Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules – Sugar Soil

Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules

Source: Eat Healthy With These 6 Rules – Sugar Soil

I’m not normally one for lists. This one thought ticks off pretty closely against my green journey – now into its ninth month…

Eat when hungry

Absolutely!! I take two big smoothies to work with me each and work on these through the day; at home I keep a big bowl of fruit for snack attacks…


Choose water over any other beverage

This goes hand in hand with ‘eat when hungry’…often a good slurp of good water, maybe with some infused raw fruit and/or herbs or spices is as good as something to eat. Taking a good slurp is still hard after many years conserving each and every sip of water that we had to carry but I’m working on it…

Let veges play the lead role

What is the key noun in your recipe title? If it’s a vegetable, or to a lesser degree, a fruit (fruity recipes are often desserts and so carry more temptative risk) then you are probably on the right track: I’m not anti-meat…you just don’t need it for a good meal…still a nice treat..

I’d just socked up on veges when the big fridge decided to time out and so I have had to focus on consuming a lot of my reserve stock as the big freezer is maxed out with the contents of the fridge’s freezer. To dispose of a pumpkin, I pureed the flesh, cleaned and dried the seeds for other projects, and fed the roasted skins to the Cujos…I’ve been using the puree in a range of dishes to reduce the quantity to something that will fit int he freezer…yes, I have been making the pumpkin and oatmeal muffins again, and will try pumpkin porridge in the morning. A particular success has been pumpkin chai latte (i’ll write the recipe up in a couple of days): no dairy, and only a half teaspoon of honey for sweetening…veges lead…


Choose foods closest to their natural form

Eliminate the middle man. As much as possible work with the original raw material, avoid as many processing stages as you can, like, before it gets to you…be the master of your food’s destiny…it doesn’t take a big investment in money or time to be able to make yourself many of the items you buy prepackaged from the supermarket…almond and coconut milk would be one of the easiest and cheapest…DSCF0271.JPG…a bread maker will pay for itself in less than a year as well as giving you the flexibility of making what you want when you want it…buy the raw materials and see where the journey takes you…why buy a lemon/ginger/honey mix for winter coughs and colds when you can make a better one yourself…?

Portion Control

Lots of little, not just a few big is the way to think. In 1999, I was attached to a Malay Ranger unit near KL…the Officers Mess routine was six meals a day and some of the other Kiwis struggled with this. Many Asian countries work on this more little meal idea and it works really well…goes hand in hand with the concept of eat when hungry…in addition, these meals spaced through the day and into the evening were when the CO interacted with his officers: you had to be there anyway…lots of little…

Eat Healthy-ish

Ish, exactly…no regimented counting points or grams of sugar or mls of water consumed…eat within your own healthy guidelines…and enjoy falling off the wagon every once in a while – you’re allowed a break day, just not every day…for me, these are working:

Reduce or avoid whites…white bread, white flour, white sugar, white salt, etc…white ingredients generally have a the good stuff beaten out of them already…

Reduce dairy…even though I can make dairy-free cheese which is good for on toast and pizzas etc, I still love real cheese in my chicken soup and it is still the best complement to cauliflower and broccoli on a chilly winter night…but…the only milk in the house in in small bottle in the freezer for those guests who prefer cow instead of a non-dairy alternative…so far, I have been able to use my homemade almond coconut milk as a successful substitute for dairy milk in baking and brews – it froths up well with a half teaspoon of protein powder added to it…


Avoid anything in a wrapper labelled ‘healthy’…odds are it isn’t…


Dairy-free, vege-led, slice it up and just snack when hungry…



Share Your World – 2016 Week 32

Here is the basic Share Your World format:

  • Answer three random questions each week.

  • Respond to a fourth item (I will randomly chose from this list)

  • Answer the bonus question which is always the same  “What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?”  Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.


If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

Coconuts. They don’t grow here so it’s not like I can grow my own and they are still pretty pricey at the supermarket but with a guaranteed supply, I’d be making all my own coconut oil, flour, milk etc even more than I am now…of course, in a few months I’d be over it and want an endless supply of something else…

What is the worst thing you ate this last recently?


