Not always a perfect bed of roses

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“The kitchen smells amaaaazing Mum. What’s cooking?” To me it was just another morning. In fact, it was a morning that felt I had a lot to do in little time as I had slept in an hour more than usual.

My son’s statement spiraled me into deep thought. I found myself reflecting on the overwhelming sense of ‘burden’ that we feel from time to time as we purposefully choose to live a lifestyle that holds real food as a real priority. Coming from a teenager who at times along our food journey has been quite disgruntled with the changes we have made to our way of eating, this statement resonated deeply.

These words were a blessing of inspiration & encouragement. Whilst the real food journey can appear as a bed of perfect roses with pictures of lavish meals & stories of families eating sauerkraut, pate’ & kefir the journey of Pinkfarm is just that. A journey. It is a journey with bumps, curves, deviations and challenges. It is a journey of dedication & commitment. It is a journey of hard work and consistency that comes with laughter & tears, joy & conflict. Behind the scenes of the glossy social media images, real life perils exist for Pinkfarm. From divorce to family conflicts, troubled friendships and the challenges of raising children, our commitment to real food remains strong, yet at times is strained.

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When providing real food for your family becomes a real priority, the reality is that it also takes real time & effort. Overtime, the day in, day out preparation and serving of real food can wear you down. We do have days where the faded memories of a ‘simple’ bowl of cereal for breakfast & the ‘ease’ of a sandwich’ for lunch seems a whole lot easier. But there is no turning back. So where do we get the strength & drive to keep doing what we do?

“The kitchen smells amaaaazing Mum!” It is moments like these that we embrace. Reflecting on these simple words has reinforced to us, the importance of creating real food in the home…..creating aromas of real food that imprint on our children’s psyche. Should our children’s food choices deviate at times in their life, it is these sensual imprints that will return them to real food. These moments remind us of the importance of why we are doing what we do.

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This morning was really no different to any other morning. Breakfast to cook, lunches to prepare, kefir to strain, ghee to make, kids to get to school, washing to do, dishes to unpack, dinner to plan. After days, and seemingly weeks of feeling like our passionate food journey had become just a list of more everyday tasks, this moment lead us to the light and inspiration we needed. It lead us to a conversation of sharing our emotion around these momentary feelings of burden & monotony.

This reminded us of the appreciation our role & “jobs” are deserving of. Again we saw the very magnitude of what we do everyday. Rather than feeling like we were just another fish in the sea taking pictures of our food and raving on social media about the importance of healthy eating…….we took a step back and allowed ourselves to feel a renewed sense of self worth and encouragement. Feeding our families real food, really isn’t just another everyday job.

We know without question, that the choice to eat real food is for the short & long term benefit of ours & our children’s health. It is more than just putting food on the table.   It is so much more. Creating a real food sensual imprint for our children is going to build a future of adults who know how to prepare, appreciate, enjoy & value the benefits of real food and what it means to be healthy. It is about seeing. Knowing how to make pancakes because you watched your Mum do it, or feeling excited by the array of colour in your weekly fruit and veggie bags. It is about touching. Remembering the sensation of poking those egg whites beaten to stiff peaks or how your arm hurt when you insisted on mixing the cake batter. It is about tasting. Is it salty, sweet, sour, crunchy, spicy or fresh. It is about listening. Learning to understand how your body works and how it feels good or bad depending on what we feed it. It is about smell. The aromas that take you back to the familiar cosy feelings of home and feeling nurtured.

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There are many variables in life that make us question the value and worth of what we choose to do. It might be the isolation we feel from family & friends because we eat differently. It might be the overwhelming burden of cooking food all day long. Or it may be the “yuk, yuk yuk” word that gets thrown at us just once too often.   It is inevitable that no matter where we are on our food journey, there will always be challenges.

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Two of the biggest challenges we have experienced on our food journey towards building better health for ourselves & our family are:

1/ Making the changes &

2/ Maintaining them.

