Food

5 ‘Prepare The Night Before’ Breakfast Ideas For Busy Mums

So we’re heading into week 4 of the school term now, and if you’re a busy Mum you’ll  be starting to find your rhythm. But, if you’re anything like a lot of the Mums I know, you might also be starting to slip on the breakfast routine (not your kids – I know for sure you’ll be feeding them, it’s you I’m more worried about!) As we get busier we should look after ourselves first and foremost, but for some weird abstract reason of nature, we’re the first person that we stop looking after. All goes smoothly for a few weeks but then bit by bit we get worn down. We feel tired, moody, light headed, bloated and we can’t figure it all out – until we get stopped in our tracks by a ‘virus’ which is our body’s way of saying “Hey girl! You gotta look after me or I’m just gonna shut down on you!”. So before we get to that point busy Mama, I want you to start looking after yourself now!

The first thing I want you to do is always have a nourishing breakfast. If you’re really busy in the mornings (like you are , cause you’re a Mum!) then you must fuel yourself accordingly. Now you’re going to say “Oh Nicole, I know but I just can’t find time in the morning to have a nourishing breakfast” to which I shall reply “No worries, let’s prepare it the night before so that all you have to do is grab it and go”. Now I know you have time at night because evening TV is crappy so no excuses!

Here’s 5 of my favourite ‘prepare the night before’ breakfasts:
Chia Pudding
Simply grab a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds and mix with a cup of your favourite milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. Mix together in a bowl and cover and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning top with some fresh fruits, a big tablespoon of homemade yoghurt and some crushed nuts/ seeds. Check out Sugar Free Baking for some of my favourite variations. 

Green Smoothie
I prefer to prepare my green smoothie fresh in the morning to get the most nutrients out of it, but you can get everything prepared the night before. Chop everything up and store in a jar in the fridge. Make sure your blender is out on the bench and then all you have to do is whack everything in and drink. It’s seriously a 2 minute job. Here’s my favourite green smoothie recipe:

Handful of  frozen berries
1 Tb flaxmeal (ground)
1 cup oatmilk
1 Tb Cacao
1/4 avocado
1 tsp green powder (Spirulina/Chlorella/ Wheatgrass/Barleygrass)
1 tsp maca powder

Grain Porridge
On a cold morning there’s nothing better than a warming bowl of porridge. These days I prefer to use a mixture of grains rather than just plain old oats. You can use whatever combination you like (or use a pre-mixed one like Red Mills 5 Grain Mix – in most health stores). Here’s my favourite combination:
Millet
Flaxseed
Buckwheat groats
Chia Seeds
Just mix it all up the night before (except the flaxseed) and add you favourite milk. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. In the morning just heat it for a couple of minutes in a saucepan (or take to work and heat in the microwave) . To taste, you can add fruit (blueberries are great) and a little honey if you want it sweeter.
Granola
A firm favourite in our house! Granola is a toasted muesli – you make it with whatever grains, nuts, seeds that you have then add a sweetener like honey or maple syrup to make it crispy and golden when you bake it. Granola is an awesome thing to have on hand for snacking any time of the day. We make up a big batch every week and the kids even take it to school with yoghurt for a snack (minus the nuts). You can find my favourite recipe for it here in Sugar Free Baking. 
Sugar Free Granola from Sugar Free Baking
Bliss Balls
If you haven’t tried these yet then make it your mission! They’re everywhere – health stores, yoga centres, gyms – everywhere! And they’re so easy to make! All you have to do is grab one on the way out the door and it’ll keep you going for a couple of hours! Here’s a basic recipe:

1 cup nuts ( I prefer almonds that have been soaked and sprouted then dried)
Handful of medjool dates
1 Tb honey
1 Tb tahini
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tb coconut oil
1 Tb cacao
Your favourite superfoods added (green powders, maca, cacao etc)
Blend all in the blender then roll into balls and store in the fridge.
If you want more variations on the bliss ball like how to add essences and fruit for a flavour sensation then check out Sugar Free Baking. 

Strawberry bliss balls with pistachio sherbet from Sugar Free Baking
Hopefully now you’re 100 % inspired to make your breakfast the night before so that you’re all ready for a busy day! Look after yourself beautiful Mama, you’re worth it! This Saturday I’ll be down at the Barwon Heads hall with Nerine from Power and Vinyasa Yoga and Harriet from Natural Harry talking all things yoga and breakfast! We’ll be giving you a 100% organic smoothie from Natural Harry to get you started for the weekend. If you haven’t got your tickets yet then get them here NOW! (And bring a friend to make it even more fun!)
Health

Meet my yoga instructor!

