VK goes into hibernation mode

It is time to lay veggiekate.com to rest for a while.

DSCF0039What started as a fun outlet to help hold myself accountable to try new recipes, and research new things, has become something that usually sits idle and abandoned.

And rather than striking up much conversation, I find my inbox flooded not with comments from readers, but with spam comments that I have to keep deleting.

So for now, veggiekate.com will revert back to its old domain name, adailydoseofnatural.wordpress.com — the name started back in 2010 when I had more time and energy to devote to blogging!

My energy now is going towards work, and preparing for yoga in India :)  At this time, I bid you all a healthy adieu, and we shall see what the future holds!

नमस्ते, शुभ कामनाएँ, and फिर मिलेंगे
Namaste, shubh laub, and phir milenge!

 

The REI Bag Seen ‘Round the World (and deep into, and high above the world)

From the top of Tapocahau Mountain, and tops of cannons…

DSCN1731…to the deepest Saipan cave you can get to without ropes…

1013697_675918475754818_71772318_n…from ocean precipices…

DSCN1265…to the wave-crashed rock below…

DSCN1686With Australian didgeridoos and… uh… creatures…

IMAGE_118 IMAGE_102…and New Zealand dwarf statues…

DSCF0177…these little day packs have been with us.  From Saipan to New Zealand, the States, and soon to India, it’s been a great travel partner, hiking bag, and make-shift pillow for 28-hour flights with overnight layovers.

Getting ready to nap in Cairns, Australia during our 16 hour layover.

Getting ready to nap in Cairns, Australia during our 16 hour layover.

I don’t promote too many specific items on this site, but this has just been such a great pack for me, and several people have asked me about it.  No, I am getting no compensation for sharing this — I just like to share about things that make me happy🙂

The one I bought no longer looks available, but this updated one looks incredibly similar:

The REI Flash 18

REI Flash 18 Day pack

Originally, I ordered this other version of the REI Flash 18 Pack just for hiking here on Saipan ($25 each at the time, now updated to this newer Flash 18 Pack) And then I started using it for caving.  Then trekking up Tapochau.  Then it became my favorite carry-on bag for traveling since it was small, light, and had two straps as opposed to my previous duffel bag’s single strap.  It gets mighty tiring hefting around a carry-on for 24+ hour flights when you’re sleep deprived and exhausted on an loooong layover!

PROS:

  • light weight
  • Soft shoulder straps
  • Separate zippered compartment inside for quick-access items
  • Emergency whistle (thankfully, have not had to use!)
  • Drawcord closure (which I would tie to the strap to ensure no easy access for theft)
  • Dual shoulder straps as opposed to single cross-body strap

WHAT I’D LOVE TO SEE ON AN UPDATED VERSION:

  • Want a separate outside pocket for small water bottle
  • Want a pocket on strap near chest for cell phone

OTHER FEATURES I DON’T UTILIZE, BUT OTHERS MAY LIKE:

  • Daisy chains on back for hooking items
  • Thin foam pad along back for keeping your bum dry when sitting somewhere
  • Updated version seems to have spot for hydration/bladder system

So that’s my little pack buddy in a nutshell.  Love it, use it a lot, and now it’s a dirty mess from all of its adventures!  I need to figure out how to wash it someday…

Tapochau Tonic

Happy weekend!  I hope yours is going as well as mine.

My Saturday was full of fun relaxation, and I finally got some time to focus on yoga, meditation, and studying my books for yoga school.

And Sunday has been a wonderful day, so far, as well!  I got up early and hiked all the way up Mt Tapochau with the dog, Kodama.  She was a trooper.

Coming back down the mountain, I could tell my joints were getting tired, as walking downhill on loose gravel was quite trying for my knees.  So I whipped up this omega-rich, joint-soothin, re-hydrating, healing PUFA fat filled, 110% manganese smoothie after I got back:

DSCN1914Tapochau Tonic
1 young coconut (water and meat)
1 medium banana
2 Tbs hemp seed
cinnamon for garnish

Put it all in a blender, and blend away!

Egg-Free Cookie Dough!

That you can eat without fear of salmonella! Nom nom!

And still fantastically easy to sit down and eat with a spoon – though I prefer to eat it with sliced apples.  This has been a wonderful item to bring to cookouts, or give as a gift.

