked meal once a day (for lunch). By the time I had cooked their meal, I couldn't be bothered making something raw for myself. So now I am still about 60-70% raw. I would love to go more, but I think I need to go a bit slower, to slip the kids into this way of life. I think Baby does better on a raw diet. She often complains after a meal "feel how hot my tummy is. Feel my head." When she was eating a lot of raw with me she did not complain. Maybe with them homeschooling things will be a bit easier, because I can just make us all a smoothie or something. It's a bit tricky to send a fresh smoothie to school with them!

Speaking of homeschooling, Steph asked why I decided to homeschool my kids. There a a lot of reasons, and I will jot them down on my next blog entry. I have really noticed an improvement with Tweenie and her attitude and love towards her sister. (she hasn't committed to h/s yet, but I hope she does!) Tweenie, as lovely as she is, is often in trouble for her pre-teen attitude towards us, and everything else. Also she rarely has the time of the day for Baby, often stating that she hates her. She has little tolerance for Baby's differences and is always being quite nasty to her. Well, for the week or so Tweenie has been home she has been an ABSOLUTE DELIGHT!!! I'm not over exaggerating! She has played amazingly well with Baby, helping her with her work and including her in everything! Just goes to show how much crap she brings home with her from school. (so there is reason number 1 for homeschooling!!) Here is a picture of Baby and Tweenie working together to make a yummy fruit smoothie. They blended each fruit up individually and wanted to layer it.

Oh the joy!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Freaky Family

So much has been going on 'round here! For the most part, though, I have been able to keep up with everyones blogs - just haven't had time (or the inclination, really) to keep up with mine!

I've decided to add another freaky factor to our already freaky family (we already are viewed by others as 'a bit weird' because we are passionate vegans). I am going to homeschool my children.

Officially we are starting next term and the children are to finish off this term at school (Popeye's suggestion). Unofficially, we have started and they kids have stayed home here and there during the last few weeks.

It is totally legal in ALL states in Australia, and particularly easy to register in Victoria. You only need to send off a form for the Government to keep track of you and your children. No checks, no planning to show, no home visits, nothing.

Yesterday all three kids stayed home and we had a fantastic day. We watched a doco about hippopotamuses (which the kids loved! They now have an amazing fascination with documentaries!). Tweenie took notes and we discussed it all the way through. They had a couple of questions they wanted answered, so Tweenie wrote those down as well. When it had finished we wrote the questions on the whiteboard and they all chose one to research. Then they made little hippo books and wrote some hippo facts into it. This will be the start of our 'animal' themed lapbooks.

Then we went out to the shed. Popeye had a couple of boxed shelves he bought ages ago but never put together. Tweenie and YM were told to work together to assemble one, and Baby and I worked on the other. Baby and I worked really well - actually she did most of the work, I just facilitated. Tweenie and YM eventually got there, and learnt a lot along the way about working as a team, trying not to get frustrated, reading instructions carefully!

Next we went inside and worked together to make some lunch and do the dishes followed by watching another doco (this one on the giant octopus). After lunch Tweenie worked on her school project and YM and Baby individually read to me (Growing Granny Grasshead) and then they wrote directions on how to make a grasshead. Today I'll try and get the materials needed and they can make it themselves.

We watched yet another doco (I told you they loved them!) about black bears. Then I read a chapter of 'The Wishing Chair' By Enid Blyton (I just love how the children speak in those old books!!). Lastly we all went to the park (Popeye had made the long journey home to see us last night) and played a couple of games - S.P.U.D -which we changed to P.O.O to make the game go quicker; hospital tag; and dodgeball tag. So much fun!!

What a day! So much learning! So much fun! And our family is learning to love, respect and appreciate each other more. I love it!

Changing track a bit...I decided to go RAW for 90 days about 9 days ago. I have been going great guns! Not feeling hungry or left out. Lost 2 kgs. Yesterday, when the kids and I were making lunch I really just felt like some cooked food, so I had a bit of the lunch followed by a heap of lollies :( Oh well, back on track today. I don't feel bad about the cooked food - I figure I can have that whenever I feel like it- rather the lollies. I haven't even had any cravings for sugar all week. I think it was the all or nothing mentality. I ate cooked, so why not eat some other forbidden foods too!

Never mind, today is a new day!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Bali Part II

Boy have I had it with Blogger! I was very tempted to turn to Word Press today, although when I tried to download the zipped file (for Word Press) I couldn't work it out (in my defence we were on the way out, so I didn't spend to much time on it!). My issue with Blogger is still the photos issue- it won't recognise newly uploaded photos from iphoto- even if I turn it off and restart it! Grrr! This is why I have not posted so much! So I just worked out a L-O-N-G way of getting them to be able to be uploaded. So annoying, but they are here!

