30 April 2012

my (boys) fashion: wares from the warehouse

It was a lazy Friday morning and there was a warehouse sale for one of my favourite kids clothing labels practically around the corner from my house. It would've been rude not to go. And I hate being rude.

I picked up a few goodies for Noah (and my niece on the way!) and renewed my love of organic cotton clothing. It is just so much softer and the quality is so much better. Cotton is the most heavily sprayed crop in the world, and we wear it all day, every day. I hate thinking of what residual chemicals are sitting on our skin. Gaia has the most adorable ranges. I am already picturing this shirt paired with the suspenders I bought for Noah from Seed. Now all he needs is a fancy occasion to wear it all.

It was worth stocking up as the majority of boys clothes out there don't excite me very much. I often struggle to find anything I like since I have an aversion to graphic prints, slogans and Pumpkin Patch in general (although clearly no aversion to jackets/beanies/anything with ears. That will never get old).

29 April 2012

my food: the vegetarian edition

I made a concious effort to make more meat-free dishes over the past few days. Here's a look back at the week that was, vegetarian style.

Earth Burgers

I'm a big fan of Quinoa. Huge. I still don't know why I don't make it more - it's as easy to cook as rice but so much more nutritious. I think that's all about to change now that we've tasted the wonder that is the Earth Burger. I didn't think I was going to be able to sell Rob on the idea of a meat-free burger, so I accidentally forgot to mention that small detail until said burger was en route to mouth. Success! It was a hit. I served these as the recipe suggests, topped with avocado, tomato and caramelised onion - Rob's in a wholegrain bun (baby steps, people) and mine in a lettuce cup. Seriously, try it.

Rice and Vegetable Pilaf

If nothing else, Autumn helps me find me slow-cooking mojo. This meatless Monday was going to need something special to warm me up seeing as though our heater still hasn't made its way out of storage (Let that be a gentle reminder Rob). One thing that is always at the back of my mind when cooking a vegetarian dish is how to make sure it is going to Fill Us Up. The answer? Never underestimate the power of fibre. And by that, I mean lots and lots of veggies.

As it was also the day before our Fruit and Vege delivery, I just used up whatever was making a dent at the bottom of the crisper drawer - in this case it was mushrooms, capsicum and celery. Add some rice (always brown rice), some flavour in the form of home-made stock and let it do its thing for a few hours in the oven. It was delicious, if I do say so myself.

Pumpkin soup

So Rob dislikes pumpkin but loves pumpkin soup. Weird. (Do you see what I'm working with here people?!) Making a huge batch on a Sunday solves our lunch issues for (most of) the week, and I love knowing that we are all getting a midday veggie hit.

I don't get too fancy: I steam a kilo or two of butternut pumpkin until tender but not falling apart (or roast if you have the time so it caramelises in the oven - drool), fry an onion and a couple of crushed garlic cloves in organic ghee and put it all in a blender in batches. Then I transfer it all back to the saucepan and reheat with some water, a generous amount of cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Too easy.

All in all, I was rather satisfied with this week's efforts.

27 April 2012

amber is the answer

When Noah was about three months old, the number of "Isn't she pretty?" compliments thrown our way increased about ten-fold. I knew it wasn't just because of his ridiculously long eyelashes or the fact that he was often dressed in leggings and fluffy booties. My guess is that it had something to do with the beads hanging around his neck in the form of an amber teething necklace. As a natural analgesic, Baltic amber is known for it's healing and anti-inflammatory properties, so it was a no-brainer when he needed some pain relief. It's not exactly breaking news when I say that I'm all for natural alternatives, and anything that is going to reduce the use of medicinal pain relief will always be my first port of call. There will always be sceptics but I can honestly say that I don't doubt their effectiveness in the slightest.

Nikolai, Noah and their necklaces

And hey, if it's good enough for Miranda Kerr...

Credit: Splash

25 April 2012

smooth operator

You've heard the hype, right? Green smoothies (and juices) are all the rage. Here's a fantastic post on how to make them. Here are the recipes on high rotation in our household:

#1 This is Noah's current favourite. If he polishes off one of these bad-boys for breakfast then I don't have to spend the rest of the day worrying too much about his fruit and vege intake.

