New Ventures, Projects, and Love

Hello all!

If there is anyone listening out there anymore. It certainly has been a while.

What have I been doing in this time? Not cooking much, I will admit. The art of cooking gave way to the art of art, and that is where my energy is focussed. So I apologize if this is a blatant attempt to gain publicity for my online art store, because that’s exactly what it is. Little watercolours, sketches, and mixed-media paintings, collected here together on Etsy, my store, ArtByCatJ.


So please, if you were hoping for a recipe and have been disappointed, go on to one of the wonderful inspiring cooking blogs that I’ve listed over on the right-hand side of this screen. And if you’re pleasantly surprised by what you see in my art store, please, share the love, share the link, and hell, treat yourself to something bright on your wall.


Until next time,

Cat x

Fitness Without Obsession

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t updated Cat’s Kitchen in some time. Over the past 12 months, my life took turns that gave other things higher priority. Recently however, I was emailed about a guest post by Joanne. Aside from being flattered that my blog inspired contribution, I think she shares some valuable advice. So here you go, the first post in a year, compliments of Joanne.

As an aspiring writer, I’m pretty much the perfect picture of someone who’s posted up at her computer all day. And if you’re anything like me, chances are you have run across the sedentary lifestyle articles like this one at WebMD that help you with becoming active and counter-acting all that time spent sitting still. As a result, I’ve made consistent exercise a part of my daily routine, but only for health reasons.

Like Cat herself, I have taken on and abandoned New Year’s Resolutions to lose a specific amount of weight because, well, it’s not worth obsessing over something like that. You can be perfectly healthy and fit without needing to reach a particular waist size that, to be honest, can be completely unattainable. Not to get all preachy here, but we’re not all meant to be stick figure-like slim and accepting that fact is an important step toward appreciating yourself more.

That being said, exercise is still important, especially if you live that sedentary life like I described earlier. But it’s important to find a middle ground for yourself and your daily routine so as not to completely disrupt other parts of yourself lifestyle. And there are ways that you can do this without it becoming an all-out obsession. According to this guide from Verizon, fitness trainers with a more intensive regimen have looked to items such as wireless activity trackers. They essentially cover your every move, from how many calories you have burned while exercising to how many calories you have consumed throughout this day. This is helpful if you’re looking to reach a specific fitness goal, for example, and honestly, you’re going to want to set those when you start out.

If you don’t allow yourself to come up with reasonable and achievable goals, you are going to stop exercising; it’s as simple as that. That means you should never get ahead of yourself or allow yourself to start breaking down each and every aspect of your day. Counting calories can obviously help if you do have, say, a medical need to drop some pounds, but you can also easily take it too far and perhaps even lose sight of your goal. That’s especially true if you keep checking every hour of the day, because that’s an impulse that can make your goal of being more healthy, well, unhealthy.

What’s especially important to remember when setting goals is to make them something you actually want to meet. Let’s say that you enjoy running now that you have been doing it every day (or other day) for the past few weeks or months. Why not make it a goal to enter some kind of local race? If you’re not a competitive person, that’s totally understandable, but these events can help in adding a fun element to your exercise. Not only that, but you can introduce yourself to and possibly become friends with fellow runners who could exercise with you. If that’s not exactly your thing, you can reward yourself in other ways like having a meal that’s more indulgent once a week (or month). You could also work it into a savings plan for yourself that puts extra spending money aside.

Basically it’s all up to you—and that includes getting started in the first place. Just remember that if and when you do kick off your fitness routine, make sure you don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up failing or calling it quits before you know it. Good luck!

While I completely agree with Joanne’s approach, I’d like to add two strategies for consistent exercise that work for me. The first is to do something I actually enjoy, and change for something new when I get bored of it. That’s seen me do everything from karate and swimming to pole dancing and yoga, and so long as it’s fresh and I love it, it never feels like a chore. The other option, which I resort to if time or money are stopping me from doing something more interesting, is setting micro-goals. Such as, I will put on my joggers and do something active each day, even if it’s just a ten minute walk. Usually I end up doing a lot more once I’ve gone to the effort of getting up, but there are times when I’ve actually done something short and easy. It works because it builds the daily habit of being active, while I know that if I really don’t feel like it, I’m not going to force myself to do much. That said, Joanne’s suggestions have all worked for me as well, and I agree that whatever you do, better to take it easy and start, than settle for nothing leas than perfection and never get off the couch!

Cat x

Sustainability, Hunger and Consumerism: The Quinoa Debate


Recently in the media and blogosphere, debate has been raging over the negative impact Western demand for quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) has had on populations in countries where it is a staple food. Much of the blame has been dumped on vegans and vegetarians, for everything from malnutrition to soil erosion and property disputes. While many concerns raised are valid, and this isn’t an issue to be taken lightly, it seems to me as though we’re crying over a scratch while ignoring the bullethole. And fingers are being pointed in the wrong direction. Continue reading

An Ode To The Stonesoup: Two Minimalist Recipes Inspired By The Blog That Taught Me How To Eat

throw together dinner

Like most Australian women of my generation and my mother’s generation, The Australian Women’s Weekly taught me how to cook. Not the magazine itself, in my case, but all of my first cookbooks were AWW publications, and two of my most trusted sources for fail-safe recipes and general kitchen know-how are books by AWW. However, AWW did not teach me how to to eat. No, the blog and writer who has influenced my diet and approach to food is The Stonesoup (written by Jules Clancy). Continue reading

Why I Threw Out My New Year’s Resolution


When I’m dying, there are a few regrets that I expect to have. That I missed being part of my younger siblings’ lives as they grew up. That I did not get see and experience as much as I’d hoped to. But there is one thing I very much doubt that I will regret – that I didn’t lose ‘the last 5kgs’. Continue reading

Taking Out The Trash: The Predicable Post-Holiday Digestive-Restoration Campaign



How are we all feeling after Christmas and New Years? Are you ready for a whopper of a post with some scrumptious recipes and a simple way to clear your body of holiday junk? I hope you are, because I think two of these three recipes are the best I’ve made in a while, so hold tight!