One of my favourite things to do is showcase other health and wellness professionals that can support you beautiful Mama’s on your journey to wellness. We Mum’s like word of mouth when it comes to choosing our support people – we also like to know a little bit about that person to see if they’re  a good ‘fit’ for us. So this week you’re going to meet Nerine McDonald and find out how she ended up doing yoga in skinny jeans (not a good idea!) and her favourite pick me up for low energy. Nerine is our stunning yoga instructor for Australia’s Ultimate Yoga Event For Mums on March 1st. You’ll have the chance to ask any question you want of her about yoga on the morning (whilst sipping on C-Coconut Water!) Early Bird tickets have now sold out but you can still get general admission for a few more days. Buy your ticket here! 

Welcome Nerine!  You’re a yoga instructor in Barwon Heads – can you tell me what your earliest yoga memory is?
Learning how to carry myself, to stand up straight and erect! I’ve been 6″ tall since I was 12 years old – something akin to a stooping bean pole! Also, the feelings of bliss and contentment experienced from the practice – unlike anything I had never experienced before.

And your weirdest yoga moment?
Definitely substitute teaching a last minute class in a very large popular Gym, IN SKINNY JEANS, on a Podium with a Madonna headset microphone entangled in my long wavy hair…
Farting and falling asleep are all natural, normal and very common  Yoga occurrences in case you were wondering!

Tell us about what teaching yoga means to you?
I live for the experience and benefits I have obtained through Yoga personally – it feels only natural to share Yoga with others and hopefully make a difference to someone’s day, perhaps even their life. I am grateful for the opportunity to share Yoga Practices I continue to study, and facilitate classes supporting others on their path to unity of mind, body and soul.

What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness means a complete experience of health and happiness in thoughts, words and actions. Easily said… not so easily accomplished in a world so full of fast paced lifestyles, technology, pollutants and competition! Healthy eating will only take you so far along the path of health, we must consider our internal dialogue along with the way we speak to, and treat other humans, animals and our environment.

What’s one thing you do daily to be kind to yourself?
Ooh! My Yoga practice – be it 5 minutes of breathing exercises (Pranayam) and a mini-meditation to help wash away a cranky mood and become present, or a session of strong physical Yoga Postures (Asana) to lift me up!
A little forgiveness everyday always helps, we try our best – let it be enough sometimes.

Your favourite 3pm ‘go to’ craving killer…?
Rice cakes with Almond Butter and Dates… and…an inversion! When one inverts, (or gets upside down!) four major systems of the body are affected positively – cardiovascular, lymphatic, nervous, and endocrine systems. Tissue fluids of the lower extremities drain—far more effectively than when one is asleep and areas of congestion clear. Blood will drain quickly to the heart, tissue fluids will flow more efficiently into the veins and lymph channels of the lower extremities and of the abdominal/ pelvic organs, facilitating a healthier exchange of nutrients and wastes between cells and capillaries.

5 words you would use to describe yourself?
Dreamer, joker, energetic, happy, compassionate

The weirdest ingredient in your pantry and what you use it for?
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is pretty weird! I have a ‘no speaking to me policy’ while I am taking my daily shot. It’s not pretty, but once it goes down I find it helps when my skin is lacking clarity (i.e. pimple attack), clears digestive stagnancy and puts a little pep in my step.

Nerine teachers Vinyasa, Purna & Hatha styles of Yoga in Geelong, The Bellarine and Surfcoast. find her on facebook: PowerVinyasaYogaBarwonHeads

Life

I’ll be happy when…

Have you ever caught yourself saying the following? “I’ll be happy when..”

  • We own our own home…
  • The mortgage is paid…
  • The kids sleep through the night…
  • My boss quits and I get some peace at work…
  • The school holidays are over…
  • My son gets a new school teacher…

Guilty as charged – I used to find myself saying things like all of the time. I believed that my happiness was caused by external factors miraculously falling into place. What I realised over time though was that my happiness didn’t increase when these external factors fell into place. Strangely, I just found more external desires to replace them. Like…

  • We own our own home but now we have to pay for it! (I’ll be happy when the mortgage is paid off)
  • The mortgage is paid but I don’t like this house anymore (I’ll be happy when we get a nicer house)
  • The kids are sleeping through but geez 2 year olds are hard work! (I’ll be happy when we’re over the toddler stage)

You see, telling yourself that your happiness is dependent on external factors falling into place is like telling yourself there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You’re NEVER going to get there to find out because the end of the rainbow doesn’t exist!

True happiness lies within yourself. It’s about finding peace and happiness in every moment and stage of your life no matter what difficulties you’re experiencing. It’s about turning every negative into a positive:

  • I am so very blessed to have a beautiful home and a good job so that I can pay my mortgage off. I’m blessed to just have a mortgage!
  • Even though I find it tiring to get up at night to my kids, I truly cherish those moments in the dark hours when it’s just me and him, cuddling softly and breathing each other’s breath
  • The school holidays are challenging towards the end, but when I make it fun and focus on the kids I know we’re making memories that will last a lifetime

Challenging your thoughts like this is so important for true health. It’s proven that focusing on positives, meditating daily, doing yoga and other meditative practices lowers your stress levels, anxiety, helps to reduce depression and improves your general wellbeing significantly.

