In Our Kitchen

Our kitchen has been a lacklustre place of late. In the past twelve months we have been juggling a couple of new dietary requirements, due to various health reasons.

Between the five of us we have one vegetarian, one ketogenic, one dairy intolerance (narrowed down to milk and hard cheese), one better off not eating egg and one free and happy to eat anything. Prior to KB starting the ketogenic diet and realising that the Pixie had a mild dairy intolerance, we were eating mostly vegetarian, mostly plant-based foods (with me eating only vegetarian foods). I would add in a meat dish here and there for the others. Now things have changed fairly drastically and meat has been on the table more than I would like, but given the ketogenic diet is working wonders to help KB manage type one diabetes we need to figure out how to make it work for us. It is still a work in progress and meal planning is essential to ensuring everyone gets what they need, which is where I have been falling flat, as cooking two to three meals each evening is not my idea of fun – and getting in the habit of planning all those meals out is proving difficult.

So to try to get myself back in the spirit of things, yesterday I knuckled down and spent four hours in the kitchen (!). I made…

:: bread rolls

:: a big batch of popcorn (I like to pop our corn in coconut oil and sprinkle with savoury yeast flakes and a touch of organic sea salt)

:: a couple of batches of mango raspberry nicecream (frozen mango and berries whizzed with either ice or coconut yoghurt, vanilla extract and cinnamon, yum! This is best eaten immediately)

:: blueberry muffins (these are SO good, I added chia instead of flax and used wholemeal flour as that is what I had on hand)

:: raspberry coconut bliss balls

:: vegemite, pineapple and organic goat’s cheese scrolls (I actually haven’t tasted these yet, they sound bizarre but it was the combination the girls’ ordered!)

Alas, none of these options are suitable for Mr Keto but at least the girls are covered and school/kinder lunches are done for the week.

This morning I made a loaf of bread (pictured above) and am currently defrosting a batch of lentil dahl from the freezer to have with rice tonight (KB will have an omelette). Mondays are usually pretty boring in the food department here as our organic veg box and groceries arrive on a Tuesday night so we are onto the dregs now! I’m down to a couple of brown onions, two potatoes and a frozen leek in the vegetable department… hmmm… inspiring!

In other news outside the kitchen, I’ve started Yoga Teacher Training and couldn’t feel more at home. So far I’ve had one day intensive, a yoga class and a meditation class. I’m heading back to the studio for a class tonight and can’t wait to arrive. It feels indulgent doing something for myself, but every bit of me knows it’s the right choice.

I hope your Mondays are going well, wherever you may be.

P.S. These and these and these are on my list this week.

Over the Weekend

It’s Monday and we had the most glorious weekend. It started when I was presented with a hot coffee first thing and told to drink it in bed. I opened the curtain and let the light stream in and sat with Birdie curled up next to me and slowly sipped.

I spent five hours in the kitchen with my three little helpers yesterday afternoon, and I feel so organised for the week. I made tamari trail mix, raw trail mix, salted caramel bliss balls (with nuts for those eating at home), coconut cacao bliss balls (with seeds for those taking to work/school), sneaky veg muffins, sweet potato and lentil frittata, and a giant batch of kitchari (a traditional Ayurvedic recipe which is gentle on tummies and great to eat during the change of season into Autumn. I made enough for a family meal + five adult lunches). I was planning on making red kidney bean bolognese sauce as well for one of our dinners this week but we ran out of time, I will make that in the next few days. The girls donned their aprons (the baby joined us with a rusk and contributed with some squeals here and there) and helped to pour, mix, roll, chop and grate. Things are slower with them in the kitchen and I have to make a conscious effort to include them and allow things to go at a slower pace.

We went to a local native plant sale, met some friends and took turns minding children and wandering around. We bought some natives for our garden and even found time to plant a few.

On Saturday KB took all three girls out and I stayed at home for the whole morning cleaning the house, I think this was a major contributing factor to the calm flow that followed us throughout the remainder of our weekend. It took about four hours, but oh! What a difference it made to our attitudes and our time spent at home over the weekend, without falling over things and each other. Now we just have to try to maintain our sense of order, for a little while at least.

It’s weekends like these I like best, with time to think and potter and make. I hope you had a wonderful one too, wherever you may be.

a spring salad

Thank you, dear friends, for your texts and messages after my post yesterday. I truly love you.

I’m feeling a bit better today, although last night when my hot water bottle burst boiling water all over me in bed, I was feeling a little hard done by, to say the least. I suppose I should be thankful that I had a hot water bottle, and a bed, to begin with.

Nevertheless, a new day awoke this morning and my puffy eyes and I have been keeping Baby company today, trying to wash away the negative vibes of yesterday. We went to mother’s group this morning and I was reassured by some of the lovely mums in our group. It didn’t make me feel a whole lot better, but just being out in the sunshine, eating cake and coffee, surrounded by friends was a good start to the day.

