Something for Cate…

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Firstly, apologies for my absence. I have been feeling heartbroken. My very dear friend of many, many years died a week or so ago and I am feeling the loss of her keenly. I have been feeling quiet and blue thinking of her and missing her presence. I’ve been remembering how she lived her life and how incredibly brave she was. It was complicated, colourful, loving, passionate, opinionated and messy at times. It was motherhood, friendship, moving all over the country, big heartfelt hugs, bright lipstick. It was real, brave and a little bit crazy at times. In other words, a memorable, meaningful life which may have only lasted 50 years but she sure packed a lot in. Even in the last few weeks when the prognosis was dire she was still sitting at my kitchen bench cracking jokes and telling me she was liking how good she was getting at saying f**k whenever she felt it all overwhelming her. We drank tea and chatted with our kids like old times and my heart was feeling thankful and broken all at the same time.

Some of my most treasured memories of Cate are about kids and food. Our children were little ones together and there were LOTS of days of hanging out with our tribe of kids, making play dough and changing nappies. We made sandwiches and pancakes for the hungry hoard we had created. She transformed what could have been quite an isolating time (I was a young Mum and none of my other friends had babies yet) into something entirely different. With Cate I found my way. Tie dyeing onesies and cloth nappies, going apple picking with a bunch of preschoolers, sewing up a storm and generally feeling reassured that this simple, loving, maternal life I had so desperately yearned for was something she understood too.

One of my strongest memories is sitting on Cate’s front step with a big mug of tea, no doubt some strange brew that she had recently taken a shine to – I remember a liquorice tea stage that lasted way too long for me – and a bowl of her burghul salad. For Mums running around after six kids under six the idea that we could actually carve out a few minutes to sit in the sun with something other than toast for lunch felt like an afternoon at a day spa. For a woman who was never blessed with great wealth she sure lived a rich life and I feel incredibly lucky that she shared some of it with me.

In honour of my darling friend and all she gave to me I share with you Cate’s perfect lunch time salad. May you all have a friend like her and hold them dear…..

Cate’s Salad

1 cup bulgur ( cracked wheat )
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley ( dill and basil is also good, or a mixture of all three )
1 can lentils or chickpeas, drained and well rinsed

Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place the burghul in a bowl and pour over 1 1/4 C boiling water.  Add a teaspoon of salt and cover with cling wrap. Leave for 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

While the burghul is soaking cut up all the other veggies and herbs and mix together your dressing ingredients. We liked to soak the red onion in cold water for about 10-15 minutes to lessen the rawness of the onion.

Mix together all ingredients and stir through dressing adding salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with a nice chunk of good bread if you have it and of course, a cup of hippy tea.

Feel free to change the vege and herb ingredients according to what you have in the fridge. Cate’s version was always a surprise and usually involved whatever herbs she had growing in a pot on her back steps. It was always yummy but that may have been the love in it.

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Mothers

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It has been 13 years today since I saw my mother. She died of cancer and the void that is left from her passing never goes away. She was at a time in her life when she was enjoying her grandchildren and living a more settled and happy existence. I still think of her most days and feel so sad that she has missed the chance to watch my children become the fantastic people they are and to see how happy I am. Isn’t that what most mothers want ? Just to see their kids and grandkids healthy and living good lives.

I once heard cancer described as the Big C with no answer. Thankfully things are changing and improving all the time and the diagnosis of cancer is not always the death sentence that it once was. Survival and cure rates are always increasing and new therapies are becoming available. Research into ways of avoiding developing cancer in the first place and new information about carcinogenic diets, lifestyles and exposure is more mainstream. I wish she had known about these things.

On this particular day I am sending out my hope for a cure and my blessings to anyone dealing with this horrible condition. I hope that you have found people to surround you with the support, information and the care that you need.

We owe it to all those people whose lives have been cut short to live ours in the best way we can. Eat well, take care of yourself, stay away from the nasties, smile a lot and be grateful for all that you have.

If you are lucky enough to still have your mother around take the time to let her know that you appreciate her.

Vale Mum.

The facts on red meat

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Meat eaters be warned – you are not going to like what you hear. It’s time to have a long hard look at your meat consumption and to decide whether you want to keep consuming foods that give you heart disease, cancer and ramp up your risk of early death. Harsh but true – read on.

A Harvard University study has tracked 120,000 people over 28 years to asses the affects of red meat in diet.

Particpants who ate unprocessed read meat daily (a palm sized portion) showed a 13% increased risk of premature death. For those who ate processed red meats the risk jumped to 20%.

Red meats, especially processed ones like salami, bacon and hot dogs, contain nitrites, preservatives, colourings, carcinogens and salt. Both processed and unprocessed meats are high in saturated fats and can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol levels and cancer.

The facts are in and you know what to do. Significantly limit your intake of red meat if you want to look after your heart, live longer and reduce your risk of bowel cancer. Why not kick off the week with ‘Meatless Mondays”.

The risks associated with eating other meats such as poultry and fish are significantly less. For a healthy, risk free option why not give other forms of protein such as tofu, eggs, beans and nuts a try.

Looking for meat free recipes ??? Go to http://www.naturocath.com.au/Naturocath/Food_%26_Recipes/Food_%26_Recipes.html