Friday, 1 November 2013

Farmers Markets

We're lucky enough to live not too far away from Noosa, and after wanting to go for ages, we finally made it to the Sunday markets a couple of months ago. They are AMAZING. This is now a fortnightly tradition for when The Fiancé is home.

Before that I was hitting some imitation Sunday markets... by ''imitation" I mean they weren't registered with the Australian Farmers' Markets Association. Why does this matter, you ask?
Well, dear reader, if they are registered on this nifty little website, they are "commited to the principles of the AFMA Charter and best practice operating standards. Best practice farmers' markets are food markets where the stallholders are the farmers, their families or farm staff. Resellers are not permitted.'' How cool is that?! The sad thing is, I thought that I was supporting the farmers beforehand.

Never mind that, now I know that I am. I mean, isn't this why we're going to the farmers markets in the first place?? Best, freshest produce, straight from the kind sod who grew it for us in the first place. I don't know about you, but I don't rate the "fresh" food in the supermarket. Chemically sprayed, temperature controlled, tasteless and identical looking tomatoes don't rock my jocks off thankyouverymuch.

This is what I find at the Noosa farmers markets. These tomatoes are the business.

Do YOU support local farmers, either at the farmers markets or at your local fruit and veg markets?

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ground Beef Salad

The last 24+ hours haven't been good for me. It was about 10:30am yesterday when I was sitting at my computer and I was overcome with this horrendous pain in my lower abdominal area. After about 20 minutes, the pain seem to localise to just my right side, and began shooting down my right leg. Needless to say, I was no longer sitting at my computer. You could find me huddled into a ball on my living room floor wondering what I'd done in a previous life to deserve this sort of cruel and unusual punishment. This lasted for about an hour and a half. **Dramatics over**. Unfortunately, it really was that bad.

I decided to Google Dr myself (I do not recommend this) and He told me that I had appendicitis. Or a kidney infection. Which could be Very Serious. After some kind words from twitter friends I took my sorry self off to the doctor. After he pronounced my last name wrong, (he added in a Q. And an A.) he then proceeded to grill me as to why I'm not on the pill, is it because I am planning to start a family? etc etc. (I haven't been on the pill for almost 12 months, and choose not to be because I think it is terrible for our bodies, but that's for another day. Nat Kringoudis is worth a look if it's something you're curious about.) THEN, he asked me about my eyes (they're different. We're over it.), a few other personal comments I don't wish to repeat here, and finished off by telling me he "didn't think it was anything serious because I'm 'not sick enough'". After this guy, I now remember why I don't go to the doctors. He told me that he thinks I may have some sort of cyst or blood clot on my ovaries that could burst, or something or other, and recommended an ultrasound, which all sounded very scary.

I pretty much slept the rest of the day yesterday, and woke up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am this morning. There's not as much pain today, however I think I must have/had  bladder/kidney infection of some sort... So I've been eating spoonfuls of coconut oil, warm water with ACV and lemon juice, cranberry tablets and blueberries. I'm already starting to feel better, the pain feels as if it's eased up quite a bit so it's just this awful bloated-ness and exhaustion I'm left with. Fingers crossed another good nights sleep and I'll be right as rain. :)

Onto the salad!

I love this salad. I've been eating it a lot lately, it's a good way for me to pack a lot of vegies in whilst getting dinner ready really quickly. And only using one pan too bonus.
I've also made it quite a few different ways, sometimes with beetroot, pork, apple, sometimes spinach, avocado, fennel.. it's very forgiving.
Also, the serving size might not sound like much but it's actually really filling! If you think you'll need more, feel free to serve it with some brown rice or quinoa, or even some crusty sourdough bread would be nice. Don't forget to save room for dessert. :)

Please note - this picture is only 1 serve!

