Monday, April 30, 2012

What I've enjoyed this month: April 2012

Oh, April. Where do I start in recapping this month?!

I suspect it goes without saying that our engagement lifted the month to Very Memorable levels. Indeed, with the accompanying trip to Exmouth, the first week of April turned out to be one of the more memorable weeks of my life.

When we returned, there was Mr Bite's birthday, complete with two cakes, and the rest of the month seemed to go by in a bit of a blur.

With that being the case, there are still some 'normal' things that I've enjoyed in April. That afternoon spent in Fremantle was one, and making lavender biscuits was another. Here are some others.

Smoothies

I enjoy smoothies, but don't make them regularly. Several things have contributed to a smoothie run in April, including being able to run more consistently than injuries have made possible of late (smoothies post running are particularly good), and finding this milk:


Several Australian bloggers have already exclaimed their excitement over this reaching Australia, and I can only add mine. Not only is this almond milk cheaper than the brands I could previously find, it is available at my local supermarket (no driving around town to find it), has calcium, and is, as proclaimed above, unsweetened. I've updated my non-dairy milk spreadsheet to include it.



In the above smoothie collection we have;

  • Almond milk, frozen banana, coffee and hemp seeds (top left and centre; I'm quite fond of this mix!)
  • Almond milk, frozen mixed berries, coffee, and hemp seeds (bottom left; an optimistic twist on the banana, which didn't really work)
  • Almond milk, frozen mixed berries, and that Vitarum sugar free drinking chocolate that I'm struggling to find uses for (right; surprisingly good)

There was also the green smoothie I enjoyed in Fremantle, and a few others haphazard creations not pictured here. Given that Perth's weather is finally getting cool, I'm not sure how long the smoothie kick will continue for, but it's been fun while its lasted.


Hemp Seeds and The Face of Birth
(I promise there is a link between these seemingly un-linked things...)

I was fortunate enough to receive not one but two give aways in April. The first was thanks to Theresa at The Tropical Vegan, who hosted a give away of hemp seeds provided by Hemp Seeds Australia.

I had hardly heard of hemp seeds prior to Theresa's post, and so was interested to read the nutritional benefits of them (they are sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and of protein). I was absolutely thrilled to then be given a pack to try, and have been adding them to all sorts of things ever since. I'll save the results for a dedicated hemp post, but suffice to say I'm enjoying them - one product is featured right, and you may have noticed that hemp seeds featured in many of my smoothies.

The second give away was a copy of The Face of Birth DVD from Brydie at cityhippyfarmgirl. In addition to feeling mildly guilty for receiving two free things, I initially felt a undeserving of this because (i) I haven't had children and (ii) having children isn't planned any time soon. However, I am so grateful to have been able to watch the film. It is one I think all women - particularly all Australian women - should be able to watch.

It's difficult to summarise this documentary. It focuses on childbirth and  the importance of being able to make choices about how, where, and with whom childbirth happens. Being set in Australia, it also talks about how Australia's medical system approaches pregnancy and birth, including the idea of home births, and how this compares to other countries.

Prior to watching the film, I had very little knowledge or understanding of home births. If the idea of childbirth was daunting, the idea of doing it at home was definitely scarier still! This isn't surprising, it turns out, because Australia doesn't really support home births. They occur in a tiny minority of cases, and nearly became illegal in 2009. Last year, Professor Fiona Stanley publically endorsed home births, and called for those who label them as "unsafe" to provide data to support such claims. Despite her reputation in the area of child health and development, she was criticised for her comments.

There were many things in the movie that were powerful, but two in particular I wanted to touch on. The first is that research suggests the risks associated with home births are the same as those associated with hospital births, for low risk pregnancies. The second is that other countries have a completely different stance on home births. In the UK, the National Health Service supports home births and births in non-hospital birthing suites, with these options receiving NHS support and being available as choices for all mothers.

I don't know if I'll ever want to deliver a baby at home, but I do know that if I'm ever pregnant I would like to be given choices, and not told something is dangerous if the data suggest it is not.

Given all of the above, I would be happy to send the Face of Birth DVD on to someone else if anyone is interested in watching it. If there are a few people, perhaps we can have a DVD migration around Australia. Just let me know in a comment or email if you would like to watch it.

After that lengthy section...

Purple carrots

After finding them in Coles, I was thrilled to discover them yesterday at the local weekend markets where I usually buy fruit and vegetables. It seems they are well and truly in Western Australia! I'm more than a little excited to be able to try more purple dishes.


Purple carrot muffins are currently dancing in my imagination, so I think it's safe to say we'll be seeing more savoury and non-savoury purple products before long.
What has your April involved?!

36 comments:

  1. I would quite like to try the almond breeze - sylvia doesn't seem to like cows milk but loves the soy milk we drink - yet I find it a bit sweet (and worry this is why she likes it) - made a white sauce with the soy milk on the weekend and wasn't happy with how sweet it was.

    Am also interested in hemp seeds - never tried them and not sure if I have seen them about. And v pleased for you that your local markets are selling purple carrots so you don't have to buy the celephane wrapped ones from the supermarkets

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't realise how sweet other milks were until using this consistently for a while. There is a detectable difference! I suspect it would suit savoury dishes like white sauce better; hopefully you can try some and see how you (and Sylvia!) find it.

