No Bunny Food for Breakfast!

IMG_1996 Hallelujah! Finally we've been sprung. The days are slowly getting longer and the sun has been high and bright. I love this time of year in Australia.

Its funny how much the seasons affect my mood (and my food). I get such a boost of optimism with the warmer weather and the garden gives up the good stuff. The zucchinis have gotten showy. Huge fulvous blooms that beg to be stuffed with lemon scented ricotta and fried in olive oil. One cannot live on green juice alone- a brisk (long) walk should take care of this breakfast treat before it slides south to my thighs. Tomatoes dressed in a little more oil ensure the calorific count remains high enough to present a challenge! Some pretty flowers provide a welcome distraction from any conscientious objections from the green-goodness police in my mind.

Life is short my friends and if you can't linger over fried cheese, it may not be worth the melancholy of a wasted spell. Eat up.

The back deck is warm by 7am and there is to be so much chatter amongst the butcher birds. They've learnt that we're good for a free meal and line up along the balustrade while the kids toss them half their breakfast. The dog looks on bemused at their good fortune.

We are all swept up in busy weeks at the moment. The kids are over scheduled, my beloved and I are go,go,go. Weekend breakfasts are a wonderful antidote to the push and pull of obligation. We talk about our plans for the garden and the future while my girl picks more tomatoes from the vine. Bliss.

No need for a fancy recipe here. Grab a zucchini flower, take out the stamen and  stuff with a mixture of ricotta, lemon zest and soft herbs. Crumb them and shallow fry them until golden. Eat them hot and oozy with tomato salad and lemon wedges. Grab a patch of sunshine and linger a while. No rabbit food today. If your feeling guilty about all this crispy fried goodness, wash it all down while a kale and quinoa smoothie. :)

Some days are better spent seeking pleasure and besides, the bunnies want their breakfast back. :)

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Michelle xx

Party mouth pickle

IMG_1946 I love a good condiment. Who doesn't right? But this recipe is going to make us friends. :) This is the one recipe that you'll try and you'll experience that crazy Pow!! moment when your mouth and your brain do some sort of MC Hammer happy dance.

"You're welcome, glad you could come to the party. Pickles are on me"

I'm serious. Next weekend, I want you to go to the farmers market and buy two big fat shiny aubergines and a couple of lemons. Check out your spice rack- add some chilli if you like it hot. Then chase down some nice ripe avocados.

Sweet-talk the bread man and pay way too much for a fat grainy sourdough or better still make your own. Skip home and open this post and get to work.

This recipe makes about three medium jars so sort those out. Boil them in water to make sure they're sterile. You could halve the quantity but then you'd just be devastated when it runs out. Better to double the quantity and give to people you love (or owe lot's of money to, debt cleared!). I like it for breakfast but it's also great on lamb or chicken or lentil patties or ice-cream or sandwiches.

Ok, maybe not dessert.

My son named this recipe. He took one bite and lost his tiny mind. "What is in this???" said he. " It's like a party in my mouth!".

Party on little man.

Who doesn't love a serious breakfast party?

Eggplant Pickle

2 large eggplant

2  lemons (zest and juice)

½ cup vege oil

2 T tamarind paste

1 T garam marsala

1 T yellow curry powder

1 T turmeric

1 t hot paprika

1 t ground coriander

1 t mustard powder

1 t powdered ginger

* Cut eggplants into 1cm cubes

* Heat up a big pot and toast your dry spices over medium heat.

* Add oil and lemon zest and then stir in eggplant.

* Cook over low heat with a lid on. Stir every 5 minutes or so, for half and hour.

* Add lemon juice and tamarind and cook for a further 10 minutes.

* Make sure it's all good and soft and jar up. Vacuum seal your jars by placing in a simmering bath for 5 minutes. (water half covering the jars, no higher).