Tough question as I eat pretty well, if I do say so myself…I’ve been working to perfect a good (great would be awesome but I’ll settle for good) dairy-free latte. Non-dairy milks won’t ‘pull’ the same way as real milk…this is due to to a lack of protein so adding a half- teaspoon or so of protein powder lets coconut or almond milk froth up nicely using a mechanical frother. Last week, during the trial phase, I made an error in assuming the frother would also serve as a mixer for the teaspoon of protein powder in the bottom of the cup. It didn’t and my coffee was spoiled by a sand-like grit (it was pea protein not dairy) in the dregs  – normally the best bit where the final swirls of coffee and coconut combine…

Are you are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

Yes…years of practice…something called ‘hurry up and wait’…it’s easy to zen into a ‘park’ mode, still aware of what goes on but conserving effort and energy ’til whatever happens/arrives/departs/whatever…

List of Jobs You Think You Might Enjoy: Even if you aren’t thinking about a career change, it can be fun to think of other jobs you might enjoy.

Now that I’m back on the Mountain, I gaze longingly at the snow-covered slopes and wish I could ski or climb again…cold injuries are such a bitch and they never really go away…


These are my favourites…Ruapehu’s too over=populated…

I’d like to have my own cafe…paleo-themed but not pedantically so…I drive past Ferguson’s Cafe in Whakapapa Village every day and the lost potential rubs me so badly…


I’d love to fly but not for a living

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week, I’m grateful I finally took the plunge and applied for the next Pre-Hospital Emergency Care course. I’ve been avoiding getting back into this game for a while but the more I get drawn into the Park and the District, old flames rekindle. I enjoyed the debate during the Outdoor First Aid course last year and much as I’ve tried to steer away, I think now why not..? So a lot of study to get my head back in this…

I’m also grateful that I took the plunge to run for the National Park Community Board. Again, as a result of being drawn more and more into the District, I’m looking for ways to engage and contribute. Earlier this year I joined the Village Business Association and the Community Board seems like a logical next step…

Next week…I’m looking forward to my parent’s coming to visit for a week…the first time they’ve bee up here in quite some time…been a few changes to this place…DSCF9706.JPG

Also looking forward to some good outcomes from a tactical planning meeting with my lawyers on Monday…one way or another, the battle with the bank hasn’t got long to run…how it will go I don’t know but the new evidence we uncovered in the last week or so looks promising…


Coffee Catch-Up #2



Inspired by Inspiring Max’s Coffee Catch-Ups, in this case #12

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am well over this series of mechanical mishaps: first the engine in the truck blows just before ANZAC Day – six weeks to get the sorted and a big dent in the savings; then the water heater in the kitchen floods under the wall into the back pantry – not expensive but days of mopping and cleaning til I was sure there was no permanent damage; and on the weekend, the big fridge just stopped being cold – lights still come on, just no cold. Found a failed fuse and thought that was it but the replacement popped as soon as the power went back on so now I have to wait til the service guy is out this way in a few weeks (it’s a mega-beast to move).

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that aside from the frustration of having a stand-in  fridge only a fraction of the capacity of the real one, I really like the more open access into the kitchen enabled by the reduced profile fridge: the big one came out to the edge of the lino in the picture above…I think it may be relegated to the back pantry with a smaller profile device going into that corner of the kitchen with just the most popular ready-use items…plus I’m already in love with being able to just grab fruit off the top like this…DSCF0334.JPG

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my battle with the bank is making some headway and we are getting some wins but will they be enough to change the outcome before everything goes? I’m getting great support from my legal team and those Members of Parliament that are assisting me and also looking at the potential changes to legislation that might fall out of this. But will it be enough…?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was rapt today to be cleared by Michaela at PhysioDirect Ohakune to be able to return to a normal life after popping a disk in my back a month or so ago. One of the silver linings to come from that mishap – never dance with a big dog when it’s icy – is that I have had to return to a daily stretching regimen: something that I should never have stop doing…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this is being a drearily grey winter so far…yes, there’s snow on them thar hills but just not enough of it…DSCF0300.JPG…the dreary greyness can be quite depressing but apparently banana peels are rich in serotonin so we’re blending our bananas whole to see how that works…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I bought yet another coffee toy, a capsule expresso machine only to find that I didn’t have a single expresso-sized cup that would fit the machine…I finally dug out an old tea cup that came with the house that is doing the trick for now…

DSCF0330I finally bought a frother too: the coconut milk doesn’t much like the heat of the steam frother.

