Cauliflower kale quinoa salad


Loving salads at this time of year but while breastfeeding (I’m using that as an excuse for eating a lot), I need something a little more filling, hence adding quinoa as a source of protein & carbohydrates.

As with all my recipes, adapt to your tastes – if you don’t like kale, use baby spinach; if you don’t like chilli, don’t add it. If you don’t like olives then sorry, we can’t be friends.

2/3 cup quinoa (when uncooked – I use Naked Foods)
1 medium cauliflower
3 stems kale
1/4 cup peas
3 stems broccolini (random figure I know, it’s what I had left in the fridge – you can omit it entirely as there is plenty of green in the recipe already)
1 tspn turmeric powder (I use Ovvio Organic brand)
1 tspn sumac
2 lemons, both the zest & juice
2/3 cup sweet potato
1/3 cup mint
1/3 cup olives – any sort. I used some fat green ones & Kalamatas
1 tablespoon zaatar (or dukka)
2 tspns chilli flakes
Olive Oil – I tend to overdo with the olive oil (like Jamie Oliver!), but you shouldn’t need more than half a cup
OPTIONAL FOR VEGOS – 1/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or parmesan

1. Cut cauliflower in half & put on an oven tray. Sprinkle the turmeric & sumac then pour the juice of half a lemon & 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (go on then, pour on a little more if you like). Throw in the oven at 180 degrees celsius & set your timer for 45 minutes. It may need a little longer but better to be able to do a little longer.
2. Cut sweet potato into small pieces & also throw in the oven – in the same oven tray if preferred. Again, a dash of olive oil on the sweet potato.
3. Cook the quinoa – I do 2 1/3 cups to 2/3 cup of quinoa but go for whatever works for you.
4. Once the quinoa is cooked & cooled slightly, pour into a mixing bowl.
5. Use the same pot to cook the broccolini & peas – 2 minutes on the boil to retain maximum nutrients. Drain immediately & add to the quinoa.
6. Use the same pot for a third time to briefly cook the kale – 2 minutes on a gas cooktop on medium heat with a dash of, you guessed it, olive oil, should be enough to soften it slightly. Pour this also into the quinoa mix.
7. Pour the zaatar & juice of the remaining 1.5 lemons & zest of 2 lemons into the quinoa & give it all a good mix. You should be feeling healthier already 😉
8. Tip onto a serving plate – add the mint (I just cut it with kitchen scissors at the lastt minute). Place the cauliflower on top (it’s too pretty to be cut up for serving). Throw on the olives, sprinkle some chilli & dig in!
If you’re adding the grated grana padano, do this at the last moment.

SERVES 4 (or 2 greedy people like me)


Under my study as a Holistic Health Coach at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the 4 tenets that we learn have a huge effect on our overall health & wellbeing are: careers, spirituality, physical activity & relationships. In addition to this, food has a huge impact on our wellbeing.

In our fast-paced world, it is easy to let one of these four areas fall down while others take centre stage.

Unhappy in a relationship? 

Stuck in a career that is unfulfilling?

Lacking in physical activity?

Do you have an outlet beyond your family, friends, career & physical activity? 

Spirituality could for you mean meditating, reading, bushwalking or even colouring in (the latest fad!). For me it’s reading every night – almost always fiction, something that is engaging but relaxing. I also love yoga, play hockey, & enjoy writing articles for my blog! I also enjoy trying new ingredients & making up recipes. It’s also ok to change what you enjoy, evolving your passions is a reflection of personal growth. In the last year, I have become more passionate about the environment, cutting down single use plastic & de-cluttering (hopefully to eventuate in minimalism).

Being a Health Coach does not replace a Doctor or Nutritionist. We try to get some balance in your life to achieve overall health & get to the root cause of issues. I love the analogy that if you have a pin tack in your foot, do you take a panadol or remove the tack?

