December 22, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #26 (Happy Holidays)

And so it is Christmas time again. Let the festivities begin. 
2012 has been a big year...with joy, sadness, love and laughter. I'm so grateful to have experienced it all. 

I'm giving myself a little pat on the back for taking the leap and starting this blog, something I'd wanted to do for a while. I'm so glad I did. I feel very blessed to have shared my words and images with you, lovely friends and readers, and to have met many wonderful new people through this little blogging adventure. Thank you for your support, it is very much appreciated! 

The adventure continues next year, and I'm full of new ideas for the blog, including a  Wellness project I think will be fun! Until then... 

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday.  


December 19, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #25 (change is in the air)

I'm in a state of flux and I have to say I'm feeling excited, a bit scared and impatient!  I want everything to have happened yesterday. To fill you in... big news here. Things are a changing.  I've decided to say goodbye to my comfy home and job in Sydney and now I'm in limbo land in sunny QLD. I do like change and all the excitement that comes with it, new possibilities, people and environments, but all the uncertainty is proving to be rather daunting.

A few weeks ago the new plans all seemed to be going very smoothly,  I was dreaming of a new house amongst trees, a veggie patch, a new job and the picture was taking shape....and then I hit a bump in the road that brought me straight back to reality and the picture faded away. Sigh, doesn't reality suck sometimes! For the moment, a new house, veggie patch and job are still unknown and I'm trying to practice more patience. You know when you hold on too tightly to an idea and in the process kind of strangle it? Well... I think I was holding on too tightly, wanting everything to happen quickly without laying the foundations properly, and now I've taken a step back,  breathed out, and trying to let things happen more naturally. Learning to trust.  I'm feeling lighter already and shifting my energies to celebrating the last days of the year with friends and families and basking in the delightful season of Summer.

I haven't given up on dreaming just yet though, and as Anais Nin said so eloquently, 
"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country".   
Gratitude for change and all that it brings, warts and all. 

December 14, 2012

Nourishing Weekend Recipes: Spinach Salad with Salmon

It's been so hot here these past few weeks that I've been a little reluctant to cook anything that would add further heat to the house. I can only eat raw salads so many times though before I crave something cooked. I could never follow a raw food diet, my heart just wouldn't be in it.

Seafood, particularly fish, is a good healthy option for Summer, and we are lucky enough to have a fresh fish market just up the road. So with fresh salmon fillets, tomatoes and goats cheese on hand I typed these 3 ingredients into a search engine and voila the first recipe listed was a perfect match.  I love sweet potato and think it can be added to almost anything! so I added baked sweet potato and made my own dressing with lots of lemon.  If you have any favourite Summer recipes I'd love to hear them, I'm looking for new Summer flavours. And if you're anywhere near Sydney before Christmas go check out the first of Real Food Projects new projects...a Pop Up food store in Darlinghurst. What a fab way to connect people to the story behind their food. The project supports sustainable, ethical and local produce and is definitely one to keep an eye on next year. Happy weekend all x.

Spinach Salad with Salmon Recipe

Adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe. As you can see I haven't been very specific about quantities, but you'll get the overall idea.
1 skinless salmon fillet
baby spinach leaves
1/2 punnet grape tomatoes, halved
sweet potato, diced
goats cheese, crumbled
handful of pecan nuts, use your hands to break into smaller pieces
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 squeezed lemon juice and zest
small garlic clove, pressed
splash of vinegar
a few sprigs fresh or 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

 Heat oven to 200C. Place diced sweet potato on oiled baking tray, place in oven and bake for 25-30 mins. Meanwhile place salmon, tbsp oil and a squeeze of lemon on a sheet of foil, large enough to fold over to make a parcel fillet, seal tightly on an oiled tray and bake in the oven for 10-15mins. Once cooked, cool a little, and then cut salmon into cube shaped pieces.  Meanwhile, mix all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Mix all remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, and toss through the dressing.

Serves 2

December 13, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #24 (birthdays and laughter)

Yesterday, the 12.12.12, was my Dad's 79th birthday. The last in the run of family birthdays for the year. It was a bit of a strange birthday, but I won't go in to that here. We laughed, ate homemade banana and date cake made by moi and celebrated a truly awesome man with a heart of gold.  Dad has taught me many things over the years and he makes me want to be that bit stronger, braver and to live more courageously each day.

