Category Archives: RECIPES + FOOD

1st Birthday party for a conscious kid

As you know, I’m making some positive changes, element by element – and when it comes to throwing parties, they are no exception.

THAT MUM

I’ve made a conscious decision to be that mum – the one who reads the ingredients lists, checks if its been testing on animals, if it can be recycled, if its bad for the environment, if its going to make my kid a junk yard for preservatives, chemicals and artificial crap – and so far, I’ve managed to do pretty well – I admit I’m still not perfect at this, but it is something I am working on and although you can’t sway everyone in your life to be mindful of this fact when it comes to food, gifts and participation, all I can do is continue to do my thing, and hope eventually it inspires others to rethink their impact too.

So, here it is! My son’s 1st birthday party breakdown – complete with natural surroundings, amazing people and plenty of healthy food and fun.

 The Venue:

We chose a Wilderness theme, considering my son’s middle name is “Wilder” which we chose because it means “protector of the wilderness”, and went from there.

The local park seemed fitting, with its beautiful gum tree backdrop and ample table and chairs for our guests.

 The Menu:

As a ‘veganish’ vegetarian, and also raising my child as a vegetarian – I always love to explore new yummy recipes and introduce them to my meat-eating friends and family. Parties are my time to shine! I’ve made a bit of a pact with myself that any events I host in future will always follow this lifestyle, and if your looking for a pig on a spit – just simply don’t RSVP 😉

 Here are some of the great recipes I sampled at the party.

This one my friends have made time and time again at various parties and gatherings, its always a favourite amongst EVERYONE. I got some organic corn chips from Flannerys, and layered the dip with these ingredients: refried beans, mild salsa, sweet paprika, fresh corn, thinly diced fresh tomato and capsicum, sour cream and topped with avocado mash and some mild mexican seasoning. YUM!

This was adapted from the Natural New Age mum blog – Instead of using popcorn I went with puffed corn, which you find in the health food isle at the supermarket (its like a cereal) – thought I might change things up, less chance of getting it stuck in your throat! recipe can be found here

 all home-made – and vegetarian! The meat -eaters didn’t even notice!

Find the awesome recipe from Veggiemama’s blog – here 

Adapted from this Quirky Cooking blog recipe – find here 

Decorated with sunflower seeds and pepitas which have been caramelised in maple syrup with a splash of natural green food colouring, found at the health food store.

 Party Favours:

One thing most kids parties do have is a party favour – which usually entails some sort of goodie bag of sugary treats. Again, I can hear some of you mentally calling me a bit of a “party pooper” or “no fun” mum, but hey! mum knows best, right? So, I found a cute idea somewhere (probably pinterest) to send the party goers home with little pouches of seeds to take home and grow! nothing like a cute little green thumb mission for the kids, right? We went with all organic rocket, sunflowers, sage, coriander and basil – all really easy to grow.

 *You can get the organic seeds usually from your local organic/speciality health food store – ours were from Flannery’s.

 Divide them up into smaller portions and write a cute little instruction and info speil on small envelopes (you can find recycled ones online but as the queen of last minute, some seed envelopes from Office Works did the trick).

 Activities:

Usually, first birthday parties aren’t really very eventful. The kids were just happy playing together on picnic rugs out on the grass, amongst the trees. The bigger kids played soccer, cricket and foraged in the creek. We did also have a funny little introduction for my son, where he road in on his electric “big red car” which his pop found at a junk sale. He re-wired it and turned it into a remote control buggy, fit for a birthday king.

So he made his grand entrance ridin’ in on his chariot. It was pretty damn cute.

We also did a “cake smash” where you bake a special cake just for the little one to “go to town” on – this always makes for a great opportunity to sing happy birthday, everyone stand around and watch the birthday boy having fun eating, and in our case – kneeing his own cake.

And, of course – its got the best ingredients! coconut sugar, rapadura, organic dark chocolate, cocao, banana, almond milk, real vanilla, macadamia oil and the rest! somewhat healthy, delicious, no-nasties birthday cake. Decorated with my salted caramel corn puffs and fresh mint leaves in the shape of a ‘1 tree’ (bit rustic, I know, can you tell I’m new to this?!!) I adapted the recipe from the Quirky cooking blog – check it out here!

Gifts:

It’s always hard to address the gift thing, as these days most children don’t really NEED anything. They find amusement in the strangest of everyday things that all the latest toys and things are rarely ever really warranted. I also always feel really uneasy when it comes to children’s stuff because so much of it is wasteful plastic crap, and seeing all the packaging really makes my skin crawl.

Keeping with the theme, I kindly mentioned to our guests that our son would be more than happy with just having them at the party, and should they want to bring a gift (and most people can’t resist buying things for little kids so I do understand this) that he would love some more books, educational or wooden toys. He was also in need of some new clothes, so we certainly got looked after in that department, for which we are truly thankful. I also attached a link to where any last minute gifters could donate to less fortunate children on our son’s behalf. Most people, and particularly other mother’s are always really respectful of these requests.