* You can eat one jar right away because the smell of this pickle is similar to the total exhilaration of your first kiss. (You'll see) You're not going to wait. But the rest you need to leave for a week because it gets better.

* If you wish to send me presents I'll understand :)

Packed lunch salad jar

IMG_1859 Who doesn't love a weekend workshop??

It is my absolute favourite way to learn almost anything (I have no real interest in performing open heart surgery or running the country so we're all safe). :)

Because this method of learning is short and sweet, I believe you always get the best out of a teacher and the other participants. This weekend I'm attending a Fertility Yoga weekend with Yoga Baby. I'm very much looking forward to exploring  and embracing a whole bunch of feminine awesomeness!

As always, one of my first concern is lunch so I thought I'd share my jar salad with you. It took me 5 minutes to make and should keep me saluting the moon all day.

Salad jar packed lunch

½ cup quinoa

½ chopped granny smith

handful spinach

1 T chopped toasted walnuts

¼ avocado

dressing

1 t dijon mustard

1 T white wine vinegar

2 T olive oil

pinch salt.

* shake dressing in your chosen jar

* mix salad ingredients in a bowl and add dressing

*put everything back into your jar

Serves one hungry wisdom seeker :)

a

Boy burgers with girly sauce

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Boy burgers with girly sauce

I'm afraid I've raised two carnivorous boys. Not to say they don't love a good serve of vegetables but they'd swap a steak for salad in a heartbeat. I'm very proud that they've developed varied palates, they understand whole food and for the most part, they make good choices. But meat-free nights can be tricky.

My daughter however, would make a wonderful vegetarian. She loves all things grown. Her favourite snack is sun warmed tomatoes off the vine with mint leaves. She's more voracious than the caterpillars!

Enter the Boy Burger. The first born likes his with chilli sauce that could knock your socks off, avocado and corn salsa. The curly one likes his with my lovely pink girly sauce (he hates the name) and spinach leaves. My lovely girl likes hers with lots of fresh tomato, avocado and houmous.

Serve them on lovely warm rolls or I like mine with rocket leaves and lemon. If you have time, some homemade flat bread is delicious! This makes a pretty big batch (about a dozen) but they freeze well or make terrific lunchbox fair. The mixture is quite wet and tricky but they firm up when fried. I know panko crumbs aren't the healthiest choice, but they're so crunchylicious. :)

Lentil burgers

2 cups red lentils

1 grated zucchini

1 grated carrot

1 grated granny smith apple

1 finely grated garlic clove and a small knob of finely grated ginger

½ t salt and ½ t pepper

1 T toasted cumin seeds

1 t ground coriander

1 t sweet paprika

1 t ground turmeric

1 egg

1 cup besan flour

panko crumbs

Girly sauce

200gm tinned beetroot

80gm soft goats cheese

½ lemon (juiced)

handful soft herbs (I used mint and chives)

glug olive oil

* Rinse your lentils and simmer in plenty of water until soft. Drain and cool.

*Place all the burger ingredients (except for the panko) in a large mixing bowl and combine well.

* Roll handfuls of the mixture in panko crumbs and refrigerate for an hour or so.

* To make girly sauce, I throw the ingredients in a container and I use a stick blender to get saucy. (There's a dangerous sentence)

*Heat a frypan over medium heat and add a tablespoon or so of oil. I used refined coconut oil because it has no flavour. Fry burger patties until golden and crunchy. Enjoy :)

 

 

Dog days and soft exotic silence...

IMG_1819 It's cold here, and grey. I'm having one of those dreary days where plans just don't come off and self doubt comes creeping.

It's a day for turning in, with the dog for company and something warm on the stove. Woolly socks and the soft exotic silence of an empty house....

A bunch of kale from the garden begs to be eaten, it threatens to give up it's crisp curly leaves if I don't answer the call. Today is not a kale chip day. It's possibly a potato chip day, but kale? Non. I need something to wrap my hands around, a big bowl of warm cheer-the-hell-up.

