Friday, December 06, 2013
**I'm focusing on finishing my ebook and have written a series of mini posts to tide you over til I'm back. Thanks for reading!**
I make panforte each year, the mixture of spices, chocolate, nuts and fruit is heaven sent. And gluten free :)
Take a look at my archive post for the recipe.
If you have written posts about Christmas gifts to make please share them in the comments.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
It seems the only way to get something done is to commit to it and make it a priority. Sounds obvious I know, but it is easy to lose time each day hoping that you will have an hour to fit in exercise, writing, craft and so on. It doesn't really work.
So, I have decided to prioritise finishing my ebook over blogging. Ouch! It hurts to write that because I enjoy blogging and will miss being in this space and reading blogs but the truth is none of that will get my book finished - as my darling husband has regularly pointed out to me. Annoying but true.
I have though set up a series of mini posts to appear over the next few weeks. A photo with a quote or a link or two, a way of saying "I'm thinking of you!". Only I won't be on vacation I'll be writing and cooking and photographing and and and. Hmmm easy to see how overwhelm can cause procrastination.
What will be in the book?
I'm so glad you asked :) The book will be a down-to-earth guide for getting your family on track or back on track to eating real food and will of course have lots of easy, nutritious and delicious recipes.
It will also have anecdotes from other wholefood mamas about their experiences with finding their way with wholefood.
I am very excited and grateful to have some wonderful contributors sharing their recipes and experiences including Sonia from Natural New Age Mum, Natalie from Digestible Kitchen, Georgia from Well Nourished, and Alexx Stuart to name a few.
Wish me luck and hopefully with full focus on my book I will get it finished and be back here in time to wish you a Merry Christmas! Have a beautiful time preparing for Christmas.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I remember the first time River ate an olive. He was two and grabbed a big fat green olive off an antipasto plate, he popped the whole thing in his mouth pip and all and proceeded to fall in love with olives. Both River and Sol love olives, so do I. We were only too happy to receive the beautiful jar of home preserved olives, pictured above, from our friend Bronwyn. They are sensational! I wish you could taste one.
I had a go at preserving olives at the start of the year using this easy method.
After waiting 5 weeks to eat them, we opened the lid and the top was covered in a layer of mould. Boo hoo. I am embarrassed to say that I think the reason there was mould was because although we sterilised the jar the lid we used was plastic, a metal lid would have been better because you can sterilise metal. So, learn from my mistake and make sure you use a metal lid. We did sample one of the olives from the bottom though and the flavour was divine. I was a bit nervous about poisoning the family so I ditched the rest but I'd definitely give it another go.
Have you ever preserved olives? Share your tips in the comments.
Monday, December 02, 2013
2. Chai for the grown ups. I love drinking chai at the park.
3. Sol's jellyfish cake. Thank you Women's Weekly kids party cake book for the inspiration. Yes gasp that is blue jelly you see there.
4. Sol's kinder teacher is an exceptional woman, so loving and nurturing, she creates a beautiful space in the kinder room both by how she decorates it and by her warmth. I am grateful to have her in our life. This is a sign she has at the entrance to the room.
5. Beautiful strawberries, I haven't met a child yet who doesn't love this fruit.
6. Morning light. My favorite.
7. Another piece of kinder inspiration. (Pay no attention to this if you are having a grumpy mummy day ;) that's not the days we're talking about)
(Joining in with Em from The Beetleshack)
Friday, November 29, 2013
My friend Mel sent thru this link, I find it fascinating and scary that a technological device has been invented to measure mould, gluten, toxicity and so on in food and environment. Check it out here.
This looks so lush: rose and calendula hand cream from Nicola.
If you're looking for a wholefoodie cafe to eat at on the Gold Coast, BSKT cafe comes highly recommended by my trusted wholefoodie friend Samantha Gowing.
This article points out some of the reasons why eating dairy food makes some people feel sick.
I am still yet to make my own sauerkraut despite hearing how easy it is to do, here are step-by-step instructions.
That bundle of gorgeousness pictured up there, is our Sol at about age 2, he turns four tomorrow and I'm giving this gluten free chocolate cake a go for his birthday cake. I'll write a party post next week with links for organising wholefoodie loving kids birthday parties.
