A Simple Nut Free Chocolate Chip (gluten free, paleo) + Toddler Talk P3

IMG_3104 (640x427)Asher: Pretty toes! (Pointing to my pedicure then proceeding to kiss my toes).

Asher: Looking at my plain finger nails. “Not pretty fingers mummy” (Shaking head)

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Asher: “Mummy is pretty.”

Me: “Thanks ash! What about daddy?” 

Asher: “Not pretty.”

Me: “oh? what is daddy then?”

Asher: “Daddy is beautiful!”

Me and hubby: “awww.ok. What about you?”

Asher: “I am a good boy.” 

_________

Tap fell off.

Asher: “Oh no! Mummy broke it!”

Me: “Oh, the tap was already loose. I didn’t break it. Maybe it wasn’t fix on properly.”

Asher: Who broke it?”

Me: “I don’t know Asher. I think it has been that way for a long time. Who do you think broke it?”

Asher: “Daddy” 

_____________

Hubby parallel parked the car.

Asher: “Good parking daddy” 

_______________

In the car as we drive out. 

Asher: “Time to go home. I want to sleep in my room on my train pillow.” 

___________

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Asher is really into his bickies and cookies recently. In my attempt to experiment to make some at home, I read and discover the use of gelatine. The result was better than what I thought. The gelatine, egg and coconut oil bind it together. I used a mixture of arrowroot and coconut flour so it is not only nut free, but it provided a more “cookie” like texture. A winner in my books as it is really simple to whip up! IMG_3103 (640x427)

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Happy 7th Year Wedding Anniversary + Persistence + Super Fudgy Brownies

pre weddingThis weekend mark our 7th year wedding anniversary. It is such a cliche, but 7 years seem to have fly  by quickly. 

The 7 years have been filled with adventures. There were moments of stillness, but mostly, we stood side by side each other. 

pre wedding 2The low lights

  • Managing through cancer in the family
  • Stumbling through my grandmother’s health and death
  • Dealing with infertility
  • Work issues
  • Finding out feet as a couple, learning about our values 
  • Learning how to live with each other and working out how to manage our differencestea ceremony

Then we have our high lights

  • Celebrating pregnancy and birth of our son
  • Travelling
  • Learning and embracing our identity as a couple
  • Building and moving into our home 
  • Learning how to be a couple againpregnancy

I’m sure we have more in both lists 🙂 

The last point about learning how to be a couple though rings so true to us right now. Being a parent certainly adds to a different dimension of being a couple for sure. So far this year, we have decided to change a few things to enjoy tine being parents but also to have time being together as a couple. We are definitely finding that hard as whatever little time we have together is filled with conversation about everything else. 

Yet 7 years of marriage has taught me one big thing. Persistence. That’s the beauty of marriage. While there needs to be an element of urgency (if not, we would be pushing our marriage to the back burner!), it is the persistence and the vow of commitment that stood out clearly. The “ok, that didn’t work out too well, let’s try again..and again..and again..and again” with the most important thing reviewing and trying. thomas family

Here is to even MORE years of being us and loving being us!IMG_3084 (640x427)

I would return soon with our celebration cake but HEY nothing spells celebration than chocolate right? This uses tahini, coconut butter and almond butter. It was so good that I cannot stop licking the spoon! Best of all, it is raw so it really takes seconds to whip up. IMG_3082 (640x427)

Happy 7th Year Wedding Anniversary 🙂 

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Wild Orange and Peppermint Raw Chocolate (Raw) + Essential Oils Uses

IMG_3068 (640x427)My first encounter with essential oils was in high school. My mother introduced it to me. She would use an oil burner and use lavender, creating a calm home environment especially when I was studying for exams. At university days, I would be burning the mid night oil (haha! pun intended) with the soft glow of a tea light burner, with the oils burning in a bath of water. 

