Tuesday, October 29, 2013

wholefood mama: michelle from norfolk exposure

A big welcome today to wholefood mama Michelle who blogs at Norfolk Exposure. I love popping over (virtually) to visit Michelle in her island life, you can count on Michelle to say it how it is and for a grounded approach to feeding her family real food.

Michelle and her husband Ben live on Norfolk Island with their two children, Harry 11 years and Matilda 8 years.  Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific, around 1600km from Sydney. If you're feeling energetic you could jog around the island as it spans 8kms in one direction, by 5 in the other. Originally from Bathurst in NSW’s Central West, the family moved to Norfolk Island 4 years ago after Michelle accepted a teaching position at the island's only school. Ben, Michelle and their children are smitten with their island lifestyle. Michelle says,

“Coming here was a bit like stepping back in time, in all the right ways. Norfolk is a safe, close-knit community. Our kids can run free, neighbours look out for each other and people are generally less concerned with the haves and have nots”.

Who or what started you on your wholefood path? 
Healthy eating has always been a priority for Ben and myself, although our ideas about what constitutes eating well have flipped and morphed over time. As young newlyweds we took food shopping and preparation quite seriously. We believed we were doing the right thing by choosing low-fat options, we ate margarine instead of butter and whilst we didn’t consume huge quantities of sugar, we didn’t really see processed food as anything more than just that, food!  It’s laughable (now) to think that back then our dinner often revolved around a ready-made pasta sauce (think Chicken Tonight) or a Continental flavour sachet (well, it never occurred to me to make beef stroganoff any other way). We scoured food labels diligently and never bought anything containing the “numbers” 621 or 635! If the product contained more than 10 percent fat – pfft – back on the shelf it went! I’d never heard anyone speak of or against food miles – it was a fact of life that the supermarket provided everything we needed, regardless of the season.


Fast forward a few years to find us a happy little family of four. Determined to give my children the best possible foundation for good health, nutrition became more important than ever. It was at this time (around 7 years ago) that my sister loaned me her copy of Michael Pollan’s ‘In Defence of Food’. I still remember vividly, sitting at the kitchen bench reading it out loud to Ben whilst he cooked dinner... each of us trying to fathom this new and thought-provoking information.  That book blew our minds! We were horrified to learn how manipulated and industrialised the food industry is. We were mortified to think that most of what a supermarket contained was in fact, not even food. Michael’s words Don't eat things that your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize’ are forever etched in my brain!

Not long after reading ‘In Defence of Food’, a friend steered me towards Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions. To begin with this book pushed me a bit far, a case of too much too soon. I didn’t know where to start. Drink grass fed raw milk – heck, where on earth was I going to source that? Grind your own flour – yikes….where do I buy whole unmilled grains? How much does a grinder cost? Ferment vegetables – who will teach me? When will I find the time? Soak and sprout nuts, legumes and grains – should I just chain myself to the kitchen? Luckily I got the opportunity to attend a one day workshop that focussed on Sally Fallon’s recommendations. We were presented with practical approaches and examples, plus the workshop opened the door to a network of friends who were about to embark on the same wholefood journey. After this I realised we could make some simple and realistic changes to our diet. Little steps at a time.

Moving to Norfolk Island four years ago, my food philosophies merged with my environmental concerns, a desire to create less waste and to eat and live more sustainably.  A drive to further limit unrecyclable rubbish from going into the bin (and ultimately into the sea) pushed us even further towards an unprocessed, whole food diet.




Can you tell us about your approach to feeding your family?
To begin with, we try to eat a minimal amount of processed food. But I’d be deceiving you if I didn’t declare that some items still find their way into our shopping basket; rice crackers, buckwheat cruskits and now and then a box of Carmen’s brand muesli bars. A large proportion of our diet consists of locally grown fruit and vegetables, locally sourced meat and fish, plus our own eggs. We try to eat ethically and sustainably, but it’s difficult at times. Whilst fruit, veg and some meat is grown here, a large quantity of our food is shipped to the island from New Zealand and Australia. I’m conscious of food miles and it’s an issue I try to grapple. The reality is I order an extensive list of organic products which cannot be sourced locally. The sorts of things I order from online organic wholefood suppliers include quinoa, cocao powder, shredded coconut, rapadura sugar, dried fruit and nuts, popping corn, coconut oil, almond meal, herbal teas and chickpeas. Whenever we travel to Oz or someone comes to visit us we stock up on organic ingredients that can’t be bought here.

