Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hello / Goodbye

Why hello there.

It feels weird being back here.  I disappeared for a long while as my mind was totally consumed by something else - illness and deterioration of a grandparent who we lost a fortnight ago.  I've never dealt with that kind of thing before and even now, I don't think I've really dealt with it.

I also have completely lost interest in sharing my life with lots of people I don't know.  I do still have a passion for living healthfully, but there is so much information out there and so many blogs (so many of which I disagree with) that it feels tiring.  It frustrates me so much that lots of people listen to lots of totally misleading information, or follow very well-intentioned and educated people only to become obsessed with that particular way of living (much to the benefit of the person they're following with all their plans and e-book sales going up or their blog view increasing daily), or start shopping and eating based on what someone who they admire shops for and eats.

I feel if I were to continue writing this blog and speaking about my view on all of this, I would kind of be doing something I hate.  And honestly, it seems pointless.  A girl sitting at her computer at home in Melbourne not giving you a plan, or promising you a result, but just saying 'do what makes you happy and your best health will come with the use of your common sense' really isn't going to appeal to anyone or be listened to by the majority of people.

So as passionate as I am about helping people find a balanced way to live, I don't want to do it anymore.  My ideas aren't glamorous or promising enough to be listened to and, as the (mostly disproportionately) passionate person I am, it just frustrates me to the point of affecting my emotions.  Every picture trying to inspire us to work out/eat healthy, every green-smoothie recipe, every carefully disguised laxative tea, every fit-spiration motivational quote, every new excited Tweet about a protein powder, every new juice detox company, every post-workout muscle selfie, every model-esque girl in a bikini asking you to love your body... they just make my head want to blow off.

That's my problem, not yours, but it's why I am going to stop writing about it.  

So, if you are here because you've read my blog and you think I'm a clever young lady who you want to listen to and you want my advice, then this is it;

Learn to listen to your body, use common sense, remember that food is for nourishment but also for enjoyment, move often but always in a way you enjoy and take care of your mental health as you do your physical health.
For everyone else, take care & good luck..

Nat x

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Banana-Berry Cake

Every Sunday I make a cake for the week, and about 3 out of every  weeks I make one both M & I will eat. (1 week a month I will make a traditional buttery, sugary cake that M super-enjoys not being a health nut by myself.  Though I will scrape icing quite happily).

This week, I put together a banana-berry arrangement.

Don't quote me on exact quantities, because you know I am useless (I have seriously managed all of about  recipes for my recipe book with exact quantities - I'll get there!), and instructions for all my cakes are 'mix wet ingredients, add dry ingredients, mix well'.  I hate fuss.  Oh, except with this one - add the berries right at the end and don't stir too vigorously.  Easy!

Here we go...

Banana-Berry Cake

1 1/4 cups of rye flour
1/3 cup of almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of oats
2 small or 1 1/2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 dessert spoon of honey melted with 1 dessert spoon of coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I use the really thick non-essence stuff, not sure what it's called)
1/2 cup almond milk (I use almond breeze unsweetened)  
Water - add as much water in the end, before adding the berries, to bring it to a thick-batter consistency.

I baked it at 160 degrees in a fan-forced oven for 30-ish minutes, but just watch it and do the skewer test.

Serve with tea!

This made about 10 portions for M & I.. the below is half of one of those portions I had just before sitting down to right this with my tea.

Oh how moist!

I think people can get a bit funny when it comes to adding water to cake.  Listen up folks - it does wonders!  Try it and you will prove to yourself you do not need masses of oil or butter to make a cake feel moist.  

Variations?  You could get rid of the berries and bananas and add grated apple and cinnamon instead (granny smith works best).
You could use pineapple pieces and coconut.. yummy!
You could use a different flour.. spelt, perhaps?  Coconut flour?  Remember to add more moisture if using coconut flour.
Leave out the berries and add walnuts and cinnamon - yummy.
You couldd throw in chia seeds if you're into that sort of thing.. 

Let me know if you try it!