We have all been there with different smells invoking different emotions. Lavender invokes feelings of calmness and relaxation. I love the smell of geranium and bergamot too. IMG_3072 (640x427)

Fast forward to Dec 2015 when I decided to take the plunge in learning more about the home uses of essential oils. Over the past few months, I have discovered soooo many ways of using them that I think I got my money’s worth. As an introduction, I found out that

  1. Essential oils is best used in a diffuser. That retains the benefits of the oil as it is diffuse using the coldness of water rather than heat. 
  2. When diffusing at night, it helped Asher to sleep through (More often than none) during some tricky times such as a cold or when he is coming down with some form of sickness. I did not know essential oils can help fight off sickness naturally.
  3. We can make up roller blends suitable for little kids for different reasons. E.g. immune support. We definitely use those on day care days!
  4. We can make up spray bottles to help with bruises, insect bites..etc. So HANDY for kids. I even have a purse version
  5. Concentration and focus for us. Diffusing or a spray bottle for it
  6. Supporting different health issues such as headaches, sinus, pains, and hormonal balances 
  7. Cleaning! 
  8. and then we have food 

I have never thought that essential oils can be added to food. It sort of make sense doesn’t it when we have chocolate scented with pure essential oils. The easiest example that come to mind is the use of peppermint essence in our cooking when we could be using pure peppermint oil instead.IMG_3074 (640x427)

 Armed with my cool little collection of essential oils, I decided to add wild orange to a batch of chocolate. I love to store a batch of raw chocolate in my freezer. It takes up a few minutes to make them up, but they are so yummy. I would often sneak a small chocolate bark post lunch for that sweet finish. 

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WIN: Circa Home Limited Edition Honey Flower and Sandalwood Gift Pack

*This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Circa Home

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The fresh scent of honey and sandalwood fills the room. Sweetness of honey together with the musky smells of sandalwood hits my nose, making me smile. 

 

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What are you grateful for today? 

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I am grateful for the the cuddles and laughs together with my little boy.

I am grateful for the workout with my awesome buddy, and together we did some personal bests. 

I am grateful for the warm almond milk coffee when I needed a break. 

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Product Review: Circa Home Limited Edition Honeyflower and Sandalwood Classic Candle

The little things that make a home smells like a home. A classy blue box awaits me, together with a note book entitled “Today I am grateful for…” When Nuffnang, together with Circa Home invited me to review their newest addition to their gorgeous range of home products, I was eager. 

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If you are inhaling something, you need to make sure it is of the best quality. With a toddler at home, I make sure that the candles we have are 100% soy with natural wicks used. They create the least carbon monoxide, making it safe for everyone in the family. Each candle is hand made in Australia and is filled with the warmth oils of Sandalwood and Honey. 

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Did you notice the gorgeous typography on the candle? I love the gold classy print, adding a touch of class to our living space. Gratitude. Often we move quick through the day, forgetting to slow down to see the important things in life. The sweet scent and wording reminded me that it is ok to take a moment and be mindful and thankful of all that we have. A hug in a candle. That was what it felt like. 

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I dig deeper. Check the whole range out. There is something for everyone. If you prefer a non candle option, Circa Home created Fragrance Diffuser-perhaps for your bathroom? They even have an electric wax warmer, designed to be in rooms where the warm scent lingers without a naked flame. 

WIN: A Limited Edition Gratitude Gift Pack

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The good people at Circa Home is giving away a gorgeous limited edition Gratitude Gift Pack. Just in time too for Mother’s Day! The best thing is that the pack is for YOU and someone special. Follow the link to enter this fantastic competition.

Prize includes:
2 x Honeyflower & Sandalwood Classic Candles
2 x Honeyflower & Sandalwood Fragrance Diffusers
2 x Honeyflower & Sandalwood Scented Soy Melts
2 x Limited Edition Gratitude Electric Wax Warmers
(RRP $251.60)

Competition commences Monday 11 April and closes Sunday 1 May 2016. Open to Australian residents aged 18 and over.T&C here

What are YOU grateful for? 

*Although this is a sponsored post, the views are of my own. 