I prefer to buy organic produce when possible. Lucky for us all fruit and vegetables grown here are free of nasty pesticides and chemicals. Ben catches fish fresh from the sea and we buy local grass fed beef and pork. We rarely eat chicken as we cannot source it locally. Sadly I cannot buy organic milk, cheese, cream or butter but the New Zealand products flown in are of good quality and I’m happy to buy them as opposed to go without altogether.

Two years ago Ben and I undertook Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program. It was worthwhile as it helped us to realize how much we craved sugar. It also helped us to understand just how much sugar is in supermarket food, showing up in places I never suspected. We aren’t strictly sugar-free anymore, but we limit our intake and opt for less refined sweeteners such as rapadura, maple syrup and local honey. There is so little sugar in our diet I don’t get too hung up about what my children eat at other people’s houses or at parties. They have learned to understand how sugar makes them feel and are becoming excellent self-regulators. Even my daughter (who can smell sugar a mile away and usually comes running for it), recognises that sugar leaves her feeling grumpy and emotional!

Breakfast is a meal we give great consideration to. We are a family of hearty breakfast eaters, all of us waking up hungry!! Rarely a morning passes where we don’t eat a cooked breakfast. We don’t buy cereal except for special occasions ie while we are on a family holiday. Our breakfast menu changes week to week, but the staples include omelettes, French toast, corn meal fritters, sprouted buckwheat pancakes or oat porridge (we always soak the oats overnight).

I’m the queen of simple.  Working full time, I don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. I guess we don’t eat a hugely varied repertoire. I tend to stick with what’s nutritious but fuss free, even if that means eating the same soup two nights in a row. We are forced to eat seasonally – there’s no such thing as supermarket cold storage for fruit and veg on Norfolk Island! My kids go to school with wholesome lunch boxes but I’m not one of those Mum’s who mixes it up much. If carrots and cucumbers are in season, then expect them every day while the going is good!! Truth be told, my two never complain. I ate a peanut butter sandwich, vita-wheats with vegemite and an apple nearly every day of my school life and I don’t remember being bothered by it. I sometimes think parents put too much pressure on themselves to be creative. Keep it simple (and healthy) and don’t over think it. Just trust the kids will eat it. Be creative on the weekend, when you have time and the kids can help!


We try to limit wheat in our diet – for the most part because it doesn’t seem to agree with my digestive system, but also because I don’t think it should be consumed unless prepared the old fashioned way. Our local baker kindly agreed to bake us a slow rise fermented spelt bread. We pick up 4 smallish loaves every Saturday morning and this lasts the week (we freeze it of course). If the kids have a sandwich for lunch I ensure they have nothing else wheat-based in their diet that day….not an approach I’m suggesting anyone else should take, I just don’t think my family needs more wheat than that. We don’t eat pasta very often and hardly miss it. I try and bake at least one grain-free/refined-sugar free lunchbox snack each week.


What do you find challenging when it comes to following a wholefood path with a family?

Time. Eating well takes time and planning, especially when you commit to soaking, fermenting and preserving foods. Every few months we soak, sprout and dry almonds, pumpkin seeds and other nuts. We always prepare oats and other grains by soaking before consuming and on top of that I’m attending to our water kefir every few days. Ben is in charge of making beef stock and fish stock (oh my god, the SMELL) which he does expertly. Ben thankfully also takes charge of bottling tomatoes when they are in season using our Fowlers Vacola system and he uses our Vacola Dryer to preserve fruit once in a while. We make our own washing powder and cleaning products as well as apple cider vinegar. Sometimes my kitchen feels like a science lab; there’s always something soaking, simmering, sprouting or fermenting! Sometimes it all feels too much and we fall off the wagon a bit. But we always get back on eventually. I try not to beat myself up about it.

