Nutty Quinoa Salad

by Kate on April 15, 2013

Nutty Quinoa Salad

I have made versions of this salad on a few occasions and it is always a winner with the crowds.

Prior to quitting sugar, I used Israeli/pearl couscous in place of the quinoa and chopped dried apricots instead of diced green apples. Whatever your dietary requirements, both versions taste great.

I generally serve the salad as a side dish but by adding chicken or tuna as well as some leafy greens, you have a substantial lunch on your hands.

1 cup of quinoa (or 110 grams of israeli/pearl couscous)
2 green apples, diced (or 85 grams dried apricots chopped)
170 grams mixed nuts, such as almonds, cashews, brazils, walnuts
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
5cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
large handful of fresh parsley, chopped finely
juice and zest of 1 orange
slat and pepper

1. cook quinoa (or couscous) as directed on label
2. Mix together nuts, apple (or apricot), parsley, ginger and orange zest in a bowl.
3. Fork cooked quinoa (or couscous) to separate the grains. Add quinoa to nut & fruit bowl. Dress with olive oil & orange juice. Season

Serves 6 as a side dish


Toasted Coconut Butter Bon-Bons

by Kate on April 10, 2013

Toasted Coconut Butter Bon Bons

Over the weekend, Meg and I were ‘chatting’ about our experiences with quitting sugar and she sent me over a few links to recipes she had tried at home. I was immediately taken with her banana bon-bons, they just looked so delicious.

As well as cutting out sugar I try to limit my daily intake of fruit to two servings of low fructose fruit such as green apples, raspberries, kiwi’s, mandarins and strawberries. Banana’s are quite high in fructose so I knew I would have to substitute the banana for a low fructose fruit.

I made up a batch of Meg’s toasted coconut butter (which was mind-blowingly amazing!), dunked in bits of fruit and topped it off with some shredded coconut.

Complete deliciousness but not a winner with the kids?! I couldn’t quite believe they didn’t like these (so typical though, right?) as the coconut butter has a wonderful caramel flavour to it. I was tempted to eat the whole batch straight out of the food processor.

Whether you are sugar free or not, you must try the coconut butter for yourself.

Meg’s toasted coconut butter recipe here and her bon-bon recipe here.

Thanks Meg!


i quit sugar : week 5 & beyond

by Kate on April 9, 2013

iqs wrap up
Photo : Sprouted Kitchen

If you have been stopping by here for a while, you have probably gleaned that I am an ‘all or nothing’ personality. When I discover something I love, I’ll tell anyone who will listen just how fantastic said discovery is. I get so excited and passionate (and also a little consumed) by the things that have had a positive affect on me.

I’m sure my friends and family find it tedious and no doubt you may too! And with that in mind, this is going to be my last post on my experience with Sarah Wilson’s 8 week quitting sugar program.

You just need to know that because of the program, I have made a heap of changes to how and what I eat.

If you think you have a problem with excess sugar consumption, then I cannot recommend Sarah’s book enough. Once you have completed Sarah’s 8 week program, your body (and you) will have well and truly kicked the refined sugar habit.

Moving forward, you will be able to make informed choices about what NATURAL sugars (think honey, maple syrup and fruit) that you may want to reintroduce. The beauty of doing the 8 week program is that you realise just how sweet the said natural sugars are. A little goes a long way and you will no longer be grabbing a bar of chocolate or smashing back a pastry to get your sugar fix.

Use Sarah’s book as a starting point and then check out these wonderful blogs for further inspiration: The Holistic Ingredient, Sprouted Kitchen, 101 Cookbooks and Inspired Edibles.

And in the words of a very good friend, just “have a crack”!

*edited to add* Last week, I came across the ebook ‘I didn’t quit sugar’ and it is a fantastic read. I do think the title is a little bit of a marketing ploy but if you can get past that you will find it jam packed with a heap of nutritional advice and facts around sugar and its sugar consumption. Whilst Katie & Cassie do not advocate the complete reduction of natural sugar intake, their message is one of including the natural stuff (honey, maple syrup & fruit) as part of a balanced whole-food diet.

I think there is a place for both methods. I found it a lot easier (and became more educated) to kick my sugar addiction by first doing Sarah’s 8 week program. I now feel I am at a really good, clean place to reintroduce small amounts of sugar, in the form of fruit, on a daily basis.


i quit sugar : week 4

by Kate on April 2, 2013

Coconut Oil Tips

Photo : Sarah Wilson

J and I are on the home stretch!

