Spring Pea Soup from CookBook – Sylvia’s Table

One of my favorite fruits, or vegetables (depending on your train of thought) are the little green bundles of joy; peas. When I was a child growing up, my parents always bought peas in their pods, and somebody in my family would shell them to eat each night; this is a fond memory. In Australia, I remember the staple of boiled peas and carrots accompanying most home cooked dinners.

These days, and living in the United States, sadly it seems more commonplace to buy them as loose peas in the freezer department of a supermarket. However, if in season you should be able to get them as-is from a Farmers Market. We have them in abundance at our local spot at the moment, so this Spring Pea Soup is perfectly doable.

Personally, I do prefer them as I remember as a child, and I especially fancy this recipe as it uses both the pea and the pod. This deliciously wholesome soup is taken from the farm-to-table style cookbook – Sylvia’s Table

Every year children flock to the Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in upstate New York to learn firsthand about where fresh food comes from, —how to grow it, how to harvest it, and how to use it to prepare great-tasting meals. Now Sylvia’’s Table brings these lessons and recipes straight from the farm to your kitchen in a deliciously unique cookbook for families — greatperformances.com

Organic peas in the pod from the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate New York

Organic peas in the pod from the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate New York

We are so inspired by the happenings at Katchkie Farm; such a wonderful organization who, every day, are creating bright futures for our children. If you are ever Upstate New York in the Kinderhook area, you should stop by!

What You Need

  • 1 bunch Scallions or 2 small cleaned Leeks, white and 2 inches of the green parts, thinly sliced
  • 5 large sprigs Parsley
  • Sea Salt
  • 1.5 pounds bright green Peas in their Pods
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced Onion or young Leek
  • Freshly ground White Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Black or white Truffle Oil (optional)

What To Do

  • Bring 1 quart of water to a boil
  • While the water is heating, add the scallions, parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Shell the peas, setting them aside, and add about 3 cups of the pods to the boiling water
  • Once the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Strain the stock into a bowl and discard the cooked vegetables
  • Pour olive oil in a soup pot and add the sliced onion. Cook over medium heat for about a minute, then add 1/2 cup of the stock to let the onion stew without browning
  • After 4 to 5 minutes, add the shelled peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the sugar
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock, bring just to a boil, then simmer for 3 minutes
  • Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and purée at high-speed for 1 minute until smooth, adding additional stock to achieve your desired consistency
  • Reheat briefly, if necessary
  • Pour the soup into small bowls and serve immediately, with drops of truffle oil, if desired

Pea soup2222)Readers; What do you of peas, do you prefer them in their pods, or loose and from the freezer section of a supermarket?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

**This recipe was used with permission

Moroccan Carrot Salad with MINA Pepper Sauce

Growing up in Australia, the carrot made appearances in most dinners I enjoyed as a child. They were right there next to the peas; the two vegetables being a favorite combination in many homes in the Land Down Under.

Carrots are a chock-o-block vitamin dense root vegetable which are traditionally orange, but can also be other colors like red, purple or yellow. Inside each carrot there is vitamin A, which helps maintain the health of one’s eyes, and is clearly why parents tell children they will see better in the dark if they eat them. There is potassium, which is necessary for the body to hydrate efficiently. As well as regulating a healthy heart, muscles and nervous system. Vitamin K which helps with strong bones and kidney health. Vitamin C which is fantastic for the immune system. Not forgetting Fiber, which helps keep the body regular. Moral of the story; eat more carrots.

Locally grown carrots from the Rhinebeck Farmer's Market upstate NY

Locally grown carrots from the Rhinebeck Farmer’s Market upstate NY

MINA Pepper Sauce

MINA fiery harissa pepper sauce is made in our local Brooklyn NY area by a Moroccan woman named Mina. She created the recipe herself, (having learned the art of cooking from her mother when she was a girl), carefully blending only 6 simple all-natural ingredients; red chilli pepper, red bell (capsicum) pepper, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. So simple and so perfect. Apparently, nearly all homes have a jar of this central condiment in North Africa where it is used as a spread or drizzled on top of meals. Sounds as Vegemite on toast, is to people in my home country of Australia!

Moroccan Carrot Salad

I must admit, besides either having raw carrots with hummus, blended in a raw juice, or as a side dish like the Australian tradition of steamed peas and carrots, I have not really ventured far with them in my diet. So, I was really excited to try this Moroccan classic, as suggested by MINA. This dish (which can be eaten hot or cold) is definitely on the easy side with minimal prep time before you are sitting down to enjoy all this orange-deliciousness.

