Knock your socks off with natural muesli

Knock your socks off with natural muesli

Knock your socks off with natural muesli

I thought it was time to share with you the perfect natural muesli recipe. Well, actually, its kind of a set of rules rather than a recipe and in fact you can easily turn it into a toasted muesli recipe (simply toast it in the oven prior to adding the dried fruits).

I think the best natural muesli’s need the right amount of crunch vs. chew. If we agree on this then all you need to do is make sure you combine 4 cups of grains, 1.5 cups nuts/seeds and 0.5 cup dried fruit. What combinations you choose are entirely up to you but here’s some ideas.

Grains – rolled oats, wheat bran, quinoa or sorghum flakes, whole rye or barley, millet (puffs or flakes). Pick and choose gluten free options if needed.

Nuts/seeds – you choose, pistachio, almonds, macadamias, walnuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds, coconut.

Dried Fruit – apricots, cherries, figs, dates, prunes, raisins, cranberries, currants, sultanas, banana, apple.

So pick your ingredients – I generally choose based on whats in the pantry. It’s a great way to use up little bits left in packets. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with spices and pinch of salt. Here’s an example to get you going.

3 1/2 cups Brushwoods fresh rolled oats
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup apricots
1/4 cup prunes

Remember, because you are using fresh oats you should store your muesli in the fridge. In an airtight container your muesli will last a month.

Also remember, you can have your muesli anyway you like.
1. Simply pop some in a bowl with some greek yoghurt and fresh fruit.
2. Put 1/2 cup in a jar, cover with 1/2 cup milk and add a dollop of yoghurt and pop it in the fridge overnight. Next morning it is like a bircher. Add another dash of milk and stir if its a bit too thick for your liking.
3. Put 1/2 muesli and 3/4 to 1 cup of water in a saucepan to make a muesli porridge (serve with your favourite toppings).

The beauty of a homemade muesli is that you can control the fat (predominantly through the nut/seed combination) and sugar (through the dried fruits) content.




Kendra x


Brushwoods meets Graziher Winter 2019

Brushwoods meets Graziher Winter 2019

Brushwoods meets Graziher Winter 2019

Graziher magazine is simply a collection of womens stories.  

Women of the land, women who love the land, women who know the land. 

A gorgeous quarterly collection of stories of women of the land which will inspire anyone with even a slight connection to rural life.  It helps to reduce the boundaries between regional and rural.  It’s one of those magazines that just begs you to sit down with a cuppa in a quiet spot and read it from cover to cover.

You can imagine how excited I was to see my story across a four page spread in the Winter 2019 edition of Graziher (squeal with delight)!!  Funny thing is that I read the story and when I got the end of it I had this surreal feeling.  A feeling like I wanted to be that lady in the article, I wanted to follow my dreams, to live a life that excites me to get out of bed everyday.  The reality is that I am that lady and am living that life.  And that makes me feel so blessed!!

The combination of the words by Emily Herbert and the photos from Jodie Harris (Down Brushwood Road Photography) are just gorgeous.  I know personally that I love to know the story behind my food.  It evokes my imagination as I toil in the kitchen preparing it, it creates conversation at the dinner table as we enjoy it as a family and it commands our respect forcing us to be less wasteful and more conscious of serving size.  I truly think that all of those things play an important role in our physical and even mental health.

So, I hope that as you read this article it inspires you to seek out foods that are Australian (local), and that are produced  sustainably and even with artisan methods.  There is a true beauty that comes with food that is pure and unadulterated and a magic that happens when you discover it.  If you haven’t already tried our Fresh (not dried) Rolled Oats then I’d love to encourage you to give them a go.  My promise to you is that you will not be disappointed.  If you are already a fan grab a bulk pack to make your favourite oats even more affordable.

Click here to read the Graziher article.  Happy reading.


Kendra x


Coeliac & Oats: Clarifying the Confusion

Coeliac & Oats: Clarifying the Confusion

Coeliac & Oats: Clarifying the Confusion

Are oats gluten free? That’s a question I’m always being asked at our Farmers Markets, so when I found this blog that dietician and nutritionist Marika Day had written to clarify the confusion about coeliac and oats, gluten-free oats and uncontaminated oats, I just knew we had to share it with you (with Marika’s blessing).

