Sometimes it feels as if the list of the ‘right’ thing to do is endless and persistent. Eat organic, less meat, more meat, more veg, homemade, ethical, no waste, healthy, less fat, more fat, run around, do the splits, create a meal using only popcorn… Ok, yes I lost the plot a little bit and I do try to adhere to most of the recommendations these days. One step at a time I say, and at the moment my little ‘thing’ is to lessen my meat intake. I found myself saying things like ‘what should we have for dinner tonight – lamb? chicken? beef? fish?’ as if there’s no such a thing as a vegetable-only dinner. I think it’s because sometimes it seems like the best food is ‘meat’ food, and because I know for me I’m just in the habit of thinking a special dinner revolves around which type of meat is on the plate. I’m on a bit of a crusade to change my thinking and cut down on how much meat I eat a week. Since doing so I’m eating more vegetables and fruit and no, I’m not gorging myself on white starchy carbs to make up for my less meat mode, thanks for asking.

Well, here I have a delicious vegetarian meal I prepared last night, just with things I had in the cupboard – no special or exotic ingredients – but I’m pretty impressed with myself and a little bit excited to share. I love using everything up in the cupboard and fridge before I go to the shops to buy more, and it’s made my food more inventive and fun – in a good way… not a crazy baked beans, slugs and jam way.

I’ll call it…

Mexican Bean Patties with Guacamole and Tomato Relish with a Rad Salad
(Longest Name Ever)

photo copy 3

Mexican Bean Patties:
Kidney Beans
1 Egg
1/4 to 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
Some grated parmesan cheese
Spring Onions
1/2 a small gratted carrot and small zucchini
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Just – Mash it all together (add more crumbs if needed)
Make – into patties and cover the patties with bread crumbs
Allow – the patties to rest in the fridge
When – you want to cook them, warm some olive oil in a pan
Cook – them till golden brown

Guacamole:
1 Avocado
1 Tomato chopped
1 Spring Onion chopped
Lemon or Lime juice (to taste)
Salt and Pepper
Chilli if you like it hot
Coriander/Cilantro chopped if you have some

Just mash it all together.

Quick as Chutney:
1/2 red onion
1 tomato or 2 depending how much you wanna make
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon or to taste os dark unrefined sugar
splash of red wine vinegar

Cook – all the ingredients down until it thickens a bit
Taste – and add what you feel it needs

Salad was whatever I have on hand
I had ..
1/2 a cucumber – diced
A bit of capsicum – diced
Watercress
Lettuce
(I dressed this with a touch of olive oil and vinegar)

This is the result. Hooray – it was fantastic. Filling and Satisfying. I’m going to change up the spices I used in the patties next time and maybe make them more Mediterranean with feta, oregano and olives and then leave out the guacamole perhaps?

The thing is I wanna eat something delicious – always. Something that won’t play tricks with your mind thinking you’ve missed out on something by not eating meat or starch or masses of fat. Our brains really do play crazy tricks on what we need, want, desire and are kinda addicted to. The way I see it is vegetables are the way forward. As fresh and as close to the source as possible, and with the vegetables taking the majority of the plate we eat from.

Love x

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Companion planting is great for attracting beneficial insects that feed on pests in the garden, to balance nature out. Flowers are also a great addition for the same reason, as well as bringing bees to help propagate your vegetables. When planted near or next to each other certain fruit and vegetables love each other and will grow better, taste better, and can sometimes be brighter in color. So that means less or no need for chemicals or pesticides in your garden! Organic!

companion-planting

 

The Companion Planting List

Apples
LOVE – Chives, less chance of apple scab
Beans
LOVE – Cabbages, carrot, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, potato, radish, sweet corn, tomato, zucchini
HATE – Onions
Beetroot
LOVE – Cabbage, lettuce, onion
HATE – Tomato
Broad Beans
LOVE – Lettuce, parsnip, potato
Broccoli

