Friday, January 16, 2015

weekend reading

I love Homegrown Kitchen and it just got even prettier with a new look to start the new year

If making peace with money is on your to do list for 2015, set half an hour aside and listen to Barbara Stanny author of 'Overcoming Underearning' she is amazing. She speaks the language of women: "the inner work is as important as the outer work" that is, working through the feelings and values you have around money are equally as important as learning how to budget and invest. And this, "Earning and managing money is not about the money, women are capable of that, it is about women owning their power".

Still on goals for the new year, I really enjoyed Nicole's 2015: the one thing post

And I thought this fantastic post from Nicole would come in handy with two weeks of holidays to go: Non technology activities for kids to do at home

I think Jodi's book would make a beautiful gift, especially for new mothers

Looking forward to a dinner date with my man at Cakes & Ale

I shared this on facebook during the week, a little video on how to get children to help around the house. Perhaps you can identify with being an 'overfunctioning parent' ie. "it is quicker and easier if I do it myself, then I know the job is done properly" Mistake! This creates underfunctioning children. See the vid for more details.

You have until midnight to sign up for Lisa's Small Steps to Wholefoods e-course. Lisa is one of the most passionate and motivated people I know when it comes to teaching people how to live the wholefood life without breaking the bank and so that your children and husband will happily get on board too! This course is perfect if you want to kickstart your wholefood year or get back on track.

It isn't too late to grab yourself a copy of Leonie Dawson's Incredible Yearbooks. 
Take some time out just for you and decide what you'd like to happen this year.

Ok better go it is getting a bit rowdy here in the background time to get them outside.

Happy weekend everyone. x

Thursday, January 15, 2015

thursday recipe: oat 'n' nut slice

I'm not sure what it is, the rainy weather or that there are basically only two weeks until school goes back but I was in the mood to bake something muesli bar like.

Working with what I had in the pantry this is my satisfying oaty nutty creation. I had to photograph it quickly because the taste testers were hovering, I'm glad I snapped it when I did because it didn't last long.

If you live in a warm climate this is definitely best stored in the fridge so that the coconut oil stays solid otherwise the slice becomes crumbly, delicious whatever shape its in but if you want it to hold together keep it cool. It isn't a particularly sturdy slice, probably best enjoyed at home or taken on a picnic but I don't think it would survive the rough and tumble of going to school in a lunchbox.

While we're on the topic of lunchboxes if you are looking for nut free options for going back to school Sonia has just put together a great post with 20 nut free lunchbox friendly recipes. She is organised that Natural New Age Mum! (A little too organised, I don't want to think about kids going back to school yet Sonia! but thanks for getting us on track :)

Enjoy the recipe but most importantly soak up these last couple of holiday weeks with your little folk
(& teenage folk too!)

Oat 'n' nut slice


1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seed and almond sold in supermarkets and health food stores)
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup almond meal
3 tbsp maple syrup
1.5 tsp aluminium free baking powder
150ml coconut oil melted

To make

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C
Line baking tray with baking paper (mine is approx 20cm x 25cm)
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients
Press mixture into baking tray
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden
Would be delicious served with berries and yoghurt

**NOTE: wait until slice is completely cool before cutting or it will crumble**

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

wholefood step-by-step: # 23 rethink flour, & what to do with coconut flour

My friend Anthea inspired this post. Anthea bought some coconut flour for the first time and asked me, 'what on earth she was meant to do with it?!' I'll say from the outset coconut flour is not my go to flour (I use spelt flour for baking), I use coconut flour from time to time and am keen to embrace it so I thought this was a good opportunity to investigate further.

Before we get into some ideas for using coconut flour, let's take a look at flour in general.

Once upon a time when all foods were prepared in the home, made from scratch, we would have been grinding our own flour, possibly from a variety of wholegrains - not just wheat. As you can imagine, if we had to grind our own flour - by hand - we probably wouldn't use it too often!

Fast forward to our industrialised, factory food world and much of the modern diet is based on grains and namely wheat flour - bread, pastry, cakes, sweet biscuits, dry biscuits, muffins and so on. Now that we're not grinding our own flour (unless you own a thermomix :), floury foods have become convenient.

