Category Archives: Food

Food tips for lazy mums who don’t own a Thermomix

There was a joke I heard once that stuck in my mind because of how sexist it was.

Why is a bride’s wedding dress white?…… To match the rest of the kitchen appliances.”

used to think this was sexist. But now – having had two kids – I think it’s quite insightful.

I am permanently in the kitchen. When I leave the kitchen I get dizzy. I kind of mummy-chef-benz. All this time in the kitchen and I’m not even claiming to be a supercook. Squeezy sachets of pureed food line my cupboards because no matter how many hours I spend whizzing, frying, baking, and crumbing, there NEVER seems to be enough food to feed my kids. (They have appetites like me, Lord help them).

Source: Huffington Post
Source: Huffington Post

So here are a few quick ideas I’ve decided to plot down incase anyone else is struggling. And these tips are for parents who DON’T have thermomixes. Yes, us poverty-stricken mums who don’t have a few grand in our pockets to afford god’s gift to cooking. DAMN IT.

Not sure what a Thermomix is? Do yourself a favour – watch this!

My tips:

Tip 1: CHIA is ACE.

I’m not glorifying chia for it’s health benefits (although, it is a damn fine food in terms of Omega-3). I’m praising it for it’s mystical thickening abilities. Leave chia seeds soaking in milk overnight, splash a dash of vanilla essence in it, and booyah….porridge. My baby loves this stuff. And it’s way quicker than even toast; you just have to make it the night before….

Tip 2: Bechamel sauce (white sauce). On everything.

My kids eat veggies. I don’t think this is because I am a supermum and have done anything in a particular way to make them like vegetables. I know some kids refuse to eat their greens because they are fussy with food and have been that way regardless of what their parents did or didn’t do. But I learned this cheese-sauce trick when introducing zucchini to my daughter. She would not touch it, but soaked in white sauce, she couldn’t really tell what it was. Gradually, I put less and less sauce on top and eventually she one day, she was eating plain zucchini. Ta-da!

Tip 3 – Arrowroot biccies

These biscuits are better pacifiers than dummies. My son starts freaking out in anticipation of food from the minute I put him in the high chair. I literally do not have time to warm anything up because he is intensely crying, so I end up just serving him his food cold. Poor lad. But then, I discovered the secret of the Arrowroot biscuit. This handy tool keeps him occupied more than any toy, and he sucks and munches away giving me the precious two minutes to get lunch ready. Yes, these things have sugar. Yes, I should care about that.  But really, I don’t give a toss. It’s virtually the only sugar he gets and it is a dead-set lifesaver.

No 4 – Chops. 

Sorry Shaun, but you’re up for dinner. Lamb chops are an absolute MUST for any time poor parent with a fussy eater. I was sitting at the table eating my chop with my kids when I heard the most remarkable sound. SILENCE. We were all so absorbed in the salty slice of heaven in our hands that there was no nagging, screaming, tears or shrieking. Lamb chops, I love you. (No vegetarians in this house).

Tip 5 – bite sized Fish’n’chip ‘fingers’

OK, this one I will need to give you a recipe for. I never do exact measurements, so bear with me. You add some potatoes to the boil (about 3 medium sized ones). Once they’ve boiled, mash them. Add a big can of tuna in olive oil. Grate in half a zucchini, a carrot, and if you have some sweetcorn, throw a bit of that in too. Put in any fresh herbs you have lying around the place. Grate in some cheese and throw in a raw egg. Mix it all together with some breadcrumbs too. Then roll them and shape them into any shape you like (I make them like fingers so my son can get a good grip) and grill in the over for 10-15minutes, or fry in coconut oil.

If you somehow manage not to eat them all yourself, your kids will love them!

Tip 6: Fake it to make it with Cacao, Avocado and Banana. 

I confess, I got this recipe from Belle Gibson, so I feel a bit immoral sharing this. My conscience is appeased by the fact that this recipe is healthy and won’t be doing anyone any harm (unlike her fake claims that her diet could cure cancers!).

