Winner winner one pan Italian chicken casserole dinner


Who doesn’t love a one pan dinner? (because let’s face it ain’t no one got time for 4 billion parts to a recipe kinda dish)

This tastes like it took you hours but it only takes 15 mins of your time to prep and then the oven does the rest.

What’s not to love??




Prep time:  15 mins

Cooking time : 40 mins

Serves: 4 hungry humans

This dish is dairy. egg, nut, gluten, grain and can be nightshade free (see below)

You will need:

1 tbsp olive oil

8 chicken drumsticks (I use organic chicken)

2 cloves garlic crushed (or more if you like)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (if nightshade free use sweet potatoes, parsnip etc)

2 zucchinis chopped

2 carrots peeled and chopped

1/4 cup tapioca flour

500 mls homemade chicken stock (I use the carcass of my Sunday roast chook and pressure cook for 20 mins to make stock)

4 tbsp tomato paste (if you are nightshade free you can use a Nomato sauce which has been made into a thicker paste)

2 tsp dried Italian herbs

What you need to do:

  1. Fire up the oven on 220 deg celsius
  2. Choose a large ovenproof dish with a lid  – you will be using this on the stove top then finishing in the oven
  3. Brown chicken drumsticks in the oil, then throw in onion, garlic, spuds, carrots, and zucchini and stir for a couple of minutes
  4. Pour chicken stock into a bowl or measuring jug and mix in the tapioca flour (it may get a bit clumpy but not to worry)
  5. Add the tomato paste and herbs and pour the contents over the chicken and veggies. Bring to a boil, put the lid on and let the oven do the rest for 30 mins or so
  6. Go and do something for yourself – whatever floats your boat
  7. Serve with a garden salad or your favorite side dish – quinoa/rice, etc


What’s all the fuss about essential oils?

Essential oils, they are everywhere you look and seem to be the next “in thing”

As most of you know I have a specialized interest in gut health/healing diets, the Paleo lifestyle, eczema and food allergies/intolerances, as well as the overall role food, plays in the way our bodies function based on my personal experiences healing my youngest son of his health issues through food, so it was only natural that I also live a holistic low tox lifestyle, cue my love of Essential oils!

I have used doTERRA Essential oils with my boys to support their immune systems for many years and always had people commenting and asking so I have turned my love of sharing with my friends and family (who are all now converts!) into a business and one that I share with the FTGB’s community.

We live as close to a toxin free lifestyle as you can in this modern society so I love the way I can use essential oils not only to support our wellbeing but also around the home to remove all the toxic chemicals companies claim we “need” to clean our homes.

Then I started to hear all about the emotion benefits these amazing gifts of the earth could support my boys & I with and did a bit of research and put them to the test.

I was seriously blown away at how essential oil that could keep us well, clean my home could also help manage the anxious feelings, my children, where having and keep them centered and grounded through their challenges. Cue my love now of sharing the emotional benefits of these oils – they are so much more than nice smelling oils!

I’d love to show you how to incorporate these amazing oils into your lives if you are interested in learning and look forward to you reaching out to me.

You can email me at, visit my Facebook page, connect with me on Instagram or check out my doTERRA shop HERE

Also while your here, don’t forget to sign up to get notified when new blog posts are out and get them delivered straight into your inbox, I post when I feel I have something of value for you so won’t be spamming you, I promise!

I seriously can’t imagine my life without these oils, my only regret is not having them sooner and when my boys were younger.

Not only do I use a product I adore and works, I have an amazing community that comes along with it, my team is like family and I’d love to have you along for the ride.



What the health?



The hot documentary on everybody’s lips at the moment is “What the Health” (it’s on Netflix) it’s got online chat groups divided, and many people questioning everything they know about food after an already wave of confusion about whats the best diet for us all in the last few years.

I go into every documentary I watch with an open mind, I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, low fat, carnivore, low carb, high carb, paleo, wholefood, you name it I’ve been it and had quite a negative relationship with food for many many years in my teens and early 20’s despite coming from a family that didn’t do processed foods, and ate a very varied home-cooked Mediterranean diet, a far cry from the SAD (Standard Australia/American diet) most of Western society grows up on.