There's not much better in life than sitting down to a tasty cake (whatever the kind), and a cup of tea.  Especially on a Sunday afternoon..

Stay well,

Nat x

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Food from Instagram this week;
(follow me @nataliejoanzee)

Ricotta, spelt and cinnamon pancakes with berries, geek yoghurt & honey.

Fresh pineapple for dessert.
Pineapples are AMAZING right now, and on special at all my haunts.

Tuna Salad 
(left over roast veg, lettuce, tuna, sweet potato and cashew dip)

Stay well (& follow me!),Nat x

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Cook-Up.

Thanks for the love on The Rant.  I have really, really strong opinions on things in real life and I don't share them too much here because I never know how they'll be received (plus, pushing your opinions on others is such an unattractive thing to do), but it made me smile that there were so many people that agreed.  

I have a terrible cold that M gave me, but spent this afternoon cooking up a storm to make the week easier.  Do you ever do this?

Potatoes (sweet & regular), lentil and kale curry with rice.  I made 5 serving for lunches.

Red sauce which will go on a mid-week parma for M, and will accompany some wholemeal pasta one day for lunch for me.  

Lemon cake with a drizzle of white choc on it.  I tend to bake a healthy (rye, low GI, no butter/ugar, whatever) cake one week, and then a more traditional (white with sugar) cake the next.  But I always replace at least some of the butter with coconut oil (I promise you can't tell!)

These little meatballs are from M's Mum which I cooked up for M to use in lunches during the week.
I also roasted those beetroots at the bottom for mid-week side dishes and for salads.  They are from my parents' garden.

Dinner was my favourite leek & mushroom soup.
Get one leek, wash, halve & slice it, fry it in about 1tbps of oil and 1/2 tbps (or more) of butter (do not skip the butter it will not taste the same) until leeks are clear and a bit caramelised.  Add sliced mushrooms (I use about a cup), boiling water and salt to taste.  Cook for at least 10 minutes on a simmer, then add some risoni and cook until risoni is done.  So easy and so yummy.  

I still want to share my food with you so I will keep blogging, just listen to your body.. and please do not be sucked in my advertising.  Do a little research and make up your own mind on things.  That's all.

Stay well,
Nat x

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Fear. (The Rant)

I haven't been blogging lately because I've developed this fear.. a fear that you will read my blog, see what I eat, see my seemingly healthy slender body, and decide that you will eat like I do.

I ate this at the Windsor High Tea - I recommend you copy this experience!

Here's the thing.  We're all different. We have different genes, we live different lives, we have different everything. (youi insurance!  I kid.)  My diet won't work for you.  The diet of the longest living people in Okinawa is most likely also not going to work for you.  X brand new diet books eating plan with x calories and exact perfect instructions will probably make you drop weight, but that is still not a sign it is right for you.

Everybody is looking outside for advice on what to eat and how to live longer and healthier and it freaks me the hell out.

Watching loved ones hang off every word of a current affairs story or the latest popular nutritionist kills me inside.  Why are you not listening to common sense?  Most of the people reading this blog have been blessed with intelligence and autonomy.  What an amazing mixture - the ability to make smart decisions and then act on them?  No wayyy!

Some rules are worth following, like, don't eat processed food.  How simple is that?  Just because you can chew it and swallow it, it doesn't make it food.  Did you ever wonder why those sugary boxed treats have vitamins pumped into them?  Because without them.. they're sweet cardboard...  

Eat what your great great grandparents would have eaten (note that they may have eaten cheese, but they certainly didn't eat sliced processed cheese.. and their yoghurt wasn't sugar laden).  That's it.. not hard.  The rest is pretty much common sense.  Think of your longest living known relative and take those cues.  Mine lived to their late 90s, ate a Mediterranean/Arabic blended diet and was SO active that even blindness didn't stop her.  Somehow I don't think she was trying to look up in books what would make her live longer.  

