Today, I am thrilled to profile Victoria Toner, the founder of the amazing blog, Boiled Eggs & Soldiers. Victoria is such an inspirational woman and blogger and I know you will enjoy her wonderful site and recipes as much as I have.
Thank you so much for joining us today. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
British born, Australian grown and living in Sydney. I am a married mother to two beautiful, funny, fiesty little girls. A couple of years ago I decided to leave behind the corporate world and give blogging at Boiled Eggs & Soldiers a go. I now spend a lot of time in the kitchen when I’m not sorting laundry, drinking coffee or tea, mainly tea, exercising, dropping off, picking up kids or hanging out at the beach.
You clearly have a passion for cooking. When did you realise you had a love affair with food?
I’ve always enjoyed cooking. I’d like to be creative, but there is nothing artistic about me; cooking is my creative outlet! For me making a nice nourishing meal for family and friends is an expression of love. It wasn’t until I returned from 9 months of backpacking around Europe in my early twenties that I started my love affair with food.
What is your food education? Are you self-taught or did you go to a professional school?
I am a self-taught home cook. I did do “Home Economics” for a few years at school which is showing my age as I’m sure it’s not even called that now! I’m also an avid cooking school attendee these vary from hour long demonstration workshops to week long courses for home cooks, but I haven’t taken a professional cooking course. Most recently, I completed a certificate in nutrition which has helped me take stock of the meals I make to ensure a good balance of nutrients.
What brought you to making a blog? Was this something that you set out to do or did it “find you” so to speak?
The whole “blogging” world is fairly new to me. I was in the corporate world for about 17 years and only every really used the internet for work related research such as booking travel or shopping, of course. It was while I was still working in that career after having children that I came up with the idea for Boiled Eggs & Soldiers. I just felt I would really benefit from some help with ideas for “what’s for dinner tonight”. I wanted to feed little people healthy, preferably homemade food. I thought, given I was feeding the family anyway, that I would try giving blogging about it a go. Even if it ended up not going anywhere at least I’d have an online record of my recipes! Since then I’ve entered a whole new world of the internet and am loving it.
What is your favourite meal?
It’s really hard to just choose one meal as my “favourite” as I really enjoy food. I do like a good brunch and everything that it represents; lazy starts to the day, catching up with friends. With this in mind, I’d have to say something like a shakshuka with tomatoes and eggs would rate up there with my favourites and of course mum’s lamb roast!
Are there any priorities for you in terms of ingredients? Do you only use organic foods or avoid certain ingredients?
For me, fresh is best. I like to get as close to the source as possible, as long as it is practical. I’d like to be totally organic, but I’m not. I always go for organic chicken though. I also try to get organic for the dirty dozen, but some weeks it’s whatever I can get in the supermarket given time constraints. The more research I do, the more I’m increasing our organic intake. If I can’t get organic I always give the fruit & veg a good soak and scrub with vinegar & warm water. As much as possible I try to avoid food with preservatives and prepackaged although I do have a weakness for corn chips!
Super foods are a great debate these days. What are your thoughts on the topic? Any you love or hate?
Lots of foods are labelled “ superfoods” these days, but I personally think it’s an over-used term by marketers trying to promote products. It’s hard to know how “super” all these superfoods are once they are broken down by digestion. That said, some foods are higher in beneficial nutrients than others and it’s always good to have fresh, seasonal produce in your diet . I am a fan of pomegranates though and they are supposed to be super high in vitamin C and antioxidants. At the moment really loving chia seeds especially in puddings for breakfast!
Tell us a little about what inspires you in terms of your meals.
I like variety in my meals and I try to use produce that is in season so that often inspires what I make. I also try to make one meal that the whole family will eat, so that influences me. ( like to offer the girls a wide range of flavours and types of food, which doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it gets eaten, but I try. I also take into consideration how balanced the meal is; I like to get a mix of protein, carbs and leafy greens. If we are entertaining I often “theme” the meal; the last dinner party was Indian.
I love a green smoothie; do you have a special recipe you like to use?
Yes I do!
1 cm ginger
juice 1/2 lemon
handful of parsley including stalks
1/2 green apple
4 – 5 stalks of curly kale or silver beet
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber, cut in half
handful mint, leaves only
200 ml coconut water (can use more but it’s expensive so I ration it out!)
top up with normal water until all the ingredients are covered
optional extras are 1 kiwi fruit, quartered, lime juice, 1/2 an orange or anything you like, really.
Place all ingredients into blender and blitz on highest speed for 1 minute.
What is your personal favourite post-workout snack?
Well given that there’s a really nice café right next to where I work out, it’s actually a coffee. If I haven’t had a green smoothie for breakfast, I get one post work out too, a bit of caffeine and a bit of green! I usually have something involving eggs for lunch.
As a fitness professional, I can’t help but to notice the influx of fit photos on Instagram. I wonder, how do you feel about the food porn on the site. Do you think social media is inspiring us to be healthier as a whole?
I love Instagram! I’m not so interested in people taking photos of their dinner in restaurants, but I do love seeing what people have made at home and I always look at the #lowsugar or #refinedsugarfree #healthykidssnacks, etc. as that is where my interest it at. I like it for good looking achievable meals. There is definitely a huge exposure to healthier eating. Personally, I find social media inspires me because I’m interested and I think when it’s presented in a way that others think that they could make it themselves then it does inspire people to be healthier. Maybe I’ll do a survey to find out more on that; you’ve got me thinking now!
Are there any cooking apps you use or recommend for us newbies?
Well, I will have to do some blatant self promotion here as I think Boiled Eggs & Soldiers offers achievable meals ideas with a weekly meal plan that links into the recipes. I don’t really use food apps but I’m always on websites looking for meals to make. Eatingwell.com has a good app with a lot of recipes, and I’m currently loving Simple Green Smoothies. They are about to host a 30-day challenge which is a good way to get started, too.
Thank you so much for your time!