#6 A Simplicious Challenge: Let the lady bleed in peace!

The Simplicious Challenge: I’m cooking all 306 recipes from Sarah Wilson’s book Simplicious, to see the impact it has on the way I buy, cook, consume and waste food. Read the first post here, if you missed it.

Over the last few months, doing this Simplicious Challenge has gotten me thinking about the ways I consume in other areas of my life, rather than just in relation to food – which is probably the point. But in the process, I have found that looking more generally at my consumption habits, beyond just food, is far more confronting.

About 18 months ago, I wrote a blog post about beating myself up for making particular choices as a consumer. Particularly for what I felt was a hypocrisy of sorts – that I would take reusable green bags to the supermarket, but use masses of cling wrap at home. Or make my own baby purees, but use regular disposable nappies. I’d avoid buying Nestle products, but bought Nike shoes for my son. At the time, as I agonised over the ethics of my decision-making, I observed the impact it was having on my mental health. I decided I had to stop allowing my personal guilt to affect my anxiety, whilst continuing to (gently) push my own boundaries a little at a time, which I have continued to do. I thought that the most important thing was that we all just keep trying, rather than feel overwhelmed by all the possible changes we could make in every area of our lives. Most importantly, I felt – and still feel – that we should try to avoid judging others for the decisions they make, which are influenced by a whole bunch of factors. We start where we are. And let others start where they are.

So that’s why I got pissed off when this happened:


I wasn’t pissed off with Sarah, or that she used Libra. I’ve learnt many important things (ok, not so important) from Libra trivia over the years! Did you know that men get the hiccups more than women? (Do you think that’s because they drink more beer?) I was also not surprised to learn that a 4 year old asks an average of 437 questions a day.

I was, however, irritated by those people – fortunately a small minority of commenters – who started questioning and criticising Sarah’s choice to use sanitary pads, over more ethical and sustainable ways to manage her menstruation, such as menstruation cups.

I thought: REALLY? Of all things? Periods are a personal and unique experience for each woman, not to mention a bloody nuisance (hee hee), and we should be able to manage that in the way that is best for ourselves, without justification. Responding to these questions, Sarah explained in the comments that she usually opts for Tom Organic, which I recall her promoting on a few occasions; but that she had been caught out while away from home and taken the best option available at a servo. But to be honest, I didn’t feel she should have to explain. Aside from the fact that Sarah is clearly a leader in ethical consumerism and sustainability, no one is perfect, and no one can make perfect choices all the time.


Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the food! 🙂

The food:

I made 18 recipes from Simplicious this past month:

  • Green Minx Dressing (p 54): A zesty take on the classic ‘green goddess’ dressing, which cleverly uses lettuce and zucchini, along with other veg. I used this dressing to make:
  • Lettuce With Your Dressing (p 173): A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it recipe which is a delicious summery side dish – perfect to serve at a BBQ. We had ours with roast chicken.
  • Autumn Apple Pie Kombucha (p 345): I’m enjoying the seasonal kombucha flavours in Simplicious, and apple and cinnamon is delicious.
  • Hot Cross Muffins (p 328): Packed with dark chocolate and lovely toasted with butter!
  • Pizza Muggins (p 60): This is my new favourite for breakfast and lunch – they are quick and easy to make, and a great way to incorporate a serve or two of veggies. I made vegetarian versions. PS, just so you know, I didn’t waste my ‘food props’ – the photo below is my husband’s ‘muggin’, and I used the props to make my own afterwards. 😉 Yes I really did eat five olives, and a couple more straight from the jar.
Pre-cooked Pizza Muggins from Simplicious

Pre-cooked Pizza Muggins from Simplicious

  • Perfect Boiled Eggs (p 44): I’ve tried many methods of boiling eggs (including steaming them) and this seemed pretty simple. Although I tried the ‘trick’ to peel a boiled egg. It didn’t work for me. But anyway, I used the boiled eggs in:
  • Hipster Grandaddy Salad (p 176): Yes, that’s really its name! An easy salad to throw together, and very tasty, made with kale, eggs and bacon. I used the ‘bacon bits’ I had in the freezer (p 44). We had this as a side with:
  • Tray-Dinner-For-Two Eggplant Parmigiana (p 228): We made little half-sized ones. The kids had deconstructed versions. Cheesy goodness.
  • Persian lamb salad (p 221): Made using shredded lamb from the freezer – unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of this one, I was too hungry!
  • Middle Eastern Eggplant (p 148): I’m a big fan of stuffed vegetables, not just because they’re retro, but because they are a great way to squeeze in extra vegetables. My husband and I both enjoyed this one. We served it with:
  • Crunchy Broccoli Buckwheat Tabbouli (p 187): A clever take on tabbouli that uses an entire broccoli. It kept well for a few days in the fridge – I used some in a pizza muggin, and had the remaining for lunch one day with tuna and leftover penne.
  • Roast Chook Meffins (p 98): These were such a handy snack to keep in the fridge – I made mini ones for the kids too, and included them in my eldest son’s lunchbox. Definitely serve them with the sweet potato puree, the sweetness sets it off nicely.
  • Basic Socca (p 106): A gluten-free, vegan chickpea pancake – it may sound a little strange, but I’m a big fan! They are so easy and quick to make, and lovely with all sorts of toppings. I used mine to make:
  • Caramelised Leek, Apple and Rosemary Socca (p 106): I made this for for my mum and I for lunch, and it was delicious. Scattered with pecans and blue cheese. They would be great for breakfast too – just make the batter in advance.

