We’ve been lucky to have been blessed with good light and warm sunny spots in every home we’ve camped out in over the past months of transitional living. I love a good sunny spot to warm my hands and feet, to read a book (I’ve just started really reading again, it feels like a guilty pleasure that I forgot all about – and now I’m up at all hours of the night reading ‘just one more chapter’), to drink a cup of tea, to read stories with Bo, to draw pictures… but most of all, to eat lunch.

There is something very simple about enjoying good food in the warmth of the spring sunshine.

Simple is good. This recipe is both of those things.

Side note: Any awesome book recommendations? Preferably ones that can be found in a regional library – OR if you live in the South West, one I can borrow? I’m devouring books like lost friends now that I’m no longer studying… I just can’t get enough.

WARM SPRING SALAD + KALE/CASHEW PESTO

Ingredients

For the Warm Salad:

6-12 small organic carrots (large would work well but you’ll have to slice them lengthwise)
2 beetroot
1 heads garlic
fresh lettuce greens
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp raw honey
1 tsp water
sesame seeds

For the Pesto:

3 cups packed kale
1/2 cup parmesan
1 cup soaked cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon
good quality olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 180c.

Wash and prepare root vegetables (peel or scrub as you see fit), chopping the beetroot into quarters and place in a deep dish baking pan along with the garlic cloves. Mix water, oil, honey and balsamic together and liberally splash the vegetables with the dressing, sprinkle the tray with sesame seeds and place in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes.

I bake the veggies until they are tender and still have plenty of texture, when the seeds are toasted and the dressing has caramalised nicely in the pan.

In a high powered blender/food processor add parmesan, cashews, sunflower seeds and garlic and pulse until you have a gritty sandy texture. Add kale (tough stalks removed), about 1/2 a cup of olive oil, a couple of good pinches of quality sea salt and the lemon juice and process until you reach a smooth consistency, add a little more olive oil if necessary to achieve the consistency you desire (I like mine quite thick, but a little more olive oil will make it smoother).

Layer the warm veggies in a bowl with fresh greens, top with generous dots of pesto and enjoy warm and delicious.

Tastes an awful lot like spring, doesn’t it?

  • October 20, 2014 - 5:59 am

    Life With The Crew - Now that the basil season is over, since would be an interesting substitute with the kale, which is something we’ll have access to most of the winter.ReplyCancel

People often ask me how I can live without shopping. Both friends and family seem aghast at times that this is what I have chosen to do for this 12 months. To not contribute to the machine. To test myself. But… How? Is often the question that is asked. I’ve done countless interviews on the project over the past month, I just spoke about it over and over and over again in different forums (which is why I haven’t been on here for a while – I had to take a break – I have had absolutely nothing more to say)… There have been two questions that I have been asked time and time again.

1. How do you do it?  and 2. How much have you saved?

I’m going to answer these questions right here in a way that perhaps wasn’t diplomatic enough to say in other forums.

Firstly, the Nothing New Project is really very, very simple. The art of living without shopping is really not difficult to achieve. We just don’t go to the shops. We aren’t deprived, we aren’t martyring ourselves, we aren’t suffering. We just don’t go to the shops. It’s not hard, it’s liberating. It’s not sad for Bo, it’s teaching her that the shit you can buy on the overstocked shelves of department store is not a ‘need’ but a ‘want.’

This is something that I think we are losing at a rapid rate in our fast paced, consumer driven, credit-culture. Logical thought and resourcefulness. The ability to understand a throw rug, a designer dress, new home wares, flashy toys – are wants. Not needs. The things we need are simple. Safety, food, water, warmth. These things most Australians have every single day without giving them any extra thought, these are things we take for granted. We are rapidly losing the skills necessary to make do with what we have, to be grateful for what we have, to mend and repair what we have – and we are slipping deeper and deeper into a disposable culture.

How do we do it? Everything we do is focussed on real human connections with other people.

With these connections come a lot of genuine joy. We spend time foraging, we spend time sharing meals… we borrow and we lend. This alone is a transformative experience as it is becoming so foreign. The art of living without shopping is really very simple. We have everything we need. We don’t go to the shops. We connect with other human beings instead. Simple.

Secondly, the amount of money that we have saved is the LEAST important part of the project.

