Amanda Niehaus is the brains behind Easy Peasy Organic, a website devoted to sharing recipes, projects and ideas about sustainable living (for a true taste of her work, see the delicious smoothie recipe we’ve shared in the post below). Talking to Amanda about the evolution of her blog, her family and her personal ethos, we learnt that the road to Easy Peasy hasn’t been all that straight-forward…
What is Easy Peasy Organic all about?
Easy Peasy Organic reflects my love of quality, real food – which often includes produce from the market or my own townhouse garden and always involves ingredients with names I can pronounce and define without a degree in chemistry. But I also think that quality doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. I often give tips for buying quality on the cheap, and my recipes are always practical. They have to be – I have a four-year old daughter!
How did the blog start?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32, when my daughter was 8 months old – and it hit me that I didn’t want to die with a bunch of great ideas in my head (among other things, like traveling across the world, seeing my daughter go to kindy/graduate/get married). During treatment, I was spending a lot of time figuring out how to avoid chemicals in my food, cosmetics, and life in general. I figured that my body is already damaged goods now, so why push it? I have a PhD in ecology, and was barreling down the academic career path before having Nelle and cancer de-railed me. I needed a break from the pressures of scientific research. A good friend of mine (Steph Bond of Bondville) suggested I start a blog to share my ideas. Steph’s idea was gold: Easy Peasy Organic was born.
Part of your ethos is about sustainable living. Where did your interest in this first come from?
I grew up in the Iowa countryside, where cornfields run straight to the horizon. Every weekend, we’d drive to Grandma’s – a turn-of-the-century farmhouse with ride-able cows, a barn that leaned to the right, and no running water. Grandma always cooked from her heart, which must be genetic because that’s how I do it. I always felt a connection with nature; but for me an important part of living ‘sustainably’ is being real. Authentic.
What does ‘living sustainably’ mean to you?
I think that living sustainably requires an open mind and an adaptability – characteristics that I value in my self, my family and my friends.
There’s a huge emphasis on family in your writing and your photography. In what ways do you draw inspiration from those closest to you?
I love my little family! Nelle is a continual source of inspiration – she’s sunshine incarnate – but being a parent is harder than I’d imagined, and I often write about those challenges. Robbie? I emulate his ability to be 100% authentic, and he’s been my centre of gravity during motherhood and cancer and life in general.
What is in the cards for the future of Easy Peasy Organic?
We’re all constantly evolving, and my blog will continue to mirror my own life as I grow. Initially, I just wanted to share my ideas and recipes with other like-minded people out there, and that’s definitely still the case. But now I want more. I have 3 e-cookbooks, a novel, and several photography exhibits in my head just waiting to get out. Currently I’m developing a line of homemade moisture products based on raw, organic cocoa butter and establishing a fine-art photography business – both of these reflect the sustainable ideals of Easy Peasy Organic. But I’ll still keep writing. I can’t stop now.