Ground Beef Salad (serves 2):
☀ 250 grams ground beef
☀ 1 tsp paprika
☀ 2 cloves crushed garlic
☀ vinegar - ACV, red wine or balsamic vinegar

For the salad:
☀ half a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
☀ half an avocado
☀ 3 or 4 swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
☀ pre-steamed beetroot
☀ a handful of rocket, spinach or both
☀ a couple of asparagus, sliced at an angle

  • Heat a tbsp of your preferred fat in a pan on medium heat, and cook your ground beef stirring constantly to break it up. I like to slightly "overcook" mine so it goes nice and crispy. It doesn't at all taste dry because the meat pieces are so small.
  • Once your beef has finished cooking, crush in your garlic and your tbsp of paprika with a splash of vinegar - ACV, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar all work well.
  • Remove your beef from the pan and put in a bowl. Heat a little more fat as needed and pop in your mushrooms. Season with S&P. Let them cook until they release their juices and begin to fry, about 5 minutes.
  • Toss in your halved tomatoes and beetroot* (if using) let them get warm - about 2 minutes.
  • Pop in your beef and the rest of your salad - asparagus, pinenuts, chilli, apple.. anything you like. Add in your greens, turn off the heat, give everything a toss and serve up. 

>> * Put your beets in your oven, skin on on 200c for 15-20 minutes. When they're soft to touch, take them out and let them cool. Store in freezer or fridge for a few days. To use, simply quarter, slice, however you like.

Now I'm off to have a warm glass of water and watch some Gossip Girl! Do you think you'll make this salad? :)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

What's happening in my vegie garden

❤  Warning. This is a pic-heavy post.

It's not really a vegie "garden" because almost everything is potted. Actually, everything is. Except some dill that started growing like mad next to the driveway.. from seedlings dropped from the herbs flower that we had in a pot! Coolest.
Very much looking forward to the day when we buy and we can fill the yard with all our homegrown vegies, herbs and fruits! Due to The Fiancés's job, we've moved around a fair bit in the past couple of years. We have almost been here 12 months though (record!) and I think it's pretty safe to say we'll be staying a while. Once you get used to this amazing warmth, the beaches and the sunshine, it's pretty hard to imagine moving somewhere where it's so cold you're not able to go to the beach and lie out in July. True Story. Sorry. :)

Blueberry tree

Mr Mint. Doing so well.

Coupla' strawbs plants. Love me some strawbs.
Le wall of Pots.
Obviously when you don't have the luxury of a yard to plant all your herbs and vegies, you make do. See here, our windowsill of pots! It's the perfect place to put some of our pots, we have a couple of chillis growing, a few parsley, a couple of tomato, some oregano, sage, chives and dill.

These little yellow toms make me all warm and fuzzy.

Said Sage. Mental.

My fig tree. This also gives me warm and fuzzies!

Spinach from seedlings. These guys need a little more TLC.
One of the many Parsley Pots.

Mr Basil. My all time Favourite. I pick them dry though!
Crazy Habaneros. The Fiancé and I are quite chilli mad.

Picked this bad boy up at the markets. Money well spent.

Said Dill taken up residence by the driveway!
 I feel like I don't have nearly enough on the vegie side of things, so I'm working out a way to grow more. Pretty happy with my herb-age though.

What about you? What do you grow? Green thumb? :)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Friday bits'n'bobs

Ah Friday. It was super hot here yesterday until about 4pm when the clouds rolled over and the rain started, it's still cool and cloudy this morning. I love the sun but sometimes it's nice to lie in bed a little longer when it's a bit darker outside. Ya know :)

Friday bits'n'bobs:

☀ This little orchid lost all it's flowers this week. Sad times. I can see little closed buds so hopefully it doesn't take forever to flower again!

☀ I love Sourdough. And I hate that junk Coles and Woolies try to pass off. This article about sourdough and honest bread is a good read.

