Maple Alps

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans

Recipes, HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I love the versatility of garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas)! You can put them in a salad, roast them in the oven to make a quick snack, have them in a bowl or even crush them to make a spread or burgers. Beans of any sort are great to keep in the pantry, and if you are trying to save money on groceries, a fantastic way to do that is to buy beans dry! They keep a long time, and they are easy to prepare and freeze if you want to keep them on hand. Plus, if you have concerns about the sodium content in canned beans, dried is the way to go! Canned or not, you definitely need beans in your diet, so I decided to do a quick "how to" post to help you out. 

How To Cook [Garbanzo] Beans | www.maplealps.com

This how-to really applies to any bean and there are several ways to cook them. 

Step One: Sort
Check your beans for any broken fellows or other debris or stones you may find in a dry bag of beans. You will want to get all of that out.

Step Two: Rinse
Pretty self-explanatory.

Step Three: Soak
Now, soaking is optional actually! The thing about soaking is that it will cut your actual cooking time down (Saving you on gas/electricity - whatever your stove runs on), and it will also make beans less of a "musical fruit," as it helps break down some of the indigestible sugars that cause flatulence. The easiest way to soak beans is overnight. Just make sure water is about 2-3 inches above them and sleep the night away. Waiting is easier then. You can also do a quick soak by putting them in a pot with water, bringing it to a boil, and then taking them off the heat and let them soak for an hour.

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com
How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Four: Cook
Again, make sure there is 2-3 inches of water covering your beans and bring the pot to a boil - slowly though. Bring the pot to a simmer, and stir occasionally, scraping off any foam that on the surface (you won't get too much with garbanzos). You will know your beans are done when they are tender (you can mash or poke them with a fork - or eat one like I tend to do....hehe)

Those weirdly shrivelled things do come out plump and juicy - as long as you don't overcook them. 

Now, I did mention you could cook them in several different ways. Some other ways I know of (let me know how you cook beans in the comments!) are:

  • in a pot in the oven

  • in a slow cooker (my favourite method - I just turn it on before work and I have cooked beans when I get home for dinner!)

  • in a pressure cooker

How To Cook Garbanzo Beans | www.maplealps.com

Step Five: Store
Beans will stay good in the refrigerator for several days, but I like to keep them in the freezer for easy and quick access. They will stay several months in the freezer. I suppose you could can them as well, but I personally like the freedom with how many I want to use with the freezing method. I don't always use an entire jars worth.

Yay! You are now ready to save time (with some planning, of course) and money!

 

How do you cook your beans? What do you cook with them?


 

Just Graduated? No Job? Do These 9 things.

LifestyleAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

You have graduated! Congratulations! The hat has been flung and the diploma [cover] is in your hand - don’t worry, the real thing will come in the mail later, hehe! As a postgrad, you know the struggles of staying up late to finish that paper or study for that test. You’ve practiced for hours to perform the perfect jury, and you’ve learned to avoid 7 a.m. classes. You have also gone through the struggle of deciding on your major and perhaps you were like me and changed it three times! Now you are standing at the entrance of the work world, fresh out of university, with most jobs wanting 3 years of experience.

I know what it’s like to not have a job after graduation. Heck, I’ve been there twice! But all is not lost when in that situation. It can be frustrating if your dream job isn’t opening itself up to you right away, but here are a few things you can do in the meantime:

Just Graduated? No Job? Do These 9 things. | www.maplealps.com


 

1) Be Open

Widen your search parameters. Rather than focusing on your ideal job, focus on the one that fits your interest scope. Don’t settle for a job you don’t like, but be open to the unexpected. Who knows? Maybe that entry-level job that you were not really looking forward to will really open your eyes to a passion you never knew you had! You might even end up working in countries or place you never thought possible!

 

 

2) Stick to a Schedule

Stay on top of those applications and be timely in it. Dedicate certain days to do hardcore job searching so that you don’t lose momentum. Rather than sitting and waiting (because you never know when someone will get back to you), use your time wisely. Do activities that will increase your chances of landing work.

 

 

3) Reach out to your Network

This one does not come easily to me, so it may not for you. If need be, stick your neck out! I’m sure you have heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” and that truly is an accurate statement at times! Send out an email to a trusted advisor, or meet someone in your same field over coffee. Don’t be afraid to make that phone call. Sometimes, jobs aren’t always listed and you can get the scoop on some of those! If nothing else, you can solidify relationships along the way.