      I am beyond thrilled that I can buy cellophane-free purple carrots :) It was doing horrible things to my conscious, buying them that way!

      Delete
  2. This is a great post Kari! Smoothies are the best! I forgot that I could add coffee...:)
    For me, April brought some job challenges. I know that May will be much better! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely hope the job challenges quieten down. And yes, coffee in smoothies is a great thing!

      Delete
  3. I'm intrigued by the hemp seeds. I'm working on my own museli mix and it seems to me that they would add some excellent nutritional factors, I might have to track some down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved them in muesli bars so I imagine they'd work well in muesli too. The website I linked to ships Australia wide I think, if you do decide to pursue it.

      Delete
  4. Hmm I am yet to come across that almond milk (I only have the So Good (?) version) will have to keep an eye out for it (although my local supermarket is generally 5 years behind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The So Good one only appeared here a few months ago too...I actually never ended up trying it because I was so annoyed it didn't have calcium! Hopefully this one can reach you so you can compare...or if nothing else, Sanitarium will start adding calcium to keep up :)

      Delete
  5. Omigoodness, your post makes me realise that April is over! I can't really complain, though, April did bring Andy's graduation, a visit from his parents, and a new house! All up, a good month! Though, would be improved if I could find that almond milk, I think...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had a massive month - even without the almond milk! Perhaps that can help you out in May? :) More seriously, congratulations again on your April, that was a lot of exciting things.

      Delete
  6. DARN YOU KARI. For once, I thought I had the jump on you and your stupid Perth, but no. I find Almond Breeze, but you go and find the unsweetened kind. *shakes fist*

    ;)

    P.S. In my experience, too, using only frozen supermarket berries in smoothies doesn't work well if you don't use banana or another sweet fruit/sweetener, as I've found the frozen berry mixes tend to be heavy on sourish raspberries and currants. During the great banana drought, I had good luck with frozen berries as long as I also added frozen strawberries, cherries, or mango :) But I'm sure you know all that! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops. I misread your post and honestly thought you had the unsweetened one. I'm sorry? :P

      Thank you, too, for the smoothie tips! I make them so haphazardly that I need advice from a regular like you. I did remember your success with pineapple (not that I was able to transfer that to using any...) but have never used frozen strawberries. Next time!

      Delete
  7. I don't think anything could eclipse getting engaged. What a fabulous and fantastic month you've had. I get excited when I see purple carrots too. They have them in Harris Farm at the moment xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think the engagement is going to be high on my events list for many a month to come :) And I'm glad I'm not alone in purple carrot excitement - such a small thing, but so lovely!

      Delete
  8. These smoothies look fantastic! I love adding almond milk in the mix. YUM!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely my new favourite milk!

      Delete
  9. aww congrats on the engagement! That is so exciting! Sounds like you had an EXCELLENT April. Mine was less than stellar but I'm looking forward to happier times in May!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :) And I hope your May improves - April was definitely less than stellar, as you say.

      Delete
  10. oooh now I'm craving smoothies!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have discovered a love of smoothies every single morning. So glad you have access to almond milk. It changes lives, changes them I say. My favorite smoothie ingredient is avocado, so creamy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I added avocado to a chocolate frozen banana pudding type thing last night, and it was pretty amazing! I've yet to use it in smoothie form but I may just have to try it.

      Delete
  12. I LOVE purple carrots! & I'm yet to try almond milk, it's killing me I so want to!!
    Heidi xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amusingly, the first time I tried it, I actually didn't like it much :P I think I'd made it such a great thing in my mind, the reality didn't live up to expectations. What I like about it now is it doesn't make things taste 'milky' - it's nice and neutral and thus perfect for smoothies and the like :)

      Delete
  13. I'll have to look out for this almond milk! I wasn't aware that this brand was available in Australia, I'm really behind the times...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only found it 2 weeks ago, so I wouldn't feel too badly! It was one of those things that completely threw me, having always thought of it as such an American, never-to-make-it-to-Australia brand.

      Delete
  14. Congrats on your engagement! I am interested in trying almond milk - a friend of mine can't speak highly enough of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And I hope you find some - it is a very versatile milk and easy to tolerate if you don't like dairy.

      Delete
  15. Oh my gosh, purple carrots?! How fun! Sounds like a great month, Congrats on your engagement!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Meg - it was a pretty amazing month, all up! And purple carrots are definitely my new favourite vegetable :)

      Delete
  16. those things all definitely sound enjoyable :) especially the engagement part...still so exciting!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on your engagement! That's lovely to hear :) also, purple carrots?! Where can I find some?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah :) It took me so long to find purple carrots so I hope you can have more luck than I did...I think farmers markets and the like are usually the best bet?

      Delete
  18. Kari I'm really pleased you got something out the film, and please don't feel any guilt. Instead you are the perfect person to be watching it as you don't have any kids, and if you decide to have them then you will know more of your choices available.
    As for your carrots, glad you found some girl :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Brydie :) It really was a powerful documentary - I feel lucky to have been able to realise the choices out there. And I'm so glad for your sake you were able to have such a positive experience with your latest little one.

      Delete

I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bitesizedthoughts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bitesizethought).