Long ago in a time of open vistas and home-baked harvests, when hard work and nature reigned supreme… women with inventive spirits sought to create, explore and impart inspiration—much as these mother’s do today!
I’d like to introduce you to some inspiring women, each with a story, a journey that evokes the spirit of invention—bastions of a bygone era.
Let their wisdom and warmth inspire you!
Juanita Masterson, www.juanitaskitchen.com.au
My name is Juanita and I am mother, business owner, food lover and creator of a range of naturally healthy products for you to cook, use and enjoy at home.
My food journey began with my mother who is an amazing artist and my adventurous father, who came to Australia own his own when he was 16, from a little island off the coast of Croatia. This combination encouraged me to be creative as did my name, Juanita, which conjured a love for foreign places.
I have always loved cooking, and as a teenager took my first job with a cafe in Ballarat. Since then I have had a succession of different jobs and experiences but always preserved a deep interest in the relationship between foods and health, natural and home remedies and the actual tradition of food. This was the recipe of my adventure with food.
When I became a mother of 3 gorgeous daughters, each with their own various health issues, this gave me further inspiration to learn more, stumble upon and discover the different effects that certain preservatives, colourings and foods had on each one of my girls. When practical and safe I would use home or natural remedies before heading to the chemist.
I have travelled a little and not stayed in tourist areas but in peoples homes, giving me the opportunity to enjoy real “home cooking” in different cultures, which over time led me to producing a range of West African sauces and marinades. Then having a lovely Mexican man come into my life a few years ago, as well as my name being what it is, has been the inspiration for the Mexican range.
But turning 50 caused a hiccup in my production bringing with it a host of other health challenges, that took my journey in a new direction.
I started having allergic reactions to so many things, I felt I needed to get back to basics and my research discovered lots of information about new eating plans, that really were old ideas. I played around with different spices and combinations, and most importantly began listening to what my body was telling me. This mix of intuition and research led to the creation of my TLC Mix, after all I needed to stop and give my self some “tender loving care!”
These are just some of the reasons that my range of products are FREE from what I call “nasties”. I only use gluten and dairy free, wholesome ingredients the kind one finds as the heart of all good home-cooking. My products also fit with the trend to lean towards paleo diets and supporting local farmers markets. They are designed to be the base of a meal that is quick and easy to prepare, so all you have to add are your own fresh vegetables and or meat to create something different to what most people have learnt to cook or even tasted.
I know what it’s like to be busy, tired and want to have a night off from cooking, to have young children with health issues, to spare little time for yourself. I’m not a naturopath nor am I suggesting that my products are curative to all, but I do have real life experience and a deep desire to share what works for me and my family.
I think in this changing world, as a woman who has always tried to help others or fix things—it falls upon me to pass on all that I have learnt. The tradition of food was and should be, to nourish your body and enjoy with family or friends. I believe my role is to marry together the good basics most people have forgotten with the necessity of convenience—creating a new type of “fast food” reminiscent of mother’s home-coming.
One of my favourite recipes was a desert that I remember my grandmother cooking and then my mother cooking for us, using fresh fruit from my dads veggie garden.
My grandmother lived on a farm and used to make her own butter, had eggs from her chickens and cooked with what ever fruit and vegetables that were in season. Recipes back then were simple, quick and quite often only with a few ingredients, which I think is the thing that most mothers look for. My mum was the same, being an artist she had to make time for her art as well as trying to feed a hungry bunch of kids and my grandmother when she got to old to live on her own. So quick, easy and tasty recipes were her staples, often using her secret ingredient (packet soup mixes) to add different flavours. So I think her “secret” ingredient, has partly been an inspiration for my range of products that can be used the same way, as a base to add to fresh ingredients.
I have made this over the years using what ever fruit is season that I now buy from local Farmers Market.
NANA’S APPLE SPONGE
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced you can add blackberries or replace with blood plums is nice as well.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding a little of the flour after each egg, then mix in the remaining flour and set aside.
3. Put the apple or which ever fruit you have chosen in an ovenproof dish with 2 tablespoons of cold water then spoon the sponge mixture over the top
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.
5. Serve with whipped cream or ice-cream.
The following is an alternative recipe that I now like to use which is gluten free and vegan.
JUANITA’S APPLE SPONGE (gluten, dairy and sugar free)
125g dairy free spread (or coconut oil)
150g coconut sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
175g Gluten free self raising flour
1 tablespoon TLC Mix
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. In a bowl, cream the spread or coconut oil and coconut sugar together until. Beat in the apple cider vinegar and a little sifted flour at a time and set aside.
