Is Eating “Vegan” Easy? Realistic? Fun? Healthy? Find out…

Awesome news with a webinar scheduled for tomorrow night at 7.30pm QLD / 8.30pm NSW time with our program’s in house 🌶 Raw Food Nutritionist 🥑
If you’re keen to learn more about the benefits of going vegan or helping your family try more vegan food… this might light you up and add spritz to your day. 🍍 

100% Whole Foods from non-animal sources might not be for everyone all the time, but I know I can certainly benefit from more Whole Foods every day so I am keen to learn more – and you might benefit too from this FREE event. 

Tune in to hear one of my good friends share her awesome mode of lifestyle the “vegan” way.

Let me know if you would like the link to jump on 🍎



Acid or Alkaline body – which is yours … and does your reading explain why you are not your vibrant, energetic, hopeful, child-like Self?

We’ve all heard about creating a more alkaline body by drinking salted water with bicarbonate soda, or lemon juice in water upon waking – and most of us definitely need a reminder from time to time! For the benefit of our blood and overall cellular self, it’s so important to check this simple chemical reading. 

We ideally want to reduce inflammation in the body. Doing so prevents all kinds of symptoms like asthma, Candida and “wrong” bacterial overgrowth, pain, muscle tightness, anything uncomfortable. It also sets our bodies up to move through injuries or viral colds/flus efficiently without turning bacterial or septic… 

… and bicarbonate in water is a fab way to do this. 

I was reading up on an important point in Dr Libby Weaver’s book “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome”, a great read on all things digestion and self-help (before you visit the Dr or holistic practitioner office next, read this – it will give you a massive head-start!) 

Dr Libby explains that we want to keep our stomachs’ ACIDIC to ensure we can digest – so no water half hour either side of a meal. Most people think we want an alkaline body and it’s true we want a balanced 7.0 half way between acidic and alkaline, but we actually want the stomach particularly to be acidic for digestion. If we have water and dilute the stomach acid, we can experience reflux because foods aren’t breaking down. We can ensure to drink liberally during the day but consciously break from drinking, either side of breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. 

There are PH tests at the chemist to check how alkaline/acidic we are. If more acidic in our saliva or urine on a consistent basis, it’s great to be using bicarbonate in the early morning. 

Especially because after childhood, our bodies naturally become more acidic – and so the same diet as childhood/teenage years, does the body fewer favours! 

The ph test-kit from the chemist has great food guidelines too, with additional information on why this is important. It just makes sense. The kit is about $28.

Often, our Selves are trying to communicate their stesss by giving us noticeably-uncomfortable physical sensations – like acne and tummy-bloat – for when we don’t have the PH Test kit handy 🤣  

Don’t forget the stress and flight-fight response.

Relaxation, diaphragm-breathing, yoga, sleep, gentle fun exercise and fun, laughter and child-like play, are fantastic for increasing the alkalinity in the body and improving quality of life overall. 

Check your quality of life now if you like 👍How do you fill in the following categories? Do you have a few ways you actively maintain happiness and balance? 

  1. BODY CARE: exercise, healthy eating, treat illness, rest and sleep (my personal ways are restorative yoga, tai-chi and I’m learning Qi-Gong at home with the GAIA app, plus a weekly group Pilates class, 9 hours sleep, reading 📖 a great Australian fiction novel, and cooking (joy in food prep and eating with the eyes is also deeply nourishing!)
  2. ACHIEVEMENT: Work, Chores, Study (my personal ways include our Earthmoving Business, Home Office & Finance, being house-proud and renovating, caring for our many pets, my income from my representing a international health brand, and my Science of Life Manifestation Counselling coursework). 
  3. CONNECT WITH OTHERS: Friends, Family, Community (my personal ways are farm visits in our neighborhood, dinner parties, FaceTime calls, weekends away with family, visits to town, library and museums)
  4. ENJOYMENT: Play, Fun, Pleasure (my personal ways are dancing, bike-riding, beach & swimming, cafes & restaurants, shopping & food-gathering, personal development workshops, enjoying my relationship with my husband, and being present and playful with my kids). 

