Banana Chia Pudding (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan)

img_3427-640x427Recently I had 4 gorgeous days to myself. The whole zika virus in Singapore and Malaysia means I was advised not to travel. The decision did not come easy as the trip was to celebrate my brother in law’s wedding. It was meant to be a family affair, one that hubby and I looked forward to for months. Still, being pregnant means there are more risks- one that we are not willing to take with reported cases of mircophely associated with the zika virus. After giving it some thought, we decided to have hubby and Ash travel without me. 

I mentioned in my previous post that this pregnancy has somewhat been different for me. The first one was full of excitement and joy. I was sick but happily sick. I might be spewing in the toilet and looking grey for most of the pregnancy, but the idea of having a baby- one that we were told we could never have, just seem so overwhelmingly blessed. I struggled big time with working then as the nature of my work means long hours and travel in the car. 

This pregnancy is our 2nd miracle. We have defy odds. With the pregnancy comes joy in the first second and panic in the second. Many thoughts flew through my mind. I have just settled back to regular work. One that I enjoy going to, feeling challenged and stimulated. As most would agree, the people you work with are just as important as the work. I was beginning to feel like I am settling. Then bam. Pregnancy means I would have to take time off and with much uncertainty to where I will go when I return. 

Then it is the awareness. The awareness of what will come ahead. The sleep deprivation, the thoughts of juggling with a pre scholar and a baby, the labour process- or in my case, awareness that the doctor would recommend c-section the 2nd time round, the cries that you may never soothe, the concern that I may not be able to give this baby as much as I did with Ash… img_3430-640x427

It also came with a lot of nos and rejections. The no travel to Asia to see my parents/in laws/bil wedding, the no you got to rest because you have some spotting and cramps, the no you have to stop doing so much, the no you have to reduce intensity of the workout, the no the darn pants won’t fit anymore… and of course, the no to Ash when he wanted me but I had no more fuel to give. Then we were put on a ‘higher risk” list as bub came out positive with one indicated of down syndrome. Suddenly, the focus was more on knowing that his heart will be ok, and there are no deformities. When that happened, the guilt set in on how can I worry with SUCH LITTLE things when this little life may not have even existed? 

This verse struck firmly in mind. 

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 

God is good and our prayers have been answered. Things will work out eventually. Right now, we are back to being at the low risk marker. I’m feeling better. And the trip? It was a blessing in disguise because I have not experienced 4 whole glorious days to myself … in what I cannot remember when. 

What did I enjoy?

-HOT drinks and meals

-On my own agenda. A quick duck to the shops? No problems! 

-Groceries done in 30 minutes

-Shopping. Proper shopping

-Silence

-Sleep

-Concentrating on a friend’s conversation

-Clean house

-Less laundry

-No crumbs

-I can play the music I want to hear! 

-Being by myself in the toilet and shower

-Hot long showers

-Did I mention sleep? 

So the 4 days ended and I’m definitely feeling more refreshed. The madness will begin and it will be a long time till I get this freedom again. 

I’m sharing this lovely pudding that I have been having for a snack (or post dinner 4th meal of the day). It’s quick, easy and definitely healthy and tasty. img_3433-640x427

[yumprint-recipe id=’148′] 

 

Asher turned 3! A gluten free, healthy and mostly paleo party.

Oh hello there! Welcome back to my little space. I haven’t been far. Just pre-occupied with a few things. This time however, I’m back to document Asher’s 3rd Birthday Celebrations. 

birthday set up

This year, I have been sucked in the whole concept of birthday parties. Asher, having his love for wheels suggested one day he likes a fire engine theme party (what would a 2ish year old know right?!). Anyway, having hear his sales pitch of his list of guests and his love for fire engines, I was sucked right in (didn’t take much) and went researching how do I give a fire engine theme party.

I did take the easy way out, and managed to come across a 1960s vintage fire engine that is being re vamped for kids parties. From there, it just seems certain that we are having a fire engine theme party. 