This project is not about money… but our world is money obsessed. If I could impart ONE thing onto people who are so concerned about the money side of the project, is not the actual figures but instead the freedom. At the beginning of this project I was living week to week – struggling to save anything, we couldn’t ever afford to eat out, I never got us a snack from a café, I couldn’t afford to buy organic produce, I had to check my bank account regularly and stagger bills during the month. Now I don’t. We have the ability to save to and those savings protect us and liberate us for the future.

I rarely check my bank account. Not because I make lots of money, but because I know there will always be enough. Enough for a coffee. Enough for a muffin for Bo. Enough to invest in locally produced organic produce.

There is always enough.

Why? Because we don’t spend money on shit we don’t need. So our money gets invested in the things that really matter instead. Local community. Good food. Good times.

At the end of the day, when I’m old and tired and dying (and I hope I make it until I’m very old – and maybe not TOO tired) I’ll look back on the people I spent my time with, on the friends I made, on the amazing community projects I helped to build, on the hours I spent with my beautiful daughter and I wont remember how my house was furnished or the kind of clothes that I wore or the version of smartphone I carried around in my hip pocket.

I hope I’ll have a real live human being there with me, holding my hand. Another person who loves me. What have we got if we haven’t got each other?

Everything else… it’s just stuff. x

  • October 18, 2014 - 5:49 am

    Vic - Hi Sash,

    I’ve followed your story off and on over the past year and i really applaud what you’ve been doing. I see it as not being about not buying things, but about a return to a simpler, more thoughtful and considered way of life. A life full of connections with people and living in the moment. It’s truly wonderful and I’d like to say thank you for being so inspiring. I also try to live this way, and it is in fact hard! I am yet to not allow myself to “shop” but I do mostly limit any shopping to only handmade goods, and I buy them from people I meet. So I still get the connection with people which is lovely. I also try to make ethical purchases – I look into where the item was made and whether or not that company supports good working conditions, supports animal rights and that sort of thing. I’m sure this is an area you probably know quite a bit about, and perhaps it’s worthy of a post? Many people aren’t ready to take the leap you have, but many will be open to thinking about where the shirt on their back comes from.

    Thanks again,

    VicReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2014 - 6:50 am

    Jess - Agree with all your points Sash. My story is not similar (lol). Basically I had hit rock bottom, was with an ex partner that had no control over his money habits and was dragged in with him. I had no money, and during that period of time I just stopped shopping. Completely. I had enough for health/medicine, food necessities (I actually started to learn new recipes at this stage), transport and to pay my way when I moved back home. I rebuilt my life and during that process I questioned EVERYTHING I was about to buy, and I still do! I’m so grateful now I have a partner who is the same as me, and we just don’t shop/spend on unnecessary stuff. I wouldn’t say we’re minimalist, but we have no debt and have plenty of savings. We buy what we need, and if we want something, we usually sit on it for a while until deciding we’re going to get it.
    I’m also always borrowing and lending gear/tools with friends and family. It’s awesome! I’ve noticed when you start reaching out to people in your community peoples responses range from absolutely amazed to telling me I’m the nicest/most positive person they’ve met. I think a lot of us have forgotten that we’re surrounded by a community of people, and people help each other.ReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Reannon @shewhorambles - i love this Sash. I am trying so hard to teach my older kids the difference between a need & a want. I explain that I’ll always provide everything they need but not everything they want. They don’t get it. They are 14.5 & nearly 12 years old, they think they NEED everything & I get it because I remember feeling like I needed everything as a teenager too. I know better now so I’m trying to teach them better too. Small steps.ReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2014 - 11:05 am

    Life With The Crew - Yes! Great way of explaining and put it into B&W. I know how hard it is to resist the lure of shopping. I don’t shop in stores, for me it is the magazines (the holiday flood has already started!) It really is about just not even looking, because otherwise you can convince yourself that you “need” just about anything. My little babe just celebrated a birthday and it was difficult to explain to people that she really didn’t need any toys. People want to buy something anyway, so we went with sustainably made toys and books.ReplyCancel

  • October 18, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    tracie @ beets+birch - brilliant! really enjoyed reading this.
    i have lived for the last 6 yrs or so being consciously minimal. making due with what i have. live well within our means + get our shit straight with what’s important.

    my husband and i travel. it was a flip between stuff or experiences so it’s not to say we squirrel every penny because we don’t. we are living life!