In a processor blitz raw cacao (about a tablespoon), a tablespoon of maple syrup, a full avocado and banana/pear (preferably, all should be ripe) and pretend it’s mousse. My three year old is none-the-wiser and my bubba goes gaga for this. You can thank me later :)

What are your quick-meal tips? Share the love people!

Photo Credit Gary Barker

Please, Belle Gibson, tell me you didn’t just fake having cancer?

Dear Belle,

Please understand that I’m writing to you as a fan. As one who hasn’t given up on you yet, despite the media furore surrounding you.  I am trying to suspend judgement until I hear your side of the story. I am eager to keep supporting The Whole Pantry (TWP) philosophy and what you, as its founder and creator, epitomise:  nutrition, meditation, positivity, balance and ethics.

Photo Credit Gary Barker
Photo Credit Gary Barker

I am here Belle, and I am waiting for you. Waiting for you to put up an argument. Waiting for you to plead your case. Waiting for you to say something – anything!- to end this crusade against you.

But still you say nothing and I must admit, your ongoing silence is starting to look damning. You have spoken out, but only to condemn those who’ve publicly gone against you, and to (quite rightly) ask that your young son is left out of all this mess. His safety comes first and you’re right, publishing his daycare details is very bad form.

But still…

You stand accused of making up your illness – your brain cancer – and all of the horrid, soul-crippling treatments that go along with that disease.

You stand accused of making up every other cancer you’ve faced thereafter; spleen, blood, uterus and liver….

You stand accused of not giving the charities you pledged to support the money you raised in their name.

Your book is being shredded by your publishers. Your app is no longer launching on the Apple watch. Your empire is crumbling around you.

Where are your words, Belle? You who made yourself so famous for sharing so much about the pain in your life, and never holding back?

Where are your words?

The-Whole-Pantry-1

What you created with TWP spoke to people, Belle. It spoke to people like me, who are looking to improve not just their health but their wellbeing. To be conscious of where their food comes from, how it arrives to their plate, what good it is doing to our bodies.

I sincerely hope this isn’t a lie, Belle.  I will be so disappointed in you.

I will be so disappointed for you. Because you are still so young. Because you have no family to support you through this, and your friends are abandoning the sinking ship that you command.  Because you have a beautiful, lovely son who doesn’t deserve any of this.

Maybe you didn’t think your little App would take off like it did? Maybe you didn’t expect your lie to have to grow, and to have to be sustained? Maybe keeping up with the lie has been eating away at you, in the exact same way that your make-believe cancer would have done?

I’m the daughter of a woman who battled cancer. I’m the daughter of a survivor. I shared your story with my mother and rejoiced for you. I don’t want to have to tell my mother you faked the very sickness that nearly destroyed our lives for your own gain. But maybe she will find some compassion for you, Belle. Maybe she will find some forgiveness. But then again, maybe not.  You just don’t mess around with cancer.

My husband asked if I would delete your app and donate your book to charity if the accusations against you are true. I’m in two minds. My daughter eats “superfood pesto” because of you. And almond meal cookies. And “chocolate pudding” that has no sugar. I agree with so many of your healthy living principles. You’ve enriched our lives, but the lie you are rumoured to have told will permanently leave a bitter taste in our mouths when we eat your food moving forward.

IMG_2191
My 2014 Christmas gift

 

I was lured into TWP empire by your story. I bought your app and book because your journey and your recipes inspired me in equal measure.

And now, as a fan, I am begging you to say something. A fan who may just forgive you if you did do this, so long as you explain your reasons, make amends as best you possibly can, and apologise from the deepest part of your soul for profiting off a lie. A lie that shames and disgraces the painful journeys of people who actually are sick.

If you didn’t do this, then say so. Give us proof. If you are a wellness warrior, then fight. Fight these claims. Fight for your beliefs.

And if you DID do this, then own up to your mistake. It’s your only shot at redeeming yourself, because it will take a degree of courage to admit you’ve been profiting off a lie and might just be what saves you in the long run.

Whatever it is you choose to say, say something. It’s time to show your followers some respect and tell us the whole truth about your pantry.

Sincerely,
Jess

What are your thoughts on the Belle Gibson controversy? Are you going to read the Open Letter she is promising? 