For us on Norfolk, availability is a BIG challenge! We have no choice but to eat what is in season. Months go buy when I dream of a carrot or would give my right arm for a pumpkin! It’s not a bad thing really, but it takes some getting used too. The trade-off is that we eat fruit and veg of superior taste and quality, often of heirloom heritage and always picked just hours before it’s sold at the market. As for getting hold of the other wholefoods, well I’ll admit it can be a pain having to order online. Not only do I have to think ahead, I then have to wait for it to be shipped over. Sometimes I wait 2 months for supplies to arrive and there’s always the risk that it will have spoiled on the ship during the journey (which has happened).  Shipping foods here is very costly. As is sending it via air. The fresh milk here flown in from New Zealand every Sunday costs $6 a litre!!!!!!!! Ben or I make a weekly batch of plain EasiYo yoghurt (not ideal because it contains soy lecithin, but we haven’t been able to come up with a better solution as yet). In an ideal world I’d own a milking cow!!!!!!!!!!


What is your go to meal when you are short on time or inspiration?

When everyone has run out of puff, and the fridge or pantry stock lacks lustre, veggie soup or eggs on toast are our meals of choice. To make a simple soup we chop up any veggies we can find and add it to some stock. It’s probably one of my favourite meals actually. And who can go past eggs on toast. With our own chooks, eggs are in plentiful supply at our house. Add to this some cooked tomato, fried cabbage and freshly sliced avocado and voila…an easy but nutritious meal perfect for a ravenous family.

Whenever I cook a mince based dish such shepherd’s pie or chilli con carn, I always make a double or triple batch to freeze for emergencies for those days when everyone gets home late and tired. When we have soup or rice for dinner we make enough so that everyone can have it for lunch the next day.

In the warmer months my kids love a salad plate. My Mum made them when I was little too. Think boiled egg, carrot sticks, cold meat or tin tuna, cherry tomatoes, cheese cubes, olives etc…all arranged on a plate. Easy and effortless and best of all, my kids eat it all. We love salads, of all kinds!

Who are your wholefood heroes and why?

I really admire Jamie Oliver. I think he has done so much to raise awareness of the pitfalls of fast food, plus he offers realistic, family-friendly alternatives. I also admire the food providers of yesteryear. Our great grandparents had a good handle on food preparation. They knew how to grow their own, how to preserve excess, how to be fugal. They knew about good fats, soaking grains and fermenting foods. Lastly, I’d also have to say my Mum. She loves cooking and rarely follows a recipe because she has that natural ability to whip things together instinctively. My sister, brother and I were raised on a very wholesome diet, and none of us has had any teeth cavities! We rarely consumed fast food and only ever ate treats at birthday parties and other such celebrations.

Your three favourite ingredients and why?
Eggs. They are so versatile and nutritious. Onions. Honestly. I love them and I can hardly think of a meal we cook that doesn’t call for them. We ran out of onions on Norfolk Island recently and I realised how much I rely on them. Berries. I keep frozen mixed berries in the freezer all the time. I top pancakes with them, I add them to natural yoghurt, I use them for baking, in smoothies and recently I discovered a recipe that uses them to make a sugar free chia seed jam.

Tell us about your two essential kitchen gadgets or utensils...

I bought a second hand hand-held stick blender for $20 from a garage sale. It’s the most used appliance we own. It gets used for making everything from smoothies to dips. Our slow cooker is a life saver. I don’t know how any busy family can survive without one.  There’s nothing better than coming home on a cold winter’s day to be greeted by the smell of a stew or soup ready to eat!

Sugar or salt, which do you crave? And when you do what satisfies you?

I crave sugar. Oh boy….I actually put that in print. Mostly a piece of dried fruit and a slice of cheese will leave me satisfied. But, there are moments that call for something a little more indulgent right, so a square (OK, or two) of sugar-free dark chocolate will certainly settle my cravings. If it’s in the house, and it’s not good for you, I’ll eat it….I have little self-control in that way.

