I ate lunch on the deck today.
That’s a big deal. If you had told me a year ago (in the comfort of my little NZ, student lifestyle) that I would soon be sitting in the deck of a trailer home, North of 60˚ on the opposite hemisphere, lunching on local tomatoes and homegrown basil atop homemade grilled flaxseed bread, I would have.. Well, I don’t know what I would have done but heck, that’s crazy!
How did we get here? I forget. Was it a dream we’d had all along? Or was it a spur-of-the-moment, close-your-eyes-and-pick-a-spot-on-the-map decision? I think it was the latter, in regards to choosing the far north of Canada. The other part though, comes back to our shared love for adventure. Over our first two years of marriage (oh how they’ve flown) we fed that desire in small bursts – hiking every possible hill in our small city (well, at least seven of them!), entering marathons and duathlons just to push ourselves, renting the smallest, cheapest possible garage to live in in order to learn about simplicity and to save save save (for travel travel travel!). Apart from that, everything else fell into place remarkably well.
Because somehow, we got here.
The number of challenges that could have gotten in our way when preparing to move… so many! Yet something (someone) smoothed everything out for us, miraculously. How did Jesse, years before we even thought about moving to Canada, know he’d be needing his Citizenship card? Why did my Permanent Residence acceptance arrive at least two months before the absolute minimum waiting time, just in time for our moving date? How the heck did we stumble across a wonderful Vancouver couple, waiting for our arrival in Canada, to smooth our transition and provide the comfort and support of family? From strangers to family, instantly. How does that even happen? How did we escape my huge fear of boredom and uselessness in a new land, and step into jobs on day one of arrival? And, throughout all of this, how do we have such peace about where we are and what we are doing?
May we take this opportunity to explore life here more fully, more engaged, more openly. To prioritize time with people, and make long-lasting connections – allowing beautiful meals and sweet treats to aid that connection.
To set aside time to reflect on this journey, while soaking up the sun on the deck, surrounded by potted tomato plants and the crumbs from my bruschetta, with a cup of tea in one hand and a sweet treat -packed with nuts, seeds and fruits – in the other.
Vegan Energy Bars
Makes 20 bars
Adapted from Rebar Modern Food Cookbook
The vegan part is in brackets to me. It’s the good, wholesome energy I am after! To my delight I just learned that brown rice flour can simply be made by pulsing brown rice in a coffee grinder. Easy! The last thing I used Jesse’s coffee grinder for (other than for morning coffee) was to pulse peppercorns. It took him a while to forgive me for that one…
For dry mix
2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups dried fruit ( I used raisins, apricots, dates and craisins)
1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
For wet mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup brown sugar (or agave syrup)
1/3 cup Flax “Eggs” (see recipe, below) (being non-vegan I was quite happy to use eggs, or actually mayonnaise, as my gelling agent)
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line a brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly oil.
In separate bowls, combine ingredients for dry and wet mixes. Combine the 2 mixes thoroughly and evenly spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool and divide into bars. Wrap and store in refrigerator or freezer for a quick, high energy snack for between working and working-out, or to take for a hike up your nearest mountain with your honey.
Makes 1 cup
1/4 cup flaxseeds
3/4 cup PLUS 2 tbsp (30 mL) water
Place flaxseeds in the bowl of a food processor and grind them thoroughly. With motor running, slowly add water. Once all of the water has been added, let processor run for 5 minutes.
Measure and use as required. Store extra Flax “Eggs” in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.