Early Spring Curry Bowl

Oh gosh it is Spring here … I literally did a little dance when I woke up on the 1st of September. The nights are already lighter, the few degree temperature drop is a blessing, and things are blossoming everywhere. It is time to really get in to the garden too .. and literally nothing makes me happier or more excited ( ok except for maybe being in the kitchen .. ) !

This following recipe is a result of harvesting almost the last of my winter vegetables … and quite honestly I am very proud of my amazing Kale and Cauliflower crop this year. Totally Pesticide free ( planted it with garlic and hand picked any of those hungry caterpillars ) and just beautiful looking too. Not to mention they taste amazing too ! There is nothing quite like eating your own homegrown veggies. Of Course buying from your local farmers market, wholesale store or organic place will result in an equally nutritious meal .. but I encourage you to get in to the garden this spring. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking and eating your own produce ! Why not check out the Little Veggie Patch site ? Their books and monthly newsletter have certainly have caused my love for the garden to blossom .. couldn’t help the pun !

So, back to the food ! I’ve been experimenting a lot with some fantastic homemade curries this winter. Most of them have been made from scratch, with home ground spices and hours over the stove top in the warm kitchen … perfect for winter afternoons. Whilst I am definitely not new to Indian flavours the experience from making these delicious nourishing dahl and curries has almost been as healing as the finished product. My desire to travel through India and Sri Lanka, it is safe to say, has tripled. Top that with my experimenting in Aruyvedic diets and treatments ( and getting some success in them too ) and I am an advocate for cooking in ghee and adding fresh ginger and turmeric to everything in site ! Not only is it delicious but I’ve been cold and flu free all season.

This particular curry bowl is a  definite transition in to spring, a little lighter and perfect for those still chilly nights. A  antastic homemade vegan curry, that is not only super easy and will freeze like a dream, but is loaded with alkalising, potassium rich and digestive friendly vegetables and spices.  Paired with some delicious sautéed ginger greens, brown rice and some homemade raita .. your body will thank you for it .. and so will your wallet. Thats right this is one uses super budget friendly superfoods and pantry/fridge staples !!

Early Spring Curry Bowl

As always with this recipe I have went homemade and organic where possible and most affordable. I recommend making the curry on a Sunday ( or your food prep day ) and enjoying with the extras through out the week. As with almost any curry it improves with time ! See notes at the bottom for extra protein variations and if you want to keep it entirely vegan.

Pumpkin, Kale and Cauliflower Curry
( Serves 6-8 … plenty for freezing !! )

600gm Pumpkin, cut in to bite size pieces
500gm Cauliflower, cut in to florets
1 Bunch Kale, stem removed and chopped
2 Carrots, cut in to bite size pieces
2 Onions, halved and thinly sliced.
1 cup Frozen Peas

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or 2 tbsp
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tbsp good quality curry powder/mix ( or use your own fav mix )

1 can 400gm chopped tomatoes
2 chopped fresh tomatoes
270ml Coconut milk ( must be full fat )
1 cup vegetable stock with 1 tbsp asv added
Himalayan Salt
Bunch of Coriander, leaves picked ( freeze the roots for use in curry pastes )

Heat oil and ghee in a large pot and add onions and a little salt. Sauté on a medium heat until golden and translucent. Add ginger and turmeric and sauté for a further 3-5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. don’t burn those spices !

Add all chopped pumpkin, cauliflower and carrot and give a good stir. Add in chopped and tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, adding kale 20 minutes in.

Add peas and cook for a further 10 minutes. Take off heat and miix in coriander leaves, reserving a few for serving.

Sautéed Ginger Greens

2 Handfuls of green beans
1 packed cup of baby spinach
1 tbsp ghee
2 inch pice of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lemon, half zest grated and juice
Himalayan Salt and Pepper

Place green beans in a bowl and fill with boiled water. Cover and leave.
Add ghee to pan, once melted add garlic, ginger and lemon zest. Allow to gently cook for 1-2 minutes.
Drain green beans and add to pan. Once warmed and cooked but still crisp add spinach. Stir and take off heat.
Add lemon Juice, salt and pepper.