Favourite cookbooks and food blogs you'd like to share...

Despite the initial overload of information, Nourishing Traditions is now a go-to book in our kitchen. I don’t own many cookbooks anymore (we could only bring a limited amount of stuff when we moved here) so I rely on websites and blogs for new ideas. 
I totally adore Petite Kitchen which I discovered only recently. Nourished Kitchen is worth visiting, and although not a food blog specifically, I’ve really enjoyed following Tania’s wholefood journey on her blog Ivy Nest I also recommend checking out Maria Hannaford’s wellness blog ‘Econest’ Maria often shares great recipes.

What do you enjoy about blogging?
I love sharing snippets of our island life with others. We feel privileged and lucky to live in such a safe, pristine, unique and beautiful environment. When I started Norfolk Exposure I never imagined it would lead to new friendships and associations. For me, blogging makes the world feel smaller and more connected.

Please share links to a couple of your favourite posts on your blog...




What are you loving about your life right now?
Everything! What’s not to love about island life! I’m particularly enjoying spring; the days are getting warmer and longer. I think the beach is calling me….




Michelle's Recipe - Sprouted buckwheat pancakes

Ingredients
1 cup of raw sprouted buckwheat kernels
2 cups of filtered water for soaking
1 egg (optional)
1 mashed banana (also optional)

Steps
1.     Soak buckwheat kernels overnight (in the warmer months, soak in the fridge overnight)
2.     The next day, rinse and place soaked kernels in a blender with 1 ¼ cups of filtered water
3.     Add an egg and/or a banana if you like (we make them with and without) and blend until smooth
4.     Add a little extra water if you want your batter to be runnier
5.     Heat your frying pan to a medium heat and add a good dollop of coconut oil. Gently tilt the frying pan to disperse the oil evenly
6.     Spoon the batter into the frying pan just as you would for any other pancake recipe. The pancakes will begin to form bubbles as the underneath side cooks first. Take a peak to check the underside of the pancake and flip when ready. The first one may not work so well, it takes a pancake or two to get the heat right! Reduce the heat slightly if the pancakes begin to get burnt spots on them. When ready, flip the pancake over and cook for a further minute,
  7. Serve with a dash of maple syrup or honey, some chia seed jam, sliced banana and a dollop of cream or natural yoghurt! Enjoy :)

    A big thank you to Michelle for taking the time to share her wholefood story, it is always great to hear how other mamas are nourishing their family with real food. Visit Michelle at Norfolk Exposure or on her facebook page.
      
     Read more wholefood mama interviews: 

      Jay Black from and the trees
      Kellie from dear olive
      Robin from Transition Farm
      Rachel Pitts from Hungry Girls
      Vanessa from slow heart sing
      Farmer Liz from eight acres
      Catherine from A Time To Create
      Renee from ki flow yoga

     (I'm hoping I haven't left anyone off this list, if I have big apologies let me know and I will add you in).







Sunday, October 27, 2013

sunday stills - culture is life











This series of photos was taken on Friday night at Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove where Montalto owners John and Wendy Mitchell hosted dinner to raise funds for Culture is Life, the project that Pete is working on with Elders around Australia. Culture is Life is a solution focused campaign to end the unacceptably high rates of self-harm and youth suicide in Indigenous communities. Thank you to John and Wendy, Head Chef Barry Davis and your wonderful staff and to all those who attended for making the evening such a success. 100% of the proceeds from the evening were donated to the project. There is still much work to be done to keep culture and Indigenous young people alive and well, if you are able to contribute in some way head to Culture is Life and spread the word or make a donation of money or skills.