I agreed with many points WTH raised, the way conventionally grown animal products have basically no nutritional value, that the farming practices used to raise them hugely impact our already struggling environment, all causes I am strongly passionate about educating people on how to reduce our footprint on the world by the choices we make daily.

I did however see a lot of holes in the research presented, some bias in having predominately vegan based Dr’s being interviewed (with the exception of some) and also not going into the background of the SAD (Standard American diet) the majority of the test subjects consumed prior to going “vegan” which the majority of us know if we all know if you eat from the dollar menu, your health isn’t going to be great to start with.

The first 10 mins or so is dedicated to the overconsumption of processed meats. I will repeat “processed meats” this is things like smoked deli meats, bacon (I’m going to have many people hate me for typing bacon!), sausages and man made products that come from places – some of those with big golden arches that some people consume daily, sometimes more than once a day.

It’s not rocket science to assume that a processed foods diet high in sodium, nitrates, preservative and more numbers than real food ingredients aren’t going to be a healthy option for any of us.

The demonization of saturated fats seems to also be a big focus of the documentary despite leading cardiologists & MD’s with studies around the world (also peer reviewed, I wouldn’t’ place too much emphasis on studies that have not been peer reviewed when doing your own research) dispelling the cholesterol & saturated fat data that has predominately been at the forefront of the information available to us and our GP’s for the last 40-50 years. Claims that cholesterol levels drop on a plant based diet, if you were eating Big Mac’s and had high cholesterol levels to begin with of course your cholesterol levels would drop on any healthier option diet.

There is no doubt in my mind plants are medicine, 3/4 of our plates at every meal should be plant based. The more the better! This is what we aim for in our house at every meal.

Does the average person in the Western world consume 3/4’s of their plate as vegetables/fruits? From my research and day to day workings with families, hardly. Unless you consciously follow a wholefoods diet focused on eating in season, the average family is eating masses of processed, nutrient deficient food which are causing a host of lifestyle diseases which are in epidemic proportions in the Western world, we are also starting to see this come into underdeveloped countries with food aid programs, the introduction of high calorie packaged foods, drastically changing the ancient diets eaten by these cultures.

The term “low fat vegan” comes up quite a lot too in the movie, given our brains (especially that of growing children) need fats to develop properly and have our hormones functioning at optimum levels low fat is not a world that should be associated with anything we eat. The 80’s and early 90’s saw the low fat craze take over our supermarkets, healthy fats where demonised and low fat everything filled with carbs & sugar (to make them taste semi decent) where the trade off for the fats that were taken away.

Now I’m a Mum, i’m not a Dr and I don’t advocate anything other than a wholefood diet – food in it’s closest to natural form, unprocessed & organic where possible. Eating in season, something our society has moved so far away from and supporting local farmers who raise ethical meats and trying to reduce their impact on the environment as best they can.

We personally choose to avoid dairy and pork & it’s by products including bacon and we don’t eat processed smoked meats by choice, not because of a documentary, or a study, it’s what works best for us and makes us our most vibrant selves. listen to your body, if it’s screaming at you, then it’s time to have a look at what you are putting in and not forgetting onto it. Our personal care products and toxins also play a large part in our overall health.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments if you have seen the film.

Has it changed your views on what you feed your family? Did it shock you? Scare you, make you even more confused?

I have to say it doesn’t have to be confusing, as Michael Pollan says ‘Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. I personally don’t think this means going strict vegan but increasing our intake of plant based foods is a huge priority for the greater good of society as we cannot sustain this health epidemic we are currently facing.




 Nourishing You – for the Mamas who forgot about themselves 

After an extremely long break in the land of blogging but being active on social media, I thought it was an apt time to relaunch FTGB’s.

With new goals set for both my business and personal life, I wanted to share with you all  3 tips the last few years have taught me.

1. Fill your cup, and fill that thing as high as you can, with whatever brings calm or inspiration into your life.

 It could be as big as building a business that empowers you to live your life’s purpose, or as small as watching a trashy reality tv show or making the time to run, walk, dance or practice yoga.

 Self care and love is not selfish, it’s essential. Life is here to be lived not endured. By filling your cup, you can then deal with whatever life throws at you and things that once seemed like big issues generally become things you don’t bat an eyelid to anymore.

