Wednesday, November 19, 2014

hope for health

These beautiful Yolgnu ladies are seeking our support. 

Nourishing traditional bush foods have been replaced with shop food - white bread, margarine, tea, sugar and soft drinks - the result in Galwinku community and many other remote communities around Australia is that 1 in 2 adults have kidney disease and 1 in 3 adults have diabetes.

An encounter with good nutrition has inspired the Yolgnu ladies to make changes. They now have a solution and they need financial and/or social media networking support to make it happen.  

The ladies dream is to travel to Living Valley Springs Health Retreat for a 10 day program so they can learn how to get their health on track by improving their diet and then they want to share that knowledge with their community. 

This initiative is brilliant. It is empowering these women to take back their health care. Community led healing is what it's all about.

Regular readers here know that earlier this year my family and I spent time in Hope Vale a remote community four hours north of Cairns. This experience opened my eyes and my heart to both the harsh realities and the tremendous strength and resilience of the Guugu Yimithir people who opened their homes to us.

The food story is the same in Hope Vale as it is in so many communities. I left there feeling at a loss for how change could even begin. We have been home two months and I think about it most days. I met women in Hope Vale who want to do something about improving the nutritional value of the food people are eating. I started thinking about ways this could happen.

And then today I read about the Yolgnu ladies initiative on Chef Pete Evans facebook page. Perhaps this could be something other communities would like to do.

The ladies have 19 days to raise their funds before their crowd-funding appeal ends. 

If you can support them in any way financially $5, $10, $15 or hundreds or thousands it all adds up.

And if you can't offer money, then please share through your networks which only takes a few clicks and is equally valuable.

You can read more about this story on nutritional health guru Nora Gedgaudas' blog.

To learn more about the campaign and to donate go here.

These are mothers and grandmothers taking action to do something positive for themselves and their community. 

Go ladies go!

Friday, November 14, 2014

weekend reading

(I can't take credit for this beautiful image. It is a magnificent looking chia pudding from Brenda and Naomi's BreakThrough holistic weight loss program)

Green smoothie lovers, read this for some tips on making your smoothie the best it can be

I love Mamacino for her great sense of humour, her beautiful recipes and photography. In her spare time she's whipped up a new book to get Kids in the Kitchen. 

Do you hide veggies in your children's food? Me too. Georgia has written a fantastic post on the pros and cons of this age old practice.

I love Olga Dossa's philosophy for mothers to 'Love Yourself First'. Olga is hosting a one day workshop on January 2nd for mamas who want to start their year off loving themselves first!

Here's something we can all benefit from: a digestive morning drink and restorative yoga

And last one, you have until midnight if you want to sign up to Brenda Janscheck and Naomi Judge's fantastic 21 day holistic weight loss program that includes a 7 day cleanse, beautiful recipes, and detailed questionnaires to point you in the right direction to strengthen your digestion and balance your hormones. I'm taking part and think it is such a great program to recommend I've become an affiliate. It is very comprehensive and well worth the investment for the value you receive. For more info and to sign up take a look here.

Ok. I'm off for an early school pick up, dash to the dentist, then back for the school disco. As you do.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you back here next week with more wholefoodie posts and who knows what else! Thanks for taking the time to visit. x

Thursday, November 13, 2014

thursday recipe: broad bean 'green' rice

Earlier this week, Pete, River and Sol went to visit an Iraqi family who are living in our neighbourhood on a temporary visa.

We heard about the family through a friend of a friend who told us how uncertain the family were feeling about whether they will be able to stay on and that the local church were supplying them with food. Pete thought that they might like some of the fish from his recent catch, he also wanted to extend a hand of friendship and to open River and Sol's awareness to the fact that there is not peace in every country as we know it in Australia and that for many different reasons some people leave their homeland. It is a lesson in compassion and gratitude, one that we want to continue reminding our boys of.

Many thoughts went through my mind as I prepared dinner while they were out. Like I'm sure many of you reading this practice being grateful for all the simple freedoms and pleasures in life I really do this every single day and think that it is an important teaching for our children, all the more powerful if we can actually introduce them to people who can share their stories.

I found some leftover basmati rice in the fridge, wasting food is never an option so I decided to make a 'green' rice to go with the fish we were having. I had broad beans from George one of our local farmers, and parsley and spring onion in the garden, garlic and lemon zest went in too. I would have loved to add preserved lemon if only we'd had some.

By the time my fellas drove in the driveway our dinner was just about ready. Sol set the table, while River brought in fire wood and emptied the compost (they are their regular jobs, not always done without some grumbling) and then we sat down to eat. Fresh whiting fillets caught by Pete, rolled  lightly in white spelt flour and pan fried in butter, green salad with sprouts sprouted on our kitchen bench and green rice made with leftovers.