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I have a good organic stock in the pantry and there's always a tin of beans around. Lunch will take minutes, I've no steam for fussy preparation. I rinse my beans and heat my stock to boiling. The kale gets a quick chop-over with a knife and goes into the broth for two minutes with the lightly smashed beans. I grate some garlic and good quality parmesan and throw it in too. A squeeze of lemon lifts the whole pot to perfection.

Lunch was eaten slowly and went a long way to restoring my vigour. The dog licked the bowl and took me out for a walk. Sometimes all we need is a little self nurture to see the days possibilities.

Michelle  xx

A serious lesson in corn cakes.

IMG_1805Next week my eldest child is flying the coop for a week in Canberra. Is it that time already? So fast the passing of the last thirteen years. Could it be that this is the same small babe that walked me past the point of sleep deprivation and led me up the path to crazy love? I'm quietly nervous, having never had my boy so far from my side.

I console myself with breakfast. The small one mixes corn fritter batter and picks rocket flowers to decorate the plate. She says that corn cakes are ugly food but they're delicious on the inside. She's right.

I remind her that it's whats inside that matters.

She agrees but voices her concern for mushrooms. Ugly inside and out says she in a serious voice.

No flowers will help the poor mushroom. :(

Corncakes (for my baby cakes)

1 tin corn kernels

½ red onion chopped

½ small red capsicum

small bunch coriander chopped

1/2 cup SR flour

⅓ cup milk

1lightly beaten egg

1 t curry powder

1 t sweet paprika

salt and pepper to taste

* mix everything until combined.

* heat a small amount of oil over medium heat and place 2 tablespoons of mixture per fritter into pan.

* Wait until edges start to crisp and bubbles appear, then flip.

*cook for two minutes or until centre of fritter feels firm.

* Serve with homemade houmous (recipe in my lunch recipes), rocket leaves and tomato chutney

* Eat outside in the sunshine with your small ones. :)

 

Smoked salmon and potato cake with greens

IMG_1785 There are the days that begin harried and rushed, the toast lands butter side down and my daughter can't find her homework. Everyone yells and runs and the clock seems to go faster than all of us.

Breathe.

And then there is the weekend. Slow, lazy mornings, small feet hide under blankets for just a little longer, books are brought to bed. The start of the day calls for a celebratory brunch- no reason other than to pause with gratitude. The coffee machine churns out espresso and chai, hot chocolate for the small one. One by one they surface and I am greeted by their messy hair and warm hugs. Everyday they grow. I'm so happy that I somehow wound up here, amongst this kingdom of riches, right in the midst of my kitchen.

I thought I'd share my beloved's favourite brunch recipe. I'll make sure I put him to work in the yard to wear it off!

Smoked salmon and potato cake with greens.

serves 4

4 large desiree potatoes

1 small red onion

handful chopped sage

1 T olive oil

1 T ghee

½ cup greek yogurt

1 T chopped chives

½ lemon

pinch salt + glug olive oil

100g smoked salmon

spinach or rocket leaves to serve

* Grate potatoes and squeeze excess moisture out in a clean muslin cloth.

* Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook off onion until soft.

* In a mixing bowl, combine potato, cooked onion, sage and a pinch of salt.

* Heat same pan again, with ½ T ghee and ½ T olive oil. When pan is hot, add potato mix and flatten down evenly with a spatula.

* cook over low heat for 8 minutes then flip the whole thing out onto a board (be careful). Put the other half of the ghee and olive oil into pan and cook the other side by sliding cake carefully back into pan. Cook for another 8 mins.

* Mix yogurt, lemon juice, pinch salt and glug of olive oil in a small bowl.

* Arrange spinach leaves on a plate. Flip cake out onto a large board and cut into 8 wedges. Serve two per plate over greens, divide salmon between 4 and top with sauce.

* Serve and send all men out into the yard for a good mornings toil. :)

 

 

In search of sustenance

IMG_1774Please don't give me numbers for ingredients.

