Wood-fired Vegan Pizza Party

Leave a comment
Food

Two weeks ago was the Re-Greening Weekend, co-organised by me, in which we showedย  green-minded students a great deal of the sustainable initiatives and organisations located in Wageningen, to stimulate discussions and other activity and to help interested people to connect and become part of the green movement. The program was pretty awesome, the people were nice and interested and over all we think it was a great success!

The Creative Community Garden was so kind to host our group for a pizza lunch! The Creative Garden is more or less what you would expect from the name: a place to experiment with gardening: ‘(…) we’re busy making a shared experimental garden to explore different practical ideas, grow stuff and learn from each other.’ You can find more info is on the website. The place is beautiful and the people are really nice as well, so definitely be sure to check it out if you live here.

Onto the pizzas! We brought many different toppings so there was enough to choose from. The dough was prepared by the Creative Garden crew, and people could roll it out themselves and decorate it with toppings of their liking. There were some absolute beauties.

dsc00030_1

Someone managed to sneak in cheese so not all were vegan, but of course I liked the vegans the most. I love the colours and mandala-like patterns.

dsc00033_1

The toppings we had: tomato sauce, aubergine, mushrooms, courgette and a herb mixture from the Creative Garden, capers, different coloured paprikas, tomato pieces, corn, sunflower seeds and onion. We also had some edible flowers from the Creative Garden and we planned to bring pesto, which we forgot.

dsc00035_1

The oven! I believe it is build according to the rocket-stove principles. On the website they use the term ‘cob oven’, meaning that it is made of clay, sand, straw and water. Read about their oven and future plans here. If you have questions about this, you may ask them here and I will answer in collaboration with my more-knowing boyfriend.

dsc00032_1

Anyhow, the pizzas were done after only a few minutes in the oven! Which meant that there was a good turn-over time, which made the process of making and eating pizza go real smoothly and organically.

That’s it! I hope you like the colours and designs of the pizzas as much as I do, and that you enjoyed the last days and weeks of sunshine and warm weather, as autumn sets in today. Now we get to enjoy the plenty colours and designs of autumn leaves!๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re interested in more pizza inspiration: to find my earlier pizza posts on Munching on a Dream, go to the pizza tag page. And tell me about your favourite toppings in the comments!

Clothing swaps and other ways of sharing

Leave a comment
Other

Over the years I have collected a lot of stuff: clothes, books, albums, decoration stuff, key chains, cosmetics, … – many of the things I’m not using! I’ve been hoping to somehow use them sometimes, but that didn’t happen. So I’m just sitting here in my pile of potential. Because the stuff has potential! Just not here with me.

Many of us know this situation and want to do better. The first thing in mind is to bring everything you’re not using to a second-hand store, so others can find it and use it again! However, there are reasons why we haven’t done this yet. Luckily, there are some approaches or platforms that may work better for certain stuffs! I’d like to show you some you may not know.

Clothing swaps

Clothes are tricky. We wear clothes every day, so it’s easy to think that you may want to use it later. Also, there are already so many second-hand clothes, so will my nice ones find another wearer? Will she love it as much as I do? All though I don’t wear ’em, I do love ’em! I would, if there was a right opportunity…

What I found to work well is clothing swaps! It works like this: before the clothing swap event you bring in any number of clothing items, for which you receive vouchers. These vouchers can be used on the actual event, on which all collected items are displayed, as ‘payment’ for other items you like! Bring in 6 items? Take away 6! If you want more, you may have to make a donation for the organisation or a good cause.

I feel as if this approach works, because when advertised well, many people bring and take clothes for and from the same event, meaning that there will be a great re-distribution. I have co-organised two clothing swaps, and it really seems like people are more willing to bring clothes this way than to bring them to a second-hand store. People, mostly students in our case, trust others to bring nice items as well, which they themselves can choose from on the event. This can make it easier to let go of your ‘surplus’ clothes, which in the end may be better for everyone.

