Sunday, February 27, 2011

home made

Berry buttermilk muffins that are oh so good. Mini muffins for Montessori and bigger ones to share at home. Recipe found here. I got up early Sunday morning to bake while the rest of the house remained in quiet slumber. I do like that early time of day, the quiet, the stillness. And then the little voice calling out for Muma and the subsequent excitement when he realises that sweet treats are baking in the oven. So much goodness in our life right now.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

are you my mother?

Yes Che, I am your Mother.

He loves books, it must be in the genes. His bookshelf is literally overflowing, It may have something to do with my slight obsession with children's books and now my perfect excuse to buy them. I once read that a house without books is a home with no soul. Our house has an almighty soul.

I'm also the little one's Mother too. Mother of two - it's just dawning on me. The kicks are getting stronger and more frequent, my belly a little bigger, my thoughts a little more geared towards preparing. I'm halfway through now and it scares me that in the amount of time I've already been pregnant, I'll be cradling a newborn in my arms. It's just going by so fast. And with the days and weeks that pass in a mere flash I'm also conscious of celebrating this time and this pregnancy. The growing of new life. Because it really is such a wonderful thing.

We had our second and final ultrasound last week and while we didn't want to find out the sex (the surprise is just too precious, the wondering so entertaining) it would have been very obvious at one point when the pelvis and thighs were in full view. So did we see? No, buba's hands were crossed over its genitals. It didn't want us to know. I love that. I love you buba.

Ps. Congratulations to Dana who won the abi and joseph headband giveaway. And blessings for the imminent birth of your first baby.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

bump: affirmations

"Your spirit as a woman has all the knowledge and power you need to give birth and to nurture your baby. It is in your genes. It has been there since you yourself were conceived. You can trust its wisdom." - Gurmukh Khalsa

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

low tide

In between the days of reprieve where rain and cool temperatures are oh so welcome, the summer heat continues to bear down. Let's just say that I feel ten times more pregnant in the thick of the humidity. While I am practically inconsolable in the midst of the heat, I look at these photos and am reminded of the joy of warm weather and beach play. The tide was low and the reflections spectacular. After strawberry smoothies we walked down to the water to cool our feet, chase the seagulls and extend into Padottasana A. One of us, anyway. I preferred to sit quietly in stillness. It's becoming a favourite pastime; seeking the quiet and the stillness. And being 'here, now' in this moment. With my body, my breath, my baby.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

abi and joseph giveaway

I love a good headband. It's the perfect yoga accessory and the ideal fashion accessory for a Mum without the time to wash her hair. I'm not ashamed to admit that for half the week I slip a headband on - sometimes a fringe is just too much effort! Recently the lovely girls from yoga and pilates clothing company abi and joseph sent me this thick black headband for my yoga practice. I plan to wear it during labour as well and will no doubt get lots of use out of it in the first few weeks of newborn blur.

I managed to get a headband for you too - one lucky winner. All you have to do is visit abi and joseph and leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite abi and joseph product is. If you are a blogger or Facebook junkie you can also go in the competition to win an entire yoga or pilates wardrobe. For more information see here.

I'll close the draw next Sunday 28th and will post to any where in the world.

Monday, February 14, 2011

the boy and the balloon

A red balloon, a smiley face and a piece of ribbon. It's the simple things that create the most joy in children. It's good to be reminded of that every so often. Che played with this balloon for a good few hours while we had afternoon tea at a cafe and wandered along the sea wall. It was so good to watch him. I've been looking at all of his toys lately with the critical eye of a nesting Muma seeking space. We have always been so careful with the toys that have entered our home and have embraced the wooden, handmade, muma-made kind. But with a Christmas and a birthday each year, regular op-shop visits and special treats from loved ones, the pile has grown/is growing. Does he play with all of them? No, he doesn't. When I put toys away he doesn't miss them and when I reintroduce them a few months later it's like they're new again. I'm planning a clean out soon. I'll do it when I'm home alone.

