31 May 2012

food for thought

So earlier in the week, the article How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health (which I touched on here), went viral. Now, Green Smoothies Blog has responded with this post. It's a really interesting read and, if anything, shows us just how little we know (or how much we can often get wrong) about nutrition and disease. What I take away from these kinds of articles is that we just can't escape the hard-hitting facts.

Today's (not so) green smoothie: banana, blueberries,  spinach, lemon and chia seeds.

Since I read The China Study (the best book in the world!) I've become so interested in the scientific side of health and nutrition. I recommend this book to anyone who is remotely interested in taking control of their own health, and especially anyone affected by disease. It's a game-changer. And really, these days, who doesn't know someone who is?! My copy is getting loved over and over again, and that in itself makes me happy. I love spreading the word.

And seeing articles like these remind me that there is no "right" answer or "perfect" way to live. But doing whatever you do consciously makes a hell of a lot of difference.

finger food: delicious and nutritious

There is nothing more child-friendly than finger food, and nothing more fickle than the child for whom the finger food is made. Noah's preferences change on a daily basis and he never likes the same thing more than two days in a row, if he has decided that he likes it at all. So I am constantly on the lookout for new recipes to make, and the Millet Muffins from Heidi Swanson's cookbook Super Natural Every Day have been a winner (so far).

Here is my adapted recipe:

280g wholemeal flour
60g raw millet
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
Pinch celtic sea salt
225g natural yoghurt
2 eggs, beaten
120g unsalted butter, melted
175g honey

Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, then add the wet mixture to the dry bowl and mix until it has just comes together. Divide equally into a 12-hole tin and bake for 15 mins at 200C.

The original recipe also includes lemon juice and zest, which I left out of half of the mixture just in case, but he didn't seem to have a preference either way. This is a really great base recipe and not overly sweet. I think it'll be delicious with some added fruit next time.

28 May 2012

my life: the weekend edition

You know how we all have that one month in which every occasion seems to fall? May is that for me, so this weekend was a busy one. Rob and I celebrated our seven-year anniversary on Saturday, plus it was my mum's birthday on Sunday. Happy days!

my fashion: I was feeling a little bit fancy (and absolutely freezing as well, might I add) so it was time to pull out the (faux) fur.

I just love this one, which I picked up at the Avalon market day a couple of years back. Also loving these boots which were an absolute steal from Target, but are already dirty from one-too-many days spent at the local park.

my food: We went to St Malo Bakery for breakfast on Saturday. The food there is soooo good, and I just love looking through the sweets cabinet. You can see the chefs baking out the back and the breads are all organic - bonus!

Rob had the Breakfast of Kings as usual (basically breakfast with the lot) and I treated myself to the Brioche french toast. Seriously, if you live in Sydney, this place is worth visiting!

my family: In between all the celebrations there wasn't time for much else although I did manage to squeeze in a walk from Manly to Shelley Beach - beautiful!

We also moved some furniture around the house to accommodate our new couch. Scout is now mourning the days that she was allowed to sit up there with us. To be fair, she is now allowed to sleep on the rug! Ahhhh kids...

Now all I need is another weekend to unwind from this one.

24 May 2012

everything in moderation: moderation is everything!

As much as I am an advocate for living a healthy lifestyle, I am most definitely not one to impose rules or restrict myself - where's the fun in that? I like to make the healthiest choices possible the majority of the time, but there is always room to move.

Reading this article on How Green Smoothies Can Devastate Your Health kinda puts it all in perspective. Who would've thought that you can be too healthy - that you can eat too many greens and have it work against you?! It sounds like crazy talk! If anything, an article like this promotes the importance of moderation and I love that. So for the sake of protecting our health, let's not forget to go easy on ourselves. Moderation is everything - so would someone please pass me the dark chocolate?!

23 May 2012

bringing up baby

A good friend of mine and one of my earth-mother inspirations sent me this link last week: The Attachement Parenting Paradox. We both have such similar views on raising children, so I was nodding my head in agreement as I was reading. . Couldn't have said it better if I tried, so I won't. This is my favourite quote:

Followed by:


22 May 2012

my food: weeknight dinners

So I got a little bit excited on the weekend when I bought Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar Cookbook. There are so many recipes that I want to try and not enough time! I haven't done her 8-week I Quit Sugar plan yet as I'm not sure I'm keen on the idea of limiting fruit (and I haven't read the e-book yet so can't decide whether or not I should until I know more details), but the cookbook is totally up my alley - how delicious do these Avocado and Coconut water popsicles look?!