WEP-kledingswap-21

Clothing swap in Fair Shopping Week 2015 by WEP

Selling service with ownership

Something I’ve seen a lot in Finland and which seems to be upcoming in the Netherlands are shops where you can rent a shelve on which to display your goods. If someone wants your thing, he or she pays at the counter in the shop. After the rent period you come to collect your remaining items and the money the shop made selling the others. Simple as that! You bring your stuff, it remains yours, they may sell if for you, you get the money. You’d only have to pay a little extra for the service!

Last year I was in the board of a student organisation, Wageningen Environmental Platform (WEP), through which we also organised the clothing swaps. WEP manages a second-hand bookshop for study books for university courses! This is awesome, because it can save huge amounts of trees and other environmental damage.

The bookshop system is the same as described above. Sellers bring their books and set prices. The books remain in their ownership while on the shelves in the shop. Buyers pay the price set by the seller, plus a small fee for using the service. The seller then gets the money transferred to their bank account. If the book is not sold, the seller can decide to take the book back and try selling it elsewhere, or lower the price, give it away for free, etc.

This way you know whether or not your stuff gets a new place, and you can even make a little money out of it. If the stuff doesn’t find an owner, then you can decide yourself what to do. I think many people are afraid their stuff ends up still not being used or even being destroyed, while you could have used it at a certain moment in time if it was still yours… This approach helps with that. Read More

Heaps of Hummus

comment 1
Food
hummus-house-1

Spread the hummus! Many of my friends and me use it a lot. We bring it to pot luck meals and picknicks; use it as toppings or dips for about anything and as ingredient for warm meals like quiches and wraps. Chickpeas, the main ingredient of hummus, are such good peas. The next best ingredient of hummus is tahin or sesame paste, which is in itself pretty awesome as well. And then there’s garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil and possibly more… If you particularly care about proteins: they’re in there as well, loads of them.

These pictures show how hummus is supposed to look. You see the drips of olive oil near the edge of the spread out hummus, the bulbs of tahin closer to the centre, topped with what’s probably paprika powder and some parsley flakes or so.

My boyfriend and me had lunch at De Hummus House in Amsterdam, where it has two locations. This one is at Korte Leidsedwaarsstraat 62 close to Museumplein (museum square). They serve hummus plates like this one with the fluffiest pita bread and toppings of your choice. I had an aubergine topping, but I liked the fava bean one of my boyfriend better. Aubergine remains to be an odd vegetable.

hummus-house-2

Hummus with topping of slow-cooked fava beans and stewed tomatoes

The whole plate of hummus was a bit hard to swallow, for it was a large amount of hummus and it’s just much of the same. Maybe with another topping I would’ve liked it better. But we were well supplied with salt, pepper, pickled cucumber, garlic-lemon sauce and olives so we could spice it up! I managed to finish most of it.

The star of the meal may as well have been the pita bread actually, for it was super soft and fluffy, oohooh. If you know how to produce something like that, please share!

Check out the website of De Hummus House to find their locations, find this specific location on HappyCow (added by me, ha!) and check their menu (with pictures!). They also serve other Mediterranean dishes and salads. Most of the dishes are vegan and this is quite easy to distinguish from the menu (how I understood; I may forgot an exception…). The Coconut Malabi dessert is vegan too! And they have soy milk for in the coffee.

Happy happy Thai food

Leave a comment
Food

In the Forest Monastery in the North of Thailand the abbot or chief monk would motivate the people by giving pre-meal speeches packed with the phrases ‘happy happy Thai food’ and ‘big party’. He did seem to be an exceptionally happy guy, so something must be good there. Is it Thai Buddhism or the Thai food?

Thai food is great. I’m not a fan of the animals and the increasing dairy use, but leave that out and you got yourself some great variety of rice in all forms, soy in all forms, many vegetables and mushrooms, tropical fruits, peanuts, chilli and other spices, lots of coconut milk and desserts made out of beans. They also like all forms of frying, and sugar. Food can be bought on the streets everywhere – in Bangkok there’s even a market on a railway. And food comes in many layers of plastic, which is a bit sad. And they have ice coffee, but often with cows milk in it, even though many Asian bellies cannot handle it so well. More about that later.

