Friday, October 17, 2014

Celebrating the MidWeek Market's 2nd Birthday~ Mariella

We made it! The little food market we started 2 years ago has grown and flourished and we celebrated our birthday on the 8th of October! When we first started, we had a dream. We wanted to provide the people of Plettenberg Bay and surrounds with a place to shop where you had access to farmer's produce and home industries. It was essential for us that consumers be informed about additives in their food, about the impact their diets have on the environment and their own bodies. We wanted to create a grocery store where we would like to shop, where the animal products are free range, and the vegetables are organically grown. We wanted to bridge the gap between the maker and the customer. And so far, we're really rather pleased with the outcome, we support the community that supports us! Here are some images of our birthday.....

We had a truly fantastic day and I look forward to another year of creating a space where locals meet, to share stories and laughter and good food and a healthy lifestyle! Here's to shaking the hand that feeds you!

Friday, September 19, 2014

I"m going to the People's Climate March, are you?

Today I am celebrating over 30 000 views on my blog! It’s exciting to think that I’ve shared my outlook on life, love, health, the universe and everything, including the benefits of picking tomatoes,  with 30 000 of you! 
This is cause for celebration! And the party I'm going to is possibly the most important march to happen to date and its happening tomorrow.

The Global People's Climate March is an international get together of those individuals who demand change for the better! It’s a march to world leaders to demand commitment to environmental protection above possible financial gains, to employ currently available earth friendly power options, reduce carbon footprint by implementing policies which reduce the supply and demand cycle, all in all, it’s a march to demand that leaders care about the planet, that they base decision making on long term environmentally friendly goals. If we are to survive, environmental activism should become government policy!  

It’s an Avaaz event and to date, there are 38,846,641 confirmed participants attending and the truly inspirational and courageous Avaaz team see it as the most important march they've ever initiated.  
‘Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all "f*cked" if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this is one of several catastrophic climate threats we're facing, and is bringing world leaders to New York for a major summit on this global emergency’ says Ricken Patel.

Have a look at this video:

So, tomorrow, on September 21st, 2014, at 1:00 pm, my family and I will be wearing Green and joining a march to safeguard our planet, our future and all that we love. This is the petition I will be signing:

Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act. But to change everything, we need everyone. Join us.

If this is important to you, join a march, or go to the Avaaz site, sign and share. This could be the turnaround point in history, when changes are made by the strong and brave and peaceful! See you there! 

Here is the map to find the closest march near you:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why I do Crossfit ~ Mariella

Yes I too, have started Crossfit! I shunned gyms for most of my life. It seems the more my brother and sister worked out, the more I ate chocolate! The prospect of walking into a space where you get to sweat it out with a bunch of strangers never made it to the top 10…..or top 100 things I’d consider dedicating any amount of time to and I found it quite distasteful, and it didn’t involve chocolate!

The motivations behind my change of heart are deeply complex and complicated, but to sum it up briefly, I blame it all on the Croods! 
The first twelve minutes of this Dreamworks Animation about a family of cave people and their survival in a harsh world on the brink of catastrophic change pressed an ‘on’ button deep within my DNA and it seems the ‘off’ switch has yet to be located!

I’ve been doing Crossfit for about seven months now and they say it doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger! There are ample websites, blogs etc. on the subject of CF, the lingo, the benefits, the camaraderie, the competition, the finer details of calisthenics, but I’d like to chat about why I do it. Why I wake up in the dark, while my family sleeps on, and tiptoe out of the house like a thief in the night to the ‘Box’ (ok, please allow me a little lingo here and there, this is CF speak for gym!).

