Tuesday, January 29, 2013

a few of my favourite things {january 2013}

peg planes
peg planes

There's less than one week left of the summer holidays. Less than one week until my baby girl moves up to year 1 and the little man begins his first official year of pre-primary (the equivalent of new entrants in NZ). Gulp, it's 5 days a week and he's to wear a uniform. Far out where did all those years go? I still remember with great clarity being at work (pre-kids), looking over the counter of the open kitchen and seeing one of my friends come into the cafe after dropping off her youngest at school on his first day. She had tears in her eyes and was visibly shaken by the experience. At the time I didn't get it, no one can until it is themselves going through it, but boy how I now do. The timing of him starting school in some ways couldn't have worked out any more perfectly (you try writing a cookbook with kids at home, it ain't easy!), but then there is still that part of me that says "he's too young, he's still a baby. My baby"

So while we live the last ever week of school-less days (well for the next 12-13 years or so at least!) I leave you with a bunch of great things that have crossed my path this past month. It's a very music-heavy list, as all summer ones should be I reckon. Enjoy xx

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

strawberry + coconut popsicle recipe {vegan}

summer 2013

I'm not always that good with change. Just like the kids I quite like knowing what's going to happen next and absolutely hate that feeling of not knowing the local language when thrown in the deep end. And so I find myself sitting here typing up this post on my trusty old computer while the brand-spanking new one sits to the side of me on the desk, lid down and lifeless. I've given it a good shot I really have, I've spent way too many late nights trying to get my head around this new beast and have transferred over a big bulk of my book work so I can keep working without interruption. But then the time comes to write up this post and it all just felt a little too hard. My brain hurts, and I just liked the way things were you know? We really needed to get a new one as this one has a lovely habit of overheating and turning itself off, not really the best thing to be dealing with when working on something so important. That and the fact that this computer isn't even really ours, although we have been told we can keep it, it's still the one that we originally borrowed from my sister-in-law when the our first old faithful up and died. For someone that spends a good part of everyday online it may come as a surprise to you all, but I really am no tech-head. I get easily frustrated with computers and many-a-time would rather just pick up a pen and paper to write, it's so much easier on the brain I find.

So while I get back to my cursing at damn learning how to navigate windows 8, I'll leave you with this super simple popsicle (aka ice-block, icy-pole) recipe that we've been eating all summer long. I'm sure just like every time I curse a new facebook change, I will get over it and what once seemed too hard with become second nature. Well, here's hoping anyways, I've got a lot of work to get done! 

strawberry coconut popsicles {vegan}

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

tofu, herb + mango salad with dijon mustard dressing recipe

mango, tofu + herb salad with dijon mustard dressing

A few weeks back we were over at my mother-in-laws house when Si's cuzzy Luke Nguyen came on telly. He's not really his cousin but like so many other South Vietnamese we share the same surname as him (I'm actually a Nguyen by marriage, but I still go by my maiden name most of the time). I've always wondered why every second family in Vietnam is a Nguyen, I mean Smith is a pretty common surname in the western world but not every second family is a Smith eh! So I got talking to my brother in law about this and it turns out no one really knows if they are Nguyen's for sure. Back in the day everyone wanted to be part of the Nguyen dynasty so many families changed their last names! Classic. I suppose that's one way to do it and a damn site easier than trying to marry into royalty.

mango, tofu + herb salad with dijon mustard dressing

The week before Si and I were watching one of the shows in Greater Mekong where Luke was back in Vietnam sitting on a boat cooking with his parents and talking about when they fled the war. The stories I have heard of that time (someone could seriously make a movie about Si's families life) and about the multiple attempted escapes via boat only to be caught and chucked in jail, have moved me so much that I find myself instantly drawn in whenever I hear the stories of others. I can't even begin to tell you how it felt when Si and I travelled to Vietnam and stood on the exact same spot where they boarded the boat his father made and farewelled their country, old remnants of boats still scattered around the place. 
Friday, January 11, 2013

Inspire me: Sarah B from My New Roots

My first Inspire me post of the new year is someone that really won't need any introduction... Sarah B, the ever positive voice behind My New Roots has worked up quite a name for herself over the past few years, sharing her trademark health-inspired recipes (often over on Martha Stewart's Meatless Mondays series too!), in-depth nutritional information and holistic beliefs that captivated me from the very first time I stumbled across her blog. 
Nutrition was always at the forefront of our lives growing up and when I first moved home (to NZ) from Australia in my early 20's I was all set to give up cooking and train as a ayurvedic practioner... before cooking lured me back in! It is this side of Sarah's blog that I love the most, her knowledge as a holistic nutritionist is boundless and her zest for life infectious. 