In my pictures the glorious dishes of fried rice and curry (especially that particular massaman curry with coconut milk, peanuts and potatoes of Doi Soi 12 in Bangkok and the crispy tofu one on Koh Chang…), fried morning glory and the mango sticky rice dessert are missing, but still they give a good impression. Most of my pictures are taken in restaurants instead of on markets where food is cheaper and a bit less polished, but where food can taste just as good.

Enjoy!

Summer-rolls

Summer rolls and sunflower salad at Doi Soi 12

pad-thai-650

Pad Thai/fried noodles with soy sprouts, soy tofu and peanuts

fruits

Street fruits papaya and water melon in re-used plastic container

Train

Luxurious vegetarian meal on the train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok

durian

Forbidden fruits (it stinks!)

Ginger-water

Dessert of bean curd, black jelly and dough things in ginger water

veg-papaya-salad

Vegetarian papaya salad (not all of them are vegetarian/vegan!)

street-food

Street food in Chiang Rai: veggie packages and mushrooms

mango-shake

The best mango shake

Bear-of-rice

Bear of rice with vegetable and mushroom tempura

veganerie

Matcha cookie and brownie of the vegan bakery Veganerie in Bangkok

banana-650

Coconut-boiled banana dessert

World change starts here

Leave a comment
Thoughts

My time in Thailand was great. It was the first time I got out of Europe and into the tropics. I went there to reunite with my boyfriend, who’d been out in Asia for some time already. We travelled together for a month after which I settled in Bangkok for three weeks to work on a project related to sustainable food production.

Thailand is very different from what I’m used to in the Netherlands. Being there was a really valuable experience, to be able to explore the Thai culture. I think I learnt a lot, but it’s always hard to pinpoint such things, because change often occurs gradually.

It became clearer to me that in the end many things aren’t really important. Thai people generally have different lifestyles and standards than Dutch people, but does it matter? Only if we think it does. Things are only as important as we make them to be, which makes importance a matter of choice – and practice.

Most important to all of us, eventually, are matters of basic human needs including good health and ability to love, stretching out to human rights, equity and our environment. I choose to add animal rights to the list. I think we should strengthen our love to not only reach those people close to us but to also include people far away and other living beings.

There is no perfect way to live one’s life. My attempt to find the most utilitarian formula for how to spend my resources of time and energy for a better world led to no answer. There are many different ways in which we can contribute and there is no way to measure the total impact and this is fine.

What we can do is to start simply with ourselves. Take care of yourself first before helping others. Do what works for you and which doesn’t harm others. You don’t have to change everything at once, but each constructive act and each hint of positive energy can create positive change. The smallest things can spark a butterfly effect to take place which can eventually change the world.

I believe that one of the best things to do is to just be a nice and good human being in the presence of the people around you. Positive energy and good deeds will inspire the people who come in contact with it. This may not directly give big results, but I think it can lead to the most durable change there is.

So, be the good person you are and do what you think is important. Be open to people with their different backgrounds, cultures and ideas. This is one way of changing the world.

Thanks for reading! There is more to follow and questions can always be asked.๐Ÿ™‚

Love is a river that fills everything

Leave a comment
Other

โ€žFor me, love fills everything. It cannot be desired because it is an end in itself. It cannot betray because it has nothing to do with possession. It cannot be held prisoner because it is a river and will overflow its banks. Anyone who tries to imprison love will cut off the spring that feeds it, and the trapped water will grow stagnant and rank.โ€œAthena in The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Music by Braids and Blue Hawaii

Leave a comment
art

Hi there!

I am semi busy finishing stuff and getting packed, because I’m heading to Thailand this Friday! My boyfriend has been wandering around there for four months already and I’m joining him for five more weeks. I will try to squeeze in some writing before I leave, but I am not that organised.

All right, I’ll do some squeezing right now. I’m procrastinating cleaning my room anyway.

It’s always nice to share good music, so here’s one of my favourites: Braids! They are a three-piece experimental pop band from Montreal and their music is just really good. It takes some ‘getting used to it’, because it’s a bit unusual, but then it’s really cool. The voice of singer Raphaelle is really beautiful. She does a lot of long notes and I totally dig it. I know first two albums Native Speaker and Flourish // Perish and they’re good!