You will not ‘be happy when…’. Happiness is inside of you today, you just need to tap into it!

If you want to learn how to start tapping into your inner happiness then join me on March 1st in Barwon Heads for ‘Australia’s Ultimate Yoga Event For Mums’. It will be the beginning of a truly life changing experience for you and your family’s happiness. 3 days left on early bird tickets!

Health

Meet Natural Harry….

I’m super excited to be featuring the gorgeous Harriet Birrell  from Natural Harry here today.  Harriet is one of the wellness gang down here that is taking the Bellarine and Surfcoast by storm, as we work our magic to make this the healthiest, happiest place in Australia to live! You might have seen Harriet and her gorgeous partner Fraser with their happy smiles and uber trendy vintage caravan handing out organic smoothies in Barwon Heads. She’s chatting with us today about getting upside down and she shares the recipe for one of her famous smoothies (yay!)

How did Natural Harry’s come into being?
It happened really organically (excuse the pun) I have been eating and living this way for some time and have been feeding family and friends with goodies like these. My boyfriend Fraser came up with the brilliant idea of making Natural Harry a really wonderful experience in the form of a coastal vintage caravan and that we build it ourselves. How can you resist an idea like that?

What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness means the world to me. Wellness is our birth right and something everyone should experience. Wellness is a holistic view of the body and the mind obtained through movement of the body, nourishment through food and daily relaxation of the mind (whatever that may be for you)

What’s one thing you do daily to be kind to yourself?
I dry body brush before my morning shower and I find time in the day to exercise (usually also my meditation) either swimming, yoga, walking or, once in a blue moon a run.

Your favorite 3pm ‘go to’ craving killer… 
At the moment a shoulder stand and a delicious “rawreo” (my raw version of an Oreo). In that order ;). My beautiful yogi friend taught me that, if your tired, get upside down for 5 minutes, you will feel like a new person.

Your perfect day…
Wake up with the sun
Surf
Breakie of a massive Green smoothie
Read and stretch/yoga
Natural Harry planning, making and nurturing
Swim in the ocean
Lay in the sun
Lunch of mums awesome Gispatchio
More relaxing
Surf with friends
Beautiful summer salad dinner with friends and some yummy raw deserts
Laughing and chatting

5 words you would use to describe yourself
Creative, goofy, a dreamer, a mover, shocking comedian

And your Mum…how would she describe you?!
I actually asked my mum this and was so taken with her reply… I’m blushing a bit..
Focused, thoughtful, creative, thorough, energetic. (mum is all of this and more!)

The weirdest ingredient in your pantry and what you use it for
Well, some would say my whole pantry is weird… Probably organic, raw cane sugar. This is only weird because I don’t actually eat it. I mix it with coconut oil and use it as an awesome body scrub. Yum yum!
Now here’s Harriet’s gorgeous ‘Berry Nice Day’ smoothie recipe for you to enjoy!
Handful of frozen raspberries/blackberries/blueberries or berry of choice
– 300 ml Almond milk
– 1 frozen banana
– Teaspoon acai pronounced (a – sigh -ee) High antioxidant berry buy in powdered form or fresh from your local health food store.
– Garnish with fresh berries and cacao powder or a sprig of mint

Health benefits: Healing, detoxifying, skin clearing, sustained energy.

I’m also very fortunate to have Natural Harry’s coming along to Australia’s Ultimate Yoga Event on March 1st handing out FREE organic, superfood smoothies to all of the yogi mama’s on the day! You are AWESOME Harriet! So if you want to meet Natural Harry in person and try the smoothies that are all the talk right now on The Bellarine and  in Geelong then grab your ticket now! (2 days left on Early Bird!).

If you want to follow Natural Harry then check out her website or click here to find out her location at any given time.

Life

Your Smartphone is smart, but is it making you stupid?

Yesterday I decided to switch off my Smartphone and iPad for a self-centred, non electronic Sunday. A seemingly easy task one would think (my hubby bailed – he was supposed to join me but had already checked the weather, surf and used GPS by 9am!) One of my biggest concerns about my dependence on my Smartphone is my brain cells are withering away as I replace the need for them with my new fangled gadget. So to prove to myself that I could function without this handy little device with it’s cute pink leather case, I put myself to the test yesterday.