So whilst the amazing smell might be “the spice rubbed lamb shoulder in the slow cooker, the 24 choc banana cupcakes cooling on the rack, or perhaps the sausages and eggs cooking for breakfast, the joy of preparing real food can at times be over-powered by feelings of burden & monotony.   Although it turned out to be an unpredictably productive morning it was the statement , “the kitchen smells amaaaazing Mum”, that had the most impact.

Whilst the real food journey is not always easy, it is a journey better shared. When we recognize and acknowledge this reality and verbalise it to others we feel not so alone. In those moments or days where what we are striving for seems all too hard, out of our reach, or even impossible, we can envision our tribe standing by saying, “You can do it.” In the end it is only us that can do it and it is only us that can make it happen. Sometimes for us it is as simple as just getting on with it and making it fucking happen!

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Paleo Choc-Banana Cupcakes or Loaf

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We are so excited to be sharing this new recipe. We’ve recipe tested it for a while and believe it’s a winner… Paleo, Nut-free Choc-banana cupcakes. Dense.  Moist. Chocolate rich & delicious. This recipe works well as 12 cupcakes or a small loaf.  Top with our Choc-Honey Buttercream icing or for some other Real Food Icing ideas visit Brenda Janschek’s post here.

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This recipe uses a mix of flours, but mostly coconut flour. Our journey with coconut flour has come a long way and we must say, we’ve endured a love hate relationship with it.  We love that it’s a grain free, gluten free and nut free baking option; low in phytates and high in fibre and protein, but have to admit we’ve had some epic fails… Coconut flour will suck the moisture from your baked goods and if you aren’t prepared, you’ll end up with a throat of saw dust that’s hard to swallow. Here’s what we’ve learnt from our journey with coconut flour. 

1. It needs moisture. Lots of it.  Coconut flour is ultra absorbent and requires pairing with a mixture of eggs, oil, milk, cream & or fruit. 

2. It needs friends. Coconut flour works best in combination with other flours. It pairs beautifully with almond meal but if you are after a nut free option, true arrowroot works well. 

3. It works well with fruit. Many sites will recommend using apple cider vinegar and baking soda to help with aeration and rising. We have found that using a combination of fruit (food acid) with baking powder has the same effect and the fruit also serves as adding more moisture to the batter. 

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Paleo Choc-Banana Cupcakes
Dense. Moist. Chocolate rich. Delicious. What more can we say? This nut free Paleo recipe works well as a loaf or will make 12 gorgeous cupcakes. The recipe can be doubled or tripled as required. We love to top ours with our Choc-Honey Buttercream Icing. These keep well in an airtight container for 5-7 days in the fridge...if they don't get eaten before then! Enjoy!
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Wet Ingredients
  1. 300g Very ripe bananas
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 90g melted coconut oil
  4. 40g raw honey
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 110g Medjool dates pitted
Dry Ingredients
  1. 50g Coconut flour
  2. 50g Arrowroot flour
  3. 30g Cacao Powder
  4. 1.5 tsp of baking powder
Choc-Honey Buttercream Icing
  1. 300g Softened cultured unsalted butter
  2. 70g Raw honey
  3. 40g Cacao Powder
  4. 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Blend wet ingredients until smooth in a food processor or thermo-mix. Set aside.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl until well combined.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry mix and combine well.
  4. Pour into lined muffin trays or loaf tin.
  5. Bake at 150c for 30mins for cupcakes or about 60mins for loaf, or until inserted knife comes out clean.
  6. Top with Choc-Honey Buttercream Icing or your fave icing of choice.
  7. Choc-Honey Buttercream Icing
  8. Whip all ingredients together in a glass bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy.
Pinkfarm https://www.pinkfarm.com.au/

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Cuppa Brothy

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Making a “Cuppa Brothy” the norm? It wasn’t always. Here’s our top 8 tips for making the impossible a reality.  

Not so many years ago the thought of drinking bone broth, let alone getting our kids to drink it, seemed like the impossible. But today we can say that the impossible is now a reality and our children can sit and enjoy a warm “Cuppa Brothy”.  