☀ I've been wanting to check out the pupsters diet and make at least half of their meals for them for a while now. I've been researching on a lot of the methods used, and finally decided on a half raw BARF diet and half pet food. I had a nice long chat with one of the ladies at PetBarn yesterday and she was super helpful on what to do, how much, which kibble she recommended, and also which butchers sell the whole animal (not just meat, bones etc as well) at a ridiculously cheap price. So today I will be making pet food!

☀ If you follow me on Twitter you may have read about the OTH convention in Paris. Wish I had've been there. :(. I miss this show. I've spoken to The Fiancé, and said that we should (finally) begin planning our wedding and have a honeymoon next year. Around October. In Milano.  

☀ Arj Barker baby. Second time seeing his Go Time show last Friday. HA-larious. Tickets aren't expensive, he still has a bit of Australia to tour and his starting act, Aussie Joel Ozborn is a cracker as well. Get on it.

Fennel ice-cream. We broke out our el' cheapo ice-cream machine last weekend to make some coconut cacao goodnees, but I'm super keen to give this a try.

Foods you can grow from kitchen scraps. I've given most of these a go with varying levels of success - mainly due to my lack of watering! I will be trying it again though, watching my little celery, leek and spring onions shoot up in a jar of water on my kitchen bench was pretty thrilling. Need to get a life.

My heart and prayers are with all those affected from these awful bush fires. And children being the ones who started them. What the. I can't even properly comprehend that. 3 dead already. Fingers and toes it ends soon.

Enjoy your weekend all!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Simple Citrus Kitchen Cleaner

Bit of a break in between posts this time.
I've started studying, I had a little bit of trouble with my (stupid) computer - very stressful indeed. Can't predict these kind of things, they always happen when you need everything to be working perfectly!

But all is going well now! The Fiance went back to work for his week on this morning so it was another 3:30am start (yes, you read that right) for me dropping him to Brissy airport. I really hate every second Wednesday morning.

Today I'm posting one of my favourite kitchen cleaners. Super simple, uses what would otherwise be wasted with other ingredients you would have on hand. What's not to love?

(( I don't remember exactly where I found this recipe, there's actually a million when you search for them - I've changed it a little to suit our needs. ))

We juice a lot in my house. My favourite combination is beetroot, fennel, celery, orange, carrot and ginger. Yum yummmm.
But I hate the waste. My gorgeous munchkins can have the pulp for breakfast, but for the orange peels, well there was nothing I could really do with them. So in the bin they went :(

"It IS a hard life you know" - up all night causing mischief.
Don't they just kill you with CUTENESS!

Until I discovered that I could use the peels for making an easy as, all-purpose kitchen cleaner.  Frickin chicken amazeballs.
I'm sure you've noticed that most supermarket kitchen cleaners generally have lemon or orange extract (or flavouring/essence). This is because citrus fruits contain d-limonene, which is a natural solvent that chemically reacts with dirt and grease to break it down. Perfect for your benchtops, oven, sink and even your floors*.
I was already a big fan of cleaning with vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide, but I mean, the smell from vinegar is a bit too... vinegar-y. Right.
Sooo presto.
Homemade all-purpose kitchen cleaner!

What you need:

- orange peels
- salt
- vinegar
- jar with a tight fitting lid (I got a bit lazy on one batch and put it in a pitcher, and just wrapped it with gladwrap. Big no-no. Cue: mold)
- spray bottle

  • Make yourself a delicious glass of juice. Keep your citrus peels. Alternatively, everytime you use a lemon/lime/orange for cooking, zesting etc, keep the peels in a ziplock bag or container in the fridge for later use.
  • Pile up your peels in a layer in your jar, scattering salt over the peels every 2nd layer or so. The salt helps to draw out the oils from the citrus. I like to sprinkle some salt on the top at the end as well.
  • Fill your jar with vinegar and water, 50/50 ratio**
  • Pop on your lid and give it a bit of a gentle shake around to get the salt in and around everywhere, then put it out of the way for about a week.
 After a week or so, open up your jar and strain out your liquid into a spray bottle. Fill up with water and you're good to go! :)