Serve Curry with ginger greens, steamed brown rice, coriander leaves and homemade raita/chutneys either in a big comfortable bowl or as a fun Indian platter.

Variations

For a higher protein meal add red lentils with pumpkin and carrot.
To keep it entirely vegan make a vegan raita with shredded cucumber, shredded coconut, mint, lemon, a good drizzle of olive oil and salt an pepper.

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The epiphanies of turning 30 …

So yes … my last blog post was August last year. It is now June 2015 …. that is nearing the year mark.

First of all, love of my life number two, Oscar the Pugalier …. has been the most wonderful learning curve. That pup will forever believe he is human and dictate which walking route we take each evening. He just celebrated his first birthday !

The other half ( love of my life number one ) got his first big promotion after a lot of hard work. He loves his knew role and I can see his passion each day when he shares his thoughts with me. I am excited for him and know how good he is in his new role.  I cannot wait to see where this takes him. So inspirational.

Myself .. ? I got sick .. really sick. Weeks after my last blog my health declined, weight dropped .. and I could barely wait each day until it was time to go back to bed. It was hard to care beyond what I had to do. Then I ended up in hospital with stupid low potassium levels ( that stuff is painful to replace .. think acid in your veins ) and weird spiking/dropping sugar levels that caused pretty scary seizures. Yup .. 2014 didn’t quite deliver the healthy self I aimed for.

Then came our Bali and Lombok ‘escape Christmas’ holiday … which I went on despite dubious doctors thoughts .. and goodness did that trip heal me. No longer was I sickly Cheryl.  Suddenly we were taking leisurely breakfasts, walking the beaches, taking yoga and mediation classes and sampling the best Indonesian fare .. whilst truly staying in some amazing hotels and boutique resorts. We reconnected with each other .. and ourselves. Here came epiphany number one .. Doctors are not always right. My interest for natural healing and holistic nutrition doubled.

On a side note … I will post about some properties I have stayed at in Bali and Lombok over the last year … I urge you to try these properties, they are so different and unique each way I feel that at least one will resonate with your holiday self … if not all, like me ! Bali is so much more than a cheap getaway for Australians. Indonesia is a very special place to visit – I encourage you to embrace all it has to offer !

Sadly my return home saw my health decline again .. and truly it got me terribly depressed .. and grumpy !!  That centred being with glowing skin ( It really was .. ) that walked off the plane from Bali disappeared almost completely in a matter of a month. What can you do when you can’t even keep your social plans ? I was back to doing the bare minimum … work, eat, sleep. It felt like the walls were closing in again … Doctor after doctor just sent me to the hospital. Miserable … with a capital ‘M’.

It didn’t help that this year I was turning 30 and felt my life was slowly sliding backwards instead of piloting forwards. Where was my high flying career ? Where was my success .. my pulitzer prize, my New York Times review … ?! Ok, I got carried away. Truly though, I once had dreams … and I was back to hoping I could just make it to work for the day .. and through that day for that matter. I didn’t see the point in setting goals or having dreams .. what was the point if you could never reach/achieve them ? I once was a high achiever .. and yet my ‘gumption’ had gone.

Then one day early May I woke up .. and epiphany number two hit . Now this could very well be that our new mattress and pillows finally meant a proper nights sleep or.. that my regular physio sessions were magically helping with my joint and neck pain management .. but I think my mind just shifted. I have become comfortable in my own skin – and isn’t that the magic of growing older ? I am not just my illness. I achieve things every day. I have travelled the world .. experienced many wonderful cultures and will do so till my dying days. I am ok with who I am .. because I have grown and continue to seek ways to do so each day. I strive to be good to others and myself.

With that in mind I felt like I could begin to Blog again. I want this blog to be what I set out it to be. A place of mindfulness, exploration, growth and love of life … now I feel it can.