Our family continued to lived with our philosophy of eating- as healthy and as real as it can be. From that, food planning was easy. An afternoon spread of: 

 

birthday cake

Asher’s Strawberry and Chocolate Birthday Cake with Ganache and Coconut Caramel. 

I’m not sure what I was thinking and used coconut/tapiaco- not an usual blend for a big party. It turned out “okish” but certainly not my best bakes so far. 

fruit kebabs

Fruit Kebabs that appeared to be gone in an instant… 

fruit jellyFruit Jelly- Made of grass fed gelatine, coconut water, strawberries and kiwi. I buy my gelatine from here. I’m really happy with this jelly and made it quite a few times for parties/pot lucks or just because. 

miso butter

Miso Butter Chicken- Something warm for winter

smoked salmon loaf

my all time favourite! Smoked Salmon Mediterranean Loaf. Adapted from this recipe here

vege and dipsDips and Veges- Featuring my Cashew “Cream Cheese” and Chives Dip. LOVING nutritional yeast. Who would have thought blender cashews and nutritional yeast and chives would give such lovely protein hit of a dip? A lovely friend brought a gorgeous garlic and herb dip. 

cheese platterCheese and Nuts

sushiSushi

13754134_10153740997178091_7595983491908787864_n

Sweet Potato Chips 

That’s pretty much it! We went against the usual norms I guess but it is food that we would generally have + a few treats (like sushi, cheese, sweet potato chips..). 

asher birthday 3rd

I love how much fun our little man enjoyed himself!

13686596_10153740997488091_5151506763638500218_nI wish we have a photo of him running away when the tap was being turned on! Still, he enjoyed every minute and thought it was very special.

asher 3 flowers

From a blink of any eye, my little baby is turning into a little boy (Big boy he would correct me). His cheekiness, laughs and that twinkle in his eyes. His sense of humour, affectionate ways, cautious, empathic, yet curious amazes me. Not to mention how creative he is starting to become, stacking things, role playing and building… I cannot imagine what he would be like when he is 4, but the beauty of parenthood means I get to enjoy him. The way he is. Right now. 

 

 

Product Review: Crayola Colour Alive!

Product Review: This review is brought to you by Nuffnang and Crayola.

IMG_3134A cool packaged arrived. Not one, but FOUR awesome colouring books from Crayola for our enjoyment and review.

Crayola Color Alive – Disney Frozen
Crayola Color Alive – Marvel Avengers
Crayola Color Alive – Mythical Creatures
Crayola Color Alive – Enchanted Forest

 Asher, being 3 soon, absolutely loves to doodle, draw and colour. Crayola has been one of our first choices of first crayons to purchase. One of our favourite products would be their paint and huge pavement chalk. IMG_3139

Crayola Colour Alive uses current technology to bring our children’s colouring literally to life. I remember hubby (Being in the IT industry), telling me how cool toys would be as they turn 4D. Imagine his happy smiles when he saw Colour Alive technology come to life. 

IMG_3145

The generosity means that Asher and I spent quite a few hours of quality time together, choosing the pages and colouring over them. Mr Bossy of course decided that I would colour and he would let me know what colours he wants. As a mum, I like anything that is easy to package and bring along in our travels, so I’m pleased to see a little pocket at the back where the crayons can be kept. 

The colouring books are simple enough for a 3 year old to flip through, hold a pencil and colour. He still needs plenty of my help, but those material isn’t unfamiliar to him. When you watch the video, you will see that Ash is particularly fond of Frozen….

IMG_3147

All we needed to do after colouring is to download an App “Colour Alive” onto our iPad or phone. Turn the App on, choose the theme, point the camera over it, and select 4D or magic effect. Then see your colouring come to life! 

IMG_3162-2

I recommend saving your special 4D character. That’s where the fun begins! You get to turn it around, make it kick, and even take photos with it.