I thought I would share some of the awesome gifts he received to help anyone out there who is stuck for idea’s – keeping within our eco-friendly ethos, these things are perfect for one year old’s who are about to embark on toddlerhood! (This is only scratching the surface of the gifts he received….thanks to everyone but I simply couldn’t blog them all!)

For eating:

Re-play recycled plastic no spill sippy cups – they are made in the USA, but can also be found at kitsch health food stores and online, check their website here

Cute cutlery set by Dandelion Kids made from corn! check out their website here

Zipzicles re-usable Ice block tubes! I can’t wait to use these! Find them here

 For learning and playing:

 HAPE early melodies pound & tap bench, check it out here 

And lots of books, which we will love for years to come! If you ever have doubt, get a book!!

Cute personalised gifts:

 Letter blocks from smiling tree toys, find them here

 Name wood puzzles, find them here

And, if your one step ahead – handy books on how to be more Eco friendly!

Find this and more here.

 Other details:

Of course, its not a party – unless its themed. So, as a family we got into the spirit and dressed up as a bunch of cute wilderness rangers – ala Irwin family.

 and for the kids, I ordered some fun animal masks to keep or leave with us for dress ups.

We didn’t bother with physical invites, 1 – because I’m too lazy to organise that, and 2 – because its a waste, majority of people don’t really look at them anyway (or at least, I don’t). Instead we just told people to tell people aka the ones not on social media, and also did a private invitation via Facebook for everyone to get the details. This worked really well for us, and cost us nothing.

 Hot tips:

The BEST investment for the day is not in tacky decorations, giant balloons or over the top cakes – its all about the PHOTOGRAPHER! I am so glad we got these beautiful moments captured, since we live away, we rarely get to see everyone we love all at the same place at the same time – so we definitely took the opportunity to let a professional take over and capture the magic moments. Usually your running around like a blue-assed fly, so photo opportunities are often missed at important events.

A big thank you to the amazingly talented (and beautiful inside and out) Kristina Childs Photography for these images, she really ‘gets it’ and its so important to find a photographer you gel with, and I think I’ve finally found my ‘go-to’ gal for life.

 

Love, light & happy 1st Birthday B-Boy!

Sarah xox

Breaking old habits

As some of you know, I’m currently doing my best to overhaul the way I live. Breaking the 27 years of old habits which I have reflected on, and feel are doing more harm than good. This is not an easy process, I have good days, and bad. I know a lot of people who have reached around the same point and age of their lives and realised we are no longer as young, carefree and resilient as we once were. Nor are we as stupid. The days of weekend benders on alcapops, 2 packets of benson and hedges ‘subtle’ chain smoked, the taxi home via maccas feast at 3am, followed by the huge KFC hung over feed at lunchtime the next day. Each work day I would usually buy my lunch, processed carbs (usually a fair few hot chips) and soft drink consumed most days. I was lucky if I ate a salad once a month. I was also popping panadol almost daily due to constant headaches and had severe migraines monlthy for years. Just the thought of that actually makes me feel sick. This abuse happened for years! YEARS! Gosh I have some work to undo.

Party. Party. Party. Repeat.

As mentioned in my first blog post, becoming vegetarian I guess has set the pace for me with my health transformation. I am so passionate about animal rights and now I actually walk the walk, I had to prove to myself that I could be a good one. A bad vegetarian just makes us all look bad! So since Jan 2011, I’ve made it a personal challenge of mine to transform my health, so I didn’t end up a 50-something with cancer like my father.
I’m certainly not done transforming, I have a lot of things to still change, by looking back to just those last couple of years as a bit of a progress report with myself I can see some great significant changes have occurred. At my heaviest, I would say I was around 80kgs. Not obese, but definitely overweight for my height. (This doesn’t include being pregnant, obviously!). From memory, I was this heavy the year after my dad passed away and I was living on my own alot as my boyfriend was working away in the army. Plenty of emotional and lazy eating going on! Might I also confess at times I had/have been a ‘secret eater’ – doing a sneaky drive thru stop here and there to get my fix. A dirty, dirty habit that I don’t know I have really ever admitted to, until now. Anyway, with the new vegetarian lifestyle, no more softdrink, much less dairy, sugar,alcohol drinking, less fast food and more active lifestyle I begun to retrain myself with foods and I’m now weighing in around 15kgs lighter than my heaviest weight, and that’s not with much exercise going on! (But will note I am still breast feeding on demand which I think has contributed to me burning more calories over the last few months).

