#12 A Simplicious Challenge: My Ikea Moment

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 officially been over a year since I started doing this thing! I’ve written before in this series about decluttering my house, in my seemingly-endless quest to reduce the amount of stuff I own; and I have to say that I feel like I’ve had a personal breakthrough in this area.

In… Ikea, of all places.

I want to apologise in advance, because this is probably going to sound a little wanky and self-righteous. Look, I quite like Ikea. We had a store open up in Canberra about a year ago, and I like that they tend to embrace smaller spaces in their furniture design, which are more realistic for the majority of us who don’t have dining rooms to fit lavish twelve-seater tables. I’ve admired their clever ‘storage solutions’, cramming items into spaces you didn’t even know you had. Their meatballs are pretty ace.

But.

The last time I was there, while wandering the pretty and organised demonstration rooms, I had a Moment. It occurred to me that I didn’t want to make my spaces even more clever, because I didn’t want to acquire more stuff to put in those clever spaces. Isn’t that just organised clutter? It all felt a little over the top… Then I got shitty at myself for a while, because I felt like I’d RUINED Ikea for myself. Why couldn’t I just CONSUME like the others? Why did I have to THINK about it? Sigh. 😉

After the shitty feeling passed, this wanky, self-righteous ‘aha’ moment led me to do the Minimalism Game in October, which helped me to remove around 500 items from the house, and which I wrote about here. Since it finished, I have continued keeping an eye out for things to reuse or remove from the house – not in a stressful, pressure-some way, but in a kind of fun (yes, fun) personal challenge to work towards a more active ownership of my stuff.

P.S. I’m not calling for a ban on Ikea, I actually intend to go back fairly soon to buy a new ice-cream mould for the kids.  🙂

The food:

In November, I made 18 recipes from Simplicious:

  • Chocolate Cake Batter Protein Bowl (p 72): This lovely smoothie bowl has no added sweetener and is very moreish – it makes a great breakfast or dessert.
  • Spring Strawberry and Vanilla Kombucha (p 345): I much prefer the fruity infused kombuchas, so I enjoyed this one – lovely mixed with soda water.
Chocolate Cake Batter Protein Bowl

Chocolate Cake Batter Protein Bowl

  • Green Juice Detox Gummies (p 351): I used some leftover Mojito Smoothie to make these lollies, and the kids loved them – even though they didn’t like the smoothie in smoothie form. 😉
  • Waldorf Smash-Up (p 75): My favourite of the three savoury yoghurts, with pear, walnuts, celery and vintage cheddar…
  • Spring Socca Pizza (p 106): A delightful lunch. The socca recipe is SO easy to make and top with whatever you have!
  • Slice ‘n’ Bake Miso Butter Biscuits (p 96): I wasn’t sure my kids would like these biscuits, but to my surprise they enjoyed them! It probably helps that I called them ‘vegemite biscuits’.
  • Kermit Slushie (p 125): My new favourite go-to green smoothie for the kids, which includes banana and a whole pile of green. They ‘drank’ a zucchini and didn’t even realise…
  • Cacao Pops (p 76): A much healthier alternative to the popular kids’ cereal, which we thought was delicious (and which still turned the milk all chocolate-y!). Next time I’ll use a combination of buckwheat groaties and rice puffs.
  • Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt (p 125): I made these into ice-creams for the kids, and mixed in a a little vanilla and chunky strawberry pieces. They loved them on a hot afternoon!
  • My Sausage and Fennel Lunch Bowl (p 136): I’m not huge into sausages so I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this, but the flavours worked nicely with the fennel and peas. I served it topped with:
  • Carrot Bacon (p 114): Yum! What a great way to use up leftover carrot – a tasty meal topper.
  • Chicken Caesar on a Stick (p 125): I made these for my kids for lunch (minus the chicken), and they LOVED them. I didn’t realise simply adding a stick would be so useful… I also added cucumber. They even ate the lettuce!
  • Rainbow Gado Gado (p 132): A new favourite abundance bowl (that peanut sauce!), using leftover bits and pieces from the fridge.
Rainbow Gado Gado from Simplicious

Rainbow Gado Gado from Simplicious

  • Gift-Wrapped Miso ‘Cod’ (p 166): I’m not very ‘good’ at seafood. It confuses me. But I do now know that I really like cod – it’s a very meaty fish. I loved the marinade on this too. We served it with:
  • ‘Asian Cashew Crisp (p 184): A lovely broccoli and cashew side dish that would go well with Asian dishes. My toddler ate all the cashews!
Gift-wrapped Miso Cod from Simplicious

Gift-wrapped Miso Cod from Simplicious

  • Lamb’s Fry and Pear Meatloaf (p 202): I’ve been putting this one off for months… and calling it ‘offal meatloaf’. I’m happy to say it was quite nice. I used chicken livers instead of lamb livers and it still worked nicely with the lamb mince. The pear gives it a sweetness and the bacon adds a smokiness! We even used the leftover couple of slices to make a quick bolognese the following night. We served it with the:
  • The Green Counterbalance Salad (p 309): A super light and refreshing salad with watercress (I used baby spinach and endives), green apple and fennel.
Lamb's Fry and Pear Meatloaf from Simplicious with Green Counterbalance Salad

Lamb’s Fry and Pear Meatloaf from Simplicious with Green Counterbalance Salad

  • Beet Halwa (p 190): I didn’t think I would like this, but I thought it was delicious – a delightful dessert that even has a serve of veggies in it! I added a little vanilla to the mixture.
Beet Halwa from Simplicious

Beet Halwa from Simplicious

That’s 220 recipes down, and 86 to go. Not long now! In December, I’ve got lots of Christmas recipes lined up – that Christmas Tree Cheese Ball (I’ll be stoked if it looks like anything resembling a Christmas tree), the glazed Christmas ham, cacao cayenne pecans – I’m excited about them – and some leftover stuffing recipes. See you on the other side of Christmas!

Read the previous post here – #11 A Simplicious Challenge: Four Muggin Variations.

Read the next post here – #13 A Simplicious Challenge: A very Simplicious Christmas.

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