#8 A Simplicious Challenge: A Simplicious Holiday (and hot chips)

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.

It’s been nearly two months since my last Simplicious Challenge post. I certainly haven’t stopped – I’m in too deep now. 😉 But May and June were very busy months for me, as I finished up a uni subject (with the group work assignment from HELL) and then we went on a family holiday to Queensland. Towards the end of May I was under a lot of pressure, so I thought I’d combine these two months into a single post.

Having a break from uni and work has really helped me to re-focus, and also to see the impact that stress and busy-ness has on my ability to be ‘simplicious’ (or even just mindful). For me, doing too much generally means doing things half-arsed. Which means I find it difficult to get my Simplicious ‘flow’ on. Resulting in waste. I need to get my Simplicious mojo back on. Starting with some leftovers pesto!

I tried to be a bit Simplicious while we were on holiday, aware that it could easily digress into a fortnight of excessive, bad food. Kids’ menus in restaurants are the pits! I will be happy to never see another hot chip again. (For at least a couple of months.) I think hot chips have a lot to answer for – the way so many dining establishments rely on them as a ‘filler’, especially for kids, but also adults – I think speaks to a lack of creativity. It’s no wonder kids don’t want to eat vegetables these days!

We took a large jar of homemade coconutty granola with us, as well as a big container of rolled oats (which I buy in bulk); and bought fresh fruit and greek yoghurt when we arrived. We stayed at my father in-law’s house for a couple of days, and cooked him a big meal of steamed salmon and veggies; then had the leftovers with eggs for breakfast. Much to the kids’ dismay. I was also finally brave enough to request to take our leftovers from a restaurant – albeit, just the kids’ uneaten pasta, but still! Generally though, all my good intentions to salvage leftovers were thwarted by my husband’s bottomless stomach…

While we were with my husband’s family in Taree, we visited a garage sale that was held to sell off some items belonging to his grandmother, who passed away late last year. A couple of old-fashioned soup mugs caught my eye, and my mother in-law insisted that I take them. I was hesitant but my husband assured me that his grandmother would have loved for me to have them – especially as she was all about ‘no waste’ too. I’m glad I did – I do think it’s nice that they have stayed in the family and were used for this purpose. I served parsnip, pear and thyme soup in them (pictured below).

The food:

I made 24 recipes over May and June:

  • Asparagus Stock (p 43): I’d been saving my woody asparagus ends for months to make this stock, which I used to make:
  • Sweet Potato, Miso and Sage Soup (p 244): We all loved this soup, including the kids (my 5 year old asked if he could have it for breakfast too!). We topped it with crispy prosciutto and:
  • Buckwheat Pops (p 245): An easy-to-make, spiced soup topper which added crunch. I added leftover buckwheat pops to:
  • Slow-cooked Green Pea and Ham (p 217): My husband is a huge pea and ham soup fan, and he thought this one was delicious. The ham just fell off the hocks, with lots of leftovers to make:
  • Ham Hock Chunks (p 217): Divided into ziplock bags for the freezer stash. I used leftover ham hock chunks to make:
  • Green Gumbo (p 265): Also using leftover pea and ham soup, but with lots of added greens, this was a yummy warming lunch. I topped it with my new favourite seasoning:
  • Celery Leaf Salt (p 265): Who knew celery had such a flavour! This clever seasoning combined dried celery leaves with salt, and I’ve been putting it on everything, especially eggs.
  • Zesty Caper Crunch (p 185): I’m usually really bad at making ‘side dishes’, but this was a lovely one to have alongside some salmon.
  • The Cheapest Stew Ever (p 212): My husband made this stew one chilly evening (I didn’t even ask him to, he just had a look through the cookbook and picked a recipe!), in the slow-cooker, with lots of vegetables. Although it was a little too meaty for me, I enjoyed the broth and vegetables, and my 2 year old chewed bits of steak like a tiny caveman.
  • Warming Berry ‘n’ Beet Smoothie (p 80): I have to be in the mood for a cold smoothie – even in summer – but this sweet smoothie was served warm and was REALLY nice, topped with cinnamon.
  • Super-Greens Couch Fondue (p 118): I can definitely recommend this very moreish snack or light meal. It’s supposed to serve 6, but my husband and I ate it all between us. 😀 We served ours with carrots, cucumber and leftover mountain bread baked into ‘chips’. Lots of green, and lots of cheese!
  • Sustainable Sweet Fish Curry (p 164): My husband made a double batch so we had extra for the freezer – a lovely warming, family meal.
  • Gingerbread Muggin (p 288): YUM! I love a muggin, they are (too) easy to whip up. This one is indulgent enough for dessert, and nutritious enough for breakfast, and even has a little sweet potato.
  • Poached Egg Floater (p 245): When we got back from holidays I was craving greens, so I made a big batch of green cheesy mish mash soup, and topped with it a poached egg floater. Hit the spot.
  • Coffee and Cacao-Cured Pulled Beef (p 223): A delicious fuss-free dish cooked in the slow-cooker. It’s (thankfully) not overly coffee or cacao flavoured, but along with other spices develops a rich smokiness. From this huge batch, we froze ten portions of:
  • Pulled Beef (p 223): Which I subsequently used to make “lamb” biryani in the IQS 8 Week Program, which was amazing! Back to the slow-cooked beef though – which we served with:
  • Blaukraut (p 182): This is one of those dishes that I probably wouldn’t think to otherwise make. But it was delicious, made with red cabbage, bacon and apples; and complemented the pulled beef well. There were some leftover juices from the blaukraut and I used this to make:
  • Pink Devilish Googie Eggs (p 253): I was pretty chuffed with this effort! The recipe calls for leftover pink ferment brine or beetroot juice, so I figured why not use the blaukraut juice? The kids were a bit freaked out by them, but my husband and I enjoyed eating them (with celery salt of course!).
  • Parsnip, Pear and Thyme Soup (p 243): A lovely vegetarian soup that we all enjoyed. My 5 year old said it tasted like garlic bread (odd since there was no garlic in it). It’s on the sweeter side, so went well with:
  • Haloumi Crisps (p 245): Can you ever go wrong with haloumi? Luckily the kids aren’t into it yet, which means more for me and my husband. We also served the soup with:
  • Sweet Potato Croutons (p 245): I kept the leftovers in the fridge and added them the various dishes over the following days.
Parsnip, Pear and Thyme Soup, with Haloumi Crisps and Sweet Potato Croutons, from Simplicious