My yoga instructors are currently in the habit of asking at the beginning of class whether anyone is hungover, and then promise that the class will help clear the body of the toxins it’s holding after any overindulgence. Personally I think a hot sweaty yoga class is about the best thing I can do if I’m feeling the need to detox, but on a full-blown hangover… well I suspect it would end badly.

There are other ways of cleaning out the body, ones that don’t result in getting drenched with sweat. Continue reading

Can’t Be Effed To Cook (CBETC) – Five Things To Do With A Can Of Chickpeas

tinned chickpea salad

Goooood morning readers!

I hope you’re all feeling fresh and perky – I am – I’ve finally got my hands on nut milk bags and have been making green veggie juices at home, sans juicer. They make me bounce! And not in the fat way!

Anyway, what I’m actually writing about today is food for when you don’t feel quite so fantastic. These are the things you throw together when you just can’t be f’ed to cook. Maybe you have had some long days at work. Maybe you haven’t done your grocery shopping and feel like there’s nothing to make for dinner. Maybe you’re just feeding yourself, and I know that when I’m on my own I often can’t be bothered. Whatever the reason, all I ask is for you to keep some tinned chickpeas in your pantry. Or any legume really. And then what I’m going to do is show you five simple things to do with that tin of chickpeas. Continue reading

Guest Post: Chery’s DIY Bath Bombs

vegan skincare

Hi all!

As promised, today I’m sharing with you a guest post written by my friend Chery.

Chery’s journey to veganism led her to create her own all natural cosmetics and skincare products. Through using her own products and eating a vegan diet, she cured her own skin condition, and discovered a lot about commercial products along the way. She also makes the facewash and toner for my skincare regime, which I love. Clearly a lady with talent, I’ve told her that she should start selling them, or at least start a blog!

A few weeks ago Chery showed me how to make bath bombs, which are super simple. I’ve asked her to share the recipe here to get you started. All of the ingredients can be bought in the baking aisle at your local supermarket, and the formula is endlessly customisable. They make great stocking-stuffers, kris kringle presents, or just ‘I think you’re wonderful’ presents, which are the best kind of all! If you don’t have a bathtub, find a bowl big enough for your feet, fill it with warm water and drop one of these babies in it for an indulgent treat. Continue reading

Not Another Thanksgiving Feast: Chickpea-Stuffed Choko

If you, like me, aren’t American and therefore don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, you might also find that the decadent holiday recipes abounding online can get a bit distracting. While I appreciate the sentiment of Thanksgiving, it can be difficult to plan healthy meals when there are all manner of indulgent dessert recipes and pies bombarding your eyes. But never fear, I am here! While today’s post is still a delicious recipe, it’s also very, very good for you. Perhaps if you did celebrate Thanksgiving you might want to make this to balance out some of that pumpkin pie.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m on a mission to try new fruits and vegetables. Sometimes it’s an item that I’ve never seen or heard of, sometimes it’s an item that I love but have never been game enough to cook, and sometimes it’s an item that has a bad rap. I like giving veggies a second chance. I find that usually it’s just a matter of doing it right. Case in point, chokos.

Continue reading

Secrets to Glowing Skin: Oil and the Simplest DIY Coffee Scrub

Today we’ll be doing something a little different. Are you excited? You should be! I’ll be showing you how to make an exfoliating scrub for your face and body that is 100% natural, very easy, and that only requires two ingredients.

Over the years as I have become more interested in diet and health, and as a result, more drawn to what is natural and unprocessed, I’m finding I’ve also been putting more thought into the products I use on my skin. Aside from the obvious rule that all of my skincare is animal-product free, and not tested on animals, I have tried to find effective skincare solutions that are free from harsh chemicals, alcohols, and so on.

I’d been using Simple Skincare products for about a year, assuming that they were vegan because they state “No Animal Derived Ingredients” on each bottle. Recently I emailed them to check, and received an email back from Unilever, advising that while they are working towards eliminating animal testing, some of their products still are tested on animals, and in some countries they still do routinely in order to comply with legislation. I was upset that I had not checked this earlier! If you would like a copy of the email, just let me know and I can forward it to you. Anyway, this provided further motivation to find skincare that is 100% natural, animal product and testing free, and from a trustworthy source.

I’m not sure how sound the science is behind this (and please, if you are knowledgeable about it, please comment and educate me!), but I have read that much of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bodies. To me that makes intuitive sense. Many times I’ve heard it said that what we use on our skin should be ‘good enough to eat’ – in other words, if it’s full of crap that you wouldn’t put directly into your body by eating, don’t put it on your skin. Once you start going down that path, skincare becomes more and more… edible. It can be easy to make at home, fun and rewarding too! Continue reading