They're on my to-do list for later in the week once my rock-hard avos have softened up. In the meantime, I made her sweet potato soup. It passed the taste-test by Rob, who doesn't particularly like sweet potatoes, and I loved it because potatoes and lentils are just some of my favourite things.

My cooking approach tonight was a slightly different story. I'd lost my mojo by mid-afternoon so all I was up for come dinnertime was a tried-and-true staple. Since I already had some brown rice soaking I made fried rice with free-range and nitrite-free bacon (this is the only bacon I use, otherwise I just omit it), organic eggs, spring onions, peas, corn and tamari. Delish. It hit the spot.

I'm going to have another flick through the cookbook for some more dinner inspiration and I'll be sure to let you know how those popsicles turn out!

20 May 2012

my food: feeding the toddler edition

I'm constantly trying to think of new things to feed Noah. He gets bored of having the same food so quickly - one day something is a hit, and then the next he flicks the bowl away in disgust. This conundrum was made all the more difficult over the past week while we weren't at home, so I had to come up with a few thrifty ideas that surprisingly worked. Case in point:

Chickpeas - the wonder snack. Who would've thought?! A fibre and protein hit in one - winning! Once I caught wind of this little gem I was keen to take advantage, so our first meal back at home was the chickpea stew from Super Natural Every Day.

Once again, surprisingly, it was a hit! As always when I try a new recipe, I was worried that he wasn't going to like it and I'd be stuck with the leftovers for a week. In this case, we were lucky that there was any to spare. Success for now, but I won't rest on my laurels just yet. Who knows what's going to pass the test tomorrow?

17 May 2012

hot drink alternatives: bye bye coffee

So I'm no longer a coffee drinker. I'm still coming to terms with it. Now I'm one of those people who suggests meeting for coffee, and then gets a juice. But with the weather cooling down, I'm beginning to miss that warming cup o' joe. When I'm out, Chai is my current hot drink of choice, especially when they're this good, but at home I'm starting to get creative. Now hold onto your seats, I'm about to divulge my top three.

Hot chocolate
1 cup almond milk
1 tbsp cacao
1 tbsp sweetener of your choice - honey/stevia/maple syrup

Warm on the stovetop or in a Vitamix. Using the blender will make it nice and thick, and then you can use a date as the sweetener, if you feel that way inclined.

Toasty nut milk
1 cup nut milk of choice (I used hazelnut for this one - ah-mazing)
1 tbsp sweetener
1/2 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg

Warm it all gently on the stovetop, and keep below 42 degrees if you want to keep it raw.

Warming vanilla milk
1 cup oat or rice milk
Seeds from one vanilla pod or a tsp of pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp Cacao (optional, if you feel like something chocolatey).

I find I don't need any sweetener for this one as these milks are quite sweet. Warm on the stovetop or in a Vitamix, and then sit down and enjoy while you write me a thank-you note.

16 May 2012

my life: the mini-break edition

So we're up in the Gold Coast for the week visiting Rob's parents. I love it because, besides being lovely to catch up with the fam, it also means a week of no washing or cleaning - it's a nice break, and the weather is (slightly) warmer. But it seems that no matter where we are, the mornings are still freeeeezing! Around the corner from their house is the beautiful Gold Coast Scented Gardens, the perfect place for Noah to play his (current) favourite game of hide and seek.

He was wearing his adorable Adidas hi-tops. Bonds leggings and a hooded bear jacket from Next in the UK (which delivers free to Australia within five days!). I find their clothes are better quality and cheaper than what you get in chain stores here. Definitely worth a look!

I, on the other hand, seemed to pack rather haphazardly and as a result, forgot most of my favourite clothes. I did, however, use this as an excuse to go shopping and pick up this Bonds striped jumper which I'm sure will now be in high-rotation in my wardrobe, if only because of the fact that fleece and stripes could possibly be a perfect combination.

Today we went to see Benny the foal at Rob's sister's place. He is adorable. Me want one.

One thing I am missing about being at home is the cooking. Being away for only a few days had made me realise just how much food I make on a daily basis, and I miss being in my kitchen with a pantry full of goodness, able to cook whatever we feel like on a whim, and knowing that is will be nutritious. And my blender, oh how I miss my blender! I've noticed a huge drop in my energy levels on the days that I haven't had a smoothie or juice, so I'm really looking forward to getting back into that routine. It just goes to show that even on holidays you can't have it all, can you?! Lucky for us, that is the only downside to this mini-break. Now all that's left to do is figure out how to fit a foal into my suitcase.

