Spring Soup

Green, Zingy, Fresh, fragrant and light. This soup took 15 minutes to make and was a perfect way to utlize all those bright fresh greens for the springtime! You can literally throw anything into this. The key is do not overcook!!! or you will risk loosing that bright green colour into a browny swamp water colour.

You will need:

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 9.58.17 PM.png
  • 2 leeks

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1 courgette

  • 2 celery sticks

  • 1 cup frozen petit pois

  • handful of watercress

  • handful of spinach leaves

  • small handful of fresh mint leaves

  • few strands of saffron

  • tablespoon of stock powder (or 1 liter of real stock veggie or chicken)

Rough chop the leeks, courgette and celery, sweat off in some olive oil and add a few strands of saffron and a pinch of salt. once soft add stock powder and water to cover or approx. 1 liter of home made stock. Chicken or veg works. simmer for no more than 7 mins, just until the courgette is soft. Add the frozen peas, mint, watercress, spinach. Take off heat immediately and blend. leave off the heat until you are ready to serve so that you preserve the fresh green colour.

Serves really well with some bacon on top :)




"Strength & Fragility" By Jamie Zimmer

49896267_10161264511395243_7495483165843128320_n.jpg

I recently had a miscarriage. I’m 36 years old. I have two beautiful, healthy children, aged seven and five, both of whom I enjoyed easy, healthy pregnancies and deliveries with. I am deeply grateful for both of them and their father; they are my reasons for being and doing.

Two years ago, my husband and I discussed having another child. We were ready, and excited. And then the world quite literally fell apart. He fell dangerously ill unexpectedly, tiptoeing closely to death, but miraculously surviving. He was hospitalized for ten days, with two months of recovery at home. I became his caregiver, a single mother, and the sole breadwinner for a time.  

I’m sharing this because it partially explains my miscarriage right now. Why I tried to get pregnant again at 36 and not 34. It explains my stress levels, my mindset, my altered worldview.

Miscarriage is far more common than many would like to admit, or know. According the American Pregnancy Association, 10-25% of all pregnancies are likely to end in miscarriage, with a staggering 50-75% happening like mine, within the first trimester. Harrowing though that is to read, it’s scientific truth, and one we women don’t enjoy considering. And why would we? The numbers hurt. The risk is scary. And far too little is spoken about the aftermath, when the major physical symptoms may have subsided, but others arise, and complications can abound at any turn. The fact that the pregnancy itself may have passed (or have been painfully, surgically removed) still doesn’t account for the myriad of other health issues that can arise. The fragility of a woman’s body in the weeks following the trauma of any level of pregnancy loss is notable, and one that we tend to ignore, or dismiss.

39698788_10160735908750243_1017177224970764288_n.jpg

Thus far, I’ve only spoken about the physical, without taking a moment’s notice of the emotional, the psychological, the spiritual. To some degree, I feel like I can’t with any authority comment on those because I believe they are too deeply intimate, too specific to each individual survivor, and I can only speak for myself. However, I am a 1-in-4 statistic, and the truth I currently understand is that I have joined too many of my friends in this category. And what I have noticed, heartbreakingly, is that each one of us has felt compelled simply to plow on. To go back to work. To keep on keeping on. To just try and be the person we were before.

Women are quite incredible in that respect. We’re resilient. We’re tough. The hormones that allow us to bypass the trauma of childbirth to be nurturing caregivers also wreak havoc on our bodies. Most often, we suffer it in silence; we know it’ll pass, that the world will return to its axis, that balance will be restored. Because of the incredible power we harness to grow human life, that same power has to be reshaped, to be repurposed and redistributed amongst all of our charges, whether it be our children, our partners, our careers, or simply the strength required to heal entirely. And a large part of me feels right now that one of the reasons, oddly, that women are often deemed “weak” by others is because there’s so little understanding of the enormity of our experience. The vulnerability we need to display in order to heal and regenerate our power is seen as a failing. That’s madness. A world that puts so much trust, so much blind faith, into our bodies to continue the species, offers in return so little trust, respect, and comfort for when, much more commonly than we’d like to admit, it gets complicated and chaotic.