Save your GMOs, they're not welcome at my table.

I don't want artificial colours, science lab creations or molecular gastronomy.

Please don't bring me my daily bread wrapped in plastic, I want it chewy and dense and hot from the oven.

I just want food.

I'm not interested in fad diets or the size of my thighs.

I want health, happiness and laughter at my table.

I want abundance and plates licked clean, noisy kids and family.

(the dog has a place under my chair)

I just want whole

Earthborn, homegrown goodness.

Made with love and devoured with gratitude.

 

Michelle xx

 

Mamas musical fruit

IMG_1732 Do you remember being 10 years old and there was something that all your friends ate that your mum wouldn't buy. For me it was space food sticks, which were like real astronaut food! 

(and tasted like chocolate flavoured candles.)

Anywho for my kids it's baked beans. Ever read how much sugar is in a tin of beans? I might as well give them a donut on toast. I think they smell weird and don't even start me on the ones with those weird sausage things inside.

I'd rather eat a candle.

Mama's Beans

1 chopped onion

½ chopped red capsicum

bunch coriander stalks (use the leaves somewhere else)

1 T sweet paprika (use hot if you like it spicy)

1 t ground coriander

1 t turmeric

1 T worcestershire sauce

350ml tomato passata

2 x 400g tins white beans

1 435g tin refried beans

* Cook onion, capsicum and coriander stalk over med heat until soft.

* Add dry spices and cook for one minute

* Add passata, refried beans, worcestershire and stir until smooth

* Drain and rinse white beans until water stops foaming and runs clear. Add beans to sauce and enjoy with toasted sourdough spread with danish feta.

Michelle xx

Ps. Blame the dog :)

 

1 T

Tales of terror in waxed paper.

IMG_1702 When I was a girl my mother would turn all leftover food into sandwiches.

Whatever and all, regardless of it's sandwich filling suitability, got slapped between two slices of wonderwhite and wrapped in waxed paper. Fried rice, savoury mince, spaghetti sauce, sloppy oozy things that just didn't belong. Every item in the fridge shared the same fate and as a result I have some serious sandwich issues!

For me a sandwich must never be on square bread and it's fillings require serious consideration. The French do a smashing baguette and the Italians have their focaccia, I love a greek yiros and I'm even quite partial to a campfire bacon roll. Sandwiches deserve invention leftovers need other ingredients to be reinvented.

Which brings me to my refrigerator. I have the dubious talent of being able to turn almost anything into a fritter. One day when my children are old, they will probably bang on about the cold patties of disguised broccoli that they got in their lunch boxes. (I promise they're delicious).

Who doesn't love crispy fried goodstuff?? Whats not to like about lemony salty feta and some crunchy homegrown greens? Make a big batch and serve in the sunshine with lemon wedges and salad. Sure beats a minestrone sandwich.

I'm not kidding friends, I don't know how, but she did.

Chicken and Broccoli Fritters

1 ½ cups cooked chopped chicken

1 cup chopped broccoli

100g crumbled feta

1T pinenuts

1 egg lightly beaten

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup milk

handful chopped shallots

1 T chopped mint

zest of one lemon

* Place everything in a big bowl and mix until combined.

* Heat a frying pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of oil and fry in batches until golden.

* Don't complain when you get them tomorrow in your lunchbox. :)

 