The cons of eating a high grain/flour diet is a whole post in itself but in a nutshell:

- grains/flours are carbohydrates, eating a high carbohydrate diet often means that nutrition suffers because carbohydrates are chosen over fruit, vegetables and protein.

- wheat ( including spelt, kamut, triticale) rye, barley, and oats contain gluten and the number of people with health problems related to gluten intolerance or sensitivity appears to be on the rise. ranging from bloating, stomach cramps, nausea vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome to coeliac disease. 

What is coconut flour and why should I try it?

One of the great things about coconut flour is that it is made from the byproduct of making coconut milk, which means nothing is wasted! The coconut pulp is dried and then ground into flour.

Fans of coconut flour love it because it is:

- it is gluten free
- grain free
- high in fibre
- low carb
- good for baking

Where do I buy it and how much does it cost?

If you shop online, thanks to Nutra Organics I am very happy to offer you a 10% discount discount in their online store not only on coconut flour but across their whole range!

Visit Nutra Organics here. You can find their Wholefood Pantry certified organic coconut flour here 1kg $14.35.

The discount code is: Wholefoodmama and is valid until February 28th 2015.

You can also buy coconut flour in health food stores and in some supermarkets in the section where flour is sold. It is generally sold in 500g or 1kg packets and prices range from approx. $6 - $12 depending on weight and whether it is organic or conventional.

If you'd like to try making your own coconut milk and coconut flour follow these instructions by Coconut Mama.

How do I use coconut flour?

The most popular way to use coconut flour is in baking: breads, cakes, muffins and desserts.

**Important tip: coconut flour cannot replace other types of flours at a cup for cup ratio. Coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and you will notice recipes with coconut flour generally call for a large number of eggs to assist with binding the flour to produce a cake or muffin that doesn't just fall apart.

Thanks to some of my favorite wholefoodie bloggers I have a great collection of recipe links here for you of their tried and true baked goods made with coconut flour:

Natural New Age Mums'  Healthy Chocolate Muffins

Bek Mugridge's  Berrylicious muffins (not gluten free)

Brenda Janschek's  Brownie Cake

Georgia Harding's Healthy Chocolate, Almond, Coconut Bars

The Nourished Psychologist's Paleo Banana Bread

And if that's not enough to get you started, check out Empowered Sustenance 105 coconut flour recipes

Tell us the highs and lows of your experience with coconut flour. I'd love to hear!


Visit Nutra Organics here. You can find their Wholefood Pantry certified organic coconut flour here.

For 10% discount the code is: Wholefoodmama and is valid until February 28th 2015.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

weekend reading

Did you make any resolutions? Writer Jeff Goins tells us How to not set yourself up for failure with New Year resolutions

If you've had a rough start to the year and you're feeling overwhelmed, Hands Free Mama has written the most beautiful heart wrenching post that speaks volumes about the power of taking small steps

Still on resolutions, I love what Olga has written about the nature of desire

On a lighter note, green beans are in season! I'm loving Rachel's recipe all over again this summer

If you're wondering what to pack to eat at the beach Mamacino's mango + macadamia bars look like winners

Oh that Joy the Baker her blog is looking so beautiful

It isn't really hot soup weather here in Australia right now but Smitten Kitchen's ultimate chicken noodle soup makes me want some. Smitten Kitchen was one of the first blogs I read, it sparked my interest in blogging, one blog lead to another. You know how it goes.

Thankyou to Teegan at Verve Design for creating my new logo. I do love it! A new year, a new look.
Teegan also designs an online mag - Confetti - take a look I think you'll like it!

Happy Saturday!


Thursday, January 08, 2015

thursday recipe: rice noodle salad with fresh herbs and cashews

Summer is in full swing and with the festive eating over it is time for some lighter meals with fresh flavours.

This recipe is inspired by my friends Rachel and John who own Feast catering in Sorrento. Beautiful rice paper rolls with hoi sin dipping sauce are a favourite on their menu and their garden is abundant with fresh herbs for Asian cooking.

I returned home from visiting them with some Thai basil and mint, the beginning of today's salad which could easily be the filling for rice paper rolls.