1 x frozen banana
1 x apple (organic fuji's are incredibly sweet and juicy at the moment)
1 x pear (optional, usually if the apple is on the small side)
1/2 lemon, peeled
2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 cups water/coconut water (use some ice if you want it thicker)
> Blend in a high speed blender.

#2 This is one of my faves, especially handy since as we usually always have all of the ingredients in the freezer.

1 x frozen banana
1 x handful frozen blueberries
1 x handful frozen rasberries
2 large handfuls kale or spinach
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1-2 cups water/coconut water
> Blend.

#3 If you're partial to a creamier drink, then this is the one for you.

1 x frozen banana
1/2 large avocado (or 1 small)
1 lemon or lime, peeled
2 handfuls spinach/kale/silverbeet
1 apple or handful of berries (optional, if you like it sweet)
1 tbsp maca powder or bee pollen (optional)
1-2 cups water/coconut water
> Blend.

You can always add more greens or substitute the fruit with whatever you prefer. I also like to sneak in a few extra superfoods when I can as they (usually) go unnoticed - excellent! And I'm always keen to taste a new recipe so do share if you have one worth trying!

23 April 2012

my life: 20.04.12

The world is a better place on a Friday. Everyone is so much happier with the weekend looming, myself included. This is how we spent it.

my food: Breakfast is hands-down the best meal of the day. I love it so much I could eat it for every meal, and sometimes I actually do. I'm not talking the ol' Cheerios and toast variety though. Nuh-uh. It has to include the good stuff, and yes, I mean vegetables. Luckily I'm more than partial to a green smoothie, so I can focus (a lot) of my attention on the porridge or muesli side of things. Or both.

Just kidding this wasn't all for me, although I kinda wish it was. These tasty dishes were once again thanks to The Healthy Chef. Slight obsession, yes, but I haven't found many other places like this that are equal parts healthy and delicious. I really do hope more café's adopt a like-minded approach to their menus much sooner rather than later: more fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, less sugar-laden meals and a focus on whole foods.

my family: As you can see, it was a sisterly affair. We like to keep it real.

my fashion: I've said it before and I'll say it again: these days I like to keep it extremely simple, if only because of the fact that it will most likely be covered in multiple foodstuffs before 10am. Today that consisted of One Teaspoon high-waisted shorts, a Sportsgirl top and House of Harlow bangle. Noah was feeling all sorts of preppy that morning (call it mother's intuition) which called for a striped top and white shorts, both by Purebaby and Walnut canvas shoes. Adorbs.

22 April 2012

pure beauty

My bathroom cabinet has had a makeover. I've been slowly getting rid of all the chemical-laden beauty products and turned to (what else?) natural alternatives. The best bit? They're gentler on the skin, there are no synthetic ingredients, and they work.

It's no secret that I have a slight obsession with coconuts. You're probably already sick of me rambling on about them (heads up: it ain't stopping anytime soon). We've all heard about the many benefits of including coconut oil in our diet, so why stop there? It is hands-down the best skin moisturiser, hair treatment and make-up remover.

This is my oil of choice. I put it in my hair the night before a wash and let it work its magic. Olive oil works well too, but doesn't smell nearly as divine (although a lot less like a Piña Colada).

For the face it's all about Organic Rosehip Oil. I thought this would make me breakout as my skin is naturally an oil-slick but it actually had the opposite effect. Bonus. I use it every night.

A great all-rounder is Egyptian Magic. Made with olive oil, beeswax and honey bee pollen, it's an age-old formula used by the Ancient Egyptians. Hey, if it was good enough for Queen Cleopatra, then it's good enough for me! I like to think of it as the Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream of the natural world.

Other brands that rock my socks off are Sukin, bod (love their face wash), Vanessa Megan and Butter Nail Polish. Make-up-wise I've swapped my Chanel foundation for Lavera, which gives great coverage - I was pleasantly surprised. Mascara is by Ere Perez, which has an almond oil base, and lip balm by Shizen. I've found most of these brands in my local health food store.