Brushwoods oats are not gluten free, they are not uncontaminated and they are not organic.  We don’t pretend that they are any of those things.  If you are blessed to be able to have oats in your diet we would love you to try Brushwoods Fresh Oats simply because they are bloody good!!  If you are not so lucky, we’re sorry, but you can still benefit from the goodness of oats in our natural soaps

If you find this article particularly helpful, jump on and follow Marika on Insta (@marikaday) or FB (marikadaynutrition) or jump on her website to subscribe to her newsletters. Marika Day is a dietician and nutritionist but most of all she is an advocate for bullsh*t free nutrition and cutting through the confusion in the health and fitness industry.  She reads books and nutrition research like her life depends on it, her blood is part coffee part green smoothie and she believes carbs are one of the finer things in life.  

I hope you enjoy the read.




Coeliac & Oats: Clarifying the Confusion

By Marika Day

When it comes to coeliac disease and the gluten free diet, this is the most frequently asked question I get. How can I eat oats when I am a coeliac or how does one find out if they can? I figured now was the perfect time to answer this question as we near the end of Coeliac Awareness Week for 2018. For those who are confused, you are not alone – it is confusing. Keep reading.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the protein component of wheat, rye, barley and oats. The ‘gluten’ protein in oats is a slightly different protein to that found in wheat, rye and barely. Oats will never be truely ‘gluten free’ even if labelled as so from other countries as they do contain a gluten protein.

In Australia:

  • Oats or any product containing oats are not labelled as gluten free ever, it would be illegal for a company to do this.
  • People diagnosed with Coeliac Disease are informed to not eat oats or any products containing oats at all.

However, because the gluten protein differs slightly in oats it has been found that only 1 in 5 people with Coeliac Disease react to oats in the way they do wheat, rye and barely (causing intestinal damage). This means 4 out of 5 people with Coeliac Disease can generally tolerate pure, uncontaminated oats.

The problem comes when deciphering those who react from those who don’t. There is no simple test, no blood test to tell us and while we think we would know based on our apparent or lack of symptoms, there can still be intestinal damage occurring without symptoms.

Because of this difficulty in knowing who may react and who won’t the Australian Food Regulators have said a total ZERO to oats in a gluten free diet. In comparison the UK and USA have said pure, uncontaminated oats are gluten free and disregard that 1 in 5 who is going to experience intestinal damage. So that is why you may find ‘gluten free oats’ overseas or online. They are just letting that 1 in 5 suffer.

How did I find out that I can tolerate oats and how can you do the same?

To find out if you can tolerate pure, uncontaminated oats (aka if you are one of the 4 out of 5) you need to go through a testing phase. This is not as simple as it sounds.

Firstly, you will need to have a healthy small intestine biopsy to confirm that any damage you had prior to being diagnosed as a coeliac has resolved from your strict gluten free diet you should have been following. For most people this can take up to 12 months of following a strict gluten free diet.

Once you have a healthy biopsy you can now start the challenge. Introduce pure, uncontaminated oats into your diet. It is recommended that you have about 50g per day for at least 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks you will need to head back to your gastroenterologist for a follow up small bowel biopsy (yes you need to go into hospital twice to do this process!)

If your second biopsy comes back healthy and clear – you are free to eat pure, uncontaminated oats! Yay! If not, sorry you are the unlucky 1 in 5. Stop eating oats immediately.

Unfortunately this is the ONLY way to know if you are the 1 in 5 who reacts. Scientists out there I’d love it if you could develop a simple test to see if there is any bowel damage from avenin (the gluten protein in oats).

Remember just because you don’t experience gut symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t doing damage. You need to follow up and check!

What does pure and uncontaminated mean?

Most oats, especially Australian oats, are grown on farms that also rotate crops with other gluten containing grains like wheat or barley. Oats are also usually processed in factories that are heavily contaminated by other gluten containing grains. Most of the machinery is also used for processing and packaging these gluten containing grains. Because of the small amount of gluten required to trigger intestinal damage in a coeliac, any oats that have been produced on a farm or in a facility like this will not be suitable for any coeliac, not even the 4 out of 5 that can tolerate oats.

