Tag Archives: organic veg

Zoe’s box – OR: Why we love organic food

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All toddler mums know how hard it is sometimes to make sure that your young and old beloved ones as well as yourself get three healthy meals a day. In between sniffles, theething, working or like in my case studying, constantly alternating culinary preferences and tidying up the mess of a little tornado several times a day, moments of inspiration come often too short, while standards are rising to ensure good health through good food to our little darlings!

What I have experienced since I’ve become a mum is that time has gotten more precious than ever. I am simply neither able nor willing anymore to spend hours and hours in the kitchen like I used to do back in the days in my childless free time evenings with wine, music and often friends. Nowadays, when Zoe is in bed, evenings are sacred time for talking to my hubby, resting and recharging batteries thus nowadays our meals got simpler and less time consuming. What has never changed though is my deep belief into the quality of food, even more so since I started studying to become a Holistic Health Coach for Integrative Nutrition. The saying “You are what you eat” is definitely true, and what we don’t want, neither for us nor our children, are nasty pesticides, herbicides, toxins, preservatives or additives in our bodies. And no, EU regulations about allowed pesticide levels are sadly not protecting you enough (read the recent article One in every five vegetables contains illegal amounts of pesticide if you haven’t done so yet). Next to clean air, water, cosmetics and cleaning products, food is one of the biggest sources of what our bodies absorb, so we better be aware and take good care of what we put on and inside ourselves.

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She has no clue how happy it makes me to see her eating green stuff!

Buying organic has therefore become second nature for us. It’s the cleanest produce we can get and allows me to put my anyway constantly worrying mummy-mind at rest. As some of you know from my Instagram and Facebook Feed, Farmer’s Deli Malta, amongst others, is one of our favorite suppliers for organic produce. They offer a wide variety of local and Sicilian vegetables and fruits, herbs and free range eggs but also a great range of other organic products from small suppliers who run small and sustainable businesses. Their greatest asset: they know every producer in person and have a relationship with them. This builds trust, also for us as consumers. Ordering works easy peasy via their website/ per email and the only thing you have to do after is waiting eagerly for the delivery of your box. When it arrives, we know our weekly fix of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is sorted. Be aware to keep your diet’s majority with fresh fruit and veg, add your proteins via legumes and/ or organic dairy and meat if that’s part of your diet, chose whole grains or wholemeal products for your carb intake and don’t forget your healthy fats, plenty of water and of course and most importantly, vitamin L(ove) ❤

But now, let’s have a look into Zoe’s box, which contains a lovely range of many of the yummy and gorgeous products which have become dear to us over the last months and a little inspiration what to cook with them.

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Don’t you just love surrounding yourself with things which are good for you?

Vegetables, like delicious, creamy avocados, sweet carrots, fennel, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, jerusalem artichokes, chard, brussel sprouts, leek, pumpkin and more. The saying “Eat a rainbow” is particularly true when it comes to vegetables. The more colours you incorporate on a regular basis, the more variety of vitamins you can ensure you receive. Zoe just loves digging into a soft avocado, often mixed into a nice salad with juicy tomatoes and a tangy dressing of freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Another great staple dish is a simple veggie gratin e.g. potato with fennel and jerusalem artichokes (but it works with any veg, just play around). Just slice all veg in thin slices, put them in a baking dish with some cream (we usually use a vegan alternative like rice or oat cream), some grassfed butter, nutmeg, herbs of your liking and a hint of Himalayan salt and pepper and then bake it for about 60min. If you like you can add breadcrumbs and/ or organic cheese, nuts or seeds on top for the last 15min. Fresh aubergines make a lovely parmeggiana bake  and carrots and/or pumpkin are great additions for one of Zoe’s favorite lentil stews which I’ll describe further down.