3. Put the apple or which ever fruit you have chosen in an ovenproof dish with 2 tablespoons of cold water, sprinkle the TLC Mix over the fruit then spoon the sponge mixture over the top.
4. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown and firm to touch.
5. Sprinkle with some coconut sugar mixed with cinnamon and serve with nut cream or coconut ice cream.
Casey Willets (www.ozcoconuts.com.au)
I’ve been a full time mother for seven years in the traditional ‘stay at home’ sense. As such, I did most of the cooking and grocery shopping for the family.
When I started to question the ‘traditional’ Western diet about two years ago, I was shocked to learn how we had it wrong. Luckily, there is a huge culture change happening: people are asking where their food comes from and how it is grown. My role as mother was to feed my kids the healthiest, most ethically grown food I could—and hence our Coconut Chips were born. So, in this time of a huge pendulum swing from ‘fast food’ to ‘good food’, I am proud to continue to make a healthy, organic, locally produced sustainable product for Aussie families.
We never use dairy, wheat, soy, or grains, and our reputation is built on quality. We recognise that a lot of our clients are also sugar-free, and have four flavours that cater for this, as well. We are always brainstorming new flavours and experimenting in the kitchen (when we have time!)
My grandmothers spent a lot of time in the kitchen, making everything from scratch! Their food was always home-made using fresh ingredients (often times out of their home gardens). My parents also believed in fresh, quality ingredients and our home always centered around dinner time. I learned from them that good ingredients = good food. Very simple.
Combining all this, I’ll share one of my easiest, freshest, raw, vegan, Paleo breakfast recipes! My kids love it, too!
1 mature coconut (white flesh removed)
2-3 dates (seeded)
1 green apple (seeded, skin on)
Sprinkle cinnamon (as desired)
Combine all ingredients in the order listed into a food processor. I prefer to stop when they are the size/consistency of rice—not too fine, not too chunky!
So delicious and creamy! The simplest food comes from the simplest ingredients. No added nasties, just the way it should be!
Narelle Plapp (www.foodforhealth.com.au)
As a mother of two, a naturopath and the founder and creator of Food for Health, I feel a great responsibility to change the face of “health foods” available to us.
Clever marketing on packaging can mislead consumers and mis-represent the actual overall health proposition of products. Point of sale in our supermarkets is mis-leading and as a supplier to them, I have been an advocate for changing this as it is currently really confusing. Have you had a look at the health food aisle of your supermarket lately? Chips, gluten free lollies, biscuits. Healthy? No! They may be gluten free but I feel many consumers believe gluten free means healthy. This is not always the case and people need to understand this. Companies like Food for Health along with the big multi national Coles and Woolworths need to educate consumers.
With the obesity levels on the rise, I feel as the owner of a leading brand in the health space, the responsibility to increase awareness and understanding of “health foods”.
I am passionate about creating healthy products for the whole family to enjoy. I will continue to push for the point of sale to improve in the supermarkets, because this is where most mums shop and yes most of us are time poor, so we need clear, honest messages in stores and on packaging so we can make the best healthiest choices for our families.
Nicole DiPietro (www.paleopure.com.au)
I grew up in a household with a strong feminine presence. My mother always balanced work and family without us ever feeling like we missed out on anything. For us food has always been the key to togetherness. We simply didn’t eat processed and we were fortunate not to drink anything other than water in the house. My rich Italian heritage emphasized the importance of home-made and home-grown. Living next door to my beautiful grandparents meant good wholesome food was always emphasised, nothing went to waste and we ate seasonally. I naturally grew up a “foodie”.
When I studied Naturopathy it just all made sense. I’m a mother now myself and try to eat as close to nature as possible whilst being “realistic” with what children are exposed to = balance. My boys call me a food Doctor—which is great as educating them about health and choices is vital. Paleo Pure our brand which is currently Muesli but expanding as we speak, is something my friend and co-founder Emma and I are very proud of. Wholesome, nutrient dense food; naturally grain, dairy and preservative free. We feel very connected to our customers and are completely committed to integrity with our brand.
Focus and faith keep me grounded in a constantly changing environment where maintaining balance is essential between work, family life, and pursuing my dreams.
