Foodie Fun Facts – Artichokes

Artichokes cannot be eaten raw

I got artichokes on the brain!

I don’t know why… probably because I like to eat them but when you really think about it, they are a very strange vegetable.

For starters, they are essentially the flower of a thistle. And they cannot be eaten raw so you wonder how people ever thought to eat them in the first place?

Artichokes cannot be eaten raw

Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region and have been eaten by the ancient Romans and Greeks for centuries. These tasty flowers were hailed for their aphrodisiac qualities but now, we are realising that they are one of the most nutrient dense foods as they are high in: iron, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.  They are also high in folic acid and fibre.

Last cool fact…. One artichoke plant produces 20 flowers per year.


UPDATE: You can eat artichokes raw but they will turn your mouth blue/purple and because they are so high in fibre, might upset your tummy a bit!


Do you like artichokes? What is your favourite way to eat them? Let me know below 🙂 and if you like this post, make sure to share it with your friends.










Foodie Fun Facts – Cooking Pasta

Food Facts

I am curious about pasta this week.

Mainly because I have been eating a lot of it due to its ease to cook and fill me up with minimum effort.

Pasta is also a great meal to cook when you live in a tiny house with a tiny kitchen. Ok, I don’t live in a tiny house… more like a tiny apartment which is part of a huge dorm complex, but it’s still tiny and any tiny house movement people would appreciate how Alex and I efficiently use our space.

My Tiny Kitchen - Complete with 2 burners and a fan that is not connected to anything.
My Tiny Kitchen – Complete with 2 burners and a fan that is not connected to anything.
My tiny living room
My Little Living Room – My favourite part is the view!
My Tiny Dining Table .. It's a box
My Tiny Dining Table .. It’s a box!

So back to pasta!

When I was researching about salt and boiling water, as seen on my instagram, I came across an article on the best way to cook pasta to stop it sticking. I tried the method and it worked wonders, which then lead me to think about pasta… Who invented it? How long ago? Was it always made with wheat?


About Pasta

The origins of pasta are hard to pin-point as the translation of pasta in Italian is “paste” but it is believed that pasta is the Italians’ attempt of Asian noodles. The first reference of pasta was documented in 1154 in Sicily and it’s popularity grew after that due to its long shelf life and versatility.

It has always been made from a dough of durum wheat flour or semolina flour, water and eggs. Originally it used to be oven baked to dry but in later years, pasta would be hung on large racks to dry out. To cook, it has always been immersed in boiling water for a period of time to rehydrate it.


Stopping Pasta from Sticking

To the main point of this article, how do you stop pasta from sticking together?

Food Facts

The trick is to have enough water in your pot to allow for the pasta to expand while cooking and to be patient (not my strong point) to allow the water to come to a full, rolling boil before you add the dried pasta. Once you add the pasta, a reaction happens. The starch in the pasta begins to explode and then starts sticking to everything! This is when you need to stir the pasta to “wash” away the starch. I found that just doing this dramatically improved my pasta dish and provided a much smoother noodle.

I used to use oil to stop the pasta sticking but the downside of this technique is that is stops the pasta sauce from sticking to the pasta and instead goes flying on everything else; clothes, table, significant other’s face.

I could go into much more detail on how to cook the “perfect pasta” but I like to keep it simple. If you are interested, you can explore my references.

I leave you with my very simple Chicken Pesto Pasta, which can be made in a flash!

And if you liked this article, feel free to share it with your friends or comment below on your favourite pasta dish.







Foodie Fun Facts – Castile Soap

Foodie Fun Fact

If you follow me on instagram, you will see that about 5 weeks ago, I started posting a food fact every Friday.

Foodie Fun Fact - Olivia Louise Taylor

I started this from my own curiosities about food but also because I wanted to find a way to share the facts that I was learning with everyone around me.

Rewind 10 years ago, before smartphones and I used to carry a little red notebook around with me EVERYWHERE! Every time an unanswered question would come up in a conversation, I would write it down and when I got near a computer, I would look it up and write down the answer so that I could share it.

You could definitely say that I was always a little nerd and my friends used to love teasing me about it but I didn’t care because I knew that they secretly loved finding answers as well.