DSCF0332Now my work towards world domination a perfectly frothed non-dairy milk can continue…

Wrapping up a Coffee Catch Up with a coffee…



Beetroot Coffee Cake


I found this recipe years ago. I’ve made it quite a few times, as writ, with the chocolate but always found the the cocoa overwhelmed the colour of the beetroot.

This time I thought that I might drop the cocoa and focus more on the beetroot. I erred in thinking that I needed to sub something in to replace the cocoa – I didn’t actually need to because the cocoa is not vital to the actual baking process – and added one then two (because one seemed too weak) tablespoons of Moccona coffee granules.

Everything else was as per the instructions


  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder (nope, 2 tablespoons of Moccona coffee)
  • 11/2 cups of flour
  • 11/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  •  A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of castor sugar
  • 1 cup of light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 3 free range eggs beaten
  • 1 cup of cooked beetroot, pureed
  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts, finely chopped


  • Sift the cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix with the sugar.
  • Add the oil, vanilla, eggs, beetroot & walnuts.
  • Mix well – until it is a glorious purple colour.
  • Pour into a buttered and floured 18cm (7in) round or square pan.
  • Bake at 190 degrees for 50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool before removing from the pan.


  • 1 cup of cashew nuts (110g)
  • 1/4 cup of strong coffee
  • very scant 1/4 teaspoon of black sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon of pure maple syrup (10g)
  • 4 tablespoons of vanilla castor sugar

Place the nuts in a cereal-sized bowl and cover them with water. Let them sit at least 6 hours, or, better still, overnight.

Drain the liquid, then combine all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender until super-smooth.

Apply this evenly over the cooled cake.


If you’re going to add coffee to a cake, do it the same way as the icing and mix it into a paste or small quantity of super strong coffee. The dark flecks in the cake are the undissolved Moccona granules. The additional moisture might not go astray either.

I hate the quantity of oil that goes into the this recipe but love the rich colour from the beetroot. I’m going to retest on this by using beetroot in the same cake base as last night’s kumara cake. That will probably use more beetroot so I’d be anticipating an even richer colour.

The cashew and coffee icing absolutely rocks!! It makes this cake. The coffee kick is quite strong but any potential bitterness is more than mitigated by the sugar and lemon. It was just a little slushy so next time I will reduce the quantity of liquid in the coffee.

I like walnuts so will double the quantity next time.

Edit: forgot to name my source, Chocolate Covered Katie, which I found through this great list at Skinny Mom – I am keen to try some of these other icings but really want to focus on pumping out moist cakes first…


A coffee what..?

A coffee syphon…nope, I’d never heard of one before either but stumbled across the idea online when looking for something total unrelated…

The basic idea is that a syphon gives you a smoother brew because if keeps the heat source away from the coffee, thus eliminating any chance of burnt coffee…picked one up on Trademe around September last year. It has a certain decorative appeal and I never actually used it until just a few weeks ago…


It’s a simple device…water goes into the spherical lower chamber, the heat from the burner forces it into the upper chamber where it mixes with the coffee grounds and then, when the heat is removed, returns through the filter back to the lower chamber as coffee…


The recommended approach is to pre-heat the water in the jug so that there is no messing around warming it from cold. The spring thing you can see at the top of the chamber is the spring-loaded wire that holds the filter in place against the bottom of the upper chamber…


All the water is now in the upper chamber and held there by the steady heat from below…


Add the coffee and gently stir before letting it sit for a minute. The idea is that the beans should be ground only after the top chamber is full of water sot hat the fresh grounds go directly into the hot water. I’ve tried that and using pre-ground grounds and haven’t seen much of a difference so far…having said that, both my brews (yes, a whole two!) have been quite weak sot hat I may need to beef up the quantity of grounds. It may be that the limited sit time for the coffee i.e. not sitting for longer as in a plunger or being forced through the grounds as in an espresso machine, is not drawing out as much flavour as other methods..?


