Phoebe’s World: Resting on a Mushroom

For me, childhood was a time of dreams and fantasy. It was a time of fairytales and believing in magic. Nature was (and still is…) a wonderful thing. Gathering acorns, twigs, leaves, stones and shells was just what I did. A centipede. A mushroom. The clouds. A rainbow. All of these thrilled me. As they now thrill my daughter.

Because there is magic in not forgetting our childhood…I have decided to create a series of special portraits. This is Phoebe’s world. I hope you enjoy it with me.

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Food on Friday: School Lunch

Before…I always thought school lunches and sandwiches went together like…peas and carrots. After all, that’s what I carried to school every day for all of my childhood life.  I’m sure you did too.

But if you are wheat-free, gluten-free and potato free, sandwiches are no longer an option. (Most gluten-free breads rely on potato to hold things together…) And so what do I make Phoebe for lunch each day? Salads!

Since Phoebe is also on a primarily cooked diet, our salads are a bit different than the norm. But they are amazingly yummy and easy to do. Her teachers always say how delicious her food looks.

I rely on my steamer and a combination of vegetable that changes with each salad.  My method is similar for each:

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Squash, Courgette and Broccoli Salad

2-3 slices of pumpkin or squash

1/2 courgette, sliced

1/2 head of broccoli broken into ‘trees’ (For this I actually used Romanesco…a light green cross between cauliflower and broccoli. However, I know this isn’t easy to find in the US. Broccoli or cauliflower would work just as well.)

Olive oil

Coconut yogurt

pinch salt

Steam vege until soft (about 15-20 mins). Chop and toss together with 2-3 good glugs of olive oil. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut yogurt to make things creamy. Stir with the salt. Done!

My Tuna Salad. 

This follows a similiar method.

1 can of your favourite tuna, drained.

1 stick celery chopped fine.

Olive oil

Coconut yogurt

Mix the tuna and celery with a good glug of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of coconut yogurt. Done!

 

Our half-term holiday starts here today. We have one week off school and few adventures planned! See you next week with a Halloween-ish update, I’m sure. :)

 

 

Family Portrait Session

What happens when you take two little boys…one serious and one cheeky…some markers, a book, a bear, a chair…and some chilled-out, fun-loving parents? Easy…this happens. And it was so much fun. :)

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Inspiration in Shere…

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Last week, I went for a little wander in Shere and found this.

Dinner in a Hurry: Autumn Minced Beef and Vege

Somehow, in September and October, my days never seem long enough. Is it this time of the year as we come away from the holidays of summer into our work-school routines? Or is this just life with a little one, a business and now a yoga teacher training course?  :) I can’t quite decide, but I suspect you all are just as busy.  Yourr busy-ness might come from things with different names, but busy days are busy days.

And so, I thought I would share one of my go-to recipes for days when luxurious cooking is not an option. This recipe is economical and fast. You can make it ahead and warm it up in a few minutes flat. You could even throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning to enjoy in the evening. If you eat grains and/or gluten you can serve this with pasta or rice. Phoebe and I find this quite filling on its own. Tonight we finished the leftovers with some steamed cabbage.

‘Please Mama, would you make this again?’ she asked. :)

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Autumn Minced Beef and Vegetables

1 tsp coconut oil

2 small onions

2 stalks celery

500 grams beef mince

2 sweet potatoes

2 large carrots

1/2 butternut squash

1-3 cloves garlic (how much garlic do you like?)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp each of turmeric, thyme and oregano

black pepper

chicken stock to moisten & form some juice.

Saute your onion and mince beef together in the coconut oil in a large frying pan (if eating straight away) or stew pot with a lid (if re-warming later). While this is browning, chop up all the other vege into similar size pieces. Throw everything into the pan. Cook down until the vegetables are soft (about 30-40 mins.)

Enjoy with a drizzle of olive oil or parmesan if you eat dairy.

 

 

Special Christmas Mini-Sessions

Would you like to do something special for Christmas this year? Are you interested in a themed portrait session? Or do you prefer natural photos but just want a few portraits to capture your children and your family as it is today?Christmas-Mini-Sessions

For a limited time only, and for limited dates, now offering Christmas mini-sessions. Each session lasts and hour and includes 25 simple, luxurious cards. Perfect for this time of year. And what a wonderful way to create special gifts that will be treasured for a long time to come. Contact me for more information or to book!

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5 Little Fairies Came to Tea…

Last week, my little fairy girl turned five. Four little fairies and one pirate-fairy came to celebrate. It was a WONDERFUL afternoon.  And for me, it was just a little bit emotional…not just because my little girl will soon need two hands to count her age….but because last year, due to her diet, I COULDN’T make her a birthday cake. How grateful I am that she is healing. And this year we had a very special chocolate-almond cake. Recipe here

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Food on Friday: Simple Soup

There are times when simpler is better. Actually, probably most of the time, simpler is better. Especially when the weeks get crazy…

This week was one of those weeks for me. I had lots on at work. Phoebe’s school was closed for parent-teacher conferences. The house is still recovering from our fairy birthday party last weekend.  And I’m preparing to be away this weekend for the start of my yoga teacher training course.  (So excited for the start of this journey, but of, course, being away means lots of preparation and planning regarding Phoebe’s care and her meals…)

In midst of all this, Phoebe’s teacher told me that her class would be making vegetable soup in school today. Phoebe won’t be able to eat the soup made at school. Since I didn’t want her to miss out, we made some soup for her to take in.  Strangely enough, making soup together with Phoebe was one of the highlights of my week. She peeled and washed. I chopped and diced.