IMG_0849What You Need

  • 1 lb fresh carrots peeled and cut into 1/8″ slices
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon of Mina Harissa
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt (to taste)

IMG_0854What To Do

  • Steam or boil the carrots until cooked but don’t over cook (slightly al dente is perfect)
  • Drain carrots then run under cold water to stop the cooking process
  • Dry the carrots and set aside
  • In a medium size pan over low heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes (don’t let the garlic burn)
  • Discard the garlic
  • Add the carrots, lemon juice, harissa, herbs and spices
  • Cook on low heat mixing gently for a few minutes
  • Take off heat
  • Garnish with chopped coriander or parsley
  • Serve

This recipe is a base dish and open to interpretation, feel free to add your own twist if you like; maybe adding some dried cherries/cranberries, or vegan/goat cheese?

Giveaway Time

Mina_Harissa_GROUP Want to win a variety 3 pack of MINA pepper sauce to try out for yourself? Enter below to win our giveaway including the Spicy Red, Mild Red and Spicy Green pepper sauces. Valued at about $27. If you are the winner, MINA will ship you the prize direct from their warehouse.

Otherwise, MINA can be ordered online from Farm to People HERE, or from select retailers.

Good Luck, and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Let’s talk Facial Masques & Keeping it Greentastic with Balanced Guru

Facial masques have been used for thousands of years as part of beauty regiments by people the world over looking to better or maintain the health and appearance of one’s skin. Thankfully I have been hip to this since I was a little girl, using them mostly as part of a 2 step process, after steaming my face to open my pores. There really is no comparison when using a facial cleanser in the shower, to the super-clean rejuvenating feeling achieved after using a masque.

Generally speaking, masques are either a peel-off kind or a wash-off kind. Extremely versatile, accommodating all skin types, they can be made from a variety of ingredients like yogurt, mud/clay, fruit/vegetable and grains. Masques help with a variety of skin concerns encompassing – moisturization, exfoliation, correcting conditions like blemishes, soothing conditions like sunburn, minimizing wrinkles and fine lines, drawing out impurities and refining pores.

Personally, I love the way my face looks and feels after using a facial masque. I just wish I could remember to use them on a regular basis, rather than just a random 3 times a year, or there about!

BG1

My husband really thinks I look hot-to-trot in my Balanced Guru Masque

What Are We Putting On Our Skin

I strongly believe that it is just as important to be aware about what you put on your skin as to what you put inside of your body. Many of us Mummies, go to considerably effort to be healthy and strong in many ways; exercising regularly, drinking alcohol in moderation or maybe eating a special diet? I know I want to be as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as I possibly can be, so I can be a focused Mother to my beautiful little boy who is the apple of my eye! However, even though we go to great lengths, it seems to be somewhat commonplace to overlook all the chemicals and toxins in the personal products we use on a daily basis, which with continual exposure are said to be linked to all kinds of conditions with one example being breast cancer.

There are literally hundreds of kinds of masques available on the market today, but are they safe? I am going to jump right in here and say – No, Unfortunately the majority of them are Not. Mainstream beauty Products are riddled with parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petroleum, GMO’s and pesticide sprayed ingredients. And, that’s not pretty!

For me it is very clear-cut; heightened and constant exposure to such toxins, in the form of synthetic lab made ingredients, are harmful to one’s health and should be avoided at all costs. Period.

So what can you do to avoid this kind of exposure?

Well, you can either make your own facial masque, which is surely rewarding but also a time-consuming project considering the research and preparation time. Or, you can buy a masque from a brand honestly providing a safe product which you can be assured using, like Balanced Guru.

Balanced Guru (don’t you love the name) make a full line of products including facial masques, body balm, body oil, exfoliators, cleansers, toners, hair oils, scalp treatments and energy blends and mists. Not just that, this company REALLY cares about OUR Planet, and we cannot rave about that enough! All their products are certified organic being sustainably and responsibly harvested, they are cruelty free and their bottles and jars are made with post-consumer resin (PCR), which means they are recycled and 100% recyclable. LOVE that!

Photo-1
Let’s chat about the Spiced Berry Masque

Colorful berries are a great way to feed your skin with antioxidants. Clove and Cinnamon are also loaded with antioxidants to help fight free radicals. In case that wasn’t enough; vitamin C will give this masque and extra boost to also brighten your complexion — Balanced Guru

The first thing I experienced opening Balanced Guru’s Spiced Berry Masque is the overwhelming spicy warm comforting smell. It takes you to a whole new world, just really wonderful.