Fruit, like wonderful seasonal winter citrus like lemons, mandarines, oranges and blood oranges. Citrus fruit provides tons of vitamin C and is particularly great to strengthen our immune systems in the winter months when most bugs are around. Great fact to know: foods rich in vitamin C also help our bodies to absorb iron rich foods! Zoe loves her sweet mandarines as a snack, little pieces of blood orange and its juice for her porridge or chia pudding in the morning. Lemon juice is simply amazing in dressings, e.g. over steamed chard, broccoli or spinach but also for immune and metabolism boosting lemon water in the morning (for Zoe with a hint of great quality honey 🙂

Legumes, which provide most of Zoe’s protein/ iron intake. If you want to reduce your meat consumption, legumes and beans are great plant based alternatives. Lentil stew with red lentils, cumin and different veggies is one of Zoe’s favorite dishes (you can find our recipe here) or you can make a great warm lentil salad with brown or black lentils, cumin, coriander and roasted carrots or pumpkin. Chickpeas (Farmer’s Deli even has black ones sometimes!) are a great staple for homemade hummus or curries which we like to make with lots of different veg, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry powder and coconut milk.

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Nope mummy, I am not sharing my avocado with you!

So yes, like sceptics say, going organic may be a bit pricier, but in my opinion it’s so worth it. It puts my mind at rest to get the best quality with highest levels of nutrients without all the toxic nasties, it supports sustainable and nature friendly farming, and on top of that it never gets boring as constantly changing seasonal produce excites culinary creativity and makes me try new things.

Until next time lots of sunshine, love & healthy food
Nadine & Zoe aka avocado queen 😉

 

P. S. If you feel like you need some support improving your own or your family’s life to a healthier lifestyle, feel free to get in touch for a first free Health History consultation!

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1 year – we made it <3 Plus: Okra & Bean Chili recipe

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Wow, I’m writing theses lines and my little baby girl (now toddler, to be precise) is 1 year old. I must say, it feels like quite a big thing to me as her mummy and brings up a lot of sweet memories.. of my first pregnancy which I really enjoyed, giving birth naturally, starting our breastfeeding journey, the first sweet weeks after we came home from hospital and suddenly were a family of 3. One whole year full of firsts, cuddles, joy, fears, happy moments, astonishment, – the list won’t stop. It is indeed a wonderful, enriching, heart and soul touching experience to be a mum, yet the most demanding and exhausting at the same time.

I'll always be a travel lover but I might organise things a bit differently next time

I’ll always be a travel lover but I might organise things a bit differently next time

Our month of traveling in August showed me that once more.. things are different now. I can’t just make my plans as I used to – or I’ll pay for it 😉 As much as I enjoyed being in different places every few days (oh Lake Garda, Austria, Munich – I miss you and your green and your people already!!!), it completely messed up Zoe’s sleep and eating structure. The nights got worse and worse, eating messier and messier. At some stage I was so exhausted that I started nursing her again at night just to get back to sleep which also didn’t help anymore at some stage. My hubby introduced then taking her out of her crib, cuddling and rocking her  back to sleep instead which was just as bad.. If I learned one thing, it’s planning our next holiday differently. When we came back to Malta beginning of September I was happy and filled up with green, lovely vibes from family and friends but a sleep deprived, emotional wreck at the same time. It was time to get some consistency and structure back to our life! Thank god I immediately started getting help. First, I got some supporting homeopathic remedies for myself (I’ll never stop recommending the lovely Ashley from Tigne Holistic Centre). Second, I found a sleep trainer  for Zoe (look up Daniela Sleep Coach if you’re in Malta and in need of getting your nights back) and I must say her tips, being more consistent and spending more time at home really made a big difference. Plus I finally gave in and go to bed now earlier which makes getting up at 6.30-7am not that bad anymore. So mind you, I don’t wanna jinx it, but touching wood, Zoe is back to better nights, longer naps and better eating and I feel more calm and centred again, too. Gosh! The joys of motherhood, it’s a rollercoaster sometime, isn’t it?

