This is the post where I spill the beans about everything that’s been happening in my world for the past month. If you’ve ever been curious about what I do other than cooking – here’s your chance to find out.
Can you believe I haven’t written one of these Catch Up posts since right before I got married – 7 months ago! Intentional? No. Slack? Absolutely.
You may have noticed that I’ve moved away from putting this type of “what’s been happening with me” content in my recipes. I know I have many lovely readers who like to know what’s happening but the truth is that my weekend spent bingeing Sneaky Pete just isn’t relevant to my Greek Lemon Potatoes recipe. So I leave it out.
I can tell you that I’m a prolific sharer on Instagram stories (I’ve even started sharing some terrible dance moves on Mondays), so if you’re ever curious you can find me there.
But I’m going to commit to writing one of these post, once a month.
And we’ll catch up. Here goes.
Cutting the Crap
My husband Adam and I challenged ourselves this month to cut the crap out of our diet. The truth is, we all too often fall into the “I’ll just have a treat” mode but multiple times a day every day and then wonder why we feel like crap. It’s a shocker.
We’ve made simple changes, like no buying processed crap at the supermarket (choccie biscuits, crisps, chocolate or ice-creams). And ditch the soda completely (we both are partial to the occasional Diet Coke).
It’s been a few weeks and I have to say I’m feeling leaner and have less mind fog. I don’t find myself craving sugar, and when I have had little indulgences it hasn’t made me give up my day entirely to eating crap like I once did.
I don’t believe in diets, but I do believe in the power of good food. It can be hard to get out of the perpetual loop of sugar cravings (hello, the first few days were torture) but committing to just removing something simple can surprisingly make a huge difference.
Everything Food Conference
Earlier this month I flew to Layton, Utah to attend the Everything Food Conference. The conference is focused around food blogging and 700 of us were there, talking shop and eating too much food.
One of my favourite parts of the conference was finally meeting my friend Sarah from Sustainable Cooks in real life (that’s us in the picture below)! She was staying at the same hotel as me, so we spent each morning walking to Starbucks to grab a coffee and swapping the differences between our countries culinary experiences.
I plied her with “lollies” – the Australian word for candy. She gifted me a tub of freezer pectin which I’m dying to use to make some jam now that strawberries are back in season and not crazy expensive!
Blogging can be a lonely job, so it’s nice to have friends like Sarah who you can call on when you’re having a rough day or just want to spill some exciting news – even if she is a 17 hour plane ride away from me 🙂
I was also lucky enough to find Nagi from Recipe Tin Eats *just* before I left for the airport. I have followed Nagi for a long time (her Spaghetti is a staple in our house) and met her for the first time last year. She is a wonderful and generous person.
Rising tide lifts all boats comes to mind when I think of Nagi. I appreciate her encouragement and she does a lot to support the food blogging community.
I came home with a bunch of new friends, a head full of ideas and a cold from the change in climate.
You’ve probably noticed by now that every recipe this month has been Greek themed. This was intentional, and it’s been fun to focus on just one cuisine for a month.
I’m very lucky to have grown up eating Greek food thanks to my YiaYia (the Greek word for Grandmother).
Although we aren’t related by blood (my mums sister married a Greek man), our families are very close and my YiaYia adopted me as her own while she was waiting and waiting for her own grandchildren (my cousins) to come along.
YiaYia has a few special recipes that I’m hoping she’ll share with me (so I can share with you of course). But my focus for this month has been on quick and easy Greek cooking that anyone can recreate at home.
If I HAD to pick one favourite recipe it’d be the Greek Chicken Traybake. You’ll definitely want to add it to your meal plan.
A cheese lovers dream
A few weeks ago I was invited to tour the Olympus Cheese factory here in Brisbane. If you’ve been following me for awhile you know I love all things cheese, and the fact that this company specialises in Greek cheese was fortuitous timing considering it was Greek Month!
I had such a great time and learnt so much about the cheese making process. I got to see halloumi cheese being folded and minted by hand. I saw feta cheese being cut in huge vats. And I watched as ricotta was poured into moulds.
What I loved most about the experience was how much attention and care went in to their cheese-making. Every batch is unique in the sense that it’s made with close monitoring and adjusted according to touch and feel.
If you’re lucky enough to live on the east coast of Australia, look out for Olympus Cheese in your local IGA (or ask them to get it in!).
Every year I make a new year’s resolution to read 12 books, or one for every month. This year I was stoked when I hit that number by April.
I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to read books instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Although full disclosure – I’m still doing a lot of mindless scrolling.
I’ve spent the first half of this year reading a lot of fiction after devouring a few too many personal development books at the end of last year. But I’ve absolutely been loving it. Here’s a couple that I haven’t been able to put down:
Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Historical Fiction)
Heavy topic. The story is centred around Lali Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who was inprisoned at Auschwitz in 1942 and forced to tattoo numbers onto thousands of prisoners arms. So much more happens in the story, but I won’t give it away. Amazingly, it’s mostly a true story.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Fiction)
I might be the only one left who hadn’t read this book until recently but I couldn’t put it down. Eleanor is a bit of a social misfit, and the story gives you plenty of laughs. In fact, I’m sure we all know someone a little like Eleanor.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Fiction)
I’m a sucker for any story or movie about lonely old men. There’s always tears for me, without fail! I think this book is a good reminder about why we need community, and finding friends in unlikely places.
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari (Non-Fiction)
The book examines the history and impact of drug criminalisation, or as we’ve come to know it – ‘the war on drugs’. I heard Johann talk about the book on my favourite podcast Armchair Expert and went and got the book immediately.
What I found most interesting was some countries innovative solutions to problems we all experience. I think we can all agree we aren’t winning the war on drugs, so maybe it’s time to start thinking outside the box.
Trying my best
One of my other resolutions this year is to cut down on my waste and try and do my part for the environment. One of my non-negotiables has been coffee cups. I take my Stojo collapsible coffee cup with me everywhere these days (it even came to Utah with me) but if I happen to forget it I force myself to sit down and drink my coffee from a mug.
I’m also trying to reduce food waste. As a food blogger this can seem like a daunting task but I try to plan my recipes where I can use similar ingredients and when I make large portions I try to gift them to family members.
What are some other things I can be doing? I’d love some tips on things you’ve changed in your own home so drop me a comment below.
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We’ll do it live
You might have seen my first “in front of the camera” video this month (above). It was so daunting to press the upload button but I had some lovely feedback. I want to do more of these videos (although I will say this was just a rather rough trial). I’m also challenging myself to do some more Facebook and Instagram lives. What’s some things you’d like to see?
If you haven’t seen it already, queue up The Dawn Wall on Netflix. It’s about a rock climber’s attempt to be the first person to scale the El Capitan Wall in Yosemite National Park.
When Adam hit play I must admit I rolled my eyes – what would I care about a rock climbing documentary? Well, I was wrong. It’s amazing. And I’ve spent the past month recommending / peer pressuring everyone to watch it. Highly recommended.
Enough about me – How’s your month been?
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