Image: Ma and Pa living it up in Narrabeen, NSW 1972. 

December 12, 2012

Nourishing Recipes: Warm Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

Quinoa, the wonder grain that isn't really a grain. Love it or hate it, quinoa has spread like wildfire and it's fast becoming a staple for the health conscious individual.  With the not so obvious pronunciation, 'keen-wah' ( and be sure someone will correct you if you mispronounce it), or keen-wahhhhh wahhhhh wahhhhh if you sit on the 'hate it, I don't see what all the fuss is about' side of the fence, a fairly high price tag and it being a food favourite amongst vocal health foodies ....well, I wouldn't be surprised if it's been coined the superfood for pretentious wankers. Ha! Reminds me of the recent frenzy sparked by Pete Evans' food choices such as alkalised water and activated almonds, featured in 'Day on a Plate' in The Sunday Life magazine.

Jest aside,  there are many really good reasons why I love's high in protein, it's actually a seed not a grain and is gluten free, it doesn't mess with my digestion, it tastes good and is super versatile. I'm still a little unsure on my position on the grain thing, to eat or not to eat. I do eat some grains, but I know there's lots of people out there with similar immune and chronic fatigue issues who have convincing reasons why they don't eat grains. Something for me to continue to ponder.

So how to prepare, cook and eat quinoa? I'm a huge fan of Wholefood cook Jude Blereau, and most of my whole food cooking tips come from her cookbooks. Quinoa Tip 1 rinse quinoa to remove its toxic, bitter coating. Tip 2 all grains (and quinoa) must be soaked before cooking. "Soaking delivers huge benefits to grain which all contain phytic acid in the outer layer or bran and enzymes that inhibit digestion. As little as seven hours of soaking in water at room temperature with some acid (lemon juice, vinegar, whey, buttermilk, yoghurt or kefir) encourages lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break these down. Another huge benefit is that lactobacilli break down gluten and other difficult to digest proteins, and in effect, pre digest the protein" Jude Blereau in Nova Magazine. For more info on how to prepare grains check out this extract from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD.

After soaking a cup of quinoa for a few days I ate it for breakfast with raspberries, coconut oil and almond milk and made this quinoa salad with seasonal ingredients, lemon zest for zing and slivered almonds for some crunch, served with grilled white fish.

Warm Quinoa and Asparagus Salad Recipe
1 cup quinoa, rinsed, soaked overnight at room temperature with 1 tbsp sheep's yoghurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch asparagus
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp vinegar (apple cider, or your choice)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
large handful green beans
baby spinach leaves
handful of slivered almonds
1 tbsp mint, chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon
red onion, caramelised; goats cheese, crumbled 
Rinse and soak your quinoa with 1 tbsp of yoghurt (or other acidic food-lemon, whey) overnight. Rinse and bring 2 cups of water to 1 cup quinoa (note: you may find you only need to use half of the cooked quinoa for this recipe, depending on the ratio of quinoa to veg you like, and if you're serving it as a main or side dish. If so, save half some of the quinoa for another meal). Simmer with lid on for approx. 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. 

Tail and top green beans and cut in half. Chop woody ends of asparagus. Steam beans and asparagus for 1-2 minutes, just enough to gently cook, you still want them nice and crisp. Meanwhile turn your grill on to medium heat. Oil an oven proof tray with a little of the olive oil. Slice tomatoes in half, or leave them whole. Mix remainder of olive oil with minced garlic. Place asparagus and tomatoes on the oiled tray, and brush vegetables with the olive oil/garlic mix. Grill for approx. 10 minutes, or until tomatoes browning and starting to sink. 

Mix quinoa with a little extra oil olive, salt, pepper, stir through lemon zest and add the remainder of the ingredients. I didn't have any red onions or goats cheese on hand but I think they would bring a perfect balance of sweet and savoury to the dish. 

Serves 4.

December 05, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #23 (summer lovin')

...had me a blast...summer lovin' happened so fast.

There's no mistaking that Summer has arrived; warmer, lighter days that extend into the early evening and wild evening thunderstorms. Yesterday was one of the hottest days on record for this time of year and I coped oh so badly! Humidity and heat never used to bother me, I used to seek it out, but since I've had chronic fatigue it really tires me out and leaves me wiped out. So I spent the day mostly tucked away inside, cooling down with mint ice cubes and this kind of like ice-cream blend I made in the evening... frozen almond milk, fresh vanilla, raspberries and a hint of xylitol for sweetness. Delicious. 