I'm being really constrained when it comes to buying for baby too. We really don't need much at all for this babe and although the temptation of sweet teeny weeny newborn things are tempting, so far I have resisted. The woman that runs Che's Steiner playgroup spoke about instant gratification last week. Our children are growing up with everything they could possibly want at their fingertips. And usually they get it right now. Waiting is good for them. Boredom is good for them too - as long as they don't learn the word bored. Since starting Montessori Che is more likely to wander through the pattern of activity, boredom, find something new to do. He is more immersed in an activity when he has sought it out as opposed to waiting for my guidance. He's getting good at overcoming boredom, of waiting. He's developing patience and hence mine is expanding.

Instant gratification lends itself to food too. Because he's a slight little whippet I used to make him an alternative to the evening meal if he didn't like it. Not any more. I figure if he's hungry, he'll eat. If he doesn't eat dinner, there's nothing else till breakfast. If he wants a snack, there's the fruit bowl or the vegie basket. I'm noticing the words and phrases of past generations seep into my vocabulary. That can only be a good thing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a film of photos

Align Center

Engagement Shoot from Daniel Grey on Vimeo.

Anna posted her favourite shots from our engagement shoot a few days ago and now I'm going to overload you with more (feel free not to watch). I do have an ulterior motive though. You see, Daniel and I just can't decide what photo we should frame and hang on the wall. There are a few that we love but framing a few may create the impression of a shrine and we don't really want to do that. I love the shots in the freesias - I think they're romantic and reminiscent of the sixties. Daniel likes the shots where he's holding the sign, just 'cause they're a bit different. So please, if you feel so kind, tell me which ones are your favourites and it might help us narrow it down.

Moving on to a foodie frugavore topic...I am so inspired by how many of you have the desire to shop, cook and eat with awareness. I've managed to track down a local organic butcher who sells wholesale to the public so I'm planning on making a once-a-month trip and stocking up. I'm excited to chat to him about cheap cuts for my slow cooker come autumn/winter too. This week I've made a few soups to ward off a nasty cold and I roasted a chicken, made a curry with the leftovers and slow cooked the bones and a few vegies overnight to make stock. Tonight we're eating form the pantry so who knows what we'll end up devouring.

As for the winner of a signed copy of frugavore...congratulations Tania from Myrtle & Eunice. A quick-witted, savvy woman who felt sick at the sight of hot cross buns and Easter eggs at the supermarket in JANUARY. I feel your pain. Considering Easter is not till the end of April I think it's fair to say the religious holiday has well and truly become a marketing scam and is contributing to the waistlines of the chocoholics and sweet tooths among us.

I, personally, won't be buying those indulgent eggs till mid April. Because me and my baby don't need any sugar and most definitely don't want the reflux that accompanies it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

frugavore + book giveaway

I did a fortnightly grocery shop today. I came home with a full trolley and a significantly less abundant wallet. Everything, it seems, is more expensive each and every time I visit the supermarket. As a repercussion of floods and cyclones, many crops have been ruined. The woman that organises our organic fruit and veg deliveries is already noticing a dramatic change in price and availability.

Come July we'll have a new baby, I won't be working and dollars will be more scarce than they are now. I'm really aware of the amount I spend on food each week and it's something I really detest. I'm slowly, with discipline, changing the way I shop by planning meals, using pantry staples and keeping a close eye on fresh produce in my fridge. If something is about to turn, I use it that night.

While holidaying in Maleny last year I visited a gorgeous little independent bookstore and found the book frugavore by Arabella Forge. I was drawn in by the cover (yes, I do judge) and captivated by the message. With diligence and a little enjoyable effort I could spend less, waste nothing and still eat well. Sold!

I've read and reread frugavore, flicked through the pages for recipes and consulted it for weekly inspiration. While the 'growing my own' has becoming a little non-existent apart from a few tomatoes waiting to ripen (everything was slightly neglected in my first trimester) I'm managing to be more conscious of what and how I buy and truth be told I am noticing a difference on the money side. More importantly, I'm noticing how gratifying it is to shop, cook and eat with awareness.

I contacted Arabella last week and she agreed to answer a few questions about being a frugavore. She's also offered one of you a signed copy of her book. Enjoy reading her words, leave a comment below (you may even like to share your advice for saving money and still eating nutritiously) and I'll draw a winner next Sunday 13th.

What is a frugavore?

‘Frugavore’ describes a ‘love of frugality’.. So in a cooking sense, a ‘frugavore’ is a person who grows much of their own food, buys local produce, wastes nothing and always eats well.

What inspired you to write "Frugavore"?