Sooo here it is .. my new commitment to what is Missy Bluebird. It is not about finding happiness over the rainbow .. its is about enjoying life and marvelling at the beauty, rather than focusing on the battles. I think with this we can all live over that mythical rainbow ! Now … They say things come in threes … so I look forward to epiphany number 3 because its sure to be a cracker !

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21 days to make a habit …

Yes it has been a while … but hey increased hours at work and the beckoning call of a milder Adelaide summer has had me a run a little ragged ! Not to mention some fun Fringe Festivities .. Really, I am in awe that today is the 1st of April ! How, may I ask are we in the fourth month of the year already? It feels like I just took my christmas tree down … well it did take a while to undecorate and dismantle all seven foot of it !

Seriously though Summer has been a mixed bag of new ventures, friendships, bumper crops of tomatoes, basil and zucchinis, booking loads of travel ( for others .. ) and a few relaxing Sundays with Rose and music. Its been up and down in the gut/joint department too (but I may be partially to blame here )… and thanks to further strata ‘levies’, I now simply refer to our savings account as the ‘s’ fund ! But hey I have had some fun in my absence from the blog. Yet last week, curled up on the couch and in the grips of a nasty flu, I realised how much I’ve missed it and hence I am back with a commitment to post each week ! Baby steps and all …

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But back to the fact it is now April… we are one month in to Autumn now, my absolute favourite month and in true Adelaide fashion we have had all sorts of weather … last week I had the heater on and was dreaming up pumpkin recipes and today is 31 and I’m thinking of raiding the rest of my summer veg patch to create a yummy vegetarian salad with help of the BBQ. Cause switching that oven on is just going to be too much !  And with that last comment finally I come to the point of todays post.

Sam and I are going vegetarian … for 21 days ! True this moment has been coming since I got my hands on GK Stories book last year, but its with great surprise that Sam is keen to join in .. almost excited in fact. True our diet over the last year has migrated to a much more plant based one … but no meat or seafood for 21 days, over 3 meals a day is going to be a feat, let me tell you. I confess I am not sure Sam will make it and I am already thinking of the best place for a seafood platter on 22/04 ! Yet I love goals, I love challenges and the idea behind 21 ? Well as the old saying goes, it takes 21 days to create a habit. No we are not going veg for life .. I couldn’t possibly give up my Salmon and Sam would perhaps wilt away … but the idea is to shake up our weekly meals and discover some great new recipes together.

Admittedly I had a small freak out Sunday when planning the weekly meals. After all I do most all of the cooking .. and what if I could not find fast, simple, clean recipes that are appropriately balanced and gentle enough on my stomach ?! In our house hold we love cheese .. it just doesn’t always love me … and Sunday morning all I was finding were cheese or gluten based vegetarian alternatives. GULP. I’d already put our challenge out there to friends, family and the universe ( since January ! ) .. so it was a commitment, but what to cook ?! Enter a blog I rediscovered just this morning … My Darling Lemon Thyme. One talented blogger and chef who has saved me, got me excited again and also given me an excuse to buy yet another cookbook ( released today .. ) !

Thus get your screens ready for the trials and tribulations of our 21 day challenge. My Pinterest page will be updated regularly with recipe ideas and I will pop even a few tried and tested recipes up here as well. We hope to discover as a few vegetarian/vegan friendly spots around Adelaide too. And last but not least, if you have any fav recipes or South Australian haunts for the vegetarian then I’d love to hear ?!

Till next time .. xo

 

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A Joint Affair …

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The blogging world has had to take a side step for me the last 2 months … as has the yoga and a lot of my experimental hours in the kitchen. I don’t mind telling you it has been one tough trot .. with a way to go. Still I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and I am back writing, reading and learning new ways to reach my goals. Despite it having been an overly emotional few months full of financial and medical challenges I feel I have come out the other end more determined than ever to achieve that healthy, successful lifestyle. This too shall pass.