The masque comes in a dry loose powder. This means that you can play around and get creative with the liquid you use to mix in to activate it. Mixer suggestions, as per the packaging, are either water, raw honey or yogurt. But, how do you know which one suits you best? I wondered the same thing myself, so I did a little research!

If you use water you will just be absorbing the benefits of the ingredients; feeling frisky, add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to help regulate your skin’s PH levels. If you use raw honey the masque will include antiseptic, healing, soothing and antibacterial properties. If you use yogurt (I used my all time favorite Anita’s Coconut Vegan variety) you will topically take in the probiotic, the lactic acid can also help to soften skin and reduce fine lines! Just a note about the yogurt, using a sugar and hormone free kind is best, and you want to make sure that it contains live and active cultures to receive the greatest benefits.

My 3-year-old Son, graciously, mixed my masque for me. He delights in helping out with anything kitchen related, however he was not game enough to try the masque himself! Maybe next time?

I put the masque on using my hands and then went outside, enjoying the sunshine letting it naturally dry for around 25 minutes. I easily washed it off with cold water in the sink, and voilà my skin was super squeaky clean. And, I had complete peace of mind knowing I had used what I consider to be a wonderful product.

My little rainbow mixing my masque up for me with some vegan coconut yogurt

My little rainbow mixing my masque up for me with some vegan coconut yogurt

The antioxidant Spiced Organic masque comes in 2 sizes; a 4 oz which retails for $45, and a convenient 1 oz travel size which retails for $12. Balanced Guru also offer an astringent masque, moisturizing masque and a calming masque. You can see them all HERE.

Readers – Do you use facial masques, if so what kind do you like to use?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

Raw Juice and Smoothie Recipes just in time for Summer

In my family home, we love to juice fresh raw organic fruits, herbs and vegetables. During the winter months we do not do it so much, but during the warmer part of the year when our vegetable garden upstate New York is flourishing, we juice a lot! With summer finally here in the Northern Hemisphere, our juicer is officially out of the cupboard and back on the kitchen bench where it will stay, for now.

Juicing is a quick way to get your daily dose of fruit and veggies, a wonderful way to start the day and flood your body with essential nutrients. Juicing on a regular basis has been credited to a better immune system, weight loss, glowing hair and skin and increased energy (among other things).

I like to throw whatever produce we have into the Juicer (including scraps like apple cores and beetroot and carrot stalks), and hope for the best!  Unfortunately though, I can admit it, sometimes it does not taste so good. This is why unless you are a juicing genius (like my husband) following a recipe is a wonderful idea.

Today, we have 3 recipes to inspire you to start juicing. If you do not have a juicer, I suggest checking out the Omega website; they sell all kinds of different kinds HERE. They also have a ton of other juice and smoothie recipes, like this Raw Cacao Avocado Smoothie; which I must try soon. It looks so delicious! I love avocado.

Healthy green juice recipe made with spinach, collard greens, cucumber, lemon and fresh herbs.
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/2 head of collard green or swiss chard (about 6 leaves)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley (about 1 cup lightly packed)
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1/2 cup lightly packed)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, juice all items in the recipe but the lemon juice. When complete, add lemon juice, stir and enjoy

2 green glasses

Tropical Beetroot Juice
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 1 beet
  • 100 grams (1/4 of the fruit) fresh pineapple, skin removed
  • 1 pear
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, begin with the softer items first – pear and lemon. Then turn to ‘high’ and juice the remaining ingredients

red juice

Green Energy Smoothie
What You Need for 1 serving at 1000 ml

  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 medium-sized honey-dew (cubed)
  • 1 cup organic green tea
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/2 fresh ginger root

Blend and Enjoy

Garnish with fresh berries for added if you like

Garnish with fresh berries if you like

We suggest using only organic produce if possible, as eating foods which have been sprayed with chemicals is not advisable for anybody. If you cannot afford, or do not have organic produce available in your area, try your best to avoid these foods which are on the Environmental Working Group’s list known affectionately as “The Dirty Dozen”. These foods are sprayed severely with pesticides – apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, capsicum, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. Instead, choose fruits or vegetables with thick skins as the chemicals do not affect them as much.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope this posting has inspired you to live a healthier lifestyle.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

 

Just a morning workout session with Supermodel & Mum, Adriana Lima

This morning I woke up a little earlier than usual, as, rather than getting ready for my regular morning CKO kickboxing class which is close by here in Brooklyn, I was getting ready to head into Manhattan to workout with Supermodel (of Victoria’s Secret fame) and fellow Mother, Adriana Lima.