Family life has its challenges. We all get tired, some days are long, some too short, the house gets messy, money comes and goes, and through it all I'm grateful for all the simple things.

Broad bean 'green' rice


2 cups cooked basmati rice (can be white or brown)
1 cup or more of broad beans, however many you like or have on hand. Slice each bean in half.
4 spring onions sliced
1/2 cup of chopped parsley (or any green herb you like)
2-4 cloves of crushed garlic depending on how much garlic you like
zest of 1 lemon, and/or if you have it some chopped preserved lemon
1 tsp coconut oil for frying

To make

- Heat a wok or frypan over medium heat and add coconut oil
- Gently fry garlic taking care not to burn
- Add in broad beans and cook for half a minute so they keep some of their crunch
- Add in rice and turn up the heat, stir-fry until the rice is heated through
- In the last couple of minutes of cooking add in the spring onion, parsley and lemon

Enjoy with fish, chicken or on its own!

Friday, November 07, 2014

weekend reading

Have you ever made salsa verde? I'm giving Jamie Oliver's version a go tonight to have with some fresh snapper

Say hello to Yellow Bench the sister blog of Stone Soup 

I came across Bake Mixes a new biz selling ready to go organic baking mixes

I do love an e-course. If you want to simplify your life check out a simple year

I rarely make dessert but River went to an overnight camp at school last night so I thought we'd have a sweet celebration. I'm going to have a go at making this lemon meringue pie recipe a little more wholefoodie, if it works out I'll share it with you soon.

It is my darling Nan's 85th birthday tomorrow, they really don't make 'em like her anymore. That's my nan in the picture with me on my wedding day in 2011. The resourcefulness and resilience of women of that generation amazes me! I am blessed to have her.

Wishing you all a happy, wholefoodie weekend. Nourish yourselves, you deserve it!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

thursday recipe: carrot, poppyseed and orange muffins

I'm doing everything I can at the moment to get more vegetables into Sol (my youngest who is almost five), including putting them into cakes and muffins!

I know that this isn't the ideal way to consume vegetables but these muffins do make for a delicious snack with at least some vegetable goodness.

After I baked this batch I put them in the freezer to add to River and Sol's lunchbox during the week.

River who is not usually a fan of muffins came home from school and asked "Do you have anymore of those things you made with the poppy seeds?" and Sol happily ate his for morning tea too.

Based on this success I thought I'd give carrot and zucchini cake a go. So far that has failed to win fans in the way that these muffins have. Back to the kitchen.

Aside from standing on your head and singing a song about carrots, how are you enticing reluctant veggie eaters in your house?

Carrot, poppyseed and orange muffins


2 cups spelt flour (I used one cup white, one cup wholemeal because that's what I had)
2 teaspoons aluminium free baking powder
1/2 cup coconut or rapadura sugar
1 tbsp poppyseeds
1 cup grated carrot
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup oil (almond, macadamia or if you need nut free I have used olive oil. You could use coconut oil but I haven't tried it with that)
3 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of one orange

To make

Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl place spelt flour, baking powder, sugar and poppyseeds and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl mix whisked eggs, oil and orange juice.
Add liquids to dry ingredients along with the carrot and orange zest.
Stir to combine.
Spoon mixture into greased muffin tray and cook for 15-20 minutes or until brown and cooked through when tested with a metal skewer inserted into the centre.

Friday, October 31, 2014

weekend reading

Compared to the previous couple of weeks we've had a very healthy week here (the joys of being back at school and kinder). I am very happy to be back to some 'routine', here's a bit of what's been happening and what caught my eye on the web this week:

I borrowed Baby and a Backpack from the library but haven't started it yet because I can't put A Doctor's Dream down!

Still on books The Soul of Money looks interesting

And dare I mention Christmas but I'll be buying a copy of A. L. Tait's new book
The Mapmaker Chronicles for River

Great tips from Georgia: How To Establish Healthy Eating Habits

I loved trying Georgia's quinoa pattie recipe this week. It makes quite a big batch which was great because I ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner!

If you've been thinking about signing up for Brenda and Naomi's 21 day holistic program for losing stubborn weight you still have time to get in at the early bird rate of $99. I like the program because it is...holistic! Covering hormones, sleep, mindset, blood sugar balance, toxins and more. Brenda is a health coach and Naomi is a naturopath they have designed a detox plan, questionnaires, recipes and offer you their expert guidance. (just so you know, I like Brenda and Naomi's approach so much I am an affiliate for their program).

Have you seen MotherZen? It is the new online home of mother, author and columnist Jacinta Tynan.

We are going trick or treating tonight for the first time ever. I agreed to it because we are going with an American friend who grew up celebrating Halloween and will explain to River and Sol about the meaning and her memories of the traditions of the day so it feels a bit more authentic!