15 May 2012

my food: getting creative with nut pulp

Wasting food is one of my biggest pet peeves. After going out of my way to make sure we always get great quality produce, I hate seeing any of it end up in the bin. Waste not, want not and all that. So since nut milk has become a staple in our household, I've had to get creative with what to do with all of the leftover pulp. As I mentioned in this post, I am loving the site almondpulp.com. I'm pret-ty keen to try out the macaroon balls and spelt bread, but I've mostly been using it as a skin exfoliant (extremely effective) or adding it to our smoothies (extremely delicious). One recipe I am loving is the raw hummus from My New Roots. Trust me when I say that it's finger-lickin' good.



14 May 2012

my life: the weekend breakfast edition

One thing we love to do on a weekend is go out for breakfast. It is the best meal of the day after all, and I love being inspired to try new recipes at home after a great meal at a cafe. One of our favourite places to go at the moment is Armchair Collective.

A cafe with an inbuilt homewares shop is my kinda cafe. The fact that the food is rather delightful as well earns major bonus points. I'm a big fan of the Sonoma fruit toast or the granola, and Rob likes to get the spicy scrambled eggs. My order always includes a Chai latte made with tea leaves, which has way more kick than your standard sugary-syrup variety.

My sister and I have given it the nickname of Chai-POW since it tends to be on the strong side - but that's how I like it! I managed to recreate the POW taste at home with Healing Concepts Mother Earth Chai which I got from my friends online shop.

I make it using either home-made almond milk or rice milk. Before you try it I feel like I should warn you: it's addictive!
Rob and Noah on the way to breakfast.

10 May 2012

my food: freshly squeezed

It seems like so many people get sick at this time of year, so in an effort to avoid a man-flu epidemic in our household I've amped up our fresh juice consumption dramatically. The flavour of the week is carrot, orange and ginger. We're talking a drink full of vitamins A, C, E, B-complex and folate plus important minerals potassium, calcium and magnesium - that's a potent mix right there. Plus, ginger is a natural decongestant and antihistamine which can only do wonders for Rob who takes sneezing to a whole new level! The best bit? It's ridiculously delicious!

09 May 2012

my life: 09.05.12

Sometimes I like to be a bit whacky. I'm really into stones and crystals at the moment (don't worry, not in a crazy Spencer Pratt kinda way!) for the good vibes and positive energy. We can all do with a some of that, can't we? Hey, even if you're sceptical of the powers of an inanimate object, it can't hurt right? Plus they look so pretty! 
I picked up a Selenite stone, which brings calmness and clarity, and Moonstone for good fortune. 

my fashion: It seems like the seasons are all a little bit confused, and I'm OK with that. Three weeks away from Winter and I'm rocking denim shorts like they're going out of fashion (which will never happen). Cape by Alice in the Eve, singlet is a cheapie from Cotton On, bag by Miu Miu and shorts are by (who else?) One Teaspoon.

my food: Sometimes I feel like I am constantly cooking. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Noah is constantly eating. Today was no different and I hate to buy packaged food for him so that means that while he sleeps, I bake. I love this recipe for a sugarless banana cake from Jude Blereau's book Wholefood. It is so much tastier than it sounds. Anyone who has tried it has asked for the recipe, so I think that's a pretty good sign!

my family: We spent the afternoon with the G-parents. A trip to the shops gave Noah the chance to help some potential new friends with some of life's difficult decisions.

In case you were wondering, he recommends Mentos.

07 May 2012

toxic-free tushies

It's time to divulge a little secret: at times I have a tendency to be an extremist. In the most pragmatic way possible, of course. When I really, truly believe in something, I'm not exactly half-hearted in the way I go about it. I'm not always an all-or-nothing kind of girl, but when it comes to the health and well-being of my family, this approach is completely non-negotiable. So, that being said, when I read this article about the dangers of disposable nappies while pregnant with Noah, I knew I was going to have to find another option for his toileting needs. The standard chemical-filled Huggies just wasn't going to fly.

Now if you haven't heard of modern cloth nappies, then prepare for your mind to be blown. They are nothing like the folded terry-towelling nappies of the past. They are pretty much a cloth version of a disposable nappy - same shape and similar absorbency but they rank much higher on the cuteness scale. Take a look here if you are interested in the specifics of how they compare to disposables. Take a look here if reading isn't really your thing and you're just interested in seeing a cute baby in said nappies:

Better for the environment and less chemical exposure for super-sensitive baby skin? It's a no-brainer for me. Now I must admit, I do still use disposables from time to time and when I do, this is my brand of choice:

They are chlorine-free, breathable, biodegradable and affordable - much better than the standard bleached plastic-lined nappies that line the majority of the baby aisles, and their wipes are fantastic too. The extremist in me has absolutely no time for toxic and unnatural substances, especially in products designed for children, to be used directly on their skin. There is a time and a place to be vigilant about chemical-free living and in my opinion, this is most certainly one of them!