I was part of select group invited to experience Adriana’s fitness regimen and take part in a  workout challenge, hosted by AMAZONIA Beverages, while also raising awareness for one of Adriana’s causes she holds close to her heart – St. Luke Foundation for Haiti. Founded in 2001, this Haitian non-profit organization provides essential education, medical care and humanitarian outreach to 150,000 locals a year, and employs around 900 locals to help with that feat. If you would like to donate to this cause you can do so HERE.

The “Urban Jungle Workout” was instructed by Adriana’s personal trainer, Michael “Silk” Olajide Junior, at his Chelsea gym – AEROSPACE NYC. Michael is no joke, in his career as a professional boxer he won nearly all of his matches with not many losses and is a former #1 ranked middleweight Champ. That is pretty impressive! On the other hand, he is also a highly esteemed trainer with models, celebrities and general folk alike. Adriana clearly loves him, and has trained with him for around the 10 year mark! If that is not proof in the pudding I do not know what is.

USA05282014-AMAZONIA-1005USAAMAZONIA Beverages are coconut-water and tea-based drinks which are enhanced with vitamin-rich Amazon Rainforest super fruit extracts. Some of which I had excitedly never heard of before like Camu CamuCupuaçu, and Pfaffia. And others which I have like, guarana and açaí. The power of plants really fascinates me. I am a firm believer that nature has provided all we need for every condition on this Earth, just over the years, we have become dependent on synthetic ingredients and lost the ways of old. AMAZONIA Beverages are blended with organic, low-calorie ingredients to help consumers be able to achieve a high level vibe of mind, body, fitness and energy. Perfect for Mummies on the Go, like me!

This event was to also launch AMAZONIA Beverages, Urban Jungle Campaign, which features gorgeous jungle themed visuals of Adriana Lima and fellow Brazilian model Cintia Dicker, on a mobile hydration truck which is canvassing New York City all summer long! So, thirsty New Yorkers look out for the truck, especially if you have not tried the beverages as yet; it surely is very hard to miss! Want a tip? You can also follow the AMAZONIA twitter feed for daily locations HERE.

That’s Willy B Mum at the back in the pink gloves. So much FUN even if drenched in sweat!05282014-AMAZONIA-1015

So how hard was the workout?

Well, I consider myself to be very active, I do some kind of exercise every day, yes I said every single day! I usually take a high-intensity 60 minute cardio kickboxing class 4 mornings a week, and on other days I either run, play tennis or do Crossfit.

For me, it was not a walk in the park, but I did keep up!

Michael has incorporated a skipping rope component to his tailored workouts and his one-legged squat jumps were so challenging. But, as they say in Crossfit, if you want to see results - get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I loved the workout, I really pushed myself and I felt very accomplished after it had finished. I plan on going back to AEROSPACE NYC soon to do it all over again!

USAJust remember Mummies with hard work, being regular exercise and eating right, you too can be in fighting fit shape. Maybe, just like you never had a baby/babies in the first place? I know first hand this to be true! I was told when pregnant by so many people; “you will never get your body back”. However, I am now, without a doubt, in the best shape of my life, and I am so proud and happy with that. Up and At Em Mummies!

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!

**Photo CREDIT: Gary He for Insider Images, used with permission on Willy B Mum.

The wonder of the sunny little Dandelion

Some see a weed, and some see a wish.

What do you see when you see a beautiful yellow dandelion flower blowing in the breeze? If you had asked me this a year ago, I would have surely said a wish, but I also thought the dandelion plant was a weed and nothing of such importance. But, fast forward to now as I continue on with my nature studies, and boy was I wrong!

My little munchkin running through the dandelions

My little munchkin running through the dandelions

What some may consider a pesky weed, and thus claim open-war on by pulling up out of their garden from day-to-day, is actually a super food which is jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help us live a healthier life. Dandelions have been eaten as a food, consumed as a drink, prescribed as a medicine, used as a dye and as an ingredient in apothecary products probably, since the beginning of time. Every part of the dandelion plant can be used for something! In actual fact, according to history books, the plant is believed to have lived on Planet Earth for around 30 million years.