Also remember that food and diet and weight loss is just a giant money making wheel because THEY KNOW how much you want to look like that model over there.  Food with a health claim really does not care about your health and, guess what?  Foods labelled 'diet' are REALLY REALLY BAD FOR YOU.  But people buy them and make money.  Books telling you what to eat... money.  It is so looked down upon when people try to make money off the ill (diet books to cure x disease.. pill from tagu-tagu koala forest.. whatevs. CFS was a massive market for this), but somehow when it comes to food, everyone gets away with it.

Here's a diet plan that will work;
Breakfast - 1 slice of toast with 1 pear and a glass of green tea with ginger.

Morning Snack - 1 tim tam
Lunch - 2 eggs with 3 egg whites, a baked onion and as much lettuce a you want.
brush your teeth IMMEDIATELY after eating for at least 3 minutes.  4 minutes if you had more than 2 lettuces.
Afternoon snack - 20 jelly belly jelly beans, but no popcorn flavour. 

Dinner - Meat or fish the size of your palm, 3 oysters, 8 stalks of celery cooked in 1 cup of vegetable broth, and a cup of peppermint tea.

Drink at least 2 litres of water throughout the day.  

... I just made that shit up, but if I stuck it in a book with 'The Tim Tam and Jelly Bean Diet! Lose 2kgs a week!", it would sell.  And yes, you would probably lose the weight... and be totally unhealthy and unhappy.  Yay!  

How sad is it that it is more sensible than 80% of the diet books out there?
Eat only fruit until midday!
Starve yourself 2 days a week and eat whatever you want the other days!
Don't touch sugar but eat as much processed bacon as you like!
Cayenne pepper and lemon!!!
I have a nutrition degree... WHAT I SAY IS RIGHT FOR EVERYONE.  

So sad.  

Had to get this off my chest!

Stay well and please just listen to your body and ignore everyone, including me.
Nat x

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hooray for Harvard!

Harvard has rejected the well known 'food pyramid' in favour of the below...

'bout time!  Hooray!

Read about it here.

Stay well,

Nat x

All-Round Health.

I post a lot about food and always forget to mention the other things that keep us healthy - movement, a good circle of friends, feeling like we have purpose, hobbies, the ability to relax (drop those shoulders!).

I'll try and write more about these going forward, especially as sometimes they take up more space in my mind than food.

My Easter long weekend was perfect.  A long chat over coffee with a friend at the beach on Friday morning, followed by picking paint out for my room make over (M and I have a 3 bedroom hours - a room to sleep in, and then a 'study' each, I've been wanting to make mine over for ages).

Saturday was a day of shopping and then out to a late-ish lunch with Mum, then a quiet din with M as I was still trying to shake a week long cold.

Sunday was the family Easter lunch.  So much good food, but some things I do not want to share - they are just for me.

Monday I started the painting but by lunch the cold had taken over.  I now feel a little like I've been hit by a bus and I'm off to the doctor's soon.  Mainly to get a medical certificate as getting sick after a 4 day weekend isn't the best look.

Here are some photos from the past week or so.  I have't been whipping out my camera as much as usual.. 

Breakfast this morning.  
3/4 of a cup of spelt flour, 1/2 a cup of almond meal, 1 egg, 1 mashed overripe banana, about 2/3 of a cup of almond milk, 1 tsp baking powder and a sprinkle of cinnamon made 4 very filling pikelets.  (Leave the batter in the fridge for 15 minutes before cooking).
That's my brekky sorted for the week.
Here with greek yoghurt, berries and some honey (I love honey when I have a sore throat).

Another brekky - melons are tasting very good at the moment.  

Yes yes, another stir fry.

The current hobby is painting.  I am rubbish at it, but I absolutely love it.

When I can't be bothered exercising, I jump on my exercise bike for a while.  Even a leisurely pedal  with a magazine adds up.

Took the brother out for breakfast.  Love to order big when I go out for brekky!

Still a favourite.  Sauce is lime, garlic, ginger and chilli.

Have a beautiful (short) week & stay well,
Nat x

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Good Take Away.

I hope you all know by now that I don't do the sponsored post thing.  I can't stand it when bloggers start doing that.  Anyway.

