Comfort in the redwoods

A big week last week with celebrations for our newly minted 13-year-old – he had no idea about his present which we have purchased for his school in Melbourne as the kids bring their own device (BYOD). It certainly was a huge surprise to him – when asked what he got for his birthday he mentions it last in his list of gifts as it is something just for a special day! I love that about my kids they really are not that focused on consumer items and appreciate what they receive, thank goodness after living in this area where consumerism is everywhere and everyone has to have the latest tech gadget. Our house has one TV but everyone has a computer, mmmm maybe we have been sucked in too, so much for my anti-consumerist rant!! One of his fave things now are YuGiOh cards and has spent most of his birthday money on them – at least it is something that is creative and has a math component to it, so win win!

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After all the fun celebrations of the week, we took it easy and went camping with our school for one night under the redwoods. This was my first time visiting Portola Redwoods State Park and it was just beautiful. We were in two group sites called the Circle and the Point and it was surrounded by massive trees and right by the creek.

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My daughter took me on a walk through the obstacle course to get to the creek and we found one of the heroes of the redwood forest the banana slug doing his morning duty.

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Looking up high so many tall trees and the energy in amongst the green in the morning was so relaxing. I felt a bit stiff in my body as my mattress had sunk to the ground and it was freezing so in the middle of the night I got up and blew up my mattress and found myself in the same situation come the morning, blah!

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We had a couple of friends take us on the 1-mile return hike to the Old Tree, it was a very special hike leading to a very old redwood that 23 kids circled around on the docent-led hike the day before.

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Massive fallen trees provided many spaces to jump up and walk upon – these are 10-year-olds hopping upon this giant log.

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The sun was peeking through the trees in the morning and we really enjoyed the energy of these tall trees.

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Finally, we made it to the tree and my son is trying to climb it, I gave it a huge hug and said farewell to the redwoods. This is something I will really miss when we go back to Australia but there are other old trees that I can enjoy in the forests around Australia.

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This sign has the info on the age of the old tree at over 1,200 years old protected and living in a State Park. As ambassadors of the environment, our job is to take care of our earth so we can all enjoy the air that we breathe thanks to the trees.

This week before my CSA delivery came the fridge was empty and as my daughter is out on science camp it was a prime time to get into some beets! I made an amazing coconut milk (from coconut milk powder) beet latte for lunch and for dinner I found the Beet Balls recipe in my Samurai Salads book – I think I will have to look at it for more inspiration for autumn dinners. The beet balls were made with lentils and are the perfect addition for a wrap or crumbled into a salad.

Celebrations for the 13 year old

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What an epic week of celebrations with a last minute cake bake inspired by the Great British Baking Show. The bowl of the week was a Yakisoba inspired recipe minus the chicken and subbing in smoked salmon, which was a winner, winner chicken dinner for everyone – the things you do when you check out the back of a packet of soba noodles. I added in shitake mushrooms and some pickles, it was delish.

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We found this great book at the library called Bakeland jam packed full of inspiring baked goods with a Nordic influence. This is the cake we made but…

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This is the cake after we tweaked the recipe by making 3 layers and added a chocolate mousse cream topped with a raspberry icing. It was incredibly rich and fell apart when cut due to the dense cake of the brownie, what a great experiment.

The celebration is captured on video with the gang of 3 our overnight guests for an intimate sleepover doing things teens do like play computer games, watch Spaceballs, play computer games, eat chips, play computer games!

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As the cake was super rich in even the tiniest slice, the next day I put the cake in the food processor with some hemp seeds, dates and coconut to make the richness bite-sized. I rolled them up and put them in the freezer and they are now little pocket snacks of chocolatey goodness to keep you going during the day. Today I shared them with my friends for a sewing prep party and we got a lot of work done – yay!

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And to top off the good times of the weekend with the teens taking over the house my hubby made this crepe stack from Bakeland with blueberries – absolutely divine to indulge for a Sunday morning brekky.

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And there’s the soon to be 13 year old who has lived his whole life in California and is soon to live his teenage years back to where he was born – in Melbourne. Some fun times ahead for him though I can see that he will miss his buddies who we have all known for so long.