Plant Based Mum Blog

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Look Who’s Walkin’ - Part Two: Our Top Family Beach-Side Walks in Melbourne

With summer on our doorstep, Melbourne is calling you for seaside walks and sand-filled play. Here are some of our favourite beach-side adventures:

St Kilda 

Not many can resist the fun of Luna Park in St Kilda. If your little ones are just that bit too little then there is a fantastic park to be found at Neptune Street. Sister of Soul is the place to visit for a yummy juice or smoothie to sip on as you stroll along the pier with bubba.

Hampton 

The beach-side suburb of Hampton provides lots of entertainment for families, with it’s parks and swimming beaches. Thomas Street South Reserve has a great wooden playground for the little ones to explore. With plenty of outdoor seating, Cornerstone and Co. Cafe makes a good spot to stop for lunch.

Elwood 

There is a beautiful walk in store for you along the Ormond Esplanade. Be sure to bring your hats, apply that sunscreen and pop on the sunglasses as it gets quite hot and glarey. For lunch, Little Sunflower Cafe is not far up Glen Huntley/Ormond Road. They serve the best buddha bowls in town and there is seating out the front for parents with prams. 

Chelsea 

Chelsea beach is a nice spot to visit. The Bicentennial playground is the perfect place for your little ones to run wild and Soul Press in nearby Edithvale will cure your smoothie craving. 

Frankston Foreshore  

Frankston Beach is a plesant spot to spend the afternoon. Nature Cafe makes a good choice for lunch with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. Frankston Foreshore playground is lots of fun for the little ones, or there is the bright and bold Bellam Park further inland on Cranbourne Road.

Mornington Pier   

A nice walk around Mornington Pier is always lots of fun. There is a fantastic playground and reserve for the little ones to run around at Mornington Park. Soul Press is the place to go when hunger strikes with their nourishing açaí bowls and delicious smoothies, or you can try Thanks Albert with a yummy selection of vegetarian burgers to choose from. If you need to do some shopping while you are out and about Natural Balance along the main street has a big range of organic goodies. 

Remember to always be sun-safe on your walks! Visit www.sunsmart.com.au for more sun-safety tips.

Enjoy your summer! 

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Melbourne with Kids - Best Kid Friendly Cafes and Adventures in Melbourne

Melbourne has so much to offer families it’s hard to know where to begin, so let us help you start your journey by sharing some of our top picks for meal time, kid friendly fun activities and adventures. 

Top Picks for Child Friendly, Plant Friendly Cafes in Melbourne (and surrounds):

Top picks for fun family activities in Melbourne (and surrounds):

  • Visit the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)

  • Explore the Melbourne Museum

  • Experience the Melbourne Sealife Aquarium

  • Partake in ArtPlay by the Yarra

  • Check out the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

  • Visit the Melbourne Zoo

  • Experience Collingwood Children’s Farm

  • Check out Scienceworks

Top picks for free family adventures in Melbourne:

  • Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens

  • Jog around the tan with the pram

  • Stroll down Anzac Avenue (St Kilda Road)

  • Pay a visit to the Melbourne City Library

  • Walk along St Kilda pier with baby in the carrier

  • Explore Melbourne’s CBD by foot

Top playground picks in Melbourne (and surrounds):

  • Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

  • Ron Barassi Snr Park on Docklands Drive, Docklands

  • Royal Park Nature Play in Parkville (right near the Royal Children’s Hospital)

  • Middle Park Community Playground on Canterbury Road, Middle Park (Albert Park)

  • McNish Reserve on Court Street in Yarraville

  • Coburg Lake Reserve on Murray Road in Coburg North

  • Skinners Adventure Playground in Dorcas Street, South Melbourne

  • St Kilda Adventure Playground in Neptune Street, St Kilda

Want more cafes to choose from in Melbourne? Read about them here.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy our beautiful city! 