Chinese Walnut Cookies 核桃酥(Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_3058 (640x427)I thought I have posted these before but I actually have not! Even before we were married, hubby absolutely loves Chinese walnut cookies or 核桃酥. They are buttery, short and melt in your mouth. They are the must have if you visit a bakery in hong kong. IMG_3055 (640x427)

I have attempted a few “traditional” recipes in the past, but none was even close to what we remember travelling through hong kong and even back home in Malaysia and Singapore. Then randomly, I experimented with walnuts and coconut sugar- BLAM! This was close. I love that these has a melt in your mouth texture, and with a strong walnut taste. They are not as short as the traditional ones, but as I have removed refined ingredients such as icing sugar and butter, I think I can compromise on that. Top it with a few walnuts, and I think it is a good enough cookie to serve for next year Chinese New Year celebration!IMG_3054 (640x427)

 

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Raw Lemon Slice (Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_3066 (427x640)One of the lovely things about raw desserts and snacks is that it can be kept in the freezer. Before we left the country, I made up a batch of these Lemon Slices. Some we ate of course, but most of it was kept in the freezer. That way, when we are back, there is a little something there for us to munch on, or to put in snack boxes. IMG_3062 (640x427)

Since discovering doterra essential oils, there is no turning back. I love how many of their oils are food grade, which means it can be added to raw desserts and cooking. This raw lemon slice, I feel, was enhanced by the lemon essential oil that I placed in there. One word of warning though. I find that a little goes a long way! IMG_3064 (640x427)

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Travel workouts + Back to Basics Chocolate Cupcakes with Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting

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Holidays are awesome. A time to recharge but also to catch up with family and friends. Recently our family went on a 3 weeks break. Little Asher relished in grandparents’ care and attention while we just love having some down time. 

While I love our break, the first thing that I miss would be my regular workout sessions. This time round, I decided to go with the flow, opting to rest when my body needs to but aim to move daily. This was what I did

Day of departure Friday- Morning working. 5 TGU 12kg each side, 5 rounds of 10 reps, deadlifting, cleans, rows, push ups and sit ups

Saturday- No workout. Went for family walks.

Sunday- Walking the dog and carrying Asher while walking. That was a workout itself! The humidity means I was drenched with sweat. 

Monday- HIT Mum Plyo Hell

 

Tuesday- Modified workout from my usual group that does a metcon on Monday evenings. I did 14 mins 12 PU twist, GS and burpee with a jump over a mat. (I did 10 rounds), and then 7 min of 10 pairs of mountain climbers, 12 sit-ups and 20 bicycles (I did 7 or 8 rounds)

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Wednesday- HIT Mum 10 for 10 workout (Asher joined me)

Thursday- 10 rounds of 10 reps burpees, pushups, jumping squats and dips. (Asher joined me as well)

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Friday- HIT mum  Legs nd The trim tummy 10 mins

Saturday- Staycation. There is a wonderful gym at the resort. I did 1.2km run, 2×2 TGU, 5 rounds 10 reps, deadlifting, dumbbell squats and dips. Then I went for a few laps in the pool.

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Sunday- Rest day.

Monday- HIT mum All over BB 17 mins

Tuesday- Rest Day (travel day to Singapore)

Wednesday- 4 chin ups and 2 pull ups. 8 rounds of 10 reps burpees, push ups and sit ups 

Thursday- 5 chin ups. AMRAP of 17 minutes of 8 reps dips, burpees, pushups and heel squats. 

Friday-Nike App 15 minutes Advanced workout by Carili Lloyd (Metabolic Kick HIT workout)

Saturday- Hubby and I worked out together to his NAME. We had a “Name workout” I think in total I did 65 burpees, 200 star jumps, 40 sit ups, 40 dips and 20 push ups. I managed 5 chin ups with breaks. 

