FMS Gift Exchange – I Love Christmas!

There’s no time of year like Christmas, if you ask me. It’s just a happy time of year and I swear there’s even a smell to it! It’s the only holiday I celebrate and make a fuss over. Especially now I have a kid, I’ve got to get into it for her, right? I like to decorate and do colour themes, buy gifts and get involved in everything “christmassy” I can. Including online. Which brings me to the point of this post…
Fat Mum Slim (you know, the Photo A Day phenomenon) is doing a Gift Exchange again this year. It’s basically Secret Santa/Kris Kringle. I’ve done a few of these before, both in person and online. Sometimes it fails – last year my online KK didn’t send me a gift… or it got lost in the mail. Either way I was left without that present under my tree, but it was okay in the end because the real gift is GIVING. Have I made you snort yet? I even make myself sick sometimes 😉 It’s true though, there are many studies that have proven how awesome giving makes you feel. It’s good for your health!
This year, I’m playing elf and helping Chantelle out with the admin side. There’s going to be over 300 people playing along from all over the world so it’s only sane for her to enlist some help. Today is the cut off for signing up to play. You need to be active (and public!) on Instagram and preferably have a blog as well. 
Read the details and sign up here. Come on and play with us, weather you’ve been naughty or nice!

New Salad Love

Recently, my mum and I went halves in purchasing The Green Kitchen, a vegetarian recipe book full of beautiful photos and nutritious and easy recipes. It’s written by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, who live in Stokholm and they have an adorable little girl called Elsa.

One of the first things I recreated from the book was the Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate and Raisins. I followed it word for word and it’s now one of my favourite salads. I’d never eaten pomegranate before (although I’d had the juice, but always mixed with something else) so wasn’t sure what to expect.

Some people struggle with eating broccoli  raw but it’s really crunchy and nice! It’s a really refreshing salad, and I can see us making it often, with the warmer summer months ahead.

So here I share the recipe with you. I recommend you purchase the book (or even have a squiz  in your local library) for more delicious recipes! And check out their blog here.

Raw Broccoli Salad with Pomegranate and Raisins
You’ll need:
  • 2 heads of fresh broccoli
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • arils from 1 pomegranate\
  • 1 1/4 cup raisins
  • generous 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Separate the broccoli florets from the stalk and cut them into smaller bit sized pieces. The book says to slice the remaining stalk and use that as well but the hubby said no way. Place it in a serving bowl with the onion, pomegranate raisins and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine. Add the yoghurt, salt and pepper to taste, and then using your hands, mix the yoghurt through everything, making sure to coat all the broccoli florets. 
Ta-da! Dig in.
It’s a seriously different but beautiful salad.
Give it a go and tell me if you like it!

A Very Long Update

I’ve neglected my blog, yet again. But wait! This time my reasons are valid. Nope, not laziness, not writers block… none of that. Life has been upside down for me recently. Let me tell you why. A fire tore through my tiny town on October 17, a date I’ll never forget. 202 homes were destroyed with many more damaged. With less than 70 houses on my street, about 10 were destroyed. We must have angels looking out for us because our house is still standing, despite our yard, fences, and back shed being destroyed. The house behind us was lost, with 6 across the road gone and a further 3 on the other side gone.

It was down to luck, to chance… and the hard work of 2 male neighbours who stayed in the fire to save our houses. The other 5 streets in my town were all hit too, with people I know personally losing everything, including their home, cars, possessions and even their horses. It’s been a really devastating event. 

Unfortunately O and I were home when the fires hit. And it wasn’t your typical fire where you have 3 days to prepare and evacuate, with the fire fighters on the ground and in the air combating it. It was a freak fire storm, sparked by fallen power lines some 10 km/s away. It was 33C and winds were about 70km/h. I saw the smoke coming up where the fire started and within 30 minutes it was on my street. Where I live has only one road in and out, and is surrounded by gullys and ridges of thick bushland. That one road was engulfed in flames, so our exit was blocked. I started by sheltering in a house with a bunch of neighbours (and even non-locals), where we filled up bath tubs and got ready for the fire. We lost power and water and the bath wasn’t even half full by the time we decided to drive to the lookout, the furtherst north point in town. A month or so ago a fire had come from that direction, and we evacuted with about 3 hours notice. Itr never reached the houses  or main part of my tiny town, and the fire fighters decided to do a bit of a backburn. And thank god they did as it was now our safe zone, being previously burnt. 
It’s a tiny cliff edge, with a table and bench seat, on dirt and rock. 52 of us were down there, and a helicopter circled above us as the fire got closer and closer. We saw thick black clouds and plumes of smoke and heard a lot of explosions (we have a mushroom farm and a big garden nursery down here). We never once heard sirens – of course with the road blocked it meant no one could get in to save us or our houses. 
A fire truck did make it through, driving through smoke and flames. It was the only truck, with 4 men inside, to make it down for 2.5 hours. The moved 52 of us to a nearby acreage property that was fairly cleared. A friend and her baby and O and myself sat in that fire truck for over an hour before we went into the house with everyone else. We had to wet towels and put them on our faces and over our babies… which was impossible with O! The smoke was thick and burning my nose, eyes and throat. Flames were all around the house, with only 4 men outside saving the house (and us inside). 
It was over 5 hours until I was able to take O and myself to the arms of my husband and safety. It was the longest evening of my life. It started at 2pm and ended after 8pm. It was the scariest moment I have ever been through and I have never been more fearful for our lives as I was then. We are extremely lucky and blessed to not only have a home to go to but to even have our precious lives. 
The fire moved so quickly. It really was a freak fire storm. The bush had at least 10 years of growth since the last fire, plenty of fuel…
It threw me off for quite a while after. We stayed with my parents as we couldn’t return home without power, water or gas. Having help with O was wonderful because I’ve felt quite traumatized by what we went through that day. I’m slowly processing it all and feeling so grateful to have my family and home still.
In true Gen Y fashion I managed to take a few photos during the ordeal.
My token “panic” shot as I ran from my house.