I don’t have the best reference photos, but you can definitely tell which Sarah is healthier and happier 😉

During my pregnancy I was petrified that my child would end up like me. I ate next to nothing as a child. I was a picky eater my entire childhood. The only food memories I have are of constantly eating chips, apples, vegemite, bread and junk food etc. We would have spaghetti  bolognese every Sunday night, and I would eat plain pasta with tomato sauce! My parents tried and tried, but nothing would make me add things to my diet. In my teens, high sugar, high processed everything. The only fruit I ate was apple. The only vegetable was potato. The first green thing I added to my diet was lettuce, somewhere in my early teens. I had/have a complex about textures in my mouth. If it has a funny consistency, is ‘bitty’ or just unfamiliar – it wouldn’t even come near me. This haunted me for years… And still does… I would always get told ‘ what happens when a boy want a to take you out on a first date! – you can’t just order chips!’. Ha! As if I cared then? I always knew deep down that I wouldn’t always be like that, but until then I was going to happily eat my chip sandwiches and wash it back with coke. It definitely would take some hard work to break that cycle.
I read somewhere that our taste buds change roughly every 7 years, which makes a lot of sense – and luckily for me, that means a big change at 28 next year will give me another push to extending my food repertoire. So from the age 14-21, was probably my most damaging 7 year stint diet wise, 21-28 has seen a transition from old to new food habits and over those years, I have come a long way. Things that aren’t given much thought by most people, have really helped me to progress with my transformation. I have pushed myself to try at least a few new things every so often, and now alot of them are finally encorporated into my diet. Things like corn on the cob (only started this one about a year ago!), spinach, mushrooms, quinoa, pumpkin, nuts, berries etc have only been introduced into my diet slowly in the last 7 year cycle, and I’m still trying new things when I have the courage. I’m really interested into working out the psychology of this kind of ‘condition’ (if any of my readers can lead me in the right direction on how I can work on this food block – please private message me!)  but glad that I can now finally take more risks with food and to be able to eat like a pretty normal person!

Never thought I could eat something like this!

My new found passion for whole foods is taking me on a bit of a journey regarding healing my past food issues, and not too long ago I researched juice fasting and it’s benefits. When I was pregnant, I bought my first juicer as a good way to finally be able to give my body and my growing baby more nutrients. Some said its a waste of money, they are a bitch to clean (yes, yes they are) and most people go through a juicing phase and then it’s shoved into the back of for cupboard until the next generation digs her out. Not me. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it so much that I was juicing pretty much everyday of my pregnancy and felt simply amazing. I definitely missed it when I didn’t have it, and could feel a huge change in my body. I was glowing on the outside (also because I was cooking a kid) but also could feel my insides screaming ‘what is this?!? Where have you been all my life!!!!’. It’s like liquid gold.
There is definitely a need for everyone to juice at some stage of their lives. This is   not referring to fruit juices we find in the shops. That stuff is by no means healthy….I’m talking fresh fruit and vegetables juiced at home. Yes, the fibre is removed, but all the nutrients are then in liquid form for your cells to absorb without much digestion. Instead of me typing it all out, check out these pics which cover alot of the benefits:

It makes so much sense to me to be able to drink my fruit and vegetables, as I know it’s still an uphill battle for me to want to eat them. Anyway, so back to the juice fasting. I was reading up on it, as fasting is known for its amazing ability to heal the body. Juice and water fasting is curing many illnesses, diseases and improving the health of 1000’s of people. Saving lives.

The idea of fasting (not eating any food for a set period of time) is that our bodies spend a lot of its energy digesting the foods we eat. It is constantly working to break down the last meal you ate. It never gets a chance to do matenence anywhere because we are constantly eating large meals. The amazing thing is that when you take the food out of the equation, what does the body do with all that excess energy? It finds things to do. Your body literally gets an RDO and finds all those odd jobs to do around the home. It flushes all the bad toxins out of your body, it finds blockages, bacteria even parasites and finally gets around to getting rid of them – the body now has the time to dedicate to the things that are no good! This means detox. The body goes through a big spring clean, and you will definitely know about it!
I had to try one. All those years of abuse had to mean I was carrying around some serious crap! I will do another post about my first fast experience over the next few days, it was pretty eye opening. And awesome. Lets just say I’m pretty hooked on the idea and plan to do many more over the years to get my body feeling and performing how it should.
Now with my old habits slowly deminishing, I’m becoming alot clearer in my mind, body and spirit and everything just seems to be falling into place. I can honestly say that it’s like my body was a poisoned, stagnant pond with no sign of life, living life like a sheeple and now the flood gates have opened, flushed out the poisons and there is a full river flowing with little Eco systems growing! Ha! I owe it all to one little movie, (Earthlings) to which I will be eternally greatful. I’m doing this not only for myself, but for my children and for our planet. I was always pretty cold/ emotionless/strong/switched off to alot of sensitive issues throughout the years of my poison diet, but since cleaning up my act my sensitivities have emerged and I am now one of the more compassionate people I know! I don’t have extreme mood swings, I cry when I need to and I let go of alot of the dead emotional and negative weight that used to drag me into alot of controversial situations. I have learnt to be more open minded, less juddemental and to always try and see the positives in all situations.
It’s so amazing to be able to reflect on how emotions and diet are linked. It truly is all connected. As a reflection, I’ve just admitted to some pretty scary truths, right? So come on – what’s your diet secret? What’s your old habit you want to kick or have already kicked? Maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper and see why you do it and come up with a positive way to improve it. Big change won’t happen over night, but one small step could be the catalyst for an amazing transformation.
Love, light and hot chips
Sarah xox