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Recipe of the Quarter - Lentil, Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta

Being pregnant means that nutrition is at the forefront of my mind, even more so than normal. 

Our recipe of the quarter is a nutrient packed, comforting pasta. This vegetarian pasta is filled with all things good for your pregnancy, including folate (lentils), fibre and potassium (pumpkin), magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K (spinach) and vitamin E (pine nuts). Read below for details.  

Lentil, Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta  

Ingredients 

  • 100g spelt or wholemeal pasta per person

  • 110g dried red lentils

  • 1 small butternut pumpkin (washed, de-seeded, cut into chunks)

  • 2 big handfuls spinach (washed well)

  • 75g pine nuts

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 small garlic gloves (optional - some people, like myself, really go off garlic when pregnant)

  • Black pepper and parmasen to taste, if required

Method 

  • Cook pumpkin in the microwave for 5-10 minutes on high until soft.

  • Cook pasta until al dente.

  • Add the pine nuts, washed spinach, garlic and remaining olive oil into a frying pan and lightly fry whilst waiting for the pasta to cook.

  • Once the pumpkin is done, add to the fry pan and mix gently.

  • Drain the pasta and add the mixture from the fry pan.

  • Serve with parmasen and black pepper to taste.

Bon Appetit!  

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What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday. I always feel a bit silly writing these posts as I am such a creature of habit my meal plans don’t tend to change that much. Anyway, I thought I'd share with you what I ate today (Wednesday) as I haven’t posted on this topic for a while. 

Breakfast: Bowl of buckwheat cereal topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries and peaches and a dollop of organic vanilla yoghurt. Two slices of sourdough toast with vegemite. Bottle of water. 

Morning snack:  Whole apple. Half bottle of water.

Lunch: Homemade buddha bowl with quinoa, cooked egg, avocado, capsicum, cooked spinach, carrot and cooked salmon. Bottle of water.

Afternoon snack: Whole banana. Wholegrain muesli bar. Half bottle of water. 

Dinner:  Pumpkin, Spinach and Pine Nut Pasta. Two squares of Lindt dark chocolate with almonds for dessert. Bottle of water.

Thanks for reading! 

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Recipe of the Quarter - Creamy Green Pasta 

It is such an exciting time in our household, as my husband and I recently announced to friends and family that we are pregnant with our second child! We are beyond thrilled!! I love researching and trying out new recipes for dinner, and now that I am pregnant again it is extra important to ensure I am getting a good amount of nutrients and protein into each meal. Healthy protein is so important for the development of baby’s cells, tissues and muscles and a range of vitamins also assist in baby’s overall growth and development. This creamy pasta dish offers a range of nutrients, and is one of my new favourites. 

Creamy Green Pasta 

Ingredients: 

  • 250g-350g buckwheat or spelt pasta

  • 1 punnet organic mushrooms, washed well

  • 2 large handfuls washed organic baby spinach

  • 1 cup washed organic broccoli

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1 bunch of organic asparagus, washed and chopped

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice

  • 1 clove minced garlic

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil

  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:  

  • Add vegetable broth, non-dairy milk and pinch of salt to saucepan and bring to boil

  • Boil pasta in saucepan according to packet directions

  • Meanwhile, heat 1/2 teaspoon olive oil in large fry pan. Add garlic, frozen peas, mushrooms, asparagus and broccoli and stir until cooked (you can par-boil broccoli and frozen peas beforehand if you prefer)

  • Add cooked pasta to pan

  • At the last minute add baby spinach to pan and remove from heat, stir to combine ingredients

  • Add parmasen, lemon juice to taste, serve and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!  

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Family Getaways - Road Trip to Mornington

The bustling beach side town of Mornington is only an hours drive from Melbourne’s CBD. With plenty on offer for the family, it makes for a great destination for your next road trip. 

The playground at Mornington Park is the star attraction for families, offering little ones the chance to be a pirate for the day on a big wooden pirate ship. The large reserve nearby is the perfect place for a game of lawn soccer or a nice picnic. 