So what we do we do? Sadly, often enough, we play into that narrative and think we just have to keep at it, to be the people we were before when we most certainly are not.

The fact is, though, that most women go through the experience of pregnancy loss on their own. Their partners may be sensitive to their extrinsic needs, but the internal scars take so long to heal. They may be invisible to the naked eye but they are deep, and raw, and need time, space, and care to heal. And what grows from that scar tissue is equally beautiful, and capable, and deserving of love and respect. In many ways, so much more so than before.

38471706_10160678092920243_4645796326569672704_n.jpg

At one of my students’ bar mitzvah this past weekend he shared the most interesting drash (biblical exegesis) on that week’s portion, which talked about Moses’ smashing the tablets, how the second set, the decalogue he took by hand, was in fact the better one. The original set placed unrealistic expectations on the people. The second set, the one that was rebuilt from those which had been broken, were the ones Children of Israel could truly accept in order to become a better, stronger, holier nation. The ones that guide who they really are.

We women get broken. And we repair, and come back stronger than ever. May we all put the trust in ourselves, and each other, and process of repair. Let’s connect, and accept, and really respect that experience. Let’s put each other back together, piece by piece. That way, what was once a “mis” will become a stronger carriage, forward.










Paelo Persian Love Cake

IMG_20190311_163114.jpg

If you know me, you will know that I am kind of obsessed with Rose Water and Cardamon! I try and try to add it to as much as possible. A lot of the time it really does not work! Occasionally it does, this is one of the rare situations where it worked really well! i combined a few recipes to come up with this one as I could not fine a Paelo Persian Love cake online, so I hope you enjoy it! Only thing to be mindful of is this cake took AGES to cook, like 50 - 60 mins, I ended up cooking it on a low heat of 300 so it would not burn. Perhaps if I split the mixture into two tins it would cook a little faster. So this recipe is for the open hearted, risk takers in life, try it out see how it works for you! my one came out just great. Springy, sweet, delicious and so heart warming.

Dry ingredients:

  • 3 cups almond meal

  • 1 cup tapioca flour

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamon

  • 2 cups coconut sugar (you could use less if you want it less sweet)


Wet ingredients:

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups of almond milk

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil melted

  • 1 tsp apple cider vinigar

  • zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons of rose water

  • handful of pistachios (optional as they do sink to the bottom!)

Mix dry in a bowl, beat wet in a bowl, mix together, keep light and fluffy by hand whisking. Pour into baking tin and bake on 350 for 45 mins ish!…. until knife comes out clean. You could top this cake with a lovely syrup or honey and pistachio nuts. it would also be delicious with a rose water icing, we were too keen to eat it! :)


Valentine's Loaf

Whether you are in a relationship or not, today should be about LOVE of all kinds. Self love, love for your family, pets, and most of all self. So today I treated myself to making up this delicious cake and my most favorite bit was the sweet sticky glaze on the top. It just made it perfect. I love all things spiced, ginger cake is by far one of my most loved and it’s always a little tricky finding a good one that’s gluten free, so I kind of made this one up myself and got lucky, so here it is :)

Dry Ingredients:

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 2.10.57 PM.png
  • 2 cups almond meal

  • 1 cup tapioca flour

  • 1 cup coconut flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • i table spoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon all spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon clove

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 2 table spoons of honey approx.

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • about 2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger (optional)

Glaze:

  • Half can coconut cream / milk

  • dash of maple syrup or agave syrup

  • grated lemon rind

Mix all the wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine and beat till light and fluffy, the vinegar and baking soda make this really light texture to the batter, don’t over mix or it will become heavy. Place in a loaf tin, in the oven for 30 mins on 350 - don’t over cook. Let cool then pour glaze on top.

To make the glaze - pour half a tin of coconut milk (with the cream on top) into a saucepan, add about 2 table spoons of maple syrup, bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15 mins beating occasionally so that it reduces. Add lemon zest. Pour into jug and chill in fridge for at least 30 mins. it should be thick and almost like a custard glaze when you pour it. It’s SO GOOD!