That curiosity never died but I don’t have to carry a notebook around with me now, I just google the answer and the conversation stops there.

So back to the food facts….

I love researching them, making a little infographic and posting it to Instagram and Facebook but I miss sharing all the facts with you, so this will be my little space to elaborate. Starting this week with facts about:



“But it’s a soap, not a food?!?”

Correct! It is a soap but it is specifically made with olive oil.

Castile soap is an 100% vegetable oil based soap. It was originally just made with olive oil but now it is made with any vegetable oil that goes white during the soap making process, like soybean or canola oil. Because it is 100% plant based, it makes it incredibly gentle on the body and the environment. This is because it is a true soap, instead of a chemical detergent, so it is biodegradable.

The fact that people even figured out how to make soap blows my mind! Here is a step by step process on how to make liquid castile soap from WikiHow and it is not as straight forward as you would think that it would be…

Anyway, back to Castile Soap. The reason that it is called that is from the region that it was made, Castile in Spain. Soap making had been around in Europe since 300AD but it was always made with olive and laurel oil. Laurel oil was hard to come by so eventually, soap was made with just the olive oil and the castile soap that we love and cherish today was made.

If you are still wondering about the modern applications of castile soap, then you will probably be more familiar with the brand Dr Bronner’s.

Dr Bronner's Liquid Soaps
Dr Bronner’s Liquid Soaps

As someone who does have sensitive skin, I love this stuff but it is expensive! Until I started reading up on the applications of this amazing stuff and realised that I have been using it all wrong! It’s a concentrate so you need to dilute it to get the most benefits.

Here are some great ways to use castile soap from Care2:

Shampoo: Use castile soap as a stand-in for a harsh detergent-based shampoo. Give your head a break! Just mix castile soap with water at a ratio of 1:3.


Tub Scrub: Make a tile or toilet “soft scrub” out of baking soda and castile soap. Simply fill a spray bottle with a dilution of 1:3 castile to water. Sprinkling the area you wish to clean with a liberal dusting of baking soda, then spray the castile solution over the top. Scour with a sponge or scrub brush and watch the stains disappear. This also works great on crusty stovetops!


Mopping Solution: Use 2 or 3 tablespoons of castile soap in a full bucket of water, and mop mop mop your floors to a sparkly new luster.


Dish Soap: Make a dishwashing soap (for hand washing) or a liquid hand soap (for washing hands) by simply mixing a 1:1 ratio of castile to water.


Body Wash: You can use castile soap as a gentle yet efficient bath soap/body wash. They actually sell castile bar soap, but if you want to use the liquid just dilute it in a 2:1 ratio of castile to water.


Baby Wipes:I also love this recipe from the Wellness Mamma for baby wipes. I don’t have children but I love having baby wipes in the car for sticky situations or when I am camping.


Do you use castile soap at home? How do you like to use it? Please tell me about it in the comments section below!








Diluted Salad

Hearty Sweet Potato Salad


I now live with 50 people.

I am slowly getting to meet everyone and one thing that comes from living with so many different souls is that there are lots of interesting and goofy conversations…

Today, the conversation was about diluted salad.

Diluted salad you ask? What the hell is that?

Well let me tell you my dear friend and soon it will all make sense.

We would have all done it at one time or another. We get all the ingredients for a salad and chop them up. The tomatoes, the peppers, the nuts, the cheese and it all looks so good! Then you add the lettuce and you add too much and suddenly your salad is diluted!

And don’t get me wrong, I like lettuce but when you have a diluted salad, you have all lettuce and none of those delicious morsels that you had just spent all that time chopping up.

The solution…

Have plenty of bowls with all the different ingredients and then stab each ingredient onto your fork to make a different mini salad for each bite!

A much deliciousness on one fork that a girl can get!
A much deliciousness on one fork that a girl can get! Photo credit: Care2

Ok, not really, but that is one possible solution.

Have you ever made a diluted salad? Did you resurrect it to become a concentrated salad or did you just suck it up and suffer through the extra lettuce until you finally found all the good bites hanging out at the bottom of the bowl?

Have a great day groovers x