Here’s why it was hard:

  • It was my Mum’s birthday and I was planning dinner – should I do a BBQ or would there be a cool change? Normally I’d check my weather app (keep in mind here we don’t have any newspapers, TV news or radio on in our little sanctuary of a house!)
  • Before doing the grocery shop I needed to check the ingredients for my shopping list – but my favourite recipe books are e-books and for that I needed the iPad
  • We drove into town and I didn’t know how to get to the industrial estate – a girl with my map reading skills needs GPS!
  • As I wrote this blog I was sitting in the car waiting for my hubby to come out of a shop. I really wanted to send him a hurry message because it was 33 degrees and the kids were getting cranky!

How about you? How reliant are you on your smartphone? I can’t believe how much I’ve come to depend on it in such a short space of time – I mean only 12 months ago I didn’t even know what an app was!

There are so many benefits to using a Smartphone and i’m one their biggest fans, BUT like anything, we have to use them in moderation. As we head towards our late 30’s and early 40’s ( I can’t believe I’m saying this!) we actually have to ensure we work our brain, including the areas of memory, creativity and communication. If we want to have good cognitive functioning well into old age then it’s either use it or lose it!

Here’s what I gained from my 11 hours of abstinence (yes, I caved at 4pm):

  1. I focused on landmarks and used my memory to get around town without GPS ( no, I don’t know where the map book is, and I am even more likely to get lost when using one). This is awesome for strengthening your memory which is important if you want to avoid cognitive degeneration later in life (or even for tomorrow, so that I can remember the names of all the new kinder teachers I’ve just met…)
  2. I used my paperback recipe books (after dusting them off!) to look for recipe inspiration for the week. The kids became interested in all of the pretty pictures and we made a family session of the meal planning (Bonus: quality time with my kids and maybe they’ll eat what I serve this week because they chose it!)
  3. While waiting in the car for my hubby I wrote this blog, rather than procrastinating on Facebook and Instagram. (Bonus: I just saved an hour of work time tomorrow!)
  4. Not knowing what the weather was going to be doing for the day I struck up a conversation with my neighbour and asked them – and they knew the answer! (of course, because they checked their Smartphone app…Bonus: connecting with my community)

So try and get yourself a balance. Use your Smartphone when you have to, but if your brain could do the job perfectly well then let it!

Health

Australia’s Ultimate Yoga Event for Mums!

It’s here! I’m so excited to announce my biggest and best ever event! I’m pairing with the stunning Nerine from Power and VInyasa Yoga to unlock the mysteries and break down the barriers of yoga that often prevent even the most confident of us Mums from stepping foot in a yoga studio!
I’ll be quizzing  Nerine  on everything you ever wanted to know about yoga (“What should I wear? Is it ok to bring my newborn? What if I’m not flexible enough? Can I go pee halfway through a pose?”).
This hilarious but informative morning will have you laughing but absolutely convinced that you can do a yoga class by the end of it!
Even if you’ve done yoga before, this event will answer all of those questions that run through your head when you should be focusing on your breath!
Your ticket includes:

  • A fun mixture of questions and sharing between Nerine, Nicole and the audience
  • A 30 minute yoga class introducing you to the basic yoga poses, techniques and breath work to have you calm and energised for the weekend ahead
  • Education on healthy breakfast choices to fuel your post yoga hunger including a superfood smoothie from the famous Natural Harry’s!
  • Loads of giveaways from our supporters including Lorna Jane, C-Coconut Water and Saskita Bonita! 
Food * Life

Nut Free Sandwich Free Lunchbox Fillers

Wow this has been quite an experience this first week at school and kinder thing (it’s been 5 or 6 years since I made my oldest son’s lunch!). Standing talking to some Mum’s yesterday I realised just how hard it is to fill a lunchbox when your children don’t eat bread and you’re not allowed egg or nuts at school. Nuts have been my ‘go to’ base for baking since my daughter’s food sensitivities began – this week I was suddenly stumped!
Putting my creative hat to work though I was able to fill the lunchboxes easily. Here’s 2 versions of nut free, egg free, sandwich free lunchboxes. I’ll bring you some more over the coming weeks as I work them out!
Ideas for lunchbox fillers!

LUNCHBOX 1- THE HEALTH FREAK! (my daughter)

  • Chicken & Cucumber Rice Paper Rolls (remember to pack an ice pack when using chicken)
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Watermelon
  • Plain corn chips
  • Homemade yoghurt (recipe in Sugar Free Baking)  in a Sinchies pouch

LUNCHBOX 2 – I LOVE MY CARBS & DON’T DO VEGES! (my son)

  • Refined sugar free/ egg free banana and chocolate muffins (recipe in Sugar Free Baking)
  • Pesto pastry twists (recipe in ‘Transition Your Family to Healthy Eating’ e-book that you receive for free when you sign up to The Happy Parent Project).
  • Watermelon
  • Homemade Muesli slice
I hope these give you some inspiration if you’re struggling with lunchboxes! I feel your pain!

Nicole x