 

 

4) Practice Your Skills - Or Build New Ones

Now that you are unemployed, it is a great time to practice your skills! This is actually how Maple Alps was born - during a season of unemployment! You may not have employment, but now is a great time to add tools to your toolbox that will make you a top rate hire! Focus on things that are of interest to you that can help you get a job in your field. If you’re interested in writing, start a blog! If you want to do photography, why not hone in on your graphic design skills? Learn calligraphy. Take some online courses. Do something you love. Pursue both professional and personal passions (loving that alliteration!)!

 

Related: Fun Creative Ways to Learn New Things (Without Going Back to School)

 

5) Finetune your Resume

Make sure your resume is gold. I’m sure it is already up there, but put in some extra effort to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to. Spend some time on it, making sure you take off any irrelevant information, and highlight the things that make you shine!

 

 

6) Reevaluate Your Finances - Or Make A Plan

Unemployment doesn’t usually bring in the big bucks. If you are in this boat, and especially if you have student loans you still need to pay off, it may not be the best idea to use up your cash reserve unnecessarily. Make a plan - whether that means learning how to cook more meals, not going to Target, or even getting a roommate. It looks different for every person. Evaluate your priorities so you will feel more comfortable and more in control of your situation.

 

 

7) Consider an Internship or Volunteering

I know, I know, you want to make money and many internships are not paid - and neither is volunteering. That is okay. Make the best out of interning/volunteering by logging hours, networking, and developing your professional skills. Wake up, dress up, and show up!

 

 

8) Stay Positive

It is easy to get frustrated with not having a job. I know, because I’ve been there plenty of times. You may not get your dream job right away, and what you thought was your dream job may not end up being all you thought it was going to be. Stay positive in your season of unemployment. And take care of yourself. Enjoy it, and use the best of the time! There may come a day when you will miss the freedom you had.

 

 

9) Pray About It

Be intentional about everything you do in this season, including praying about your situation. A hard prayer I prayed when unemployed was closing doors if it wasn’t the right place for me to be. Closed doors happened, but when the right door was opened, it was truly the perfect fit. Praying about it and doing the above 8 things, rather than being discouraged when years of unemployment went by, helped me stay faithful and hopeful that all was happening for the best. When I look back at that now, I can see it - even though it was hard for me at the time.

 

 

 


Did you get a job right out of college? What's your story? I'd love to know! 


 

Ten Things I've Learned from Travel

Travel, BlogAmanda Walter | Maple Alps1 Comment

In case you haven't caught on yet, I love to travel. I started traveling when I was very young, so my parents installed that bug in me. I know I'm very privileged to have experienced so many different lands and cultures in my life, and each journey brings its own unique lesson - which I love. 

I've decided to share a few things I've learned from travel. Stay till the end and tell me something you've learned too! 

traveling pin.png

One.

Take the road less traveled, but find some time to see the touristy stuff as well (even if you don’t pay to go up a famous tower, you should at least catch a glimpse of it, or possibly pose in front of it for a cheesy picture).

Two.

Do your research before going to avoid unnecessary complications, but be open and flexible to doing last minute things that aren’t on your itinerary as well. Sometimes these situations make for the best memories.

Three.

Try and interact with locals as much as you can - you will gain insight and a rich experience from simple conversations and interactions - especially on a longer-term trip

Four.

Not knowing the language of a place should not under any circumstances hinder you from visiting!

Five.

Travel alone and travel with a friend. Both have rich rewards.

Ten Things I've Learned from Travel | www.maplealps.com

Six.

McDonald’s bathrooms (or WiFi) are not always as safe a haven as one might think, but each country’s McDonald’s definitely has a different flare. You should see the salads in Italy and the pies in China!

Seven.

Some places charge you to use the restroom, and in others? Well, it’s BYOTP (bring your own toilet paper). You might want to keep some change and TP in your pockets.

Eight.

Wear comfortable shoes, but bring cute ones too-you never know when you'll decide to pop by the opera after a day of walking the streets!

Nine.

Take lots of photos instead of buying useless souvenirs that will collect dust on your shelves (or take up space on your refridgerator). And on the topic of photos - choose only your favourites and ditch the rest. Try to be intentional about the shots you take, but at the same time, you can never take too many. Just choose the ones you decide to keep, frame, or put in a book wisely.

