Some Food

I was back on my feet yesterday after being unwell… lucky, as I had a full day intensive for Yoga Teacher Training. Lucky, again, as it finished early at 3.30pm giving me time to come home and spend some time in the garden with my family (and to pick the limes pictured above from our tree). After such a hectic few weeks I was longing for my girls and KB in between various pranayama and philosophical (mind blowing) talk!

I took the time to go for a walk during yoga lunch break and feel the ground under my feet. I’m learning more and more the simple value of this.

Once I was home though, I hit the kitchen and started getting prepared for the week. In the girls’ lunches this week they have these (with oats instead of cashews) and these (with tahini instead of peanut butter) and sneaky veg muffins, a recipe from Meagan back in her old blogging days which I can no longer find online. I keep meaning to ask her if I can share the recipe here, as it is a much loved one in our house.

To add to that I throw in some veg sticks, hommus, and usually a sandwich. Today I sent the Pixie to kinder with some rice and tuna warmed up in a thermos and surprisingly she ate the lot, so over the colder months I will aim to use up some leftovers instead of sandwiches every day which I don’t tend to like giving them so much.

I also made some granola as I’m so damn sick of porridge in the mornings! I have it with a spoonful of porridge, coconut yoghurt, frozen berries and a dash of maple syrup. Don’t mind if I do.

Kombucha Induced Road Rage + a Vegan Fried Rice Recipe

Coming at you from the library today. I spent the morning here getting some stuff done for the NGO I work for, and then stepped out to grab some things for dinner from the shops. I also picked up some rice paper rolls from my favourite sushi shop and a kombucha to get me over the $10 minimum eftpos line. So I jump back in my car and am

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comings and goings (+ a smoothie recipe)

I’ve been feeling pretty flat and unmotivated the last little while. It may be obvious to you when this happens as my posts slow down and I lose momentum. Part of the reason for my silence lately though has been because my grandpa was incredibly ill, and passed away towards the end of May, on my birthday. The weeks leading up to his death were intense for our family, with many hours spent by his bedside. We were all living in a little bubble, it seems strange now to be out in the light again.

A few hours after he died, my Mum and I left the hospice and we were driving to my Aunty’s place. The baby was screaming blue murder in the back seat and it was a Friday evening. We had to drive down Chapel Street, which those of you in Melbourne will know for its restaurants and good times. I’m from wayyyyy over the other side of the city so I don’t ever go there, but there we were, driving along, stricken with grief after having just watched someone we love breathe their final breaths, and there were lights, cars, traffic, people everywhere going out for dinner, smiling, laughing, and generally having a great time. It was so strange to see that life doesn’t stop for anyone or anything.

Since then life really has just pushed on. It’s the baby’s first birthday this Saturday, and we had the family over last weekend to kick off her birthday week. We were meant to have a picnic, but typical Melbourne rained all day so we had everyone at our place. We were pretty unprepared given we had planned to go to a local state forest, but we pulled it off. I made this cake and it was an absolute hit. I will be repeating it this Friday when I have my mother’s group over for a little birthday celebration. I’m going to try making it gluten free for Friday though as my beautiful friend A has just been diagnosed with coeliacs and I don’t want her to miss out! Hopefully it turns out ok.

In other news as usual I have washing coming out my ears, I can never seem to get on top of it, I refuse to spend my days doing nothing but washing, but maybe if I did, maybe then it would be done? Washing is such a mystery to me, I tell myself that everyone else has it under control but perhaps I am just deluded. I hate it! I told myself this morning that I was going to clean out the girls’ clothes today and throw everything out, figuring that then I would have less to wash and put away…? I think I might be onto something… then I got overwhelmed and looked the other way.

When I’m feeling like everything is just too much, I really try to pay attention to what I’m eating. It’s times like these that I want to reach for the sugar, the cake, the chocolate, and I have to practice a lot of willpower to stop myself from doing this. I’m by no means perfect! But I do try to make sure that I’m getting some bang for my buck when I choose what goes in my mouth. The picture above is today’s lunch for the three of us – me, the Pixie and the baby. It’s probably one of my favourite meals, basically just a bowl thrown together with a combination of things we have on hand with some nuts and seeds chucked on top. This bowl includes a mint, pea and couscous salad my mother in law made on the weekend, toasted nori, fermented cabbage, pickled onions, beetroot, spinach, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, and some sprouts. The Pixie had half an avocado (she calls it an avocado bowl), some sweet potato, toasted nori (she calls that mermaid food), and a choc pop that Birdie and I made yesterday – basically a bliss ball coated in chocolate made from coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao. It does have a pretty strong taste so she wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I gave some to the baby (probably shouldn’t have given cacao is a stimulant, I’ll regret that tonight) and she devoured it! She also had some sweet potato.