On Tuesday night I could not be bothered cooking (I have been unusually tired after work lately - think it's time for a break, lucky I am taking one this weekend!) and I stopped at the supermarket to get my usual mussels or smoked salmon to stick on a salad or with some veg - something I do every time I just can't be bothered.
But this time I found myself annoyed that I wasn't content to drive through a fast food place, or just get a noodle box, and I looked for an alternative.

I found this yummy soup;

It was $7 for what was meant to be two servings.  Maybe people with really tiny stomachs would only want to eat half of this pouch, but not me.

It was all organic ingredients and there was nothing I didn't understand (or that you wouldn't).  They had risottos and all kinds of goodies, too.  

A warm on the stove, a little parmesan cheese and some chives and I had a super yummy, super healthy, super easy dinner.

Finally I have an option!

I was very happy so I wanted to share for all you other full-time workers who get home 6 or after and, despite your usual love of cooking, sometimes don't want to have to do it every single night.

I just had a look at the Pitango web site, they do kid's meals too!  Champions.

I love finding products like this.

Do you have any go-to healthy fast food?

Stay well and have a beautiful weekend,
Nat x

Friday, March 15, 2013

Miso & Strawberries on Greens

My posts aren't very creative lately.  I could go on a rant about the 5:2/Fast Diet rubbish, but we all know what I think of that.  I could plug Goodlife gyms and let you know they have promos where you can use any gym membership to go in and try them, but I doubt I'll convince you to join a gym (and hey, it's not everyone's thing).  I could tell you about the many healthy benefits of some of the foods below, but you can Google them if you want.  I could talk about my quest for calcium tablets without vitamin D and why I care, but you probably don't.

In the end, photos are prettier than text and I'm not much into pleasing others.

Snapshot of home.
I love home.

Lentil/Eggplant/Tomato/Mushroom bake.  The eggplants and tomatoes were from the garden.
Have I told you how much I love having a vege garden?

Healthy dins.
Fried egg on a bed of rocket/asparagus/broad beans with toasted mountain bread covered in lemon & pepper.

Put strawberries on your rocket!  So yummy.
I've never spelt that kind of rocket before.  I assume that's how you spell it.

Healthy dins for boys/non vegies;
Chicken in spent flour, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper squeezed with lime juice
(it wasn't that black in real life!)
Tomato & Basil from the garden.
Pumpkin mash with chives.

Start of a thai green curry.  Sometimes the unfinished meal is so pretty.

Salads totally make awesome dinners with they contain haloumi, avocado and pomegranate.
Add smoked salmon if you need more bulk.

This was the first time I'd cooked mussels.  I did them in a broth of fish stock, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, white wine and fresh tomatoes.
I added some other seafood in case I wasn't a fan.. and some pasta, as the broth totally needed to be soaked up by something.

M isn't a mussel fan due to the texture so these empties are my doing.

Just add water for amazing miso soup.
(It was 37 degrees this day and there was a heat wave in Melbourne, but nothing stops me eating my miso!)

Little healthy chocolate puddings - adapted from here.  I basically added cocao and used dark agave instead of honey.

Work has been busy & I'm glad it's the weekend.

Enjoy yours & stay well,
Nat x

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Food from the Week

Morning all!

I am loving this weather too much to sit in front of a screen, so I'll make it snappy today..

Eggplants from the garden to make....

Eggplant Parmigiana!  The Italian in me coming out... 

My Nonna would be proud.

More garden produce - I absolutely love having a vegetable garden.

Spelt pancakes for breakfast.  Yummo.

The sign of a Saturday or Sunday morning.

3rd round of that amazing Coconut Frangipane Pudding from my last post.


Salmon & Greens.  My perfect meal.

Roasting eggplant on the stove.

Soup to cure a cold (last weekend was a miserable one).

I like my risotto mushy.

Friday night feast - Rocket, pear and parmesan salad, honey carrots (from the garden), toasted peppered mountain bread, and fish cooked with tomatoes, mint, garlic and basil (all from the garden).