Then it is Melbourne Cup 'weekend' here. On Cup Day we will spend time with family and friends who we haven't seen since we've been home from our trip. I'm thinking of making a kale and roasted pumpkin salad of some sort with some toasted seeds and who knows what else I'll find to toss in. If it works out well I'll save the recipe for you.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week with a recipe for carrot, poppyseed and orange muffins and I have a giveaway in the pipeline too. Happy cooking! xx

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

the I in family

When I was 30 I studied zen shiatsu. I remember the first class sitting in the circle of about 20 students of all ages and walks of life, listening to people tell their story as we went around introducing ourselves.

To this day, the only person in that circle that stands out in my memory is a softly spoken woman in her forties whose vulnerability and nervousness was obvious and the feeling behind her words incomprehensible to me, "I'm here because I've spent the last twenty years of my life raising my children and I haven't really had many interests outside of that so I thought I would try this out."

How could this happen?! My pre-baby self thought. How could any woman's sense of self disappear just because she became a mother and wife?! This woman seemed so lovely and at the same time seemed so, well, lost.

In that moment I vowed to myself that when I had children I would never let that happen to me. I would maintain my sense of self and continue to grow outside of being a wife and mother.

About six weeks into the shiatsu course I found out I was pregnant with River. I was beyond thrilled.

I finished the course but never did return to further my study in shiatsu, and now sitting here just turned forty and eight years into motherhood I have to say I have a whole new understanding of the mother in that circle.

As any mother reading this will know it is VERY easy to become lost in family life. And it is especially easy if like me, you have always been very maternal so have always adored being with children, but also if you are a people pleaser who doesn't like to rock the boat (unless it really needs rocking) and who thinks taking time out or asking for help is selfish and a sign of weakness. That was hard to write.

Without getting too psychoanalytical, I know that these tendencies are rooted deeply in my being and I am only at the beginning of being aware of them and changing my ways. Why change? Because they are no longer serving me. Up until now I have been genuinely happy being so devoted to my family in a way that even some of my closest friends marvel at and don't understand.

However if I'm honest, somewhere along the line I confused being a loving mother and wife with being available on tap to my family and giving, sometimes even when there was very little left to give.

With my youngest turning 5 next month and starting school next year we are entering a new season of family life and a bit like the woman in the shiatsu class I am at a new place of finding myself.

I feel relieved that I 'woke up' before I was completely lost and perhaps filled with regret or worse resentment. I can actively attend to what needs to change within me and continue to give of myself from a full cup rather than running on empty.

Watch this space.

Do you sometimes feel lost in your role as wife and/or mother? What are your tips for self-preservation and self-love? Your words might just help a mum who really needs it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

weekend reading

Where did the week go?

I've had River home this week with bronchitis and an ear infection which has been no fun. He is such a good, uncomplaining patient that boy but he was disappointed to miss a whole week of school and I was disappointed that I had to shift my whole week around and missed out on time with friends I hadn't seen in a long time. But that's what we mamas do and I wouldn't have it any other way. I count myself lucky that I can stay at home with my boys when they're sick.

I did make it to Melbourne at the end of the week, I'll write more about that next week.
For now, here is some weekend reading:

~ Michael Pollan on the benefits of homecooking

~ Dealing with picky eaters? Christine Sullivan is a naturopath and mum whose book Feeding Picky Kids is packed with sensible, doable tips and advice that if you put them into practice will restore harmony at mealtimes

~ Blogger, wholefood mama & health and wellness coach Brenda Janscheck has teamed up with naturopath Naomi Judge and together they have created an online e-course Breakthrough: Your Ultimate Guide to Losing Stubborn Weight. Oh I know, it can get so boring that we women talk about losing weight but fact of the matter is there is more to it than energy in and energy out and for some women even if they're eating well and exercising they have weight that won't budge and they're unhappy about it. The thing that I like about Naomi and Brenda's approach is that it is holistic and addresses underlying reasons such as hormones, metabolism and digestion. And for this reason I am sharing it with you! If you enrol before November 5th you can do so at the earlybird rate of $99 for the 21 day program. (I like it so much that I am an affiliate which means if you sign up via this link I earn a small commission).

~ Like I need another cookbook but The Nourished Kitchen is on my wishlist. Ok and while we're at it At Home in My Wholefood Kitchen by Amy Chaplin looks beautiful too. Visit Amy's blog here.

~ Today is the last day to sign up to Lisa's Small Steps to Wholefoods course, designed to help you get going with wholefood or get back on track.

We have 3 birthday parties to go to this weekend. With all this spring sunshine I'm in the mood for some celebrating. I hope you have a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week. Thanks for reading :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

9 tips for taking better photos

We'll take a little break today from wholefood and turn our attention to another great love of mine, photography. Now, I'm no expert when it comes to taking photos but I do enjoy it. Having a passion for something always helps with the end result. So today I share my simple photography tips in the hope it might help you get better results too.

