Thursday, 23 January 2014

queen of hearts

In a recent post, I mentioned I had adopted a vegetarian diet this week, which has prompted me to write a little more about what I am eating lately, especially since I launched my Paleo Lifestyle last year.

Here's the scoop - 

There are many reasons why a paleo diet is beneficial to some individuals. Infact, I fully support limiting grains, refined sugar and dairy as I believe my digestive health is more effective when I am eating a cleaner diet.

On the other hand - I like cupcakes.

Or, more accurately - I like to bake.

And, whilst you can make some frickin amazing things to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the paleo rules (see below), I did infact fall off the strict paleo bandwagon.

So rather than define my eating habits, I am now learning to eat what I want, when I want, without putting a label on it.

Example A - this week, I am eating gorgeous fresh fruits and vegetables.

Does this make me a vegetarian? Well, that's up to you to decide.

But consider this - next week I might feel like steak everyday.. who knows?!

What I do know, is that my food is not sourced from a box or a jar. Or through the car window!

More and more, I am trying to tune into what my body needs and feed it accordingly.

And while it would be both amazing and disastrous for my body to tell me I need chocolate, I know that sweets and treats are usually requested from a place of want (and/or boredom!).

So back to paleo - Last year, I made my favourite grain-free waffles and didn't share them with the world.

Here they are - Give them a try.

Grain Free Waffles >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

Grain Free Waffles

2 cups almond meal
4 eggs
1/2 cup sparkling water 
4 TBSP melted coconut oil
1-2 TBSP  maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat your waffle iron. 

In a medium mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well.  

Then add the all the remaining wet ingredients and mix to combine.   

Next using a hand mixer beat the batter ingredients for 1 minute, this will help make a fluffier batter and better waffles.   

Lightly grease your waffle iron and place about 3/4 cup of batter (or the amount per the directions for your particular model of waffle iron).  

I cook my waffles for 3 minutes and they turn out perfect every time, but you will need to experiment with your waffle iron to find the amount of time that works best for yours.  

Remove from waffle iron and serve with your desired garnishes.


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

i wanna see your peacock..

After detailing all of my recent spiritual experiences on this little blog of mine, I thought I would throw in a good old 'I Want One..' post, just so you know that not everything has changed around here.

Even though I have spent quite a bit of time focusing on myself lately, there has still been time to window shop and become incredibly attached with one particular item that I must have in the near future.

Here it is - The Peacock Chair


Have you ever seen such a beautiful piece of furniture?!

It's so elegant.

And so versatile...

And so dramatic..

I. Just. Can't. 

I'm in love....



Monday, 20 January 2014


This past weekend was one of the most fulfilling weekends I have had.  E V E R.

The word that comes to mind to describe how I felt on Sunday night is nourished.

It was a weekend of nourishment - Mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional nourishment.

And I was left with a sense of peace and contentment.

The weekend was the perfect balance of new experiences and comfortable routine.

I summed it up in a facebook post -

Quality time spent with beautiful friends, learning and

growing from a Buddhist meditation course, eliminating

 toxins in a hot yoga class, plus scenic beach walks with my

 four legged fur baby. Feeling completely blissed out right 

now. ♥

There was also a visit to the local organic Farmer's Market, an oh-so-relaxing epsom salt bath, and delicious home-made rice paper rolls.


So amazing. It is entirely possible that I will eat these every night for the next week!

And super easy to make.

Soak the vermicelli noodles in boiling water until soft.
Slice fresh produce thinly - I used avocado, cucumber, capsicum, apple, bean sprouts, carrot.
Soak rice paper in warm water until pliable.
Add desired fillings; including cooled vermicelli noodles - I also used coriander and lime juice.
Wrap into a little parcel/roll.
Easy. Peasy.

Today is my third day of an entirely vegetarian diet.

Not necessarily on purpose. But just because I am loving fresh, raw veggies right now.

You could add cooked chicken mince, or salmon slices, or prawns if you want to.

Give it a try. You will be hooked, I promise.


Sunday, 19 January 2014

finding peace

When I was a teenager (about 17, I think) made myself physically sick from stress and anxiety that I ended up at my doctors office (it was the first, but sadly, not the last time I would find myself in this situation).

When describing my symptoms to the doctor, and trying to explain how my mind speeds up and thoughts get out of control, my doctor put his hand up, palm in my face and said STOP!

He then proceeded to explain to me that this 'coping mechanism' was the key to overcoming stress.

"Simply tell yourself to stop thinking"


"Dr. C, telling me to stop thinking is the same as asking me to stop breathing - impossible!"

He then advised that I take up running...

My point to the story is that I have suffered from stress and anxiety for many years. And for many years, I have sought tools to help my overcome these feelings, to no avail.

Until now.

I am pleased to say that on my life coaching journey, I am finally learning new techniques for dealing with stress and just like chocolate, when I got a little taste for it, I craved more.

And that's how I found myself at a Meditation course run by the Ganden Kadampa Buddhist Centre on Saturday.