As soon as you remove the burner, the coffee will start to filter back into the lower chamber…


It takes less than a minute for all the coffee to draw back into the lower chamber. To me this looks too light in colour hence my thought that I need to beef up the quantity of grounds…


I tried frothing my DIY almond coconut milk in the espresso machine…it does froth better than the commercial stuff tin a carton but not as well as I’d like.

Some Google research implies that the reason that real milk froths so well is that levels of protein. if that is the case, adding some protein to the coconut almond milk may encourage better frothing… I bought some protein from the supermarket and will try this in my next brew – I am limited to a brew a day so I don’t go completely hyper so this may take a while…I’m thinking that it’ll only need a 1/4 teaspoon if that…

The coffee complete does have a nice hint of coconut but the coffee itself leaves a bit to be desired, both in the ‘hit’ and in the flavour…it may be that I am trying too many things at once and need to separate mastering the syphon from my mastery of frothed almond coconut milk…

If the syphon doesn’t end up performing, at least it is a nice decoration for the kitchen…

My Green Journey – one quarter in…


A much healthier-looking top shelf

In Happy Endings, really a post about beginning than ending, I described the conversation that was the origin of my green journey. The theme of that particular WordPress challenge was “Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

I was giving up an unhealthier way of eating and I am pleased to report at the end of the journey’s first quarter, it is working. It may well be working because many of the changes that I have made have been small in nature but large in effect.

Reduced caffeine

I used to churn through a half dozen or more cups of coffee a day. I’m now down to one coffee a day. True, it is the bannofee described here that fills a 700ml smoothie mug I only have one a day, the coffee component is just one normal cup of coffee, the remainder being two bananas and a cup of almond milk, usually unsweetened. So I’m saving in coffee consumption and I am sleeping way better – not as long now but the sleep I get is sooooo much better.

The only time when I will have a coffee that’s not from home is when I am with someone socially – that is really no change from pre-Journey – but I am more likely to consider, if the option is available, a non-diary option…or I might just say “Starbucks, do your worst…” the nearest Starbucks is at least two hours driving from here so it’s not a big risk…

Reduced dairy

I’ve dropped my milk intake right back. It would be down to zero but I had a few litres, quite a few litres, of milk stored in the freezer that I am disposing of the traditional way. Once that is gone, the only cow milk, I’ll have here will be frozen in small bottles, about 250ml each, for cooking and any other circumstance where an alternate milk type won’t cut it. Those bottles will be the smoothie bottles above: they were reduced to $1.99 and, even full, were cheaper than any empty bottle the same size that I could find. I could have done the same with cream bottles but disposing of the original contents may have been defeating the purpose.

I’ve also got a few kilograms of cheese in the freezer and am slower disposing of that in the traditional manner. I am keeping a small quantity of mozzarella and parmesan around as I have yet to identify a suitably tasty non-dairy substitute for these specialist cheeses.One of my original objections in Happy Endings was that there was no life without cheese but I did find and make with relative ease a non-dairy cheese recipe that not only met the requirement but which is easier and less messy to make than dairy cheese (note to self: write up and share notes from non-dairy cheese experiment).

Cream remains a necessary staple for desserts although my sugar not-quite-craving has reduced substantially and so thus has the numbers of desserts prepared.  Beyond an occasional (less than once a week) non-dairy ice cream in a cone, I hardly ever have dessert now unless I am entertaining (well, I am always entertaining: what I mean is when we have guests for dinner). But you cannot have butterscotch pudding or brandy cream on waffles without real cream from a real cow.


I didn’t notice any real change when I swapped almond milk for cow milk but I definitely felt slower and heavier as soon as I went back to cow milk and dairy cheese. I don’t need much more incentive than that to stay my healthy course so far as dairy is concerned.I used to have an off-the-shelf iced coffee with my emergency breakfast i.e. those mornings when coordination and organisation are sub-optimal,  from the garage in National Park but it made me feel the same way so I’ve dropped that as well.

