Kickass Chicks: Ruth Bruten of Gourmet Girlfriend

As I sit here watching my kid eat the 875th Vegemite sandwich for the week (no strawberry or mandarine on the side thanks mum), I’m excited to have Ruth on the blog today as she’s helped me no end with the thought of getting good food into unwilling children.

Ruth is a mum of 5 boys, and is an absolute machine in the kitchen. She blogs at Gourmet Girlfriend where she shares recipes, music, and family tales. Every post is like sitting at her kitchen bench with a cup of coffee and a good piece of cake while having a chat – which I’ve literally done, so I can say so with authority!

Those of you who know her will be nodding your head – especially those of you with small children who eat like birds. Ruth is so warm and reassuring, quirky and colourful, and it brightens up my world just knowing she’s in it. She’s been there, done that, and told us all not to worry about it!

As much as I always wanted a large family, I feel good with my two girls. But Ruth is one of the only people who will really make me stop and think… can I add a few more? ;-)


Who are you? 

I’m Ruth. Sometimes GG. Sometimes Mum.

What do you do?

I blog at Gourmet Girlfriend where I share recipes and thoughts on my world as a mum of five boys.  I run my own small business –  teaching cooking classes , making Gourmet Goodie bags, and I have some other things to add to the mix in 2015!

Why do you do it?

I do it because it is important for me to be ‘me’. Whilst my job as mum always comes first- I see one of the very most important jobs I can do as a Mum is to teach my children how important it is to invest in yourself.

Why is good food so important to you?

Good food is important to me because I believe in people and our planet –  and by eating good food we are doing both of those things a very big favour.   The health of ourselves is tightly meshed with the health of our planet. The two are inseparable & I think they deserve our attention for the sake our children.

Are there times where you think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew?

Every. Single. Day.

What was it like when your kids were small and you wanted to get nourishing food on the table?  

It was stressful – like it is for every single parent out there.  Only a couple of days ago a good friend was asking for advice about her picky toddler and how to handle her fussy eating. I sent to to a post I wrote right back at the start of my blogging days. It is still my most visited & referred to post. Essentially it is about letting go of the stress & focussing on the time together at the table.

(Ps here is the post! and this post “What Really Happens at Our Dinner Table” is the one I love and I know it’s helped a few of you. Weet-Bix for dinner FTW!)

Have there been rough patches where you doubted yourself? What did you do?

I doubt myself every day. I wear the Crown of Self doubt. Well maybe it is more like a PomPom garland of self doubt…….  It is always people around me that I admire (like you!) that make me feel better by telling me it is normal and to keep on keeping on.

How do you make creating good food work with your family and your lifestyle?  

For me it is a way of life.  It is my life. We shop together as a family- mostly at Farmers Markets. It is an unquestionably delightful way to gather the sustenance that gives us so much joy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up at 5.30 to exercise and shower before waking my biggest kids at 6.30 to get them off to high school. We sit and eat breakfast together before they head off. Round two starts after they have left with the littlies getting up at about 7.30 to get ready for school at 8.45.

I work from my home office from 10-2 every day- sometimes longer. During that time I may be writing recipes, designing recipe cards, packaging orders, writing blog posts, designing or delivering classes. Then I pick up the littles at school at 3 and bring them home. I often have to travel across town to manage the high school lives of the big kids. I am often not home until 7pm. Then we have dinner. Then bed time for the littles and organisational stuff for the bigs before they go to bed about 9.  Somewhere in amongst all of this I cook and clean and do the laundry (sort of!) . Then I collapse in a heap in my bed & read for a while before I go to sleep. I’m tired just writing this schedule!

Would you recommend having five kids to others?


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

No kid ever grew up and looked back on their childhood saying  “My childhood was so happy because I grew up in a clean house”.

Vegemite or peanut butter?

Vegemite – I’m a Salt hound.

Thanks Ruth!


Mo Wyse and Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli
Cath Young of My Bearded Pigeon
Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella
Cate Bolt of Foundation 18 and Pretty Fkn Embroidery
Kelley Sheenan of Peppermint Magazine

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

The working mum dilemma

I think I’m in Portland now. I don’t know, I’m writing this from the past. I’m going to assume I am and republish this post from back when I only had one kid and obviously more time in the day to worry about DA FUTURE.

The future is here, kid. And it’s better than you imagined.


Things have been ramping up in real life lately as I prepare to take my first steps on the journey to my PhD. I love my job, and being an academic is something I’ve always dreamed of – even though it took me a long time to get here and I chose probably the most roundabout, man-shortcut path.

Read More

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

The things I didn’t know I wouldn’t know

I originally published this on September 24, 2011 when my first was a wee babe. I was talking about this post in the car the other day with a lass who hopes to be a mum very soon. I told her that everyone having a baby obviously has a different experience, and that some find this motherhood gig easier than others at first. Hell, all the time! It depends on so many variables.

I really felt like I hit the ground running when I had my kids. Like I was born for this. Sure there were hiccups, I remember one particularly stressful night sleeping on the floor of the baby’s room covered in a kiddie bath towel, but for the most part I had complete confidence in me, my baby, and knowing how to get by and thrive. Until this happened:

Miss Veggie Baby has been sick this week. Snotty, dribbly, incredibly out of sorts and not sleeping.

