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A Journey to Wellness

Viktorija Pennington is the soul and force behind Your Change Story, a lifestyle blog that covers all topics from food to health to travel. Standing out from the crowd with her honesty and home made cooking, you can find Viktorija's social media feed full of delicious recipes and we are very happy to have her join us today on our Online Journal! 


We'll be sharing the exclusive dinner and dessert recipes made especially for our readers as well as diving into an interview to learn more about this wonderful woman and her journey into wellness.

Hello Viktorija,

We are so excited to have you feature today on our Journal and to share some delicious recipes, your journey into cooking and introducing our readers to your blog; Your Change Story. Let's delve into the interview!


Can you tell us about your journey into food and wellness and what inspired you to start Your Change Story?

For several years now I have been contemplating on starting something that would help me express myself, share my love of food and hopefully help others to live a healthier life. I have always been a foodie, so cooking for me has always been a pleasure and not a task. Therefore, little by little, I started taking pictures and sharing them on social media.

Originally, I have created my blog with a purpose of becoming a health coach. However, after exploring that area for a while, I realised it wasn't for me. So, after a while, I decided to convert it and make it all about the food, my health journey and travel.


What do you hope to achieve by sharing your recipes through your blog and social media?

My blog, my cooking and photography currently are best ways for me to express my creativity, thoughts and just release whatever is on my mind. When it comes to achieving something, I want to inspire others. Whether it's through my stories or my recipes, I just want people to live healthier, accept that perfect only exists behind a screen and that we all have our own stories that are worth telling.

Of course, I am not going to lie, I would love to achieve something more tangible when it comes to making a living from what I do, but I am just doing what I love and whatever happens (or not), time will show.


You explore food, health and travel on your blog. Do you find these are intrinsic and inspire one another?

100% yes! For me I see these three areas as crucial and intertwined parts of my life journey. Food is fuel, love, experience and well being. Health is something I think about everyday and I know what it's like to feel on top, as well as at the bottom. Travelling is of course the excitement of discovery, adventure and rest. 

Together, these three things make everything whole. We eat to be healthy, to be able to go on an adventure. We try new foods whilst travelling, we re-charge our bodies and minds and continue on our personal journeys.


What sparks inspiration behind new recipes and ideas?

Everything around me! My mother's cooking that gave me basic knowledge and passion for it; a random ingredient at a store; someone else's recipe online, that I always try to modify and more to my liking. I think as with anything, inspiration can be found everywhere, as long as we look closer.






"Whoever you are, whatever your budget and skills are, anyone can make a great meal."


What would you say to people to encourage them to eat cleaner and commit to eating more organically grown and ethically sourced food?

 

This is a tricky one. I think for most of us, unfortunately, I comes down to affordability. Both financial restrictions and access to better quality food, still create obstacles for many families to eat better. However, one thing everyone can do is prioritise. Don't buy designer bags, shoes or super expensive makeup, instead, go to a local market or choose better product range at your local store. Make lists, plan your meals, don't waste food. 

I think small things like that can create more opportunities to eat better, both for yourself and for the environment. As my dad always says: 'I'd rather wear my old coat yet another year, but I will never save on food'.


Are there any foods or ingredients you avoid using and why?

I try and eat a very varied diet, because I know it's for my own benefit. Besides, I am a foodie, so all flavours are good flavours. However, due to my health, I know I need to limit consumption of refined sugars, wheat, very spicy ingredients and few other foods.


Do you find there is a link between what you consume and your moods / productivity? - What are you favourite feel good foods?

Yes, totally. For me personally refined sugar is THE biggest trigger. The less I consume it, the better I feel. It's not only about the mood but also about general health, fatigue and feeling very up and down.

My favourite ones have to be pancakes, a good smoothie and something from my mum's menu, which I can't even start listing, the list is so big!


What dish would you recommend to someone with a limited budget and little cooking experience?

There are so many! I think we live in such a great time when it comes to cooking. Whoever you are, whatever your budget and skills are, anyone can make a great meal. I think one dish that stands out in terms of simplicity and affordability is frittata. You literally need eggs, cheese and whatever vegetables you can get your hand on. Also, you can make it both in an oven or on a stove.


What are three ingredients you always have handy to whip up something delicious and fulfilling with?

Eggs, variety of flours and always berries or fruit.




Here at Cuemars, we believe in reducing waste and being kinder to the planet. How do you try to tackle the food waste that coincides with cooking?

About three years ago, me and my husband started paying more attention to how, as individuals,  we actually contribute to the damage of our environment. I still remember that the first thing I did was buy us reusable shopping bags (still have same ones all this time later).

As we educated ourselves more, we started paying more attention to food packaging, where we buy clothing, cosmetics, household items and so on. I think starting with yourself and just being more conscious of what and where you buy, can make a big difference.

 
Let's see what's cooking!

To align with Organic September, Viktorija has kindly made and shared some recipes with us for you to try at home! The ingredients are super simple and easy but combined make mouth watering dishes that even the most inexperienced of cooks can make.

Let's dig in! 


Savoury End to Summer

Ingredients: 
Fresh sourdough bread 
Fresh tomatoes (from my garden!) 
Cream cheese 
1 clove of garlic 
Splash of olive oil 
Spalsh of double cream Salt & pepper 
Chives 

Method: Cut the bread and toast in an oven for 5 minutes. Cut tomatoes in quarters or halves (depending on the size), chop garlic. Add oil to a hot pan, add tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper, fry until tomatoes become soft. Add double cream and stir, take off the heat after 2 minutes. Take the bread out of the oven, spread cream cheese (as thick as you like), add tomatoes and sprinkle with chive.
In the Kitchen with Viktorija | Recipes for Organic September
Room for Dessert?

In the Kitchen with Viktorija | Recipes for Organic September
In the Kitchen with Viktorija | Recipes for Organic September


Ingredients: 
Cake:
175g Self raising flour
175g Sugar 150g butter
10 tbsp of milk (can be regular or plant based)
2 eggs 2 lemons (zest from both lemons and juice from 0.5 a lemon)

Syrup:
120g of sugar Juice from 2 lemons 

Glazing:
Icing sugar and milk of your choice (quantities depend on how thick you want it to be) 

Method: To a mixing bowl add eggs, sugar, milk and butter (soft, room temperature), mix until well combined. Add flour and lemon juice and zest, mix until combined. Butter a bread tin and pour the mixture in. Bake in an oven for about 30-40 minutes (check with toothpick if ready), on 180C. When there are about 10 minutes left to bake, make the syrup (mix sugar and lemon juice and warm up slightly), make wholes with a tooth pick in the cake and pour the syrup on the cake, let it soak in. Put it back in the oven to finish baking. Once cake is done, make your glazing and pour over it (make sure cake is cooled down).

Enjoy!   

Your change story

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