The products RRP at $7.99 each and are available at major leading retailers. Each pack includes six Crayola Crayons, one Special Effects Crayon, 16 Action Coloring Pages, and FREE app download (iPhone, Android and Windows Phone). Drawings with the Special Effects Crayon will add amazing animated effects to your coloring page within the Color Alive app.

 For more information on this please visit the website http://www.crayola.com.au/products/color-alive-product/.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Using almond pulp) + Taking breaks

IMG_3330 (640x427)Do we need more cookie recipes? I vote yes! There is something about cookies that shouts comforting. I love the smell of these when it is fresh out of the oven. I created these using left over almond/cashew pulp from our fresh almond/cashew milk. I hate letting things go to waste, and would attempt to make something out of the pulp each week. IMG_3326 (640x427)

To make them more crispy, I deliberately toast them a little more. I omitted any oil but use nut butter to bind them together instead. Anything with chocolate is good isn’t it? So in goes 2 squares of dark lindt chocolate. 

Otherwise, life has been a tad overwhelming in our household. Luckily, hubby and I booked in a few days to the gorgeous Southwest earlier. We had  total blast. We enjoyed nature, slept heaps and ate. Having a near 3 year old is never quite relaxing of course, but the down time was much needed.IMG_3328 (640x427)

Which brings me my next point, why is it that we struggle to take breaks? Do we need to redefine breaks? Does it have to be a long overseas holiday? Or a few days at home? 

When hubby and I spoke about that, we realised that we can never quite “relax” at home. There is always a project or something that needs to be done. Those days are welcomed of course. We often feel accomplished when a section of the house has been decluttered, or if I have created meals that will last us for days. Taking a break for us, means not doing the daily responsibilities, getting out to enjoy nature, and family time. 

We are still learning as a family of what we should do. No doubt it will change (kids club? Bring it on!). However, we shall take what we can for now!IMG_3329 (427x640)

[yumprint-recipe id=’146′]

Raw Berry and Lemon Slice + Expectations

IMG_3319 (640x427)It has been a journey of self acceptance with my weight gain and loss journey. From time to time, there will be circumstances that would make me question if I’m doing the right thing or should I be “achieving more”. 

Walking out of an appointment recently, it was suggested that the judgement of self was too high. A general checkup with a kind and warm doctor suggests that perhaps I have too much on my plate. I laughed. In case you are wondering, my physical health is great! Doc was more concerned about the level of expectations I have. IMG_3321 (640x427)

I laughed because deep down I have a fighter voice that query  “is it enough” and “what could be better”. There is a certain drive that carries me. As a child, I was taught that it is the effort and self- discovery that counts more so than the results. 

As a parent, I wondered if I carry that towards Ash. Did I suggest that he should know more because there is always something more to learn? Or have I provided a “I recognise the effort and I am proud” vibe? 

As a wife, did I ever come across as always wanting more? Have I pushed my husband more than what he is ready for OR is it because of MY own expectations, but not recognising where he wants to be and what he wants? IMG_3323 (640x427)

As someone who loves good, health and fitness, what is the point of being on the quest of “being better” because it is endless. Still, not wanting to fall into the trap of being “getting by”. 

Improvement I think is never enough. It is however a fine line between the intention of improving and competition with self. At the end of the day, there is no finishing line. It is about what we do best in God’s plan for us. 

I love this refreshing slice. It’s a raw slice that I have attempted 2 variations (in my quest to “perfect” this). A raspberry and a blueberry version. Personally, I like the blueberry version better. Asher thinks it is “Ice cream cake” as it is creamy and filled with natural sweetness from the berries. IMG_3324 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’145′]

Pumpkin Nourish Bowl with Apple Pie (Paleo, Gluten Free) + Connection

IMG_3275 (640x427)Connection. 

The hardest bit about being married is to remain connected spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Hubby and I are great team players. We operate our household in sync. From meals, to budget to even parenting- we are the A team. 

