omnomnomnom

Semi-Organic Cooking 101: Red Salmon, Seeds and Nut Salad with Surprise Sultanas!

I’m daunted by the pile of fresh wonderful food on my table. I don’t want to cook it, I might ruin it. I don’t want to just put it in the fridge, I’ll forget about it. I don’t want to do anything with it, I’ll just look at it it’s so pretty. But I’m soo hungry…

I’ve got to start somewhere. I think I’ll try the no cooking option. Raw food. Yeah?

I try to tell myself the only difference between organic cooking and regular cooking is the ingredients. Is this true? I’ve decided it is.

What makes a meal? Think back to being a kid. There was always meat, potatoes, a green veggie and coloured one. I like protein, it fills me up. Carbs make my headaches go away. I don’t know what the greens do yet.

How do I make a meal and not ruin this lovely food?


A review of the pantry means this meal is only going to be half organic. I have a tin of red salmon.


You don’t make friends with salad. But that’s what I’ve come up with! Perhaps it’s an attitude I need to change… or just make better salads. Yeah.

Curly lettuce, nuts and seeds mix (with cashews and walnuts!), a can of red salmon and a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s actually pretty good.

I want to take a picture of it before I finish eating it but my phone battery is low and won’t keep the camera open and I’m too hungry and this is too yummy to wait. It looks pretty good too!

I’m actually noticing how crunchy the lettuce is. Have I really never had good fresh lettuce before? Is that why I don’t like lettuce? ‘Cos I love this lettuce! (Get it? Cos lettuce? yeah. It’s not cos lettuce though.)

Ooh I just bit into a sultana from my seeds and nut mix! I like the suprising contrast of the sweet and soft with the crunch and vinegar!

I got enough charge for a picture before I ate it all. No flash though. I don’t like flashy food anyway.

Salmon Salad is Nuts!

I can’t believe I ate all the lettuce. This is a new frontier for me. I ate lettuce and I liked it.

Easy Healthy Meal: 1

Self-defeated Face-stuffing Binge: 0

😀

Organic Origins Fresh Food Fruit and Vegetable Delivery Melbourne Australia

Starting Organic Eating! Also: How to eat a plum.

Call it coincidence, fate, destiny, a sign, whatever – I’m a real organic winner.

Three days after writing my post about getting on the healthy bandwagon and pledging to order my first Organic Origins box on payday (which is today! yay!), I got a phone call from my friend telling me to check my email. I had won Organic Origin‘s Nourish Melbourne draw for a mixed box of organic fruit and veggies valued at $100! OMFGHAIUGHYUILH!!

Now before you say ‘yeah sure whatevs they saw your blog post and thought they could get a free review by giving you free food.’ NO! Stop your naughty skepticism: the name on this article is not the same name I gave in the draw. (I’d like to thank anxiety, depression and paranoia for the internet pseudonym. Even though it’s a pretty cool pseudonym). This blog is for me, to help me work through my love/hate relationship with food and hopefully help someone else while doing so. Organic Origins didn’t know I wrote that post, they didn’t know of my plans to try a box this week, and they don’t know I’m writing this article now, though I’m sure they will read it at some point! 🙂 (Hi!)

But here we are, I got a free box of organic food from local farmers, and WOW I am impressed. Just look at it:

All the organic fresh goodness from Organic Origins!

I don’t want to jump conclusions here (<– lie), but I’ll be buying my next box FOSHO after I eat it all this.

I am a big believer that we are the makers of our own destinies: if you want something, put the wheels in motion and what you need will come. I believe this happens for everyone – we just don’t always have our eyes and hearts open to receive what is presented to us, or the attitude and patience.

MY EYES AND HEART ARE OPEN.

I want to make a real change in my lifestyle that will help heal what is ailing me and give me the best of life. Heading out to the Nourish Melbourne day with my friends and writing here again is how I’ve put my wheels in motion, and this winning this chance delivery of organic fresh food goodness is proof to me that I’m wheeling the right way.

yum yum yum fresh fruit and vegetables

All the staples are here for my week, maybe longer! Leafy greens, bananas, apples, garlic, oranges, corn (!), carrots, chili, tomatoes, potatoes (with real dirt that smells like dirt! :D), rockmelon, grapes…

The grapes are so tiny and cute and devine: they have loads flavour that is actually yummy. I’d been avoiding grapes since I thought they were pointless. I like food with flavour. THESE grapes have flavour.