Aside from the odd too hot to handle day I treasure Summer for the long days and care free spirit it brings. The shedding of heavy clothes, evening swims, salt water on skin, magical sunsets, road trips, dancing outdoors, picnics, lazy days reading in the shade, cooling down in the darkness of the cinema and all the richly coloured summer fruits....oh how I love cherries, nectarines, straws and raspberries.

So for this new season I am grateful.

Images: favourite red sandals; sunset on my doorstep

December 03, 2012

The Plantation House

A short drive west of the highway that runs the whole length of the Gold Coast, is a small strip of cafes and shops with a warm and friendly village feel.  From a choice of two cafes on the strip we decided on the The Plantation House Cafe, it was buzzing, and when we stepped inside I almost felt like I was in Melbourne. Hallelulah!

The Plantation House Cafe is housed in an old heritage listed building with large open windows and folding doors, a back wall lined with vintage knick knacks, fresh flowers and a small grocery counter with fresh handmade and local produce. The result is old fashioned village grocer with a few modern touches.

Going all out I ordered a fresh juice, frittata and finished off with a pot of chai tea. I'm not a coffee drinker and so often disappoint in my lack of a useful response to the usual question of 'how was the coffee?' I do drink tea though and can be quite the chai critic.  I'm pleased to say the chai was delicious with a good balance of spices and frothed milk, needing only a hint of honey.

Coming from Sydney I can be a bit of a cafe snob, so I'm enjoying finding rare gems like this and discovering the GC ain't half as bad as I thought it was!  If you're in the area the cafe  is open for brekkie and lunch, Monday-Saturday. The menu focuses on fresh produce with a good selection of mains, salads, juices and a good display of old fashioned sweets- the coconut ice was very tempting!

Where: 1/43 Tallebudgera Creek Rd, West Burleigh.

November 30, 2012


A first here. A collection of blogs and other favourites that have tickled my fancy this past month. But before the list, did anyone see yesterday's full moon? It sure was a beauty. 

  • Age Old Tree my latest blog crush (and let me tell you it's a big crush). Ann marie documents so beautifully her love of literature, food and nature.  And whilst it's heating up down here as we head into Summer, I love seeing the contrast in seasons as the Northern hemisphere heads into Winter. Particularly loving the cabin series, check out the cabin: before the storm and at the cabin: the snow came and so we went out. Another post I love...and this sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with " has taught me that fiction is often closer to the truth than simple fact-telling".
  • Can't wait to get my hands on Frugavore, a book on growing your own, buying locally and eating well, which I discovered via this great review at Eight Acres. And yes it's at my local library!
  • Uttu - so pretty and dreamy.
  • This beautiful film.  

And lastly I'm grateful for an amazing scene I saw yesterday of black cygnets playing whilst being protected by Mama and Papa Black Swan (i took a video and have been trying to upload it all morning but alas my tech skills are less than proficient so no video (yet)). Yesterday morning before the cygnets and full moon I was having a bad day, expecting a piece of bad news, and definitely not feeling any gratitude. So before the 'bad news' was going to be delivered I went for a walk and was drawn out of the thoughts going around in my head and back into life. And as things go... I started to feel grateful, and the bad news...well there was none, in fact it was all good news!

Image: A house full of flowers, a picture I took a while back.

November 26, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #22 (sunday under the trees)

This is what happens when you sit under the shade of the trees, resting, watching, taking it all in....a bird goes by, then another, and then one comes closer to eat the crumbs near your feet and once done flies back to sit on its perch, then you spot a lizard basking in the afternoon sun, you notice a cute black poodle sprawled out having an afternoon nap, you delight in the cool breeze on your back...ahhh, this is peace and contentment on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I hope you all had a little time to replenish and breathe in some fresh air over the weekend x.

November 23, 2012

Nourishing Weekend Recipes: Slow-cooked Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Carrots

Morocco has long fascinated me. The landscape and culture is so starkly different to my own that I can't help but be intrigued. Many years ago, propelled by this intrigue, I embarked on a Moroccan adventure, seeking new experiences and knowledge about the people, their land and their traditions and culture. Oh us humans are curious beings indeed!