Pure, uncontaminated oats on the other hand are sometimes labelled as ‘wheat free’ because they have been produced on farms that don’t rotate crops with other gluten containing grains and have independent gluten free facilities for processing and packaging. Making them suitable for those 4 out of 5 coeliacs who can tolerate pure uncontaminated oats.

Unfortunately, pure, uncontaminated oats are bloody difficult to find in Australia and even more expensive. In the USA and EU you will have a lot more success as their rules differ. Note: I always bring back a few kilos every time I make the trip over.

I’ve included a few links below where I have purchased my oats in the past, these aren’t affiliated in any way just want you guys to have some options.

  • MyProtein – online store
  • Bobs Red Mill Wheat-Free Oats – I’ve found these at IGA stores or health food stores
  • Gloriously Free Oats – Found in health food stores or can purchase online.

Gluten Intolerant Vs Coeliac Disease:

If you are gluten intolerant and not coeliac most oats will be fine. The small amount that may be found in the oats on the Australian market is not likely to be significant enough to trigger a reaction. Eat whatever brand oats you like (I’m jealous – you can buy cheap oats!)

I hope that answers a few questions for you all. If you are a newly diagnosed Coeliac and struggling to find your feet please book in for a consultation with me and we can go over everything you need to know about a gluten free diet. More details here.

If you found this article helpful, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with your friends and family or on social media.

Marika xx


Do you understand your oats?

Do you understand your oats?

Do you understand your oats?

You may believe an oat is an oat and the nutrition you are giving your body will be the same regardless of the type. This is a common misconception as the way the oat is processed means there is different levels of oat ‘completeness’ and how the oat affects your blood sugar will differ. When the oat is picked in its least processed form after the hull has been removed is called a groat or whole oat. The groats are then processed further and comes out with different varieties:

  1. Quick/Instant Oats

Starting with the variety which is most processed and as a result has a high glycaemic index (GI) at 82 These oats are milled from steel cut oats/groats which have been chopped up into flakes. Be careful with this variety as there are brands which add additional ingredients which may spike your blood sugar further by adding additional sugar. You can check for added sugar in the ingredients or look under total carbohydrates and there should be none. Half a cup of dry instant oats will give you around 627kJ, 3g of total fat, 27g of total carbohydrates, 4g of fibre and 5g of protein.

  1. Rolled Oats

A classic favourite which sits at a medium GI of 57. These are groats which are steamed and then finally rolled to produce flakes. Half a cup of a serving of whole grains will give your body around 795kJ, 7g of protein, 3.5g of fat, 32g of total carbohydrate and 5g of fibre.

  1. Steel cut oats

These are simply groats which have been cut into smaller flakes and sit at the lowest GI of 42-52. Scottish oats differ simply that they are stone ground rather than cut using a blade. These oats work perfectly in salads, soups or pilaffs as a replacement for pearl barley. Half a cup of steel cut oats will give you 1422kJ, 6 g fat, 58g of total carbohydrate, 10g of fibre, 14g of protein,


Nutrients all varieties of oats give your body include soluble fibre which can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels by binding to the cholesterol in your body and dragging it out. Also, B vitamins essential to create energy from the food you eat, vitamin E a fat-soluble vitamin and acts as an antioxidant, iron needed to help transport oxygen around your body and zinc needed for immune support. The amount of these vitamins and fibre decreases with the processing of the oat.

If you add milk or any other ingredient like nuts and seeds or fruit to your breakfast or smoothie this will affect how the meal or snack will affect your blood sugar so it’s important to look at the whole composition of the food you are eating.

Take home message: Oats, regardless of their form offer a delicious and nutritious snack or meal choice. There is no added sugar in this whole grain unlike many other cereal products and this is itself deserves a round of applause. If you want long lasting energy over a short burst try selecting the less processed oats like steel-cut oats, Scottish oats or traditional rolled oats over the quick oats.



