Sunday, 23 February 2014

Fabulous February

Raw Food.  Mmmmn, don't know if I could do it 3 meals a day, every day, but we do try to eat a good portion of our food as raw.  Fruit servings and a Big salad every night with our cooked meal. A nice arrangement we have, I make the "unhealthy" cooked meal, Mike makes the "healthy" portion - a salad.  So, given that I am not the best baker in the World, it was with curious skepticism that I made a rawfood Valentine's Chocolate Tart.  Wow!  Blown away!  And the ingredients were so health-zestful, that we could eat second servings without a stroke of guilt.  Oooh, baby!  And the piece d' resistance?   We used our own garden-grown bananas and strawberries.
Valentine's Chocolate Pie
Raw pie crust
1/4 cup liquid raw honey
1 cup finely ground almond meal (I used LSC)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 medjool dates, pits removed (I used 12 ordinary, soaked for 15mins)
3 Tbspn organic virgin coconut oil

Add all ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth.  Press mixture evenly around a 20cm loose bottom pie dish to form the crust.  Freeze while you make the filling.

3 small overripe bananas
2 large perfectly ready avocadoes
1/3 cup liquid raw honey
1/2 tspn pure vanilla essence
5-6 TBspn cocoa powder
1/3 cup virgin cold pressed coconut oil
50g melted raw cocoa butter (optional- I did not use)
1/4 cup water
Whizz all filling ingredients together until smooth and creamy.  Pour into pie crust and place in the refrigerator to set for an hour.  Top with fresh fruit just before serving.
(Recipe taken from Summer 2013 Nourish Magazine)

Warning:  This pie is decadently wicked and seriously healthy!!

Passionfruit, strawberries, blueberries, courgettes, cucumber and tomatoes.

In the garden:
Harvests have been frequent and frenetic.  Passionfruit, strawberries and blueberries, bananas, prunes (sweet plums), mandarins, pears, lemons, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers, leeks and new yellow runner beans.  Phew!  But I did remove all the spent tomato and cucumber plants  in bed 3 and 5 - to make way for the winter green leafy crops.  As our fruit trees (olives and lemons) have grown bigger on the Eastern boundary of our garden, it leaves little room for navigating around them, what with our supported berries growing along the fence, so I ripped them all up and Mike shredded them in the mulcher for compost material.   No big loss, I never managed to collect many raspberries anyway, due to never getting round to bird-netting them.

2 baskets of pears - I have made pear crumble, dehydrated pears and we have been having them in smoothies - their dash will soon be over, and the birds are tucking in for a pear feast.  Time to tidy up all the summer overgrowth.  Looks like a jungle again.  Thing is - you could spend your life weeding!

Removing all fence-huggers (raspberries and loganberries)

Ramble of raspberries and weeds - out they go!!
In the kitchen: 
 Every time we reach this time of year - and I ask myself, with all this food around me - "Is it a blessing or is it a curse?"  Trying to preserve or eat such abundance is a mammoth task.  But is is a lifestyle born of a passion to be sustainable, so onwards I go.  This weekend, I froze 2 bags of yellow beans, made 2 lots of pasta sauce to freeze, 2 fruit crumbles - 1 pear and 1 peach.  2 bags of tomatoes have just been frozen for use at a later date.   Plus 3 bottles of preserved peaches.  Like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the long winter!!
Bountiful Harvests

And more...

Our wonderful HelpX friend, Sebastian, with Mike.
Sebastian came all the way from Germany and  helped us so much in the 2 weeks he was with us - from weeding, mulching and composting, to painting 2 walls of our garden shed, a brilliant blue.  Looks marvellous!  It's great to have an extra pair of hands to help.  And it is always amazing to note how these "stranger'' arrive, creep into our hearts and lives, and then leave as friends.

One of my many hand-made bird houses -
no-one took up the housing option this Spring.
Must find out what they need to move in.....
On the Exercise Front:
I have a funny little story to share.  I decided this year should be a time of organised exercise for me.  I joined a Chi Ball exercise class last year and quite enjoyed the whole process.  But after 5 classes, the teacher decided to pull the plug on the evening class and just run the morning class.  Damn!  So this year, I spied a new class advertised in our local rag.  Ninjutsu.  Right!  I thought I remembered a friend mention it.  So after a long chat to the instructor on the phone, he assured me that the class was just what I needed - no competition, no fighting, no strenuous sit ups and push ups.  So off I went to the Wrestling Club hall 3 Thursdays ago.  3 young Maori guys had turned up. And me.  I was assigned the top black belt student as a mentor.  So first off, I look down at his shoes - soft leather with a pouch for the big toe, and the other four in their own little snug compartment.  Mmmn, I remember thinking:  "I'll do this class, just so I can own a quirky little pair of shoes like those!"

So I learned the first 4 "moves" and they were cool, nothing too strenuous there.  I was thinking, how cool is this?  Ninja Granny, here I come!  Next up, the rolls.  He had me rolling forwards, then sideways - after about 8 of these, I started to feel distinctly dizzy and told him.  Just 2 more to show - backward rolls.  Okay, so off I go, surprising myself at my ability to scoot my whole body over itself, backwards.  I stood up, instantly the world roared in my ears and I was so nauseous, that I had to hold my hand up to him and say;"Stop!"  I managed to tell him that I just had to sit for a while.  20 minutes later, the nausea had not left and it was all I could do to get to my car and drive home, praying I wouldn't pass out.  I felt Big Time Bad!  What was I thinking???  At my age? Never having exercised for the last 25 years, to go and do a Ninjutsu class??  I mean, this is the root origin word of Ninja!  My vestibular system is fragile at any rate, and I suffer from serious motion sickness.  All that rolling around just about did me in.  I went to straight to bed and never got up again that evening!

Fast forward to the next week, and I was off to try out another class - Tai Chi.  Meditation in Motion.  Boy, this one is my kinda exercise class.  We spend more time watching the demonstrations than doing any real moves, and half way through we get to have green tea and biscuits (I take my own tea - green tea is far too healthy tasting for me!!).  So I signed up for 5 months.  Instantly.   And Mike has signed up too.  Watch me get all Zen!

And on the Heart front, Sob!
My daughter is moving out of home in a day's time.  It will just be me and Mike left.  Oh, and the cat.  Shayni is moving to Hamilton, where our son, Cam is also based.  She will be studying her 2nd year of Early Childhood Education.  We have to take her and deliver her up to the Adventures of Life Away from Home, on Tuesday.  She's all excitement, I'm like, "Oh no, who am I going to nag constantly to tidy up their room now?"  She drives me CuhRaZee but I am sure going to miss her!  I'll miss her constant singing (little nightingale), her quirkiness and playfulness.  Her hugs, her teasing, her company.  I guess I'll just have to play with the cat!  And hug Mike.

Or I could just play with Mike.  And hug the cat!

Moving on.

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