Friday, July 22, 2016

in the kitchen june

Still catching up on my food posts!

Spicy Apple Quiona from the Holistic Endoempowered Program.

Squirrel shopping at my bulk health food shop. Being particularly vigilant about pesticide free salads and food I can not peel the skin off. Unfortunately I haven't been able to source my amazing and abundant organic fruit and vegetable box from Canberra anymore - due to the business closing for personal reasons.

Kale, Avocado and Kiwi Fruit Salad from the Endoempowered Holistic Program. This combo is so different and delicious. Chicken Patties with Herbs and Shallots and Baked Sweet Potato and can't remember what type Potatoes.

Apple Slaw with Walnuts, Tahini Dressing & Orange for a catch up with friends.

Spanish Mussels. Working my way through the recipe book, Eat Endo Happy from the Endoempowered program. Oh night time shadow you strike again!

Gluten Free Sweetcorn Fritters. I used lentil flour instead of coconut flour. From The Healthy Chef.

More squirrel shopping from my bulk health food shop. I use to go fortnightly or weekly when we had a Waldorf playgroup in town but these days I go few times a week. Diversifying my organic wheat flour with Buckwheat flour. A little cinnamon sprinkled on my Dandelion Tea; farewell coffee and good riddance high cortisol levels.

Chocolate Beetroot Brownie a gluten free brownie using Almond Meal. From Home Grown Kitchen.

We're in the depth of Winter here and I usually cook a lot of casseroles, tagines and soups but my health issue has lightened my usual menu plan with a lot of clean eating plant based foods.

Are you eating comfort foods this season or eating lighter foods due to health issues? Or are you in Summer, frolicking at the beach in warmer weather and indulging in refreshing salads and juicy fruits? If so, lucky you!

Zena xx

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

what's with wheat

The little one found the bear pattern in his brothers' craft book and insisted I make it for him. So off we went to the craft shop to buy the yarn (nothing in my stash) and over a few days he watched in absolute awe and "helped" craft its construction. What a beautiful life lesson to teach our young children the beauty of slow hand making in this very fast paced consumer world.

Incidentally the pattern is incorrect. The bear knitted up quite large and out of proportion. On my third attempt I halved the number of knitted rows and the bear came out just right:)

More knitting and some reading

Grandma's Favorite Heart Shaped Dishcloth for a dear friend.

A quilt for Christmas By Sandra Dallas was a quick read with wonderful characters. Centered around Eliza and her life tending to the farm with her two children whilst her husband is away fighting in battle during the civil war era. She took in a widow and a baby who fled violent relatives and later helped save the life of a slave by keeping her hidden on her property. It depicts the strength and compassion of women during incredibly difficult times.


This documentary gets a 10 out of 10 from me. Just some of my favourite speakers on real food and transparency in the food industry are in this film: Sally Fallon, Joel Salatin, Cydni O'Meara and Vandana Shiva.

The film covers the history of wheat, the hybridisation of wheat, pesticides and chemicals in wheat and advertising of wheat products over real food throughout the decades. It depicts how wheat in its new form and mass consumption of it has had detrimental effects at epidemic proportions in the western world. Am I against wheat? No not all. If we all ate slow fermented biodynamic sourdough bread for breakfast and buns for lunch we wouldn't have chronic gut and bowl issues that plagues many of us today. The bread at the supermarket is cheap and nasty and full of chemicals. I can't believe I use to buy it for my children. This film is a public health service.

Getting to know Alisa Vitti, the founder behind the blog, Flo Living on this podcast.

Alisa believes that women live in a time where our work schedule, exercise recommendations and nutritional advice are all centered around male hormone patterns. By optimizing our female hormones Alisa has proven through her Flo Living Protocol that we can improve or fix PMS, cramps, unexplained infertility, low libido, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and eczema.

You can find practical and helpful information on women's hormones through her blog at Flo Living. A dear friend is currently enrolled in the protocol and gives it the big thumbs up.

Y'all know I'm all about the hormones these days!

How are my crafty comrades? How are your hormones? We are a special breed us women and we need to look after our precious hormones...and keep crafting!

Joining in with Keep Calm Craft On and Yarn Along.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

in the kitchen May 2016

Some highlights in the kitchen from May. Better late than never!
Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto (without the pine nuts) from here. I've been meaning to buy a Spiralizer but for now I just make do with using the box grater technique.

Carrot and Beetroot Mint Salad from the Endometriosis Holistic Program and my winter staple, Cauliflower Soup with Coconut Milk. A vegan version of the one from Super Natural Every Day.

Carrot Patties with Coriander Pesto (Brazil nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, garlic, lemon and avocado oil) This is one of my favourite dishes from the Endometriosis Holistic Program and I have made it several times already. I also keep the pesto as a fridge staple.