Author: Asheligh Feltham – Feed Your Future Dietitics

Ashleigh is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics. She holds
a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Bachelor of Human Nutrition. Ashleigh is also a qualified
personal trainer and group fitness instructor and has been working in the fitness industry for over 10
years. Ashleigh was an elite gymnast as well as an elite rock climber where she represented Australia for
four years. She believes everyone deserves to live a life of health and wellness. Ashleigh
passionate about helping people achieve their highest quality of life through nutrition, mental
health and exercise. For more information see or follow her
on Instagram or Facebook @FeedYourFutureDietetics.

Bar Soap – Lover or Hater?

Bar Soap – Lover or Hater?

Bar Soap – Lover or Hater?

Olive oil soap is not a new thing but its pretty big in the hand-made, hand-crafted, artisanal world these days.  I’m an olive oil producer who hates wastage.  I just knew that we had to do something with the olive oil that we can’t bottle.  In the most part, its what’s left behind when we’ve decanted off the oil.  It’s an oil that is relatively heavy with sediment.  There’s nothing wrong with it but its shelf life is somewhat compromised.

As luck would have it, my path crossed with a gorgeous lady named Grace in my local butchers’ shop of all places.  Long story short, Grace now handcrafts our olive oil into a small range of natural soaps; an unscented manuka and oat bar soap, a lemon myrtle liquid soap and a lemon myrtle hand/body lotion. 

Grace and I have developed a strong friendship and now that we live in different regions, we spend a lot of time on the phone.  Many times, our conversation has drifted towards bar soaps and we ask a multitude of questions but one that has come up a number of times is: – why do some people love bar soap and do some people hate bar soap?

I guess nothing in this world is perfect and everything has advantages and disadvantages.  Of course we all want different things so our needs vary.  Here’s what we’ve come up with:


There is a huge shift towards reduced packaging.  When you google anything to do with plastic bottles, the statistics are always billions and trillions.  It is estimated that globally humans buy a million plastic bottles per minute, 91% of all plastic is not recycled and it is estimated that half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold next year.  To be honest your soap bottles are not the biggest culprit but every bottle counts right? 


For some people the thought of sharing a bar of soap with anyone is just repulsive.  Truth is that I grew up in a family where that was the norm and so I’m immune to the concept that sharing soap is festy.  We all have natural bacteria on our bodies and those bacteria are called our natural microbiome.  The reality is that family members that live together tend to have a very similar microbiome.  We sit in the same chairs, we hang out in the same spaces, we co-exist and so we share bacteria. 

When we share a bar of soap, it is true that there can be some bacteria on the soap after use, we’ve just rubbed it all over our body after all.  Those bacteria will only thrive if the soap is left sitting in a pool of water.  Let the soap dry out between uses and ‘Bobs your uncle’.  If you are showering immediately after the last person, give the soap a quick rinse before using it.  The fact is that you are going to pick up more bacteria from your mobile phone than you are from your bar of soap.  I understand, it’s not for everyone but I guess sharing soap with family members is one of those things I am just not precious about.  Judge me all you like. 

Soap Scum

I remember when my parents installed a new shower when they were renovating.  The day they commissioned the new shower they converted to using soap-free body wash.  Ever since then, I’ve never seen a bar of soap in their shower and I reckon they’re not alone.  Its the quest to avoid soap scum.  Again – not something I’m precious about. 

Rumour has it that if you rub your shower, bath and basin surfaces (but not the floors) with car or boat wax when they are new or beautifully clean then the soap scum can’t actually adhere to the surfaces.  The surfaces stay cleaner for longer and cleaning times are seriously minimised.  There you go, you can thank me later.  I don’t know, I just think that bathrooms are places that need to be cleaned regularly so you clean them and move on.  I’d rather deal with soap scum than rub my body with a whole bunch of synthetic additives and chemicals, but that’s just me.  To be fair though – I also prefer a natural liquid soap at my kitchen and bathroom sinks – just to reduce the amount of soap residue sitting on the countertop soap dishes.