Here are the rest of my Bali photos. I am going to overload you with photos today, hope you don't mind! They are my favourite ones - some about food, others about fun. I hope you enjoy!

This is one of my meals at an Indian restaurant BEFORE I discovered where the locals eat! It was nice, just not very exciting.

As you know, I rarely include photos of myself (I HATE photos of myself!) but I just HAD TO include this one! The Buzz Lightyear backpack was what I was using to carry my stuff around Bali. After making a couple of purchases at this market stall, the lady asked if she could have the backpack for her son who was starting his FIRST day of school the next day. It didn't take long to convince me (how could I deny that request??) and I unloaded all of my stuff into the big black plastic bag she gave me. Little did I know that I would not be able to find a new backpack that I liked (for quite a few days actually!!) and I had to carry ALL my stuff from Poppy's Lane back to our hotel a few hours later!

Here we were at Water Bom Park which was directly across from our hotel! (We ended up coming here twice!). Tweenie had ordered Gado Gado once before and liked it, so she thought I would be a good veg option here. Unfortunately this version was waaaaayyyyyy too hot for her (and they had mixed in egg to it). As you can tell from the look on her face she did not enjoy it!




Tweenie trying some fruit. There was also mangos, passionfruits among others

These photos are all at the start of the BEST day I had in Bali. We were picked up and driven out of Bali for about an hour before we stopped here. This was only the first stop for the day. There was coffee and hot cocoa testing (which I didn't try because I hate hot drinks) before we moved onto this section where we could taste all of this amazing fruit and then purchase it for about $A1 per kilo! The range was amazing and exotic! I ended up purchasing quite a few kilos of fruit which we happily munched on for days!

On the ground near the fruit were these chilli's drying in the sun. Such brilliant colours.

They also sold this AMAZING chocolate! All VEGAN! I bought 2 blocks (and didn't take long to gobble it all up!).

We were then taken to the restaurant at the bottom of the volcano for breakfast. It was here that I discovered Pineapple Jam! One of the workers raced up to the local mart and bought me 2 jars of it (which I ate before we left Bali - it was a delicious addition to the hotel's breakfasts).

The main event of the day was a couple of hours bike ride through some local villages. My whole family and a couple of my aunt's friends went along for this adventure (there were 13 of us all together). It was sooooo much fun! The bloke who runs it uses locals to help out when they have a big group. The business was called Celebrity Cycling Tours and I highly recommend them. Riding through the little villages with children waving and shouting 'Hello' to us was great! It was the 'culture shock' I was aiming for with my kids. They loved it too and had no trouble with cycling for that long (it does help that our bikes are our main source of transport here!).

This was THE highlight of the day. We completed the ride by stopping at the tour owner's house where his mum and sister had cooked a feast for us. When we booked (the cycling tour) we let them know that 4 of us were vegan and they said it would be no problem catering for us. I was AMAZED at the wonderful array of vegan food available to eat - it was at least 50-50 with omni food (I was preparing myself for rice and a veggie dish). The other bonus was that a lot of the others didn't like the fresh coconut so I gorged myself with fine food and extra coconut milk. If you ever go to Bali, go on this cycling tour! I can't recommend them highly enough!
Ugg! Sorry for the direction of the photo! Mongoo chocolate from the department store next to the hotel (we stayed at the Bali Garden Resort) as recommended by Lisa.

Awesome local food parcels by the pool of the hotel! This is what we lived on for lunch and dinner once I discovered where the local food was! Each parcel was less than $A1!!!!!!!!!

This was at the monkey forest. Sooo cute!! I was a bit reluctant to go here, thinking it was some sort of exploited zoo, but it turns out that they are free. There were so many monkeys!

After the monkey forest (which was after the wood carving place- they are amazing carvers!) our driver took us to Tanna Lot. It is a fascinating temple built in the ocean that can only be accessed during low tide. We wanted to get there for sunset (as did a million other tourists!) as the sun sets directly behind the temple providing a beautiful backdrop.

Although the picture quality isn't the best, I love this photo! It is of us with my Aunty Tina, Uncle Mike and their grandson Dylan (who they care for full time). They are my favourite relations and were my rock when all the shit blew up with my (ex) family. Love you all!

So there you have it....the best pics of my time in Bali. Of course there are a million and one other photos (I WAS there for 12 days) but rather than bore you with them (like a grandma with baby photos!) I have chosen the ones that mean the most to me. Hope you enjoyed them.