1. Beautiful attention to detail at every turn

2. Just the beginning...

3. My beautiful friends Mette and Toula (me in the middle!)

4. Two of my favorite local wholefood mamas, Cath and Bron

5. Impeccably presented and prepared food, many elements from the Montalto kitchen garden - entree: glazed jerusalem artichoke, bush tomato chutney, local asparagus, Main Ridge goats cheese foam

6. Before this main course of baby barramundi, smoked eggplant & tomato, coconut & lemon myrtle sauce and karkalla was served, the 95 diners filling the restaurant sat in captivated silence as Elder Uncle Max Harrison spoke from the heart about culture and life and keeping young people alive and well

7. Dessert was in a word - sublime! Peanut & wattle seed parfait, sesame tuile, bitter chocolate, merengue kisses

8. Me with two of my beautiful family - sister-in-law Davini and my man Peter McConchie. Blessed to be related to these two xx

Friday, October 25, 2013

friday wholefood


Being married to a keen fisherman and living by the sea is a great thing! We enjoyed those delicious mussels during the week, they are a favorite of River's.

Here's a post explaining all you need to know about coconut palm sugar, it is on a blog called The Spunky Coconut :) via Heather's inspiring Wholefood course that I am doing.

Lots of easy and wholesome recipes to be found on Lee's Supercharged blog.

Have you bought Alexx's Real Treats book yet? it's only $2.99!

I'm looking forward to dinner tonight at Montalto Winery Restaurant, who are so generously supporting Pete's project Culture is Life. Thanks to Wendy and John Mitchell, Montalto's owners who are donating 100% of the proceeds from the evening.

And tomorrow our family is heading to Hummingbird Eco Retreat for a sacred forest walk with Elder Uncle Max Harrison.

Sorry this is short and sweet and late in the day but I've been doing the mother dance juggle today with Sol having an ear ache needing lots of cuddles, working on PR for Pete's Fire book and nursing a head cold of my own! You know how it goes. All good though. I'm not complaining, just explaining.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, take care and stay warm if you are in chilly Victoria. Bring on summer!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

sustain expo: pete evans + sam gowing



I had the 'day off' from my beautiful family on sunday and headed to Melbourne solo for the Sustain natural and organic lifestyle expo. I went to see my friend Sam Gowing launch her book The Healing Feeling and see her cooking demo, and it was a bonus to see another old friend Pete Evans who was there also doing a couple of cooking demos.

As much as I loved my day out and seeing Sam and Pete, - expos aren't my thing. Information overload and overwhelmingly they are about shopping and selling stuff, stuff that most of us do not really need to live a natural and organic life. When I was working as a journalist going to an expo or festival was a great way to find stories of new products because that's what the media is obsessed with new new new, but now I'm really wanting to keep life simple and non consumerist.

The highlights of the day weren't Sam and Pete's recipes (as nourishing as they were!), it was what they had to say. Their words inspired me to delve deeper into this wholefood way of life and to keep talking to others about following it too.


Pete kicked off the cooking demos with some breakky ideas - miso soup with veggies and protein, and a delicious berry chia seed pudding. Pete and I worked together 20 (!) years ago at the first restaurant he co-owned and while he has always had an interest in health and nutrition, over the past few years it has become a focus that he has committed to by studying holistic nutrition and opening BU organics in Bondi.

At the expo Pete spoke in a way that would have either been inspiring or challenging depending where listeners were on their wellness path. "We are what we absorb," he began, talking about the importance of proper digestion and gut health, making the point that digestion begins in the mouth reminding us to chew, chew, chew! It's also a good reminder of why taking the time to sit down and eat is so much better for us than eating on the run. A personal trainer once said to me, if you don't have time to sit down and eat, you don't have time to eat.

I've written before about the growing confusion over how to know what to eat - paleo, gluten free, grain free, dairy free ??!! - the refreshing thing about Pete's message is that it is not preachy or holier than thou, he suggests that we be our own experiments, what is right for one person may not be right for another person. He suggests that if you have a feeling a food you are eating is not agreeing with you, stop eating it for a while see how you feel, reintroduce it and see how you feel.

Pete also acknowledged the emotional reasons behind why we eat certain foods, such as grain or sugar. He posed the idea that the more emotional resistance we had to giving up a certain food the more addicted we were to eating it. He suggested that we keep asking ourselves 'Why?' Why are we drawn to eating certain foods if they have no nutritional value and if they can have a negative affect on our health.