Dreamy Tahini, Honey and Coconut Cookies

It’s Sunday, raining outside, all I want is a cup of tea and some cookies. No joke these took about 10 minutes to make and were an absolute joy to eat! I forgot to measure anything so you may have to play around a little bit to get that nice dough consistency but overall it’s a throw in a bowl type bake.

You will need:

Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 4.06.33 PM.png
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour - give or take, may need a bit more at the end to just stop the dough from being sticky

  • handful of sesame seeds

  • half teaspoon baking soda

  • half teaspoon of allspice

  • Table spoon of desiccated coconut

  • teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • pinch salt

Mix everything together in a bowl until you get a dough. add some flour to the counter and flatten out the dough, not too thin and don’t press too hard or it will get stuck. Cut out little shapes. You could also just do this by hand rolling into small balls and flatten with you palm.

Place on a tray with baking paper in 350 for no more than 8 minutes.

Remove, let cool and they will firm up. I drizzled a little extra honey on mine when they came uot the oven just for that bit of cheeky sticky yummy.

Screen Shot 2019-01-06 at 4.06.20 PM.png


Beautiful Banana Loaf

The cake batter from this is literally one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted, sweet and yummy and with no eggs you can just basically eat the whole bowl, but then you will need to make another batch to make!

This cake is gooey and rich and so satisfying if you have a craving for some deep deep comfort and the perfect way to use up your old bananas.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

  • 2 - 3 very ripe bananas mashed

  • handful dark chocolate chips (optional)

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

You will need 2 bowls, in one bowl put all the dry ingredients, in the second bowl mix together the coconut oil, vanilla, almond butter and once combined add the mashed bananas, whisk up to make a delicious creamy mixture. Add the dry ingredients and at the end stir in the chocolate chips. Bake in a loaf tin on 400 for about 40 mins, it will be gooey in the middle, this is the best bit :)

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 10.36.34 PM.png


Chocolate Chia Pudding Pots

So fluffy, rich, dark, decadent, dairy free with a it of bite from the chia seeds. A perfect little pot to treat yourself with and a brilliant way to use those glass yogurt pots that are just so cute!

You will need:

  • 1 cup chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup coco powder (about a tablespoon of hot water)

  • 3 - 5 tablespoons of maple syrup - depending on how sweet you like it

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon - to taste

  • pinch salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk (you could use coconut milk or cream too I reckon)

Whisk together the coco powder in a little warm water once a paste add in the milk, maple, cinnamon, salt and vanilla, whisk up to be nice and fluffy then sir in the chia seeds. Decant into the little pots and set in the fridge for at least 5 hours.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 10.29.02 PM.png


Spiced Xmas Ginger Cake

Not sure about you but this time of year screams spiced ginger. One of my favourite flavours of all time, i remember asking my Mother for a ginger cake for my 9th birthday! I have been combining a few recipes to come up with this one to create the soft moist sticky combination we love whilst curbing the tonne of butter, sugar and wheat flour. it’s been hit and miss a few times but think / hope I have nailed it with this one :)

I know, I know, I preach no refined sugar, but I couldn’t resist dusting this with a little icing sugar, being the jolly season!

Dry Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of almond flour

  • 1 cup tapioca flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • pinch salt

  • 1 tablespoon of dry ginger

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon of cardamon

  • 1 teaspoon cloves

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

  • 4 eggs beaten

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix melted coconut oil and mix all wet ingredients together, making sure oil is not too hot and cooks the eggs when you whisk them all together. Beat wet ingredients into dry until a nice batter forms. Place in a tin in an oven at 350 for 30 mins or until knife comes out clean.

49199998_10156996671629939_5961921511773175808_n.jpg



Sunday Lunch Comfort Food

48380812_10156965174479939_566316576421183488_n.jpg

It’s winter, we all want a warm hug on a plate. This was exactly that, vegan, delicious and satisfying to the core. Azduki beans are so good for you and often forgotten, it helps to soak them overnight, but if you don’t have time for that just a slow cook or pressure cooker will help to soften them, be sure to change the water you soaked them in. An unusual combination of items, this dish worked so well as was super easy to make.

Adzuki Beans:

Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour until soft, once ready add a dash of lemon juice a splash of amino acids and mix in some fresh coriander, add salt to taste.