Although we have just finished week 4 (because we skipped the first two weeks of ‘operation cut back on sugar’), we are at the equivalent of week 6. This means we have introduced low fructose fruit back into our diet (raspberries, kiwis and green apples) but I am taking it very easy when it comes to my fruit intake. I just don’t want to get back into the habit of making fruit the ‘go-to’ snack.

I was slighted concerned about the Easter break, we had lots of social engagements which translates to a fair amount of food and wine but it all went quite well. The raspberry ripple came out at two dinners and the crunchynut cheesecake was a huge hit with my family on Good Friday. J and I both resisted the lure of chocolate eggs.

I just haven’t had the urge to have chocolate. If anything, I would much prefer to indulge in some of Sarah’s sweet treats…the almond butter bark is one of my favourites.

Anyway, I have been feeling really good. I have lost two kilos which I find remarkable as I am sure I am consuming more calories now than I was before cutting out the sugar.

Sarah mentions in her book that coconut is a really important element when cutting out sugar. If you are doing ‘iqs’ or thinking about trying it you should have a look at this post. It has some great tips on how to use coconut oil.

Oh and you may have heard that from July 1 the folk at Google have decided that google reader will be no more and like many, I have popped over to bloglines.

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i quit sugar : week 2 and 3

by Kate on March 24, 2013

Raspberry Ripple

Photo : Sarah Wilson

I meant to check in last week but uni got a bit out of control. The busy-ness of last week actually made me re-assess just how many units I can commit to while I still have Alfie at home. After a lot of soul searching, I came to the decision that one unit at a time is all I can manage at this point.

It is Alfie’s last year at home before he heads off to school next year and I want to make the most of the time we have together before the little guy gets corrupted by the school yard. As soon as I made the decision and withdrew from one of my two units, I felt like such a weight had been lifted.

On the ‘i quit sugar’ front, things have been going really well. We have had a few people over for dinners and it has been really nice to try out some of the sweet treats from the book.

The avocado and chocolate mousse was so easy to make and was a real hit. It has such an intense chocolate flavour so I would recommend serving them in espresso cups as overall it is a very rich desert.

Yesterday, I made the raspberry ripple which was such a hit with our guests. I served it alongside a cheese plate and it was the perfect accompaniment.

The recipe can be found in Sarah’s book but it also sprung up in a google search via channel 10′s ‘The Circle. You can get it here.

If you are interested in reading a little more on the sugar and fructose debate, you should head over to Sarah’s site. It contains so much information but I found this post really interesting.


I quit sugar : week 1 wrap up

by Kate on March 9, 2013


photo from : gourmande in the kitchen

One week down and it has been a lot easier than I anticipated.

Sarah recommends spending the first two weeks of the eight week programming, gradually cutting back on your sugar intake. Jason and I decided to skip this part and head straight to week three, which means no sugar or fructose (fruit) at all. The lack of fruit has probably been the hardest thing for me and I have compensated by eating loads of raw vegetables.

I think from week six onwards, you can re-introduce some low fructose fruit like kiwi, raspberries, green apple, blueberries and strawberries. Very much looking forward to that!

Jason and I both feel like we have more energy, especially during the afternoon slump that we both used to experience. I did have a shocking headache on Wednesday and was so hideously irritable. I took myself straight to Bikram and sweated it all out.

Pop over to my pinterest ‘i quit sugar’ board and take a look at some yummy recipes I have found on the interweb. Some need a little tweaking to be sugar-free but not enough to impact on taste.

Tidbits that you may find useful:

Be organised and buy all the relevant ingredients prior to starting the 8 week program.
Become good friends with coconut. Seriously, I have eaten more coconut related products in the last week than I have in my lifetime.
Have a glass of coconut water if you have a sugary or sweet craving.
Stay positive, keep active and be kind to yourself.

Recipes I have tried this week:

Sarah’s sugar-free granola: amazing solo with natural yoghurt but we have been enjoying it sprinkled over rolled oats that I cooked with coconut water.

Almond butter bark (recipe found in book) : totally amazing and the perfect sweet treat. Maddie loved it too.

Sarah’s meal in a biscuit (recipe found in book): generously spread with goats cheese, avocado and sliced cucumbers

Sarah’s spirulina balls (recipe found in book): These guys are super dense and are the perfect mid afternoon ‘need something to carry me over to dinner’ morsel.

Sarah’s cashewy chia pudding (recipe found in book): I didn’t have time to make the cashew milk so just used normal milk. Quite yummy, perfect of that bit of after dinner something. The pudding does have a bit of a tapioca consistency to it which may not appeal to all.