I mainly use almond milk in cups of tea and coffee and in my pretty-much-daily bannofees; and rice milk for bulk applications like on my breakfast muesli. The rice milk is cheaper than the almond milk and useful when the main purpose of the ‘milk’ is to soak. Drinks taste slightly different with almond milk, not better or worse, just different, and I notice that the original taste of the drink remains more distinct than with cow milk. After an awesome coconut coffee at Eat in Ohakune a couple of weeks ago, I am going to try using coconut milk for those (now) rare occasions, mainly when we have guests, that I have a normal coffee, like, with no bananas. After my pretty-much successful pumpkin spice latte, I am confident that I can froth up coconut milk much the same way as normal milk…


I had more to say on this than I thought…to be continued…

A post in four courses – apres

We’re both coffee people so ending dinner with a coffee seemed natural…

But maybe something a little more special than just instant and hot water..? This was a by-product of our research into (yet to be tried) pumpkin spice latte waffles…simply (said if not prepared) coconut pumpkin spice latte…

I opted for this recipe from Half Baked Harvest because it seemed to offer a good blend of healthy themes and flavours…


For the coffee base, you need:

2 cups of coconut water

1/2 cup of freshly gound coffee grounds: yes, I know that sounds like a lot – it  is – but I think that the cold infusion is less effective as traditional coffee making processes plus I suspect that the coconut water is not as effective at absorbing the coffee flavour as water water…

For the pumpkin spice latte:

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I made up a bigger batch substituting tablespoon for teaspoon in this list):

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

pinch of black pepper

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk

1/2 cup coconut water

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (yes, also a lot – this is a very sweet brew..!)

Making the components

Make the base by mixing the coconut water and coffee grounds together and letting sit overnight.

Filter the grounds out.

Combine all the latte ingredients in a small pan over the stove.

Simmer and stir until the mixture is steaming hot.

I made both components the night before but I think this mix would go best made fresh with no delays. My inner coffee lover cringes at reheating the coffee base in the microwave and the latte syrup does not like being frothed some much once it has cooled.


I  used the steam frother on my coffee machine and that was OK but not ideal…partly because the reservoir is not that big and, by the time it heated, only pumped out enough steam to froth a coffee at a time…


I got a light froth on an OK coffee…OK in that it was very smooth but not as strong tasting (of coffee) as I like…


…which tasted OK but lacked texture and heat (I like hot coffee)


Next time I will make the coffee base in a pan over the stove and use it immediately. This is actually the alternate method in the recipe and I don’t know why they don’t simply do this anyway and avoid the whole reheating thing.

Using coconut water for the coffee base does seem to provide a smoother coffee but I will see how this goes. My gut feeling is that if I can master the syrup, this drink will be just as good with conventionally brewed coffee – not to self, overcome anxiety and master the coffee syphon…

I used the recommended quantity of pumpkin puree but apart from possibly adding to the texture of the latte syrup, did not appear to add much unique to the flavour – although it is up against some pretty intense competition. I think I will double this next time.

The coconut milk and maple syrup tend also to override the flavours of the pumpkin pie spice. It may be – quite likely, I think at the moment – this may become a coconut maple syrup if the pumpkin components can’t step up to the plate…

…or maybe dump the maple syrup – I don’t think this needs any MORE sweetening – in favour of the pumpkin flavours…

The blending option – over the whisk/stir strongly or steam approaches – that is mentioned as an alternative in the original recipe is probably the best for frothing a mix like this and that it how we will do it next time…

Like the dairy-free ice cream, this is probably more philosophically healthy than actually healthy…it is very sweet and one probably needs to plan some extra physical owrk to compensate

toy para rocketSo…don’t get me wrong…this makes a nice coffee…I described its effect to a friend the next day as being like one of those toy rockets with a recovery parachute: the caffeine kicks you up to about a thousand feet then the sweetness kicks in and lowers you gently back down…time it right and you’ll float to the ground just as your head hits the pillow… as I did…slept like a baby…