Wednesday, March 16, 2011

golden plains

I think this year's Golden Plains festival was my favourite of all the Meredith and Golden Plains festivals we've been to. There were so many good bands and we spent most of both days at the amphitheatre enjoying the bands (usually I spend almost half my time at the campsite when there's bands on I don't really care for). I'm not even sure which band was my favourite but The Hold Steady, Graveyard Train, Belle and Sebastian, The Besnard Lakes and Justin Townes Earle were some of my top picks for favourite.
The weather was almost perfect. It got a bit hot the first day and stayed warm overnight. The next morning started out fairly hot and just when we were thinking we would have to go back to the campsite for shade (there wasn't enough for everyone at the amphitheatre), the clouds came in and covered the sun. The cool change came and brought a little bit of refreshing rain. It got a bit cold overnight (glad we brought the "donkey blanket" which kept me extra warm at at night). I thought we would have to pack up a wet tent in drizzle on Monday but we woke up at 9:30 to the tent getting way too warm in the sun and everything was pretty much dry when we packed up.
We ate really well too. This was the first time in a few years that we've gone on our own, in our own (hired) car instead of packing a few of us into a friend's car with all our gear. We decided that we should take advantage of all the extra space and bring anything we want. We brought a LOT of food-- good food. For breakfast we had peanut butter and banana sandwiches (although Zac ended up having lentil dip sandwiches). For lunches we had Wolffie's black bean and lentil salad from La Dolce Vegan!

Snacks included lentil dip on vita-wheat crackers or bread, dried berry and nut mix, corn chips and homemade salsa, homemade tofu jerky, apples and chocolate. We also decided this year to take a thermos of coffee (don't know why this has never occurred to us before) so we didn't have to stand in massive lines to get our caffeine fix in the morning. It worked great (we were planning on having iced coffee but never put the thermos in the esky and it was still quite warm 30 hours after I made it). The only thing we could have done better on was the beer. It's always hard buying cans cuz that's not what we usually drink and Zac tends to get the cheapest cans possible. We've now realized that's a stupid idea and we should get proper beer in cans (I was a little jealous of all the people I saw with Asahi aluminium bottles and Heineken cans).
We had more than enough food to go without buying from the food carts (and I didn't even make the macaroni salad I was planning on making) but we like the food stalls so we bought dinner late each evening from the carts. The first nite we had burritos from the Mexican cart (Gringo Tacos, I think). It was ok but kind of bland compared to Trippy Taco. Their vegan version just involves omitting the sour cream and cheese which makes it a bit dry. You'd think they could add guacamole for free (normally $1 extra) considering they're dropping 2 other ingredients. The next night we got some dumplings after seeing someone walk past us with a plate of them. They tasted even better than they looked! The plate had white rice and a salad that had mint and aniseed-- it was amazing and so full of flavour. The dumplings were really nice too (way better than the frozen ones I've been buying) and the staff were very friendly and helpful showing us the vegan sauces.
Not sure how next year's Golden Plains could top this one.....
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Friday, March 11, 2011


i found a cheap dehydrator with adjustable temperature dial on one of those deals websites after i'd been looking into dehydrators for a few weeks. i'd been trying to find something on the cheaper end of the scale that had adjustable temperatures that i could try out to see how i like dehydrating and maybe eventually,if i'm using it a lot, i'll upgrade to an excalibur model. so far i'm very impressed with our cheap one (i think it was on special for $40 and free shipping-- it did take 2 tries at shipping it to get one that hadn't been dropped or had something fall on it though).
i decided to start with zucchini chips.
i sliced my zucchini very thinly (most sites i looked at said to cut it about 1/4 inch thick but i did mine much thinner using the slicing blade on my food processor). i lightly sprinkled mine with homemade Old Bay seasoning. they only took a few hours before they were dried. they're really tasty too. i've been eating them on their own and with lentil dip.
i also did some tofu jerky using sarah kramer's recipe from how it all vegan (the original pepper jerky)--- sooo yummy. again, i cut my pieces thinner than suggested and it only took a few hours to become tasty jerky (perfect for snacking on at golden plains!).
so far i'm liking my dehydrator a lot (and have a lot more things i want to try with it). i think it's going to be useful with our veggie boxes when we have things that are nearing the end of their life and we haven't used, we'll be able to dehydrate them to either eat them as dehydrated foods or save them for use in soups and baking.
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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

beach trip

to celebrate our 3rd anniversary last month we went to the beach. we were sad to find out that the holiday house we've stayed at for the past 2 years in barwon heads doesn't seem to be available to rent anymore. we found another pet friendly place in our budget in queenscliff that worked our really well though. another sad thing was the vegetarian cafe place that we had our wedding reception in barwon heads has completely closed down (they were just mostly doing catering and take away on weekends from shortly after our wedding but now its a whole other cafe. we didn't really look at the food there but they did do nice soy coffees (with fair trade coffee).
unfortunately we can't seem to take wombat anywhere with out her sensitive skin acting up (we think she's allergic to the beach-- especially the beaches around melbourne because she's not nearly as bad in paynesville or mallacoota).
poor dog licking/eating her toes:

having fun in the water:

playing ball in the big yard:

being lazy:

yes, our anniversary trip (as always) ended up being about wombat but we wouldn't have it any other way.
it'd be nice if her skin didn't seem to react to everything new. we did bring her vet prescribed cream with us but i don't think it did much. we had some left over meds from last time that we started giving her as soon as we got home and she mostly cleared up in a few days. her back toes are still raw and gross but we're not sure if this is from the beach (almost 2 weeks ago) or if she's irritated them with something else.

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attack of the pumpkins

my garden was a bit neglected this summer. i planted some tomatoes, spinach and spring onion seedlings early in the season and harvested most of those by the end of december. then i kinda forgot about the garden. i haven't watered it or weeded it for a couple months. a couple pumpkin seedlings appeared (i'm guessing from the bokashi compost i buried since i've never planted any kind of pumpkin). soon the pumpkins took over. wombat can't get in the garden anymore. i can't get in the garden anymore:

somewhere under those pumpkins there's a low fence that surrounds the garden. i think the green bin is going to be a challange to get out on its next collection day.

there are also lots of tomatoes that i didn't plant growing amongst the pumpkins too (but i can't get to them to pick them when they ripen).
there's a couple varieties of pumpkins growing too:
i think we'll be eating a lot of pumpkin stews, curries and soups this winter 8)
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