9 tips for taking better photos

1. Light, Lens, Love: This tip comes from a very talented Australian photographer Jacqui Mitelman. I had the pleasure of doing a portraiture workshop with Jacqui about 12 years ago and her words have stayed with me.

I always choose natural light over using a flash ( on most cameras and phones you can turn the flash off). If you look at the photos of the fruit above you can see the difference in the photos based on where the light source (daylight through the kitchen window) is hitting the fruit.

The first and last light of the day is a beautiful time to take portraits of your children or anyone for that matter, or to capture the layers of colours for landscape photography. I learnt this tip about natural light from my husband Peter McConchie who is a real life professional photographer :)

If you have a fixed lens camera like I do then you are stuck with it (sorry!), but if you can change your lens perhaps consider doing some research, see which lenses other photographers are using and try out a different one to what you have now.

And of course everything done with Love produces a more beautiful result.

2. Look to the edges of the frame: this is a tip I read in a book years ago and it made a big difference to my photos. Often we are so focused on our subject in the centre that we forget to pay attention to what is around it, by looking to the edges you will notice if you need to move your subject to a better position. Beware of poles or trees sticking out the top of people's heads, or clutter on your benchtop if you are photographing food.

3. Pay attention to the background: this is similar but slightly different to the previous tip. Many years ago I happened to go on a shoot with Sydney photographer Ingvaar Kenne, he was photographing a Christian rockband! It was on this shoot I picked up the tip about the importance of background, especially for portraits. The streets of Melbourne were the backdrop for the shoot, Ingvaar showed me how to use everything from a staircase to a roller door as a background and the difference it made to the feeling of the photo. Try it out, different colours, different textures all create a different effect. Sounds obvious and simple but paying close attention to the details is what makes the difference between a great shot and a mediocre one.

4. Know your camera: I have to admit I am still working on this myself. I bought a new camera about six months ago because my other camera ended up with sand in it and that was the end of that. (mini tip - protect your camera from sand!) My current camera is a Fujifinepix S with a 30x superwide fixed lens. Next camera, I will definitely get one with a changeable lens. Photographers such as Jodi would also tell you to switch your camera off auto and on to manual, I too am yet to do this! I have started playing around with doing this but am not that confident about it yet. Watch this space...

5. Study photography you love: and see if you can work out exactly what it is that you love about it, what sets it apart from other photography? is it the light? the composition? movement in the shot?
the angles? Visit Jay, Jodi, Kellie, Erin, my husband Pete for some inspiration.

6. Challenge yourself: set yourself a task such as joining in with Jodi's 52 project, this will hone your skill if you have a topic to focus on.

7. School up: either borrow books from the library, do an online course, or find one at your local community centre or tafe. The main thing though is to remain passionate about what you are doing. The most technically correct photographers do not always have the most feeling in their work, but by doing some study you will gain confidence in what you are doing and the effects you want to achieve.

8. Edit edit edit: Until I met Pete I kept every photo I took! Pete has taught me the art of editing and that it requires you to be ruthless.

9. Practice, practice, practice

Now it's over to you, what are your favorite photography tips? or favorite photography sites or bloggers?

Friday, October 17, 2014

weekend reading

If you're wondering how to get our kids to eat salad, or they hover around you looking for food before dinner prepare a plate like the one pictured above and I think you'll find they will actually eat some raw veggies! 

For more school lunchbox inspiration go here.

Check out Meg's new ebook: Wholefood Children's Parties.

If you are feeling torn between your family responsibilities and your work or blog, read this.

I found Nisha Moodley via Olga and got lost over there for a little while.

Off topic of food for a moment, if you'd like to support an important social justice campaign my husband Pete is involved in please take a look here.

Continuing on the social justice topic, next month I will be supporting the Step Up for Sisterhood week that works to stamp out abuse and neglect of Australian girls. The funds raised from this campaign go towards the Sister 2 Sister program a year long mentoring and risk management program designed to empower vulnerable teenagers. One person believing in a vulnerable teenager can make be the make or break. Let's get behind this. 

Ok, that's the end of the list from me for today. I'm off to cook some bolognaise for dinner with wild deer meat from our friend's country property. Then we have a very low key weekend ahead which is exactly what the doctor ordered because this week Sol has had croup and River a chest infection which meant time off school and kinder. 

We spent 5 months on the road and no one had even a sniffle, two weeks home back on the cold, damp (but beautiful) Peninsula and the colds hit. Oh well the sun is out and the boys have been jumping on my bed like a trampoline this afternoon to I think they are back on track!

See you back here next week for wholefood deliciousness and more! x
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