LOVE – Dill, mint
Cabbage
LOVE – Beetroot, celery, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, parsnip, peas, potato, tomato
HATE – Onions, radish
Celery
LOVE – Beetroot, cabbages, cucumber, beans, leeks, peas, potato, tomato
HATE – Parsley
Cucumber
LOVE – Cabbages, celery, beans, lettuce, peas, sweet corn
HATE – Potato, tomato
Lettuce
LOVE – Beetroot, beans, cabbage, carrot, cucumbers, beans, onions, peas, radish
HATE – Parsley
Onions
LOVE – Beetroot, carrot, leeks, lettuce, tomato
HATE – Cabbage, beans, peas, potato
Peas
LOVE – Cabbage, carrot, cucumber, beans, lettuce, potato, radish, sweet corn, pasnip
HATE – Garlic, onion, parsley, tomato
Potato
LOVE – Beans, peas, tomato
HATE – Cucumber, onion, sweet corn
Sweet Corn
LOVE – Cucumber, beans, peas, zucchini
HATE – Potato
Tomato
LOVE – Basil, celery, beans, onion, parsley, potato
HATE – Beetroots, cucumber, peas
Zucchini
LOVE – Beans, sweet corn
HATE – Cabbage

Good luck with getting your kitchen garden companion planting underway, it can really make a big difference to how well your vegetable garden grows.

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If you’re growing vegies you’ll have problems with bugs. It’s hard to know what to do when you discover insects or pests eating away at your vegetable garden, other than go to the shop and buy some hardcore poison. Except don’t do that. I have a few family recipes that I use when the bastard bugs won’t stop eating your vegetable crop. Make yours an organic garden all the way!

bug-control

Garlic Spray

This natural insecticide is particularly good for aphids, cabbage butterflies, and caterpillars.

Pop 1 clove of crushed garlic into a jar with a tablespoon of soapy water. Leave overnight, or even better in the sun to really get stinky and yucky! Then dilute to 1 part garlic solution to 10 parts water. You can now spray over the effected plants.

Chilies/Garlic Spray

Great for aphids, ants and other things like caterpillars. I even had success with getting rid of grass hoppers with this one – it’s a great way to control insects in your garden.

Pop 5-10 chopped hot chillies, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a squirt of dishwashing liquid into a litre of water. Allow to sit in the sun for a little while. Remember to avoid contact with hands and eyes as it is quite potent. An organic insecticide that works a treat!

Beer Traps

Offer them a couple of beers, and slippery pests like slugs and snails will get drunk and die. Really the only good slug near your vegetable garden is a dead one!

So set up little containers filled with beer around the garden. Re-using empty plastic food containers works great. Make sure they are dug slightly into the ground so the lip of the container is at soil level to let the slugs and snails slide in. Check them every day to empty the drunken bodies and refill with beer.

& of course you can get hands on and

Squash Them!

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Are you an emotional eater? I have to admit I am. I know I am. There are days I accept it and admit it to myself – these days are easier, I know I’m only eating for the sake of it and I can… put… the… chocolate…down..! Other days when I’m in a whirlwind of the emotion it can be much harder to laugh off the impulse to be a guts for comfort.

Emotional eating can be a result of habit, low self-esteem like a punishment for yourself and to reward yourself after a hard day. Think about how often you snack. Is it just because it’s something to do, it’s there, or it looks good? And then you’ve eat it without even realising you’ve eaten it.

photo

Our relationship to food plays a major role in how we see food and the way we consume food.

So how does this emotional dependence on food develop and how does our relationship with food change the way we eat it? It appears from talking to a number of friends, family and general rad people that we all seem to emotionally eat in some way. What I found interesting was hearing that when most people got to a point of independence as a young person they tended to rebel. Not just with sneaking out bedroom windows and jumping in muddy puddles but also via food. If our parents are really strict with food, discipline etc, then the more likely we are to associate eating the naughty/forbidden food with our own independence and a reward for self. Therefore as time passes we view the naughty food as a little reward to make us feel better and as an aid/crutch to help find ‘one’s self’ and happiness. (ps. I can’t believe I just wrote ‘one’s self’ – ha.)