Leek and Cabbage stew:

Chop up 2 leeks and gently saute until soft, add in some shredded cabbage. Mix until soft. Use a can of tinned tomato sauce / or chopped, as per personal preference and a generous dash of Worcestershire sauce. Before serving add a teaspoon of mint jelly or sauce, add salt to taste.

Bring to the boil a cup of quinoa in water with a dash of oil and salt and simmer until quinoa is fluffy. Serve all together topped with roasted sunflower seeds and chopped coriander and parsley.

Trilogy Slice: Banana, Coconut & Chocolate

Made it up, stole from some and added my own to create this yummy slice. i was craving that oat-y, slightly crunchy round the edges but gooey in the middle sensation with those bursts of chocolate chip mixed in with that warm banana that just all explodes in the mouth.

This is how I did it - wet ingredients, mash and beat them all up together in this order

  • 3 - 4 ripe bananas mashed in a bowl

  • teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

  • 3 table spoons of coconut oil melted

  • one egg

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (being honest, not sure you need it, depends how sweet you like things to be, I think the chocolate chips might be enough)

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

  • handful of dark chocolate chip buttons

  • handful of dry shredded coconut

Once all that is nicely beaten together add in:

  • 2 1/2 cups of almond flour

  • 2 cups of oats

The fun thing about this recipe is I reckon you could throw anything in there, the oats and almond meal make the base as do the bananas so the rest is taste. You could use dried apricots or raisins. I just kept adding oats and almond flour till i had a thick gooey batter that was not runny but not solid. I put it in a square brownie dish and baked for about 50 - 60 mins on 350F, or until knife comes out clean.

it’s a bit of an experiment, maybe I got lucky as it came out great for me, especially when still warm from the oven :)


IMG_20181209_135815.jpg

It's not coffee, BUT... it's delicious!

It’s been a while since I have had a chance to post. Good to be back, and excited to share what I have just discovered…

IMG_20181127_140538.jpg

Having quit caffeine products over 4 years ago now, but with a strong love of the taste of coffee, the challenge is always finding a happy place of enjoying that nutty, roasted, deep, sensuous flavor without the heart palpitations, withdrawal headaches and a jittery addiction.

Being blessed with some fantastic decaf coffee products in recent years, I still often look for the real alternatives. I have tried the chicory root ‘no coffee variations’ and always felt a little cheated! They look so delicious on the package and when you sip them, they are just so unsatisfying.

Until I tried RASA KOFFEE.

IMG_20181127_141032.jpg

An Ayurvedic Adaptogenic Herbal Koffee that i saw posted on my instagram (thank you AI) . Super skeptical, I ordered it reading the owners declaration of full refund if you don’t like it. I won’t lie, I was super excited to see the beautiful Indian inspired packaging and when I opened it to find this bark like substance inside that smelled like someone dug up some earth from my back yard, i was immediately terrified!

BUT… I went with it and I am so glad I did. I steeped it in my French Press for 5 mins plus, they suggest 15 mins, but who wants cold coffee and as I poured it out, this delicious luminous dark coffee like liquid and aroma hit me. One sip…. I am hooked.

This is the real deal. Obviously it doesn’t taste 100% like coffee but it’s nutty, dark, aromatic, sweet, comforting and absolutely delicious especially with a little coconut cream.

IMG_20181127_140454.jpg

Having just had 2 surgeries back to back, I am looking for ways to help repair my body and this is full of the good stuff, lots of Ayurvedic herbs including: Burdock root, Dandelion Root, Eluthro root, Shatvari root, He Shou Wu, Ashwaganda, Cadonopsis, Chago Mycellieum, Rhodiola root, cinnamon and Reshi. Read more about the ingredients HERE

If you are keen to ditch the addictions and feed your body with something great, I recommend this product, I got it on Amazon and the cost is close to a good quality coffee. You can also reuse the serving to make a few cups out of one press, which is great too.



The Perfect Review

You know what I love, the internet.  What did we do before google as a mother?!  Well, we lived in small communities and talked to our neighbours.  This part I sometimes wish we did more of, but amidst working full time, juggling kids, car trips, cooking and being a spouse, I gotta hand it to that magical mystical ether for occasionally being my ultimate BFF. 