Little outings between naptimes are key - for both of us

Little outings between naptimes are key – for both of us

But I must say, now that I’m feeling like my usual self things look a bit brighter again and getting little time outs make me enjoy Zoe even more. She now climbs up the sofa, walks long the bed and loves to dance and clap to her favorite songs. To be with her and seeing her doing these little things is happiness and joy at its highest level and I’m super grateful things improved just in time for her 1st bday which we celebrated at a little picnic at Buskett Gardens surrounded by her small and big friends ❤ Not the lush and green kind of forests we’re used to, but better than nothing!

Of course she had to get a bday cake, but it wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t a healthy one! So I made her a little “raw” cake of just fruit and she and the other little ones loved it 😉 You should have seen her eyes when she saw the candle!!

Happy 1st bday to our little sunshine

Happy 1st bday to our little sunshine

So, this has been it from me for today – you can see it was a rather exciting time again and of course I won’t let you go without a yummy recipe, too. This time a wanna share a lovely Okra & Bean Chili recipe with you, loaded with lots of great organic veggies from the lovely Incampagna and Back to Basics. Thanks ladies for working so hard to make our life healthier!

Boasting with vitamins & flavor

Boasting with vitamins & flavor

Okra & Bean Chili

What you need…

  • 1 small bag of kidney beans (soaked over night and then cooked until soft)
  • 1 small box of okra
  • a few peppers
  • a few spring onions
  • garlic
  • 1 can of organic tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika powder
  • Some olive oil
  • High quality salt e.g. Himalayan, Rock or Sea Salt

Optional: more vegetables, I used:

  • 1 small bunch of kale
  • a slice of pumpkin
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes

For the topping

  • 1 large avocado
  • juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • salt and pepper

Serve with a side of your choice e.g. we had brown rice

What to do…

Saute slice okra in a large pan until it begins to brown. Add chopped spring onions and garlic, until they soften. Then add the other chopped vegetables, then the spices (amounts to your liking – I would recommend start with a teaspoon and add more if you like stronger flavours). Lately add the can of tomatoes (if using fresh, add them chopped and a bit of water plus tomato paste). Simmer until all veggies are nice and soft, but not mushy. Have a final taste and season with salt to your liking.

For the avocado topping mash the avocado, add some chopped spring onions, lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper.

Serve with brown rice or another side of your liking and a dollop of guacamole.

Until next time enjoy and never forget what Charly Chaplin said “Nothing is permanent is this wicked world, not even our troubles”.

Sending love & good vibes to all of you who need it!

N xx

A 5 month recap & a simple, wholesome veggie soup

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Seems like at least every 6th of the month, when Zoe turns another month older, I finally kick my a** and sit down to blog. It’s a nice opportunity for myself to reflect and recap, to rethink what inspired my, when I was struggling or what particularly went well…

The highlight of the last month was definitely my birthday. Yep, I’m 36 now and I must say it doesn’t feel bad at all. Actually I must even say that I even think this was my loveliest bday ever! I’ver never felt so happy and content within myself.. I got married to the love of my life, we’re blessed with our cutest baby girl, we’re all healthy, live in a safe place, have a wonderful family and circle of friends and don’t have any financial problems. Not only marriage and motherhood but also the current events around us like wars, refugees and young people around us who get cancer, – they all remind me everyday how lucky we are and how grateful we can be. It makes me reflect even more often and reminds me to be aware of all these little things which we often take for granted – until something happens. Let’s not wait too long, let’s practice this gratitude every day and enjoy the wonderful moments of our life as often as we can!! Life is full of them 🙂 Be it a ferry ride in the lovely winter sunshine to Valletta, when you get your ID card without any hassle, when my hubby Paul sends me an unexpected love message, when baby Zoe manages to turn from her belly to her back (maybe 1 out of 10 times atm 😉 – how I admire her for her persistency!) or when people I meet somewhere tell me that they read my blog and really like it, like this morning at our parentcraft reunion at hospital.

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New ID card – check – whoowhoo!