We have found that the biggest hurdle when instigating changes like this with your family is yourself. Time and time again we realised that we need to start with ourselves.  Like Gandhi’s famous words, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Then we can only hope that our children and loved ones will look to us as role models and spark the movement towards something new. Now that we enjoy this nourishing essential, our children have been able to take it on board. IMG_2033

Here are our Top 8 Tips for getting your family to share a love for bone broth.  

  1. Be Open to understanding the nutritional benefits of this essential pillar of health. “With knowledge comes awareness and with awareness comes change.” Read more about the nutritional benefits here
  2. Face Your Fears.  Quite often our own judgement and perception can block our openness to learn, understand and embrace the benefits and importance of any lifestyle change. This is a major road block in itself. Once we face our fears we can feel empowered to step out of our comfort zone and make a change.
  3. Connect To Your Roots. Talk to your Grandparents or Great Grandparents about bone broth. Do they remember a pot of bone broth simmering on the stove? Do they remember the jelly broth in the fridge? What did they use it for? What are their memories? Seeking this knowledge from our ancestors allows us to reconnect with our culture and heritage which provides more meaning and purpose to the practice.
  4. Share Your Knowledge.  Don’t underestimate the depth of understanding a child is capable of. Explain it as it is. Why is bone broth good for our bodies? Where does it come from and how is it made? Emphasise the ethical values around using the entire animal. 
  5. Start Slowly.  Every family is different. If you are at the end of the spectrum and feel you have no change of anyone in your family sitting down to a ‘cuppa brothy’, don’t start there. Add bone broths to all of your cooking… soups, stews, gravies, veggies. Let your children see the way you make it and use it. 
  6. Experiment with Flavour. The simple addition of salt and butter to a warm cuppa bothy converts this culinary medium to a nourishing taste sensation and sheds light on making the impossible a reality. Try adding mixed dried herbs or wakame & miso. Our lastest fav flavour of turmeric, cumin, lemon juice, salt & butter was inspired by our recent involvement in the Paleoway Tour with Chef Pete Evans and Luke Hines.   
  7. Persist & Persevere.  Changes like this can take time. Lots of time. For us we are talking years! Incorporating new foods into our lifestyle is different for everyone and influenced by many factors. Children need to taste new foods at least ten times to acquire a taste for foods that were otherwise foreign to their palates. Don’t give up. 
  8. Make it a Ritual.  When you are ready, you may switch out your morning coffee to a ‘cuppa brothy’. The ritual around making a warm drink and sitting down to enjoy it, is valued and savoured by many. Believe it or not, we enjoy our ‘cuppa brothy’ as much or if not more than we used to enjoy our tea or coffee. 

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We hope you enjoy your journey towards sharing a love for a ‘cuppa brothy’ with your family. 

Letting Go

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After 13 days, I finally have my boy back in my arms and one of the first things he said to me was, “Mum, I think my body is asking for kefir, kombucha, brothy and lots of veggies.” A timely and appropriate request given that he’d come down with a fever and upset tummy on his arrival home.  For those of us travelling over the silly season, or even if we weren’t, we may have indulged in a range of foods that we don’t usually eat on a day-to-day basis. For many of us, those foods would have been eaten joyfully, and quite possibly, if we were surrounded by family and friends, and lots of love, would have been a big dose of social and spiritual nutrition despite their not so great ingredients.

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In our every day lives, we can often find that food has become laced with confusion or conflict. Is this good for us? Is it Paleo? Is it gluten free, grain free, sugar free? Will I gain weight? Food seems to have been reduced to being on a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ list. But food really is so much more than this. Isn’t it?

D’s trip to America over Christmas would have surely seen him indulge in American cuisine… from hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers and probably much more sugar than he would ever have on a daily basis. Was I concerned? Of course! But, over time, I knew I had to let this go and allow him to experience this trip and all the joy that went along with it. I also had to let go of a whole lot more than just food.