The smoothie pictured is a version of the basic smoothie I make everyday using up leftover cooked oats from the girls’ breakky:

+ Almond milk

+ Coconut cream

+ Avocado (because I don’t like bananas unless they are in a cake!)

+ Chia seeds

+ Pepitas

+ Cacao

+ Left over oats

+ A few dates

I have a version of that every morning and there is usually some left over. Sometimes I freeze it and have it as nicecream. Yum!

Well that is all from me for now. I’ve got a baby tapping me on the leg and a Pixie wanting me to help with a puzzle so I had best stop this ramble here.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the week!

On Our Dinner Table This Week

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Another week, another meal plan… I have found that this is what works best for me. There is nothing less motivating than getting to 4pm not knowing what we are having for dinner, and trying to throw something together from the scraps in the pantry. Meal planning, for me, is essential to ensure the quality of what we eat. Some sad news this week is the price of avocados!? Someone told me this morning that there is a shortage and that the reason for the price hike… so we are unfortunately taking avos off the menu for the time being. Wah!

I usually find planning about five dinners for the seven day week works well, there are usually leftovers at some point and overflow. I used to plan for seven but would usually only end up making four or five of the dinners so I’ve changed my method to account for this.

This week I’m aiming for something like this:

// breakfasts //

porridge + yoghurt + almond milk + fruit

pancakes + fruit + yoghurt

eggs + veggies (for anyone who will eat them at this time of day… in other words probably only me)

// lunches //

winging it: see note below

// dinners //

salmon + veg

peanut brown rice patties + kale-slaw + salad (recipes from here)

steak + salad

lentil bolognese

something to do with silken tofu as I have some in the freezer (ideas?)

leftovers

// snacks //

bliss balls

chocolate “paddlepops” (also from here)

popcorn

banana bread

// the baby //

The baby is now have quinoa and brown rice (milled some brown rice into rice flour and made my own baby rice cereal). I haven’t bought any other grains yet, maybe some amaranth or millet could be next on the list. She also had a suck on a bone the other day and cried her little heart out when I took it away from her!

brown rice (or other new grain) + zucchini + coconut oil

brown rice (or other new grain) + dried fig stew

chicken stew

steamed veggie/fruit mashes

I should own up here and let you know that my millionth attempt at making my own yoghurt has once again come to a dismal end and I have yet another kilogram of milky liquid to do something with… any suggestions? I am the worst yoghurt maker ever and have not once had success. Where am I going wrong!? Another confession is that this time I actually used one of the automated recipes on my thermomix… WHO FAILS AN AUTOMATED RECIPE!?

This meal planner is also subject to change this week as I’ve borrowed a thousand recipe books from the library (I put books on hold and it’s always my luck that they arrive all at the same time). So I have these recipe books to dive into this week: Simplicious, The Green Kitchen, Plenty, and Leon: Fast Vegetarian.

The other thing that is happening this week… Bird is starting school on Thursday. OMG. School Mum alert. So I’ll be winging it this week with lunches but next week when she’s going four days I may have to plan a bit more seriously.

What are you eating this week?

Over and out. xx

de ja vu

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This afternoon we arrived home from the beach, once again, for the final time this month. We’ve spent the last four days back on the coast, pretending that holidays last for ever and ever and that we don’t have any responsibilities or plans or commitments or anything else to do other than wander to the beach each morning via our favourite little coastal coffee van and play with the girls on their scooters and eat sandwiches and grapefruits and in the evenings: icecream.

But as we all know well enough, holidays come to an end. And here we are. At home. Again. Feeling the quiet rumble of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, all those icky things-coming-to-an-end type feels. KB is working the next couple of days, doing some training before the school term begins again; we will tag team this week so that I can get some work done too.

Since arriving home late this afternoon we’ve checked on our plants (yet another fern has come to a dismal end under my amateur care), picked some snowpeas, cooked some beetroot, roasted all our remaining veg from the week (pumpkin, capsicum – red and yellow, carrots, and garlic) jumbled together with cheese, leftover rice and sun dried tomatoes for an easy summer dinner, made bliss balls for snacks tomorrow, mixed some oats and chia seeds together with almond milk for breakky, milled some brown rice and put it aside to soak overnight for baby, done our veg box order for this week, paid a bill and hung out the washing. After dinner we played on the back deck as the sun went down.

