Aug 24, 2011

Dark Night of The Soul returning Home

Ok so whether or not you guys have been wondering what I've been eating (besides cacao and all things exceptionally sweet thanks to turning 26 a couple of weeks ago) since posting about eating cooked foods for a month back here, I'm going to let you know how I've been doing.

I've had a few people make comment when they've seen me eating massive kale salads "oh you're back on raw food again?" to have me reply with such enthusiasm YES-E-REE!

So why the change back and what's happened in between?

Well, I'm a big believer in hindsight! I've said it before and I'll say it again; hindsight is a very valuable thing. When we go through things that seem to feel odd, strange, or difficult... when we feel like we don't know why we're veering down a particular path or what's ahead, sometimes we just need to go with it, check out the scenery, until we hit the end of the road and only then we can easily stop to think. It's a little tough to process things whilst still driving the car or paddling in the boat (or whatever analogy you wish to use).

Mumbo jumbo? Ok, so from my personal experience just had on cooked foods - I explained it to a friend only today actually. Now that I can look back in hindsight I can clearly see that those few weeks on cooked foods was very much like a Dark Night of the Soul (familiar with Thomas Moore? If not, get familiar here or buy his book here - definatley one for your collection).

A Dark Night of The Soul, whilst stuck in it, is not alway pretty. It's where we feel lost. Things look dark and gloomy. We experience fears, trials and tribulations, tests and challenges along the way - think of Dorothy and her friends through the woods in The Wizard of Oz. You neer quite know why you're there, experiencing whatever it may be, until you come out on the other side. Where you can then look back. Reflect. And take the learnings with you. Or maybe not. Maybe it was just something you had to go through - to go through.

I felt fine on cooked foods but I didn't feel GREAT. I also felt tired and quiet. Withdrawn and wanting my own space at the same time. Looking back it really was almost hibernation - physically during Winter and doing very minimal exercise. Emotionally being withdrawn and retreating within. Mentally by just going to classes but not actually doing alot. And spiritually - as I took a break like a caterpillar in a cocoon; awaiting what was ahead whilst having no freakin idea waht it may be! But simply trusting.

That's what I did. I just trusted. I didn't know if I'd continue eating cooked foods or not. I didn't know if I'd come back from my slumber better or worse. But I trusted that what was meant to happen would.

And of course it did. So where am I now?

Back on raw foods baby! And I can say that with such clarity and certainty because of what I have been through. I feel better than ever! Day by day, more and more. I feel like I've had deeper learnings and new realisations. Some simple some more complex. As the weather warms up and the seasons are nearing change again, so too is my body as I feel the pull to really move! In Winter I eat alot more kale and carrots, but in Summer all I eat is fruit. Every fruit. My body craves it! And I can feel the pull slowly. My body wants the water and the carbs. I must have eaten over 10kgs of oranges this week coz my body wants, wants, wants them! I can't get enough! And I've just ordered 18kgs of watermelon - first organic tray this season comes tomorrow and I'm salivationg just thinking about it!

I'm feeling stronger. I'm feeling wiser. I'm feeling like my feet are firmly planted on the ground without being stuck in the ground. And I'm excited!

I know my body works at its best when it's fuelled by a high fruit, low fat diet. But maybe I needed my Dark Night of cooked foods to get things back in order to fuel up again. I am always grateful for my dark nights, even though I can get caught up in them whilst in them. I have always learnt so much from them.

Just like animals and plants change with the season, I believe us humans need too also. And berating ourselves for wanting warm heavier cooked foods over Winter whilst trying to force light cos lettuce down our throats seems silly. Go with the Seasons; however that works best for you. And if you hit a Dark Night every now and then, know it's there for a reason, even if you have absolutley no idea what that may be...