Sam whipped up a delicious cauliflower 'cous cous' salad with nuts and berries and shared her story of going from being a publican to becoming a nutritionist and spa food chef. Like all of us, Sam is so much more than the titles on her work profile she is wise and grounded and when it comes to food, guided by common sense and a good dose of Chinese Medicine too. One point in particular that Sam made that stood out to me was if you have weak digestion, having a cold raw green smoothie may not be that helpful, with a tough green veg like kale for instance Sam recommended lightly steaming it and letting it cool before adding it to your smoothie.

Sam talked about food miles and how she favours locally grown over imported organic, "There are fabulous growers at farmers markets that may not be certified organic but who grow food without toxins and I'd rather buy from them than buy organic food that's been on an aeroplane". Sam's favorite superfoods aren't the ones that cost a lot of money, sure they're nice but in her book kale, cauliflower, broccoli and tumeric have just as much merit.

The audience in all the sessions wanted to know about which oils were best to use, coconut oil was on both Sam and Pete's list as were extra virgin olive oil for use cold (ie. in salads or food after cooking but not to be used when cooking because heat changes its structure), Sam is a fan of macadamia oil over popular oils such as rice bran oil, one tip she gave was to buy oils in dark coloured glass over clear glass or in plastic. Clarified butter (ghee) and animal fats (beef or duck) were other options for cooking, and sesame oil was favoured for dressings or adding in at the end of cooking such as in Pete's breakfast miso dish.


For more inspiration and recipes from Pete and Sam check out their facebook pages here and here, and Sam's blog bittersweetsour or buy her book The Healing Feeling. Pete's health inspired cookbook will be out in April 2014.

Where are you finding your real food/wholefood inspiration at the moment? Share your favorite blogs, websites and cookbooks in the comments.

Monday, October 21, 2013

monday musings - on food + money part 2


Monday is the day I veer off topic and muse about something other than wholefood...

Last monday I posted about the link between dieting and budgeting and made the point that no one really likes doing either of those things but everyone wants to feel great in their skin and be excited to open their bank statement. Yes I said excited to open their bank statement.

How did you go keeping your food or spending diary? did you find it helpful? eye opening? keep going with it, doing it for a month gives a good picture of your eating or earning/spending habits and then with awareness that's where you can begin to make changes.

So today I promised some more tips and tools for making changes in these two important areas of your life.

1. Make peace with your past. We can't change the past but the problem is that you may still be carrying emotional baggage from your past that is weighting you down and/or keeping you broke. Releasing the emotions associated with your food or money past is essential for healing and freeing you up to tread a new path. You can try doing this by yourself, writing in a journal or sitting in meditation and seeing what feelings come up or you can find a counsellor to do this work with one who can support and guide you. When I have been to see a counsellor I have always found one by asking friends for recommendations - better to have someone who is tried and tested! I am a fan of breath and bodywork, this sort of work taps into the stored feelings we have in our bodies it works on a deeper level than just talking. You can read more about this sort of work here.

2. Ask for help. This is not an easy thing for every person to do - I am terrible at it! I have an overwhelming desire to be able to everything myself - perfectly! Totally ridiculous behaviour but it is one of my life lessons that I must remind myself not to expect that I can master every single aspect of my life on the first go. I have my darling mother to thank for this trait because this is what she modelled to me when I was growing up and I see now that it did not serve her well either. I was talking to a wise friend about this one day and my friend asked, 'what did you want your mum to do differently?' I thought about it and said 'I wished she had of asked for help'. And that was an answer not only for my mum but for me. And perhaps for you?

It is ok not to know where to start or how to move forward, if you take a moment to consider the people in your life who can help you with some skills to feel good in your skin or flourish with your finances pluck up the courage and ask them. I am learning that people love to help, it makes them feel good too and if you are feeling embarrassed about asking or fearful that they will say no be brave and ask anyway otherwise you will stay stuck. If they say no they weren't the right person to help, ask someone else. I remind myself when I need to - 'you can rest, but never give up'.

Some recommended reading...

I am currently reading Kate Northrup's Money A Love Story, it is excellent because it is not a personal finance book it is all about facing up to and healing the relationship women have with their money. Written in an engaging style with exercises to complete in each chapter.

