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)

October 22, 2012

too much springtime?

When the sweet scent of jasmine fills the air you know it's Spring time again! The start of longer days and warmer weather, of blossoming flowers and lazy afternoons in the garden. Peeling off winter layers, feeling lighter and freer. Being in QLD I'm further north than I usually am at this time of year, and still adjusting to the weather. It's hotter and more humid. Spring almost feels like summer. It feels like swimming weather again. Over the past week though I haven't felt like being outside much, or swimming, which is kind of odd for me and I was a little perplexed. Today it dawned on me though that I'd had itchy eyes and a scratchy throat for a few days and it was probably allergies from the winds and pollen. Not a major revelation I know but it did feel like a mini one and explained my desire to be indoors.

I closed all the windows and doors, rinsed out my eyes and got horizontal for the rest of the afternoon. To soothe my throat and pump up my immune system I went all out with liquids...ginger tea, homemade vegetable and beef bone broth soup, vitamin c, salt gargle and strictly followed orders provided by Mad Hatters Teas 'Marie Antoinette' blend of chamomile, rose petals, hibiscus and lavender...

Allow yourself to drift into a daydream painted with the picturesque hedges and fragrant blossoms of the palace gardens.

What trusty natural allergy remedies do you use?

October 15, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #14 (Birthday)


What better way to start the day than to wake to brilliant blue skies, a kitchen filled with brightly wrapped presents, the smell of freshly baked carrot cake and my loved ones around. Yes, it was my birthday! My one wish for the day was simple, to spend a few wonderful hours with family. My birthday wish was granted! 

Glimpses of the day....Lemongrass tea, coffee and English breakfast tea...the warmth of the sun on our faces...clouds drifting overhead....beautiful birthday wishes from friends near and far...dad letting out a big guffaw when I told someone I had turned 25 (wink wink), when really I was newly 37....mmmm carrot cake and cream cheese icing.

My heart is warmed with love. I am so grateful for the unconditional love of my family.

beautiful birthday wrapping mum style, it takes serious concentration to undo the tight knots and folds of paper. / sweet smelling handmade soap. / photos of my family - my 2nd birthday party. / dad 'ring a ring o' roses' my 2nd birthday party. / mum, my older sister and me. 

October 11, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #13 (to market, to market)


Neon lights, cheap cocktails and Sizzler. The Gold Coast isn't my first choice of a place to live, but I'm a firm believer that you can make any place work, for a short time at least. All it takes is a bit of time to uncover the good stuff, and once found get busy doing it. Finding myself living here I've started exploring and the south end of the GC is definitely my pick. 

In 'new town' exploration mode I spent a few Saturdays ago at the local farmers markets in Palm Beach.  The market was in full swing by 11am as I did my usual zip around before buying anything just to check out what was what and where the treasures were. I ate my way through samples at the pear & apple stall and silently pronounced the names of my  two favourite Greek biscuits koo-rah-bee-YAY-dehs [kourabiedes]  and  meh-toh-mah-KAH- roh- nah [melomakarona], at the Greek stall. It wouldn't be a complete market experience without a freshly brewed chai and live music under the shady trees. 

To market, to market to buy a strawberry,
Home again, home again, delighted and merry.

(ok...we might have come home with a wee bit more than that...deep purple beetroot, a variety of crisp leafy greens*, freshly baked sourdough bread and a few heavenly Greek biscuits!). 

Gratitude for finding the things I love in new places and fresh food. 

*p.s. I'll post a few recipes using the greens soon.

October 05, 2012

More gratitude. More hope. More love. #12


Life is better with a good book.

I'm back. Full to the brim with gratitude. Days worth of it in fact. I'm slowing realising how much thought and energy is needed to keep up with regular posts. A challenge I'm up for. 

Thursday last week was spent soaking up the sunshine with Ness, browsing shops and surrounding myself with words, words, words - crosswords and books. 

Books are my first true love, mostly fiction. No matter what is happening in my life I can always pick up a book and lose myself in a story. I've always been that way. I used to wake up early as a kid to fit in maximum reading time before school and would fall asleep with a book lamp and book in hand at the end of the day.  I remember travels in terms of books I read at the time- The Lover in Vietnam, Picnic at Hanging Rock in London and Shiver in the Gold Coast (last week).  

This week I discovered an awesome social enterprise Brotherhood books , an online second-hand bookstore initiative run by the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The Brotherhood do GOOD stuff! You get a book at a good price whilst supporting an awesome charity and keeping more stuff out of landfill. A total win-win situation! Another favourite is my local second-hand bookstore Desire Books in Sydney, run by the very lovely and creative Katy, and her partner.  

Gratitude for the opportunity to bury my nose in a book and for the places it takes me. 

I'd love to hear what some of your favourite books so please do share.