>> *I always use my citrus peels twice. Follow the same method, and it's a great floor cleaner. Using it for a floor cleaner the second time you do this ensures that it won't be sticky at all. I've never had this problem with the first round, but I figure it's much more economical to do it twice :)
>>**I usually fill my jar initally 50/50 water to vinegar. If you'd prefer it stronger use all vinegar, and fill it 50/50 when you top up your spray bottle. Entirely up to you.
>> I don't use plastic where I can avoid it, so I store my citrus cleaner in an old Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar bottle with a spray nozzle from another bottle.

 So there you are, a super easy, chemical free and ridiculously cheap way to clean your kitchen!
Do you think you'll give this a go? :)

Monday, 14 October 2013

Rise and shine! & breakfast

New day, new week.

Breakfast is a battle for me most mornings, I'm never quite sure what I feel like past coffee - a double shot long black yespleasee. (x2).
(sometimes 3. shhh)

delicious coffee

Some mornings I want something that's a bit more warming -
poached eggs with a touch of paprika on top, and avocado with spinach and roasted balsamic cherry tomatoes (or on crusty sourdough toast)

yum yum yumm

or an old favourite.
The Smoothie.
I jumped on the smoothie train a couple of years ago, it's such a great way to have breakfast on the go, or just generally pack as much goodness as you can into a slurpy (sometimes green) drink.

smoothie breakfast

 Soooo good for this summer-like weather we're having. We've skipped Spring here, how about you?

Green Smoothie Goodness. This one is nice and simple. It has:

☀ coconut meat*
☀ coconut water
☀ 2 cups spinach
☀ 1 frozen banana
☀ 1 tbsp chia seeds
☀ 1 tbsp maca powder

  • Throw into blender.
  • Blend. 
  • Serve 
  • Slurp. 
  • Enjoy.

>> Now I know you may not have access to coconut meat from a fresh young coconut you cracked over the weekend, so feel free to substitute that for coconut cream or yoghurt.
>> And when you do have leftover coconut meat, you now know smoothies are the way to go! :)

Official first day of study for me!

Happy Monday! :)

Friday, 11 October 2013

Friday bits'n'bobs

Friday, again. This week has flown by! I've pretty much spent it all looking at my clock and thinking, in the rest of the country, it's actually an hour later. *tear* Takes a while to get used to this whole no daylight savings business.

Officially 3 sleeps until I start studying! I was able to log on and view my subjects for my first block of study yesterday afternoon, I'm going to have a bit more of a play around today so I can make sure that I'm feeling 100% prepared and ready to go.
I have had a few "W! T! F!  am I doing!??!" moments... I think the idea of going back to study is just plain old scary. And there's always good ol' "fear of failure" chirping up in the back of you head planting doubt. Fun times! But all in all I'm really looking forward to it, and I need to remember to pull myself back when I get too far down my negativity path.

On to the Friday bits n' bobs:

☀ Have you met my babies yet?

Coco and Simba, my little labbies

☀ Is anyone as scared/excited as I am that there's Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE? I love Christmas and am hanging to put up my tree!! I've decided to wait until 30th November, hard as that will be, it's a Saturday and the FH will be home from work.

☀ We had an "Oktoberfest" themed BBQ here with friends on Sunday. Long weekend and all. We made pulled pork and sauerkraut, pickled carrots, salad and some garlicky mayo for pretzels. Good times. Monday was not so fun. Hangover, people. Just don't do em. I think it was about Wednesday before I started to feel 100% normal again.

☀ I neeeeeeeeeeeed these double chocolate cheesecake brownies in my life. Did I also mention they're gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free?? And also, have you checked out Deliciously Ella's blog yet? She has amazing recipes!

☀ The Vampire Diaries is back, YAY! And the spin-off The Originals has also aired. All is right with the world again. (Damon..❤)

☀ I love this Crazy Sexy Self Care Planner by Kris Carr. It's so important to make sure we're getting enough us time in some way, everyday. And to know what self care involves for ourselves.