When I'm not reading Kate's book I am reading Marianne Williamson's latest beautiful book The Law of Divine Compensation - On Work, Money and Miracles. This is not light reading folks, it is the sort of book that you read a page and take a while to let it sink in. Marianne's writing is so dense with information that one page a day is biting off enough to chew for a while.

A book recommended to me many years ago was Dr Susan Taylor's Sexual Radiance 21 day program for vitality and sensuality. This is another excellent book, it encompasses nutrition, exercise and breathwork and while the focus is not purely weight loss the program is all about optimising your metabolism and once you've done that weight loss will follow.

For more tips on weight loss read this post I wrote last year.

I hope that is helpful to you in some way. Tomorrow I'll be sharing photos and stories from my day at Sustain organic expo. Thanks for reading and if you feel like sharing some tips or thoughts in the comments go right ahead I love hearing from you x

**I am not a doctor or a financial counsellor. Please seek professional advice if you need to.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

sunday stills








1. My favorite quick beans meal
2. Carrot hummus with cumin and parsley
3. Rocket flower
4. Tomato plant, thyme, and sage
5. Pansy power
6. I do love flowers
7. Recipe research

linking up with Beetleshack Em xo

Friday, October 18, 2013

friday we love you


I'm spending hours at the computer these days which isn't ideal but I am working on projects that I'm passionate about and for that I am happy and grateful.

Project number 1 is my ebook. I'm writing, thinking, reading, researching, tying my brain into a pretzel and out again as I work towards creating a book that will help anyone who wants to move their family from eating a processed diet to eating a natural one. I'm compiling real life stories, tips and recipes for how you can raise your children to eat nourishing food in these times of factory food. Watch this space!...

While researching I came across this interesting read - The bitter truth about fructose alarmism

And then while procrastinating researching I discovered Blogcademy world tour, if you don't have a spare $750 to go on the world tour I found Fabulous Blogging for you there's lots of great FREE tips about blogging

On the topic of creativity have you heard about the Creative Women's Circle?

If you're looking for some breakfast ideas click on over here.

Moving on from breakfast to er, dark chocolate and hazelnut cake

This week I've been made aware of a fantastic parenting site Positive Parenting Connect (PPC), if you're feeling a bit low on inspiration in the parenting stakes click on over, I found this post on siblings and teasing really insightful. Thanks to Kerry from Kids in Harmony, another beautiful site, for getting in touch and introducing me to PPC.

Motherhood. It's a big gig. Check out this new site that is calling all mamas to action, bringing us together to support and celebrate each other in all that we do and are - The Mother Movement

In my *spare* time I'm working on the PR for Pete's new book Fire & the Story of Burning Country that will be released next month and lending a hand on the other major project Pete is co-ordinating - Culture is Life

What I'm really looking forward to is Sunday when I hop in my car and drive up the freeway to Melbourne. All. By. Myself. to wander around the Sustain organic expo and see my friend Samantha Gowing launch her book The Healing Feeling.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I hope that Spring warmth finally kicks in here in Victoria! See you back here next week. As always, thanks for visiting x

Thursday, October 17, 2013

back to basics: roasted vegetable salad


Are you caught in the trap? The trap of feeling like you have to come up with something new, something different, original every day to cook for your family? Or the trap of wanting to cook things that your children will eat and resisting cooking with what you have for fear they won't eat it? Well, fear not. As with so much in our modern life we could take a whole lot of pressure off ourselves if we followed the KISS principle and Keep It Simple Sista.

You know the story, you look in the fridge or the pantry and wonder 'what am I going to cook for dinner?' When there's only a few ingredients it can be tempting to think, 'I just need a few more ingredients to cook something that the family will eat' then you go out and buy those few and ingredients plus a swag of other foods you didn't intend to buy.

If you have some vegetables, some herbs/spices and protein you can make a meal, you don't need to go shopping and if you are thinking 'hmmm but X won't eat that' just cook the meal with what you have and give it a go, I'm guessing there will be at least one element of whatever dish you serve that each member of your family will enjoy.