A site I recently discovered that I really want to share is reviews.com, it has everything from 'best kitchen knife, yoga mat' all the way through to more important safety features like 'best infant car seat'

It's so hard as a new or busy parent to make choices about purchases for our kids, I found these reviews so super helpful and informative.  It just saves all the hassle of talking to yourself in a store or having to research a million google forums for people's opinions!  

This site is fantastic and an excellent additional asset to making an informed decisions, especially when it comes to car seats and the safety of our kids.  Quick links for these two articles below for your perusal.

infant car seat

convertible car seat

3 C Fritters

What did I have in my fridge: half a bag of shredded cabbage, 1 carrot and 1 courgette.  The magic 3, the 3 c's, the trio of wonder.  I stood looking at them for a few minutes pondering if I could actually be bothered making yet another soup.  i declined as all I really wanted was a bowl of hot chips.  So with that I created these cabbage, carrot and courgette fritters.

Gluten free, these guys were super yummy and the cabbage gave a little extra crunch which was so welcome.  I threw the ingredients into the bowl as I made this up but have tried to be as accurate as possible for the recipe, suggest you also go with what you feel as these are pretty fluid and you could actually add whatever you like to them.

The secret is lots of fresh cut herbs like parsley or coriander, subject to personal taste and a generous spoon of garamasala - one of my grandmother's kitchen staples, it makes everything taste spectacular without being overpowering.

you will need:

  • approx. half a bag of shredded cabbage
  • approx. 1 carrot
  • approx. 1 courgette
  • approx. 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • approx. half an onion (optional, but if you do grate this be sure to squeeze out the water with muslin or the mixture will go really soggy)
  • a generous teaspoon of garamasala
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of chick pea flour, also known in the USA as gram flour

Grate all your vegetables into a bowl, mix in the egg and spices, add flour until you get a good consistency that means if you were to put spoonfuls of the mixture into hot oil they would not fall apart.  fry in grapeseed or canola oil until golden brown.  I served them with oven roasted kale chips, this was such a delicious, satisfying crunchy snack and would work perfectly with some tehini, yogurt, olives etc...

22195373_10155824667164939_5314505295085784590_n.jpg

Special 'No' Egg Fried Rice

I absolutely LOVE egg fried / special fried rice!  A total indulgent comfort food it is a staple part of our home and a great way to use left over rice.  Recently I have not been eating rice and grains and so been looking for an alternative to fill that stodgy fried craving.  I finally found it, a bag of cauliflower rice in Trader Joe screamed at me and I thought I would give it a go.  It turned out delicious and is seriously super easy!  I cheat and get the vegetables in a bag, however, if you have patience you could just grate the cauliflower yourself :)

This dish is filling, satisfying and totally grain, gluten free.  You can throw anything into this dish, whatever you have left over or laying around.  I have fallen in love with frozen petit pois for freshness and a selection of nuts to add texture.  The absolute secret to this being a success is to make the egg before hand, like you would a scrambelled egg, set it aside and just pop it in at the end.  

You will need:

  • 1 onion chopped or sliced - as per personal preference
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 a bag of sliced white cabbage
  • approx. 1 cup of frozen petit pois
  • 1/2 bag of broccoli slaw
  • 1 bag of cauliflower rice
  • toasted sesame oil
  • amino acids / soy sauce
  • cashew nuts / toasted almond slices / sesame seeds (personal choice)
  • approx. 3 eggs beaten and then scrambled - no need to add any milk or anything else.
  • Tablespoon of coconut oil

Beat 3 eggs together and scramble in a pan until cooked I use coconut oil, set aside in a bowl.  In the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic till golden, add the broccoli slaw and cabbage and cook all until soft.   Throw in the cauliflower rice, add a dash of amino acids to help steam the cauliflower, if you find it a little dry you can pop the lid on top to allow it to steam for a couple of minutes, otherwise just keep it moving so it doesn't burn on the pan.  Once nicely brown and all the veggies soft, throw in the cooked egg to warm it up and combine the flavours, throw in nuts of your choice, personally cashew nuts are my fav.  Pour a little toasted sesame oil to add taste.  Last minute put a rinsed cup of frozen petit pois into the dish once off the heat, this is enough to defrost the peas but keep them fresh and bright green.