You're not meant too know...

until later x

Aug 20, 2011

Birthday Party High Tea

Last weekend I had a belated birthday celebration with a bunch of my girlfriends that was so much fun! I asked everyone to bring a small plate to share – but it had to be vegan. Cooked or raw I wasn’t so bothered (but happy most was raw), I just wanted to see them get creative in their kitchens!


I hurried back from yoga to get the house ready and set everything up for afternoon tea. I was so excited – it was something I had wanted to do for so long. So I set up all the tea cups we have (thanks my little sisters collection), got all my herbal teas out so everyone could choose what they wanted, then started eye-balling all the yummy things I had made before the girls showed up before I could continue to eye-ball all the yummy things they brought along!

These are my Co's Super Super Balls that I instead made into bite sized squares coz they're super choclatey rich; and topped with a juicy cranberry.

Moonie Pies! I've made these before (thanks to Heather) and they are AMAZING! Pretty much fool-proof so they always turn out looking a million bux!

My dream to have a tiered cake stand!

This is a Walnut Spiced Tea Cake I made that I have made before. It's so so simple and tastes so so good. You can find the recipe in my Recipe Section here

Cucumber sandwiches are a MUST at a high tea aren't they? These babies are made with sprouted rye bread.

My power balls! This recipe is my sisters favourite. Chewy carob tahini flavour mmm

Here's our delicious colourful spread! That scrumptious looking corn salad was done by my friend Kate and was the perfect dish between so many sweet treats...

along with juicy crimson grapes, celery and carrot sticks, an amazing pumpkin dip Zara made, hommous from Jorja, rice paper wraps from Maya, and of course tea!

And then Tamsyn rocked up WITH THIS! OMG! Chocolate-covered-almond-stuffed-dates, rich choccie-buckwheat-heart-crunchies, marzipan balls, and an amazing cake all for me! Her rendition of a Xmas cake with (what my taste buds believed to be) dried figs, dates, sultanas, carob, spices and more all enveloped in a thick marzipan casing, dusted with carob powder. YUM!

I had such a ball laughing, chatting silly girly talk, sipping tea, eating too many sweets, and sharing the afternoon with my closest friends. Thankyou all for coming to share my celebrations xxx

Aug 12, 2011

Fresh food, Ferraris and the Best Birthday Week Ever!!

Well I kno a few of you have been itching for this blog post and I have been just as much to write it, but I've been busy busy busy with assessments due, an exam, and my 26th Birthday celebrations!

Anyway I remember last year someone mentioned to me that they were celebrating their "birthday week" - this was a new concept to me but nevertheless I thought it sounded pretty damn good! Why only celebrate for one day? I said "Im so doing that next year" and so without really planning it to be so - my birthday did extend to about a week, and now even a week later, I had a belated dinner with my dad last night, and have celebrations with all my girlfriends this weekend! Turns out it's looking to be my birthday month!

So as you already know I spent the weekend before my birthday away on retreat which you can read about here, and then on the Monday morning I was making my way to the airport and flying up to the sunny Gold Coast with Brock for 2 days of bliss, fruit, sunshine, and... FERRARIS!

Yep! You read right. Allow me to indulge here as Ferraris are one of my life passions. If you know me well, this is no news to you. Ever since my first Barbie doll had a red Ferrari it's been my dream car. A dream yet to be filled in terms of having one sit in my own garage, but to take a holiday where there's one sitting in your apartment garage on arrival... well hello! I'll take that anyday! So when I saw a good deal on one, I booked right away.

WARNING: photo overload alert!
But who doesn't love a good photo? A picture speaks a thousand words I say and I'll admit; even I don't always have time to read the blogs I want too, but in skimming over photos tells the whole story.

Brock and I flew in the warm sunshine just after midday, got picked up from the airport and driven to out apartment overlooking Kirra beach. A beautiful sleepier part of the Goldie that feels very much like home. We got taken up to our room ...

Picture = a thousand words. Nothing else needed here for a juicy explanation. Except maybe the token "Where else but Queensland?"