The health benefits of dandelion include relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, cancer and anemia. It also helps in maintaining bone health, skin care and is a benefit to weight loss programs — Organic Facts

One of the first signs that Spring is here, is the influx of pretty yellow things beautifying the sides of roads and grasslands. Personally, I was so excited when all our dandelions first came up on our family property Upstate New York. Fairly so, as we experienced a brutal, long and cold winter this past season; I am glad to be on to longer and sunnier warmer days. However, I was in a bit of dilemma. Dandelion flowers are one of the first foods of Spring for our dwindling bee population, and that bothered me. I have never been a big fan of cut flowers either, but as now I had learned that they were so magical, it was either have our gardener cut them down when mowing the lawns, or harvest them for personal use. Either way, they were not going to be around long for the bees. I decided, that I did not want to see these precious little things go to waste, so I wild harvested as many of them as I could.

The dandelion plant can be eaten in entirely; leaves, buds and flowers

The dandelion plant can be eaten in entirely; leaves, buds, roots and flowers

It took me a few hours to gather as many of the plants as I did, which I then separated into 3 different bowls – buds, leaves and flowers. You can also harvest the root for a coffee substitute and as a tea but this is not suggested until the end of Autumn. The repetitive movement working with the plants on a hands-on level really gave me firsthand experience on how the dandelion plant feels, looks and is. Unless, you are a farmer, you are not exposed to that understanding when you pick food up from the market, so I was grateful for that.

So what did I do with my wild harvested dandelion plants?

The flowers
I dried the flowers in the sun to make infused oils when I play apothecary. Infused oils are a wonderful addition to homemade creams and beauty products. I also plan on using the flowers in tea. Aren’t they pretty!
The leaves of dandelion flowers can also be used in salads, and some people like to make a Mead or Wine from them.

I dried these flowers in the sun & am actually selling them on my Etsy page HERE

I dried these flowers in the sun & am actually selling them on my Etsy page HERE

The buds
Apparently, the buds are the cream of the crop if you are lucky enough to be able to find them. Fortunately for me, I found a ton as I harvested the plants as soon as they popped up out of the ground.
I love capers, so the idea of pickling the buds, really took my fancy. While I was doing recipe research online I kept finding recipes using Tamari sauce so I decided to try it out for myself. What I did is fairly straight forward. I took a large mason jar, and filled it up with the buds which put them at half full. I then added half a chopped yellow onion, a few fresh ginger slices and 15 cloves of sliced garlic. I filled the jar a third of the way up with tamari sauce, and the rest with apple cider vinegar. I will shake the mixture every few days, and open it up in 4 weeks from now to see how it tastes!
But, if tamari sauce is not your thing, here are 3 different bud pickling recipes for consideration.

Okay, 4 weeks to go before we get to taste these pickled dandelion buds

Okay, 4 weeks to go before we get to taste these pickled dandelion buds

The leaves
Once gathered, my Son helped me to put them in a big bowl of water to soak overnight, as apparently this helps with the bitterness. He loves to help in the kitchen. Our bulldog Mohawk looked on hoping to get some scrapes, I swear all she does all day is think about food!
My father-in-law told me, that as a boy growing up in Croatia, his Mother would take him into the grasslands to gather dandelion greens so they could eat them as food. So being the resident dandelion expert, he sautéed them traditionally in olive and garlic. I will say that the whole bowl you see in the picture reduced to the smallest fist-size serving after cooking. It was really crazy, and only enough to feed one person (if that). So, I was nominated the lucky duck to do so.
The dandelions tasted bitter, but refreshingly so. I am assuming that eating dandelion greens are something that you have get used to, and are more of an acquired taste.

Little munchkin helping me soak the leaves overnight

Little munchkin helping me soak the leaves overnight

Dandelions are high in calcium and vitamin A & K. Being one of the most nutritionally dense greens a person can eat, they are also a good sources of iron, potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin E and manganese. As mentioned, the dandelion is used to treat acne in skin, reducing the risk of cancer and urinary tract issues, strengthening bones, promoting digestion, weight loss and stimulating insulin production which lowers blood sugar levels in diabetics. Not forgetting though, that you can also make pretty little dandelion chains to wear around your neck from them too!

What about you, do you have something special that you like to do with the wonderful dandelion plant?

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum, I hope this posting has led you on to a new discovery, created some new ideas.

Peace, Love and Plants Make the World Go Around!

What Bra Size are you?

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 2.17.28 PMWhat Bra Size Are You?