Creating the yummy balanced body is all made easy in our Real Food Tribe program, so with the combination of mostly plant-based foods, and water, we usually have a good chance at feeling great every morning upon waking, and ready to get on with our life. 💚💜❤️


Mammalian Meat Allergy (Alpha-Gal) – aligning yourself with the right tribe – and live with it successfully and happily

For a couple of years now I’ve had what I suspected was a “red-meat allergy”, from a paralysis tick bite. This is a growing concern especially on the coastal areas of NSW and QLD. There are new cases diagnosed every day, children included, so I wanted to share with you a little of what I’ve learned, so you can help yourself, or others, access good information should they ever be affected.

Firstly – if you’re ever bitten by a paralysis tick (and please teach your kids this!) – don’t try to remove it – don’t even touch it! Keep a “wart-off” product in your handbag/backpack and freeze it off so the paralysis tick cannot inject you with the “alpha-gal” protein, which it could have picked up by a recent feed (a cow, for example). If you don’t have access to the wart-off product, leave the tick in place until you can get to a chemist. Essential Oils are a little more risky as they can take a bit longer to work and the tick can still get irritated and inject you – I used essential oils and I still got the allergy – so please consider getting wart-off.

Secondly – if you are bitten by a paralysis tick, it’s not guaranteed you will become allergic to mammal meat products. This is just one form of a paralysis tick bite side-effect. So book a doctor appointment and have a blood test to check for “alpha-gal allergy”. You will also know if you suddenly start getting sick after eating. For me the symptoms were full-body tingles, tremors, heart palpitations, nausea like food-poisoning, urge to vomit but difficulty vomiting, sleepless nights with high anxiety, drop in blood pressure, urge to cry etc, pacing hallways etc. I mistook these symptoms for panic attacks. What I found worked for my “panic attacks” was vitamin C (4 mandarins did the trick!) or a vitamin C supplement, and an anti-histamine over time as the symptoms worsened. As they became worse again – I didn’t realise the foods I was eating were triggering allergy – I started using an asthma puffer occasionally to open my airways and calm me down, along with essential oils Sage, Lemon Grass, Frankincense, and Peppermint. I’ll always keep these first-aid tools with me now, but generally a state of calm, yoga, and deep diaphragmatic breathing is a really good preventative for the worse symptoms.

Thirdly – if you or someone else has alpha-gal allergy, don’t despair! It just takes time to get your mindset organised, for a change in diet and more diligence when eating out. I also recommend going to see an Allergy Specialist and checking the extent of the allergy. It can range from beef, to include all mammals, to even include milk and even milk-chocolate.

Fortunately for me during this time I was taking a whole-food powder in vegan-capsule, and vegan-shake. Juice Plus+ is all vegan. When I was first affected 2 years ago, as you might have heard me say on our recordings, Juice Plus+ “saved my life” when I didn’t know what was making me sick, because Juice Plus+ smoothies filled my belly up when I was both confused and weak! It was over 6 months before I was told by a friend about paralysis ticks. I hope that by writing this, you can possibly save time for a friend who is bitten and becomes sick.

Here are some practical solutions for shopping:

Alpha-gal is not “red-meat”. This is not “red-meat allergy” – and naming it that means you can make the same mistake I did and keep eating prosciutto and cheese for the next 2 years!  Alpha-gal is all mammals, even including kangaroo, pork, lamb – any animal born with live young. That means the occasional bacon for Sunday breakfast, or ham sandwiches on the run, or pork gyoza, are out. It may even include vegetarian spring-rolls, if they are cooked in the same deep-fried pan as meat spring rolls.

It is also a little tricky if you already follow a vegetarian diet – vegetarianism is ommitting meat and is definitely the closet diet to meat allergy – but sometimes vegetarian foods are cooked with meat (spring roll example above). Just take a little bit of extra caution – take a look at the cooking areas, or read labels. I used to eat mostly vegetarian, but simply didn’t realise some ingredients included mammal products, such as cheese “rennet”.

These are the products to look out for:

  • Cheese (rennet): buy the vegetarian option, which is made with animal-free rennet.
  • Lollies (many different kinds): only eat vegetarian because a lot of lollies are made with gelatine.
  • Thickened Cream, Sour Cream, and some Yoghurts: they often have gelatine. Read ingredients and buy pure cream and pot-set yoghurt. Be careful when eating out at parties or restaurants, as the cakes on offer probably have cream or jelly.
  • Flavoured meals, sauces and condiments: Beef stocks may be used in packaged foods. Choose vegetarian, and just make sure to read the ingredients.
  • Bakery foods: Pizza breads, for example, have bacon, and ham.
  • Cheesecakes: save the experience for when you can buy or make a beautiful raw-vegan!  I have a great recipe.

