the nature strip


Toddler rainbow food
May 22, 2013, 11:26 am
Filed under: Babies, Food

It’s important – and stressful – making sure your baby is getting the right food and the right nutrients. I am forever fussing about a balanced diet – is he getting enough iron? What about calcium? Is there zinc in this?

This probably stems from my own concerns for my health and commitment to consuming a nutrient dense diet.

I am guilty of offering my toddler mashed up gloop for way too long – sure it was healthy but there is only so many times you can offer a toddler mashed up veggies and what about the essential fats and protein?

So recently I have been creating rainbow plates of food for him to enjoy that ensures a wide variety of vitamins and minerals with the added bonus of encouraging his dexterity and motor skills.

Plate 1:

tofu, veggies and blueberries

  • Sauteed vegetables of pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini and broccoli in coconut oil.
  • Marinated vegetable tofu
  • Dice tomatoes
  • Blueberries

My son ate the plate as follows: tofu first, then on to blueberries, with a bite of pumpkin in between, the greens, a nibble of tomato only to discover tomatoes are much more fun being thrown on the floor.

Plate 2:

Toddler rainbow food - tofu and veggies

  • Boiled buckwheat (excellent protein source) mixed with avocado
  • Sauteed potato, grated coconut, broccoli  and zucchini
  • Stewed apple

The plate was left bare. His face wasn’t.

face covered in food

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Veggie lasagne – warm, tasty and from the heart.
May 20, 2013, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Food

vegan lasagne

A couple of weeks ago it was Mother’s Day. I forget that I fall in the ‘mum’ category as I am so focused on acknowledging my own mother on this day. I feel somewhat undeserving of any acknowledgement – my mother has putting up with my crap for 35 years. I have only notched up 15 months on my belt.

vegan lasagne

For some reason, over the years, lasagne has become the dish of choice when cooking up special occasion meals. So for Mother’s Day, my partner took the reins in the kitchen and with my Dad as Sous Chef, produced a veggie lasagne that was juicy, rich, and hearty – much like love really.

preparation for vegan lasagne

This was a vegan version (yes you can have a TASTY vegan lasagne!)

Ingredients:

  • Vegetables – eggplant, zucchini, mushroom and capsicum
    Wholemeal pasta sheets
  • Onion and garlic
  • Tinned tomato
  • Fresh basil
  • Pepper to taste
  • White sauce –corn flour, soy milk and Nuttalex.
  • Optional – dairy free parmesan cheese to sprinkle on the top, post baking.

Bake in the oven until golden brown.

vegan lasagne

 

This dish also makes for a wonderful dinner during cold winter nights. Did I mention it goes beautifully with a glass of red?



Sitting in a bucket of chemicals
April 22, 2013, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Eco, Health

Imagine lining up bucket after bucket of different chemicals and then smothering yourself in it. That’s what millions of people do everyday… moisturisers, deodorants, hair care products, perfume. Many of these products contain suspicious chemicals that personally, I would rather keep away from my precious skin.

There is so much conflicting information out there about the safety of products and so many inconclusive studies, it’s hard to know what’s safe and what’s not. But for optimum heath, I would rather err on the side of caution and not contaminate my body. Prevention is better than cure right? And there’s no denying that cancer rates are soaring… wonder why?

One little gem of a find is Australian Biologika deodorant.

australian biologika mystic wish australian biologika live it up australian biologika lavender fields

A key selling point for deodorant is that it smells good, and keeps you smelling like flowers during your day-to-day modern life escapades i.e. racing to the shops because you’ve run out of wine, doing downward dog in your yoga class, running for the train because you’re going to be late for work (again), singing twinkle twinkle little star (for the 23rd time) to your “I don’t feel like sleeping” baby, burning up because everyone seems to be looking at you, only to discover your spinach from lunch is still in your teeth…

Australian biologika lemon kiss australian biologika evening bliss australian biologika vanilla kiss

Australian Biologika deodorant smell so fragrant and lush it will make you want to smell other people’s armpits.

And they are aluminium free, cruelty free, and vegan friendly. In fact, this company does a whole body care range made with natural and organic ingredients.

I’m currently smelling like Lemon Kiss. The ingredients for this deodorant are: organic Aloe Vera Juice, Purified Water, Calendula Extract, Rosehip Extract, Lavender Extract, Chamomile Extract, Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract, Olive Leaf Extract, Organic Lemon Scented Tea Tree Essential Oil, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, Jojoba Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan Gum, Organic Ethanol, Australian Bush Extract of Kakadu.