    i do shop when i want something, but for the most part once i made the decision to want less/little it became soooo freeing to not lust after buying more shit to clutter our life. so when i do feel i want something it really serves a purpose or has some meaning behind it.
    anyway cheers to you love what you’re doing!ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2014 - 10:18 am

    sommer - just read this article on a minimalist blog that i follow and thought of you. i wonder if it would be breaking the nothing new rules?

    http://www.lifeedited.com/scratch-fashion-itch-without-breaking-bank-or-planet/ReplyCancel

Like any wonderful thing that you spend days or weeks or months preparing for – when it’s over it feels like it was nothing more than a blink of an eye. Bo and I are resettling back into our everyday life, and soon enough the blog will return to normal after we’ve taken a little more time to find our feet a bit. We are moving into a beautiful new house sit today as we continue the transitional accommodation part of this project – something we will be talking about a lot more over the next two weeks as we look back on the past few months of juggling space and sharing homes and exploring new lives.

I’m back at work already and Bo is back in her usual routine of playing and painting and driving me crazy as a toddler should, the beauty of our simple life pulls us back into it’s gentle rhythm and grounds us back where we belong.

This year has been quite an amazing experience for us, it’s been transformative for me as a person, but it’s becoming more and more important for me to look outwards again and to you. I want to transform the world, one little tiny step at a time and I’d love your input! So many things we do we learn from the people around us, and I’m hoping that here we can start teaching each other a bit more about living simple, connected, conscious lives… is there anything that you would like to know to help you make changes in your own life towards a lower consumption, lower waste and more connected household? Do you have any great ideas that could help others?

Hit me up with your questions and your ideas!

Let’s make a little magic happen!

  • October 8, 2014 - 8:42 am

    Bek - Hi Sash,
    Congratulations on your recent TED talk. I’ve been reading your blog for several months now and I am so happy that your message is finding an even wider audience, as it deserves. On Boxing Day last year I made a private vow to live more simply and to reduce my consumption for 100 days. At day 49, after a great effort, I lapsed ever so slightly and was so hard on myself after that, that I abandoned the whole project. However, after discovering your blog, you inspired me to get back on track and that’s exactly what I’ve done for the past few months. With 5 children (aged 1-10) we find that we are still needing to buy new things from time to time, however we are buying much less, and have given away so many items we just didn’t need that were cluttering our lives. So, thank you for the inspiration and your thoughtful posts that have kept me focused and determined to make this big life change. The issue I am still struggling with however is gifts. I love to craft and have so far been able to hand make many of the gifts that we have needed to give, however, it is very time consuming and with Christmas coming up, the list is long. What is your approach to giving gifts to special people in your life?ReplyCancel

  • October 8, 2014 - 9:41 am

    Alicja - Maybe you can say a little bit about what skills you’ve gained through the project, how you are feeling about material possessions in general right now and how you talk to Bo about the nothing new project; I’m also curious how you will go about Christmas and giving presents? Do you think that giving presents is an important part of building relationships/community? Also, do you think that social media can help us build strong communities?
    These are just a few questions that come to my mind. Thank you for sharing your ideas – they are really refreshing. AlicjaReplyCancel

  • October 8, 2014 - 10:03 am

    Andrea - My question/quest how does one develop community of similar focus while in a tiny geographic community that seems to swing in a completely opposite array. Seeking a community of others via social media, is it legitimate community? Does it negate community by moving past the geographic community we are currently in? How to navigate simple day to day events like classmates birthday parties with graced and not being too extreme. How to find the courage amongst the small town scrutiny to stand ground for our less than mainstream ideals while maintaining good ties with neighbours? How to move past the siren call of “more, more, more brands, plastic crapp, and room to house it all” into a more grounded, sentient state, all while not coming across as a granola nerd.ReplyCancel

  • October 9, 2014 - 3:49 am

    domestic kate - Like others have said, I’m curious about how to basically live *with* everyone else in society but not live *like* them. I read blogs written by people who’ve basically opted out of society to live on a farm or something, which is great but not the right choice for me. Do you see yourself as still living alongside most people in public but making personal choices that are different, or do you see yourself as having left mainstream society altogether? Do you think people should adapt and grow within mainstream society or forget it and start fresh in a totally new environment?

    I also would love to see more how-to stuff about your daily problem-solving. Do you mend clothes? Are you handy at fixing things? How did you acquire those skills? How do you find like-minded people to rely on and to be your community?

    Thanks for writing and sharing your life with us. You are inspirational.ReplyCancel