If you have kids? Don’t be like me and eat their left-overs! Or lick your fingers after preparing their meals. That too, was triggering mild reactions for me.

Restaurants & Cafes: You can have a quick chat with the chef when you arrive to check that vegetarian options on the menu definitely haven’t come into contact with beef stock or cooked in the same grill-pan as bacon, for example. Also you can ask to omit cheese. I find chefs and staff so helpful and willing to accommodate – sometimes I ring ahead and let them know and talk about the menu options.

Platters being served at big events: know what you’re eating before you eat it. Take your own foods as a precaution. At our recent conference I made myself unwell eating these delicious parcels that had pork in them …  I’d say it was worth it – but it really wasn’t, as I had to leave and missed the event!

The other thing to be weary of, which snuck up on me, is Iron Deficiency. I became iron deficient – and that was not a pleasant 2-3 months. Iron supplementation is often recommended for women, and I recommend it for mammalian meat allergy. Especially while you learn a new vegetarian diet. Especially if you are in child-birthing years with extra blood loss, from birth or miscarriage. I have continued to have my JP+ shakes, which have a good amount of iron. And I know that later on, when the diet becomes more normal and my health is strong and resilient, and my immune system is strong again, the extra supplementation can be taken out.

Supplementation from the chemist. Watch out for gelatine capsules and other mammal ingredients. Ring the company and ask if their vitamins, probiotics are vegetarian. I have found that most of Ethical Nutrients is vegetarian, which is great for probiotics and iron and vitamin B, and have found a favourite list of “safe” supplements. My Naturopath, and my Chemist, are more than willing to call the companies before they sell me their products. Propolis was a favourite supplement of mine. However my brand had gelatine – so it’s worth ringing the company for a quick chat, they are always helpful. I have previously not recommended supplementation from the chemist, but with an allergy, the body can get very run down and the immune system weak. So supplementation and chinese herbs have helped me get back on my feet, along with a varied and heathy diet.

This is why I love our Real Food Tribe community. It is already for the healthy-minded person – but when something totally weird and unexpected pops up, this community is simply a God-Send because pretty-much EVERYTHING in our pages, is safe. I’ve always loved the vegetarian options in this program, and even more so now.

As I think of more examples that may be helpful, I’ll add them to this list over time. I just wanted to raise a little awareness for you, in case a child you know, or an adult you know, is affected – you can easily support them and give them the encouragement that they need. Anxiety, and stress, is often more debilitating than any condition so calming language, hugs and peaceful time together is key.

Please also don’t underestimate the effect of taking meat out of your diet, if you are not used to being a vegetarian. Your body will adapt over time, but it feels the change. I know my body is missing certain foods and I make sure, nowadays, that everyday, I plan ahead to balance each and every meal. It’s NOT ok to be on the run and forget to plan your meals. And it’s NOT ok to gulp your food down in a hurry and create other digestive issues! Don’t we all do that? 🙂 I feel like this is a precious time to pay extra attention to yourself, because it takes a certain level of discipline and focus to manage an allergy, meal-by-meal, on a daily basis. The last thing we need is other digestive issues or stress placing extra pressures on the beautiful body.

Between salmon, seafood and fish, beans, grains, and the list goes on, there are plenty of ways to keep the body nourished. I’ve added foods back in, that I took out – such as bread, and sugar, to fill me up and ensure I eat. It’s better to eat something than not at all! But I do feel like my body does miss meat, and that’s why I chose to eat it (albeit sparingly) for all my adult years. Often times people associate a tick-bite with Lymes Disease. I can’t comment too much except to say that, in my case, mammalian meat allergy triggered a whole stream of health challenges, not Lymes related, but related to  having taken meat out of my diet. Personally, I liked to eat a little meat and it gave me energy and strength. I know it’s not the same for many people and they feel better without meat – on the whole, I do. But a little bit every now and then was good too.

Stress Relief techniques and associating with like-minded people, such as what we have here in our tribe, and watching healthy videos such as Overfed and UnderNourished (and many more, check out the Gaia app) are fantastic. They will give you the heart-felt support you need that vegetarianism is going to be ok, if you weren’t in that full mindset before.

Copyright, Joanna Becker. Contact for permission to reproduce.