In our modern world, it seems whatever our lifestyle we will at times experience stress and anxiety. So much of the stress and tension we experience comes from our mind and many of our daily problems, such as relationship difficulties and ill health are caused or aggravated by this stress.

The course, from 10am - 4pm was led by a Buddhist Teacher who was surprisingly relatable.

Her teachings were followed by group meditation sessions and discussion.

What resonated with me the most was her definition of stress - 
Stress is tension, caused by what we want vs what is happening.

Our minds can be rigid and inflexible.

But to reduce stress and find peace in our lives, we need to resemble a willow tree - We must bend with the wind (aka tension) and adapt to the situation.

This makes perfect sense, if you consider another (more rigid) tree, which will snap under pressure.

It's rigidity is it's weakness.

In other words - Flexibility equals strength.

And a flexible mind is the key to success.

We get to choose how we react to situations - A situation itself is not stressful - It is our expectations of that situation.

Realising that I am the creator of my own thoughts, and that being conscious of the thoughts I have, gave me such clarity and empowerment.

I don't need to stop thinking at all!

But when I do need a quiet moment to clear my mind, I now know the power of meditation. 

That is where my mind can find peace.



Friday, 17 January 2014

know or feel

To put into words how I am feeling today is difficult, because as I type, I edit my thoughts and then they fall onto the page wrong and don't even resemble my initial thought.

What a mess.

But this quote has resonated with me because it describes where I am right now. 


I am currently a Work In Progress toward embracing my True Self.

My judgmental self has trouble admitting that in such a public forum.

But it is what it is.

I am breaking down barriers of what I have believed for many years and reinventing myself.

It sounds crazy.

It sounds impossible.

It's certainly not easy.

But I am doing it.

My biggest struggle is to challenge what I know to be true because those thoughts are learned, they are ingrained, they are in alignment with societal perception and they make sense to me. I have lived them for as long as I can remember.

And now I am consciously letting them go, to make room for new thoughts based on my True Self.

For me, embracing my True Self means moving beyond my self-prescribed limitations.

Pushing through mental barriers which I have in the past allowed me to give up.

Because the truth is - 
Beliefs are just thoughts we keep thinking.

So everything that I thought I knew was just habitual thinking; which means that it is entirely possible to change my thinking and develop new beliefs.

It will take some time. But only then will what I know be a true reflection of what I feel.

And then, I will be living a life that is honouring my truth.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

please do not feed the drama llama

The benefits (or downfall, depending on how you look at it) of being a baker, means that I can literally feed my emotional eating needs when required.

Without engaging my inner Drama Llama, I can tell you that sometimes the truth hurts.

But what hurts more is fighting my truth. And, let me tell you, it also takes a huge amount of energy.

To fight the truth is to fight a losing battle.

Feeling defeated over the weekend, I embraced my baking skills and made these delicious cookies.

white choc butterscotch cookies >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
White Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups plain flour
½ bag caramel choc chips
½ bag white choc chips
Also - 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp almond extract, 1 tsp salt – if you have them in the cupboard… I didn’t!

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar
Add 1 egg at a time
Mix in oil and vanilla
In a separate bowl – combined flour and baking soda
Slowly add dry ingredients to the original bowl
When combined, add choc chips
Bake at 180C for 7-10 minutes 

white choc butterscotch cookies >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

And you know what?

Life isn't so bad with a cookie and a cup of tea.


Friday, 10 January 2014

checking out

I am one of those people who is never without her phone.

Not because I have children who need to contact me 24/7;
or because I use it for work;
To be perfectly honest, if it rings, I probably won't answer it....

But I keep my phone with me At. All. Times. simply to keep connected to the cyber world.

To Facebook

To Instagram

To LinkedIn

To Emails

And most recently (and perhaps embarrassingly) to Tinda

Yup.. I went there.

And shortly after downloading this new app for singles, and the fun wore off, I realised how much of myself I was dedicating to these connections.

I was checking all of the above several times a day.
It was the very first thing I did in the morning upon waking.
And then it came full circle, when I found myself clutching my phone in the dark doing one more scan right before I went to sleep at night.

At work, I had a complete inability to stay focused on any given task without stopping to have a quick (and sometimes not so quick) peak at my phone.

I could barely sit through a meal without checking out if anything new was happening in cyberspace while I ate.

I, like many others, did not merely sit in front of the television and solely focus on whatever was on the big screen. Nope - dual screens all the way for me, thanks very much.

And also like many others (although I'm sure they wouldn't admit to doing it) having a sneaky scroll whilst driving.

Here's the thing though -

I was putting a lot of emotion into all these connections.

Constant comparisons between me and my 'friends' on Facebook.
Watching people I knew 10 years ago get married and have babies.

Jealousy over others' Instagram images - Travel adventures and food envy

Feeling validated by how many people 'liked' my status update or photo;

Feeling depressed when it didn't receive the response I had anticipated;

And worse - feeling confused when someone I barely know 'likes' a random photo (weirder still if it's an old photo, as if they've been creeping my account)

And then came Tinda.

The straw that broke the camels back.

A little swipe to the right and suddenly I had matches and feelings of a soaring ego..