In today’s society we often look for a quick fix which means masking the issue with a painkiller (when the cause could be muscular / stress / what we are eating). For example, a headache could be caused by sore muscles, which in turn is caused by stress. Don’t get me started on people who pop an indigestion pill when really they are just eating the wrong foods for their body. 

I come from a family brimming with incredible Nurses & Doctors (as well as some of my closest friends) – their place in society is irreplaceable. Only recently my son had an infection that spread down both legs & needed antibiotics to heal. My younger son was born with a cyst near his eyebrow which needed to be surgically removed. My Dad had an emergency appendix removal last year. My Mum had a knee replacement last year. I opted to birth all three of my children in Hospital. You get the idea…

I feel passionate about my endeavours & practise what I preach. I want you to feel the same level of satisfaction & happiness when you succeed on an endeavour you set out to do -whether it’s to learn to cook, refine your diet, ditch single use plastic, leave an unhappy job, start a new sport, or work on a relationship.

I’m in the throes of reading a book called Pussy by Regena Thomashauer & ladies, she has really struck a chord when she tells you that every day you should do something that makes you feel happy – whether it’s playing some music you love, dressing in clothes that make you feel good, go for a walk on the beach & enjoy the sand between your toes & the sound of the waves; or eating foods that you feel nourishing you. To be totally clichéd – just do it!

Vegan vs plant based 

Let me start by saying I have not eaten meat in almost 19 years (over half my life). I eat seafood 3-6 times a month. A year ago I cut out dairy on the advice of a Naturopath & introduced organic eggs (after never really enjoying eggs previously). I am 85-90% vegan.

I feed my children organic beef, lamb, chicken & sustainable fish. I occasionally buy nitrate-free ham for them. Quality is extremely important to me & I am always willing to pay more for this. They have some non-organic meat (such as when we go to sushi or they get a bacon & egg roll at the Farmer’s Market). They also consume dairy – I ONLY give them organic milk & organic butter. As a side story, I bought my sons a different organic milk a few weeks ago & they refused it, saying they would only drink “the one with the green lid”. If they said they no longer wanted to eat meat, or consume dairy, I would support them but get the advice from a health professional as to what substitutions they may require.

Everyone could benefit from eating less meat.

I am stereotyping here but I don’t believe the extreme approach of some vegans is beneficial & actually encourages people away from a more vegan/vegetarian/plant-based diet. In fact, some omnivores just end up picking fights because of the inability of some vegans to see any different. Ironically a lot of the vegans I follow on Instagram, grew up eating meat & animal products; yet cannot see beyond being a strict vegan, despite having previously led this lifestyle. Let’s assist omnivores by showing them what amazing vegan combinations can work so well to create a delicious salad / curry / roast / soup. Invite your omnivore friends over & present them with a vegan meal & see if they think something is missing. Ask them to consciously write a food diary to see how many times they consume meat a week. Or like a brilliant lecture I watched in my IIN study, commit to being a vegan for certain time frames-  eg this lecturer committed to being “vegan til 6pm” every day, which he had committed to for over 5 years. That meant a plant-based breakfast & lunch, then when he came home for dinner, he could choose a vegan meal, but also wouldn’t feel guilty for consuming good quality meat.

Let’s work as a team – we know there are environmental benefits to consuming vegetables over meat such as what is needed in terms of water/food/land/antibiotics/cost to make an animal from birth to plate. We also know that many people can thrive on a vegetarian diet (although there aren’t as many lifetime vegans). We need to factor in bio-individuality, & what one person can thrive on, others can’t. There are some beautiful role models like @thebalancedblonde who was vegan, then admitted the lifestyle didn’t work for her & of course polarised opinions (I say you go girl & you have every right to eat what your body thrives on). Also @onehungrymami – who was raw vegan a while, then vegan with the odd egg thrown in (again, good on you for being you & your transparency). There is another babe whose name I’m annoyed I can’t currently recall who is predominately plant based but recently posted an image accompanied with a caption about the smell of the roast/bacon in her house. Instant outrage & vitriol was spewed by the ‘loving’ vegan followers. What about the fact this awesome human supports a vegan diet 95% of the time? Does that really not count for anything? I support vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians & omnivores. Not everyone thrives on a vegan lifestyle. Some people try diets including Paleo, eating for their blood type & Ayurveda, but the only thing that can really teach you what you will thrive on is trial & error. I dine out with friends & family, & am not offended by them eating meat. I am encouraging my Mum to try bone broth to assist in recovery from knee surgery. Ironically, vegans are not always the healthiest of people, with many enjoying a high-fructose diet; & monomeals of particular fruits. There is also debate over how healthy soy products are, with many experts encouraging us to avoid them.