Slow food

Slow Food

It's four o'clock and already the children are inquiring about the impending mealtime mystery. "What's to eat?".
In the absence of dinner time smells, my brood start to get ancy. The possibility of starvation is unlikely but it an almost primal unease that settles over the house. What if mum hasn't organised anything? What if she's taken the day off or worse than that.....Takeaway! I think I have the only children alive that complain bitterly at the very mention of the word.
It's true that it's crept up on me. The pantry is quite bare and I'm afraid Mother Hubbard is ill prepared! The vege crisper is an empty box and the fridge has a few spicy sausages and not much else. The girls have donated some fat eggs, the tomatoes are teeming and garlic is always a given. Add some flour and a little work and we will eat.
I'll pour a nice red first, it's ok, we have time. The kids and I will talk homework and gossip whilst I work the dough. Afterwards, we will both need a rest. Have a little cheese if you must and don't mind the clock, it's a little lazy anyway.
I've the good fortune to own a pasta machine. I like the rhythm of it, the hum. I'm disappointed when it's all done and the kids can hear the TV again. A few minutes in a boiling pot and it's ready for the sausage ragu.
The kids are happy and the table is loud and full. There is an absence of "No talking at the table" rules  and more than one child speaks with there mouth full. It's ok, we have time for grown up starched tablecloths later and quiet tiny morsels. We have so much time for this and yet I am aware that these manic mealtimes will not last forever. One day the noise and the spilled drinks will be sadly missed.

Michelle xx

Greek pie

In Need Of Greens

In my wayward youth, I spent a hedonistic summer living on the Greek island of Crete. One of my favourite things to do was to wake early, before the tourists and touts, and wander through the old town. Tiny yiayias in black headscarves would be out sweeping their doorways. Wide toothless grins lit up faces weathered by hard work, war and wonder. Full lives up and firing at 5am!
The bakery was on the outskirts of the village, but the toasty aroma of pastry heaven led the lost by their noses, through the maze of meandering streets. The girl behind the counter, a Miss all of twelve, had doe eyes rimmed in inky lashes. So lovely in her grecian bloom. She spoke no English and had no map for my mispronounced Greek, so every pastry purchase was a luscious surprise.
My favourite contained cheese and wild bitter greens harvested from rocky hillsides. The blazing sun, combined with dry volcanic soil perfumed all the local produce with a faint note of wild thyme and dry oregano. Dark nutritional greens that nourished sad livers, tired and yellow after too much raki and retsina.
At home in the vege patch, the spinach was competing with the kale for verdant supremacy and the ruby chard was enormous! I remembered my favourite greek pie but I wanted a pastry that could match the greens for whole goodness. I found just the ticket. Crunchy and flavoursome, this pastry is so amazing and contains barely a lick of oil. ( I know! You can thank me afterwards). Serve it with tomato or beetroot relish. Yum!

Greek Pie

pastry

3/4 cup polenta
1 cup of SR flour
3/4 cup buttermilk (or half skim milk, half yoghurt)
2 T olive oil

filling

2 leeks
big basket of mixed leafy greens
350 grams feta
3 eggs
bunch mint
1/2 t dried dill
1 t dried mint
1 T lemon zest
2 cloves garlic

topping

thin mandolin sliced potatoes blanched ( I used 3 large pontiacs)
1/2 cup grated cheese ( I used a mix of parmesan and tasty)

method

*Mix pastry ingredients in a bowl and then knead until smooth, cover and put in the fridge for a rest.
*Heat large pan with a dash of olive oil and caramelise leeks, add garlic and then wilt the greens.
*Remove from heat and add the rest of the filling ingredients.
*Roll out pastry in one large oval shape until about 3mm thick and place on an oven tray.
*Spoon filling on top of pastry and spread out leaving a 5 cm border.
*Single layer of potato slices on top and spread with cheese. Then add a second layer of potatoes.
*Fold over edges
*Drizzle with little olive oil and bake at 180 degrees for 1/2 hour. Enjoy!

Michelle x

 

pomegranate and feta salad

My Greek Pomegranate salad

1 large pomegranate
Large handful of mixed sprouts
chopped corriander leaves
crumbled feta
½ lemon and olive oil to dress.
Cut pomegranate in half and bash the back of the fruit to release the seeds into a bowl.
Add the other ingredients and toss with lemon and oil.
Dedicate the experience to finding balance and enjoy.
Michelle xx

Very virtuous orange cake

 When I was a girl I spent the long summer holidays at my grandmother's house. The days started early and she would work her way through breakfast orders, garden maintenance and chores, listening to John Laws on talkback radio, until all toil stopped at midday.