I remember the day I went in for a trial session, I was petrified! I’d heard very little about it and all I knew was that newbies were apparently throwing up from exertion, and there were rumours of ropes, rings, weights, burpies, whatever that was, and something called a kettle bell! 
It was hard, there was this white board of imminent doom with the day's work out written on it, and a clock which incited a level of mobility and strength I didn’t know I had, and just like that I was hooked! 
When you have a concept of what you are physically, what you can do, what your limitations are, and someone who doesn’t even know you says, no, you can do more, not only in the future, with hard work and effort, but today, right now, you are capable of more, like twenty more sit ups, twenty more push ups, and another run around the block, it challenges those preconceived notions! It pulls the mat out from under how you see yourself and replaces it with a well-wow-I-never-knew-I-could-to-that mat, and that is the reason why people who start CF can’t stop talking about CF, because we are so damn impressed, surprised, blown away by how much more amazingly capable we are than we’d previously thought, that there must be more to every other aspect of ourselves, our lives, our job descriptions, our place in the world! It’s no small thing I tell you! 
And when you’re on the losing end of a bad meeting or on hold on the phone with Telkom during your entire lunch break, it does put a smile on your face to remember that you deadlifted 55kg that morning which is surely impressive because you only weigh that much! And yes, this sense of satisfaction is utterly base and primeval, but millions of years of evolution have brought us to a point where we are built to either chase down our lunch by any means necessary or run and jump and climb and hide to avoid becoming someone else’s lunch, on a daily basis. 
It has brought up considerable questions for me as a sentient being on this planet. 
-What is important to me? 
-Where do I want to excel? 
-And therefore, what do I want to invest my time in? 

These questions can churn up mucky conclusions if not for this simple answer which has, so far, been sufficient; if it makes you happy, do it, as often as you can! We are built to be much more agile, mobile, flexible and capable than we are, and we are much stronger that we think! 

And of course there is the cocktail of happy hormones which comes with being physical! So it literally does MAKE me happy! These hormones help arm and equip you for any tedium and irrelevance in the day to come! 

~There is constant talk and much attention paid to financial freedom, but too few people promote and encourage physical freedom. The ability to physically do whatever you want to. To not be hindered by the limitations of your physical form... Those few minutes in the Croods, when Eep climbs up a sheer rock face and hoists herself effortlessly into a tree to better hear the sound of a conch through the ravine struck me on a primal level, it said, you too can climb a bunch of hectic stuff and swing and pull yourself up onto things with your own body strength and you can celebrate it with a Palio brownie afterward, as reward for your efforts! And that was all the convincing I needed!

This is the Box I go to, check it out:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Easy Oat Bran muffins ~ Mariella

Baking does not come naturally to me. So you can imagine my delight upon discovering a ridiculously simple oat bran muffin recipe! Oat bran is seen as highly beneficial in the fight against high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 
It is said to be good for weight loss and a happy digestive system. I was interested in trying it out because it's supposed to be a low GI food which would suit me just fine. 
It did make me a bit tired, like oats generally do, but not nearly as much as wheat or rye so I'm happy to use this recipe when I'm in the mood for something moreish and I think blueberries will be in order next time I try it!


2 1/2 cups uncooked oat bran
2t baking powder
1 t salt
2t Cinnamon 
2 free range eggs
3/4 cup water
2t natural vanilla extract 
4 T coconut oil (pre-melted)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecan nuts (optional)

Then the's up to you! I used 4 table spoons of honey and then drizzled some over them afterwards. 

Preheat the oven to 220*c.

Mix the dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.

Add wet to dry and mix.

Pour into greased muffin trays and bake for about 20 min or until the knife come out dryish!

So simple! Its a great activity for the kids too as it doesn't require extensive concentration spans!
Happy baking!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dealing with Liver Fluke ~ Mariella

It all makes sense now, after years of wondering why my child found nuts too rich to eat, why eggs and garlic made her nauseous, why she started to develop fine acne, why she always complained of fatigue. She had Liver Fluke.

Liver Fluke is a highly underestimated Parasite which lives in the bile ducts of the liver and the gall bladder, slowly blocking them up and causing all sorts of problems from tummy ache to Liver cancer. Long standing infections can also result in fatigue, abdominal discomfort, anorexia, weight loss, diarrhoea, and jaundice, as they feed off blood. They live for 20-30 years and can lay 2000-4000 eggs a day!

Approximately 35 million people are infected with liver fluke throughout the world, 85% of which live in China. Because of its mostly asymptomatic nature, Liver fluke can go undiagnosed for years, slowly debilitating the liver’s functions. 

