April 29, 2013

17/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love. 

It was a super 'oh how i love to eat' week, which of course I adored.  There was much home food preparation and a few visits to my favourite cafe, Vintage Espresso, for their divine kale, grape, cucumber and apple juice, scrambled eggs, and a warming chai. It's such a comfy, chilled cafe with shifting furniture, ample reading material and a wholesome brekkie and lunch menu.

Earlier in the week I came home with an abundance of fresh produce from one of my favourite indoor market places in my neighbourhood. Like a traditional french market place there are various cafes, a florist, butcher, bakery, deli and fresh seafood situated around the edges. Smack bam in the middle is the fresh fruit and vegetables,  the heart centre of this vibrant little market place. My senses were treated to smells of freshly baked sourdough and heavenly cheeses whilst my eyes lingered on the goodness of whole organic pumpkins, purple carrots and dark green, crisp, spinach leaves.

Set up well for a week of preparing and eating well I made the most of it. I found avoiding shopping at a big supermarket  also helped me to get into the right mind frame to prepare food from scratch (it's amazing how many food aisles in supermarkets are dedicated to non fresh, packaged goods! Just an observation. I appreciate a tin of tomatoes and toilet rolls just as much as the next person!)

Here's a few simple whole food idea's for when you don't really want to bother with a recipe or spend hours in the kitchen preparing:

  • I grilled fresh butterflied sardines for breakfast for the first time ever and was amazed at how simple it was. And they don't have that strong fishy smell of tinned sardines which is a bit of a turn off first thing in the morning. Drizzle with a little oil, lemon and fresh herbs such as parsley and basil and grill on medium to high for 2 minutes on each side. Done!  Devoured with avocado and baby spinach.  
  • Roasted organic pumpkin with the skin left on. Scrub skin well, cut into half, then quartered and quartered again (yes it was a very large pumpkin). Drizzle with olive oil and bake on 200C for about 50 minutes. I then ate it as many times as possible throughout the week. Heated for breakfast with chia seeds and goats yoghurt. For dinner I chopped the pumpkin into smaller pieces and peeled off skin and heated up. Grate zucchini and saute in a little water and lemon until cooked. Heat a good slab of unsalted organic butter  in a fry pan, threw in 6-10 sage leaves and cooked for 2 minutes or until sage leaves and butter are brown. Toss pumpkin, zucchini and burnt sage butter over pasta. Add a squeeze of lemon and salt. Served 3.
  • I still had pumpkin left over so I made pumpkin muffins- recipe to come soon. 
  • For a quick dinner meal one night I stir-fryed onion, spinach, carrot and zucchini and tossed an egg through it. Served with lemon and tamari. 
I was too busy chopping, talking and eating with family to get the camera out. My kitchen also has terrible light so food photos at night are a big pain in the butt.

I also managed to fit in a trip to a fancy pants French restaurant on Saturday night with my sis and mum. The menu really was amazing. It was a heavenly experience of pinot gris, mixed olives, grilled barramundi with white asparagus, pureed eggplant, scallops and green beans. To finish off a heavenly chocolate pudding with vanilla bean cream and honeycomb. A slight veer to the left from the usual diet recommended by my naturopath!

A healthy food approach is not only about what food we put in our bodies but the state of mind we are in when we are eating it. Sharing a meal, laughing, feeling relaxed and being mindful all play a part in good digestion and good health. Food really is one of life's pleasures and I am grateful this week to have had the means and access to fresh and wholesome food. And to have been able to enjoy it with the best of company.

Linking up with Maxabella for 52 Weeks of Gratitude.
What's been happening in your week that you feel grateful for?

April 23, 2013

16/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

 Charles Schulz and the Peanuts gang sure knew what they were talking about. If you think about it  this life is pretty darn amazing but we must think it is before we can really appreciate it. I went for a walk earlier today to marvel at the thought of being grateful for everything? What did I find?  Aside from realising that if we practiced gratitude we'd probably all have permanent expressions of wonderment spread across our faces I also realised that if I turned my mind to appreciate and feel gratitude for everything, the smallest things jump out. A single blade of grass contributing to the softness under my feet, the complexity of my feet- how they ground me, enable me to dance, to move and to feel pleasure, the sun shining, and it goes on and on. 