That woman could run the country and still knock off at twelve noon. Nothing and no man got in the way of her "serials"as she called them. Lunch was prepared at precisely 11.45am in preparation for her two hour hiatus. Days of Our Lives and The young and the Restless were touchstones in her otherwise industrious days.

I remember men with strange names like Storm and Roman, wearing eye patches and leather vests. Woman with glamorous blow waves and enormous jewels, losing all the men, money and children in their dramatic lives. I would curl up on her plaid couch and rest my head on her thigh, happy to just be with her.

Her lunch was almost always the same undressed salad with some cold meat. She was always watching her weight. Afterwards she would peel a navel orange and to this day, whenever I peel an orange I immediately think of my nan. The lively smell of orange oil mixed with her own talcy floral fragrance made me happy. For two hours, as a child I would lie by her side, content in a cloud of citrus and lavender.

So this cake reminds me of her and it's a memory that makes me smile. I sometimes substitute agave for the sugar if I'm feeling virtuous but it's pretty healthy anyway and very low in fat. Nan would approve.

:)

Orange and Almond Cake

1 large orange

50 grams fresh ginger

3/4 cup 185 gms sugar plus 1/4 cup 60 gms extra

3/4 cup 185ml buttermilk

1 vanilla pod scraped

2 egg yolks

1 3/4 cup 215 gms plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarb

1 1/2 cups 140 gms almond meal

4 egg whites

simple lemon icing glaze (icing sugar and lemon juice)

 

 

 

* Preheat oven to 175 degrees and grease a bar tin.

 

* Place sliced ginger in a saucepan (cover with water) over high heat and boil for 10 minutes. Cool and put into food processor.

 

*Scrub orange and cut into 8 segments. Remove white pith and seeds but put zest and flesh in to food processor with ginger. Add 3/4 cup sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and egg yolks. Process until smooth.

 

*Sift flour, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl. Add almond meal and orange mixture and stir till combined.

 

*Beat egg whites until soft peaks and then gradually add remaining sugar. Gently fold through remaining ingredients and pour into tin.

 

*Bake for approx 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean.

 

*Mix lemon juice into icing sugar until it's thick enough to coat a spoon. Pour over cake once it has cooled.

 

*Enjoy without guilt.  (your welcome) 

 

Michelle xx

 

Breakfast pizza

 The day began well. A slow breakfast, an indulgencusually reserved for weekends, provided sustenance for a quiet day in the studio.
The recent passing of my ancient stereo made birdsong my morning music. The intervals of silence seemed almost foreign to my mama ears. So accustomed to children's squabbles and peels of laughter. A chance to catch my breath.
The gallery has all the paintings they need so I have no plans for new work. This day is just for play, to try new things. A chance to grow. My inspiration stirs watching the kids in the morning. They roll out of bed like cats and find a patch of sun to warm themselves. All tumbles of peachy skin tired eyes. A joy to behold and a nightmare to get moving for school!
This might ignite a beginning but who knows where it will end up. We rarely write our own stories although we find our way. Long forgotten images accompany me. An old friend from school runs to catch the train, her red hair like fire in the breeze. Who knew she would wind up here twenty five years later? I quietly wonder where she is these days.
I'm not sure if it's the beginning of anything, I rarely am convinced. I'll live with it for a while and see, decide whether it needs to continue or go altogether. Life is like that I guess...

A Serious Tuesday Breakfast.

I took a ball of pizza dough from the freezer and it took no time to defrost in a warm spot. Whenever I make pizza I always make extra and freeze individual portions. Turned the bbq on high and put a pizza stone on the grill. I topped the dough with homemade chilli sauce and threw it on the stone while I fried a freshly laid egg. A lick of olive oil, some persian feta and parsley and I'm looking for a place in the sun. Happy days.