Then came the conversations

And suddenly I found myself feeling obligated

To write back quickly, to seem interested. But not too eager.
To come up with something witty. But ensure it would come across the right way in text.
To sound interesting. Be engaging.
Fun. Flirty. Fabulous.


I didn't even know these people.

Why was I so invested?

And then I realised this was true of all my connections.

These apps should be used for keeping up to date with people I want to.

So I reevaluated my investment; my time and my effort.

I deleted Tinda within a week of downloading it.

Then, I culled 'friends' from my accounts

And now I am going one step further and putting boundaries in place.
You know, just a little distance between my phone and I.

We're not breaking up, we're just having some space. Time to think.

No more phone in bed;
And no more phone during meal times.

And now I feel much more at peace.

And my news feeds are suddenly full of people I actually care about.

Instgram @thegoodquote


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

... there was also cheesecake

Even though it actually feels like months ago, I have just one more Christmas post before I get back on my spiritual high-horse.

Actually, this was a pre-Christmas dessert.

My contribution to a casual dinner with friends.

B A K E D   L E M O N   C H E E S E C A K E

Baked Lemon Cheesecake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES

This was a new recipe for me. 
And I was a little sad about how it sunk in the middle; and how the crust pulled away from the cake..

But perfectionist-mentality aside, it was delicious.

And sometimes that's all that matters.

Interesting note - I don't own a food processor.

So I had to bash the biscuits with a rolling pin. Old school style.

It was therapeutic, I'm not gonna lie.

Baked Lemon Cheesecake >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Traditional biscuits bashing - With a rolling pin...

And I served it with cointreau flavoured thickened cream.


Would I make it again?!

100% YES.

Shopping List:
250g sweet plain biscuits (I used Arnott's NICE)
150g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
3/4 caster sugar
3 teaspoons lemon rind
3 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice

How To :

Preheat the oven to 160C
Grease a 6cm deep springform pan
Process biscuits until finely chopped (or, if you're like me and don't have a food processor, bash biscuits until they're a crumb consistency)
Add butter; Combine
Press mixture into base; Refrigerate

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon rind until smooth
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beat until combined
Add lemon juice; mix
Pour mixture into prepared pan

Bake for 50 minutes
Cool in oven
Refrigerate until cool


Monday, 6 January 2014

it's about the J word...

I have found myself making excuses for this little blog of late.

Along the lines of -

"It's about baking.

Sort of.

Well.. it was once upon a time..

Now it's kind of like a journal.

Except not lame.

But it's not very exciting.

You probably wouldn't be interested...."

Here's the thing - 

This blog is about my life.

It always has been.

When my life changes focus, so does the blog.

When I bake, I tell you about it.

When I don't.. well, I have other stuff to share!

My blog evolves the same way my life does. 

There used to be a plan. But plans change.

And so I adapt accordingly.

Get your shot glasses ready*...


And right now, in this little game called life, I am on one hell of a ride as I discover things I never knew about myself.

I am exploring concepts and ideas that I never imagined.

I am becoming the truest version of myself than I have ever been.

Pinned HERE

So, from now on, when asked to summarise this little blog?

Well, it's just about LIFE.

Cupcakes and all.


You know - Have a shot every time someone says the word 'Journey' on a reality TV show?!... 
Ok.. Just me then.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

what's a christmas without cake?

Remember a time when this little corner of the blogesphere was less philosophical and more about my baking escapades?

Well.. settle in with a cup of tea and enjoy. This one's on me.

~ ~ ~

I heart Christmas.

I heart cupcakes.

So it was only natural that my two loves come together during the festive season.

It was a less traditional Christmas for me this year, having moved away from 'home' it was not as simple as showing up to the family gathering with a plate of treats for the masses.

 But after not spending much time flexing my baking muscles in the past few months, it was fun to get back in the kitchen and prepare a few sweets for the small gathering that was my dad, sister and I.

There were cupcakes; there were melting moments; there were double choc chip cookies.

Quite simply - My Christmas was a food-fest.

In the interest of honesty, the two styles of cupcakes were the same cake batter and icing, just decorated differently.

Christmas Cupcakes >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Christmas Cupcakes >> STARTS WITH CUPCAKES
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

How To :
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 180 C.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
Stir in boiling water (the batter will be really runny).
Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.
Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.

For the Frosting:
140g butter
3-4 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp vanilla essence
3-4 tbsp milk

Beat butter until soft.
Slowly add icing sugar
Gradually add milk and vanilla
Test consistency and taste frequently..!

And don't worry - Miss Emmy wasn't forgotten.
She had a special dog-friendly treat of her own.



Thursday, 2 January 2014

expressing gratitude

I am thankful for all that 2013 taught me.

I am thankful for the challenges that seemed impossible to conquer

I am thankful for the experiences which allowed me to learn and grow

I am thankful for the smiles

and the tears

I am thankful because I am starting this brand new year knowing that I am right where I should be.

I am on the path to finding peace, love and happiness.

And what more could a girl ask for?!


In 2014, remarkable things will happen in my life.


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