For many years I have thought I was the same bra size. Excuse my naïvety, but I thought that one, pretty much, stayed the same bra size always? But, I was wrong.

Last week, I attended an event by New York City based, Momtrends which was hosted by and at the stone and mortar; Intimacy on Madison Avenue, on the Island of Manhattan.

Intimacy is a national lingerie chain, here in the United States, who, besides selling the most beautiful lingerie, excel as bra fit stylists. You can find stores in 11 states across the country; Georgia, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C and Florida.

I was fitted by a wonderful woman by the name of Angela, who taught me so much about wearing a bra. First of all, a women’s bra size does change. Women lose weight, and gain weight especially during pregnancy and breast feeding, and it is important to be fitted once a year to make sure you are wearing a bra which is supportive to your current size.

To put into perspective; for so many years I have thought I was a size 36D but I am actually a 32DD at the moment – which was news to me!

332DD I am

 

Let’s talk Sport Bras

I am an extremely active Mother, with most mornings being dedicated to exercise. Whether that be crossfit, kickboxing or running I am always on the go. At the moment, I have a chest injury and have to limit movement for the upper part of my body, so I am running a lot and far. On average 5 miles a day! Or, 8KM for the Aussies out there.

I have always worn sport bras which I have bought at a local active store. No brainer right, this is what I have always done and really I have not known any better? While I was at Intimacy, I was fitted for a sport bra. And, wow, what a difference it has made wearing it out on my morning runs. Before hand, while wearing one of my conventional sport bras, I was flopping around everywhere and squashed flat, but with my new sport bra my breasts stay nice and snug and do not move at all! This is a whole new experience to me. So much so, that as I only bought one fitted sport bra when I shopped at Intimacy, I now rinse it out in the shower post run to make sure I can wear it again the next morning. I will never buy conventional run-of-the-mill sport bras again, that is for sure!

What I used to wear…. colorful sure but not that supportive.

Colorful sure, but not that supportive

And, what I am wearing now…. such a difference.

IMG_9950If you are interested in getting fitted by a professional in-the-know bra stylist, Intimacy offers a complimentary fitting which you can sign up for HERE. With over 90 different bra sizes available for women, it is worth a visit, as there is a lot of room to move there (no pun intended)!

I just know that you will leave the store feeling a lot more beautiful in the chest area, and as a result more confident; just like me.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope this posting has made you think, and lead you on to a new discovery!

Let’s talk Hoo Hoo, and how to have a healthy one!

Okay girls, let’s have a little chat about feminine hygiene! Personally, I feel like it is an issue that I only pay attention too when there is something wrong down there. I tend to spend more time on other areas of my body. Maybe that is because my parts down there are always hiding; you know, out of sight out of mind. It is not like my face or the hair on my head which is always on show and I like to look its best!

Right?

Being a Blogger, I am graciously sent products to review for Willy B Mum, constantly. And taking it one step further, as I am a eco-conscious blogger, I only ever review products which, in my opinion, are worth reviewing. Products, services, events and opinions that are helpful to leading a better life environmentally. If I am writing about it, you know it gets my seal of approval and something that I would also use.

Check it out

Hoping a healthy Hoo-Hoo can be as easy as looking after my face and hair

Most recently, I was sent a package from Healthy Hoo Hoo, a taking-it-back-to-basics company making revolutionary simple chemical-free feminine cleansing products! I know, I know, how dare they make healthy products for us? Outrageous; with no scary sulfates, parabens or phthalates. What are they hoping to do; make us all live a long time by protecting our well-being? Sarcastic yes, but maybe not. Companies, are openly making bleach-riddled products, chock-a-block with chemicals that are slowly contributing to the deaths of women. The horrendous disease cancer is on the rise, and still some people wonder why? It is my belief, that we cannot keep exposing ourselves to so many toxins and not expect our bodies to start failing. Of course, there are toxins that we cannot always avoid like air pollution. However, we can all make an effort to read labels and buy products that are safer, to reduce our exposure to these things, and with companies like Healthy Hoo Hoo it is a lot easier to do so.

Did you Know? 99% of breast cancer tissue contain parabens. It takes only seconds for the chemicals in your personal care products to enter your blood stream. A woman’s vagina and the skin around it are some of the most absorbent parts of the female body. — Healthy Hoo Hoo.