Two nights ago she screamed inconsolably for ages, which is incredibly out of character for her, and I found myself wondering… is it something I did?

And I realised this has been quite a running theme throughout the last six months… is her behaviour from something I’ve done? Something I haven’t done? Are the choices I’ve made the right ones? Why is she crying like that? Why hasn’t she pooped today? Does she hate my cooking? What if?

Given that they can’t tell you what is wrong, one is reduced to insane guesswork, leaping further and further into assumptions and musings and plain old guilt.

Was she crying because she was teething? She was immunised the day before, could that have been it? Was she reacting to the eggplant puree she’d had for dinner for the first time? Did her stomach hurt? Was she tired? Was she hungry? Would going for a walk in the fresh air help? Was it because I ate that English mustard when I was 8 months pregnant with her?

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Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Kids Live Here

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Bye bye house with the crazy pink carpet!



Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

These are the Golden Days

Image credit:

Image credit:

The other day I was buying one of Smalls’s birthday presents, and I couldn’t resist getting myself a little something too. This These are the Golden Days print sums up pretty much exactly how I feel about parenting my two- and three-year-old right now.

They are hilarious. And totally adorable. One serious, verbose, sensitive, kind, and completely incapable of having the wool pulled over her eyes. She is sharp as a tack, that one. Doesn’t miss a thing. Is an interesting conversation partner, and has just started drawing circle people with sticks for arms and legs.

The other is a big-toothed grinning menace, who never says the first half of her words, who sits on the toilet fully clothed but makes the “pssh” noise like she’s actually doing something, mangles “sandwich” like you wouldn’t believe, and randomly hugs me and strokes my hair. She puts her hand under my chin and says “orright?” and then toddles off on her tiny legs.

Neither of them can pour their own cereal or make their own sandwiches, so we’re nowhere near out of the Intensive Parenting Woods (I hear that’s where the Big Bad Wolf lives), but it’s also not the 24-hour-a-day onslaught that is a newborn (or toddler and a newborn, heaven help me).

Next year is Kinder, and the year after that is SCHOOL OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP and I’m right in that spot where I could freeze time and hang out here forever, making playdough and baking cakes and buying tiny shorts. These guys are fun and interesting, and while still totally toddler-irrational from time to time (not to mention the picky food issues), they are a joy to parent.

Remind me of this when someone’s stolen the other one’s eyeliner and someone is out past curfew with their phone turned off.

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

My Parenting Style, Summed up in One Image

Peter-Rabbit-BirthdaySmalls is two today. And as I was going through the photos of her first birthday party (it was a Peter Rabbit theme complete with carrot cake because of course), I came across this one I forgot.

I had tried to order cupcakes from a friend who is much better at decorating them than I am, but she had to pull out at the last minute, which meant my earnest but skill-less efforts were all that I could provide on the day. Knowing full well nobody would give a shit if they were ugly (as long as they tasted good) and as long as there was plenty of good food, sunshine, happy people, and a jumping castle everyone would have a good time, I put down my first attempt at a garden cupcake with a grimace, but also a shrug.

What everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It totally sums up my whole approach to parenting, though: Try hard, do your best, do it with love, and when it falls short of your high ideals but is still enough, then take the piss out of yourself.

Then go have a beer or something. Enjoy that sunshine.

My parenting motto coming soon to a pinnable Pinterest image near you.


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Kids live here

life with kidskids-live-here-bits-and-bobs kids-live-here-craft kids-live-here-doo kids-live-here-pencils Kids-live-here-reindeer kids-were-here-7 kids-were-here-betsykids-live-here-strawberriesDo your kids just eat one bite out of everything and put the rest back?


Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!

Imperfect mothering

photo copy

A little while ago, Rachel from A Mother Far From Home emailed me and asked me some curly questions about my parenting. She was going to compile them so her readers could feel a little reassured that we’re all just trying to do our best, and that nobody is perfect.

I’m so imperfect I couldn’t even get my reply email back to her on time! I started answering her questions, then I got distracted, and before you know it, I hadn’t done my bit. Eep.

So in the interests of having a bit of a chat about parenting honestly, here are my answers. You can read everyone else’s here. I LOVE that picture of Rachel and her kids. That’s basically how I feel every day.

1. What part of motherhood and parenting do you feel really good at?

Nurturing, communicating effectively, being spontaneous, being fun, being present (most of the time) and not freaking out. Especially when they cover my house in 5 kilos of flour.

2. Where do you feel that you fall short?

I’m not very patient when I haven’t slept well (or am hungry, whoa), self restraint when frustrated, keeping the floor clean. I also suck at the work-at-home mother balance occasionally. Both ways – either working when I shouldn’t, nor not working when I should.

3. How do you overcome the plague that is mother guilt?

The only thing I feel guilty about is when I lose my temper, or something similar, and so I try to cut myself some slack. Two toddlers would drive anyone to breaking point eventually! I just apologise, make amends and move on. I don’t feel guilty about taking time out for me, or for working, or anything of that nature. I am an attentive, caring, nurturing mother who occasionally goes out without her kids and works from home two days a week.

4. On your deathbed, what do you want to be able to say you taught your kids?

To feel the fear and do it anyway while living and letting live. And how to make an excellent cup of tea.


What would your answers to these questions be?

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!
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