For dinner last night I had taken out some flathead fillets from the freezer, what to have with it? In the fridge we had carrots, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and cabbage plus potatoes in the cupboard. A roasted vegetable salad was perfect to go with the fish.
I chopped up the veggies into chunks and roasted them in the oven in melted butter and mixed dried herbs. While they were roasting I crumbed the fish, rolling it first in gluten free plain flour, dipping it in egg and then rolling it in rice crumbs. Then washed some mixed lettuce leaves that Pete picked from a local farm. Once the veggies were done I pulled them out to cool before tossing them through the salad leaves and heating the pan to cook the fish.
Pete whipped up a salad dressing using his 'whatever we have in the fridge and pantry wants to go together' recipe. In this case it was apple cider vinegar and a dash of sesame oil.

Good food doesn't need to be fancy or complicated, from just a few ingredients you can create a really wholesome nutritious meal. By working with what you have you minimise waste, save money (& time and petrol driving to the shops) and this mama thinks that teaching our children to appreciate what we have rather than seeking more or something different all the time is a good thing.

Of course if you have menu planning down pat you'll have all this covered, but even then remember it is ok to get back to basics, keep things simple and give things a go that last month someone didn't want to eat but this month they might.

How is the dinner hour at your house? Clean plates? Fussy eaters? Are you doing handstands to get them to eat good food? Tell us in the comments.

Monday, October 14, 2013

monday musings: on food + money - part 1



Monday is the day I veer off topic and muse about something other than wholefood...

It occurred to me recently that dieting and budgeting have a lot in common. For instance, many people find both dieting and budgeting difficult and arduous because in their minds both of these concepts scream: restriction, sacrifice, deprivation and missing out.

The irony is, the aim of dieting is a healthy body weight and the aim of budgeting is a healthy bank balance and the truth is we can have neither of these things without making some changes to current behaviours and habits. It is by trying to make these changes purely by willpower that most people fall short.

As Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result".

So if you're battling with your weight and finances and you want to break the cycle of going on a diet or starting a budget and breaking them, I have the answer. It's an inside job: inside your head and heart.

First step is to change your mind - this may involve a bit of trickery. By steering away from the words diet and budget you can remove the emotional connections you have with these words from your past.

You are not going on a diet and you are not sticking to a budget (breathe sigh of relief). Forget bathroom scales and calculators, personal finance books, lists of foods to eat and not to eat there is another way.

We women are emotional, no point pretending we're not or feeling bad about our sensitivities and being in tune with our emotions, it can be used as a strength not a weakness. Therefore in transforming our relationship to food and money we must first consider our emotional connection and come from a place of love: not guilt, blame, shame and regret.

How do we transform this relationship?

Well it is so ridiculously simple that I won't be surprised if you don't believe me when I tell you.

We do this by breathing. By bringing our awareness regularly back to our breathing, we become conscious of the moment, otherwise known as being mindful.

So instead of dieting, become lovingly mindful about what you are eating, how often you are moving your body and instead of budgeting become lovingly mindful of what you are earning, spending and investing.

I can hear your scepticism. But truly by moving your emotional state from one of guilt, blame, shame, fear and regret to one of self-acceptance, love and positivity miracles will happen, your life will change. It sounds a bit airy fairy I know but just give it a go you have absolutely nothing to lose - except maybe those last 5 kilos!

Now of course we all know 'magic' doesn't just happen all by itself, it does require action. To get you started, choose which is the most emotionally charged for you at the moment or the one you would like to change the most - your relationship with food or your relationship with money.

For the next week keep a journal of the food you eat (include details of where you were, who you were with and how you were feeling before and after), or of the money that you earn and spend, every single dollar - a coffee here, a magazine there, an op shop find no amount is too small. Do this exercise with loving mindfulness - no shaming yourself, no guilt, just noticing and note taking.

Next monday I will add some more tools to your kit and before you know it you will be on your way to where you want to be without dieting or budgeting. Good huh?

If this made sense to you and you think a friend would like it too please share using the share buttons below. And leave your comments I love hearing from you.
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