With a small pack on my back, two changes of clothes and one of my dear childhood friends we spent one month exploring Marrakesh, Rabat, Essaouira and the charming town of Chefchaouen. I can still see the warmly coloured spices stacked up high along roadsides and in the depths of the souks. Imprinted and part of me now are are also the earthy colours of brown, yellow and red which is throughout the country, the desert backdrop to the city of Marrakesh, old men sitting in the streets smoking, and the vision of a group of women appearing along a desert road, their heavily decorated skirts shimmering brightly in the midday sun.  

Of course this is only one set of memories, there are others.... the confusion and fear I felt in a foreign land with little knowledge of the cultural 'rules', the usual (for me) set of stomach troubles that aren't really worth mentioning, the intense heat and getting lost on my own and vowing to go outside without my friend again. 

Food is a big part of the culture, with mint tea being shared many times throughout the day with family and friends. As in many cultures, meals are an opportunity to share time together, enjoying family and friends. This week the fragrant scent of cumin, sweet paprika and fresh coriander filled our house as I embarked on a Moroccan culinary journey of slow- cooked spiced lamb and vegetables. Slow-cooking will make  lamb easier to digest and very tender. The natural sweetness of carrots complemented the flavours of the spiced lamb just perfectly. 

If you're a non meat eater (and you found your way here somehow!) why not use the spice paste for baked pumpkin, cauliflower or vegetables of your choice in season.

Slow-Cooked Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Carrots Recipe

Moroccan spiced lamb
4 good quality organic lamb shoulder chops
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2-3 tbsps softened organic butter
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
Warm moroccan spiced carrots
2-3 large carrots, cut in half and then in long pieces on the diagonal (or other vegetables such as zucchini)
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
small garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
handful of chopped coriander, or to your taste
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne, optional

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Place lamb in a baking dish with sides that will contain juices (at least 1/2 inch sides). Mix all ingredients. If the mix is too dry add more butter. Rub the mix on both sides of the lamb, you want the lamb to be well coated. If you have time you can marinade them in the fridge for an hour. Bake at 180C for 10 minutes,  turn your oven down to 150C, bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and enjoy the sweet fragrance of spices wafting throughout the house. 

Meanwhile prepare the moroccan dressing for the carrots. In a dish combine all the dressing ingredients. 15 minutes before your lamb is ready, steam carrots until just tender. Strain and mix with moroccon dressing. 

Voila! And for the finish,  here's a traditional mint tea recipe. I must of drunk at least 3 cups of mint tea daily in Morocco..there's always time to sit down for a chat with this sweet tea.

Serves 4.

November 20, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #21 (gathered natural objects)

I've been a little distracted this morning, avoiding mostly mundane tasks, and went a wandering through Pia Jane Bijkerk's My Heart Wanders  project. That lead to this, and I stopped my wandering, happy and grateful to have found a peaceful spot to rest for a while. I think you'll agree it's very easy to get lost in the shapes, forms, textures, colours and details of these beautifully crafted gathered objects of nature.

Mary Jo Hoffman posts one image, daily of gathered natural objects found near her home in Minnesota for her project STILL, one I've added to my growing treasure chest of daily inspiration.

All images by Mary Jo Hoffman.

November 16, 2012


It's been a lovely sunny week with ocean swims, reading and ample time to make a mess in the kitchen.

Tomorrow I'm going on a little road trip down south, yippee! to the Ukitopia festival, a small community festival in, yep you guessed it, the town of Uki. Yippee! With a strong community focus the festival is run by the local arts collective showcasing live music, art displays and workshops. All this nestled amongst the beautiful surrounding mountains and rivers sounds good to me. 

Before I go, here's a tasty lentil recipe I made by Sarah from My New Roots, a food blog I discovered this week. I used leftover French green lentils I had stored in the freezer and as I didn't have all the ingredients I just used what I had. I did have fresh mint and coriander and they added that extra freshness. It really is one of the best lentil salad recipes ever!

