Tag Archives: organic veggies

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.

zoe-greens

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, Incampagna 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.

zoes-box

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 (Incampagna even has black ones!) 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.

zoe-avo-lover

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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8 months, a first separation & a rollercoaster. Plus: “Hemp pasta with chard & sun-dried tomatoes”

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Recently I read in a very sweet book about a new mum, who is a writer, that once you get a baby, the desire for your own parents increases and that our world is in constant arrival and departure mode. In the book the writer’s best friend’s dad just died when she herself was still pregnant and about to pop. Her friend described how she said goodbye to her dad and in the same conversation they talked what else they need to prepare for the arrival of the writer’s baby. These two stories amongst many others touched me a lot. This book made me cry and laugh and once more reflect about the incredible impact of having a baby. Life/ death, future/ past, yourself as a mummy/ yourself as a child – I would have never expected all these new philosophical thoughts and questions coming up through the birth of my baby girl. It’s a very beautiful and spiritual side effect. The protagonist of the book also wrote that she lit a candle for her friend’s dad and put it in the windowsill, just like her mum used to tell her as a child, because the souls are on their way to leave and the lights which people lovingly lit for them guide them the way… Isn’t this beautiful? I always wondered where the tradition of lighting a candle for a person who passed away came from… now I finally now 😉

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First time alone in so many months!!! Enjoying a book & a beer on the plane

Anyways, the moment I was writing these lines I was actually somewhere in the skies on a plane to a friend’s bachelorette weekend in Germany (actually just over the alps close to my home town Innsbruck as the captain told us just in that moment!!). It was the very first time that I left Zoe for more than a couple of hours and sitting there in peace all by myself also made me realise that it was the first time in 17 months that we’ve been separated for so long (counting 9 months of pregnancy plus incredible 8 months already!). It felt very weird, and my morning of departure was a crazy mix of being stressed, sad, nervous but excited. Now, looking back, it thankfully all went very well, Zoe was in the best of hands with her daddy and after my first wave of emotions and a refreshing shandy in the sun at the airport I actually had a blast and even managed to skip the tearful moments everybody warned me of. I was very proud of myself, my competent husband and my little girl and will definitely do it again soon and I can only recommend it to all the new mums out there!

However, after this great first weekend away my first emotional rollercoaster week started. Out of the blue Zoe started to wake up a lot during the nights and needing feeds everytime. I must say, it hit me by surprise. I’ve heard about and seen it many times from mummy friends, I read about it often but so far I was very lucky that I’ve never been sleep deprived for several days in a row and my hormones seemed fine and normal. Well… it had to come at some stage I guess. And it hit me hard. Just for time in mother’s day – har, har! Only that I didn’t find it funny at all in that moment.
For all the mums out there who suffer from constant sleep deprivation: I have NO idea how you handle it, really. You deserve my biggest, biggest respect. I don’t know how you function? If I feel that crap after only a few days, how do you feel if you have this on a permanent basis? So yes, even me, the always (nadi)sunshine (hence my nickname) was suddenly not so sunshiney anymore at all. More like a mix of constant thunderstorms and rain. It took about 3-4 days filled with full-on grumpyness, anger, feeling helpless and overwhelmed until my lovely husband prescribed me to stop with everything. Cancel all plans, forget the errands, forget the house, the laundry, the cooking, the overdue blog post, you name it – just stop it. Oh how difficult it was for me. I was really resisting it, like I needed it (but I HAVE to do this, and this and that!) – but NO! Who says that actually? It’s only in my head and when you think about it it’s often just ourselves, who create the most stress and pressure in our life. Oh man. As if I could only relax if all the to do’s are done. This will never be the case! Yes, I needed time out. I followed his advice, my wonderful hubby took Zoe for 2 nights and I slept peacefully with my earplugs in and soon felt like my normal self is slowly coming out again of the cave.
But it made me thoughtful.. am I and people like me often doing too much? Are we too active? Too social? Wanting it all at the same time? So long until we’re totally stressed out? And why is it that way? I don’t have an answer yet but I learned from last week and try to keep my days a little leaner now. Only one activity and then rest and play time at home with Zoe. And in return she presents me with a nice, long 2 hour nap in the early afternoon (like now). Also not that bad! A little me time – wow!!! And I must say, it also made me think about work and time outs. Yes, I love it so much being a fulltime mum at the moment, but yes – it’s still nice having a bit of time without your little one. Even if it’s at the office (where noone is crying, you can sit and work and focus without being constantly distracted, get a coffee and drink it as long as it’s hot.. you get what I’m saying? ;). I suddenly began to understand some of my mummy-friends and why they want to go back to work for a bit and to have something else around you than just your gorgeous little baby. So yes, again – lots of thoughts and reflections, and no clear answers but still very interesting times and experiences these days… and definitely one big learning: get your breaks and little time outs. Also if you think you don’t need them, but believe me – we all do and deserve them ❤

blessednotstressed

If you are a bit like me, you should sometimes slow down a bit 😉

Which brings me to the end of my blog post today, a very quick and easy recipe for a super yummy pasta dish – cause sometimes it just has to go quick at night and all you want is carbs and comfort food. This pasta dish is not unhealthy at all though and if you get a good quality pasta like wholegrain or hemp, the one I used, you need much less pasta as it’s not only much healthier than white pasta but actually more filling, has a nice bite and is very comforting. I pair it with lots of sauce made with fresh organic veggies (cause there’s nothing worse than dry pasta!) made out of tons of fresh chard (Hello iron! Hello energy levels!) combined with some fresh spring onions, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and just a bit of goat cheese and pine nuts. It’s a really healthy, simple and delicious meal and a real crowd pleaser (even my friend’s little daughter of 1,5 years totally loved it).

chard-pasta

Lots of greens & good carbs – yes please!!!

Hemp pasta with chard, pine nuts &
sun-dried tomatoes

What you need…
(2 portions) 
All produce ideally organic if you can

  • 250g Hemp pasta (alternatively whole grain if you can’t get that)
  • A nice bunch of chard (green, red, yellow – all types work fine)
  • Spring onions (alternatively a normal onion)
  • Fresh garlic (alternatively dried, but it’s just in season here)
  • A handful of sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for about 10min
  • Half a handful of pine nuts
  • Some goat cheese (optional if your want a vegan meal)
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper or chili

What do do…

Cook pasta according to the instructions. Wash and chop all vegetables, chard can be rougher (also the stems), sun-dried tomatoes, onions and garlic smaller. Gently fry onions and garlic, add the chopped chard and fry them gently (if you have put a lid on the pan then it’ll go faster). When the chard starts to wilt, add the tomatoes, pine nuts, salt, pepper or chili according to taste. Serve with some sprinkled goat cheese on top and dig in 🙂

Thanks for reading & stay tuned on my FB page for an upcoming workshop on yoga & healthy food in June!

Lots of sunshine & love,
N xx