…and a bag of… plums.

I seriously don’t think I’ve ever eaten a plum. I know I have had them in things, and from tins, but not an actual plum. So in theory I would like the taste of a fresh plum. But how do you eat it? Do you bite it? Do you cut it up? Does it have a stone in the middle?

I feel stupid. This is a pretty fundamental thing for any human. But that’s why where here! Surely I’m not the only person feeling intimidated by fresh fruit?

Writing that out makes me feel even weirder. I see myself in a support group, my turn comes ’round, I stand up and say: “My name is Morgan, and I’m afraid of eating fresh fruit and vegetables.”

But is it really that silly? Trying something new is daunting for most people, and what ‘something new’ is is different for everyone. For many people trying a new food is daunting – so it becomes easier to just say, ‘Oh, I don’t like that.’ But I’m choosing my health here. And I don’t like waste. So I’m going to eat a plum, and write a blog post about it. Because I can.

Here we go: I’m about to eat a fresh, organic plum.

How to eat a plum

Step 1.

Get plum, plate and knife.

How to eat a plum: Get plum.

Step 2.

Cut up plum.

How to eat a plum: Cut up plum.

Yes, there is a stone! Plums are stone fruit! (I knew that…)

Step 3.

Eat plum.

Don’t eat the stone.

How to eat a plum: Eat plum.

If you’re not at home or don’t trust yourself with sharp things you can skip straight to Step 3. The biggest reason I’m intimidated by fresh fruit is because my teeth are so misaligned I severely dislike biting into things. So I cut things up. Myself.


And there we have it. I’ve eaten a plum, and some grapes, that were by far the tastiest I’ve had. I’ve got the tastiest-looking pile of fruit and vegetables I’ve ever seen on my dining table, and it’s everything I need to make a healthy meal plan for the week. It’s also Moon Date Night, but that’s a post for another time.

I’m full of nervous excitement to see where this healthy journey takes me, and thanks to Organic Origins, I’ve got the right fuel to get started!

Next up is to figure out what I’ll make with all this yum, I do hope my meal attempts will be more successful this time around.

Kicking it up again: Nourish Melbourne

wpid-img_20150301_025616.jpg

I’ve had to remind myself of a few things lately. Among them why I started this blog! (I’m soo glad it was less than a year ago.)

This week I got a reminder from a good friend of mine as she invited me to join her in attending Nourish Melbourne‘s event The Nourish Affair.

How could I say no to this cool looking freebie?! So I managed to drag myself down to St Kilda just in time.

We both collected lots of good information from the stalls which were great quality! I’m right in there with this ‘handmade’ graphic design trend and they had all nailed it. I’ve decided to list my favourite picks here: even though I have more than three it will take me more than one post to get through them all! 😀

image

Favourite 1: Balanced by Nature

Organic Herbal Tea

I love tea, I collect tea. I’d like to say I drink a lot of tea but at the moment I hardly drink enough water. I sampled Balanced by Nature’s Balance tea and it was very nice!  Even the digestive tea didn’t smell weird and medicine-ly like I’ve tasted elsewhere.

image

Favourite 2: Forage

Breakfast cereal

I suck at breakfast. And at food in general. This cereal made me want to change that. I tried the Paleo flavour, it was so good! I can imagine myself eating it like I would a bag of chips. It comes in big bags too.

In reading their pretty pamphlet, they had an interesting note about nQ. Note to self: look this up.

image

FAVE 3: Organic Origins

Organic Food & Fresh Food Delivery

This one has me most excited. I’m yet to make an order, but with my holistic/medical doctor banging on about the benefits of organic food I’ve been looking for a source that will work for me. These guys are based in Warrandyte, which is quite local to me, and while I could go to organic markets myself on an early Saturday morn I just don’t see that happening yet. Delivery FTW!