Ten.

Don’t stress too much about money. At the same time, be smart about it (save for your trip and don't spend it all on the first day!) and figure out your own priorities - don’t let someone make those priority lists for you because you may regret it.

ELEVEN.

I know I said I only had ten things I learned, but I think the most important thing that I’ve realized is that as much as it is thrilling to experience new things and explore new cultures, it’s so good to come home at the end of a trip.

 
packing list maple alps
 

What are some things you've learned from travel? Do you love traveling as much as I do? I'd love to hear about it!


 
 

Follow along on Instagram!

 

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I have a definite sweet tooth. I didn’t always have one, and actually, as much of a sweet tooth I have, I prefer savory things. I do, however, go through periods where it seems I can’t get enough sweetness into my mouth. It’s a strange thing. Or is it? After reading up about refined sugar, I found the obvious: that too much can be really detrimental to our health!




I also found that sugar can be found in many of the products we buy in the grocery store. I had no idea about that until I took a no sugar challenge, where not even trace amounts of added sugar were allowed. I was reading every single label on every single product in the grocery store and found that there is a lot of unnecessary sugar out there!




Now, I’m not against a sugary treat every now and again, but I think it is important to limit how much sugar we put into our bodies! Your mother always told you that too much of a good thing is not good. And she was right.

Easy Ways to Cut Down on Refined Sugar | www.maplealps.com




Cut down on sugary drinks

This is pretty straight forward. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Beware of bottled juices though - some hide large amounts of sugar that are not naturally occuring. Try some of the following if you think you absolutely cannot handle plain water:


Infused water

If you can’t stand the taste of water (I personally love it), feel free to infuse it with fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs. Not only does it spice up your water, it makes it look extra pretty too! You can easily do this by adding them to your water pitcher or glass, or even buying a fancy one that is made to infuse (check this one out from Amazon).

Herbal Tea

I love having some herbal tea in the morning or before bed. It’s hot, so it’s more comforting to drink than water, but contains zero sugar when you don’t sweeten it!




Make your own food staples

There is a lot of refined sugar hidden in a lot of staples you buy in the store, like bread and granola and even sauces in a jar. You can even find extra amounts of sugar in canned foods (like canned fruit) that are unnecessary. By making your own, or cutting your own, you can avoid these ingredients and choose exactly what goes into your food.


vegan pantry maple alps




Cut Out Sugary Desserts

Many desserts are just calorie dense and provide few nutrients. If you need something sweet after you eat, try to have a bit of fruit or splurge and have a small piece of dark chocolate.



Eat full, whole-food meals

By eating full, whole-food meals, you can generally reduce the temptation to snack in between. Especially the sweet kind. Personally, my parents never really allowed me to eat between meals growing up, so this isn’t hard for me, but I know it can be a challenge.



Replace Sugary Condiments

Many condiments such as ketchup and BBQ sauce are filled with sugar. One tablespoon of ketchup, for example, may have up to 4 grams of sugar in it! Use some low sugar options to substitute for condiments. There are plenty of options, including different fresh or dried herbs and spices and homemade sauces.



Beware of Processed Snacks

Watch out for foods that are marketed as healthy. Things such as granola bars and protein bars and dried fruit can contain large amounts of sugar - sometimes even more than a chocolate bar. You can make your own trail mixes that don’t contain extra sugar, or make your own crackers to add to soups!



Read Labels

Did you know there are at least 56 names for sugar?! Check your labels for sneaky sugars hiding out in the ingredients list. Watch for anything ending in “-ose.” Here are some common names you should look out for: High-fructose corn syrup, Cane sugar or juice, Maltose, Dextrose, Invert sugar, Rice syrup, and Molasses Caramel.




 

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word

Intentionality SpotlightAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Readers. I am so excited today to introduce you to Naida, of Meaningful Word! I met her a few years ago at an expo and fell in love with her designs. We even have some of her work on a couple of tees we own! She has a true gift of making words come to life! I won’t say much more other than her story moved me, and I can’t wait to share it will all of you today!

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | www.maplealps.com

First some easy stuff, tell us a bit about yourself. What is your
work, your passions and interest?


Hello, I’m Naida. I’m a Melbourne based Graphic Designer and Illustrator with a passion to create colourful pieces and experiences. When I’m not drawing or thinking about design concepts, you’ll find me taking photos, finding new brunch locations or exploring nature with like-minded individuals.