Food and Nutrition, Parenting Ideas, Uncategorized

The most important house we will ever live in? Our body.

dustys wonder bug photo

A few years ago we discovered how important it is to take the extra time to learn why we need to eat fresh food that grows in front of our eyes. Since then, I’ve aimed to teach parents to teach their children that it’s simple to grow and eat real food and that it’s easy to decipher the difference between REAL FOOD and FOOD-LIKE PRODUCTS (or FAKE FOODS) – and to even turn this deciphering into a fun game with children.

Like many parents of today, in my childhood and early adult years I experienced a very common detachment from the food-growing process. Sure, I played a part in a home vegetable garden, egg collecting and mulberry picking. Like many young adults, I was taught to buy food from the supermarket… the fancy packaging and cheaper prices equaled better buys.

And then, a few short years into our own parenting journey, our smothered-with-love 6yo Rhodesian Ridgeback died suddenly from poisoning in the blood, ‘perhaps cancer’, where her liver and kidneys failed and she collapsed before our eyes. We opened our eyes. I then discovered through my own research and enquiry that what we put into and onto our bodies MAKES A DIFFERENCE. My research moved past the ideal dog’s diet (which I learned is NOT dog biscuits!) and what I would always do to ensure optimal health in my pets, to the food I was putting into my own body and my children’s bodies. Through tears of sadness, I became very grateful for the message our beautiful dog had sent us.

I learned about the problems with pre-prepared foods that had traveled thousands of klm’s and had been packaged with additives, or had been treated with heat and refined so heavily that all the nutritious content was gone – and some of the ingredients had even turned toxic! Common foods that we ate very day – starting with cooking oils, through to table spreads, to sauces, to milks, and meats. I threw out many items in my pantry without a care to the cost. That food no longer had a place in our life.

I also learned about the problem with our society’s over-consumption of, and addiction to, the processed commodity of sugar. I studied and reported on my experience overcoming sugar-addiction, and the results within our family in advancing on to real sweet foods (aka, fruit) that have amazing benefits – for our body’s health as well as our mental health.

I realised that over my life, I had been apart of the complete and devastating unawareness of our body’s true design (with many influential people in society – teachers, doctors, specialists, parents), and as a result I had supported other people in believing that our bodies could tolerate eating ANYTHING.

In so many ways, our society still supports us in eating recklessly. For many, it doesn’t matter what goes in the body so long as the stomach ends up full and our craving for ‘sweet’ or ‘salty’ is satisfied. If it’s on the shelf at the shops, it must be alright, right? (And for shop-keepers: if the customer wants it, it must be supplied).

While enormous progress is being made, our society still generally believes that healthy food is gourmet and expensive. That cheaper, colourful food made with sugar and paint is a ‘special treat’. That hunger-satisfaction comes out of packets. That cakes, chips and biscuits are more fun and tasty than fruit and vegetables and are OK to have as ‘sometimes foods’ for special occasions (and for a bribe). How many people haven’t realised that the word JUNK FOOD or TRASH was created for these fake-foods because they are quite literally not food and would be better put INTO THE BIN? It took me almost 30 years to finally understand the meaning of JUNK FOOD.

What we want now is a society that teaches our children that our bodies are not rubbish bins! Our bodies are the most important houses we will ever live in. Our bodies are the only house that will ever matter.

From a parent’s perspective, I’ve learned, and I continue to study, that our bodies are designed to eat fresh natural foods to function optimally for a positive, happy and enjoyable life – fruit and vegetables, honey, sea vegetables, etc. I’ve learned clever ways to increase our children’s passion for eating healthy real foods and for teaching them to say “NO” to fake food because we care about US.

And now, I’m so thrilled to share that I have published a colourful, quality Australian-produced children’s book to help parents communicate to children that Real food is Wonder-Full.

I have so passionately written this book. I have never felt more passionate about anything in my life. Every word was carefully written, re-written, pondered over, to pass on to our most loved, treasured gifts, our children, that the environment LOVES THEM and PROVIDES THEM the food their body is DESIGNED TO EAT.

This illustrated Children’s Story, which is all about the magic of real treats growing in our very own garden, imparts a message of ‘giving thanks for our food’ to instil positive thoughts and beliefs in our children. It takes our children on an adventure to see the magic and wonder of real food growing. It teaches them that we need to care for our environment and appreciate the process, as it is what will support us in our long and happy lives.