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2014 has been a roller coaster of a year with one of my biggest challenges being a marriage separation. This meant D travelling to the USA with his Dad to spend Christmas with his family he had never met. As this trip grew closer I realised how much more than food I needed to let go of. 

As a mother who has nurtured an extremely close attachment to my son; home-birth, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and gentle parenting, letting go and seeing him, at 4 years of age, travel to the other side of the world without me was a huge ask. At the first thought of this prospect, my body reacted fiercely with an, “over my dead body” response. This response did not feel great; physically, mentally and emotionally and over time, and with much reflection and inner strength, I freed myself from this harsh stance as I began to loosen my grip. 

 A solo trip to Mullumbimby for some self love and self care helped guide me and free me from so much pent up stress, worry and resistance that was only causing more pain than good. It was through this time alone with reflection and deep inner thought that I came to realise that I needed to honour, respect and above all, trust the relationship between my son and his father.  Although he was on the other side of the world,  I had to trust that his father could too, parent, nurture and care for our son. IMG_4373

One of the biggest struggles I had with ‘letting go’ was around food. I have to be honest and share, that as a mother, who has been on a health journey since before D was born, I have done absolutely everything possible to ensure the food my four year old has eaten has been optimal. I was beside myself at the thought of him being away from me for this long, and not having ‘control’ over what he would be eating. But, as the trip grew closer I knew there was a greater lesson in this for him and especially for me.

Since D was young I have not only ensured he has eaten nutrient dense food, but I have also strived to educate him on the whys of eating real food and have also helped him tune in and listen to his body. I believe that children especially, if not tainted by a diet riddled with processed foods, sugar and MSG, are innately aware of what their bodies need. They can have more insight than we do and because they often haven’t developed the labels, judgment and emotional connections to food, are able to tap into this awareness at a far deeper level. I have also taught him that people have different beliefs and views around food and that it’s OK to have a different opinion to someone else. IMG_4555

I have recently been reading about the four aspects of food and nutrition: biological, psychological, social and spiritual nutrition, which has helped my perspective on food deepen and grow and has given me peace around D’s trip to the US and also helped me let go of the control I tried to enforce around food, realising there is a much bigger picture to be understood.  

Biological nutrition consumes a great deal of what we discuss and share on Pinkfarm- Nutrient dense foods that have the power to nourish and heal. All the foods I long for D to be consuming daily!  Science backs this up and there is a growing awareness around the healing properties and power of real food and how important biological nutrition is. Read more about our take on real food here.

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Psychological nutrition is another aspect that Pinkfarm places great emphasis on as this relates directly to gut health and how food can influence mood, emotions, behaviour and food choices. Gut health is the driving force behind our food journeys and after gaining an understanding of the intricate networks of our micro-biome and its connection with our entire bodily functions, in particular the mind, psychological nutrition is key. Read more about gut health here

Social nutrition is about the joy of eating. The love and laughter we share around a meal at the dinner table and how eating like this can lead to nourishment on a far deeper level than eating stressed or on the run or eating in a state where we are worrying about each and every ingredient in the food in front of us.  I knew D’s time in the US would be filled with love, joy and excitement, so despite choices I may not have agreed with, I wasn’t there to stress him out or add any element of concern about the foods he was eating.  He would have been nourished with the love of family as well as nourishment from the food. IMG_2120The final aspect, spiritual nutrition, is one of wonder and mystery and is about this mystery of life inherent in both food and human beings. As we know, real food is life- living giving and life containing. As we teach our children, we want to eat food that is from nature. Spiritual nutrition is about acknowledging all parts of nature that food depends on- the sun, earth, soil, water and air. So, can this impact our health the way biological, psychological and social nutrition can? You bet. To derive the health benefits from spiritual nutrition one must be fully present, show gratitude and love each time you eat. This mindfulness, graciousness and love that is put into a meal slows us down and ensures our body is in the “rest and digest” mode. 