Foods for flexibility

IMG_1285 My twelve year old son has taken to calling me Bendy Wendy. He thinks this is the most hilarious joke ever and rolls around laughing whenever he pulls it out. I wish! The truth is that Stiff Cliff or Tight Dwight are more appropriate, if not gender confused. Anywho when referring to me, bendy is doesn't really describe my body.

When I first decided to fully commit to being a yogi, I embarked on a vegetarian adventure. My diet changed quite dramatically and I noticed some interesting developments physically (before I ended up anaemic and cranky/tired/crazy). I lost weight (3kg in 3 weeks) even though I was eating more and consuming a lot more (good) fats. I ate a lot of salads with oil dressings and falafel fried in coconut oil. It seemed to satiate my hunger when I ate more high fat foods.

The other thing that I noticed was the fact that I seemed to be much more flexible. At first I thought this was due to the fact that I was practicing more, that seemed reasonable. When began to revert back to my old ways however, my bendiness went out with the veggie burgers. So I began to wonder why?

I like whole food. I don't eat a lot of processed food but after doing some research, it turns out I have some bad habits. It's worth mentioning that the same things that cause us to be less flexible also cause us to age. I read a whole heap of ayurvedic advice and research on muscle development as we age and this was my list of evil deeds:

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* I don't drink enough water. I suspect I may have been a camel in a past life? I can survive on fog alone.

* I eat too much salt. Apparently this is due to not drinking enough water, this creates an imbalance and my body says "bring on the salty snacks" as a way of retaining the tiny amounts of water that I consume.

* I eat too much bread. This creates slow moving bulk in the gut which interferes with uddiyana bandha or in simple terms, you can't bend over a bloated belly. Makes sense.

*My diet is fairly low fat. I come from a long line of women dedicated to deprivation. I am not a 'dieter' myself but I do think it's been written into my genetic code to run screaming away from fat.

So, what's the answer to increasing flexibility and touching your toes at ninety??

Well to begin with... Yoga. Hmmm, you saw that one coming didn't you. Use it or lose it people.

Water dehydration leads to tight muscles and stiff tendons which results in decreasing our range of movement.

Eat dieting reduces our sarcomeres (which is a unit measurement of muscle tissue). Lose calories, lose sarcomeres, lose suppleness and lose your downward dog people!

What gives you gas also gives you guns. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, garlic. Sulphur rich veggies make your muscles happy. Sulphur is need to make glucosamine sulphate which is necessary for connective tissue formation. Eat your stinky veggies.

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Raw cacao. Connective tissue is what allows muscle to lengthen. In order to build this connective tissue, you need copper, manganese and zinc, all of which can be found in raw cacao. It is also proof that god exists because it just so happens to taste like chocolate!

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Vitamin c Vitamin c is also necessary for long muscles so include capsicum, citrus and kiwi fruit.

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Ghee Ayurveda really loves to sing the praises of this clarified butter. They claim it will increase muscle flexibility because it lubricates both the joints and connective tissue. It also helps with digestion and reduces inflammation. I must say I have recently become a lover of ghee because it tastes like butter but it's good for you. Omigod whats next? Healthy brie? Are the french onto this??

So with all this in mind I have decided to focus on these tips and see if I can finally achieve a long and low seated forward bend. For the next two weeks I am going to drink more water and include these dietary tweaks and see if it makes a difference.