Dusty’s Wonder Bug is a 40-page illustrated large-format book in print, with an audio CD in the back cover that features me reading the story and playing the piano. The audio CD runs for 15 minutes and is a peaceful rest-time melody, which often puts my children to sleep as we drive in the car or cuddle in bed, letting them dream a little with the story-line about discovering food growing in nature.

When it came to the printing of this book, my husband and I decided to bypass printing off-shore in China with a cheaper rate, and instead support local workers and receive an exceptional Australian-first-class product. The biggest concern for me was the process of producing the book and ensuring the paper was sourced using Australian forestry-approved standards. We ensured that we had the Australian Forestry Approved guarantee. Rather than outsource the task of illustrating to cheap and competitive websites off-shore, I proudly recruited an Australian friend and former colleague for the best-quality illustrations I could get. Bryn Rayfield, as you will see in this book, has created sensational pictures that are being adored, right now, by a collection of children who already have their copy. Bryn Rayfield has made this wonder-full dream a reality and I will be grateful to him forever.

– copyright, Joanna Becker. Contact for permission to reproduce.

Food and Nutrition

Chai Aromatic Risotto

Earlier today I posted a DIY recipe for home-brewed Chai latte. Check it out here. One of the best things about this recipe is all the decadent flavoring leftover from blending and stewing spices. These spices can all be used again to make a savory dish, such as a curry, or as we have done tonight – a risotto.


1. Add a little garlic to a deep fry pan with 1 tbsp of ghee and bring to the heat.

2. Add 2 or 3 cups of Basmati rice to the pan and stir-through the ghee and garlic.

3. Place all your pre-loved chai spices on the top.

4. Pour in the required amount of water (pre-boiled) according to packet directions.

5. Simmer for approx 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

Drizzle fresh lemon juice and add sea-salt and pepper prior to serving.

We mixed through steamed snow-peas as well. Any vegetable could be added at this point, such as broccoli, honey-carrots, squash, mushrooms, etc.

This Chai Aromatic risotto smells divine and tastes sensational – incredibly ‘more-ish’ on the palette. And most importantly, it is very child-friendly. A delicious dinner for the family!

Food and Nutrition

Strawberry, carob, coconut and chia balls

It’s July and I’m celebrating the half-year with my own version of bliss balls or rum balls (Christmas in July, perhaps).

Naturally, I’ve created a recipe that has its roots in fresh fruit and has NO sugar and NO dairy. It is vegan, and also gluten-free (so long as a good brand of oats is used). It even looks and tastes like chocolate but without any chocolate at all…

Everyone is happy with this one … and especially with the taste!

This recipe may seem like a version of Bliss Balls but I assure you there are important differences. With a touch of cooking you will create a silkier, melt-in-your-mouth texture that isn’t always possible with raw Bliss Balls.

These are ready within 30 minutes for eating as a treat for breakfast … or for chilling in the fridge for morning tea.

You will need:

– 1/2 cup rice bran oil
– 6 strawberries
– 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

– 2 cups rolled oats (quick-cook variety)
– 1 cup almond meal
– 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
– 100g carob powder

– 1 tsp vanilla essence
– juice of 1 lemon
– 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 1/2 cup boiled water
– 1/2 cup rice bran oil (additional)
– 1/2 cup dessicated coconut (additional)

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. Add 1/2 cup rice bran oil to a small saucepan and bring to the simmer. Chop the strawberries in half and simmer them in the saucepan for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, mix all your mixing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Remove the strawberries from the oil and set aside in a little bowl for a moment.

5. In a mug, add the bi-carb soda to 2 tbsp water and mix to dissolve. Add this mix to the saucepan of oil, it will froth and rise. Turn off the heat.

6. Using a sieve or drainer, push the strawberries back into the oil (so the purée goes into the oil and the stringy lumps are removed – they can be discarded).

7. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and pour in the strawberry / oil mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. (If it is very dry, add more rice-bran oil until it resembles a moist mixture that can be used for shaping).

8. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Press the mixture into the baking tray (as you would for brownies or a slice).

9. Bake for 14 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

10. Baking the mixture creates a much finer mixture that can now be crumbled back into the large mixing bowl to create your balls. Use your finger tips to break and crumble the mixture completely.

11. In a smaller mixing bowl (or a mug), add the lemon juice, lemon rind, honey, chia seeds, vanilla essence and 1/2 cup boiled water. Stir gently, then pour into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly with wooden spoon again. You now need to reach a suitable consistency for rolling into balls – so add the remaining rice bran oil little by little as you stir, until you have a wet consistency for shaping.