Caramelised leek and apple socca from Simplicious

  • Vanilla Peach Kombucha Gums (p 351): Another gummy recipe, made with kombucha. I’d have never thought to use kombucha in a gummy recipe, but these worked really well with the peach. I made a double decker ‘slice’ with:
  • Coconut ‘Marshmallows’ (p 351): A creamy, coconutty, vanilla concoction. The kids loved these on their own in molds.
  • Sunflower Strawberry Thumbles (p 298): I was skeptical about these ones because I’m not that ‘into’ sunflower seeds, but they had a lovely nutty flavour – my husband asked if they had peanut butter in (they don’t). Very moreish, and even the kids liked them, seeds and all!
  • Strawberry Cheesecake Muggin (p 288): YUM! A very lush dessert indeed, and dare I say, good for breakfast too? I used a little leftover cream cheese, and topped with coconut kefir.

Strawberry Cheesecake Muggin from Simplicious

That’s 96 recipes done (nearly at 100!), which leaves 210 remaining. At this rate, it will only take me another 18 months…….. I’m really looking forward to making the zucchini breakfast pudding next month (I’ve been trying to hold off until the weather cooled down), and I may also attempt to make the Beetroot Red Velvet Cheesecake for my upcoming birthday celebration. I’m a little daunted by it because the recipe goes over two pages, but I’m hoping it’s not too complicated!

Read the previous post here – #5 A Simplicious Challenge: Food photography waste and a crockery addiction.

Read the next post here – #7 A Simplicious Challenge: Embedding new habits.


  1. Mel says:

    I just love your posts and your gentle approach to slowly and consciously improving habits. Like you pointed out, we all want to be better at it, but we can’t be all things, all the time and unfortunately the world seems designed to make sustainability more difficult rather than easier. Anyone who is at least trying to improve where they can deserves credit.

    • Erin says:

      Hi Mel, thanks so much for the kind feedback. Yes I agree – and I think it’s just as important to be gentle with each other as it is for ourselves. In this area I’ve noticed some militant attitudes towards approaching these types of changes, which just seems to alienate people and make it feel much harder. 🙂

  2. unmomentoperme says:

    Dear Erin

    I can completely relate to this post especially the part on personal guilt. I found myself recently in a place of utter paralysis when it came to decision making regarding food. Wanting to eat chicken, but theres no free range organic available, so is local chicken ok, but i dont know if its free range, ok forget chicken I’ll have vegetables, but I cant get to the organic shop, can I eat locally grown from the local supermarket, is it better to just wait and go to the organic shop tomorrow…? On and on this continuous internal dialogue. I even got really annoyed with Sarah Wilson – I have her simplicious book which I really like and she makes it very clear that we should use the ingredients we have rather than specially buying new ones – but I still felt utterly defeated when I bought almond milk to follow one of her recipes only to read on her blog the following say “reasons you shouldnt drink almond milk”… Aghhh!!!
    But actually it was thanks to that very post that I was able to kind of draw a line under it and, lets say, accept my current limitations and do what I can within those. I have two children under 2, have just moved to a new country, I have no car and I look after both children full time – so ya, there are going to be times when they have to eat supermarket potatoes cooked by me as opposed to organic ones…or times when Im just going to eat a steak I can find as opposed to wishing I could eat a grass-fed one and instead making a dish of pasta because I was paralysed with indecision in front of the meat counter.
    Thank you for this post! Thank you for helping me stop before I had started to berate myself for my sanitary towel choice! Ha!!

    • Erin says:

      Ah, thank-you for this thoughtful feedback. I think I’ve become much more comfortable with a ‘most of the time’ philosophy… ‘Most of the time’ I buy organic chicken, and the odd occasion where I can’t is fine. ‘Most of the time’ I eat sugar-free – but I’m not going to feel guilty about enjoying the odd piece of cake or dessert. And I know that some things are just beyond my current capacity. Because there isn’t an end-point is there? We would just end up subjecting ourselves to constant scrutiny and criticism, rather than gentle reflection. Been there, done that, and it wasn’t fun! And that’s without the additional challenges you’re experiencing – two littlies (you’re braver than I, I couldn’t manage two under two!) and no car and a new country. Gosh you have your hands full with life stuff as it is.
      I did see the almond milk post too, and went through a similar process as you I think. I was also fascinated by the people who jumped into the comments to criticise the post and say that dairy milk was in fact worse than almond milk, in relation to environmental impact. Again, where does it end!?

  3. unmomentoperme says:

    Really! I couldnt bring myself to read the comments! Yes indeed, where does it end, the solution must be to stop drinking all milk…only
    Water… But which water? Mineral? Tap? Distilled…😉😉😄 you could go bananas on this!

  4. Jess64 says:

    Thank you for this post, it is nice to know that other people have these over thinking moments too. I’ve been spending way too much time trying to decide if I should buy the plastic free pasta or the australian owned pasta.

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for the feedback Jess! I think it’s really good that we are becoming more aware of the choices we make as consumers – but I also think we need to avoid it negatively impacting on our mental health by becoming overly anxious about it. Small steps! 🙂

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