Like most I have my bad days and good days; those times when goals and dreams give way to self doubt and pity. Yet truthfully there are few things that truly terrify me and leave me wondering how to cope. My recent $800 electricity phone bill is one of them (!) , my sometimes apparent lack of control over my health can prove another, but mostly I dust myself off, pick myself up and get on with it. I put this down to a damn good read gifted to me many years ago in difficult times and the fact that I honestly believe that we can change almost anything in our own lives. Sure the washing machine will go at the same time as the mobile phones and epic strata and car maintenance bills will coincide. Such is life … scream, sob and then re-evaluate, set goals and regain perspective. If it is not life or death it is really not worth worrying too hard about.

But folks some times in life can be more mentally draining than others … and damn scary.

2 months ago my left elbow went dry, scaly and discolored (purple ) … then a week later my left elbow did the same and suddenly I found myself barely able to bend my fingers or knees … simple tasks like walking, bending down or even cutting a loaf of bread had me looking ( and feeling ) like someone much more my senior. There was a trip to emergency when so much as bending my left elbow left me in agonizing pain, there has been acupuncture, GP’s, blood tests ( and more to come ), steroids ( nasty ! ), anti-inflammatory drugs ( not good for a tummy as sensitive as mine ) and still we are playing around with the diagnosis. Viral counts are high, Vit. D is non-existent and after ruling out RA or Psoriasis it is back on the table according to the doctor.  It has proved a painfully emotional roller coaster that along with my digestive issues, has at times required a lot of that “chin up tiger” attitude.

The pain right now is manageable, and truthfully I am uncertain what has caused it to subside a little – god knows I have hit it with everything I have got. I’ve only managed one Yoga class .. but try for a daily walk no matter the pace. Exercise is so important to our well being and digestion after all ! The warmer weather here in Adelaide does seem to help a little – as does the epsom salt baths I take ( will share my ‘recipe’ here soon ). Sam and I still concurred our Sydney trip – despite my doubts and I cannot wait to share some of the pics and recommendations on here.

Yet for now I just wanted to say a big, HELLO – Blogging world I am back and despite a few battle wounds and a few more complications on this journey of mine, I am ok and will survive the latest too ! I will be focusing a lot on pain management and anti-inflammatory eating, and a newly found naturopath ( really what are nightshade vegetables … and Im a little scared of all this vega testing ?! ), but any advice, as always is welcome and received with gratitude !

Failures, Flukes and Fancies.

Now we are in August the promise of spring surrounds us here in Adelaide. Clothing stores are now filling their shelves with lighter fabrics in brilliant corals and pastels (yipee!), my almond tree blossomed for the first time on Sunday and my mind is beginning to fill up with spring time fancies. Whilst it isn’t quite time to say goodbye to the sneaky red wines, warming casseroles and knitted wear just yet … I find myself beginning to dream of long beach side walks, leisurely cycles, nourishing salads had alfresco and getting stuck in to some serious spring gardening. With spring comes hope – and daffodils !

First Almond Blossom !

First Almond Blossom !

This Winter has proved a wonderfully nurturing time for me. I have taken the last few months to really sit back and think about who I am, what I want and try to change things both inside and out in order to achieve a happier and much healthier me.  Of course there have been many failures, plenty of frustration, the odd successes and down right flukes. I find it very difficult to admit to failure – but let me just say I am not a squatter or a dedicated knitter ! I do love to cook and have discovered a love for new ingredients and recipes… but I am not there yet. I love yoga, but I am still very much the stiff amateur and the idea of becoming a runner …. is still very much that, an idea. I sometimes fail to remember that some foods are downright bad for my digestive health. Sometimes my body just fails, even when I think I’ve done it all right.

Guess what ? My greatest revelation in the last few months is to accept that I can fail. Without failure we cannot grow, learn and improve. Even the most talented of us fail on our road to success. It’s not to be ashamed of ! You cannot fail without trying .. so as long as I continue to try for that happier, healthier lifestyle there will be failures – and I accept them ! I fancy myself to be one day the dedicated Yogi, who shops weekly at farmers markets, runs charity marathons, cooks up deliciously healthy meals, creates artwork with the camera and travels freely and successfully through life. Here is to failure if it gets me there !