DSCN1395So, when first testing out this recipe, I spent a full day making a huge array of doughs from a huge array of beans.  Don’t you wish you could have been here taste-testing with me??  I did find that this dough freezes and thaws pretty well, so that’s good!  Make in bulk, and freeze in small controlled serving sizes🙂

This recipe I first saw on some Pinterest page floating around ages ago, that I took forever to get to:

Healthy Cookie Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and cooled beans, or drained and rinsed canned beans (varieties noted below; you can almost double the amount if you use Black-eyed peas)
  • 1/8  tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3-4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup nut butter  (I prefer almond butter, but peanut butter is good, too)
  • 3 Tbs oats
  • 3 Tbs nut milk
  • 1/2 cup date paste (or approximately 1 cup pitted dates, adjust for taste preference)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or carob chips

Soak oats in nut milk while you process dates and beans in food processor.  Add a little nut milk if needed.  Then add all but chocolate chips to food processor, and process until smooth dough-like consistency.  Fold in chips at the end.  Eat, and try to stop before it’s all gone.

A variation I like is to add extra oats, use raisins instead of chocolate chips (or in addition to) and add some cinnamon.  Then it is oatmeal cookie dough!

Here are some notes about what Dave and I thought of the various bean bases:

Lentils – smoother texture, but stronger nutty flavor.

Black-eyed Peas – great color, mild flavor so you can taste the nut butter you add.  Go easy on the dates at first, as you can taste it more easily.

White beans – perhaps it was a bad test run, but it seemed to take extra long to cook these beans.  And they didn’t blend as smoothly.

Navy beans – A mix between the blackeyed peas and lentils: not quite as smooth as the lentils, not quite as mild as the BEPs, but a good healthy base.

To me, though, the winner: lentils!  Quick to cook, smooth texture, and something about that deeper, rich flavor that worked for me.  But a close runner up would be the mild, almost buttery Blackeyed peas.  These are also nice because you can go lighter on the nut butter and dates, and therefore get a higher ratio of protein and fiber to lower fat and sugar.

I made my first test batches with almond butter.  I love the healthy oils and the vitamins; peanut butter would make divine dough, though.  I tried cashew butter, thinking the sweet mellow taste would go well with it, but there really wasn’t much of a flavor addition from it so it felt more like a waste of calores.  Stick with the rich almond butter for me!

Grab some graham crackers, some fruit, or a spoon — And dive in!

DSCN1399Next project: to see if using butter extract and/or almond extract instead of vanilla, and a lighter bean base, may yield a dough reminiscent of shortbread or sugar cookies.

Who wants to come experiment with me?

CIA Hill

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If I ever make an island-wide treasure hunt (something I should add to my bucket list!) it will definitely include this place!

The CIA has an interesting history on Saipan with surveillance, a man hunt, and Tibetan guerrilla warfare, and I do not know all the details.  And what details I have learned, well, I’d tell you, but then…

So I won’t.  Not yet.  Not this time.

Oatmeal Fun

DSCN1866I had been perusing the Pinterest boards, and found several renditions of overnight oatmeal, where you prep your food in the evening, and let it soak in milk over night so that by breakfast, you have a quick, hearty meal ready to go!

I am getting ready to be thrown into a crazy work week — or 8 of them — and figured I should give these guys a try so that I can save some time in the mornings while still fueling my body with much-needing healthy energy!

My base is always 1/2 cup steel-cut oats and 1 Tbs chia seed.  Beyond that, it can be any combination you think of!  Then pour in enough liquid (milk, soy milk, almond milk, whatever you prefer!) to allow for doubling of the oat size.  I used vanilla soymilk, so it was sweetened already.  If you use plain flavors, you may want to add some sweetener to it (honey, xylitol, date puree, etc)

Pictured above is my “cake batter” version
1/2 cup oats
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 Tbs flax
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup vanilla soy milk

Let it soak over night, stir it up, top it off with sprinkles for fun!

DSCN1851And so many other fun options!

Kiwi-Strawberry
1/2 cup oats
1 Tbs chia

1 -2 Tbs hemp
1 diced kiwi
3-4 sliced frozen strawberries

On the right is my current favorite:

Cocoa Chip
1/2 cup oats
1 Tbs chia
1 Tbs flax

1 Tbs cocoa powder
1 Tbs carob chips
1 tsp vanilla

So quick, so easy, so filling and energizing!  I’m going to have to add these guys to my own Pinterest board🙂