06 May 2012

my food: making almond milk

"Who on earth has time to make almond milk these days?" I hear you ask. Well my friend, I am here to tell you that you do. Let me digress from this how-to segment for just a moment, if you will. The process is simple, equipment is minimal and if you are partial to a bit of organisation, you too can be a nut milk connoisseur. It may all sound like Too. Much. Effort. but it's worth it for these simple reasons: the milk tastes that much better made fresh, it is still in its raw state which means maximum health benefits, and you can flavour it whichever way tickles your fancy. Intrigued? Then please, read ahead.

First up, it's best to soak your nuts as explained in this post. You'll need one cup for this recipe.

Next, rinse the nuts and add to a high-speed blender with four cups of purified water and one or two dates, depending on your desire for sweetness. You can substitute with stevia or agave nectar instead if you prefer. Blend away.

You will then need to strain the mixture. You can buy a nut milk bag especially for this purpose, but I just used a muslin cloth (I have heaps left over from Noah's infant days).

This will make about one litre of deliciousness. And what to do with the leftover almond pulp you wonder? Why, there is an entire site dedicated to this very conundrum.

I will follow up with what I made with mine on another day. In the meantime, I do hope you too become a certified milk maid.

03 May 2012

inspiration street: pure mamas

I love being inspired. I need to be inspired - especially on those days when I feel like I don't have the time or energy to be what I want to be or do what I want to do. This was my first stop on inspiration street. At the moment, this blog is what's motivating me.

Pure Mamas
Challenging the norm and having a slightly different approach and way of thinking to nutrition and health can sometimes be exhausting. But seeing others living the life you aspire to live is incredibly motivating. The idea behind this blog is simple: incorporate more plant-based meals and superfood principles into your everyday routine and diet. This approach is pretty much exactly what I aim for, so seeing it in action makes it seem that much more achievable. It's a reminder that it's not difficult, just different. That it truly is a better way of life. And sometimes that's all I need to see to be inspired and continue on my journey.

02 May 2012

let's get dehydrated

So I finally got my hands on a food dehydrator. While I've long been dreaming of a world with unlimited access to vege chips and dried fruit, I was a little intimidated to use it at first. But a fresh bunch of Kale waits for no one and I had to bite the bullet before it started to wilt its way to an untimely death in the vege crisper. I used this recipe as I had tasted it once before and practically inhaled the entire bowl.

They were surprisingly easy to make and I still can't get over how delicious they were considering the fact that they are chips made out of kale. I can't wait to see what else this bad-boy can do - stay tuned.

01 May 2012

a peek into my week: 01.05.12

What I'm doing: Making almond milk. Organisation is key here, to make sure there is plenty of time to soak the nuts before we run out completely and Noah makes his sad face. Technical reason: soaking releases the toxic enzyme inhibitors that work to stop the sprouting process until conditions are ideal, plus it makes the nutrients more digestible. Translation: less toxins for your body to get rid of and more bang for your buck nutrient-wise.

A post outlining this entire milk-making process is in our future. Stay tuned.

What I'm reading:

It's a big one but I am (slowly) making my way through it. Whoever said that having children leaves little time for leisurely activities was most certainly not kidding. I'll report back with my findings sometime in 2015.

What I'm drinking: Yep the green drinks are still going strong, but I'm finding my enthusiasm wavering with this cold weather. I can't imagine there is a (pleasant-tasting) warmer alternative so I suppose I will have to soldier on and start to follow up with a herbal tea chaser.

What I'm eating: My current kitchen inspiration (obsession) has manifested from this amazing cookbook. I suggest you do yourself a favour and  have a look-see.

Tonight's dinner was Yoghurt flatbreads with barley and mushoom ragout. It. Was. Amazing.

What I'm wearing: I'm still not sure that I should be telling you this. In my possession I now have my very own beanie-with-ears. I'm pretty sure the electrician at our place today thought I was a little bit loopy while I was wearing it, but I promise you that I have no intention of ever leaving the house in this getup*. Thank you Sportsgirl for making my dreams come true.

*Promise may or may not be kept.

What I'm watching: The cutest little friendship blossoming. Noah is utterly obsessed with throwing things (thanks for that one Rob). Scout is utterly obsessed with catching things. It's a match made in heaven.