If you're looking for something on the healthy and sweet side of things I did a spot of baking earlier this week from a 101 cookbooks recipe, and posted the recipe today- Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe. I'll definitely make it again, but next time gluten free for me. Delicious!   Enjoy x

French Lentil Salad Recipe

2 1/4 cups French lentils
1 medium red onion, diced
1/4 cup dried currants, or sultanas
1/3 cup capers
1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp strong mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or paprika)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp mixed spice
baby spinach, rocket
goats cheese
Fresh herbs: parsley, coriander, mint, basil
Fresh salad or vegetables

Prepare lentils- rinse lentils well, drain. Place in medium sized saucepan and cover with 3-4 inches of water, bring to the boil, reduce to a summer. Cook for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft, but are still holding their shape. Rinse lentils under cold water. For the all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to mix well. When lentils have cooled slightly, toss with salad dressing. Add onion, capers and currants. If using other optional ingredients add use before serving.

Serves 4

Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe

Growing up, dessert was always a much anticipated ending to the main meal in my family, from homemade cakes to plain old fruit and ice-cream. This week in an attempt to encourage dad to eat healthier sweet options, (because the truth is he's not going to forego sweets so better to accept and provide healthier options) I tested out this carrot cake recipe from 101 cookbooks which uses whole flours and natural sugar ingredients. 

Not your traditional carrot cake, I kept calling it a banana cake for a while, it's packed with dense and rich all natural ingredients. I stuck with using wheat flour, as using a gluten free option just would have been too 'strange' in dad's eyes. The natural sweetness of bananas and dates works really well, and I really like the inclusion of yoghurt and walnuts to increase protein and good oils. I made a few small changes, used half wholewheat and half white flour, replaced one of the eggs with 2 egg whites and used slightly less than 1/2 cup of dates.  Even with skipping the icing I still made a HUGE mess in the kitchen!

The result...success! Though dad did comment he could taste the absence of sugar, he enjoyed it and was very happy to eat another piece the following day.Next time I'd like to try a gluten free option using rice and amaranth flour as mentioned in the readers comments on 101 cookbooks.

Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup good quality white baking flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped finely
110g unsalted butter, just melted
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 egg and 2 egg whites, lightly whisked 

Preheat oven to 175C. Butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan or 8x8 cake pan and line with baking paper. Sift together flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in walnuts. Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates into smaller pieces.

In a separate bowl combine bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps. Whisk in eggs and yoghurt. Add the flour mixture and stir gently until everything just mixed. Spoon into prepared pan. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean in the centre of the cake - bake for around 45minutes if you are using the cake pan. Remove from oven and cool. Best stored in the fridge.

Makes one cake. 

November 14, 2012

Simplicity: Wise words on Healthy living.

The wise words of Aulus Cornelius Celsus (circa 25BC - circa AD 50). Roman Historian. His encyclopaedia De Medicina, is one of the best sources on medical knowledge in the Roman world.
"Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy foods
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sounds of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music."

Found in: Good Gut Bugs by Kathryn Marsden, pg 35

November 13, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #20 (bougainvillea in bloom)

A few glimpses from the weekend. The sun was out and bougainvillea flowers were in full bloom. My camera arrived back home safely from the repair shop, yippee, and I got straight back to playing around with the many mysterious functions I still have no idea how to use. Gratitude for the bright bold colours of the bougainvillea flower. And speaking of spreading more gratitude... Jodi at Che and Fidel  is grateful for the support she's had for her lovely blog. She's created a beautiful and calm space sharing tidbits on daily life. She's sharing the love around with a christmas giveawayincluding lots of eco friendly and handmade items.

photos...1. I loved this fresh tea, it was so calming and cooling. I drank it lukewarm and it was halfway between a tea and a cool drink. / 2. The ingredients of the amazing tea...fresh lemon, fresh ginger and mint. / 3. Bougainvillea in full bloom. They always remind me of Cambodia and there was some sweet synchronicity going on when I got a text later that day from my lovely friend Emma (who also lived in Cambodia) sharing her gratitude for the divine scent of frangipani's that remind her of Phnom Penh. Awesome! / 4. The garden path leading to the 'truest room in the whole damn house' (i couldn't go past borrowing this line from one of my favourite Regina Spektor songs, Reading time with pickles). / 5. what a great home entrance.

November 09, 2012


Papaya, a long time favourite of mine, is delicious, versatile, and boasts a long list of health benefits. As the weather warms up I've been craving more cooling foods and eating a LOAD of papaya... papaya breakfast smoothies, papaya with yoghurt and freshly sliced with a good squeeze of lime juice. 