Blueberry Oat and Yoghurt Muffins for the school lunch box. I made 3 dozens in one week! No one around here seems to understand what a daily serving is when it comes to baked goods. Recipe from Donna Hay.

Chicken Soup. I hear a few sniffles and bam! I'm in the kitchen madly cooking homemade chicken soup (when I don't have chronic fatigue) with free range chicken and organic vegetables. It's disappointing I've not had access to organic chicken for a long while now. For my hormonal health I'm refraining from this immune boosting winter remedy until I can find organic chicken.

Citrus juice with Olive Leaf Extract. One of my secret weapons for sniffly little peeps.

Traditional Goulash - a regular winter dish.

Spicy Red Kidney Beans. I'm rarely eating meat these days so when the boys are eating left over goulash mum is feasting on delicious vegetarian mexican food.

Shephards Mince and Vegetable Pie (all organic!) for the boys and Tofu Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes for me with fresh ingredients from my monthly farmers market.

Squirrel shopping at my local bulk health food shop. Raw local honey and organic vegetable cube stock are pantry staples that we go through pretty quickly. The Sprouted Sourdough Bread is one I have bought occasionally over the years when I have felt a bit ergh. You'll find it in the refridgerator section. My current tip is to slice it with a wet serrated knife and place in a container with baking paper between each slice and freeze. I'm not suppose to eat wheat on my Endo diet, so on the days I need something more I toast this. You simply can't fault biodynamic sprouted sourdough bread.

Tofu Green Curry. Lucky finds at the back of the "fridge abyss" -  a block of organic tofu and the good curry from the supermarket for a quick midweek meal.

So cooking friends what have you been making in your kitchen?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

on hold

Life is still 'on hold' at the moment, while I take each day as it comes in the early stages of recovering from health issues stemming from a few months ago. Here are a few things I've been dabbling in...


I've enrolled in the Endo Wellness Technique. The program "helps strong and determined women manage their Endometriosis successfully by using a holistic approach without hormone treatments or surgery."

I'm only in week 3 and it's already a game changer for me. I am learning so much about what Endometriosis really is. I can see that the last 20 years of painful period and allergy sensitivities are all connected to my new diagnosis. Although I have lots of related respiratory problems at the moment (and this only adds to my anxiety) I am hopeful that in a few months time I will feel much stronger mentally and physically. In a year's time even empowered (!) and I'd like to be a source of help to others. I just have to keep the faith right now.

Check out Melissa Turner's Endo Empowered Program here. If you want to know more about the program subscribe to her emails. There's lots of free information on her blog too. I do urge anyone who suffers with Endometriosis and hormonal issues to check this program out. I believe it can be life changing.

Another Dropcloth Sampler from Rebecca Ringquist. We had a little chat on her etsy messages and I was telling her how much I love Portland (where she lives) and the show Portlandia. She replied that just the other day she saw Fred Armisen whilst shopping. I was really chuffed!

Rebecca has an etsy shop where you can find all her fabulous samplers which incidentally has taken off since she first sold them at a Squam Retreat. You can listen to her thoughtful and creative journey on this podcast.


Prompted by Sophie's Journal Your Heart Out hashtag on Instagram, I took the plunge in to journaling. The words did not come easily at first; however I enjoyed the simple act of cutting and glueing and writing my aspirations, gratitudes and reflections. Now the words come much more easily and I thoroughly enjoy this quiet and soulful time. Sophie guides you with journal writing prompts and collage inspiration on her blog.


A cardigan first cast on in (ahem) 2014. Knitted 95% percent of it and then stored in a basket for a very long time. The button band just needs to be finished however I seem to have made my own adjustments and have no idea what my little scribbles in lead pencil mean on the pattern.

Knitted in Harvest wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills. Unfortunately this yarn was a limited edition and no longer available. It's a shame because this 10 ply blend of wool, alpaca and bamboo is perfect for our snowy winters. Also the tweed is so striking.

I can't regularly find the fiction books I want at our small regional library so I usually have a long wait from inter-library loans. In the mean time, The Edwardian Farm on youtube has been some cheerful watching during my down time.

Joining in with all the crafty folks at Keep Calm Craft On and Yarn Along.

What have you been making, watching, reading?

Zena xx

Monday, May 9, 2016

in the kitchen April 2016

Pizza Night! I love making pizza's on Friday nights or the weekends. Accompanied with red wine and kitchen tunes, standing (and dancing) in the kitchen all evening serving them as they come out of the oven and popping the next one in. Family favourites: Pumpkin, caramelized onions, feta and sage; Chorizo and roasted vegetables; Roasted zucchini, eggplant, red capsicum and caramelized onions; Tomatoes, black olives and fresh mozzarella; Ham and Pineapple (not mum's favourite at all!)