I would like to encourage those who follow an omnivore diet to try at least 14 out of 21 meals per week to be plant-based. Part of why I post the food I enjoy is to show how easy this can be. I am not the type to eat 50 bananas a day, I don’t have a diet high in fructose, I don’t like potatoes or pasta.

So what do I eat?
I eat organic gluten-free bread because it makes me feel better than gluten-based bread (my absolute favourite is Naturis buckwheat bread).
In winter I love to make a buckwheat ‘porridge’ with apple, berries & of course, a big dollop of almond butter.
I eat nuts or nut butters, & seeds – almost every meal I have has sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds sprinkled over the top for a little protein hit.
I enjoy whole fruits – current favourites are strawberries & pink grapefruit (obsessed), as well as the occasional whole apple (usually slathered with peanut butter) & oranges (which were brilliant for morning sickness)
I love vegetables – sweet potato is a staple (we go through about 4 a week), I love lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pumpkin, celeriac, tomatoes, avocadoes, cucumber, beetroots, snow peas, eggplant, parsnip. I use tons of herbs & spices to add flavour – ginger, thyme, basil, parsley, mint, coriander, cumin. I can’t tolerate onion or garlic.
I have legumes a couple of times a month – in a chickpea fritter, or a curry.
I use a lot of olive oil (perhaps too much), & love organic mustard & apple cider vinegar, as well as salt, pepper & chilli to season.
I make my own chocolate from cacao butter, cacao, tahini with either stevia or rice malt syrup as a low-fructose sweetener.
I make my own muffins using usually a nut-based ‘flour’, carrots, banana, berries sometimes apples & do add organic eggs to them.
Sushi is a treat which I enjoy & I almost always have some form of seafood – tuna, salmon, prawns; but also happily enjoy avocado & veggie-based sushi. I don’t eat the soy sauce!
I don’t eat soy-based products often, but used to drink soy milk in my coffee from 2008-2015. I don’t eat store bought sweets or cakes but used to LOVE both & indulge regularly in my sweet tooth – like eating a whole pack of sweets on the way home from work.

We are fortunate that there is a growing community of vegan restaurants & nowadays the word ‘vegan’ is not just associated with tie-dye t-shirts, the smell of incense & dreadlocks. Being vegan is cool. It shows you care about your own health; but also the environment. Check out Sadhana Kitchen, Earth to Table, Nalini’s in Bondi Junction or many of the ‘healthy cafes’ like Paleo Cafe, Bondi Wholefoods & Henley’s Wholefoods, have vegan options.

I am not trying to spark debate here, as a predominately plant based person (I don’t want to label myself as vegan as I am not 100% vegan), I agree that steering towards plant-based is the way of the future. Let’s build people up, educate & help them be more imaginative about eating more vegan meals, not tear them down for doing things that many vegans used to do themselves….

I welcome your feedback.
Peas, love & healthiness xxx Alice

Oyster Mushrooms | vegan

I think I have spent more money (& time) at Orange Grove Markets in 2013 than any other food outlet – coffee, fruit & veg, the amazing Honest to Goodness stall & amazing spinach & feta Turkish gozlemes. Not to mention $$ on the pony rides & jumping castle. In saying that, I’m proud to be supporting local farmers & business. This weekend was the last market of 2013 so I decided to buy at least one product I have never bought before: enter OYSTER MUSHROOMS!