A note on spices: You’ll see that I chose parsley, turmeric and black pepper to season this soup. I cook with these ALL the time. Parsley is wonderful since it pulls toxins out of the body and is full of anti-oxidents.  Turmeric is an amazing spice with a whole host of health benefits. I use it as much as I can as turmeric reduces inflammation and is an antioxidant. Black pepper increases the efficacy of turmeric immensely!

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Our soup was delicious. And simple. And quick. Here goes:

Phoebe’s Vegetable Soup

1 large courgette, diced

1/2 butternut squash, peeled & diced

2 large carrots, peeled & diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

Bone broth or chicken stock

handful fresh parsley, minced (or you can use dried)

turmeric – a couple dashes

black pepper

Place all the vegetables in a pot. Cover with broth. Simmer for about 30 mins. Toss in the herbs & spices. Let simmer another 5 mins to wilt the parsley. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.

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Food on Friday: Sweet Treats

apple-cinnamon-cakes-gluten-freeSOMEONE is having a birthday this weekend! I have been planning the party and doing a bit of cake research.  Ahhh…it’s a tough job. But this Mama doesn’t mind making the sacrifice. :)

In honor of the birthday girl, I thought I would share a few recipes that will feature on her special day. Healthy enough for Phoebe…and delicious for everyone else as well.

Apple-cinnamon-cupcakesApple Cinnamon Cupcakes

These are so yummy, and healthy that (shhhh!) we ate these for breakfast. :) Even better, they took me HOURS to make. Not!

Yields: 7 cupcakes
Preparation time: About 5 minutes
Cooking time: About 15-20 minutes

Diet Info: Wheat & Gluten Free, Dairy-Free

Ingredients

5 eggs

1 cup homemade apple sauce

1/2 cup coconut flour

3-4 tablespoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 diced apple

2 teaspoons maple syrup or raw honey

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Line pan with cupcake papers or grease with coconut oil. Put everything except diced apple and maple syrup in a bowl and whisk or blend with immersion blender. (Takes about 3 minutes. Seriously. That long…)

Let batter sit for 5 minutes, then spoon into cupcake tin. Sprinkle diced apple on top of muffins. Bake 15 minutes until cakes start to brown and not soft when lightly touched on top. Let cool. Drizzle with maple syrup. Eat everything but the paper.

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And since we can’t have a birthday day without chocolate…This recipe is a tad bit more involved, but WELL worth the effort. Mmmmm…

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Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Yields: 1 cake
Preparation time: About 30-40 minutes
Cooking time: About 1.5 hours

Diet Info: Wheat & Gluten Free, Dairy-Free, No added Sugar

Ingredients

6oz. (170g) bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
¼ cup coffee (perhaps left over from your morning brew)
plus, 2 teaspoons instant coffee
6oz. (170g) unsalted butter, softened OR substitute 170g coconut oil
5 tablespoons coconut nectar OR sugar if your diet allows
6 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon salt
6oz. (170g) almonds, finely ground
cashew cream to serve
Preheat oven to 375ºF / 190ºC. Butter a 9-inch (24cm) springform pan.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Remove from heat. Mix in the coffee powder and coffee. Reserve.
In a food processor, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add 4 TB coconut nectar and blend until the mixture is light and very creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the egg yolks, one or two at a time, processing well between each, and blending an extra minute after the last one.
Fold in the almonds and chocolate mixture, using a spatula.
With a mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until they begin to stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 Tbs coconut nectar and beat until glossy and stiff.
With a spatula, add a small amount of the whites to the chocolate mixture and fold. Fold in the rest of the whites in 2 or 3 additions, mixing carefully and completely. Pour into the prepared pan.
Turn down the oven to 350ºF / 180ºC and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn down the oven to 325ºF / 160ºC and bake for another 45 minutes. Check your cake with a tester. If dry, turn off the oven. If not…Turn the oven down to 300ºF / 150ºC and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes, until a tester in the center comes out dry.
Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven, with the door ajar for another 30 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool, in the pan, to room temperature.
When ready to serve, slide a flat knife or spatula around the sides, release the springform and carefully transfer to the serving plate.
Serve with cashew cream, berries or anything else you fancy. :)

Why Food on Friday? 

18 months ago, my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and uveitis…both auto-immune diseases. By changing her diet and through lots of alternative care, I have been able to significantly minimise my daughter’s use of drugs…and their side effects. And we have started to heal her immune system.

BIG bonus for me: changing my diet has massively improved my health, my energy levels and my overall well-being. All wonderful for me as a photographer! So many people have asked me to share more about what and how we eat that Food on Friday was born. I’d love to hear from you. What would you like more of? What would you like me to cover? 

 

Graduation Portraits

Earlier this summer, I had the chance to photograph this gorgeous girl and her family on graduation day. Grandparents, parents, sisters, pets, friends, boyfriends…we had a whole group of people and a beautiful evening in which to shoot. There were lots of laughs, a little bit of craziness and a whole lot of family connection.

windsor-family-photographerBest of luck, J, as you head off into the next stage of life. Wishing you lots of success and happiness. Thanks for sharing your special day with me.

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