As for the speakers at the Nourish Affair, sadly I didn’t to see any. The only bad part of this lovely day in my experience was the size and temperature of the conference room: it was far too small a room for how popular the event was, and even though we went 10 minutes before the speaker did it was still standing room only – I knew I would last standing in the stuffy heat.

Regardless, the Nourish Affair made a lovely day out with my friends and has got me thinking about my diet, with lots of goodies to help me discover this journey.

And the spooky part? The Path to Birth stall had some great info for new mums as well as origami fortune cookies. I’m not a new mum (yet) but I did take a fortune cookie. It was just what I needed to read:

image

Xx

Wednesday is Fruit Day!

image

My fridge looks somewhat healthier!

One of the highlights of going to my great-grandmother’s house for the holidays was the Fruit Man! He drove his truck around the suburbs and my great-grandmother would go out when she heard the horn, choose some groceries, pay and head back inside. I loved seeing what was in the truck and how he had everything stacked up. I especially loved it when he had watermelon, green grapes or strawberries! My brother and I both loved the toffee apples… But that’s for another day.

Sadly the Fruit Man had to stop driving his truck to the suburbs and my great-grandmother has since passed away. Now I buy my own and I bought my fruit and veg from the mega-supermarkets and occasionally a farmers market if I could make it.

Now I’m in a busy phase of life where sub-rate ‘food’ grabbed at a drive-thru has taken over. It’s time for me to take my fruit love back! While the Fruito truck is gone from those days, a new Fruito is on the block!

Really, I know, it’s not that hard. Get your fruit and veg delivered!! Well is it hard when you’re picky about how many hidden bruises are on the tomatoes and how many times the head of broccoli had been gropped by shoppers looking for the ‘right’ head. I decided to trial a few online fruit and vegie delivery stores to see if they fared better than the mega-supermarkets’ delivery.

image

So far one is winning with a weekly delivery of fruit and veg! Look at it piling up! The pressure to eat it is growing. To be fair, the pineapple and two oranges are from last week, they had to ripen.

Here’s a snapshot of the complete list that was in this week’s box:

image

The question now is, what can I do with all this food? I see some smoothies and juices, maybe a hearty salad, and I wanna try baking something with apples. There’s some fish pieces in the freezer that I can heat up and do some vegies with…

What else can you think of to make with these things?

Meatloaf.

While I wait for the Meatloaf in the oven to finish cooking, I thought now here’s a chance to over-analyse a simple family meal.

Meatloaf was something my dad used to make occasionally and I think that was about the last time I had Meatloaf. For some reason my phone wants to capitalise the M everytime I type Meatloaf. Kudos to Meatloaf.

Now today I’m sick with 500g of defrosted mince in the fridge. I figure something easy to make with it would be Meatloaf. Here’s what I did:

image

Leonie’s Meatloaf

500g mince beef
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup oatbran
2 slices of bread, crumbled
1 small onion, diced
3 small carrots, diced
5 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp curry powder

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. I can never decide if I like or dislike the way it smoozes between my fingers. Put it all into the lined loaf tin and put that in the oven for 50 minutes.

The Meatloaf is still cooking which will suggest that it doesn’t take 50 minutes to load a dishwasher and write a blog post about it. Let’s share an interesting thought.

Last night I had a dream I was a super hero but didn’t know it. I was recruited by a team who knew I was and the police chased my car off a cliff where I forcibly learned I could fly. I’m thinking how I can apply this experience to my waking life. Maybe my subconscious knows the truth and I am really much more awesome that I let myself believe. Maybe we all are.

On that note, the Meatloaf has been cooked and eaten now.

image

Although Meatmush could be a better name for it. Perhaps it was the gluten free nature of the bran and bread, as it certainly didn’t hold together in a loaf style. Nonetheless, it tasted like good ol’ home cooking and that’s what I was after!

Now with a full belly, it’s back to bed for me to kick off the rest of this cold.

Xx

Musings on Fried Rice

image

One recipe I want to add to my repertoire is fried rice. According to my Chinese colleagues, every kid learns how to make this before they leave school.