Soap on Skin

Well, truth is, I’m not a pharmacist, chemist or dermatologist so I don’t have the answers here.  I just know the benefits of olive oil soaps on skin and I don’t stray from them anymore (bar or liquid).  Claims of any soap to be moisturising should be taken cautiously – more likely some soaps are less stripping than others.  The reality is that you wash soap off your skin so not too much can be left behind to moisturise.  I do find though that a lovely natural soap leaves my skin feeling silky and I’m much less likely to need to moisturise to prevent visibly dry skin. 

So, what soap you use is really a very personal choice.  It is often influenced by what we grew up with, price, environmental impact, product performance and what makes us feel good.  I don’t have the answers but I do love that we can produce beautiful olive oil soaps that feel good, perform well and that are enjoyed by so many of our customers.  What’s your ‘go-to’?

Hot, Harsh Reality of the Drought

Hot, Harsh Reality of the Drought

Hot, Harsh Reality of the Drought

The Brushwoods olive grove is estimated to be around 17 years old and has been under our care since 2014.  It is fair to say that when we kicked off, we knew nothing and sourcing information about what to expect was really, really tricky.

I made myself a promise that if we were able to develop our own knowledge and gather information and data that we would willingly share it with anyone who approached us.  We have done exactly that which has been very rewarding.  The other benefit of this approach is that we have now built a five-year database of numbers for our own grove. 

Planning is Paramount

One of the things that we do every year is to score all of our olive trees for the number of olives on them.  This helps us to prepare and plan for the upcoming harvest.  To score the trees we visually assess each tree on foot and record on a clipboard a score that indicates the number of olives on the tree.  We generally do this in January/February each year.

In 2018 when we scored the trees, we realised that everything was on track for a bumper harvest.  We still had plenty of time to organise a contract harvester because there was just no way that we were going to be able to hand pick all of those olives.  As it turned out conditions were so dry that we reckon we left half of our estimated 30 tonne yield on the trees as they were just too dry to pick, nevertheless, what we harvested was still a record yield for us. 

On-years” and “Off-years

In 2018 we predicted that we would likely be in for a light harvest in 2019 – it just so happens that olive trees are quite well known for having a biennial or alternate bearing fruit pattern – that means, they fruit every second year.  If you look at the data in the table below you can see that the proportion of trees to harvest each year has a pattern: 46%, 90%, 47%, 87%.  On that basis we were expecting around 40-50% of trees to bear olives this year.  When we went out and scored the tree’s, the harsh reality of the drought hit home – only 10% of the trees have enough fruit to pick – that’s a huge drop from the predicted 40-50%!!

One of the biggest issues impacting on fruit volumes in our grove is the conditions at blossom set.  We had a super dry Winter and early Spring period which affected blossom and olive set.  No amount of rain can change that now – it’s the reality of mother nature’s effect on the production of food.  We don’t have the luxury of irrigation for our trees so we are 100% at the mercy of the weather. 

Here’s a snapshot of the last 5 years of tree scoring, where a score 0 means there are no olives on the tree, score 1 = a very small number of olives (not enough to harvest), score 2 = enough olives to warrant picking, score 3 = the tree is laden with olives.  The numbers are percentages (i.e. in 2015 35% of trees had no olives on them).








Score 0






Score 1






Score 2






Score 3






Trees to harvest

(score 2 and 3 combined)






So What Now? 

As ugly as it is, there is no point to rock myself in a corner.  We now have the task of working out how to make the best of a bad (well actually a very bad) situation.  Normally we sell out of olive oil before Christmas each year.  However, we still have 13% (about 400 bottles) of our 2018 harvest bottled and ready for sale which probably isn’t a bad thing given the current situation. 

We are currently predicting a total harvest yield of around 150 litres of oil – that’s just 300 bottles for 2019 (assuming we get some rain and the fruit matures).  It’s a difficult pill to swallow but we know that we have a very loyal customer base.  Whilst we will recommend that our customers support other Australian growers when our supplies are depleted, we also reckon they will be super excited when 2020 rolls around and we have a bumper yield again – yes I believe in the power of positive thinking (tee hee)!!  Anyway, all is not lost, we will keep you posted as we push closer to harvest which normally kicks off around Anzac Day.