Orange Cheesecake Instant Ice-cream (Gluten Free, Clean eating) + Thankful

IMG_2681 (640x427)My favourite week of the year is here! The oven is being cranked up, the tree is decorated and we even have tinsel this year! Presents are wrapped. Music is playing. It is the season to be thankful. IMG_2678 (427x640)

As Christmas approaches, I’m always wondering how am I going to teach Asher how to be thankful. How do I explain that Christmas isn’t just about gifts and trees? I hope to add to this list but lately this is what hubby and I have been doing:

  1. As part of our bed time routine, we pray. Often I ask Asher what would he like to pray for. Of course, being a 2 year old, his priorities are his trains and cars. I try to extend that to praying for safety in travelling, the invention of transport vehicles, for bringing daddy home from work (and to work)…etc However, a couple of weeks ago, Asher said he wanted to “pray of A because she has a sore tummy”. I was so touched that I had tears in my eyes!
  2. Hubby and I spoke to him about giving and sharing. Demonstrating, role modelling and role playing with teddy (doggy) and friends. That was hard work! A toddler is naturally ego centric, what feels good should just be done over and over again…and sharing doesn’t always feel good immediately! Imagine our smiles when Asher started to share some food or an item with us, or with a friend. 
  3. Reading bible stories to him, especially the story of Jesus. While it still has mixed reactions, he was very intrigued by the baby born in a manger around horses.IMG_2681 (640x427)

And then it is about us as adults. The rush, the work end hecticness, the uncertainty of what may happen next year, the food prep, the presents organisation… all that add up and we may not be as thankful for each other. How many times have I snapped? How many times have I felt that my head was exploding? The unkind words or action that flow through me. So there comes forgiveness and I’m glad and humbled. Forgiveness breeds thankfulness and gratefulness. I know that as a mother and a wife, I want to fill our house with that as much as we can. IMG_2684 (640x427)

So while I have Christmas cookies to share (check out my instagram), I can’t help but whip up some ice-cream for the warm summer weather at Christmas. I’m making a version to bring to our Christmas lunch this year! But to cool all of us down, I hope you will enjoy my Orange Cheesecake Ice-cream. Optional: with a shot of nespresso to make a zesty affogato. IMG_2676 (640x427)

So at this Christmas, I’m thankful for you. Thankful for the love my friends have and the support you have given me. Thankful for the space to write my thoughts and sort out my ramblings. 

Merry Christmas xx 

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A Simple Orange Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting (Not quite paleo, gluten free) + Christmas and Feasting

Simple orange coconut cakeIt’s beginning to look a lot like christmas…

I’m a huge fan of christmas. The decorations come up, the songs are playing and presents wrapped. It is a time to remind ourselves of the love that God has sent us.IMG_2660 (640x427)

It is also when people seem to think we can “let it go” and “indulge”. Instead of an “all or nothing” thinking, I prefer to think of it like any other day or time of the week. We decide consciously if we are going to eat it. Sometimes we may take a bite and decide against it (I’m the girl who takes the smallest slice/taste, nibble on it and then go have a bigger helping if I like it). If I have a glass of wine, I’m going to enjoy the glass. I choose to say no when I want to say no. If I say yes, I choose to enjoy it.IMG_2671 (640x427)

I view the same way with birthdays or any other special occasions. I know that the slice of cake will not cause me to gain 5 kg. Maybe christmas means we are expose to more of these treats. I think it is perfectly ok to have them. It is not about using it as an excuse to go crazy. 

There are many articles about feasting and “eating healthy” at Christmas. The formula I believe can be simple. More veggies, more salad, some protein and enjoy the treats- but acknowledge they are treats. Move and enjoy moving. 

I made this cake for my birthday back in October. I love oranges and I wanted to share cake with my dearest workout mates. It is really simple but it hit a spot in me. Perhaps it was my birthday, or that it is a layered cake. This year, I learned that celebrations are best with people I enjoy around me. IMG_2675 (640x427)

Cake can be nutrients dense with the right ingredients. Then, we can enjoy every bite and every slice with pleasure. This Christmas, I’m going to practice being kind, being less critical and really just treat food the way it is suppose to be treated. Food. Nourishing. Enjoyment. 