One of the many moments I’m always super happy is our weekly post-natal yoga class at freemyme in Sliema. I’ve been mentioning yoga on my blog many times and I won’t get tired of recommending it to anyone, wherever you are as it’s just creating such a wonderful, positive energy – not only for me, but also for Zoe, I can truly feel it when we do our asanas (poses), the way our day goes after, how well she sleeps etc. I can only recommend it to any mummy of a baby! Once they start crawling it’s too late so better use the chance to do it now 🙂

Little Yogi

Little Yogi

What I also appreciate and experience a lot these days is the wonderful bond of mummy friends. I remember when I was pregnant I was a bit worried as most of my friends, although some of them have small children, are working full-time and I was scared to be alone all the time once the baby is born. As usual, there was no reason to worry. There is something true about the saying Cross that bridge when you get there. The universe will always offer plenty of opportunities to grab, be it new friends you make in one of the many baby classes, former parentcraft participants but also acquaintances you knew before but became closer, now you share the adventure of being a mummy. It’s beautiful to observe how these relationships can grow and it can never do any harm to either share your worries, provide an ear to listen to someone or simply do something fun together with the little ones. So thank you to all of you out there ❤

This week I visited a new-mummy friend who just gave birth to a little gorgeous baby girl. With loving memories and almost a bit nostalgic I was thinking back of these first special weeks and how loved and pampered I felt when friends came to visit me and brought me food, sweets or anything else around. As a dear friend and yoga teacher of mine always says Love is a circle – it was time to give back! So, I decided to make a big pot of hearty and vitamin packed veggie soup with my freshly delivered organic veg from Organic House (thanks to Ruth, who comes for home delivery every Wednesday!), some replenishing wheatgrass (thank you to my GreenPanda friends for your latest parcel!), a taster of my Earl Grey Orange porridge in a jar and of course some sweets and tea. The soup was rather simple, still my friend really liked it and asked me for the recipe so I tried to sit down and write it down. So there we go…

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New-mummy-goodie bag

Wholesome, hearty veggie soup

This recipe doesn’t contain any specific amounts as you can just take equal amounts of different saisonal vegetables, so just play with it. I’d always recommend to include potatoes to make it more filling but if you don’t have any at hand you can always add some small wholemeal pasta, cooked brown rice, or any other grains like quinoa buckwheat or millet later. Talking of these grains, it’s always handy to have some prepared in the fridge so you can use them for soups, warm breakfasts or salads during the week. Even different kinds of beans will work and give you a nice portion of protein like canellini, chickpeas, you name it!

So this time I took equal amounts of potatoes, fennel, leek, carrots and chard but like any other leafy greens only add them for the last couple of minutes when the rest of the veg is already cooked. We don’t want to lose these lovely vitamins! Experiment and get what’s seasonal and local. Anything else will just work as fine (think pumpkin, broccoli, kale, peas, beans etc.)

What you need..

Equal amounts of veg (as described above)
1 filling ingredient carb or protein (as described above)
Water
Olive Oil
Bayleaf
Rock or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Herb & flower mix (I took one of my favorite Austrian organic mixes from Sonnentor called guardian angel – check it out if you speak German, unfortunately their English language version doesn’t seem to work at the moment) but you can also add some of the spices separately like coriander, ginger, mint, garlic, orange peel, cumin, curcuma, sage, paprika, rosemary and sage amongst others.

What to do..

Start with prepping all veg, wash, chop and trim them all in nice bite sized pieces. I personally like to scrub organic veg thoroughly instead of peeling as the skin contain many precious minerals and vitamins. Heat up a generous splash of olive oil on medium heat and start frying the hardest veg, add herbs, add the rest of the veggies (apart from the leafy greens) and fill it up with water so the veg is covered. Cook gently for about 30min, stir occasionally. Taste a bit and season. Last but not least add your pre-cooked grains or beans if you chose to add them.

To make it a bit more decadent add nice shavings of parmesan or a poached egg.

Bon appetite & feel the good energy flow in your veins and dummy 🙂

I guess that’s it for today! Wishing you all a lovely new month ahead & happy 5 month to our little sunshine Zoe – we love you to the moon an back!

Nadine xx