Friday, May 30, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day two

day two of the great green smoothie experiment. what excitement! what trepidation!

i would have sprung out of bed in my enthusiasm to continue to do science to the vegetables this morning, but i totally munted my back assembling ikea furniture with sj last night, so my kitchenward journey was more of a determined hobble than anything else.

when in pain, tweet.

freezing the ingredients was a really good move in light of my current incapacitation. i didn't have to stand at the bench chopping things up, i just emptied the contents of one of my little baggies into the blender, added liquid, and smoothied. here's what they were:


1 banana
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup spinach leaves
1 pear (cored, but unpeeled)
1 cup coconut water


  • place all ingredients in blender, breaking up frozen fruit as much as possible as you do.
  • blend until smooth.
  • you may need to poke the frozen fruit down a bit with a wooden spoon to achieve an even texture. turn the blender off each time you do this.

still not green

i hope you won't think i've been nobbled by the green smoothie marketing board when i tell you that this one was genuinely yummy.
if i'd ordered this at a cafe, i wouldn't send it back, which is more than i could say for yesterday's.

the banana made it creamy, the berry and pear made it sweet, and the spinach's presence could only really be discerned by that vaguest leafy aftertaste.

the fact that the fruit was frozen gave it the consistency of a thickshake, which tricked my brain into thinking it was having some kind of indulgent treat (how much of a spoiled, first world brat am i not to consider fresh fruit and vegetables a treat?).

verdict? would nom again.
i swear i'm as surprised as you are.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

six days of (green) smoothies: day one

look, i don't want to come across as a total sheep, but i spend enough time on pinterest to have become curious about the current mania for green smoothies.

they seem to me like a very efficient way to get a lot of fresh fruit and veg into you in one go.

i'm sceptical about how good they can taste, how realistic it is to prepare them on a daily basis, and whether they can honestly make me feel as good as all the girls at yoga class insist.

the only way to find out is to try!
on the deeply flawed assumption that eight million hippies can't be wrong, i'm going to have one green smoothie a day for the next 6 days, and see how i feel at the end of it.

six days of (green) smoothies: day one

today i went to the market, picked up a whole load of ingredients, and divided them up into different combinations. i've put them in zip lock bags and stuck them in the freezer so that i can make a smoothie every day without having to stress about having fresh ingredients.

in the process i put one lot of ingredients aside for immediate preparation. it went like this:


1 cup spinach leaves
1/2 cup blueberries
1 whole pear (cored, but unpeeled)
1 whole kiwi fruit (peeled)
1 cup coconut water


  • place all ingredients in blender
  • blend until smooth(ie)

the first thing to note about this concoction is distinct failure to be green.
i am putting this down to the blueberries.

this smoothie exceeded my expectations simply by not being the most disgusting thing i'd ever put in my mouth. i'd go further and say that i actually didn't mind it. i wouldn't prepare one of these to drink just for deliciousness' sake, but as a healthy tonic it was more than palatable.

is that damning it with faint praise? maybe.
all i mean is it wasn't too bad.
as i drank it, i made this face...

... a sort of trepidatious curiosity. quite far from all out disgust.

i made this at lunch time, and after drinking it i'm too full for my actual lunch, so i can definitely say that these things are satisfying. i also feel kind of virtuous, which is always pleasing. hopefully i don't tip over into smug, because that's not a look that suits me at all.

i'm approaching the next one with cautious optimism.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

family noms: lentil and corn soup

in this cool, autumnal weather, i'm starting to crave warm lunches, and soup is hard to go past as a quick and satisfying option.

this particular one is ridiculously easy to make, and yields four servings, so i can freeze portions for days when i don't have much time or energy.

lentil and corn soup


2 anchovies (and a tiny drizzle of their oil)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
400g tin corn kernels, drained
1 cup water
1 tsp stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 tbsp dried italian herbs
freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • place anchovies, oil, and garlic in a medium saucepan, and stir over a medium heat until they begin to reduce and form a paste (approximately one minute)
  • add all other ingredients, bring to boil, cover, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes

that is literally all it takes.

if you want, serve it with toast, spread with goat's cheese or ricotta, but honestly, there's enough going on in there to make it filling just by itself.