Actually, quinoa porridge doesn't look so bad! Source taste.com.au

Heal thy family’s gut – my ambitious plans to cut out wheat, dairy, gluten and sugar.

I’ve been on many a diet before, but this is the first time I’ve embarked on one where the goal hasn’t been to lose weight. This time, I’m in it for the kids. For their welfare, as much as my own. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about the “Heal Your Gut” craze, which treats food as medicine and proports to help ease things like auto-immune diseases, food allergies, and – of particular appeal to me – anxiety.

Lee Holmes, www.superchargedfood.com
Lee Holmes, www.superchargedfood.com

I’m on a mission to manage my anxiety medication-free. I don’t know if it’s possible yet, but I have to experiment before I will know for sure. So here I am – about to radically change the current eating regime of myself, my partner, our three year old and new baby. Why I’m doing this so close to the Christmas period is just plain daft, but I’m not going to leave it until the New Year’s resolution stage incase I talk myself out of it!

So what does a good-gut-health diet look like? Let me break it down for you. It looks awesome!! If you don’t like wheat, dairy, gluten, or sugar that is.

And if you never buy artificial or processed foods.

My family eats lots of fruit, protein and vegetables,  but we also gorge ourselves on dairy (hellooooo – we have a three year old!) and gluten (yup, the three year old again with a love of pasta that rivals her love of Elsa).

I don’t know what’s going to be harder. Listening to my tummy grumbling for the first few weeks, or putting up with my daughter’s tantrums as she fails to believe me when when I PROMISE her that quinoa porridge is more yummy than cupcakes.

(Seriously though – what I am I going to bribe her with when sugar is off-the-cards?) 

Anyhoo – eye on the prize, right. I want a healthier, happier, more mentally-stable life and I have to work to create it. There’s no arguing with the science anymore. I used to work at the University of Sydney where I was blessed to have access to some of the world’s smartest people at my fingertips. Like this bloke, Professor Stephen Simpson. He’s a big believer that good health (and this includes good mental health) begins with the teeny tiny microbiota in our gut. And all around the world, researchers are agreeing with him. It would seem that a leaky gut can be the root of many a health problem, as it lets toxins and particles into our  bloodstream that our body tries to “fight” (read about it here and here), but all is not lost… We can repair our gut through what we eat. Wahoo!  The irrefutable science is giving me the confidence to start this program – no matter how daunting it may seem.

steve_simpson
Prof Stephen Simpson – Academic Director, Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney

It’s day two of the new regime and I’ve already hit some stumbling blocks. I didn’t realise that my gluten-free bread had a list of ingredients greater than Kim Kardashian’s twitter following. Rule number 1 – do not get fooled by ‘healthy’ packaging. Damn you advertising industry…DAMN YOU.

I hastily rustled up some eggs and grilled mushrooms to feed us all in lieu of said bread. I don’t think my daughter clocked that her peanut butter toast was off the menu this morning, but I wonder just how long it will take?

I also forgot that I probably shouldn’t be eating canned food, but thought because my tuna was in oil I’d be ok. Wrong again. It was canned in sunflower oil. Oops. Not extra virgin olive oil (or better yet, the wonder of wonder oils, Coconut oil). Never mind, I ate it anyway knowing I can’t be perfect on this regime. The modern world, with its processed, chemical-laden food is against me and it’s going to be hard to be perfect 100% of the time. Even Lee Holmes would agree with me on that one. I just have to do my best.

So here I am, soaking walnuts (don’t ask!) and doing more and more research on gut-friendly recipes.

Soaking walnuts ... as you do...
Soaking walnuts … as you do…

I’m still in two minds about whether to keep my three year old drinking her full-cream milk. I have to do more research because this is going to be the singularly hardest change I will need to make in her lifestyle, and I’m not prepared to do it just yet.

Have you ever attempted to change your family’s diet? Have you tried to heal your gut and succeeded? Tell me your stories, warts and all.  (I really like these tips about gluten-free living with kids from the Finding Joy website)…..

wish me luck! 

Actually, quinoa porridge doesn't look so bad! Source taste.com.au
Actually, quinoa porridge doesn’t look so bad! Source taste.com.au