I absolutely love your work! How did you get started with art and ultimately Meaningful Word and your shop?

Thank you, I’ve always loved to draw ever since I was young. When I think about my art journey it took me a while to understand that 1 - this ability was a gift from God, and 2 - that it can be use for the church and ultimately for His glory.

The first time I ever thought of God having a part in that area of my life was when I was in high school. It was Friday night during lifegroup when the youth pastor said “Praise God” after I told the group about an award I received. I was brought up in the church, but I didn’t have a relationship with God so I was unsure why she said it. It actually rather annoyed since I did all the work – Silly me.

Fast forward to my final year of University where I focused all my attention on getting a job after I graduate because the design industry can be very competitive. It’s not just about having an amazing folio, but your industry experience and who you know that sets you apart. It’s funny how scripture says ‘Man may plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps’ (Proverbs 16:9) – because this was very much the case for me. I landed an internship with a design studio in the city where I got to work on some exciting projects for clients like Melbourne Fashion Week, Australia’s Next Top Model and for other up-coming fashion designers in Australia – It was a dream!

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | www.maplealps.com


I had a lot of fun and learnt a whole lot, however, the more projects and more time I surrounded myself in that atmosphere, the more I found myself changing and what little connection I had with God was fading. I was in a dream role, but something wasn’t right and I was watching many things fall apart. But little did I know that God was working on me – out of the mess He was able to make something beautiful. I had to see all my plans crumble, to be at a point where I was left alone crying to God for Him to speak comfort into my life and redirect my path. He was asking me to surrender my career to Him.

Thus then Meaningful Word and a new career path were born as a result of my encounter with God. Meaningful Word started as a small challenge for myself to memorise verses – hoping that if I spent enough time and make it look visually appealing enough, I’d store it somewhere in my mind. It was also a means to create something for God rather than what I was doing in the past (helping the rich get richer, and creating things that looked beautiful, but had no substance to it). God was asking me to trust in Him and to use the gift He had given me back to Him to help others. Ever since then I’ve seen first-hand the fruits of surrendering to God. When you give it to Him, He blesses it, multiplies it and lets it be a blessing to others. I had planned my own way, but God’s plan exceeded it all – far more than I could have hoped for, and for the better.


I love how your art really brings Biblical truths and stories to life. Where do you get the inspiration for it? Is it hard, or does it come easily?

Well I guess it comes naturally. The verses, quotes or stories I post are actual reflections and thoughts from my devotionals that week – the things I’ve read, heard or experienced. I like to post scripture because I truly believe that the messages in it are just as relevant now as they were then. I just love how Hebrews 4:12 describes the word as ‘living, powerful, sharper than any two-edge sword’ and is a ‘discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ – yep, still relevant!

My process starts with the message/text and then I consider what are the key parts of the text that I what to highlight. Vibrant colour palettes, patterns and nature drive my style and approach on each piece I create.

Intentionality Spotlight: Naida of Meaningful Word | www.maplealps.com

What is one other specific area in your life you find that intentionality is absolutely critical? How do you exercise mindfulness in it?

Investing my time wisely. This is in the form of time with God, time I spend with others and on my health and wellbeing.

Devotional time is super important for me because I just know I’m going to have a lousy day if my priorities aren’t right. Time with others is investing in solid relationships and to also empower the next generation. I’m a strong advocate that the Creative Arts has a place and can be used for the church – we need to encourage this more!  We all have a talent that can we used for God, we just have to give it back to Him.

And lastly, rest. In the past I used to think that ‘resting’ is for the lazy, but God has shown me that rest is just as important. Our mind, body and soul need to recover, and the best way I like to rest is on the Sabbath in nature with others – far, far away from a computer screen.


If you would give one piece of advice about {this area of intentionality} so someone who struggles with it, what would you tell them?

Ensure that your relationship and time with God is your first priority, because the rest follows. Start small. It’s not always easy to know where to even begin and yea, you may find you don’t want to pray or read your bible, but the beautiful thing about God is He meets you where you are. Start small, and have a conversation. Open your heart and ‘taste and see’ His goodness - you will not be disappointed. Start small & be consistent – After all, habits are formed in 30 days.



Find Naida at her Etsy shop or on Instagram