My children's father asks very little of me. He did not mind when I gave up a highly paid job. He doesn't mind coming home to a messy house. He never complains when I use his credit cards to purchase things that he does not understand. He doesn't even expect me to do the school run or to help our youngest with her homework or wake up for her 6am football sessions.
All he ever asked of me is to create a happy, nurturing home for our children. Fortunately, it wasn't a difficult task, thanks to my mum who is Chief Happiness Officer at large: I just have to take my mind back to the sunny kitchen of my parents' house in Southern England to know just what I have to do. So here are the offerings from my kitchen on this rainy Phuket day:
Start the day right: green smoothies!
My friend Vivienne Webb bought a bag of avocados that she left behind. We went to the sea-gypsies area in Rawai yesterday and bought some as-natural-as-you-can-get veggies and I had some other greens in my fridge from the organic section in Villa Market. Blitzed together with some filtered water, topped with chia seeds, flax seeds and bee pollen, and voila, I have fulfilled my first task of the day, namely providing my family with a nutritious breakfast. 100% goodness, and so easy, too.
Making a veggie stock
I can't find organic Swiss bouillon anywhere in Phuket. I have to make my own stock. It's actually easier than you think. I just boiled these veggies in a large ceramic pot with distilled water, and then simmer on low heat for hours. You get a really delicious broth from this.
If you are an instant noodle fan, try making your own version with this stock, cooked spaghetti and lightly boiled bean sprouts. Add cooked chicken if you are not a vegetarian. That's what I would have for lunch, probably.
Eat rainbow colours
I am trying to get my 14 year old to eat more veggies and less red meat. her father is worried that it will not be enough, given that she does so much sports and is going through a growth spurt. I think it is. Broccoli has as much protein as beef. In fact, 11.1 grams per 100 calories of broccoli = 6.4 grams per 100 calories of beef. I also would add cashews and other nuts for that oomph.
From this colourful platter, I could add Thai paste for a curry, or go Italian by cooking the veggies in red pesto. If I were to go for the Thai option, I would serve it with a wild rice/red rice combo; the Italian option of course goes with spaghetti.
My secret arsenal: sprouts!
Sprouting is actually something fun and easy to do, and best of all, it is exploding with goodness. Sprouts are rich in enzymes (even more than in uncooked fruits and vegetables). These enzymes are vital for many of the body's functions, including extracting more amino acids, essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins from food, so the body works more efficiently.
All you have to do is soak the seeds and then sprout on! Make sure that the seeds you use are the ones specially for sprouting, namely not irradiated or contaminated. Put them on a sprouting tray, water daily and agitate the tray to prevent mould from forming. When the little shoots appear, they are ready to be eaten. I add them as topping.
Making our own trail mix
This is a little sweet treat for my minx's lunchbox tomorow. I dehydrated some apples and pineapples in my dehydrator to make trail mix (I add nuts to the dried fruits combo). I added some gorgeous tomatoes in to make dried tomatoes, which makes a tasty addition to salads and pasta dishes. Well, that's my lunch tomorrow.
Note about eating rainbow colours, as we have done today in rainy Phuket:
Red fruits and vegetables are coloured by a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer and keep our heart healthy.
The plant pigment anthocyanin is what gives blue/purple fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Anthocyanin also has antioxidant properties that protect cells from damage and can help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
Carotenoids give this group their vibrant colour. A well-known carotenoid called Betacarotene is found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots. It is converted to vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy mucous membranes and healthy eyes. Another carotenoid called lutein is stored in the eye and has been found to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness.
Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals including carotenoids, indoles and saponins, all of which have anti-cancer properties. Leafy greens such as spinach and broccoli are also excellent sources of folate.
White fruits and vegetables contain a range of health-promoting phytochemicals such as allicin (found in garlic) which is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. Some members of the white group, such as bananas and potatoes, are also a good source of potassium.
It has been nine months since I gave up work, and I can honestly say, I have found gainful employment in the home. I love what I do and enjoy each day to the fullest, this simple and wholesome life without complexities and complications. For this, I have the father of my children and my mother to thank.
PS: Today's offerings took less than two hours.
Originally published at http://www.raisinghappystrongkids.com