The only way to get Liver Fluke is to ingest the eggs via eating:

-raw fish
-watercress and any water plants grown in contaminated water
-contaminated water (elementary really!)
-vegetables irrigated with contaminated water

If any livestock have access to the water you use to irrigate your vegetables, you should have them tested for Liver fluke.

How did we find out? My child broke out in hives, an allergic reaction, first to over-ripe banana, then apples, then chick peas, aubergine, anything really! Every day there was one more thing she couldn’t eat. I took her to a Doctor who said, Oh allergies, gave her an antihistamine jab, prescribed a bunch of antihistamines and gave us a natural one to take too. We dealt with it for a week, her reactions getting worse every day. 
Then I met a friend at a Saturday Market who introduced me to Hanna Grotepass, ( a homeopath from Knysna who said, so calmly, Oh that sounds like Liver. When she said it, it felt like the right fit.  
As per her recommendations, we treated it with a Rife Machine. Now I refer to myself often as a gullible skeptic, having good faith in everything until proven otherwise and I've always been skeptical about this little contraption! 

A Rife machine directs electrical impulses through the body and can be set to the exact frequency of the parasite or other ailment you are suffering from. You can understand why I was uncertain! But when the skin allergies vanished and her face started to clear up, I was so relieved. The other symptoms will clear up with time as her body deals with the aftermath and now we start with ways to support the liver without too much emphasis on detox and other extreme cleanses for the time being. We are dealing with this gently.

P.O.A. (Plan of Action)

Diet full of high-sulfur foods and also raw fruit and vegetables, as much organic as possible:


Avocados, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, lemon, leafy greens, beetroot, green tea, apples, grapefruit, turmeric, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower

Supplements and herbal helpers:

-Milk thistle

-Grape seed extract


As the Liver is the fastest recovering organ in the body, we are optimistic, but she’s probably had it for at least 2 years so we hope that supporting her Liver with diet, supplements and lots of water will do the trick sooner rather than later. The Symptoms are so subtle and can be over looked but when clumped together they can show Liver Fluke clearly. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Raw stuffed sweet peppers ~ Mariella

Winter, the month of grand temptations! When, for me, warm and rich and sweet wins with bells and whistles against raw and revitalizing! 

In order to refrain from broadening my midsection along with my culinary horizons, I have set myself a challenge, to replicate all of my favourite dishes in the raw! My first dish was met with skepticism by my teenage daughter who sighed, Mom, why you gotta mess with a good thing?’ 
She recanted after the first bite!

It was a rather fool proof start to my venture and the secret was in the sauce.

Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers

-2 Ripe avocados - cubed  
-1 Tomato - cubed
-Handful of mung bean sprouts
-Thinly sliced green beans

-Dressing: Small handful of Sun-dried tomatoes and about 6 dried olives, a little lemon rind, quarter onion and one clove garlic chopped fine and marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar dressing.
-A little salt, pepper, cumin powder and paprika to taste

Stir it all up, stuff the peppers and lay down on beds of lettuce leaves, dressed in olive oil and lemon juice with a pinch of salt

Serves three

This is a basic recipe but so yummy and serves to illustrate a point, it took the same amount of time to make as a salad would, but it’s different and keeps the raw food option enjoyable. So many ingredients could be added to this like Tahini, tamarind paste, sesame oil, lightly roasted seeds, dried mushrooms, seaweed etc. So take a look at what's in the fridge and mess around with good things! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Its Porcini mushroom season again! ~ Mariella

It’s that time of year again, Autumn brings mushrooms! We waited for just the right sequence of events, knowing that there’s always a chance of coming home empty handed. It rained, we had a few hot days, full moon was a few days away; everything said, ‘Head for the forest armed with knives and baskets’. We did and we were in luck.

We found enough to cook, fry, bake, give to everyone in the family! What we couldn't eat in time, we sliced and strung up to dry in a space in the house with good ventilation.  

I think this is the prettiest Porcini I've ever found!

After baking, drying and giving away, we still had some left over so i made mushroom pate. 