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Sunday- Rest Day (Travel to Johor)

Monday- Hotel Jen’s gym! 1.2 KM run, 4 rounds of 20x trx rows, 4 rounds 10x 40 kg deadlifting, 20 kg squats, followed by leg curl and shoulder press machines 

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Tuesday- Rest day

Wednesday- (Still feeling off) Managed HIT mum Tabata Power Shred 21 mins

Thursday- GYM day! around 1km run as warm up to the gym and 4 flights of stairs. 10 kg dumbbell TGU 5 each side. 4 rounds 16kg 10x reps squats. Leg press 188Kg PB (5 reps max increasing to 188kg), Chest press, shoulder push press, and leg curl. Walk home for rest. 

Friday- HIT Mum- The big 10 workout. 

Saturday- Rest Day

Sunday- Rest day. Travel back to Australia

In all, my workouts are around 15-20 minutes with 5-10 minutes of warm up and cool down. I’m usually back having a shower within 30 minutes. If I’m feeling like I need a rest, I would either take a rest or do a gentler workout. Everyday, I would climb the stairs to my parents apartments (around 16 flights with 10 steps each). Depending on the day, it would be at least once.  

Holiday workouts to me are a way to keep the momentum moving. I see benefits of doing quicker and shorter workouts than my usual ones (e.g. boxing) as it provides the body a break. I did try to see if there are any Muay thai or cross fit classes to go to- just for something new, but it just didn’t work out in the end of schedules and some places requesting for long term memberships. 

If you do participate in holiday workouts, what do you do? 

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Holidays aside, I shared this once on Instagram where we walked past a cafe and Asher wanted the chocolate cupcakes! I promised him that we would make some when we return home which was exactly what we did. Oh the look on my little boy’s face is precious. What I was even more surprised was that he ate the frosting which consisted of a little cream cheese and yogurt! Both which he generally does not like to have it on its own. I guess the power of chocolate is great. IMG_3050 (640x427)

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Travelling with a Toddler + Chinese Almond Cookies (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Chinese Almond CookiesDuring my travels, what I missed most was having the familiarity of my kitchen and ingredients that I know can sit well with our values, principles and food philosophy. I do believe in diversity and regardless of where we are at, our body needs a break from the usual routine. Food included.IMG_1165

I was really impressed with how Asher was with food. He ate pretty much anything and embraced the local food delights. From a typical breakfast of Indian Thosai, to different kuehs -he tried it all. He was a little hit and miss with durian. He didn’t love it but neither did he dislike it. I would just have to keep introducing it to him. IMG_0660

Another thing that we were most proud about was how well he behaved on the plane. We did not need to use gadgets-though we brought it and prepared it in advanced. We put together a goody bag of new puzzles, books and drawing materials. We had small little toys still wrapped up for him to open up on the plane. The funny thing was, it was the safety card at our seat that generated the most interest. He was literally studying it on each flight. Otherwise, snacks, conversation about the plane, reading, toys and nap time kept us sane. IMG_0871

We had quite a lot of misses on the toileting side of things on the plane- to be expected. We brought heaps of clothing but on the way back, we conceded defeat and put him in training pants to reduce the pressure on him and us. Lo behold, he went to the loo on the plane when we stopped asking, and kept his pants dry mostly. He asked for the toilet when we landed and that was sufficient till we got home.I don’t blame him. I’m not a fan of air plane loos myself!IMG_0682

Among the few things that Asher pick up during the trip were

  1. Eating ice cream
  2. He tried some juice
  3. Local fruits like Jambu Air, Jackfruit and Dragon fruit
  4. Smother in love from his grandparents
  5. Sharing food! 
  6. Some cookies and chocolate IMG_0572

Thankfully, I have always kept an open mind that Asher will experience the above some time in his life time. Besides, what’s life without chocolate, cookies and ice cream? Now back at home, Asher continued to eat his usual foods without much complains but was excited about some custard and instant blue berry ice cream (Cue: frozen bananas and blueberries). IMG_3044 (640x427)

I created these cookies as an adaptation of the Chinese Almond Cookies that my family loved for many years. The original recipe was almond meal and icing sugar. This version uses honey. The glaze is what made the yellow of the cookie stands out. My grandmother loved this and would have asked me to make it over and over again. If I could turn that time, I would gladly make them daily…just for her..
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