Healthy Hoo Hoo

Healthy Hoo Hoo

So just a quick lesson in the nasties found in most feminine products;

  • Sulfates are a harsh detergent with irritates and damages the skin, it is what we know as suds
  • Phthalates or fragrance are endocrine disruptors and estrogen mimics, they are also absorbed super fast by our skin and are responsible for a range of adverse health outcomes. Phthalates are also used in plastic to help with flexibility (wait what?)
  • Parabens or preservatives is a broad term which can include hundreds of chemicals, parabens are linked to various cancers, and are mainly man-made. Parabens are inexpensive for pharmaceutical companies to help stop bacteria

Healthy Hoo Hoo make 3 products; a foamer, a wash, and wipes. It is really a personal preference as to what you like to use. I like the wipes which come in a cute little travel pack which fits nicely into my handbag. Although, I am using the cleanser as a part of my daily shower routine easily enough. For me, exercising every day, I do often have concerns down there as a result of sitting in my wet gym gear too long before I drag my sweaty self into the shower! So, these products, are really helpful. Before writing this posting, I had never heard of Healthy Hoo Hoo, and now I am using their products continuosly!

To clarify, there are a few parts down there. The inside parts being the vagina, which we do not wash as it is self cleaning (clever little thing). However, the outside bits, being the vulva we do wash. Here’s a little diagram to help with the visuals -

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 7.34.03 PM

 

Other things that you can do working towards a healthy vagina;

  • Wear 100% breathable cotton underwear
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Sleep without underwear to keep the air flowing
  • Wash from front to back
  • Take a probiotic
  • Always change out of a wet bathers, or sweaty gym gear as soon as possible

All of the products gently remove odor causing bacteria, are paraben and fragrance free and are PH balanced to match a girl’s sensitive parts down there!

Healthy Hoo Hoo products are available online at Drugstore.com. Alternatively, you can search for a retail store in your area that stocks products HERE.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum, I hope this posting has led you to a new discovery!

 

For the convenience of becoming a plant eater — Vegan Cuts

Vegan_CutsYou know, if I look back to where I was with my food journey before I decided to follow a  vegan diet 8 months ago, it was a very different picture. I had been a vegetarian for 26 years, but once I started learning about the cruelty inflicted on our beautiful animals who are forced to provide milk for us, I quickly decided to give up dairy too. Just like that, I went cold turkey, and became a 100% plant eater, and I could not be happier about the decision.

Was it easy, I hear you ask? Well, yes and no.

Yes it was; as it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had finally done something I had talked and wondered about for a long time. I respect all animals on such a profound level and I could finally tick it off my list. My conscience is clear. I am doing what I can to reduce harm to animals. Not just that though, I lost a lot of weight, around 26 pounds to be exact! I feel healthier, my skin is clearer and I have a lot more energy…. similar to how I feel when I do a juice cleanse! Of course, I also credit this to my newly found sobriety, but not eating dairy was huge. It is a lot of saturated fat after all.

No it wasn’t; as the first month or so, I struggled with what I could and could not eat, especially in the snack food department. I went hungry a few times when not at home, and out and about. I was constantly reading labels and realizing that some products marketed to be plant-based (like most Go Veggie cheese substitute slices) are not actually vegan at all. It was also challenging ordering when eating at restaurants at times, as some meals, like deserts, mainly contain dairy. However, after a while it became easier.

Overall, it has and still is an enlightening learning experience! Thankfully, in New York City, there are now so many options available in the vegan food department, especially snacks. Many people are hip to the health benefits of following a plant-based diet and are incorporating, or completely making the change to a kinder life. Supply and Demand right!

Vegan Cuts Hits Mainstream

If you are considering traveling on this same journey another helpful and convenient service, which I just discovered, is the monthly subscription snack and/or beaty box – Vegan Cuts.

Vegan Cuts is a network of tempeh-loving, smoothie-drinking vegans coördinated by John and Jill, a vegan couple who see veganism as a way to live a life of abundance while making choices that show compassion towards all living creatures — Vegan Cuts

Check it out

Check it out; my May Snack Box

For a small monthly fee of around $20, Vegan Cuts mail out a Snack Box full of vegan food goodies. And, with one great idea, it has become a lot easier to be inspired, stay focused and to enjoy the benefits of products which you may not know already know about. My first box arrived last month and I loved it. It is the perfect way to try out samples to see if I like them or not, and to be kept up to date on what is out there in the vegan food realm. Especially, as being a Stay-At-Home-Mum I do not have a lot of time to search online for new products!