We dumped our fruit, making it look more like home...

Then skipped our way downstairs in so-much-more-than-excitement to meet this big guy -

OMG OMG OMG!!! I felt like I was dreaming! Pinch me! Is that the car I get to take away for the next 2 days? This literally was a dream of mine come true. A Ferrari 360 Modena in the drive way of the apartment I was staying in...

It looks so much better with me in it don't you think?
We spent the rest of the afternoon - driving of course! The sun was shining, we were smiling, what more could you want? We found our way to the open roads up towards the Hinterlands (Fez's were not designed for Highway traffic) for some real thrills, open roads, fresh air, blue skies...

Early evening came before we knew it and we managed to snake a view from the cliff atop Coolangatta just after the sun went down.

Day 2 - Waking up to this from the bedroom window.


Not much of one to sleep in but if I was, I'd never get to see that sort of beauty now would I? Up and out of bed, tucking into fresh pineapple before a change of pace - well a change of vechile - and I suppose if anything, this one was a little bit quicker -

There were a few niggly problems with the Ferrari which was not particuarly good, but as compensation, and a hard one it was, we were given a Lamborghini Gallardo for the remainder of our stay. Tough life ay ;)

And this guy moved like a dream. The rumble of the motor was music to my ears. The interior was immaculate. Awesome sound system. Amazing gear box. Steering. Speed. Driving this baby was like putting a hot knife through butter.

Off into the morning sunshine, cruising the streets, sstopping for a coconut water and I found a cute clothing shop and got a few things... then we managed to get lost, but as I seem to have radar vision for particular things, I spotted an Organic cafe so we pulled over to have a look. Nothing like stopping anywhere and everywhere you want just because when you're on holiday I think!

It was a little health food store selling oils and books, teas and cosmetics, fresh produce and nuts, as well as being a cafe which you could order food, tea, coffee and sit down reading one of their books watching the world go by. They also had loads of delicious looking raw treats much to my excitement :)

These BIG balls looked unreal! Chocolate-Goji, Chia-licious, and Goji-Protein. Grabbed me a couple of them for later :)

Being mid-morning (and knowing the un-liklihood of stumbling across another raw cafe) we decided to get something to munch on while we were there. No rush after all.
Now I can never make my mind in a store with multiple raw options and end up walking out with one of everything to try later (well this time only almost everything), but choosing a piece of cake to celebrate my birthday (albeit 2 days early) was easy. They had 3 or 4 different cakes but one really caught my eye. And as I figured noone would make me a cake (coz I'm the creative kitchen whiz that does it for everyone I somehow end up doing my own too), the decision to buy a piece for myself was easy! No persuading needed here!

Chocolate Maca Torte.

This beauty deserved the time and appreciation of sitting down in the cute little cafe. Definatley not a take-home-job. I'll let you in on a little secret too - I secretly have a love affair with cafes and coffee shops. I worked in several for years and as my diet has changed over the years it can be difficult finding somewhere I can go too to really enjoy this little passion of mine. Instead I now often simply find joy in watching other people sit at cafes, sipping tea or coffee, delicatley holding onto their tiny silver cake forks, morsel by morsel indulging in petite chocolate cakes, scones with strawberry jam, multi-coloured macaroons, or whatever it is that pleases their tastebuds and their soul. I absolutley love it! So to find a place with something I could eat - and have it be cake whilst away for my birthday!!! I was in absolute Heaven!

Brock had a choco-chai tea whilst I cheekily had an organic espresso and we both shared the amazing cake!

A nutty base that didn't overpower, a layer of sweet caramel-maca goodness, covered with soft chocolate mousse-y heaven, and topped with cacao nibs and crushed nuts. Wow! And bit by bit, I was so present with every little bit I put to my lips with my little silver fork :) I left there literally BEAMING and grinning from ear to ear.