Broccolini Salad: Was sensational! I didn’t have any spring onions so threw in some sliced radishes, omitted the croutons and used a tin of butter beans and I also roasted some pumpkin in coconut oil and threw that it also. A really filling and healthy dinner.

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I quit sugar

by Kate on March 3, 2013

I quit sugar

Since I started a regular yoga practice I have started listening to my body.

I have noticed that what I eat and drink directly impacts on my practice and how I feel on a day to day basis. Yeah, I know, I know… talk about “stating the obvious” but the yoga has magnified the realisation that what I put in my body, affects not just my practice but my day to day wellbeing.

This realisation has meant that I have significantly reduced my intake of alcohol. I have gone from an everyday wine drinker, to enjoying just a few glasses on the weekend. This is massive for me as I LOVE wine but it has been worth it. I am sleeping better and wake up ‘fog free’. I still want to make a few more changes, the chief reasons being the bloat and because I find it VERY VERY difficult to go without a ‘sweet fix’ after lunch and dinner.

Now, I’m sure you may be thinking that these two issues sound pretty normal and innocent but the bloating can be quite hideous and painful and when I hit the sweets, I binge in a big way. The innocent bullet or chocolate egg turns into nearly half a packet. I don’t like how I feel after and I certainly don’t like feeling like I am a hostage to sugar.

This brings me to Sarah Wilson and her ‘I quit sugar’ way of life. I have been contemplating Sarah’s methods for the last month but when I first read about her and her way of life, I thought “well, it’s easy for Sarah. She has no kids and only has herself to worry about”.

Harsh and naive on my part.

Fast forward a few weeks and specifically, last night. Jason and I had just come out of the cinema and with stomach’s full of Toblerone – the stars aligned. The local book store was still open and Sarah’s book was in the window. I made the decision to stop making excuses and have a crack.

Sarah’s book is so well written. It is written for normal, busy people and more importantly – it looks achievable.

I am under no illusion that the first 8 weeks are going to be tough (especially considering fruit has to be cut out for before a little being re-introduced at the eight week mark) but I am ready for change and am so interested to see what impact no sugar/fructose has on the way I am feeling.

You may be wondering, why I am writing all this? Well, in my experience there is no greater motivation (for me, anyway) than a public declaration –! I love nothing more than a challenge and I love a goal.

But I am also wondering if anyone else has tried Sarah’s program? Do you have any hints or tips? Any good sugar-free recipes you and your family love?

Over the next 8 weeks, I will pop back weekly. Let you know how I am getting on and how it is fitting into our family life.

Jason is on board so we can motivate each other along the way and we have decided not to take a draconian approach with the kids, just some subtle changes that I am hoping they don’t really notice.

Wish me luck and see you next week!



by Kate on January 29, 2013


We have just come back from an idyllic holiday up on the NSW north coast. It was so great to hang with the family and we quickly settled into the routine of beach and pool swimming.

For us, a holiday at the end of January is the perfect way to regroup, recover from Christmas and prepare for the year that lay ahead.

This year, my study load is set to double so I will need to be so super organised and keep a firm eye on my stress levels. Thank god for the hot room!.

Speaking of yoga, it has probably been the single most important thing that I did for myself last year. It has had such a positive impact on me, which has really influenced other areas of my life.

I don’t know about you but the years seem to fly by faster and faster and I have a feeling this year will be no different.


Joyuex Noel

by Kate on December 17, 2012

I couldn’t really resist another photobooth Christmas wishes selfie.

It has been a little funny looking back over my Christmas posts and seeing myself take a ‘break’ from the blog and the internet.

That’s not really required this year as I have barely been here at all! So very typical of me to go flat out at things to then rein, rein, rein it in.

I’m quite looking forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for the family and I.

2012 Christmas

Here’s to a great Christmas! I shall see you on the flip side.



Christmas Sacks

by Kate on November 23, 2012

It is no secret that I LOVE Christmas and when Sarah asked me to whip up a crafty Christmassy project for the shop, how could I refuse?

I had lots of fun making these Christmas sacks.

Christmas Sacks

A half meter of linen, some fabric, some perle, some gorgeous ribbon and voila enter the Christmas sack.

Sarah and I have made up some Christmas sack kits should you wish to make your own, you can find them in the Balmain store.

Christmas Sack detail

In other news: Calico & Ivy have a great Christmas giveaway happening at the moment. Pop over to the blog for all the details.