There are two important systems in our body “fight or flight” also known as the sympathetic nervous system and “rest and digest” our parasympathetic nervous system. When we are in “fight or flight” our body is in an alarmed state and ready for action. Adrenaline and cortisol are up and running through the body and it is less able to break down and draw nutrients from the food we eat. Ever eaten a meal on the run only to have indigestion or a sore tummy afterwards? 

The biological opposite is our parasympathetic system of nerves. When we are in “rest and digest” we are able to heal and regenerate. The body is able to digest, detox, eliminate and build immunity, just what we need if we are consuming food! 

As we have journeyed on Pinkfarm, we have realised how much spiritual nutrition has played a role in our journey. We realised that we now put more thought, love and intention into our food, whether we are cooking for 7 or making a meal for just for ourselves. This purposeful act shows gratitude for the food we make and serve and slows us down to appreciate the beauty in the food we consume. We have also often laughed about the photos we capture of our food before we eat. We now take these pictures and give thanks for the wonderful food that we are able to provide for our families, another way of slowing down and being more mindful before digging into the meal.  IMG_9537

D is now back in my arms and I can’t wait to reconnect and share a nourishing meal with him and to hear of his adventures in the states. Despite remaining in excellent health whilst travelling in the middle of winter, he has returned home with a fever and a bad case of jet lag. It is amazing how the body waits to be in this ‘rest and digest’ state before shutting down and allowing it to become ill. We can probably relate, when we work long hours and then fall ill on a relaxing holiday! Of course I can’t wait to nurture him with bone broth, fermented foods, nutrient dense pate and healthy fats, the foods that his little body was asking for on his arrival home. As I feed him these nourishing foods, I will remember how far I have come. I am proud of my decision to let go and know what it means for the future. Sometimes we think holding on requires strength, but I have learnt that it requires the most strength and courage to let go. 

As the saying goes, “there are two gifts we should give our children; one is roots and the other is wings.”

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Budget Fritters

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Many of us can relate to the importance of feeding our families real foods but at the same time we all know that this requires some careful budgeting and ways to make the most of every last skeric of food; leaving nothing to waste, whilst keeping all the mouths fed.  Our mothers and particularly grandmothers would have had this down pat with many of them having lived through the depression period, often rationing families to two meals a day or less to survive.  Cold meat fritters were a delightful treat that we remember enjoying as a child. However, as mothers feeding a family we can now see the origins of this meal as a simple way to stretch the rations of meat and filling the tummies of hungry children.

Traditionally made using a batter, we wanted to find a way of re-creating the concept of ‘budget’ fritters without the highly refined glutenous wheat.  This is what we have come up with, tasting as good if not better than the old fashioned version and when fried in tallow you are feeding the family a good dose of healthy saturated fat too.  This is a great go to for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Makes the perfect addition to a packed lunch or the picnic basket or simply a quick snack for hungry kids.IMG_6233

Budget Fritters
These are a re-creation of the old fashioned cold meat fritters without the highly refined glutenous wheat flours. A nut free, grain free and paleo friendly recipe that works perfectly for breakfast, lunch or dinner. A great go to for packed lunches or picnics too.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup of coconut flour
  2. 1/3 cup of arrowroot flour
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 3/4 cup of water
  5. 2 tbls of melted coconut oil, ghee or butter
  6. 1 tsp of sea salt
  7. 2 cups of diced cold meat
  8. Tallow for frying
Instructions
  1. Blend flours and salt together in a glass bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs with melted oil.
  3. Whisk water into eggs.
  4. Blend egg mixture with flour mix until smooth runny batter forms.
  5. Fold through diced cold meat.
  6. Heat tallow in fry pan (about 1cm deep) over medium to high heat.
  7. Blob spoonfuls of batter into hot tallow and fry until bottom edges are browning.
  8. Flip and fry until golden on both sides.
  9. Remove from pan onto paper towel lined tray.
  10. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Pinkfarm https://www.pinkfarm.com.au/

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