I wouldn’t call my meal pictured here a success. But it tasted good, especially every bite that had a bit of Chinese sausage in it. My version needs improving.

This gets me thinking, what are the best ways to make fried rice? Feel free to ponder aloud in the comments below. I will be but no one will hear.

Easy Vegetarian Bake Recipe for When I Have No Energy!

done!

I have officially had a lovely weekend.

While energy was generally near all-time-low status, I was still pretty relaxed and happy. This means I ended up sleeping a lot, but hey a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. There’s plan in place to fix that anyways.

Why was it lovely? To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Me, I asked some family to join me for a weekend in Victoria’s spa country, Daylesford. We relaxed, wandered town shops, visited the springs and ordered an in-house massage. But most importantly, we cooked!

foods

I also asked my family to help me out: make me re-learn the love of cooking with some easy, simple meals to do when I have no energy. This is no easy task for my step-dad, who loves cooking and whenever he cooks it is divine. So our Saturday night dinner was a vegetarian Moroccan banquet with 4 dishes to choose from and 3 sauces.

Here are two recipes that stuck with me as they were soooo easy…:

Stu’s Vegie Briam

Heat up the oven to about 200ÂșC.

All you do right is slice up some vegies, like eggplant, onion, potato, capsicum and tomatoes, and put ’em in a baking dish with the tomatoes on top. Then you can put some herbs on it like parsley and basil and maybe a bit of cheese then you stick it into a hot oven for about half hour. Then you eat it.

That is a recipe I can handle.

Spiced up cauliflower and eggplant

Heat up the oven to about 200ÂșC.

Slice up the cauliflower and eggplant and lay out on a baking dish. Sprinkle with a mix of a equal parts cumin, turmeric, paprika and cayenne pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Cook for about 20 minutes and eat!

omnomnom

What this means is the first recipes have now been published on Hashi Food!

I don’t, however, have the recipe for dessert, which was my sister-in-law’s pecan and pear:

Pecan and Pear

Perhaps if we ask nicely she might give it to us? 😀

Meal Planning WTF

I’m think I’m an odd one for planning. I love planning, I love acting out to a plan, and I love throwing plans out the window and doing whatever I feel like. And I love not having a plan. But somewhere on that scale meal planning has never been something I’ve cared for or been interested in.

Now, with the more I read about what I should and shouldn’t eat for a thyroid condition, it seems meal planning is a must for me. Drat.

So how does one start meal planning?? I’ll let this awesome poster make the statement for me:

begin-anywhere-fresh-words-market

(P.S. you can buy it here…)

So, since we have begun, what does my meal plan for this week look like?

Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon
Breakfast Nut bar, tea Nut bar, coffee Nut bar, tea
Snack Brunch with family Tea
Lunch Probably Soup I think there’s a curry in the freezer Probably lunch with friends Lunch with family Lunch with family
Snack Probably afternoon tea with family
Dinner Lunch was pretty big so probably just some water. Haven’t thought about it yet Dinner with friends Dinner with family Dinner with family Dinner with family Dinner with family
Supper Maybe a biscuit before bed

Room for improvement I might say. This weekend also catches me being a bit social, with a few interstate family members coming for a visit. Fortunately we’ll have a kitchen at our disposal so it’s even more pressing that I update that food list!

Developing a Food List

Hey hey! So you may be thinking “Hello, she started a food blog then dropped off and forgot about it.”

No so.

In the two weeks since my last post I’ve a been major-ly lethargic thanks to a cold change in the weather and probably an even lower thyroid function. However, on the plus side it has meant I’ve been able to get through quite a bit of reading on the thyroid, and fall asleep with books on my face, something I haven’t done since my Uni days!

Now with a weekend rolling by I’ve started to add this reading to this blog in the form of My Food List and a reading list page.

I’ve bought a few new books on hypothyroidism, signed up at my local library and dug out my own limited collection of health and cooking books. As I’ve been going through them, I’ve been flagging anything where food is mentioned with a post-it flag of varying colours.