Michelle xx

heavenly chai days

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My day today began with hesitation. A slightly stuffy head threatened the onset of a winter cold, an unwelcome guest at anytime, but very undesirable given my current challenge. I will admit to ignoring my alarm and staying cocooned against the cold morning a little longer.
I didn't feel too bad when I awoke at seven, a nice hug from my baby girl went along way to starting the day right. I decided to go to a morning yoga class rather than practising alone, the extra motivation of a group setting would give me a nudge. By nine the sun was warm and I felt fine.
My body is feeling the effects of extra practice and a few niggly injuries have come back to haunt me. So far they're just hanging around but I feel them in my transitions. I see you. I am listening to your request for rest. I am trying to soften.
I still catch myself holding on to the breath.
It's like I'm trying to hold on to moments.
Let it go. Exhale.
It's so nice to take a moment after asana to put on some warm socks and settle into the rest of the day. I know it is advised to avoid dairy with a cold, mucus loves milk and all that, but I dream of chai all the long drive home. Not some bland teabag chai, a sad impostor, a fake! But a rich sticky mix, full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness. Mmmm I could add raw cacao, and fresh ginger, and orange rind!
I made up this recipe soon as I got home and I could barely wait to share it with you. The house smells like a European Christmas and I made so much I need to gift it to friends. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge and enjoy with a good book.

Heavenly Chai

100g loose tea leaves
4 T warm honey
3 cinnamon sticks
2cm grated fresh ginger
zest of 1 orange
3 T raw cacao
1 t mixed spice
1 t dry ginger
3 star anise
 
(warm milk to serve)
(nutmeg for grating on top)
 
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl till all dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
 
Spoon mix into jars and place in the fridge. It's better the next day and best used within two weeks.
 
To make hot chai, heat some milk and add mix to a tea ball. Allow to steep in the milk for three minutes before serving. Grate over some nutmeg and relax.........breathe.
 
Michelle xx
 

 

Feeling blue

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What are your foodie wishes people?

Michelin stars, snickers bars? Raw vegan quinoa cakes with cashew cream and kale icing?

Me, I want a whole food superhero to fly in from a distant galaxy and completely eradicate strange cerulean blue food from our supermarket shelves. I want to live in a world without sour lollies that contain enough citric acid to dissolve your gizzards. I want an end to stupid manufactured chemical laden rubbish that we dump a load of apple flavour in and call it a 'fruity sweet'.

Come on people! I don't need my children to live on broccoli and barley but can we shoot for actual fricken ingredients! I am not offended by chocolate or cake, in fact a good french patisserie is one of my favourite harbours, just please don't sully my small ones with frankenfood.

Even though my great-grandmother had that whole copper wash tub thing, I'm quite envious that she never had to have these mind numbing conversations....

Her "Can I have this thing that turns your tongue blue"

Me  "No way"

Her "Why not, it's cool!"

Me "Because real food isn't blue."

Her "What about blueberries?"

Me "Well done for spotting the one exception. Your prize is an apple"

Her "I don't want an apple, I want a blue tongue!"

Me "Then I'm afraid we have a small problem with you choosing to be born in human form. Next life I suggest you ask to be born in lizard form or giraffe perhaps? Giraffes are lovely, but I'm afraid you'll be living on thorny greens.

Her "Mum, it's just a lolly."

Me (in my head) "Sure and it's just crack."

       " No it's a bunch of chemicals flavoured with numbers wrapped in plastic. In fact it's probably better to eat the wrapper."

Her " Do you really want me to eat the wrapper?"

Me "No. I want you to invest some serious nagging energy trying to convince me that if you don't eat a punnet of blueberries in the next half hour you may die of a lack of blueness in your belly or something."

Her "I love blueberries. You said they weren't in season and they had to travel miles and miles and you didn't want to have to pay their airfare. I want some blueberries and raspberries and blackberries."

Me "I'm afraid I don't have $28 to invest in your snack time but I applaud your choice."

Her "Now I really do truly want blueberries. Please."

Me "Fine! Whatever! Have some blue food already. And red. And black. While you're at it lets throw in some caviar and foie gras because I think I'm might still have a tiny space on my credit card. Why are the freakybluelolliesninetybloodycents!!!!!!"

I need a rest people.

Mamas tired.

Michelle xx