A key factor in shifting my attitude has been accepting that which occurs and focusing on turning it in to the positive. In the last week Sam has hit a Kangaroo and damaged the car and his back ( expensive and scary ! ), the dryer has broken, my stomach has went from good to bad and I had a less than successful work week. 6 months ago I would have been a mess of tears after a week like the this one. However, our normally high electricity bill was in credit (total fluke !), in light of the dryer we have decided to renovate the laundry and are finally getting a new washing machine with our tax return ( yes !! ), in a bid to help get the digestive system back on track I forgo Friday night’s creamy mash and discovered roasted cauliflower ( OMG – you must try this recipe ) and with budget/health in mind Sam and I finally visited the Adelaide Farmer’s Market on Sunday – check out the goodies !  🙂

Of course much of this positive outlook ‘stuff’ has been hard work ( and yes I some times fail ! ). A deliberate focus on reading blogs, magazines and books filled with inspirational messages, helpful information and people I aspire to has had a definite impact on my outlook and in turn overall health. I’ve made it a habit to talk to and surround myself with positive like-minded people and try to steer away from negative behaviors. In actively placing visual reminders around the home and yes even my recent time consuming obsession with pinterest ( you can follow me here – so much fun ! ) I can get back on the positive bandwagon even on the worst days. Slowly things are improving in the health department and I honestly feel this is of a direct result to me outlook. I plan to add a page to the blog sometime soon ( I have technical difficulties with blogging! ) with links to websites/blogs/books/people that have/are helping motivate and teach me. But this week it’s all been about Lorna Jane and her incredible pinterest boards ( see obsessed .. ), T2 Tea ( Chai and Tummy Tea = LOVE ) and using seasonal vegetables to create some simple nourishing meals.

I would love to hear about what is inspiring you to lead a positive and healthy life !

Hurdles

Healthy, Happy and Energetic – these are the three words I would like to be able to use to describe my last week – and indeed myself in general.  They are three words which I feel lead to a life worth celebrating each day.

The last week however has proved an epic challenge and in many ways I have failed to aim and concentrate on the important goals I have set myself ! In conjunction with my return to work my digestion has not exactly played fair. Poor planning, a lack of focus and lack of exercise most definitely have played a part. Failure, like success, is a collection of smaller things that you do ( or don’t do ) daily which in turn cause an outcome. It’s also so much about mindset.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” – Buddha

My return to work stirred all sorts of emotions. I am so lucky to be working with a great bunch of lassies and creating a lot of wonderful memorable adventures for people, however the negative aspects of my job ( and all jobs have them ! ) stood out non the less; as did the blatant fact that my poor health is stopping me from achieving success in my line of work – or ever challenging myself to achieve loftier things. It is interesting I chose to take this outlook rather than celebrate the fact I was able to return to work at all. Sam flew out to Mexico to celebrate with all the high achievers in our industry this past week and I am certain that a quieter household and the fact I was unable to join him in celebrating success is why I chose to reflect in such a downtrodden manner. I found myself with less time to focus and inspire myself and so I subsequently I didn’t concentrate on my goals when I did have the time.

I almost decided not to put up this post, given that it is meant to be a positive space and the fact I wish to encourage and inspire others, but as downs are as much a part of any journey than ups, it seemed wrong not to share. It’s not easy for a perfectionist to admit all is not …   perfect ( for lack of a better word ) , but I truly believe without failure there is never success. I do not know who originally said it, but google positive affirmations and you will be greeted with a plethora of quotes that take a similar line.

It is not enough to accept a hurdle or kink in the road, but one must truly overcome them to move forward. Thus inspired by one of the books I am currently reading,  The Happiness Project,  I have decided to dedicate the next four weeks to improving my energy. Gretchen Rubin’s no-nonsense approach to achieving happiness by setting clear, measurable goals appeals to my nature and with more energy surely I can remain more focused on my goals and health. It ties in so nicely with my return to work and more hectic days .. I cannot believe I did not think of it sooner. Such is the purpose of hurdles !

So for now I am off to regroup, set some clear measurable goals based around improving my energy levels … and yes .. drop 70 squats ( ! ).