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Salted Caramel with Nut Praline Slice (Gluten Free, Paleo, Clean eating, Raw) + Work mates

Salted caramel Praline sliceIn the kitchen of where I work has a poster near the doorway. It states what the team values. 

“someone who can bake”

I love it when the team has got its priorities right. IMG_2647 (640x427)

When it became my turn to provide morning tea though, my mind races. What can I bring that could potentially be a crowd pleaser, something perhaps a little different but also refined sugar free? IMG_2649 (640x427)

I was anxious. This is a team that is used to having gorgeous home made cakes made with traditional flour and sugar. Each time, I felt tongue tied when I explain why I’m not a fan of gluten, sugar or anything refined. I was conscious it could make me stick out like a sore thumb but still wanting to stand my ground of our food philosophy.

This slice was inspired by the Merrymaker sisters’ snickers cake. My biggest take away from their recipe was the gorgeous nut praline. Starting from there, I created my layers and made it to suit my taste. 

It was gone by the end of the day and that was all the confirmation I needed. 

If you are looking for a cool christmas treat to bring or make, this would be a lovely one to try!IMG_2652 (640x427)

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Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean eating) + Update on views of fitness and food

Pumpkin PancakesIt’s nearly the end of the year. I thought I would like to update myself (and if you are reading) about my thoughts on fitness, food and body image. I have written about scales talkfood judgement, and also my fitness routine. Things have changed since Feb 2015! 

There are many reasons. One is that I truly believe fitness is a journey. It does sound cliche, but the more I work out, the more I’m realising other reasons to do so. Yes, it started off as aesthetics, then it was the fear of returning to where I was. Gradually it became a competition with myself on how far I can push my body. Now, I’m at a space where I work out to feel good, be healthy, have energy, be strong and have fun. Do I want to pump out more pull ups? Oh you bet I do! Do I want to run faster, yep or tackle heavier weights? it’s there.

I have also learned though, that it is ok to take breaks. I used to feel SO bad about missing a session. Now, if I missed one, over the weekdays, I might choose to let it go, do something on my usual rest day, or turn on a HITT session. A good stretch or remedial massage is a fitness session too. 

Another big change is that my really really awesome gym closed in July 2015. I.grieved.big.time. Thankfully, the people that I work out together felt the same way and so we decided to do something about our grief and channelled it into our own workout sessions. We even have a name! I just have to remember it. 

I have a workout buddy now too. We decided that we want to continue the momentum and practice kettle bells. We bought some equipment and transformed one of my living areas into a home gym. 

My current work out routine

Monday- Metcon

Tuesday- Weights/Kbs

Wednesday- Boxing

Thursday- HITT or KBs

Friday- Rest day

Saturday- boxing

Sunday- Rest day 

Active rest days are the best. I walk, swim, run around, dance with Asher or do a BIG stretch. 

The biggest change of course is probably my mindset. 

I tracked food in June after discovering a couple of my pants became a little too tight (aka bursting) for my liking. I turned a notch down in snacking and returned to just sensible 3 meals with a snack before workout. I practiced being kind to myself and slip a coffee when I need or feel like one instead of berating myself for too much caffeine. I savoured dark chocolate and ate my berries. I continued to do what I used to do- which is to ask myself is the food item for pleasure or nourishment or both. Enjoying my food rather than freaking out.

I stopped weighing myself. 

Surprise surprise. My pants fit, I’m feeling better and I actually conquered turkish get ups. Plus hit a few PB with lifting weights. 

So what’s next?

  • Install a pull up bar
  • Continue to practice sensible eating. 
  • Continue with weights and hopefully able to deadlight heavier 
  • Be kind to self

Speaking of kindness, we are not in the US and I am more than aware that pumpkin season is sort of over. Here in my household though, it feels like pumpkin season is weekly. Asher is into pancakes and here is my attempt to include in a good dose of antioxidants and beta-carotene  in him. A dollop of coconut yogurt or yogurt completes it. Or if you are Asher, plain is the best way. 