The smoke was horribly thick.

Sitting in the fire truck, I see the fire race up the gully behind our “safe house”.

There were a couple other fires happening at the same time in my region and one was on Mum and Dad’s street, while we were staying there. It was a doozy and it was very lucky the wind was pushing it the other direction because it’s been 20 years since the bush in their valley has been alight. I was home alone with O again and had to pack the car in case of evacuating. 

Fire at my parent’s house.

There were 6 of these working on the fire at my parent’s.

What else has been happening? A few weeks ago we knocked down our beast of a water tank. Words to describe this eyesore are “massive” “concrete” and “ugly”. It took half a day and the base is still yet to be jack-hammered up. My clothes line will go where this once stood, and we will be re-turfing the yard, and taking the path up too. Eventually, we hope to do an extension on the back half of the house so I’ll have to relocate the clothes line yet again, but for now it’s given the backyard more space both physically and to the eye. We also scored a free trampoline from our neighbours next door. O is only 13 months but she squeals with delight on it, bouncing and flopping everywhere.
O and I, before the might tank was demolished.
The view from O’s room is actually a “view” now.

My garden is going great guns. I’ve been harvesting lots of spinach and lettuce. My strawberries have turned red within one day, it’s all pretty exciting. I feel really old that gardening gives me such pride and excitement  But there’s nothing like eating something that you picked from your own veggie patch! I think the ash has done wonders for the veggies actually.



O is growing up quick. As soon as she turned one, she started doing 100 new things a day. Well so it seems. Still not saying many words. I think she prefers to squeal and scream. It doesn’t help that I do it back to her. She has started giving her dolly and teddys drinks and food, and walks around with a toy phone to her ear saying “EH!” and “DA!” Of course I have to hold one to my ear too and god forbid if I put it down. She is hilarious. She makes me laugh every day! She also makes me pull my hair out but that’s okay

Three of my favourite things – yoga, reading and O.

Bullet Points

While the baby sleeps, I shall write! In bullet point form…

  • I’m really considering creating an eBook of recipes. I’m looking into the best programs to use and all that boring stuff. It’s been suggested to me many times by friends and strangers on Instagram and if I don’t rush myself or stress out about it, I think it’ll be worthwhile! It’s can be easily downloaded and even printed. Winning.
  • I’m sitting here with so many posts I want to write. So many stories and pictures I want to share. But I’ve hit a wall. I have to make a decision – do I share pictures of O or do I keep her face private and off my blog?
  • She is on my personal Facebook and personal Instagram account. Security settings for both of these are at their highest, but it doesn’t stop someone who can view them from saving or sharing them. This blog will have no filling, no back bone, no soul if I don’t. There’s no point in blogging!If I want to write more about my life and daily happenings, I will have to share O. She is my day to day life.
  • This morning I made the Buckwheat and Maca Pear Bread from The Whole Pantry app. The presentation isn’t the best, I got the batter all over the pears. And I had to cook it 20 minutes extra than the recipe said. But I’m quite proud of it, despite how ridiculously simple it was to make! It’s one of those creations that will impress everyone but only you know it only had 2 steps in the method, hah! I’m not a maca fan so hopefully the taste is disguised by the 2 whole pears I put in it. Yeah, WHOLE pears!
  • Veggies are growing like crazy. I have to bring some spinach and lettuce in tomorrow before they get eaten by some little critter. My strawberries never grew from seed 😦 Growing my own food is giving me the strangest thrill. There’s nothing more satisfying right now than watering them and watching them grow. They change so much in just one day. I’m even willing to try some flowers next. Ooh.
Okay that’s all for now!