I hope you're all well & getting to enjoy this weather!
Nat x

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Amazing Recipe - Coconut Frangipane Pudding

If you don't already read the gorgeous Heidi's blog at Apples Under My Bed, let this be your amazing introduction...

Coconut Frangipane Pudding
(image, recipe and details over at Apples Under My Bed)

I really truly believe this recipe has the power to change lives.
Look at it!  It's sweet and luscious and not at all bad for you.

Please try it!  I got coconut flour at my local small supermarket (
A.Bongiovanni & Son if you're on the West Side of Melbourne - Thomas Dux and the like should stock it), Coconut oil is available everywhere now, and the rest of the ingredients may already be in your pantry..

Stay well,
Nat x

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Common Sense Note; Salt & Sugar

For those of you cutting salt or sugar from your diet and succeeding - power to you, congratulations, I am happy for you and I hope you feel amazing and springy and totally healthful as a result.

For everyone else, who, like me, finds the prospect of quitting anything a sure fire way to make you immediately want to gorge on the product you're meant to be avoiding, remember this when it comes to sugar or salt - 

If you're going to eat it, taste it.

What you don't want is salt and sugar hidden in foods that barely taste sweet.  Breakfast cereals, breads, fast food, a lot of packaged food can all be super high in salt and/or sugar, but it doesn't really taste salt, or sweet.

If you're going to eat salt, add some to your marinade, or on your potatoes, or somewhere where it will bring out the flavour of your yummy, real food.

If you're going to eat sugar, make sure it's a yummy home made chocolate cake, or if you enjoy it in your coffee or tea, have it there.  Just make sure you can taste it!

I've probably said this all before, but sometimes I feel people can get caught on the extremes - quit it all together, or totally ignore it's bad for you and eat whenever.

Where do you most enjoy your salt or sugar?

I can't eat hot chips without salt, and I absolutely love getting my sugar from ice cream.

Stay well,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

15 Minute Meals?

So my aim, lately, is to cook quickly like Jamie.  That man is so insanely inspirational.  I don't own his 15 minute meal book, but I don't think he'd care - he'd love that I watch his show, get in the kitchen and experiment with making things I've never made before.

A few of the results are tangled in the below images..

EXCITING.  Full Stop.
Even more so because those beetroots are from my own garden!  As is the rosemary.

Those veg accompanied this - my first roast.
I'm not one for tags and I didn't eat it, but #worldsworstvegetarian

Pizza from Williamstown.  
Not great.

15 minute meals!  Sort of.. took more like, 10.
Big salad (on my favourite plate which is covered in Flamingos, pineapples and palm trees).
Lettuce and cucumbers from the garden, sliced pear, pomegranate and haloumi.
We had this with some salmon fillets... can you get easier or healthier?

Brekky pancakes that literally took 4 minutes.
2 mashed bananas, around half a cup of flour (I used spelt flour), cinnamon and 2 eggs.
Covered in blueberries, Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
Filling and totally yummy - really tastes like banana cake.

Rice noodles take 4 point nothing seconds to cook.
This one is made into a salad with raw capsicum, cucumbers, peanuts, fresh mint, fresh basil and a soy, chilli and orange juice dressing.
Also super fast.

Poached egg on salmon on wholegrain sourdough toast.
Find your best local baker and stop getting your bread from the supermarket.

Make your fruit exciting.
Nobody wants a 2 week old wrinkly apple with the sticker falling off - eat it fresh and present it attractively!  Especially if you have kidlets.. it works!

Making of pasta sauce - garlic, basil, walnuts, roast pumpkin and chilli...

Looks like scrambled eggs, but is a frittata made with mashed cauliflower.
More smoked salmon - a great thing to have in the house for quick meals (if you like it).
Kale sauteed in garlic.  Yes yes yes.
And quick quick quick.

Tonight's dinner was seafood in a chilli broth (ginger, garlic, stock, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, a little olive oil), with beans and toasted rye mountain bread which was seasoned with lime juice and pepper.
Yes, this took 15 minutes.

I really don't know why people say it's hard to cook healthy.

What food have you been loving this year?

Stay well,
Nat x