I had rice paper noodles in the cupboard, cucumber, carrot, capsicum in the fridge, red onion and cashews on hand and celery from the garden. The salad was shaping up.

The highlight of any dish with such simple ingredients as this is of course the dressing, or dipping sauce in the case of rice paper rolls.

We enjoyed the salad with chicken schnitzel as you can see pictured but you can have it as is or add some chilli beef, pork, fish, tempeh or tofu, even boiled eggs would work well.

I hope you are keeping cool, or warm depending on your hemisphere and that the school holidays are going smoothly for everyone.

As one of my friends whose daughter is all grown up said to me the other day 'enjoy those boys'.
It was good reminder, school holidays and childhood are fleeting.

Embrace the fun, the squabbles and everything in between.

Happy cooking x

Rice noodle salad with fresh herbs and cashews

125g rice noodles (vermicelli) cooked
1 carrot cut into thin sticks (julienne)
1 cucumber cut into thin sticks (julienne)
1/2 red capsicum cut into thin sticks
1/2 red onion finely sliced (spring onion would work well too)
1 stick of celery finely sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mixed herbs I used Thai basil and mint because that's what I had - coriander and/or Vietnamese mint would be good too
1/2 cup roasted cashews roughly chopped

To make

Set aside 1 tablespoon of chopped herbs and 1 tablespoon cashews.
Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl and sprinkle remaining herbs and cashews on top.


1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp raw honey
1 small garlic clove crushed

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and let stand for 1/2 an hour to let the garlic infuse flavour.
Pour over salad and toss. Chilli lovers may like to sprinkle with fresh or dried chilli flakes.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

wholefood step-by-step: #22 chia seeds

I hope your new year is off to a wonderful start.

We're enjoying beach days here in Australia, and the long summer school holidays.

Welcome if you are a new reader! And welcome back if you're a regular here.

I'm looking forward to continuing this series this year. The aim is to break wholefood living down into easy steps that you can take one at a time, rather than feeling overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once.

Today we're taking a look at chia seeds. These little seeds fall into the 'superfood' category which is not something I write about much here because I want to focus on every day wholefoods - such as fruit and vegetables! - that are accessible to everyone.

Having said that, when you can include chia seeds into your budget they're a great food to add nutrients and variety to your wholefood diet.

I buy them from time to time and my favorite thing to do with them is add them to smoothies or sprinkle them on porridge, muesli or yoghurt. I've tried to love chia pudding but haven't managed to get hooked on it yet. More about that later.

What are chia seeds and why are they good to eat?
Chia seeds come from the flowers of the chia plant, a herb that is part of the mint family, native to Mexico and Guatemala. There are black chia seeds and white chia seeds, there is no difference in taste, texture or nutritional value between the two.

As the worldwide demand grows for these nutritious seeds, commercial crops are now grown in Australia and South American countries Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Nicaragua.

Nutritionally chia seeds offer protein, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

Where can I buy them?
Australian grown chia seeds are sold in major supermarkets and you will find them in health food and organic stores too.

You can buy Australian grown chia seeds online here.

If you are really keen, you can grow your own!
Read this detailed post: How I grow and harvest organic chia by Long Time Mother.

How much do they cost?
Like many wholefood items, buying in bulk is the way to bring the price down for chia seeds.
A 250g pack is around $9-$10 whereas 1kg ranges between $23-$30. You only need to use a small amount 1-3 tablespoons depending on what you're adding them to, 1/4-1/2 cup if you are making a chia pudding so they will last you a while.

What do I do with them?
Chia seeds are versatile. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post you can sprinkle them on porridge or your favorite muesli or granola, add them to smoothies, you can also make chia seed jam, chia puddings or use them in baking.

When mixed with liquid chia seeds become gelatinous so they can be a helpful substitute in recipes for those who can't eat eggs. See this chia seed egg replacement recipe.

If you would like to try out chia pudding give Georgia's Chia Berry Ripe a go. This recipe can be a great option for those of you who want to get away from eating packet cereal for breakfast.
(A little aside, you will find plenty of wonderful wholefood recipes and info on Georgia's site beyond the chia seed one. Take a look).

Do you use chia seeds? What do you like to use them in? If you write a blog and have a chia seed recipe you'd like to share leave a link in the comments.
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