12. Spread out the desiccated coconut on a flat plate. Form a small ball of the mixture with your hands, roll in the coconut and set aside on a clean plate. Repeat until all mixture is used (until you have approximately 25 balls).

Enjoy! You will love how these balls are so soft and delicate… the baking along with chia seeds creates a very smooth texture on the inside. The carob is also gentle – subtle on first bite to become sweeter as you eat. Very more-ish! Luckily there are 25 of these babies.

Activities for Kids, Food and Nutrition

Snow Pea and Soy Udon

My DS (currently 3.5 years) and I have a fun ritual of cooking and eating together every lunchtime – and making a real activity out of it.

There are so many learning benefits to this activity such as encouraging creativity, following instructions, sharing ideas, using teamwork, and asking for help. Emotionally, it provides togetherness and a sense of achievement and pride.

He learns practical skills of cooking too, such as:
– how to cook using kitchen utensils and safe methods
– the difference in the taste between raw and cooked ingredients, and cold and hot ingredients
– how ingredients come together to create a unique taste
– how to use fresh ingredients including produce
– suitable crockery for serving
– culture and traditional values of particular styles of cooking
– quantities and selection of healthy ingredients
– how restaurants provide food (it is possible to cook same foods at home)
– clean- up processes

Kitchen set-up and suitability for children is essential. We have fresh vegetables and ingredients on display and in easy-to-reach baskets in the kitchen so he can help me select ingredients. He has a step-ladder he can carry to various places including sections of the bench where he can reach to turn on the kettle, put scraps into the compost and comfortably pour and mix ingredients in a mixing bowl. To ensure his safety around the appliances, utensils and hot gas element, I never take my eyes off him and do not allow distractions like phone ringing or adult conversations to take priority over what we are doing.

Today we cooked a simple udon noodle broth, with snow peas and boiled eggs. It tasted like a broth from the Sushi Train and it was fun to set up bamboo mats and chopsticks to eat in style.

You will need:
– 1/2 cup soy sauce
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– 1 tsp grated ginger
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds
– 1 tsp lemon grass (from jar)
– 1 pack udon noodles
– 3 pre-boiled eggs
– handful of fresh snow-peas
– 1/2 cup vegetable stock

1. Bring a fry-pan to high heat. Add to the pan the soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, honey, and sesame seeds. Place boiled eggs on top, cover with lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid.

2. Add udon noodles and stir-through.

3. Add snow peas on top.

4. Pour in vegetable stock, and continue to simmer for five more minutes.


5. Turn off heat and pour into deep bowls. Nice and steamy!

Caution: Warn children the soup will be hot.


Activities for Kids, Food and Nutrition

Easy vegetable sausage rolls

Here is another recipe that is fun for kids. Our DS loves using food processors and being involved in preparation, and in taste-testing too! This one had the taste-tick before it was even half-finished.

This is such a simple, easy-to-remember dish.

You will need:
– 2 tomatoes
– 2 zucchinis
– 2 carrots
– 2 cups pearl barley
– 2 cups breadcrumbs
– 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tbsp mixed herbs
– 4 sheets of puff pastry

1. Cook your pearl barley according to packet directions. Meanwhile, put the slicer blade on your food processor and turn it on, push your tomatoes, zucchinis and carrot through the top.

2. Once the pearl barley is cooked, put it into a large mixing bowl. (Set aside any remaining cooking water.) Add the vegetable mixture, and the breadcrumbs, to the pearl barley in the mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and mixed herbs. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

3. Scoop 1/4 of this mixture into your blender (liquidiser). Add 2 tbsp of water (reserved cooking water if available). Blend until smooth like a purée. Pour it out into a different mixing bowl, then repeat 3 more times until all your mixture is a smooth purée.
At this stage you can cover and refrigerate your mixture for 1 day. This helps the flavours combine and brings out the rich seasonings of the dried mixed herbs, breadcrumbs and olive oil.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Prepare 2 flat baking trays with baking paper.

5. Lay out your sheets of puff pastry on a large board or bench workspace.

6. You will now need a medium-to-large plastic bag for piping the mixture onto the pastry sheets. Cut one corner off the bottom of the bag to create a hole approx. 2cm square.