I had long been into buying organic and local produce, but the inspiration to write Frugavore started when I was teaching a group of kids in a temporary housing estate how to cook healthy food on a low budget. I wanted to show them that eating low-budget meals didn’t have to constitute eating junk food and processed food from the supermarket or fast-food outlet. You could eat good quality food on a low budget - you just needed to source and prepare it frugally.

So I started writing up weekly recipes and tips for the kids and eventually this collection of ideas became the first draft of Frugavore…

Can you tell me a little about your journey towards changing the way you shop, cook and eat?

The journey to becoming a frugavore was definitely an eventful one! It involved growing more of our own food (this meant ripping up the front lawn to start a vegie patch) we got a few chickens, built up our compost pile (so that less rubbish left our property, all of it turned into fertiliser for the garden) and also started buying more produce directly from our local farm.

Along the way, I soon realised how wasteful our previous habits of food preparation and storage had been. I think that becoming a frugavore made me a lot more conscious about the environmental implications of food and how much we had previously wasted. Now, I can’t look at produce that has excess packaging or won’t easily biodegrade easily into my compost. Once you start being a frugavore, it’s hard to stop!!

But I think the biggest benefit of being a frugavore is that it is really a lot of fun, and our lifestyles have changed all the better for it .... I have come to love waking up early in the morning just to water the garden, coming home from work to see the chickens walking up their ramp into their house. And I still get a huge amount of enjoyment out of spending a Saturday afternoon weeding and harvesting plants for the upcoming week, making stock out of chicken feet and carcasses, and preserving our food whenever I have a moment free.

What has the response from readers been like?

The response from people has been great! I’ve had plenty of people come up to me at farmer’s markets and food stores telling me about the vegetables they are growing and the chicken stock that they’re making. A lady approached me in my yoga class last week telling me about the guerrilla garden that she’s set up in front of her apartment block. I love hearing about these things!

Do you think, as a whole, the nation is becoming more conscious of the food we buy and consume?

Definitely. I think people are beginning to realise the environmental cost of our ever-expanding food waste. Our landfills are vastly overflowing, and there is an excess of chemical run-off seeping into our oceans. In Australia alone, annual food waste is estimated at 5.3billion each year. That’s a lot of money!

At the same time, people are craving a healthier food supply with more nutrient-dense produce. This can only be achieved if we connect directly to the source of our food (by growing it ourselves, or shopping directly from the farm or local seller). We need to cook more food at home and cut out processed foods from our diet.

There has also been a strong move toward connecting to local farms and supporting local food economies during the past decade. This can be seen in the increase in grass-root food movements such as Slow Food ( <> ), The Weston A. Price Foundation ( <> ), community gardens, guerrilla gardening and landshare movements. I hope that we see even more of these movements in the future!!

Can you give three simple tips for how to save money at the checkout without sacrificing quality in the trolley?

1- TIPS FOR FRESH PRODUCE: Always look for produce that is in season as it will be fresher, better for you and usually cheaper too (as it is in local abundance). If you are able to shop through local producers you will often get a better deal on fresh produce as the price will fluctuate more. You can also have the satisfaction that you are supporting the local food economy.

2- TIPS FOR CHICKEN & DUCK: Look for the best quality produce (ie organic, free-range chicken), but buy food in bulk rather than the smaller cuts.

For example – two chicken breasts cost roughly the same amount as a whole chicken (at most, they are a dollar or two cheaper). Two chicken breasts really only allow for dinner for two people. So instead, if you buy the whole bird, you can roast it or make it into chicken soup (I have an awesome recipe for this in Frugavore). If you roast it, you can collect all the scraps after the meal and make it into stock, and then use this as a base for a light soup the following night. With either dish, you can use the leftovers (chicken meat) to make an easy leftover dish such as chicken with rice.

3- TIPS FOR LAMB, BEEF & FISH: Look for the cheaper cuts of meat and fish – casserole cuts, off-cuts, bones and fish heads. These ‘off-cuts’ are often significantly cheaper than the prime cuts (steak, eye-fillet etc). If you buy the ‘off-cuts’ you can then justify spending those extra dollars on better quality meat (look for grass-fed and organic). Fish heads and bones are often given away at markets and these form a beautiful base for fish soup (which is highly nutritious).