To date I've mostly neglected the goodness of the seeds and discarded them, but with a new focus on 'waste less food' my awareness has increased and realised I'd been wasting a good part of the fruit! Whilst I had a vague knowledge that papaya and the seeds were good for digestive health, having eaten the seeds on the odd occasion when hit with a traveller's stomach bug whilst living in Cambodia (no they didn't work, but fair to say I probably only consumed a handful, hardly enough for a medicinal dose)! I hadn't really thought about using them in cooking.

Green papaya, papaya skin and papaya seeds all contain the enzyme papain, which does good things for our digestive health, including assisting to break down proteins and helping to eliminate parasites and other nasties. Here are a few more good reasons to eat your papaya seeds....Because papain acts as a digestive aid papaya seeds are a good choice to match with a meal high in meat or other proteins.  Papaya seeds are also said to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on our digestive systems. 

And if that's still not enough to entice you to eat more papaya, they are also a good source of antioxidants to protect skin against free radicals and promotes good heart health by reducing oxidisation of cholesterol in our arteries.

My conclusion. Eat more papaya! Wishing you a delicious weekend x

Green salad with Papaya Seed dressing Recipe

I made this simple salad dressing using fresh papaya seeds. Great over a plain green salad as a side, or add French green lentils and cucumber for a more filling salad. The seeds are quite peppery so start off using small amounts if your new to the taste. Note: If you are pregnant it is advised not to eat papaya seeds.  

      3 tablespoons Papaya seeds
      3 tablespoonsTahini, good quality hulled or unhealed. I used hulled.
      1/2 cup Sheep or goats milk yoghurt
      Lemon juice, about half a lemon
      1/2 teaspoon Apple cider vinegar, or other good quality vinegar
      Pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients in a blender until seeds are coarsely ground.
Refrigerate and drizzle over salad greens.

Serves 4

Information source: Superfood Profiles

November 08, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #19 (the birthday season)

Birthday season is upon our family again. We have one birthday in each of the months of October, November and December. Today it's my mum's. It'll be a fairly simple affair with flowers, Spanish for dinner and a few surprise parcels to open. We feel in love with these cluster-flowered roses, also known as the 'The Sweetheart Rose', easy to see why. They do hint back to days of first dates and blossoming love (us girls did a good job picking them on behalf of our dad). Roses do tend to fall into the cliched flower pile, but on this occasion they were perfect to express the sentiment we wanted to share. Mum you're a little bit special (ok a whole lot of special!) and we love you. Happy birthday Mum x

November 06, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #18 (you have to be brave)

More love. Yes please! 

Today's Literary Jukebox on Brain Pickings is a playful passage on falling in love by Jeannette Winterson, matched with 'Falling' by Nitin Sawhney. If you haven't checked out Literary Jukebox yet, you must! It's the brainchild of Maria Popova, combining her love of literature and music. Each day she matches a favourite book passage with a thematically related song. It's definitely an add to your day with changing insightful and inspiring musings from brilliant authors and musicians.  

Along with gratitude for all the creativity and inspiration flowing through the world I'm also super grateful that my camera is still under warranty and I don't have to fork out cash that is not in abundance right now to get it repaired. I am very happy indeed!

What awe-inspiring online spaces do you visit for your fix? Share away in comments below x

November 03, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #17 (i love a good cafe)

Gov's Espresso Cafe

It's the weekend and I'm loving it! We've been driving past this cafe for months and commenting that we'd like to check it out. Today we got the chance to pop in for lunch and it was like walking into an old barn. Wooden tables and chairs, antiques, old lampshades, velvet cushions and hay scattered around the place. 

Gratitude for the divine watermelon and mint juice at Gov's, and the massage I'm about to have. 

November 02, 2012

Gluten and Sugar-free Ginger Spice Biscuit Recipe

Gluten and Sugar-free Ginger Spice Biscuit Recipe

I love this quick and easy to make biscuit recipe. They are light, easy on the digestion, and good for everyday.