If picnics aren’t your style then the Burgers at Thanks Albert hit the spot for lunch - especially the aptly titled ‘No I Wasn’t Vegan - and YOMG do a delicious salted caramel frozen yoghurt that makes for a special treat for dessert. 

Mornington is a fun day out for the family filled with laughter, sunshine and fresh sea air.  

Where is your top pick for a quick family road trip?  

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Smoothie Fiend

Now that summer is well and truly here the delicious summer fruits are in abundance. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries - all the berries! Here are some of our favourite berry smoothies: 

Mixed Berry Smoothie 

This Recipe is super quick and easy, and makes up to three serves. Simply take a half punnet of blueberries, a small handful of raspberries (I don’t add many as I find them to be quite tart), a full punnet of chopped strawberries and add to the blender. Throw in 2/3 cup of organic coconut yoghurt, 1/3 cup of almond mylk, a small handful of ice cubes, and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Blend until desired consistency is reached and enjoy!  

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Sunshine Smoothie 

Mangoes are a delicious treat to enjoy over summer. This recipe lets this super fruit shine. Add to your blender one ripe mango and half a ripe banana, chopped into chunks. Squeeze in one tablespoon of fresh lime juice. Throw in two large chunks of watermelon, a small handful of ice cubes and two tablespoons of maple or agave syrup. You can add a small grating of ginger to taste. Blend until desired consistency is reached and enjoy. 

What I Ate Wednesday

For the first few months after giving birth to Itty Bitty Green (earlier this year) I was not eating well at all. We were relying on takeaway and microwave meals most nights to get us through those newborn foggy days. In hindsight I would never do that again! It made both my husband and I feel so much worse (on top of the standard sleep deprivation) and probably made my postpartum recovery even longer (even though I was lucky to have a relatively straightforward birth with no complications and very little pain medication required). The next time around I will do a little meal prep, and I will also purchase home delivery meals to see us through the first few months. There are some great organic options on offer nowadays, rather than your standard "lean cuisine" type junk. 

Once the newborn fog had cleared us I started to take control of what I was eating again - back to healthy, natural foods that would nourish my body (aside from the one night a week we get to indulge in takeaway - everyone needs that one night!). I made a meal plan (which was especially important for myself, given that I was partially breastfeeding and often eating at home) and stuck to it.

Even though I have started gradual weaning at nearly 11 months postpartum (to prepare for my return to work), feeding bub still makes me extra hungry!

I thought I'd share with you what I ate today (Wednesday). I am a creature of habit, so for the most part this is normally what I eat every day - apart from lunch (if I am going out, and I also like to change up options every few days) and dinner (which usually changes each night).

Breakfast: Bowl of buckwheat cereal topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries and peaches and a dollop of organic vanilla yoghurt. Two slices of sourdough toast with vegemite. Small cup of grapefruit juice. One large cup/mug of green or peppermint tea. 

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Morning snack: Whole apple, sliced with organic vanilla yoghurt to dip. Wholemeal roll with almond butter or marmalade jam (no peanut butter in this household due to bubba's allergies). Half bottle of water.

Lunch: Bowl of quinoa with mixed vegetables, mini roma tomatoes, canned salmon and kidney beans (you can certainly have lentils instead if preferred). Cup of peppermint tea (optional). Bottle of water. 

Afternoon snack: Half very ripe banana (other half for baby!). Handful of dried fruit (such as apricots or cranberries) and mixed nuts (cashews and walnuts are my fave! No peanuts in this household due to bubba's allergies). Half bottle of water. 

Dinner: Spelt pasta served with tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, carrots, celery, green peas, chickpeas and a splash of balsamic vinegar (served with mince beef for husband's dish!). Bottle of water. Two squares of Lindt dark chocolate with almonds for dessert.

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Bon Appetite!