Monday, May 19, 2014

a tattooed mama's advice to her son

what do i want to tell my son about tattoos?

arty unconsciously dressed to match my latest tatt.

i want to preface this discussion with some general principles before going into specifics.

we believe very strongly in giving arty age appropriate bodily autonomy. to the extent that he is able to manage and understand the care of his body, it's his to do with what he wishes.
right now that means things like: he gets to wear nail polish if he wants, try whatever clothes appeal to him (regardless of their assigned gender), have his 'no' unquestioningly respected when we're playing rough and tumble or other physical games, et cetera.

as he gets older i imagine the ways in which he'll want to use and embody his body might get more challenging for us. maybe he'll love wearing clothes we hate. maybe he'll want to get piercings that we think don't suit him at all. maybe he'll take risks in sport that scare us a little.

respecting his autonomy means letting go of a lot of this.
yes, it's our job to keep him safe, but apart from that, he gets to make his own choices, and we have to be ok with them.

that applies when it comes to tattoos as well.
both sj and i have tattoos. both of arty's oddparents have them too. in fact, i'd go so far as to say more of the adults in his life are inked than not.
even if we wanted to, we'd be pretty massive hypocrites if we tried to ban him from getting any of his own, or got preachy about what he was allowed to get.

he knows my ink so well. 
his cheek is pressed against it when he needs comfort or affection.

as his tattooed mama, i see it as my role not to dictate, but to offer advice based on my experience. he can take it or leave it, but hopefully, if i do my job properly between now and then, he'll feel that i'm wise and trustworthy enough that my advice is worth factoring into his decision making processes.

so, arthur, here is my advice to you about tattoos...

1. wait.
wait until you're at least 25 before you get your first tattoo.
your teens and 20s are about finding out who you are, and who you want to be. your identity is so very much in a state of flux at this time, that i think committing to something as permanent as a tattoo is unwise.
you will feel your loves and your passions so deeply as a teen and young adult, and that may result in a desire to have them etched on your skin, but trust your old mama when i say that i know for a fact that i would now regret anything i thought was an awesome idea for a tattoo when i was 21.

2. wait some more.
when you do have a great idea, sit with it. then talk about it a lot with people whose judgement and taste you trust.
if after a year it still seems like a great idea, then you're probably onto a winner.
i love all of my eight tattoos, but the ones i don't love as much as the others are the ones that i didn't sit with and plan over long periods.

3. think about your career
yes, tattoos are everywhere. i can only assume they'll be even more common by the time you're old enough to get one. their social meaning is changing by their sheer ubiquity - you can no longer assume the things you used to about a person by the fact that they have words or pictures on their skin.
that said, it's likely there will always be some professions where visible tattoos are frowned on. if you want to keep your options open, just be cautious about placement. for example, your mummy is making sure that she gets her tattoos in places that are easily covered by clothes. she wants to keep her options open when it comes to the kinds of schools she'd like to teach in. i, on the other hand, am pretty sure i only want to teach in public schools. they're more lenient, so i don't have to be as careful.

sj's work clothes cover her tattoo

4. meaning matters
your body is an ever changing organism. your skin will age, and your tattoos will change with it. they will not be as beautiful when they are 20, 40, 60 years old as they were on the day you got them.
for this reason, choose images and words that mean something to you. that way, even when they're not as crisp and bright as they were, they will still be lovely to you.

this tattoo will always be precious to me because it symbolises the two men arty was named after:
a finch for atticus finch, with a crown for king arthur.

5. if in doubt, go classic
by which i mean, if you want to get 'mummy' and 'mama' inside a heart on each bicep, that's totally fine with me.

the take home message, is: do what you like with your body, my love. beautify it in whatever way you see fit. but, as with anything else, exercise your common sense.