2 cups oyster mushrooms
1 tbspn sesame oil
1 tbspn GF soy sauce – please check the labels as I noticed a soy sauce containing sugar.
1 handful coriander
2 big cos lettuce leaves, rinsed & left to dry on a tea towel
*optional: 1 small red chilli, chopped.

1. Heat a frying pan
2. Throw in the sesame oil, then all the mushrooms.
3. Stir constantly so they get a good coating of sesame oil.
4. Once they start browning, throw in the coriander & soy sauce. Stir another 30 seconds until the coriander slightly wilted then place on a plate.
**i let the mushrooms cool down so they were served warm as it was a hot day but this is your call!
5. Place the 2 lettuce leaves on a plate. Spoon the mushrooms into the lettuce leaves & top w chilli


Fig salad | raw | vegetarian

I picked up some beautiful fresh figs from my local markets yesterday (Orange Grove in Lilyfield, Sydney if you’re ever in the hood on a Saturday from 8am-1pm). They werent cheap but i had to have them! I love figs & basil so also picked up some super fresh basil from the markets.

1 cup rocket, washed & dried (I lay it on a tea towel)
2 fresh figs, quartered
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
4 tspns labanne (yoghurt cheese) which could easily be replaced by a goat’s cheese)
**optional to grind some pepper over the top before serving

1. Put rocket in the bowl first
2. Place quartered figs on top of rocket
3. Sprinkle basil leaves over the top
4. Spoon over 4 tspns of labanne
**or just don’t follow this method at all & do however you like!

I find the salad doesn’t need any dressing as the labanne is so creamy & the flavours compliment each other – peppery rocket, fresh basil, sweet figs & salty, creamy labanne. You could add some olive oil & salt if you felt it needed it.


Pumpkin & chèvre salad | vegetarian GF

1-2 cups pumpkin
1 tablespoon chèvre
1 cup English spinach
10 small mint leaves
1 tbspn sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon chilli

1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees
2. Chop the pumpkin into wedges about 2 inches square & 1/2 inch thick
3. Put the pumpkin in the oven with a splash of olive oil, on baking paper. Set the timer for 40 minutes.
4. When the pumpkin is easy, quickly boil 1/4 cup water in a frying pan then throw the spinach in until just wilted. Drain excess water.
5. Put the spinach in first, then pumpkin, then chèvre, then too with mint, sunflower seeds & chilli
6. Serve immediately


One small change

Loving Earth has launched a “one small change” campaign – you can check it out on Instagram @onesmallchange_

I had a think about my lifestyle changes since having kids nearly 4 years ago. I’ve always loved a good party, but never had the lifestyle associated with someone who parties a lot. I have become more conscious of the environment & the world my kids are going to grow up.

I think of health & wellness in a holistic way – every element of our lives is interconnected. So some of my small changes are:

Growing my owns herbs & veggies
1. I don’t use any pesticides or sprays so I know they are all natural
2. Reducing my carbon footprint so these products are brought straight to the kitchen from the garden, no packaging or transportation required.
3. Reducing costs – feeding a family of 4 isn’t cheap, so I use my own home grown rocket, mint, parsley, baby spinach, lettuce, kale & chilli at home.

My one small change submission was:
About 16 months ago, due to the lack of car spaces in Surry Hills (where I work) as well as having limited time to exercise with 2 young boys, I started running to & from work, instead of driving.
1. A short 2km each way, 3 days a week adds up: I’ve clocked nearly 1000km in 16mths.
2. It’s an environmentally friendly option with one less car on the road, reducing petrol & car emissions.
3. It has been financially advantageous not paying for petrol, parking & less car maintenance being car free 3 days a week.

I would LOVE to encourage more people to leave their car at home; or their kids daycare; or even half way to work – you start the day more energised, feel a sense of satisfaction that you’ve done your day’s exercise before sitting at a desk for 8 hours straight & you’ve done your part for the environment…& remember “it doesn’t matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone sitting on the sofa”