-I peeled any sponge off which had already opened and turn from a fresh cream colour to a dull mustard yellow colour and cut the Porcini into slices.
-Fried in olive oil with garlic and added a little water and salt to taste.

-Blended with a hand held blender until smooth and voila, something new and delicious on Rice cakes (I know its a travesty but we don't eat bread!)

I then added the Pate to an Aubergine and tomato sauce. It was sumptuous and no body could guess what the secret ingredient was!

So there you have it. If you find these decedent and delicious mushrooms at your local deli, do not be afraid! They are as easy to prepare as Denny mushrooms and if all else fails, let them eat Pate!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lady Serendipity and Afrika Burn 2014 ~ Mariella

If you've ever felt that impulse to pack a small bag and head for the horizon with an open ticket in your hand and an adventurous spirit speeding you onward, you would have made contact with Lady Serendipity at some point.

That delay at the bus station, that road side vendor with the takeaways taking a little longer than usual, conversations at exactly this right moment, a perfectly sublime sequence of events leading your hand through timeous meeting after timeous meeting…

Trust plays the only part we, the traveler, have any control over in this process. The moment you release the outcome is the instant the outcome comes to you!

I’ve always begrudgingly accepted that Serendipity is the crippled  cannon fodder of routine life, always utterly surprised should I bump into an old friend in a new place, or have seemingly irrelevant things fall into place in effortless flowing ways leading to the ease of very relevant things! It seems that Serendipity is squelched by our pre-planned and overly organised lives but after Afrika Burn 2014, I am adamant to stand at the doorway of destiny and beckon this elusive shy aspect of life into       mine with bells and whistles! 

The theme for this year’s Afrika Burn was ‘The Trickster’, and for me, the Trickster showed itself by reminding me of the natural flow of life. I was witness to it in every direction, from long lost friends finding one another in a crowd of 10 000 people to camp members arriving, sans directions, at their destined camps in the dark amid sprawling suburbs of tent after tent! 

 On our last evening there, I had a brief conversation with a fellow burner concerning the galloping nature of this year of the horse, according to the Chinese calendar, and how perhaps the best advised course of action is to have faith, hold on tight, and go with it. The next piece of ‘litter’ I stopped to pick up off the ground on my way to the next burn was a small plastic toy horse, painted bright red! 

And so it went, people completing one another’s sentences in their absence, someone being there in time to direct someone else to where they need to be when they need to be there. I felt ‘held’! So this is me, reaching out my hand to Lady Serendipity, reaching, reaching into the dark and knowing, without seeing, that knowing she’s there is enough to draw her into the light!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How we dealt with Flu 2014 naturally! ~ Mariella

We got The Flu 2014! It sucked! We didn’t enjoy it at all. However, compared to stories from the moms I spoke with in the parking lot at school, we had an easy time of it. It seems most of them put their children and themselves on antibiotics. This completely bewilders me as we rode the storm and come out of it stronger, not weaker. Here’s how we battled this years Flu naturally:

  1. Bed rest
 This wildly under-estimated piece of logic did wonders for us. Although there was little else for it as I didn’t really have it in me to get up until it was all over!

  1. What to give up:
 We took it seriously so we excluded many foods in order to starve the bug in record time; wheat and sugar (which we don't eat anyway!) and dairy (including butter!) We did however find it interesting to note that my husband consumed a lot of fruit and honey whereas I didn’t eat any. His flu lasted 5 days, mine lasted 3. Not sure what to make of that one.....

  1. Garlic, Lemon and Chili
 Packed full of flu fighting vitamins, antibacterial and antiviral and immune-boosting properties, I found these three made up the bulk of our arsenal! We juiced them whole, ate them raw, made tea with them. Rice cakes with Coconut oil, marmite, avo and slices of Garlic and chili is now my new favourite snack! I found an almost alchemical reaction with the chili, in the height of the flu, I could eat as much as I wanted without feeling the usual burn, as I got better, my tolerance shifted becoming less and less! Intriguing stuff!