Thanks so much Sarah for taking the time out of your (super) busy schedule to share a little more about yourself with us! Much love Emm xx

1. What is your blog about and when did you first push publish?
My blog is My New Roots. My first post was in October of 2007. 

2. Tell us your cooking philosophy in three words.
Whole-food. Plant-based. Delicious. 

3. What's your favourite season?
Such a tough one! I think autumn is my favorite because of the variety of amazing produce that is being harvested at that time. All the hard work from the summer pays off in total abundance. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the famed green juice recipe from my 3 day detox

green juice

I'm craving a huge bowlful of yoghurt, topped with berries, bananas and nuts. Like, really really craving them. As I sit here late at night typing up this post I am only one sleep away from my dream bowl of yoghurt. By the time you've read this tomorrow morning I will have finished my 3 day detox, eaten that said bowl of yoghurt, not topped with bananas as we are all out, but most definitely sprinkled with the few scavenged berries from the pots out back and a generous handful of almonds.
It's funny how the second we can't eat certain things, it's all we crave. First thing in the morning for the past three days all I've wanted is yoghurt, same goes for late at night before I go to bed. I swear I've been eating it in my dreams.

I'm not one of those people who do cleanses all the time, sure I think about doing them often but I've always got some completely valid excuse not to (don't we all?!). That's not to say that I haven't done them at all, I have. But if I'm being completely honest the last one I did was well over 2, okay maybe three years ago now and my body has been screaming out for another ever since. 

green juice
green juice

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt recipe

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt

I hadn't planned on seeing the New Year in. Unlike back in my teenage years I really can't be arsed with the whole kerfuffle that goes with New Years Eve. Maybe it's what happens when you get a little older, the whole pressure to 'go out' really doesn't even come into play once you're over 30 I reckon (or does it?), or maybe it's just that the idea of being woken up at 5.30am from kids jumping on your bed is enough to make any sane person want to stay at home. I don't know, either way I really had all intentions of being fast asleep as the fireworks went off ringing in the new year. But yeah well, the boy had other ideas didn't he.

11.53pm I was awoken by his sobs in the room next door. It turns out he was in the midst of another one of his night terrors he's becoming well known for. I heard the thud of fireworks in the distance as I lay next to him stroking his back trying to calm and reassure him that there really weren't two balloons in the corner of his room, belonging to his sister that was requiring him to have a full melt-down in the middle of the night. He was beyond consolable the poor thing (and has no recollection of these terrors the following morning). By the time he finally settled after I promised him a hundred times that I would buy him some balloons in the morning it was nearly 1am. Happy New years!

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt

Earlier in the evening we celebrated the end of 2012 the best way I know how by eating home made frozen yoghurt for dessert, that is after we had a banh xeo feast at my mother-in-laws for lunch. Much more my style these days, now that I am a Nana and all. This frozen yoghurt is a version of Sara Forte's one from her book The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. I'm not usually into anything peppermint and only recently acquired peppermint extract for the first time, ever, after I needed it to make some cookies for the kids teachers before Christmas. But it was the flavour that had the most votes in our house when I suggested making ice cream, so I went with it. I can't tell you how surprised I was when it came to tasting this frozen treat, it's minty but not in-your-face-so, it's delicate and beautifully creamy with a gentle tang from the yoghurt. Sara suggests you could always use coconut milk/cream in place of the whipping cream if you prefer, but as I had a little carton of cream left in the fridge from Christmas (and now that we tolerate it occasionally) I went the whole hog and threw it in. 

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