2 . Nourish your body. You wouldn’t send your kids to school without lunch, so why are you not putting in the same effort for you? Become a lunch box packer for yourself, regardless if you are a SAHM or are in the corporate world. Not only does it take the effort out of thinking about “What’s for lunch?”, but will save you a lot of money (have you looked at the price of takeaway food!!!) and time in your every day schedule. This is a commitment and like anything you commit to it becomes habit. Try it!

3. Learn the art of saying No. No is a complete sentence and no explanation is required.      If something causes you heart palpitations at the thought of it being done or having to be attended and isn’t an essential part of your life, give it the flick. I promise the world won’t end.

Running around to 7 different sport 5 days a week, on top of work and every day life isn’t my idea of fun, nor is it my kids and let’s face it unless you are raising the next sporting prodigy, kids just want to be outside having their own fun and 1 or 2 sports/extra curricular activities is enough. Same goes for relationships and friendships that drain you. It’s okay to say no to the unnecessary crazy.

I was guilty of not doing all 3 and suffered greatly. Having been through a separation and subsequent divorce in the last few years, throw in an interstate move, returning to work full time as a single parent and having two children with special needs with their health, I fast realised that the buck literally did stop with me and if I wasn’t functioning at my optimum, then what use was I to them.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and these 3 things would be my pearls of wisdom to share with my younger self.

Three very small but life changing acts that have changed my outlook of myself, my relationships, the way I parent my children, my wants and needs and most importantly finding myself again, as I am that Mamma who forgot about herself.

What is your biggest pitfall? Do you take on too much?

As always would love to hear your thoughts.

Much love and remember you are enough!



Optimum Health the Paleo Way by Claire Yates – “You’re not doing Paleo right unless you’re eating more vegetables than a vegetarian”

I love books (as many of you who follow my Facebook page would know) you can never own too many books.

When this book landed on my table to review I was excited.


Why you may ask? Surely I have read every Paleo info/cookbook under the sun? Well not quite but almost! The major difference with this book is that it is written by an Australian author something that is pretty rare in the Paleo community at this point in time.

What does this mean for us? Apart from supporting a home-grown author and practitioner the book is full of practical all time favourite recipes that have been given the Paleo twist.

No converting measurements, wondering where you are going to find a Bison or elk to cook up (anyone else noticed that US authored books love their bison!!?) and any sauces/condiments used are easily found without having to ship them from the US.

This is a HUGE plus for me.  Even though I love all my US written Paleo books to be honest with you I am not a fan of many of the “Americanised” dishes  so find myself skipping those pages all together.

The recipes in Optimum Health the Paleo way also suit our climate and our seasonal produce. Claire also writes in a way that I think all Australians will relate well to.

A bit of background info on Claire Yates the author.  Claire is a Nutritional Medicine practitioner holding a Bachelor of Health Science. She is very passionate about the Paleo way of life and helps many of her clients in her private practice, Indi Nature in WA and you can also follow her on Facebook.

Now onto the book, it is broken into two parts.

Part one is about the Paleo Template which covers all of the below topics (see image).


Everything you needed to know about gut health, things that cause leaky gut, food intolerances, inflammation, what Paleo is, how to tailor Paleo to you and the all important “28 day Reset protocol” including all the tools and meal plans (huge bonus the work is done for you so no excuses!!) you need to give Paleo a go for 28 days to see if you can get down to the real cause of your health complaints or working your way to optimal health.

Let’s face it everyone in modern day society has some health issue and most people have just learnt to ignore the symptoms and carry on with life. This doesn’t have to be the case! Eating Paleo and undertaking a reset program like this (or elimination diet as many would call it) removing all the problematic foods society consumes daily really allows you to listen to your body and work out all those foods that perhaps you have not associated with headaches, eczema, sinus issues, bloating etc.

“You’re not doing Paleo right unless you’re eating more vegetables than a vegetarian” – This is my favourite quote from this book which I now use EVERYWHERE when people say to me “ugh, I can’t eat that much meat, that Paleo diet is all about meat”.

This is the worst misconception about the Paleo lifestyle. It isn’t about meat; you build your meals around vegetables, then fat then protein.

I can safely say I eat more vegetables now that I follow this Paleo diet than my short lived vegetarian stint. My boys love their veggies and they are the main part of our diet (even above fruit, fruit should be eaten in smaller quantities – and yes this took me awhile to get my head around too!)