☀ I've been reading each of The Veggie Mama's "31 Days of Confessions". She got the idea from fat mum slim's post, 50 things to blog about, and decided to turn it into a month of confessions.

☀ I went to Eumundi markets with an ex-colleague on Wednesday. I've been before, but I have to say I much preferred going on a Wednesday over a Saturday, much less busy. If you don't live on the Sunshine Coast and are ever visiting, it's definitely worth checking out :)

This warmer weather is just screaming BEACH to me. I think I'll be spending some time there tomorrow!


Monday, 30 September 2013

Chocolate Nutbutter Cups

Have you downloaded The Whole Pantry app for your smart phone yet? You haven't??   
Where have you been hiding? I was following Belle's progress with this app closely and I was SO EXCITED when it was finally released. I downloaded it immediately, parked myself on the couch and read every recipe word for word. And then. I never made anything from it. Don't get me wrong, all of the recipes are amazing. I don't know if I just built up the excitement too much much beforehand that...  Who knows.
Anyway people. I finally took the plunge yesterday, and made me some chocolate nutbutter cups.

What was the wait for?? These are amazing! I may have even eaten 3 straight after their 30 minutes in the freezer. Ahem. You're not judging. And if you are, well... make these. And report back! :)
sprinkling with a little natural sea salt and ready to be consuuuumed!

how gooey and delicious does my almond butter look!? <3

Chocolate nutbutter cups (adapted from The Whole Pantry App) :

☀ 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
☀ 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
☀ 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
☀ 2 1/2 tablespoons rice malt syrup
☀ 1/4 cup nutbutter  (I used almond butter)
  • In a bowl, whisk the cacao and salt through the melted coconut oil and rice malt syrup so no clumps are present.
  • Pour 1Tbsp of chocolate mixture into your chocolate moulds and place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until firm.
  • Remove from freezer and spoon 1/2tsp nutbutter into the centre of each chocolate. If your nutbutter is room temperature, put in freezer for 5 minutes to firm.
  • Top each chocolate with 1Tblsp of chocolate mixture and leave in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

>> I topped mine with sea salt. As these cups are raw, serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge 
>> Good coconut oil makes a difference in the overall flavour here!
>> I found my rice malt syrup liked to sink to the bottom when my cups were firming in the freezer, best to give it a good stir around before you spoon into cases

What do you think of The Whole Pantry App? Will you be giving these babies a go?

Happy Monday all!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fresh flowers, for longer

I am quite the fan of fresh flowers. Nothing brightens up my home more. I always try to have at least 1 (2) vases going. Some might say it's expensive... have you checked out Aldi's el' cheapo?
And a secret from me to you, if you missed them at your weekend farmers market, Woolworths reduces whatever they didn't sell on the weekend on a Monday morning. 

gorgeous farmers market blooms

Treat your blooms right and they'll last you for a couple of weeks:
- snip your stems at a steep angle
- remove the leaves close to the bottom of the stem, these go horrible and moldy if they're sitting in the water
- make sure your vase is cleaned in hot soapy water with no residue left
- I add about a 1/4 tsp hydrogen peroxide, a couple of tbsp white vinegar and a couple tbsp sugar to my water
- change your water every couple of days, adding your mix from above
- taking a little more off the stem will help preserve your flowers as well

el' cheapo Aldi $4 flowers
spring blooms

 Enjoy your gorgeous Sunday!

Friday, 27 September 2013

What's in your laundry powder?

Lately I've been on a mission to reduce cost in household products, reduce my carbon footprint and just generally try and live in a way that's better for the environment and me.
Laundry powder. The stuff at the supermarket is not only expensive but it's not the best for you or the environment - it can contain sulfates, phenols and fragrances (which are made of a mix of harmful chemicals), just to name a few. A lot of the commercial brands also contain things like "petroleum distillates" which are linked to cancer.
Luckily, making your own is super cheap and super easy. I looked at heaps of methods online and in books etc, this is the one that I found worked best for me. It has 2 ingredients. Don't be fooled by the recipes that have a lot more ingredients - it pays to look into it.