This week it felt like I could feel a shift towards focusing on what I have, not what I don't. Being thankful for who I am rather than focusing on who or what I am not. 

The week was made pretty shiney with friends appearing in different ways. 
Monday I received the sweetest little note with a necklace I'd left at her place attached.  The note said 

Hello lovely
I've returned.
Please put me round your neck so I can feel close to you again (hehe)

And then I had friends visit from North and South. Friends I've known since High School, since I was about 14. There's a special bond that forms having known someone for so many years. My Dad recently turned 79 and he's known his best mate since he was 17.  

On the Saturday catch up with friends I was expecting a nice spread for lunch in the country side, but wasn't expecting to be treated to an absolute feast- wild rice risotto, crabs, prawns, gourmet sausages, salads and to top it off homemade pavlova. Fellow food lovers I adore you.

I am grateful that sometimes Dad has decent music taste (yes only sometimes) and that we both have a love of Johnny Cash. Thanks for the afternoon dance and for twirling me around Dad. It was a fine end to the week indeed.  

 Playing along with Maxabella for 52 Weeks of Gratitude. 

April 15, 2013

15/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love.

I'm only a few hours back from an early evening swim under the colours of dusk - blues, greys and pinks. The photos are from another trip to the beach early Saturday morning. It was also beautiful day of blue skies and wild surf. I shot the photos looking into the sun and they turned out like this, colours muted. I like the effect. 

 I'm grateful for having the ocean almost at my doorstep, for early morning and after work swims. Plunging myself in the salty, wild water is the perfect wake up after being in an office for much of the day. Shedding layers, becoming alive and free. 

 Joining in with Maxabella for 52 Weeks of Gratitude. 
Go peek around for yourself and discover what other folk are feeling grateful for. 

April 08, 2013

14/52 Weeks of Gratitude

52 Weeks of More gratitude. More hope. More love. 

Week 13 of gratitude was too much of a free spirit to be tamed and captured for the blog (ok so really i was just too busy doing other stuff and let's face it I one know it was going to be a challenge for me to write every week for a whole year). Thus moving swiftly on to Week 14. 

(Before you continue I'm very excited to have worked out how to embed music finally! Scroll down to the bottom and hit play on the embedded music thingy.)

A week of feeling grateful for highs and lows and everything in between. And for visceral experiences.

Bluesfest was a big high feet stomping on dirt feeling the music thumping through my body. I was so happy I experienced most acts standing, dancing along to The Wilson Pickers, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon and Wilco. These days I usually choose to sit (oh my legs get so tired!) but I know you miss out on really being part of the live experience, so this time I got right in amongst the pulse of the crowd and loved it.  Paul Simon gave such a good performance and as over the top as I may sound he gave so much to the audience that night. 

My kinesiologist has been telling me to get out of my mind and experience life more through my body. Music was definitely the answer! My body was buzzing.  My gig going days of my 20's washed over me as Wilco played a damn fine set and i found myself adopting the oh so casual indie music stance - one leg casually moving in time to the beat, hands resting in pockets with a slight rhythmic nod of the head. Wilco were my surprise 'wow, they blew me away' you could say. I know maybe only a quarter of their songs but it didn't matter, I loved their loud guitars, quiet vocals and rock antics and by the end my casual movement in time to the beat had turned into fully fledged jumping and throwing my head around!

 I was on such a high from bluefest, the weather was gorgeous the next day and we ate, swam and played in beautiful byron before heading home. The next day it all kind of came crashing down. The sky turned grey and i felt tired and low for the next 3 days at work.

But then it was the weekend again so I was grateful for that.
 My spirits and energy shifted and I started embracing the cooler weather. 

Saturday at yoga, with legs up the wall covered in blankets, rain fell loudly on the tin roof and I smiled at how cosy and content I felt in that moment.

Sunday I continued to embrace the Autumn weather and dashed through the rain to sit with a warm cup of tea and dark chocolate to watch Rust and Bone at the cinema. A beautiful,  sometimes hard and powerful story of two people finding their way in life.  The soundtrack was so good I went home and bought it.

Linking up as usual with Maxabella for 52 Weeks of Gratitude. 

Music: Ali by Alexandre Desplat from the Rust and Bone soundtrack.
Image: Breakfast at The Byron Beach Cafe overlooking Clarkes Beach.