It's so nice to see you here!

Who Am I?

Here's the short version - I’ve been a teacher most of my life, I’ve been cooking since I was 10 and I’ve always loved learning new things and participating in sport/exercise.
My biggest goal in life is to live to at least 100.
For the long version, read on ..

I bet you’ve worked out the first part: my name is Amanda, although sometimes if I say it on the phone people think I’m Samantha.

I have 2 adult children, Trent and Brianna. I live on the Gold Coast in Australia, so I never really have winter.
Oh, it can sometimes get down to 15 degrees Celsius in the day and we may shiver a little but our days are full of sunshine, beaches and water.

vegan meals recipes food easy quick healthy by Sweets and Greens

Where I've Come From

I have three older sisters and my mum thought it would be a good idea to get each of us to cook once a week, so then she only had to cook three nights a week. Clever, huh? Well, the thing she probably didn’t expect was burnt potato and hard carrots once a week when it was my turn. You see for some time I only ever cooked one thing – meat and three veg. A staple in Australian households in the ’70s.
The meat and three veg got pretty boring and I experimented with other foods: risottos, pasta and spaghetti. There was a very long time – probably my whole teenage years – that I cooked only spaghetti, pasta and noodles. Yep, even 2 minute noodles.

How did I get here?

In 2010, I read Joel Furhman’s “Eat to Live” because I wanted to eat healthier. I decided to slowly remove meat from my diet. And by slowly, I thought I could give up one animal at a time and so I started with pigs because I thought that would be the easiest. I soon found out, by reading labels, that pigs are in more foods than I thought. This was not going to be just about not eating ham and bacon. And so I said, ‘No more meat’. And that was it. That was in April, 2010 and I haven’t (knowingly) eaten meat since.

In 2012 I stumbled across Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (not literally, but online) and began listening to her podcasts. On a European trip where I knew there would be lots of train travel I filled my phone with her podcasts and listened for hour after hour. That combined with holiday food made me decide to try her 30 day Vegan Challenge on my return to Australia. That was on 4th August, 2012.

I am still vegan and I haven’t ever found it to be a ‘challenge’. In fact, I have found it to be so much easier over time and I have a stronger conviction than ever that this way of eating is right for me.

Sport was always really important in my family growing up. We had to do a sport every season. I tried lots of sports including netball, swimming, sailing and springboard diving. My favourite, though, was football. The real football, aka soccer. I played for 32 years, only stopping when I had my children and then when I decided I wanted to do an Ironman Triathlon.

A few of my favourite things.


I love coffee, although I’m not a connoisseur. I can’t tell the difference between coffees and just love what it brings – either the quiet solitude of my breakfast alone, or catching up with friends and family.


I’ve only owned a ‘good’ camera for a couple of years. All of my life using point and shoot cameras I have never used any other setting except on/off and flash. Now with my current camera – a Canon 600D – I’m experimenting with manual settings. I still take lots of bad photos, but that’s the beauty of digital photography – deleting all the bad photos, and pretending they never happened.


Not just far away places, but local places as well. I love to try new things and see new places. And because I’m active, every new place has to include food.


My favourite meal of the day is breakfast. This is definitely something I got from my mum. It’s important that I spend a long time over breakfast, an hour is great. Lunch and dinner I can scoff in ten minutes, but breakfast is to be enjoyed, spread out, savoured.

Running, cycling, triathlon

Nothing makes me happier than getting up before daybreak – usually around 4am, and running or riding. I spend an hour or two most mornings doing some sort of outdoor exercise. I’m not so good at exercising later in the day, but will if I have to. I love the peace and serenity in the morning and the feeling of accomplishment even before most people have opened their eyes to a new day.


I prefer sweet to savoury. I’d eat a sweet dish any day over savoury. I rarely crave anything salty but I’m always craving sweet. Funnily enough though, I don’t like chocolate for breakfast.