Add additional toasted sesame oil and amino acid just to your taste preference.  Top with sesame seeds.  It's yummy with some fresh lime and coriander too!

Enjoy! it's one of my fav's

21270935_10155806534879939_5970859419291535253_n.jpg

chocolate chip cookies

EVERYONE loves cookies, My little boy always asks me if we can bake together.  I found these online here, they are so simple and actually really nice.  They are gluten free and made with coconut sugar so a lower GI which makes me happier about him scoffing them :)

They remind me a little bit of these cookies we eat at Passover as they are made with almond flour so get that yummy chewy centre and after a day are more squidgy than crunchy but still delicious as a sweet treat without refined processed ingredients.

There is a little sugar in the chocolate chips, but we opted for dark chocolate and you could sub this with nuts, raisins, or whatever you like...

You will need:

  • 2 cups Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup max coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 handful or less of organic dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Mix the almond flour, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the softened butter or coconut oil (or a mix of both) and stir well until mixed. It should form a thick dough that is hard to stir. Add the egg and mix well. This should make the dough more formable and easier to mix. If needed, add a teaspoon or two of milk or water to thin. Finished dough should be easy to form.

Add chocolate chips and stir by hand until incorporated. Form dough into tablespoon size balls and bake for 10 minutes or until tops are starting to be golden brown. The centers will be somewhat soft, but they will continue to harden once they are removed.

Let cool at least 5 minutes and serve.

Enjoy!

IMG_20170914_203616_070.jpg

Vegetable Lentil Soup

As always I just rummaged to see what I could find in my house and came up with this soup that was so delicious I decided to write it down to remember how I made it.

Lentil Vegetable soup is just so nourishing and comforting, it's like a bowl of minestrone but without the pasta in it so there is a good dose of protein by using Lentil instead.  The secret to any good soup is stock.  I used to have time to make my own stock with all the left over vegetables, I still do on occasions and then freeze it into cubes to use.  This time I resorted to one of the cartons from Whole foods, Low Sodium Vegetable Broth.  These are great in times of need and speed and I find myself using them more and more.  Just be conscious to read the ingredients to make sure they don't have too much unnecessary additional ingredients in them.  I find just using the broth the flavour gets a bit intense, so I tend to use 2/3 broth and then add an additional 1/3 water.  i don't really measure things I just add water to cover everything and leave about half a finger worth of water on top for reduction.  

You will need:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery sticks chopped
  • 1 courgette chopped
  • 1 carton of vegetable broth
  • few cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • dash (about a table spoon or to taste) of Worcestershire sauce
  • Aprox 2 table spoons of tomato paste
  • Cup of green lentils (you could use any type, the firm lentils are better, like yellow and green as they retain their shape and don't go mushy like the red lentils you use for Dhal)
  • handful of chopped kale (add at the end)
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley (add at the end)

The secret to good soup is sweating off the vegetables for AGES!!!  Put the onion, carrot, celery and courgette into a pan with some olive oil and sweat them off with a pinch of salt for a good 15 minutes until really tender and you can smell all the flavours of the vegetables.

Then add the vegetable stock and water to cover everything and let reduce for about 10 minutes.  After this I add the tomato paste and mix in to give a nice warm colour, it also thickens it up a bit.  I also add the herbs and sauce at this point and do everything by taste, so my guidelines are pretty rough, add more or less as you desire flavours.  You will feel like Goldilocks and go 'mmm, just right' when you hit that sweet spot!  I refrain from black pepper and too much salt until serving as flavour changes so much as you reduce and cook soup.

Once you have added all your spices add the lentils, then just leave the soup on a really low heat for an additional 20 minutes or until it's nice and thick.  Then add the kale and parsley and you can serve when you want. It's really yummy, warming and soothing.

Timings are very rough, just keep an eye on it and keep tasting it! ENJOY!

10 minutes. 10 days

I noticed something last month, well actually I noticed it for many years but I decided to put it on the table on OWN it! 