For example:

Washing Soda - removes stains and grease, used to soften your water so hard water agents don't interfere with detergents effectiveness, high cleaning power
Borax* - used to soften water - not as effectively as washing soda
Baking/Bi-Carb Soda* - softens water half as well as washing soda, doesn't clean fabric as well, is a odor neutralizer and fabric softener
So essentially, these 3 all work the same.
Soap - removes dirt and oil - you may wish to use soap flakes or laundry soap that you can purchase at your supermarket. I chose to use MooGoo soap as it is all natural. (be aware of using soap made for skin - manufacturers add extra oils so it is not super drying. I have had great luck with MooGoo, Dr.Bronners bar soap would also work well)
*when borax and washing soda are combined, they form a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. I always have hydrogen peroxide around my home as it has many uses, so I can save myself purchasing another ingredient and use what I have on hand

To make laundry powder, all you need is:

☀ 4 cups washing soda** see bottom of post
☀ 2 bars of 130g natural soap
☀ essential oils (optional)
☀ food processor (optional)

  • Cut your soap up into smaller chunks and process in a food processor OR grate your soap into a big bowl. Be prepared for an arm workout!
  • Process your washing soda and soap together. I have myself a trusty Magimix food processor which did the trick. Powder will fly all around the place when it's mixing - I'd also suggest using a towel on top of the food processor (I learnt the hard way the first time) and give it a minute to settle before you open.

And your done! I store it in my red laundry powder tub and have a tbsp there for measuring.

>> You only need 2 tablespoons per load of washing. When I'm doing sheets towel etc I use less (this is also A LOT less than commercial brands)
>> I keep essential oils in the laundry and add about 5 drops per load. Lemon is great for de-greasing, I love putting lavender with my bed sheets. Experiment!
>> If you don't have or don't wish to use your food processor, you will need to grate your soap well before mixing. I would suggest mixing in smaller portions to ensure it is combined well.
>> I found grating my soap and then mixing it with the washing soda in my food processor worked best for me.
>> Vinegar is the cheapest, best fabric softener you'll find. It's not harmful to you and the vinegar smell definitely doesn't linger. I add about 1/2 cup to a load of washing.
>> Hydrogen peroxide is a great and natural way to brighten whites. I add 1/4 to 1/2 cup per load.
>> If you're lucky enough to live near an Aldi - White vinegar is $1.09 for a 2Ltr bottle and baking soda is around about $1.50 for 500g.

**washing soda. You don't need to buy this stuff. You probably already have the ingredient you need to make it in your pantry - baking soda.
  • Preheat oven to 220*C
  • Pour 2-3 cups of baking soda onto a large tray.
  • Cook in over for around about 2 hours. (I found 2.5 hours worked best for me)
You can tell when it's cooked by rubbing it between your fingers. Comparing it to some baking soda will help also.
Baking soda - light and fluffy, powdery feel, slightly shiny
Washing soda - grainy, flat and dull

Are you concerned by what's in your supermakert washing powder - do you think you'll try making your own?

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Welcome to my blog.
I've created my little space of the interweeb over ére as a place for me to post ramblings, information, recipes, hurdles, setbacks, inspiration, aspirations and tidbits as I travel along on my wellness journey! This is also a place where I can keep myself accountable as I embark on going back to studying (via distance)
I endeavor to live as naturally and as wholesome as possible by being aware and accountable for what I'm putting into my body, on my body and surrounding myself with in my home. I want to know where my food came from, how it was grown and treated (ethically/pesticides),  and also what is in the products I'm using in my home.
One day at a time! :)

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you visit again soon! xx

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