These pizzas were made several weeks after surgery and I almost collapsed after making them. There was definitely no wine drinking and I made them early in the day. My wild and free pizza making and wine drinking kitchen days are sadly over or at least for a year.

Sea Shepherd Pie. I'm making lots more vegetarian dinner meals (again) since my health issue. This one has french lentils, mushrooms, leek, carrot, celery and nutritional yeast flakes. Recipe here.

Chicken and Mayo Rolls. Left over roasted free range chicken drumsticks. Chopped up with parsley, squeeze of lemon and pepper on fresh bakery rolls. The kids enjoyed these the next day.

Lebanese Picnic for the kids while the big peeps enjoyed stuffed zucchinis. Kafta sausages are made with lean beef or lamb mince, cumin, shallots, parsley and white pepper. Here's how to do it. I make the wraps using my old faithful recipe, Flour Tortillas from The Waldorf Book of Breads. I think these days everyone knows how to make Hoummous but just in case Jamie Oliver's hoummous is pretty authentic.

Stuffed Vegetarian Zucchini. Brown Rice with Chia, a chopped tomato, fresh coriander, parsley and mint. Cumin, coriander, hot chilli, salt and pepper spices and tomato paste and water. Growing up this dish was known around my house as Kousa Mahshi and was made with minced beef. Recipe for the traditional dish can be found here including a video episode showing you exactly how to make it from Food Safari.

To make Kousa Mahshi (stuffed zucchini) you need a Manakra tool to core and scrape out the flesh of the zucchinis. I bought mine from a Lebanese grocery store.

Cheesy Broc Frits. From the Lunch Lady Mag Issue 1. Made with loads of broccoli, a bit of flour, an egg and parmesan to bind. Scrumptious! Pretty much been making these every second or third night.

Keen-wah and Carrot Patties. Another one from the Lunch Lady Mag issue 1. Alternating between these and Brocoli patties above. I can't stop making them!

Bacon and Zucchini Cashew Cream Penne.
A packet of organic penne, one zucchini, footpath growing thyme, all natural ingredients bacon, local garlic, a supermarket bought onion and a cup of raw cashews loved by all three males in the house. For this dish I always whiz up a cup of cashews and a cup of water in my Froothie and add it to the cooked pasta, then I add the rest of the sauteed ingredients that is bursting with strong flavours.
So cooking friends, what have you been making?

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

quilted infinity scarves and bereaved mothers

(Taken with my iphone)


When I had a miscarriage that hole was filled when I eventually fell pregnant with my second child. I can enjoy every Mother's Day with a joyful lunch out and get my annual (decent) pic of me and the kids. For others, Mother's Day can bring up feelings of deep sadness, pain and isolation. 

International Bereaved Mother’s Day was celebrated on Sunday May 1st 2016.

I am constantly learning what daily life is like for a bereaved mother from my dear friend Carmen who lost her precious full term baby, Walter to Stillbirth.

Through Carmen, I was introduce to The Mother Hearts "I See You Project"
Some very powerful words acknowledging all types of mothers.

The quilted infinity scarves above were made with much thoughtfulness in every stitch and love for special women who have suffered the unmentionable, child loss. However, not given at the time of the loss just given as loving gifts. Pattern generously shared here.

This is more of an acknowledgement post of this important day for grieving mothers before the celebratory one held next week.

If you are a grieving mother -  I see you.

Zena xx

Joining in with Keep Calm Craft On.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

fair isle hat

My first Fair Isle project. How very disappointing you were when I cast off the last stitch. A large stretchy rim and ugly brown yarn for the crown. I ended up replacing it with a more uplifting colour but still ambivalent about whether we could get through a cold winter season together.  In haste I gave you a quick rough soaking and rolled you in a towel and squeezed the heck out of you until you doubled in sized. Dried, you hung over my sad disappointed eyes. In pure desperation I threw you in the dryer and hoped for the best. Not once but twice but three times and you came out gloriously perfect! Do you have these roller coaster rides with your knitted garments?

Noticing we were low in washcloths, I raided my stash instead of heading to the shops for something store bought. I like washcloth patterns for the big peeps in the house and dishcloths for our little peeps - the smaller size pattern is perfect for little hands.

WARM - a community textile art project is calling out for volunteers to contribute to "an Australian-based large-scale collaborative knitting project that explores why the earth is warming and what we can do to make a positive change."

The designer is tiKKi knits. There's a windmill pattern, flowers, landscape squares, gum leaves, earthy accessories amongst others. Go check out the patterns on Ravelry.

Knitted contributions need to be in by Friday 12th of August, 2016. Pieces will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in September 2016. More information can be found at SEAM, Inc. 

Reading lots on my newly discovered health issue. Also, the Lunch Lady Mag arrived today - totally addicted.

Joining in with all the crafty folks at Keep Calm Craft On and Yarn Along.

What have you been making crafty peeps?

Zena xx