I have resisted meditation like Vampires resist a crucifix!!!  It's embarrassing to even admit this.  The 'yoga teacher', who is a 'leader' in the workforce, someone who consults others to 'seek their vision',  the whole-food cook, the mother who can 'do' it all couldn't 'do' meditation...  I am the girl that fell asleep in or avoided every single meditation class whilst studying 'advanced ashtanga yoga' up a mountain in India (I mean, you can't get more ZEN than that!!!)  I am the girl who signed up to Vipassana 10 years ago, then bottled it 2 days before 'D-day' because a clairvoyant told me that I was  Nun in my past life and that now was not about 'sitting and being quiet'.   I thought I would take what she said to the grave with me, but as I am maturing and seeing life with less immortality and more gratitude I am craving the concept of having time to myself, time to be quiet and let my brain rest, to slow down, no screens, so screams, just me and well... me...The irony is that if the doctor said to me I had to make sure my kid has 10 mins of physiotherapy every day I would caveat my whole day to make sure that this happened.  So why don't we do the same for ourselves, for our brains and mental wellbeing?  What if that's actually the point... what if  that's where I have been getting it wrong... there is no such thing as 'doing' meditation.....!?......

The Ah-ha moment happened when my husband invited me  to "come chill on the sofa, sit and do nothing..."  It is a concept that I have actually forgotten and I realise now rarely occurs to me, until I actually asked myself the question:  "Why... Why don't I just sit and do nothing?"  After eating some dark chocolate and pondering this for a while, I decided to gift myself by 'remember-ing' the art of meditation and be accountable for my commitment to myself, for myself.  I have forgotten the beauty and true magnificence of just 'BEING'.  I think this is a common trait of both busy people and lives, excess screen time, as well as motherhood.  As humans we are all so guilty of 'knowing' things.  I 'know' meditation will be good for me, but we are also so great at forgetting these pearls of wisdom.  The moment is NOW.  I have resisted it for years and who knows I might just love it!  Give it a go!!!

I have known for a while that it takes 10 days to form new habits and break old ones.  We see this with people who give up sugar, coffee, etc... the first few days are murder, hard work, never ending, then suddenly there is a turning point.  A moment of revelation, of pure nirvana (so they say...).  So, to myself, for myself, I made a commitment to do 10 minutes of meditation for 10 days as an experiment, to see if I can stick to it, to see how I feel doing it and then to review my inner feelings about this deep seated self care that is so very very simple but has seemed to take me forever to being into realisation.

I won't lie, I was terrified, I can't even describe the fear of having to commit to sitting with myself for 10 days!  It felt like a lifetime, an eternity of punishment!!! I tried to distract myself by using apps, guides and helpful resources to assist the meditation journey, but actually it was just literally about setting a commitment to myself, an intention and then making the space to make it happen.  

So I did.  

I thought about it like my analogy of healthcare for my kids, except I was the kid that needed the care.  I made it a matter of life or death, NO EXCUSES!!! Even if it was 5.30am or 10pm at night I made sure I did it.  It was uncomfortable at first, a mentally messy and my mind was racing all over the place.  My back ached, I found I was easily distracted and had a long 'to do' list of things I should action once my 10 minute alarm went off!  Then I took a breath...  By day 10 I was suddenly really beginning to enjoy it.  I felt space again, I felt like my lungs were opening my heart was breathing and connecting to my bran and body.   It suddenly felt easy, joyful and I looked forward to it!   I felt like the time froze and flew all at the same time.  I had awareness for the tiny things happening inside my body that are actually miraculous and extraordinary, like breathing.  Things I forgot, forgot to notice and take gratitude for.  

I found myself, after 10 days actually wanting to sit for longer. 10 minutes is totally 'do-able' in my busy life and I look forward to it every day, those moments for myself, to process.  It's like a computer reboot for the brain, a space that I can now actually feel 'creating', generating possibilities and ideas, really for a moment or two being at 'one' with our universe.

I sound like a total nut job?  Try it.  Get over the ego and the discomfort, the fear and awkwardness of the aches and pains.  Give up Facebook for 10 minutes, NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  Think about all the possibilities you can access by just  'being' and 'remember' how magnificent we are.