Tomorrow the new week will begin, and I’m determined to stay cool and not get frazzled with the daily grind of washing, mess, toys, meals, nappies. I’m going to keep reminding myself of my goals this year. (One of which I have already knocked off yesterday by doing an 8km hike with Peachy babe on my back and KB by my side – first long walk since she was born. Yes, yeah, hooray, fist pump! Officially addicted to kicking goals! Yippee! Etc.)

It’s going to be a hot one here. Stay cool (physically, metaphorically, emotionally), wherever you are.

P.S. Have you read this blog? It’s just the sort of fun reading I like to do when I’m getting all motivated and outdoorsy and loving summer. You might like it too.

summer food

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I just love it when we pick up our weekly fruit + veggie box from our local food host. A lot of people say they don’t like getting a veg box because they like to be able to choose what vegetables they want to eat. But for me, the thrill of discovering new vegetables, new recipes and the challenge of using everything in my box, along with ensuring that we are eating (mostly) local and seasonal produce makes it worth it.

On my goals list I really should have set out to use everything in my box absolutely every week… that might have to be number 31. Last year my two most troublesome vegetables to get through were kale and bok choy and unfortunately our compost bin saw more of them than they should… here’s to lots of inventive ways to use these veggies this year.

The other thing I love about getting a seasonal vegetable box is just that – it’s seasonal! I’ve been getting one for a few years now and our eating habits have completely changed now that we eat seasonally. It has also taught me a lot about what produce is in season throughout different times of the year where we live.

This week our box has carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, lettuce, kale (ugh), bok choy, spring onions, grapes, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli and zucchini. Before that our fridge was literally devoid of fresh foods so inspiration was running low. I’m not in the swing of things with us all on holidays and keeping organised with food has been hard.

So tonight we had salmon on the bbq with a mashed potato + carrot blend and a salad of kale (ugh), fancy lettuce, grated beetroot and cherry tomatoes. The baby: she had the mash and devoured it. Us adults also had spicy kim chi on our plates.

The rest of the week will look something like this:

 

// breakfasts //

chia seed pudding + coconut cream + fruit

porridge + yoghurt + almond milk + fruit

toast and avo or nut butter

// lunches //

blackbean toasted wraps

salad

eggs + avo

// dinners //

pad thai

zucchini fritters + salad

zen bowls: roast veg, kale, chickpeas, brown rice, yeast flakes, nuts/seeds, tahini dressing

bbq veggie burgers or meat + salad

lentil dahl + quinoa

leftovers

// snacks //

bliss balls

nuts/seeds

boiled eggs

cherry tomatoes

// the baby //

We just introduced Peach’s first grain today (quinoa blended with some butter) so her meals this week will be based around getting to know quinoa combined with some fruit and veg combos she has already had along with one or two new ones (like cantaloupe and zucchini from the box). She has just started having two “meals” per day (though depending what it is she may do more playing than eating!)

mashed potato + carrot blend

baby kitchari

avocado + quinoa

banana

cantaloupe

zucchini + mash

Considering we are all eating quite different things at the moment, I think there should be enough on here to keep us all happy. We’re heading back to the beach for a few days so there will no doubt be the appearance of icecream cones and fish and chips at some point, because: summer, holidays, carefree, etc.

listening / watching / reading

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There’s nothing quite like the start of Spring to bring about feelings of freshness, new beginnings, energy… I absolutely love the Winter but it always drags on about a month too long here in Melbourne. All of you Melbournians know what I’m talking about!

Over a month into Spring now it finally feels like the sunshine has arrived. KB is on long service leave for another two and a half weeks and we have just got back from a lovely holiday on the south coast of NSW – a magical and inspiring coastline if you ever do get the chance to visit.

On the way home we heard a song by Nick Mulvey on ABC radio which was a treat, and I have been listening to his album every day since we got home! I’m sure I’ll be told to turn it off soon but in the meantime I’m dancing around in bare feet to it on a daily basis.