As life responsibilities increase (or perceived increase?), it is so easy to fall into the trap of talking about the everyday stuff or coordinating our time table. We became so tired that when we do talk, it is usually about something we have to do. Not how we are, or what we need… but the doingIMG_3277 (640x427)

 At home, I known to say it the way it is without mincing my words. Perhaps too harsh at times. On reflection, it is the way I speak to myself and it is a learning curve on how not to do that- because I never intend to have that sort of harshness to my husband and son. When I become tired though, those tolerances become lower. 

Oddly, sitting and talking is hard for me just as it would hard for my hubby. There is a feeling of being drained. Like every piece of me has been taken away and it is much harder for me to connect emotionally to anyone. There would be some changes soon which I’m looking forward to.

1) We are starting to fall in love with the hills. From gorgeous fruit farms to our favourite cider place… not to mention its only 30 minutes. Even the drive up feels like we are going away somewhere

2) I resigned from one job. In August, I would just focus on having 1 job. That is a relief as it takes up quite bit of my mental head space

3) In July, I’m having a day off each week! What a luxury!

4) Hubby and I are trying to put time aside to just be with each other. Sometimes we don’t have to talk. Just presence is lovely. The other day, I found a cute little card with a love message from him. What a surprise! That used to happen heaps when we were dating so it is nice to feel that there are little touches, rather than us co-existing as life partners. 

5) Every alternate Sunday, Hubby gets the morning to run while I handle breakfasts. I’m recognising how he benefit from alone time too.

So 5 little changes in our household in hope for a more peaceful and loving one. Talk about a mid year review! 

So this little pumpkin nourish bowl was made when I had left over roasted pumpkin. Honestly it’s so easy to eat for breakfast. Top with some apple pie filling, it is warm and comforting as the cold 4C mornings set in. IMG_3278 (640x427)

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’144′]

Rich Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake + My Toddler teaching me to be mindful

IMG_3235 (640x427)I had a mindful moment. It was a friday morning. On my list of things to do :

  • Vacuum
  • Folding of clothes and putting them away
  • Make a double chocolate cake with ganache, salted caramel and popcorn for a birthday
  • a hummus dip
  • clean the kitchen
  • mop the floor
  • tidy up the house 
  • Ring my dadIMG_3237 (640x427)

Then, Asher filled his wagon up with items and told me that he is bring me to the airport. “MUMMA! Come on! We are going away. Come away with me!” 

Then he lead me upstairs. He asked me to sit down. Look out in the sky and said. “Let’s wait and look for the aeroplanes!” So we did just that. We listened to the wind, we saw the birds fly away. We noticed several cars driving about. We spoke about the blue sky and the clothes. 

Then he smiled and went back to his toddler play. IMG_3239 (640x427)

Those items were not completed (But most were), but what re played in my mind was MY toddler was teaching me how being in the moment is so precious. I hope that was his highlight too (and licking the spoon from making chocolate ganache) 

This is a rich and dense cake! Not the double chocolate cake that I mention but certainly one worthy to indulge in from time to time. I like it better the next day- in fact, I nearly chuck my recipe out because I thought it was too dense. Still, I love how it came together in the end. IMG_3231 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’141′] 

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Fritters + Toddler Talk P3

IMG_3218 (640x427)The luxury of breakfasts. What’s yours? We love our breakfasts in our household. Mine is usually boring- yogurt with my home made granola, or different variations of eggs + kimchi. For the guys in my household, it would be the same but with a variety of banana bread, buckwheat cracker with avocado and tomatoes, smoothie bowls and pancakes. On a Sunday, we may even have sausages, mushrooms, spinach and an egg. 

I get excited when it is a long weekend. A chance to take my time to cook up something different. You could grate the sweet potato, but I just mashed some up, mix it with zucchini and egg. Pan fry it and serve it with poached egg. We are very lucky to have some gorgeous fresh ricotta cheese- that totally lift the fritters up. 