My Snack Box included; a pomegranate drink from Oatworks (new to me), Organic Superfood Oat Cereal from Vigilant Eats (new to me), Organic Baked Lentil Chips from Mediterranean Foods (new to me), Organic Nii Nutrition Bar (new to me), Vegan Protein Sample from MCT-Lean (new to me), Organic Nuttzo seed butter sample (new to me), Numi organic savory tea samples (already a fan) and a reusable glass straw from Simply Straws (new to this company but am a HUGE fan of glass straws).

As you can see from my colored highlights above, after opening my May Snack Box I was exposed to more products that I did not know, than what I did. Love that, it makes it all worthwhile.

IMG_8562

Already a fan of Numi tea, but was happy to receive some more samples

Vegan Cuts also, much to my delight, offer a Beauty Box which includes between 4-7 cruelty free brands to try out without having to commit to full-sized products or prices. I have not tried this as yet, but with my new business venture of creating an apothecary line, I am eager to do so!

Not forgetting, they ship worldwide! Not just the United States. Add $8 for Canada and $15 for the rest of the world.

You can find more information about Vegan Cuts at their website – www.VeganCuts.com

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.

Pintos and Red Wine Soup

Pinto Beans

Pinto Beans

Frugal comfort food that doesn’t just taste good, but keeps well too.

When choosing a dish to cook, Mums will always need to ask themselves three things:
1) “Is this good?”,
2) “Is this nutritious?”, and
3) “Is this practical?”
After all, you can’t have one without the other!

A great big serving of Mac and Cheese is easy to prepare and a sure-hit with the kids, but it’s hardly healthy. Conversely, a simple dish made with cheap vegetables will make for a healthy, practical meal, but may not be too popular at the dinner table? Striking a balance between the three is essential to serving up a great meal.

Not to worry though, as today’s recipe for pinto beans and red wine soup ticks all three boxes. Making use of nothing but the best quality ingredients, it’s sure to pack a punch in terms of flavor and nutrients! And it’s insanely easy to make too, and which Mum does not love easy.

Pinto beans don’t carry too much flavor on their own, but this is what makes them a perfect complement to the red wine soup. After all, when trying to pair wine with anything, M&S wine guru Chris Murphy recommends trying to match textures and flavors before anything else. “Anything with a lighter texture than these pintos would be overpowered by the richness of a red wine soup, and anything too flavorful would clash with the delicate hints of garlic in the soup.”

Worried about cooking with wine for children; the alcohol will evaporate, with the flavor remaining in a concentrated form. Thus, leaving the food safe for a child to consume. Do not fret!

Is this nutritious?
The main ingredients of this meal are pinto beans, red wine, and garlic — three things that have been touted for their health benefits in the past. Pinto beans are virtually fat-free and are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Red wine is known for its anti-aging properties and for being full of antioxidants, and garlic is said to be good for your blood and maybe even help lessen the amount of fat formed in our bodies.

Garlic good for the heart

Garlic; used throughout history as a food medicine

Is this practical?
The soup mellows out as it stays in the fridge, and it freezes extremely well, so you can make a big batch and keep it in your fridge. The ingredients are also quite cheap, as you can use just about any leftover red wine from your pantry.

What You Need for the Beans

  • 2 cups of dried, organic pinto beans
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 diced celery stalk
  • 1 diced large carrot
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 6 crushed garlic cloves, and 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • ½ tsp of salt

What You Need for the Soup

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 10 torn fresh sage leaves
  • A sprig of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 20 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cups of dry red wine
  • 1 chopped head of curly endive
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
Grapes; touted as a healthy heart food

Grapes; touted as a healthy heart food

What To Do

  • Soak the beans for 2 hours in boiling water, then drain, rinse, and drain again
  • Add some extra-virgin olive oil to the bottom of a 6-quart pot and heat over medium high, and sauté the celery, carrot, 1 onion, sage, and the garlic. Once the ingredients have browned, add in the beans and add enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cook until tender, and then spoon in a half teaspoon of salt
  • While the beans are cooking, prepare your soup by sautéing 1 onion in olive oil, sprinkling in some salt to taste. Once the onion has browned, add in the sage leaves, the rosemary, the garlic, and half of the red wine. Allow the mixture to simmer until the wine has been reduced almost completely
  • Scrape everything into the pot of tender beans, adding the endive and tomato paste Simmer everything for 20-30 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum, we hope you enjoy this recipe, and remember Peace, Love and Plants make the World Go Around!