More veggies, less fruit, and LOTS more GOOD fats than we as a Western society are used to eating.

Fat is not an evil word. It is the basis on how your whole body functions. Your brain is largely made up for fats about 60% in total.  A newborns brain grows about three times its size in the first year of life. Starve the brain on a the recommended “Low fat “ Standard Australian diet as promoted by our Government eating guidelines and the Heart Foundation and we are a nation full of nutrient deprived people with diseases and neurological conditions popping up faster than Dr’s can diagnose them.

Claire covers many fascinating aspects of how the body works, what it needs to perform at its optimal level of health and many help topics along the way to help those already suffering from a variety of health conditions.

Part two of the book is recipes!

Over 100 recipes for meals, drinks, snacks and treats (yes there is no deprivation living a Paleo lifestyle, the right way of doing it is just enjoying these healthier “treat” options only occasionally – they are NOT every day foods as “treats” have become in our modernised world. When you eat a diet that satisfies you and your curb your cravings you don’t miss these “treat” foods at all. I can’t even remember the last time I ate a sweet (other than a home-made coconut cream based sorbet) and I don’t’ miss them at all!

The book hasn’t been written as a family cookbook specifically but there is something for everyone even if you serve it up to the kids a little differently. Some of the recipes only serve 2 so recipe would need to be doubled/tripled etc. for families.

It covers everything from condiments and Paleo essentials (home-made milks, pestos, dressings etc)soups, salads, granola, smoothies, juices, side dishes, Paleo pizza!!, lots of Asian inspired dishes, meatballs/patties, sorbets, slices, pancakes, good old fashioned warming winter meals, BBQ favourites  and lots lots more.

Many of the meals only have a handful of ingredients which is what real food should be about; you don’t need a thousand ingredients to create a fresh, healthy honest meal.

For those of you like us, who have allergies to consider there is nut & egg use in this book (as well as nightshades & FODMAPS foods) but with a few simple modifications you would be able to cook the vast majority of what’s in the book.

Claire and her publishing company have given the go ahead for me to publish a recipe from the book which I think you will all love and perfect at this time of year with cherries in season.

Chocolate Cherry Bites (makes about 25)

34 cherries, cut in half and pitted

2 cups of toasted shredded coconut

70g cacao butter

1 cup coconut cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

200g dark chocolate (at least 85% cacao)

1 small handful of cacao nibs

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg Celsius (320F)
  2. Line both a baking tray and baking tin (approx 18cm x 28cm x 3cm deep with baking paper
  3. Place the cherries on the tray and roast for 20 mins. Set the cherries aside to cool slightly then place them in a blender with 1 cup of the shreadded coconut and coconut boil and blend until well combined. Press the cherry mixture firmly into the base of the baking tin and freeze for 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Place the cacao butter, coconut cream and vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir until the cacao butter has melted.
  5. Mix the remaining shredded coconut and cacao butter mixture and pour it over teh first cherry layer again pressing down firmly. Place the tray back in the freezer for another 5 – 10 mins.
  6. Over a double boiler melt the dark chocolate then pour it over the slice as the top layer. Sprinkle over the cacao bins and place the tray back into the freezer until set
  7. Cut the slice into bite size pieces and store in the fridge. (and try not to eat all at once! How fab do they look??!!!)



So there you have it, not only is this book packed full of information in an easy to understand format written in a manner that makes it a pleasure to read, but it also provides you with the tools such as meal plans (which let’s face it when you’re new to a way of eating or elimination diets /reset protocol are always handy to have or even when you are simply too busy to meal plan on your own) as well as the recipes to go along with it whilst supporting a local author. What more could you ask for?

I highly recommend Optimum Health the Paleo Way for a range of people, from people new to Paleo, those who are trying to work out intolerances, for those who follow the Paleo diet and just need some inspiration or even people who are just after some “clean”, wholesome nutrient dense foods the way we as humans should be eating for optimal health.

You can buy the book in hard copy from here  and also as an EBook if that is your preferred way to read books.

So what have you got to lose? Try the 28 day reset and reap the benefits of the Paleo diet – hands down the best “lifestyle diet” I’ve ever eaten.

In health


I’d like to thank Claire and Exisle Publishing for allowing me the opportunity to review this book and for my complimentary copy.