 

 

 

Halloween Puree

Halloween is MASSIVE here in the USA, there are pumpkins EVERYWHERE...  Getting into the spirit, I decided to make some easy food for Eden to eat that also doubled up as a rather delicious soup for grown ups!  I just added a touch of water to my bowl version when warming it up.  A Pumpkin, Lentil, Sweet Potato Medley...  This soup / puree is comforting, delicious, sweet and so warming for the winter season.  It also has magic protein in it as lentils, so I know it's good for everyone :)

I find I don't really use salt when cooking now too much so this way I can give the kids anything we make for ourselves, I add at the end to taste if required.  The beauty of this is I freeze the batch in ice cube trays so I have it in meal size portions for Eden whenever I like.  Easy is the key to happiness :)

You will need:

  • small to medium pumpkin of your choice (peeled, gutted and chopped
  • medium sweet potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • approx. 2cm of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • approx. 1 pint of water, veg stock or chicken stock (as you desire)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garamasala
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • walt and pepper to taste

Sweat off the onion till it's translucent.  Add in the pumpkin and sweet potato and sauté until softened and flavours have come out. Add the garlic and ginger to infuse flavour then add water to just cover the veg and bring to the boil, simmer down to reduce a little, about 5 mins.  Put the coconut milk into the pot and add the lentils.  Reduce down even further.  You don't want to reduce too much you want there to be sufficient liquid as you need to puree this and it gets rather tick with the lentils so don't be shy when adding liquid or topping up.  Add the spices.  leave to simmer for about 20 mins.  When it has full flavour whizz it up to a pulp and add more seasoning to taste.  It is really great with chilli and coriander to serve for grown ups :)

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Love

Who doesn't love cookies?!... Maybe a few odd balls, but in general we are all suckers for those yummy comforting hand held bites of joy.  My toddler is deffo' a fan, in fact it's a daily ritual conversation, he wakes up around 6am and says 'mummy, Reno have a cookie please'  to which I reply 'it's porridge time'  Yes I shatter his dreams every morning...

So - how do you give your kids their childhoods without shattering their dreams as well as their sugar in take?  See below for a cute discovery / invention that I made, guilt free, gluten free and frankly really awesome.  Granted these do have some coconut sugar and chocolate chips, they are not overloaded with refined sugars as coconut sugar has a lower GI and dark chocolate chips are better than milk.  With this in mind, these are still a treat and do not replace porridge for breakfast!

You will need:

Beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until well combined, add in the almond butter and vanilla extract, then the egg. Stir in the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. I think made the dough into a cylinder and wrapped it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge for about 30 mins to set.  Once it was firm I cut it into slices to bake in the oven at 350 / 180 for about 15 - 20 mins.  Just keep an eye on them not to burn.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

My sister has always joked with me and my recipe testing since we were kids, she calls me 'Auntie Lentil Cake'  because I am always getting creative to find substitutes to those sweet cravings out of healthy ingredients.  She also laughs and says... " Colette, this cake is gluten free, dairy free & sugar free, is it taste free?..."  

With this... I would love to share with you a new invention I have just discovered. I take NO credit for the recipe, the wonderful Aine Carlin 'Keep it Vegan' wins this one with her delicious gluten free blueberry muffins.  They took about 10 minutes to make in total and are so yummy, which to be honest was a total surprise as not only do they have no dairy or no refined sugar but also made with CHICKPEA / GRAM Flour... so, my darling sister - these are for you ;)

You will need:

  • 1 cup of chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 banana mashed or 3 tablespoons of apple puree
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries

Two notes - I used blueberries and blackberries as I didn't have enough blueberries, this was a great addition of flavour.  I also used both the banana and the apple sauce which was actually a mistake, but again tastes really good!

Whisk together in a bowl all the wet ingredients, the banana, apple sauce, milk, vanilla extract and maple syrup.  Add in all the dry ingredients, the flour, almonds, baking soda and powder.  Don't over mix, keep the batter light.

Add the fruit at the end and spoon into muffin tins, I made 12 smaller muffins, her recipe suggests 6 larger ones.

I baked them in the oven on 350 / 180 for 25 mins then let them cool to set before taking them out as they were rather fragile whilst warm.  They are delicious!