Sorry the day got away from me today so I am just getting this list in before Friday ticks over to Saturday and the birthday fun begins. Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
The meals we prepare each week are determined by what we have in the fridge and cupboards not the other way around. That is we don't write a menu plan and then go out and shop from the menu plan we work around the food that needs to be eaten so that nothing ends up in the bin or compost that could otherwise have been eaten. Even if this means that you cook a dish with what you have on hand that you think your children won't eat or enjoy, it sends them a powerful message about being grateful for the food that is available and that we don't always need to be buying more, new, different.
This dish came about because I had leftover roast chicken and cooked brown rice. I was inspired by Georgia's brown rice risotto and had a think about what ingredients I had that I could create my own version.
Cooked brown rice (I used about 2 cups)
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, brown or spanish, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup chicken stock (if you don't have any stock you can use water and a splash of tamari)
Leftover roast chicken, (or if you don't have leftovers you could use chicken thigh or fillets and cook them in as you go)
Parsley, a good handful chopped
A few sprigs of thyme ( I used lemon thyme because that is what we have growing in our garden)
2 tbsp of capers, finely chopped or whole depending on your preference
A handful of black or green pitted olives, sliced
As much silverbeet or spinach as you like, washed and sliced
(if I had white wine I would have added a splash of that too)
Melt the butter and cook the onion until transparent, add the garlic taking care not to burn.
Add in the rice, stock, chicken and thyme and simmer for 2 minutes. Add in the capers and olives, continue simmering for another few minutes add in some water if it is looking dry.
If you are using spinach stir that in at the end and turn the heat off, if you are using silverbeet that is generally a bit tougher than spinach and may need a minute or two extra cooking to soften into the mix. Stir the parsley.
If you like your risotto to be rich and decadent go right ahead and stir in another knob of butter, ditto if you like parmesan. Personally, I'm not a fan of parmesan with chicken but that's just me, on the other hand adding parmesan to this dish was a good lure to get my boys to try it!
I hope you enjoy coming up with your own version of leftovers risotto.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Post by post, reader by reader, my little blog has taken baby steps and grown, not grown up just stretched its wings a little. Social media is a noisy place and in light of that and the number of blogs out there I'll kick this post off with a thank you for taking the time to tune in here. If the whole blogging, advertising, sponsorship thing makes your eyes glaze over I totally understand, skip reading this post and come back tomorrow where we'll be back to normal.
I'm writing this post because the occasional email from PR companies or interested sponsors has started to arrive in my inbox and I want to keep you up to speed with the direction I'm heading in. The day will come where you will see advertising (advertising in keeping with my wholefood values of course) or sponsors on the side bar and I am open to doing a sponsored post now and then if I truly believe in the value and quality of the product or service, they will always be labelled as such though.
So far I have politely declined the requests because they have not been offerings that fit in with what I write about here! Oh and the other problem I had with one request was that I was asked to basically lie by writing about their product but to not label it as sponsored. Cheeky huh?
I've never had a problem with bloggers having advertising on their blog or doing sponsored posts, as long as they are clearly labelled as such. Having worked as a food writer contributing to newspapers and magazines, I'm no stranger to being sent things to review or consider for features and I figure this experience holds me in good stead to stick to what I believe in and only recommend things to you that I personally use and like and think that you would too. Amanda, Em and Jodi do this well. When I say they do it well, it doesn't mean I always read about their sponsors rather it's that they keep the business side of their blog in line with their content themes and personal values.
Affiliate marketing is another avenue I'm exploring. For those who don't know about affiliate links it is where a blogger places a link to a service or product on their blog and if one of their readers makes a purchase via that link the blogger gets a commission. Generally speaking, bloggers only sign up to be affiliates with products and services that they personally have used and believe would be of interest to and benefit their audience. Sonia does this well.
If you are curious about earning money from your blog Darren Rowse has written a number of posts about this on problogger, this one gives you a good overview.
And if you are still reading and are fascinated by the rise and rise of some blogs like I am here's a great interview with Lucy Feagins from The Design Files (do watch the video too) and I also like what Lucy has to say in this video about getting paid to do what you love - that you don't need to apologise for it!