I’ve been waiting for the right moment to write about them and now it’s here: They already have three records and now they are releasing a new 19 minute EP named Companion! This one is written during the sessions of their third record, Deep In The Iris, and completed in August 2015. Find Braids on Bandcamp and on Soundcloud.

blue-hawaii

They’re totally cool. We’re in a band and don’t give a shit.

What I like slightly more than Braids: Blue Hawaii. This is another project of the singer of Braids (Raphaelle Standell-Preston), together with Agor (Alexander Cowan). They released Blooming Summer and Untogether on Arbutus Records. Blue Hawaii makes electronic pop and it’s more relaxed than the music of Braids. I find it really dreamy and harmonious, the sounds along with her voice. And it’s not boring at all! It’s super interesting with many layers and such. The same goes for Braids, but that’s a bit more raw in my opinion. Find Blue Hawaii on Soundcloud. (The song Get Happy is about an addiction, it’s nice.)

On a wholly unrelated note: I discovered stock photos. So from now on I will insert nice and sharp pictures in every post, like a professional. Like this one:

cat-1276644_1280

Stock photo from qimono on Pixabay

I like the picture because the cat looks like our house cat Minoes! By posting it I also feel like betraying Minoes a bit. See how cute he is here. (Our house cat? He’s his own cat, meow!)

Like a professional procrastinator; I successfully did not pack a thing this evening! I’ll regret it later. First I will be happy.

By posting this one just now I found out: there are now 50 posts on Munching on a Dream! I’m impressed by myself. So many important things and procrastinations in my life.๐Ÿ™‚

Check out Made in Heights too.

The Circle: we are all connected, all the time

comments 2
art / Other

The Circle, written by Dave Eggers, is a novel sketching a terribly plausible scenario for the future. The story is about an employee at The Circle, a young and hugely successful company that has started integrating all different online services into only one interface, to make your life easier. But that’s not all the company does: it not only markets its products but also its philosophies.

The-Circle smallThe story starts when Mae Holland, a woman in her early 20s, is recruited to work at The Circle. As a reader, you follow Mae’s experiences in the company and in life, which more and more take place on the high-tech, super luxurious campus with glass walls. Mae illustrates how easily one can get influenced by its surrounding culture – and how big a role social media can play in one’s life. At first she seems to be living in a dream world, but is she really?

So what does The Circle do? They have bought up all social media platforms and integrated them into on. And it isn’t only about social media: wouldn’t it just be easier if you’d only need one password and one interface for everything on the web, instead of having all these different systems next to one another? And if all information would be easily accessible to everyone? They’re inventing all kinds of new technologies, meant to make your life easier and safer.

And how does one use technology to make life safer? You may be able to think of ways. I don’t want to spoil too much, but you can imagine where it could go from the combinations of social media, ease and safety…

Although quite some passages are too lengthy in my opinion, enough alarming events happen and ideas evolve to keep you reading. The philosophies of The Circle are so intriguing, mainly because they make sense in a way. All ‘circlers’ including Mae accept them and live accordingly. I don’t want to spoil the nice details for you, but there are quite a lot shocking things happening! You should really read the book. I’d also say that you better not read more reviews before starting, to prevent encountering the spoilers.

To tickle you a little bit more: one thing that made a huge impression was a quote or slogan that gets a prominent place in the The Circle buildings. It is so completely mind-blowing and bewildering, it confuses me still. If you’ve read it already, you probably know what I mean!

I think everyone should read The Circle, because this novel is highly relevant to our time, in which ‘everything can be found on the internet’ and we aren’t sure where we’re heading with this. Social media is still so young and the internet and its (our) culture is shaped by whom really?

If you really want to, you can already read a few fragments of The Circle here and here, but you can better start at the start! I just read a few passages there and I’m impressed again. Woah.

Please consider the environmental before buying the book. Ask your friends and public library first.๐Ÿ™‚