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Apple Crumble Cakes (paleo, gluten free) + How I de stress

IMG_2634 (427x640)What? Only a week since my last strawberry post.. No! Strawberry withdrawn symptoms already. So at the farmers market we go to, I walked past a sign that says 2 boxes for $7. They looked big, luscious and practically calling my name. So into our basket (stroller) they went. IMG_2636 (640x427)

Once I got home though, I realised that these strawberries weren’t going to last for long. That’s ok because I have plans to make the banana strawberry loaf again… only to realise that my bananas aren’t ripe enough. I know. Tragedy. 

I do love a good crumble. With some macadamias in the pantry, I decided to whip some of these baby cakes out. Crunch on top and softness of the cake beneath it. It was yum.Apple and Strawberry Crumble Cakes

Baking is my de-stressor. I’m not a good “relaxer” my mind whirls and I can’t stop thinking. Being a mum makes it worse as I’m constantly planning ahead. Doing something though means it takes off my mind off the constant stream of thoughts. Baking and exercises are both things that forces me to focus.

So this is a result of one of my “de-stress” mornings. Thanks to Asher, I generally wake at around 6am, if not earlier anyway. It is not uncommon for me to bake either before he wakes or while he is eating his breakfast. That sets my day right. 

How do you de-stress? hit me with more ideas. 

 

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Raw Carrot Cake Bites

Raw carrot cake bitesThere are many raw treats popping up around Perth at the moment. I have my favourites- mainly those that does not use agave as a sweetener. I prefer the use of honey, rice malt, medjool dates or coconut sugar. While there are debates between the level of fructose in each kind of sweetener, I think it is best to use common sense and your taste buds to guide you. Agave does not sit well with me and neither does stevia. Personally, I think that whichever one you choose, less is more. IMG_2624 (640x427)

I love carrot cake. Maybe it is the deception of the goodness of carrots in a cake, but to me, that is comfort food. When hubby and I were in our university days, I fell terribly sick once. I hardly got out of bed and did not have appetite for any thing. Except for a big slice of carrot cake. Well, ok, that one slice was my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fast forward to 14 years later, I still love a good slice of carrot cake. My taste buds have change of course and I’m finding most cakes are too sweet for me- to the point that I’m unable to enjoy the flavour of the cake while my tastebuds is stinging from the sugar hit. IMG_2630 (640x427)

Still, you can tell my love for it prevailed. For Asher’s full moon celebration, I made carrot cupcakes with cream cheese yogurt swirl. I did as similar layered cake for his 2nd year birthday when it was the combination of carrot and apple that won me over. 

So I guess it is no surprise that I would attempt to make a raw version of carrot cake. If you follow my instagram, you probably noticed that I made one before. My experiment of using  didn’t work the way I envisioned it to be (i know..what was I thinking). This round, I combined coconut butter with coconut milk and it worked so much better. Cream cheese wouldn’t hurt too I am sure. IMG_2625 (640x427)

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Strawberry Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free)

IMG_2506 (640x427)There is something classic about a chocolate cake. It is timeless. It never aged. Best of all, it always bring out that little comfort when things are a little tough. 

There are some requirements when it comes to a good chocolate cake though. For me, they have to be

  • Super dark. I like my chocolate a touch bitter. 
  • Moist. Bitter doesn’t mean it has to be dry. 
  • Moorish. I want to have a another bite after the first one. 
  • It has to make me feel like a princess. IMG_2497 (640x427)

You know me and my love for strawberries. They are paired perfectly with chocolate. I love how the strawberries gives it the sweetness this cakes need. Yet not so sweet that it takes the chocolate out. I have been using coconut flour quite bit, and is happy to have this be more “cake like”. What I love though, is the “salted caramel” It is made out of coconut sugar and coconut milk and it is very addictive. I can’t help by finish licking the spoon and pot by the end of it! IMG_2494 (640x427)

I made these mini cakes for my coach and workout buddy’s birthday. A special treat for two very special people. Strawberry Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

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