Most of you will know I am in the last ten days of the 30 Day Vegan wholefood cleanse. I threw a spanner in the works and decided to cut sugar out of my diet as well. Needless to say I am the Worst. Vegan. Ever. Oh, and the Worst. Non. Sugar. Eater. Ever. Too. Yes, you saw in my last sentence that I was eating cake this morning. I ate an omlette for dinner last night and skulled full cream milk from the bottle the day before that. I ate half a batch of mint slice on Saturday, and gladly gobbled up a handful of jelly beans in the office yesterday. I’m not proud, people, but I have accepted of my misdemeanours and am trying to make amends from now until the end of the thirty days. I do have to question the fact that my erratic mood over the last few days has coincided with a reintroduction (read: binge) of sugar and dairy products.

To start fresh, when Baby went down to bed today I scrubbed our dirty kitchen, put on a load of washing, and made myself a version of my favourite lentil salad:

:: 1 tin brown lentils

:: coriander

:: parsley

:: big handful of currants

:: dry roasted nuts – sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, any.

:: red onion

:: red capsicum

:: juice of 1/2 a lime

:: sesame oil

:: rocket or spinach leaves

Basically you can put anything you like in this salad. You can see in mine I have tamari roasted almonds, cabbage, corn, no onion, etc. The lentils, currants, lime juice and sesame oil are the essential ingredients which give it a similar flavour no matter which ingredients you add. You might like to add cucumber, celery, etc. Whatever you like.

Now it’s time for coffee.

Food, Food, Glorious Food

But where does it come from?

This is the question that has been burning in my mind for a long time now.

It’s been around 10 months since Baby tasted her first mouthful of food other than breastmilk. The responsibility to feed and nourish a baby, well, it’s been one of the biggest challenges. A fun challenge, but a challenge that has certainly taught me a lot about the food that all of us, Prince Charming and I included, eat. I was always suspicious of packaged food, and the more I have been spooning home cooked food into my baby’s little rosebud mouth, the more I have wanted to know more about each ingredient, each place where the food is made, each animal that has died to be on her plate.

I’m quite sure most of my family and my mother think I am mad. What is wrong with a little piece of chocolate here, a little bit of drugged chicken there, a few teeny tiny preservatives, colours, flavours? I mean, we all ate it when we were kids, and we turned out fine… right?

The more I read about the food industry, the more I realise just how much it has changed over my lifetime. According to many, food production has changed more in the last 50 years than in the last 10,000. Isn’t that just unbelievable?

There have been a few very recent things that I have seen and read that have sparked the issue of food and my relationship with it…

This episode of Australian show Four Corners exposed the treatment of cattle exported from Australia to Indonesia. It featured horrific images of this live cattle trade. This was a turning point for me. I was a vegetarian for a little while prior to getting pregnant. When I was pregnant, being my first pregnancy, when my mum convinced me to eat some meat I did, and have been eating meat ever since. It’s not something I regret. But I realise now it’s just a habit.

A few days later I watched this documentary called HOME, the link to which I found here. It was a real eye opener as to how we humans have removed ourselves from the delicate lifecycle that is Earth. It also showed that because we eat SO MUCH meat and the demand is so high – over 50% of the world’s grains are fed to cattle! Common sense tells me this just isn’t healthy for anyone involved.

Then just the other day I read this article that was featured on Freshly Pressed, reviewing Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer which I just happen to have on hold at the library.

The issues of globalisation, factory farming, mass production, global warming… they are all swimming around my mind and I don’t quite know how to process it or what to do with all this information.

image from green bristol

One of the things I have decided to do is to stop eating meat. Despite the cliche, it really was like a weight lifted from my shoulders. That is how I knew it was the right decision for me, at this time. Prince Charming has also jumped on the band wagon. It’s really nice to be doing something like this together. We are still eating fish once a week, but using the Sustainable Seafood website to make better decisions about which fish we select.

Another is to put more effort into our veggie garden. We are not the best gardeners around, and we did promise ourselves we’d fix our patch and put a winter veggie garden in but we have been sick and have not got around to it. Any veggie gardeners out there – is it too late in this crisp Melbourne winter to start? I have to find out and get onto this!

We will continue to use real, whole foods as the bulk of our diet.

I will go back to sourcing more organic foods and making it a priority in our budget to do this as much as possible. As Baby got older I became more blasé about it. It’s time to tighten the reins!

The last thing I am now trying to find out is what my options are to buy meat for Baby that is produced locally, treated well, organic, etc. At the moment she is still going to eat meat. I don’t feel qualified enough to make those decisions about her diet. Before Prince Charming and I stopped eating meat we rarely ate it anyway so things won’t change much for her.

cannot for the life of me rotate this photo…

I also have the Food, Inc. DVD on hold at the library…

It will be interesting to see where all this takes us.