At first I was slightly devastated when I started throwing out all of my beautifully-packaged bottles of perfection (I even held on to a few of my favourites so I can still get my toxin-load on for a special occasion).  But for everyday use I remind myself of the golden rule: if you can't eat it, then you most definitely shouldn't put it on your skin.

19 April 2012

my food: the nut milk edition

Today's glass of goodness is brought to you courtesy of a bowl of activated cashew nuts, some H2O and the humble date. Is there nothing that this sweet ball of goodness can't do?

My dairy milk-loving days are over, and now it's my nut milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard.

And by boys, I mean boy. And by yard, I mean kitchen.

inspiration street: the wellness warrior

Is it weird to be so truly happy for and proud of someone you don't know? Because that is how I feel about Jessica Ainscough aka The Wellness Warrior. Now to be fair, I do kind of know her. We used to work on the same level back in my magazine days - she worked at Dolly and I worked at Cleo, so we would cross paths and say "hi" in the kitchen. I heard her story through the grapevine, and continued to follow her journey on her blog long after we had both left the building.

So why the warm fuzzies all of a sudden? Because this past weekend she finished two years of intese detoxification and nutritional treatment for an aggressive form of cancer that was supposed to take her left arm, and then her life. We're talking daily juicing and enemas, plus plenty of supplements and castor oil shots. She did this instead of undergoing an amputation, radiation and chemo as advised by traditional doctors, and survived. Her story is rather controversial and truly inspirational, and I have learnt so much from her and her blog. She has taken complete control of her health and is living proof (albeit an extreme one!) of the success that an holistic approach can have.

But lets get back to basics. We don't all spend each and every day with the top priority of fighting disease, but we can all learn something from those who do. I emailed this link to Rob one day and when he came home he threw out our microwave. Whenever the sun is out, so are we. And when one of us is sick, I try to figure out why. The little things can make a big difference. Each and every day let's make them count, because who knows how many of them we have. 

12 April 2012

why is my life bohemian?

For the part year since Noah was born I have become so much more passionate about organic food and holistic health. Now I was pretty into it beforehand, so that's really saying something. There's not much else that has been as life-changing for me (birth of child and marriage to husband not included) as the realisation that each and every one of us needs to take responsibility and control of our own well-being.

Now don't worry, nothing irritates me more that a holier-than-thou preacher so you won't be getting any of that from me, but I do think it is important for everyone to realise just how much what you eat (and especially what you don't eat) affects every part of your health. I could never emphasise enough just how important it is to skip conventional produce, pay that little bit extra and go organic. How we need to eat vegetables, greens, fruits and wholegrains everyday to fuel our body and immune system. How we seem to have forgotten that food is our medicine, and we can't expect to be healthy and have the ability to fight disease if we don't give our bodies the tools they need to do it. And let me tell you right now, a six-week old apple from Coles or a Woolies frozen meal is just not going to cut it.

There. I said it. I'm jumping off my soapbox now and I don't plan to hop back on any time soon. I don't know about you, but it can be pretty hard for me to find time to cook from scratch Every. Single. Day. What works in this household is a whole lotta planning and a few ground rules: A ban on (most) processed foods. Cooking every meal myself (with the exception of Friday nights which will forever remain take-away domain). Buying organic. Green smoothies. There are other things - bigger lifestyle changes - that I have adopted on the way and are constantly evolving: More vegetarian meals. Limiting dairy (click here for some interesting links if you're curious why). Growing some of our own produce. It really never ends. There is always something new to improve on, and that is why I find it all so satisfying to learn about and so important to spread the word. Ignoring the elephant in the supermarket aisle ain't helping anyone.

Is there a name for this kind of way of thinking? Not that I know of. How do I define myself? I don't. I had a conversation with a friend recently discussing food and nutrition, wondering which would be the best diet to follow for optimal health. Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw... And you know, I think they all have their place, but there are parts of every diet that has nutritional pitfalls as well as benefits. I feel that defining my lifestyle is extremely limiting, but more importantly, it places too much pressure. Life is to be enjoyed, and food is one of the best ways to do it. All I can do is aim to make conscious decisions every day and don't stress too much when life gets in the way. There is always tomorrow, and it is never too late to make it right.