So, yes watch this evolving space. A mama's gotta make a crust too and aren't we lucky that blogging has been invented to help us with that?!
Are you interested in monetising your blog? If you have already, perhaps you'd like to share some tips for us beginners?
Sunday, November 24, 2013
1. I hope you like salad because we're going to be eating a lot of that around here, the garden is a patchwork of big fat lettuces
2. a beautiful morning mess
3. my new camera and I still getting acquainted
4. boiled oranges waiting to be turned into...
5. flourless orange and poppyseed cake, in place of 1 cup of caster sugar I used 3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar and it was still a bit sweet, I think 1/2 a cup will do next time. Plus I iced it with the finest sheen of icing sugar mixed with lemon juice
6. this painting caught my eye in a local art show, intense but somehow still beautiful
7. greens from the garden + chillies + garlic + fresh abalone cooked in the wok = our kind of happy meal
8. River receiving first prize for his year level in the local historical writing competition, yes a proud parent moment. The stories were about Indigenous culture and traditional life was like for Aboriginal people.
9. Sol chasing River to get his hands on the prize
10. omg the prize! Can you believe it?! The chocs, plus $10. The other mums were chuckling "Of all the kids to win a box of chocolates". The chocolates were shared. Far and wide!
(joining in with Ms Beetleshack Em)
Friday, November 22, 2013
Watching Dateline on Tuesday night I was moved and inspired by Detroit Soup
Pete's opened an online bookshop - hurrah!
Crafters looking to start a biz do you know create & thrive?
Excellent tips from Nicole on making the most of working from home.
Stay away from Local Milk if you are prone to blog envy
If you are writing a book - ebook or hardcopy - I recommend downloading Joanna Penn's free blueprint on how to do a good job of writing and selling your book. I found it via Allison Tait.
And if you are looking to launch or reinvigorate your freelance writing career I think Allison's ebook, Get Paid to Write: The secrets of freelance writing success looks like a great place to start, ditto Christina Katz's book Writer Mama: how to raise a writing career alongside your kids
Thanks to Sonia's interview I found the gluten free grain free co.
I won a prize! The first giveaway I've ever won. Thank you Jodi and Read + Bell, some bohemian clothes shopping is just what the doctor ordered for me this week.
If you need to balance out your hormones (who doesn't?!) then read this excellent, detailed post from Wellness Mama.
I am really looking forward to the weekend. River has won an award at school for a story writing contest (not that I am really into competitive writing but I am very proud of River for the work he put into the story) and we are going to a presentation ceremony on Saturday and then on Sunday a very dear old friend from high school who I haven't seen in about two years is coming to visit with her little girl. Can't wait!
Well that's it for another week here. Thanks for all your kind and supportive comments on the post this week about my brother and for sharing your experiences of loss too, your comments are always so appreciated.
Enjoy your weekend! xx
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Yesterday it was loss and grief, today a quick bowl of meatballs. That's real life though isn't it? Unpredictable and through all the big stuff it is the simple stuff that steadies us. Like meatballs.
Earlier in the week I wanted to prepare a quick dinner. I went to our local fruit and veg shop that sells a limited range of organic meat, mince was all there was so mince for dinner it was. What to do with the mince? Spag bol seemed a bit obvious, so I decided on meatballs because we don't have them very often and the boys enjoy them when we do.
This meal is simple and quick I promise. I took a shortcut and used a jar of Spiral Foods basil and garlic pasta sauce, it is a good one because it is 100% real food.
500g organic beef mince
1 jar Spiral Foods basil and garlic pasta sauce
1 tin organic crushed tomatoes
1 small carrot, finely grated
1 small zucchini, finely grated
1/2 small onion, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
finely grated rind of a small lemon (optional)
Wash your hands well and use them to mix all of the above ingredients together well in a bowl.
Roll mixture into balls just a bit smaller than a golf ball.
Put pasta sauce and tomatoes in a large pot, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer then add the meatballs and cook on a low heat uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
I served the meatballs and sauce as is in a bowl, with a side of mixed lettuce and a piece of buttered millet sourdough for mopping up sauce. You could of course serve with spaghetti or a side of steamed veggies.
Simple and delicious. I hope your family likes this too!