Parsnip, Pear and Thyme Soup, with Haloumi Crisps and Sweet Potato Croutons, from Simplicious

  • Fermented Turmeric Paste (p 340): I finally got my hand on some fresh turmeric! (Expensive stuff – I’m going to have a go at growing my own). I recommend wearing gloves or using a little paper towel to protect your fingers when peeling. Fresh turmeric is quite lovely – much milder than dried turmeric. I used it to make:
  • Warming Golden Milk (p 81): I’m a bit obsessed with turmeric lattes at the moment (I had lots while on holidays in QLD) so I enjoyed this warming, caffeine-free drink spiked with vanilla and cinnamon. I also used my fermented turmeric paste to make:
  • My Gut-Healing Brew (p 87): This veggie smoothie is made with bone broth, which I must admit put me off the idea… But when I found myself with a leftover cup of chicken stock, I gave it a go, served it warm, and was pleasantly surprised! I had it for breakfast when I was feeling a little hungover, and it fixed me right up. 😉

That’s 141 recipes down, and 165 to go. I’m nearly half-way! In July I’m looking forward to getting into more of the winter recipes – like some slow-cooked chinese beef cheeks, and miso and walnut slow-bros. I’m also thinking a little Christmas in July is in order…

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

Read the next post here – #9 A Simplicious Challenge: Decluttering my house (and my brain, a little).


  1. Mel Murry says:

    I’m loving your posts on your Simplicious challenge. I’ma little obsessed with the book too and would be trying a lot more recipes if I hadn’t gone back to work for the first time in 9 years, which I am still adjusting to. I also love the celery salt, such a revelation!! I may not be trying as many recipes as I would like, but I find I can still put into practice the principles behind it of preventing waste and using leftovers in creative ways. I think I have come up with some great new meals of my own.

    • Erin says:

      Hi Mel,
      Thanks so much for the feedback! 🙂 The celery salt is so good. It’s great that you’ve been able to apply the principles – what sorts of meals have you been making? Best wishes on going back to work too, it sounds like you’re very busy!

  2. Shai says:

    Hi there! I am loving reading your posts! Simplicious is such a tome of wonderful ideas and recipes and I often find myself missing recipes and tips. Your posts remind me and inspire me to keep flicking through! Thanks!

  3. Agree with the other commenters, I am absolutely loving your simplicious posts. I’m a fellow IQS advisor on the program, so I tend to make a lot of meals from that, but I recently bought simplicious and have found it to be a whole new level of inspiration! It has been great to watch you bravely forging ahead with some of the fermented recipes (which have always scared me in case I somehow poison myself and the family 🙈)! Can’t wait to see you winter meals as it is getting chilly here in Sydney too!

    • Erin says:

      Thank-you! I’m not feeling so brave about the offal meatloaf… 😉 Once you start fermenting you don’t go back! The recipes are great because they already follow IQS principles, as you’d know. Do you have any favourites so far?

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