Finally Friends With Egg

Photo from “A Nourishing Kitchen” e-book.
*This is NOT a sponsored post.
Many months ago I came across an account of Instagram called The Holistic Ingredient. The wonderful lady behind it, Amy Crawford, also has a website and Facebook page under the same name and has published an e-book called “A Nourishing Kitchen”. I purchased it the day I came across it and have used it weekly in my meal planning, for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks. Most of it is dairy, sugar and gluten free or has the option to be. It’s all clean, nourishing and (most importantly) freaking delicious. 

Today I came home around lunch time and almost reached for the unhealthy box of Milo cereal hubby has on top of the fridge.

I was hungry, O hadn’t had a morning nap (read: devil child) and I had limited time to get something ready for lunch. Magically, I convinced myself to re-consider my options and I opened up the Nourishing Kitchen e-book and decided to give the Sweet Omelette a go.

Fact: I’ve always hated eggs. I know how good they are for you, but I could just never enjoy them, no matter how they were cooked. Anywho, I whipped 2 eggies up, following the recipe, and wouldn’t you know… I ACTUALLY ENJOYED IT. This is definitely one way I can get in my eggs every week.
You’ll need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs pure maple syup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • couple drops vanilla essence
I used my cake beaters to get all of the above ingredients nice and fluffy. If you’re strapped for time, just whisk away vigorously for a bit. It’ll still work. Pour the mixture into an omelette pan. I used a bit of coconut oil in mine. I then watched Jamie Oliver make an omelette on Youtube… because being an egg-hater and omelette virgin, I had no idea what I was doing.
Once it was cooked, I added some plain CoYo and my raw berry chia jam. It was amazing. Even my grumpy 1 year old enjoyed it (she is more into savory than sweet).
Try this recipe, especially if you hate eggs like me!

You can purchase the e-book here.

Beetroot & Ginger Juice

So, you know how I said my juicer was broken, then my wonderful hubster fixed it? It’s still broken. And we just bought some lovely fruit and veg for juicing. Of course. Anyway, I managed to juice one lot up before I gave up on the bloody thing.

I needed a decent juice. This long weekend has been pretty unhealthy for me. We celebrated O’s first birthday with a party on Saturday. I can’t even remember what happened yesterday (can you tell I’m tired?). But let me tell you, when you’re so used to eating “clean” and no sugar, dairy and minimal gluten, having a day or 2 of gorging on shit can really mess you around!

Sugar really affected me. I felt it almost instantly. And dairy affected Olivia (she is still letting some rippers go!). I was actually looking forward to eating like normal again once the party was over. And I love being able to say this is now our normal! It’s great to be able to see how crap I really felt though, it reassures me I’m definitely on the right path.

I thought I’d take a pic and share this juice with you. I know I’m always looking for new combination ideas!
This one has…
  • 1 beetroot (medium size!)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 small oranges
  • 1 green apple
  • ginger

I added the green apple after the above picture was taken, obviously. I’m smart like that. I like my ginger to give my juices a decent kick so I added a fair bit. Especially when I’m juicing things like beetroot. I hate beetroot. So why are you juicing it?! Because I know it’s good for me! Huzzah!

Juicing

Months ago my juicer broke and I’ve been using one of those old school citrus juicers and having an orange, grapefruit and lime juice every morning before breakfast. Maybe once a week I’d buy a “proper” juice when out and about with O and the hubby… but it’s hard to spent $6.50 on a juice when I know I could make double the amount for half that price at home. 

We thought about buying a new juicer but it’s low on the “thing we need to buy” list. So I just made do without. Hubby being the fixer he is, tried to soak the metal mesh basket of my juicer in vinegar and bicarb.

It was pretty clogged with “juice junk”… you could barely see through it. Perhaps that’s why my juicer wasn’t working anymore? It was worth a try.

I should add, my juicer is about 8 years old. I’m sure it’s ready to retire, and secretly I want a slow/cold press juicer anyway (xmas is coming, right? I’ve already researched the Hurom juicer!). I But today I cracked out the juicer again and gave it a whirl. And while it’s still not performing 100%, it worked! 
Now I’m excited to go juice shopping again! Meaning, fruit and veg for my juices.
Today’s juice was made from the few things I have in my fridge… we really need to do a grocery shop. Plus, I was craving something sweet.

It had 2 carrots, 2 oranges, 2 green apples and 1 lemon. I juice green apples because they are lower in sugar compared to the red varieties and help to digest carbs. Winning!

Hubby was going out for the day (apparently it’s something called work?) so I did another batch (2, 2, 2, 1) and put it in an old Loving Earth jar for him to take on the run.

It was delicious. And I have plenty of left over – it’s hard to pace myself with juices but I know it’s still full of sugars so I try my hardest to have just one big glass a day!

Tell me some of your favourite juice combos!