NICOLE’S CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1 tbsp pure gelatin powder
1/3 cup maple syrup (coconut or rice malt syrup, also work well)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Add coconut and almond milk to saucepan and gently bring to a simmer. Stir in the the remaining ingredients until well combined then pour into glasses and cool in fridge. Once cooled serve with your favourite toppings (i.e. coconut cream, mint leaves, fresh or dried berries, a sprinkle of Paleo Pure muesli for added crunch). This is a fabulous dessert that your kids will also enjoy. Tastes like chocolate mousse only with a healthy twist.
Thanks to our friends Nicole and Emma we have two ‘Fructose-Free’ Home-made Muesli’s to giveaway! Everyone who subscribes to Bare Essentials will go in this special Mother’s Day draw!
But it is not just food that echoes the bounty of nature, inventive women find inspiration in the healing properties of plants as well…
Daniela Tarantello (www.organicformulations.com.au)
There is an inner fulfilment in having a participating role that has a positive impact in the community and the environment that sustains our lifestyles. It is important to me that what I do is hopefully inspiring to my young daughters and other women; each and every one of us can be encouraged to create our own place of merits, values and contribution, for our actions, big or small will help change the world for the better.
To be a woman entrepreneur in modern times means challenging the conventional ways, balancing work and family life, and the realization that failures are the stepping stones to a stimulating and exciting journey.
As a young mother of three and one with special needs, finding a way to be there for my children giving love and support every child deserves, was the inspiration behind starting my own business and to work towards an alternative and healthy lifestyle. Although I wasn’t aware of the challenges I was going to be presented with, today I feel these challenges were a blessing, as I have had the opportunity to support my family whilst contributing to the wellbeing and awareness in our community.
In the late 80s whilst it was common to sell organic fruit and vegetables, Health Food and Organic Stores, were not discerning in stocking organic skin and body care. Yes, it was a challenge to educate the consumer about the consequences that pesticides have on our health, not only through the food we eat, but as important as the products we use on our bodies. Coming from Europe, and since a young age, I was aware of the negative impact pesticides had on our health and the environment. As a consequence many precautionary methods were adopted. To choose organics is to support a sustainable agricultural system that will keep Australia’s soil, rivers and waterways clean, the food on our plates nourishing, the products we use safe on our bodies and kind to the environment. Our future depends on this awareness, there are no short cuts!
A few years ago the Australian Certification standards were initially created for application to Food Production only and there was a very limited variety of ingredients available. The challenge was to research and develop formulas that contained only ingredients which were grown and processed to Australian Certification Standards and find a Cosmetic Chemist whom was willing to challenge the conventional way of formulating. Our first product approved to be fully certified organic was a Toothpaste, (what is known today as Riddells Creek brand) approved for the first time in Australia mid 90s by Biological Farmers of Australia (BFA) to the same standards as food.
To produce skin care formulas, we used as many organic ingredients available in Australia and some others were imported; in order to display a certification logo on a label, over 95% of the ingredients had to be certified organic. This was an extreme challenge in the skin care manufacturing field, especially when the consistency of truly natural and organic formulas were not as established as conventional products the consumer was accustomed to use. Another challenge also with products from overseas that displayed European certification logos were entering the Australian market with less than 95% organic ingredients and making it very difficult for us being that Australian Certification Standard did not allow a logo to be displayed unless the certified organic ingredients were over 95%. Today certifications bodies in Australia have come a long way, with the support of likeminded businesses have actively participated in creating consumer awareness and as a result of increased demand, they have allowed skin care manufacturers to carry a certification logo in formulas that contained less than 90% but over 70% certified organic ingredients.
The recipes for our formulas were created keeping in mind the simple notion that if we care about what we eat, then what we put on our skin should be regarded just as nourishing, cleansing and safe.
Traditional methods have always played a key role! When a traditional method has partly worked, we have taken an active role in preserving the best of these methods and the challenge of discarding some of which have been of detriment to create additional and improved methods.
DANIELLA’S LIFESTYLE & TRAVEL TIPS
I love to wake up to the sound of chirping birds outside my window, enjoy a little time of reflection in preparation for the day ahead, a typical day for me is always interesting! I always keep a positive outlook for every challenge that presents itself and each time I make decisions by keeping in mind the best outcome for everyone involved. I don’t have a definition of work as such, what I do is part of my lifestyle, and it is well integrated into my daily routines, such that I don’t see it as work, but mostly as having a purpose in life, where everything happens, family, entertainment, colleagues, customers, all in a day.
I keep skincare simple when I travel and apart from the daily cleansing and moisturizing I always bring the Emma travel mist as a pick me up and instant hydration especially on a plane. Emma lip rescue is also one of these essentials I never miss, it restores my lips against the change of climatic conditions.