11 April 2012

my fashion: the winter chill edition 11.04.12

Well winter came along quickly, didn't it?! Just quietly, I was kind of excited to get all rugged up today - it's always a bit of a novelty at the beginning of the season. I know how quickly this enthusiasm for the cooler weather will pass, so I took full advantage and dressed myself (and more importantly my little man-doll Noah) in our (my) favourite winter threads.

Now that he is a full-grown toddler, I have expanded his wardrobe beyond boy-leggings (surprisingly adorable) to include such novelties as puffer vests and Proper Shoes. Yes, this boy has new kicks. I couldn't help but get a little over-excited in the children's section of DJs. Exhibit A:

I'm well aware that shoelaces are thoroughly impractical but I mean, come on... they had me at hi-tops.

As for myself, well this is where it starts to become a little less exciting.

Nothing screams fashion more than an entirely machine-washable outfit (shoes included - if you focus your attention on the beetroot stain on my white Converse). I do love this jumper though. Alice in the Eve at General Pants - big fan.

A little luxury comes in the form of my trusty miu miu (nappy) bag. Who would've thought that oversized bags had a use beyond making you look like a long-lost Olsen twin?

08 April 2012

my Easter break bake.

I spend so much time in the kitchen these days. There is always lots of food prep to be done and plenty of new recipes to try out. I aim to cook something new at least once a week. This may not sound like much, but when life gets busy I tend to stick with the old favourites and all of a sudden we are eating the same thing week after week. Having a toddler with a huge appetite is a great challenge because he gets bored of eating the same thing extremely quickly. 

In the spirit of Easter I was keen to finally try out the recipe for Teresa Cutter's Healthy Hot Cross Buns

Now I haven't had the best of luck making my own bread in the past  - Rob never hesitates to remind me of the cracked tooth incident which he maintains was a result of one of my past attempts at making homemade lunch rolls! And although I have a weakness for the traditional bakery-bought variety, I was keen to test out a much healthier version. I'm pretty happy with the result:

After a sneaky taste test I can proudly report that all of my teeth remain intact. They aren't as good-looking as the originals but they are delicious!

Any choc-filled holiday would not be complete without the delicious raw brownie from one of my all-time favourite food blogs, My New Roots. This one's an oldie but a goodie. If I'm making a batch for Noah I will sometimes use carob instead of cacao, which contains trace amounts of caffeine (as well as Theobromine which has a similar effect).

I also roll it the mixture into small balls instead of pressing it into a tray - much easier and cleaner for small hands to work with!

Too easy. One or two of these balls after dinner has even replaced my daily chocolate fix. They're that good.

02 April 2012

my current obsessions

my favourite things in life right now...

Young coconuts - I go through so many of these delicious things. I can easily justify it though as I dropped my daily coffee habit when I was pregnant and never looked back. Coconut water is my new Java.

I've started adding the leftover coconut meat to smoothies and even salads, and today I attempted to make ice cream (recipe to follow if it turns out!).

One teaspoon shorts - My summer staple. Actually make that my year-round staple. I wear them almost everyday, so their recent warehouse sale was the perfect opportunity to stock up.

Loving that this warm weather (finally!) means I'm still getting some serious wear out of them.

The China Study - This book is totally rocking my world. 

Once you start it, you wont be able to put it down. There's no denying the facts people, and that is that a plant-based, whole foods diet is the best thing for you. Now I'm no vegan, but I do try to be conscious about everything I feed myself and my family, and this book has really pushed me to seek more alternatives to the standard meat-based diet that we all know and love. I've limited our intake of animal-based foods for awhile now, but The China Study has served to remind me that being health-conscious is a daily responsibility. It's a constant work in progress!

Organic wine - With that being said, there is always a time and a place for wine (usually on the couch at around 7pm on a Friday!). I'm loving this organic red. 

There's no way there isn't some sort of goodness inside that bottle!