Just relax your shoulders and… walk
April 18, 2013, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Health, Nature

I’m on a crusade at the moment to get out in to nature. When you live in the city, this isn’t always easy. But when you do escape the rat race, your lungs can breathe, your shoulders relax, and you feel good to be alive.

great_north_walk (12)

My partner and I left our bub with the grandparents while we treated ourselves to an afternoon bush walk . Most people would probably prefer a romantic dinner and drinks for some bonding time, but bush bashing – just the two of us – suited us fine.

great north walk - crosslands to berowra

great_north_walk (8)

We stomped through marshland, marvelled at warrigal greens…

great north walk

We studied gum trees and clambered up looming boulders…

great north walk - crosslands to berowra

We crossed bridges and meandered through rainforest…

Great North Walk

We huffed and puffed ourselves to the top of the hill for an amazing view of the river and then stomped back down again.

great north walk - crosslands to berowra

great north walk - view

My partner jumped off the bridge in to the river, for a swim… 

20130330_131008

 

I took photos.

great north walk

The Great North Walk is 250km in total. We did 7km from Crosslands to Berowra Waters.

great_north_walk (14)

That means there is 243km of this walk left to explore. I’m looking forward to it.

great north walk - crosslands to berowra

great_north_walk (10)



Nature Strip featured on Baby Space
April 9, 2013, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Babies

There are many super duper blogs out there. Baby Space is one of them.

Bron who manages the blog is a pal – she is wise, she is creative, she is a nurturing mother of three.

She recently interviewed me for her “Meet the mama” series.

Read my musings on being a first time mother here.

Meet he mama Nature Strip Baby Space

 



Toe nibbling in the city
April 8, 2013, 12:10 pm
Filed under: Eco, Garden

We all get caught up in our own little bubble but I get so excited when I go exploring and find little green nooks in this big, sprawling city.

fagan park

I recently ventured to Fagan Park for a reunion with members of my extended family that I hadn’t seen for over 20 years. What I didn’t expect on this day was to have my feet nibbled by fish.

Fagan Park is a delight – it has an eco community garden which is abundant with native fruits and other edible greens. It also has a scarecrow. I like scarecrows. They always seem to have a cheery smile and an unappreciated scrawniness that makes me want to tell them they are doing a good job.

scarecrow - fagan park

eco garden pomegranite

The garden offers workshops on sustainable gardening practices and is a big promoter of reducing waste through composting.

nature strip - eco garden - composting

Among this flourishing oasis of a garden, there are pockets with different themes according to the country – a windmill and canal in the Dutch section, a hut and tribal prints in the African section, and fish that like to nibble toes in the Portuguese section.

fagan_park_eco_garden (1)

I managed to convince my 72-year-old father to remove his shoes and socks to experience the sensation of little slimy mouths tickling and nibbling his toes like a vacuum cleaner. It was a nice moment.

fagan park eco garden - feet cleaners

fagan park eco garden



Sugar & dairy free home-made chocolates
April 2, 2013, 12:54 pm
Filed under: Food, Health

Eating chocolate doesn’t have to be confined to Easter. But when I’m talking chocolate, I don’t mean sugar-laden crap!

The Nature Strip sugar and dairy free chocolate

The domestic kitchen goddess in me created some tasty chocolate treats over the Easter weekend that are sugar free, full of healthy fats, and ever so tasty (if I don’t say so myself) – I ate six in a row so I should know!

The Nature Strip sugar and dairy free chocolate

These chocolates were created using cacao powder, raw dark chocolate, shredded coconut flakes, chopped almonds, dates and a drizzle of maple syrup. I didn’t have a recipe, I didn’t know quantities – I just added as I went, sampled a bit, and added more to get the perfect balance of bitterness, sweetness, and scrumminess.

The Nature Strip sugar and dairy free chocolate

The Nature Strip sugar and dairy free chocolate

Steps involved:

  1. Chop almonds in a blender with some water and coconut oil (olive oil could be used too)
  2. Chop some dates in to small pieces
  3. Shred coconut flakes in a blender (or simply use desiccated coconut)
  4. Mix ingredients all together in a bowl
  5. Add raw cacao powder
  6. Melt raw cocao chocolate on the stove
  7. Add to mixed ingredients
  8. Add maple syrup to taste
  9. Create little chocolate balls or put in to chocolate mould
  10. Put in to fridge to set
  11. Eat and enjoy

The Nature Strip sugar and dairy free chocolate

Along with enjoying an Easter without the sickly indulgence, I also learned that people in Holland are very clever. They honour the Easter Hen, not the Easter Bunny. As it is hens that lay eggs, it makes sense to me.

I’m off to research how the Easter Bunny came about, using my home-made chocolates for brain power.