Asher is nearly 3. With that comes language. His reasoning skills and bank of vocabulary have increased almost on a weekly basis. Here are some conversations we had recently IMG_3224 (640x427)

Toddler Talk P3 

Me: Sorry Asher. That’s enough milk. You can have water instead

Asher: “No! I want to cry instead.” 

 

Dinner table
Asher: “are you happy?”

Me (Feeling frustrated with repeated attempts to get him to sit at the table): “NO asher, I’m upset because you are not sitting at the table finishing your dinner.”

(After a few seconds)

Asher: “Mummy! You are pretty! (Big smiles)

“Are you happy now?”

Me (with raised eyebrows): “Thank you for the compliment. But you still need to sit at the table and eat.” 

Asher: “awwwwww” (cheeky smile on his face) 

 

Daddy:” Ok asher, we have to share watermelon with mamma”

Asher: “OK! I share a big piece”

Daddy: “Thats good sharing!”

Asher: “Give mamma the big skin of watermelon!” 

 

me: “Why did you wake last night?”

Asher: I wanted to see mummy”

Me: “But why? Was it a nightmare?”

Asher: “Because I like you mummy.” 

 

Dinner time

Me: “That’s enough crackling. The last one is for daddy.”

Asher: “Can daddy share with me?”

Me: “There is only 1 left. If you have that, daddy won’t have anymore.”

Asher: “Mummy cut it in half. Then Asher and Daddy can have!.” IMG_3228 (640x427)

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’140′]

Wild Orange Coconut Caramel Jelly Slice + Mum Talk

IMG_3217 (640x427)I have written about mindful play before. Just being present and attending to Asher settles in. He delights in the closeness and undivided attention. I’m struggle with it though, as there are some days that I just want to get things done. Given that Ash is now older, I can set timelines and inform him that I will play with him when a certain chore is complete or if he helps me out, it could be quicker (*disclaimer that it may not be but at least it involves him and he feels like he is helping).IMG_3216 (640x427)

Not just chores. There are days where emotionally I feel so drained that I almost feel like I have nothing else to give. Those days are warning signs as I pretty much feel like a zombie walking around. Asher usual “mummy, come play with me” elicit an irritation. Those days are usually associated with someone being sick, sleep deprivation or a combination of sickness, work and accepting too many responsibilities/appointments. 

I have learned that for my personality type, my mind becomes overly stimulated and I need to be retreated back to quietness to still my brain. Not that easy when you have a toddler wanting your attention every minute! 

So far, self care strategies is holding me. Looking forward to my quiet drive to work as I grab a coffee at my favourite deli. Heading off to a workout. Having a shower by myself. Even just making sure I have my essential oils with me. Eating well and trying to sleep in time. 

And if all else fails, hand child to husband. 

I have been loving making raw treats in my kitchen AND on top of that, utilising my growing essential oil collection with it. This one features one of my firm favourites at the beginning Wild Orange. The other reason why I adore this was because it uses gelatine which is grass fed and gut healing. Not the stuff we can grab from supermarkets baking shelves though. This one I bought from I Quit Sugar. I call it my Wild Orange Coconut Caramel Jelly Slice. IMG_3215 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’139′] 

Tomato and Herb Turkey Burger Patties (Paleo, Gluten Free, Guilt Free)

IMG_3190 (640x427)People often appear shocked when they realise we do not have cereal or bread at home. What do we eat was the usual question. Food is always my answer. 

The next shock factor is that my fridge is always stuffed with food. Except on Fridays. Then it is empty. I have boxes of snacks, and food prep often ready to eat or to be cooked. IMG_3191 (640x427)

We don’t just eat sweets in our house though. The other evening, I spotted free range turkey mince on sale! SCORE! In the basket it went. Back at home, we enjoyed quick mince patty for dinner. Wrapped in fresh cos lettuce leaves from the farmer’s market. Asher even had some oven roasted sweet potato “fries” to go with his. Yes, we may not eat bread but that does not stop us from having “burgers” 🙂 

Left overs made great breakfast.IMG_3192 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’138′]