And We’re Back! Kind Living Cafe in Maleny, QLD

Seb and I have just come back from a lovely couple of weeks in Australia. It was the first time we’d been back in 4 years and our first trip as vegans. Well, there’s no surprise that we found Australia pretty awesome as far as food goes. We really had an amazing time and there was so much to blog about, however, if I try to put it all in to one post, I will never get around to it, so consider this the first of several Australia trip-related posts.

Towards the end of our trip we headed to Maleny to meet some friends. It’s a small town about an hour from Brisbane in the hinterland of the the Sunshine Coast. It was my first visit there. The countryside was beautiful. So green and reminded me so much of Sussex in May. Our kind hosts Jack and Mary (my dear brother and his lovely girlfriend, also vegan) made sure that we checked out the Kind Living Cafe.

Here are Mary, Jack, Seb and newly engaged Tash and Steve! Whoot!

We came to Maleny and saw that the cafe was closed, however, they were prepared to sell us cake to take away.

Kind Living Cafe is Raw and Vegan. The woman who owns it basically has my dream life. She runs this restaurant, does free diet coaching and has a property which is a sanctuary for animals. I bet it’s hard work though.

I love the messages all around the walls. Making connections. I had a long chat with the server. It seems that the cafe is doing really well. Could I have a cafe and become a gazillionaire?

This was the cherry chocolate cake with cashew cream. $6.50 only. Our friends Tash and Steve had never eaten vegan cake before and they thought it was delicious. WIN!

 

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A Week In Review

I made these muffins this morning. Seb absolutely loves them as he is a manic blueberry fan. These were baked in my new mega extra large muffin pans. I also substituted 1 cup of white flour for wholewheat so increased the nutrition a bit. This big size means they are essentially 2 muffins in 1. I warned Seb about this, but he ignored my advice and ate 2 of them anyway. I worked out the calories on these and found out that they are 460 per muffin, which means that Seb essentially just ate 920 calories of muffins for breakfast. Nutritionally, they are OK, however, as usually his love of blueberries has got him in to trouble again.

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The reason I made Seb muffins is because I committed several serious errors this week in the kitchen department. Let me backtrack. I had a breakfast party planned for my students. My last ever lesson with them was at 7.50 in the morning. This isn’t really the time to be feeding children with junk, so I decided to make them breakfast. I wanted them to have a treat, but at the same time, make it packed with nutrition.  This is what I made:

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A smoothie with mixed berries, banana, flaxseed ice and soy milk. The school blender is not a Vitamix. This upset me.

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Chocolate ice cream. This ice cream has two thirds of the calories of dairy based icecream, and there was a bit of sugar. However, there isn’t anything wrong with soy and of course no cholestoral. But yes, high in calories due to the sugar and choc chips. It was a decadent treat, but a nutritionally dense one.

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These were waffles from vegweb. This time I made them with the optional applesauce added. I won’t do this next time. It made them more heavy.

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Here are the jam-filled oat bran muffins I made and it was these muffins that got me in to trouble. I prepared these the night before. Seb was excited about muffins, but I told them I was taking them to school. He went on and ON about the injustice of this, so I promised I would leave him a couple. I used up all the jam to make the muffins, and then failed to remember to leave him any muffins thereby meaning he had no jam for toast and no muffins. A very irate sms reached me not long after I got to school

Anyhoo, the students seems to like most of the food, despite their suspicions at first. The whole week was filled with lots of food with class parties and parents bringing in food to share, but of course I was a bit horrified with it all. Aside from a few small and generally uneaten exceptions the food they ate was either terribly bad for their health (think cancer causing processed meats and cheese) or had zero nutrition (bread buns made from refined flour or snow cones; ice with flavoured sugar syrup on top). They certainly enjoyed it though… Sigh….

So, it was my last week at my current job and along with quite a few other people moving on to pastures new, there was lots of farewelling to be done. I felt pleased to be able to say goodbye to my students I have worked so closely with this year by cooking them breakfast. I was also made to feel very special. My line manager and good friend made a lovely speech. I have enclosed a copy of here. I was certainly expecting a reference to what I am passionate about, and it would have been easy to make a few humourous jokes about it, but no. He wrote a lovely thoughtful speech which you can read a copy of here.

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While I know I have lots of faults and it is considered polite not to mention them in farewell speeches, I felt that he truly seemed to get how I try to live my life and having something so nice written about you was a truly humbling experience. I will certainly be re-reading this when life presents me with some challenges.

I thought that would be tough to beat, but then I had a little farewell from my department. Sigh… How well they know me…. A donation of 25 trees made in my name… Such a lovely gift and just the kind of gift I get excited about… I was pretty composed until they presented me with this… I will miss the excellent comraderie and support I received from these kind and lovely people.

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I also got other lovely cards from students, fellow teachers and a mention in the end of year speech from the principal in the final assembly.

All in all , I feel appreciated this week. I have had such a wonderful time at my current job. I have learnt so much from the people I have worked with. I started my time in BKK with serious doubt about my ability in pretty much everything, having come out from a very stressful period in my life. I’d had quite a few emotional downs and wasn’t particularly healthy or fit. I leave Bangkok certainly more confident and physically and mentally stronger in all aspects of my life. Bangkok and the people who have been part of my life here, you will never realise just how healing you were.  Thank you. 🙂