  1. Septogard
 This is a fantastic natural antibiotic that we keep in the house. We had approx 8 a day.

 5. Oscillococcinum by Heel

This is my backup remedy of choice, if any of us have the flu, which we rarely do, we take a course of this product. It targets flu in particular.

  1. Diet:

We upped the green leafy vegetables and raw dinners along with soups filled with herbs from the garden.

All elementary really! We included homeopathic, herbal and dietary remedies. If this flu finds you, just remember, if we could do it sans antibiotics, you can too! The trick is to catch it early. And if you avoid antibiotics, every year you’ll just get stronger!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Date Season, Stones and a family road trip! ~ Mariella

I needed a family holiday! Throw the kids in the car and go. So when the thought presented itself to go hunting for stones for Moonstone, our Crystal and Mineral shop in Plettenberg Bay at the same time as fetching dates for our Market at Old Nick Village, it was decided! Incidentally these things happen to come from the same place, the Northern Cape of South Africa. Here is a photo essay of our adventure in this utterly stunning country of ours which is filled with lovely people, magical place, and more dust roads than you'd think! 

This is Wuppertal. a small thatch roofed white washed village in the Cederberg mountains in the Western Cape founded in 1830 by two German missionaries of the Rhenish Missionary Society. In 1965, after the Rhenish Mission had gradually scaled down their activities in Southern Africa, a decision was made that Wupperthal should in future become part of the Moravian Church, and it remains a Moravian mission station to this day. Seeing the little town of approx. 3000 people cradled in a small valley just in time for sunset was like discovering our own Brigadoon in the mountains which no one knew was there! Was it a dream? It was beautiful, the streets were clean, the people friendly and we walked around until after dark taking in the wonders of this intriguing little town.

We met Jason selling fish in Doringbaai, a small town on the West coast and he pointed us to a camp site on the beach in Springfontein where we spent the night. we woke in a shroud of mist, a brief respite from the heat of the inland we were soon to return to. The road from Lamberts Baai to Springfontein is untarred but easy and beautiful with sea views and a sense of riding in the bush, not above it on big intrusive roads 

Springfontein Sunset

Springfontein sunrise!

Our mission to the Henkries Date farm took us along never ending dust roads and Mrs Olivier kept the office open for us long after closing time.
In between selecting dates and making sure we'd had tasters of each delicious juicy batch, she told us about the farm. It's 50 years old. During the Anglo-Boer war, the British hid in those hills and had nothing but dates to eat. Their continued complaints of being hungry, hungry, hungry morphed into the region's name, 'Henkries' and their wide discarding of dates seeds resulted in the first date palms along the Orange River which eventually turned it into a date growing area! 

Mental note, unripe dates do not taste great!

Orange River at sunset.

The little town of Goodhouse, in the Orange River valley. A small flat town baked by the sun with one road in and one road out.

There are still places in South Africa where you can pull off the road and camp without being in fear for your life! We found a hill, black from the relentless sun and camped under the full Northern Cape night. We watched the full moon come up over the landscape, turning it twilight. 

From the hill above where we camped.

I took this photo while my husband was changing a tire! I learned much in the good hour of waiting and trying in vain to be of assistance that there are many ways to do things. I watched my family while we waited. Alluring clouds on the distant heavy horizon seemed suspended at one altitude like a flock of birds, too cautious to land on the piping hot midday ground. My son drew the giant rats in the audio book we listened to and my daughter did ballet in the infinitely empty road to the heavy voice of Lorde over the speakers. No body got uptight, no body lost their cool. There's always a choice!

Amazing haunting Koekerboom Trees on a small alternative route to Pella.

Rose Quartz in the Bush, Bright pink in the sun against the brown rock.

I think I was the only one who thought the advertisement of snake meat was hilarious, no one else seemed to catch the joke! 

On the way home we drove through De Rust, a sweet sleepy town with a pretty main street bursting with creative little coffee shops and galleries.

Breakfast in Oudtshoorn, another sleepy town in the Klein Karoo.

I remember going home when I was a child. I willed the car to slow down, to turn back, to take a little longer! 

But going home to a place you love is different, our country is beautiful and quietly whispers to be explored. We should know what all of it looks like, it's our home!