150g gluten-free plain flour (I used Orgran's all purpose plain flour because I had it in the cupboard. I'd like to try it with rice and buckwheat flour).
150g butter, at room temperature
80g xylitol (here it really depends on how sweet you like it. Original recipe called for 90g caster sugar. 1 tsp sugar=1tsp xylitol, but I usually find you don't need as much)
60g ground almond meal
1 tsp ground ginger
1tsp mixed spice
1/4-1/2 vanilla bean paste (found in good quality grocers)

Heat your oven to 170C. Grab two baking trays and line with baking paper.  Place all ingredients in a bowl and using your hands blend until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap (save and re-use for another time) and pop in the fridge for about an hour. 

Grab your rolling pin and roll out the dough on a lightly floured work bench until 1cm thick. Here is the fun part. Select the cutter shape of your choice (will yours be classic, fun, pretty?), cut away and lift onto the baking trays. If you need to re-roll the dough keep in mind that by adding more flour the dough mixture will be more crumbly when baked.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden on top. From my experience they are best eaten within 3 days if kept in an airtight container at room temperature or longer if kept in the fridge.

Makes 20.

(Recipe inspired by Manna from Heaven's Gluten-free Ginger and Cardamom Biscuits)

Berry Kale Smoothie Recipe

Berry Kale Smoothie

Not technically a very much in fashion 'green smoothie' (these are water based, there's loads of recipes on the internet), but still packed with lots of goodness. I put any powdered vitamins I'm taking (currently magnesium) in my smoothies, it's an easy way to get them down and disguise their taste!

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4-1/2 cup berries
1 big handful of baby kale leaves (or other green of your choice- spinach, parsley, lettuce, cucumber)
1tsp-1tbsp chia seeds
1 large pinch of coconut flakes
1 tsp-1tbsp of flaxseeds soaked overnight 

Mix all ingredients in your blender until smooth. Yum!

Berry, Coconut Flakes and Chia Snack Recipe

Berry, Coconut Flakes and Chia snack

Super easy, yummy and surprisingly filling afternoon snack. Fruit for a natural energy pick me up. Chia seeds for protein. Coconut shavings give it crunch and that extra 'I'm having a treat' element.

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, mulberries), fresh or frozen.
Organic Coconut shavings (all natural, nothing added)
Chia seeds

As much or as little as you like.

Recipes for the Weekend: Three healthy gluten & sugar-free treats

My biggest food challenge eating mostly sugar-free is finding new ways to satisfy my love of baking and my love of sweet treats that taste good. I love trying new healthy cake and biscuit recipes made from real ingredients. The less refined and processed the ingredient the better. It does take a little more prep time using real whole ingredients, but with a bit of organisation and experience it becomes easier. Saying that, you don't want to get obsessed by every single little detail, if you're only going to end up unhappy and stressed. 

Flexibility and having a good hard think about what is important to you and for your body can be really useful. A good strategy is to work out what your negotiables and non-negotaiables are in the food department, and put in the best effort you can to achieve them. I'm ok with using ready made gluten-free flour blends or packaged unsweetened almond milk but I'm not ok with using sugar as an ingredient, so if I'm going to cook I'll make sure I have a substitute, such as xylitol or stevia, on hand. Good luck with discovering what works best for you. 

And now for the recipes. Three easy gluten and sugar-free sweet tasting delights on my radar this week. I hope you enjoy them too... 

Happy weekend x


October 31, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #16 (the changing beauty of nature)

I collected this broken shell and made a necklace

Bare feet on warm sand. Scattered clouds. The beauty of a muted beach palette on a cloudy day. Pale sand, pale blue sky and pale green waters. All with a hint of silvery light that happens on a cloudy day. The calm ocean, a boat sailing out to sea, white shells and slate stones. A woman in a striped bathing suit under a faded red umbrella. The water was warm, and as I walked home refreshed from my swim the clouds disappeared and changed the colours of the beach and it became a new picture. 

Gratitude for the changing beauty of nature. 

Psst...My camera is in the repair shop. It stopped working the day I decided to remind myself of f-stops and shutter speeds and other manual settings. Hopefully it will be returned soon as the only camera I have access to is on my computer. A bit of a hiccup for gratitude posts. While I may not be posting gratitude posts for a bit I'll definitely be continuing to practice gratitude daily, it's addictive, and of course the whole point is to bring gratitude into everyday living. 

October 30, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #15 (mint and meditation)

A quiet ol' day today. I cleared out the fridge to make room for fresh veg, eggs and other goodies. Mostly I just moved items from shelf to shelf but there were a few nasty looking olives and leftovers that had to go. I hate to waste food and was happy that although the droopy bunch of mint looked rather sad it was still salvageable.  I filled each ice cube with a few sprigs of mint and voila! mint ice cubes ready for hot summer days.