Next stop - Nobby's Beach. My childhood holiday destination. Year after year my sisters and I would get in the car and drive with mum the 12hr journey to the Gold Coast (stopping for an over night stay at Country Comfort by the Big Banana for brekkie smoothies and frozen-choc-dipped-nanas of course). And this was out the front of our place -

Walking down the beach

Playing silly buggers

View overlooking Nobby's Beach
Then a quick hoon down the coast to Coolangatta for lunch with Steve and Carol - beautiful long time family friends of mine who own a restaurant with the most amazing views and the most amazing food! The sweethearts even put together a special raw menu for us which was incredible!

Starters - a mocktail that was out-of-this-world delicious! I think it was watermelon, strawberry, dragonfruit, orange. Whatever it was I'll have another thanks!

Then came our entree - avocado halves topped with cherry tomatoes, red onions, and orange segments. Served with a damn fine cold pressed oilve oil!

Main course - Carol's creative project! Carrot, banana, almond meal, curry spices, sultanas all mushed into falafel-type balls, served with fresh salad and a tangy lemon-mustard dressing.These were amazing :)

And dessert - fresh fruit parfaits with passionfruit.

Then we had to dash to meet friends and start our journey to Byron Bay for some photography - only we decided to take a detour through Nimbin, and 3hrs later than anticipated, got to Byron in the dark.

The sign says it all :)
But it was an interesting journey to say the least. If you've been to Nimbin you know what I'm talking about. If you've never been, you've gotta go. But once is enough.

Then on our final day we drove down to Fingal Head first thing. Brock and I were the only ones on the beach.

The water was fresh (which is plesant language for bloody freezing, but yes you do feel good and alive - go figure), the sand was soft, and the sea shells... well again, no words needed -

And then back at Kirra we decided to go for one last walk, all the way round from Kirra over to Coolangatta... and then my radar went off when I saw this sign from afar -

AWESOME!! After a quick perusal of the menu I had to dash to the ATM and come back to place my order. I was so excited when I saw these again - only this time I had three times the choice!

So i narrowed it down quite cleverly I'll have you guys know, and got a sesame-macadamia-apricot-and-other-things one of some sort, and a chocolate-chia-etc one that wa also good.

These were both so yummy. Especially the sesame one. Really really chewy and dense. Had my creative thinking going nutts about new recipes I could try... hmmm... watch this space

But a trip to sunny Queensland wouldn't be complete without something of this sort -

SMOOTHIES!! Again I had to narrow it down from about fifteen tothese two! The winners were - 

- Raspberry, blackberry, goji berry, banana, apple juice smoothie
- Mango, strawberry, banana, LSA, orange juice, maca powder smoothie

And both were absolutley delicious! Brock and I left there quite full, but jumped in the ocean and wandered back in the sun drying off before a quick change and our lift to the airport.

Best holiday ever!

Then the following day was MY BIRTHDAY! I had an exam in the morning, had a juice at the organic cafe round the corner mid-morning, ran into an old friend, was spoilt by the girls at college, spoiled again by Brock, then had a delicious dinner at home; a raw lasagna I helped mum make ...

And then she SURPRISED me with this - an entire Raw Raspberry Mousse Cake covered in rich liquid chocolate.

It was a chewy date base, the raspberry mousse which was delisciously light and fluffy, and of course the dripping chocolate coating. Mmm. It was so yummy. Well done mum!

As for this strange looking thing - it's Brocks masterpiece and I love that he got creative :)
The balls are my favourite Maca Truffles from The Goodness Company and he has very cleverly used toothpicks to form a tower that (to me) resembles a robot. Haha. Very cute. I loved it!

But like I said, my celebrations aren't over yet! Lucky me! I've got all my girlfriends over for a girly afternoon tea on Sunday and I'm (again) indecisive about what I want to make for it, so have quite a list happeneing. But I won't spoil it for you now, you'll all have to wait til next week.

So until then... indulge your tastebuds and your soul :) xxx