7. Fill the bag with half the mixture. Squeeze it out through the hole into the sheets, with 2 lines of filling per sheet. When empty, fill with remaining mixture to complete all pastry sheets.
8. Slice your pastry sheet down the centre and roll the pastry over to form the sausage roll shape (for both sides). Repeat until you have made 8 sausage rolls. If you like, cut each sausage roll to a smaller size using a large and sharp kitchen knife.
9. Place each sausage roll on your baking tray, put trays in oven, and remove after 30 mins (or when you can see the pastry is cooked and golden).

10. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with your favourite tomato sauce or relish. Caution: Hot! Warn children to take care with their first bite!

– Copyright, Joanna Becker. Contact for permission to reproduce. 

Food and Nutrition

Sweet and Sour Lettuce Bowls


Our Sweet and Sour Lettuce Bowls are a fun dish to make, serve and eat for the family. This dish is meat and dairy free and is packed with fresh seasonal produce (from our garden, mostly). When DH and I tasted this we were oohing and aahing by the flavours – sensational!

You will need:

– 1 cup barley
– 1 400g tin of four-bean-mix
– 1 tomato
– 3 cloves garlic, crushed
– 2 tsp ginger, grated
– 1 medium brown onion, quartered
– 5 medium butter mushrooms
– Peanut oil
– 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 cup soy sauce

– 3 carrots, grated
– 1/2 bunch of spring onions, diced
– 1 red capsicum, diced
– 1 small bunch of parsley, diced
– Extra Virgin olive oil

– Fresh lettuce, the crispy leaves in the centre that are shaped like bowls
– Sweet Soy Sauce


1. In a small saucepan filled with 2 cups of boiling water*, add the pearl barley. *Cook according to packet directions.

2. On another element, heat a medium fry pan on the highest setting.

3. Into the fry pan: add the garlic and ginger, and a little peanut oil.

4. Meanwhile turn on your food processor and process these ingredients: onion, tomato, four-bean-mix, and mushrooms.

5. Empty the processed ingredients into your fry pan and mix with the garlic and ginger.

6. Reduce heat to gently fry on low heat. Add Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Stir-through.

Note: Check the pearl barley and add more cooking water if the saucepan is becoming dry.

7. In a salad bowl: add the grated carrots, capsicum, parsley and spring onions. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Mix roughly with your hands.

8. Once pearl barley is cooked, mix it through the bean mix in the frying pan. Stir-well.

9. Fill another salad bowl with the bean/barley mix.

10. To serve, place lettuce bowls on plate and fill each bowl with the bean/barley mix, then top with the salad mix. Finally, drizzle Sweet Soy Sauce over the top.

To be eaten with your hands – fun times!


Food and Nutrition

Spring Onion Broth with Asian Salad


This soup is a fantastic hot dish year-round. Who doesn’t love a spicy broth full of Asian flavours and fresh seasonal ingredients. This was a real winner with 3yo DS – plenty of yummy favourite finger foods with slurpy udon noodles buried beneath.

You will need:

– 1 medium brown onion
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
– 1/2 bunch of spring onions
– 2 tbsp fish sauce
– 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
– 1/2 cup soy sauce
– 400g creamed corn
– 1 tsp cloves
– 1 tbsp Chinese five spice
– 1 pack fresh udon or rice vermicelli noodles

– 1 avocado, sliced
– 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
– 2 carrots, grated
– 3 boiled eggs, sliced
– 3 thick slices of leg ham (omit for vegetarian dish), sliced in strips
– sweet soy sauce


1. In a large non-stick saucepan or enamel pot, gently sautée the brown onions in a little vegetable oil on high heat.

2. Add garlic, ginger, and 5 cups of pre-boiled water. Bring to the boil.

3. Chop 2 inches off the ends of the spring onions (onion bulb end) and set aside. With the green tips, chop into short lengths approximately 2 inches long. Add to the pot of boiling broth.

4. Add fish sauce, vinegar, creamed corn, soy sauce, cloves, and Chinese five spice. Reduce the heat, put lid on pot and simmer for 20 minutes (or longer to create a richer onion taste).

5. Add udon noodles or vermicelli noodles five minutes before serving.

To serve, fill round bowls with noodles and broth. Top with the assortment of fresh ingredients – your sliced boiled egg, avocado, grated carrot, corn kernels, and leg ham (omit for vegetarian dish). Slice the remaining spring onion (bulb ends) thinly and add to the salad on top of the bowls. Dress with sweet soy sauce.