I spent time reading a new book on managing fatigue. It talks a lot about finding a balance between activities that expend energy and those that renew.  Meditation is one activity that calms my nervous system and renews my energy. I love the feeling of stillness and calm afterwards. Even though I know it's good for me, I struggle with a regular practice. I fire up for a short while, practice everyday, then bam, something happens and the practice drops off. I went with the motivation I felt today and took myself to a new Peace Meditation class up the road. It was the kick up the bum I needed!

Gratitude for a slow-paced day and the ancient practice of meditation. Hari om.

October 26, 2012

Recipes for the Weekend: Kale, Goats Cheese and Dill Frittata + Beetroot Leaf salad

Good health and happiness is about so much more than just eating the right foods, exercising and having a holiday once a year to keep stress at bay. This article in the New Yorker, about the people of Ikaria (one of the 'Blue Zones' populations where people live measurably longer) explains it well. A long healthy life involves the interplay of many factors... being part of a community, finding purpose, laughter, good food, time to relax and enjoy life. What struck me the most, what I feel most lacking in modern society, is the importance of social structure and community. If you make an awesome lunch full of goodness but eat it in a rush, at work, by yourself staring at the computer, you're probably not going to really get the most out of food or the experience. It's a good reminder for me. Sharing a meal is one of the simplest and oldest ways of bringing people together to celebrate, to laugh, to cry. 

Grab a couple of treasured friends, head to the place you enjoy food shopping, select the freshest ingredients and cook with love and music. Make as much mess as you like and enjoy the feast in good company with plenty of laughter. I made these recipes with fresh ingredients from the local farmers markets, and enjoyed them with loved ones.  

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. 

Beet Leaf Salad Recipe

I have only just starting using beetroot leaves in food recipes. I have juiced them a few times before but that's the extent of it. Your local organic co-op, grocer or farmer's markets are probably your best bet at finding young, not too tough leaves. Beetroots often don't come with their leaves still intact at supermarkets. This is a throw it all in recipe, without measurements. Go wild.


1 bunch young beetroot leaves 
1 grated raw beetroot
a handful of cherry tomatoes
macadamia nuts
sunflower seeds
extra virgin olive oil and lemon for dressing
salt and pepper to taste

Cut beetroot leaves from beetroots, soak and rinse well in water. Heat a dash of your preferred oil to cook with (avoid vegetable blends of oil- they're not good for you, try to stick with butter, olive oil and coconut oil) in pan sauté the garlic and beetroot leaves until they soften, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Wash and scrub beetroot, use a peeler to peel off the outside layer. Then grate away. Grab another pan and dry roast your seeds and nuts until they slightly brown, you don't want them to burn, a few minutes at most. Dry roasting really brings out the flavours of seeds and nuts. Mix all ingredients in a salad bowl, dress with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. 

A beautiful mixture of warm beetroot leaves with fresh, raw ingredients for an energising lunchtime salad.


Kale, Goats Cheese and Dill Frittata Recipe 

I'm a little obsessed with greens and frittata's are a new favourite. For best results  de-stem the kale and sauté. 


1 large bunch of kale 
1 zucchini, sliced finely
6 eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 garlic clove
goats chèvre or feta to your taste
fresh dill to your taste
salt and pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 200C. To de-stem your kale hold the stem and strip the leaf. Tear the leaves into bite-size pieces. Rinse well in water and drain well.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan, add onion and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sliced zucchini and kale and sauté for  about 5 minutes, the kale will be nice and soft. Stir in the garlic, and sauté for a bit being careful not to burn, about 30 seconds. Transfer the greens to a greased quiche dish. Size of the dish? Not sure, just use whatever you have around the home. Set aside.

In a bowl beat together the eggs, dill, goats cheese and salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over the greens, mix gently to distribute ingredients evenly. Pop it in the oven and bake until golden brown and firm, about 20 minutes. It's ready to serve. Best served hot or warm with a crisp green salad. (Any leftovers can be covered in the fridge for a fews days ready for hungry hands to grab when the urge hits).

Serves 4

(Recipe adapted from this recipe I stumbled upon)