I’ve added some of these foods to a brain-dump list, which will eventually be my ultimate food list: the be-all-and-end-all lists of what I can eat that is good for me and what I like. Eventually it will be my pantry list, shopping list and ingredient list. In a throw back to my art study days, it will be like having all the basic colours on my palette from which I can create virtually any colour I desire. My art teacher then said I would only ever need 8 colours. I think I’ll be needing more than 8 foods though…

I’ll also add to my reading list the books and sites I read. Further, if you know of a book or publication that would be good for my eyes please let me know in the comments!

 

Fo real, my Fridge, Pantry and Bench Top.

If we’re going to do this, honesty is the way to go. I’m changing life-long attitudes and habits here, and that’s not going to happen if I keep pretending I don’t have issues around food when clearly I do!

Oh my gosh I love food. It’s awesome. Clearly the desire to eat food is not my problem.

While I love food, I hate that fat-feeling from eating too much and eating the wrong foods. Of course, some of those wrong foods taste good, so I’ll eat them regardless how I’ll feel afterwards… and of course there’s the foods I eat that I have no idea if they’re wrong for me and causing health problems. Herein lies the issue, and the learning!

So for the sake of honesty, here’s some raw snapshots of our kitchen.

The Bench Top

My kitchen jars

A few kitchen staples. I’ve started collecting the coffee jars from work and using them to store things in our kitchen. I love the retro-Pinterest-y look, makes me feel so domestic queen. The next step is putting them in the pantry and that hasn’t happened yet. The lollies are Sweetheart’s for his upcoming Long Drive, but as far as lollies go they’re not a bad choice.

The Pantry

The Pantry

Our pantry is actually pretty good I think. Sweetheart does most (read: all) of the cooking around here, and he likes making wholesome meals. Since I’m now starting to cook too, we’re in for some new relationship challenges. The dates are mine.

I’m quite relieved the photo filter I’ve applied makes it appear cleaner than it actually is.

The Fridge

The Fridge

I rate the fridge just above my hand bag as far as food storage goes. Again the photo filter is forgiving but I did recently clean the fridge due to a kilo of zuchinni that was disintegrating in its own liquid-y soup, quickly becoming my own brand of organic fertilizer (It was in the empty tub). I think that is celery and spring onion just above the empty tub, it’s pretty dried out. But the onions in the other tub are still good.

Bonus Location 1: The Hand Bag

My Hand Bag Contents

To make myself feel better about this one I’ve taken a leaf from the pages of Things Organized Neatly. Plus I get a clean hand bag again and that’s always nice. But what does this have to do with food?

Well, my handbag gets things thrown it and sometimes those things are food. At the moment it’s not a vessel for healthy foods… rather a host for leftovers from a recent craft shopping trip and bad stress-related foods: energy drink can, chocolate block and a meal replacement shake… the receipt is for another two blocks of chocolate and two more energy drinks…

The hand bag’s only redeeming ingredient is the bottle of water but even that, as I think I’m about to learn, is not a suitable vessel for water as some of the things that make up the bottle can lower thyroid function… and the water is tap water which has fluoride in it which can lower thyroid function… O_o

Bonus location 2: The Car

IMG_20140608_040024

I did say I’m a sucker for convenience. That’s a wrapper for a block of chocolate sticking out there. Honesty is harsh. Trying not to self-edit and make you think I’m actually stronger than eating a family-sized chocolate block on the way to work one day is only really lying to myself, and that’s an old habit that’s being kicked off this boat!

The other wrappers are slightly less incriminating, they’re for nut bars. I love a good nut bar. But when breakfast is just a nut bar and an energy drink (there’s empty cans in the cup-holders…) something’s gotta give.

 

So what does this tell us?

I don’t know. Another bad habit I’m leaving behind is hyper-analysis. But you can tell me what it says to you in the comments if you like 😀

What I’m going to do is clean out my hand bag and car, clean up the kitchen and find a list of thyroid-friendly foods I can start introducing to my diet in preparation for seeing the dietitian soon. And the energy drinks and chocolate are being cut right down!

😀