The answer? To start understanding our emotional triggers. What’s yours? Long hard days? Difficult family and friends? The biggest thing is to stop punishing yourself for having that cheeky biscuit or five. Don’t make excuses, start by being honest with yourself. Say ‘ok, I’ve had a crap day, I don’t need that naughty food’ and give yourself ten minutes for some breathing time before diving in. It does help the impulsive behaviour… a little bit. If you can start to avoid or recognise those people that make you feel this way, that’s also a good start. Be honest and prepare yourself, even just having an awareness that this person is a trigger for an emotional spiral downwards will help. We all know the negative self talk can be the worst, but if you start to turn that negative into positive, it can challenge our emotions and start to move us away from the fridge towards maybe a walk, brushing our teeth, or calling a friend. Emotional eating really is learned behaviour, so with time these basic tools can help you adjust.

This self motivation stuff is so, so hard. But let’s start talking and taking small steps together, because sometimes knowing we’re all in it together can help too.

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As our house is on solar power and therefore any thought of electric heating is laughable, we have many expeditions out and about to collect firewood. Friends and family have loved our invitations to come and get involved in the firewood expeditions. Although I must admit it is usually the men that turn up most eager. Being in the middle of the wilderness with the power of the chainsaw must bring on a very primal instinct in a man.
chainsaw outdoors

Ok, ok I must admit I love seeing the men do their thing, and while I’m often collecting my share of firewood, I sometimes sneak away and create some delicious warmth for those long days. Popping back up to the house to prepare some tasty snacks and tea and coffee always goes along a treat and I’m sure keeps the boys primed and ready to go!

country living chainsaw

My inspiration:

Simple As Butter Biscuits

(sometimes with chocolate chips or lemon rind)

120g butter
90g caster sugar
180g self-raising flour
1 egg yoke
1/2 cup choc chips or lemon rind (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 180 celsius

Cream – butter and sugar
Add – flour
Add – egg
Mix – everything together
Roll – dough into smallish balls (20cent piece or a quarter)
Place – onto greased or baking paper lined baking tray
Press –  biscuits down with your finger slightly

Bake for 10 mins

Serve with Tea or Coffee in a thermos

cake outside
country living cake

My lunch offering is usually something where I can use bits and pieces from the garden. And something easy and simple that won’t wear me out so I’m still able to show off my firewood collecting skills after lunch!

My inspiration:

Homemade Sausage Rolls with Apple Chutney

sausage roll recipe

1 medium carrot grated
1 medium zucchini grated
2/3 spring onions chopped
500g organic free range chicken mince
1 egg
bread crumbs
worstershire sauce
2 dessert spoons home-made chutney or tomato sauce
salt pepper
puff pastry square sheets x4 or 5
milk

Pre-heat oven to 190 Celsius

Place – all ingredients in a large bowl and combine with spoon or I love to use my hands!
Place – out pastry sheets and cut in half
In – the center of each piece distribute evenly the sausage mixture
Paint – milk onto exposed pastry and roll over pastry to cover each individual line of sausage
Paint – milk on top of line of pastry
Fork – along the pastry sausages
Cut – into 5cm or whatever sizes you desire
Place – on floured backing tray
Bake – 20/30 mins until golden brown

Serve with chutney and salad. They are delicious cold too!!

Ok, yes, these two recipes are very indulgent – the pastry of the sausage rolls is not low GI – so don’t eat too many – or take the pastry off if you’re feel like? I have to admit I found pastry quick to make my blood sugar go up. Moderation is the key. Now the naughty biscuits… after my man has been chopping wood all day I think he deserves something delicious, so I think home made biscuits are ok! Happy. x

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