In our usual pursuit of slow and calm I also bought this book and devoured it in 48 hours. I’m now well into the process of #konmari – ing our house. I’m up to papers. I have such a problem with papers. We have no system with bills or anything and it’s just so boring that we are always finding ourselves getting into trouble with late notices and so on. Who has time for this stuff? We can’t work out a system that works so I’m loving Marie Kondo’s paperly advice: to throw it all away. Duly noted and obediently doing just that. What a relief to see all those old bills, receipts, notices, blah blah blah going into my throw out pile. KB will most likely have a minor freak out when he sees my pile but shhhh let’s keep it our secret for now.

While I was pregnant I succumbed to netflix and promised myself it would just be for the free month. Five months later we still have netflix. Yesterday I watched Cowspiracy, and I have to say it has had such an effect on me that I am dragging out all my old vegetarian recipes and taking a good hard look at our diet… again. When I began eating meat again after a period of time as a vegetarian, I was so careful with my choices and seriously limited our meat intake. As the years have gone by and more children have been born, meal times have become a last minute panic, throwing together whatever I can during the last dash before bedtime. I hate eating this way as I love cooking and planning and preparing and being thoughtful about what we eat and when we eat it, and while we have a number of good habits it has been difficult lately to be mindful about it. Cowspiracy has given me that motivation again. Tonight we’re having eat your greens pesto pasta (with brown rice instead of pasta because I don’t have any in my pantry). My sister gave me the recipe a while ago; you basically just cook up some garlic and leek or onion and any other vegetables you like that you have on hand, mix through some pesto and serve. You can be as creative as you like with this dish and it will always taste good. You can make your own pesto but I usually let myself off the hook and just buy a jar because this is meant to be an easy and cheap meal, after all.

In other news Peach is already rolling over, and yesterday at the dreaded Maternal Child Health Nurse appointment she said it’s time to put her in the cot (!) and start thinking about giving her food (!) and all sorts of other dreadful things like that. I nodded my head like the good mother and threw the papers in the bin when I got home.

Well, it feels good to be here today. The sun is shining and I’m about to make myself a coffee. Birdie is at kinder, the Pixie is with her Daddy out for the morning and Peach is demanding that I turn the computer off. Right. Now. So… goodbye and have a lovely day.

the flowers and so on

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Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.

It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)

At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Peach has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.

Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.

I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.

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school lunches // take two

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(rainbow chard fritters + a sneak peek at my massive 29 week belly)

Thank you so much for all your lunchy suggestions! I am finally finding my feet in the kinder lunch box department and Birdie has only had the odd sandwich thrown in the last few weeks (once after I asked her what she wanted for lunch and she looked at me with pleading eyes – “Mum, can I just have a vegemite sandwich, like the other kids?” :/ )

On the agenda this afternoon was a big batch of fritters for this week’s lunches. A few weeks ago we had an influx of rainbow chard in our veggie box. When this happens I always have good intentions to eat said chard, but I don’t like it very much so those good intentions seem to turn sour quite quickly, ending with a soggy heap of green stuff at the bottom of my fridge. So this time I tried chopping the whole bunch up, blanching it briefly and then froze in small lots to use (hide) in meals. Fritters seemed like a good way to get these nutritious greens into not just the kid, but into me too!

Rainbow Chard Fritters – with millet and corn

:: 1-2 cups blanched rainbow chard (or other green veg like spinach or maybe even kale… they would also be delicious with coriander added)

:: 1 cup millet

:: 1 can or 2 cobs of corn

:: 2-3 tablespoons of arrowroot flour or similar

:: 2 eggs

:: salt/pepper if you like

You can really do whatever you like with these – any grain or flour would do the trick really. Quinoa? Oats? Or you could start with just your basic pancake recipe and add veggies… whatever works. I’m so haphazard with cooking and generally just feel my way. Trial and error – there’s no better way! Lucky for me, these turned out well.

:: cook millet on stove

:: whiz up blanched greens in blender, then add in two eggs and other ingredients. Depending on your blender you could blend a little, or if it will get too chop-happy, tip everything into a bowl and mix through with a wooden spoon. You want the corn to be whole, not blended.

:: use fat of choice (I used coconut oil) and cook up in fry pan or on BBQ.

:: eat!

I’m on kinder duty tomorrow so I’ve also packed a lunch for me – I mixed some sweet chilli sauce and cream cheese together to go with these… I don’t know if this is completely weird or if it is normal, my pregnancy taste buds have got the better of me at the moment. For Birdie I’ve packed a small container of yoghurt for her to dip them into. If she eats them, I’ll be super duper happy.