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)

 

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Creamy Coconut and Almond Porridge

IMG_3246 (640x427)The chilly wind is here. Do you crave for a warm breakfast these days? I know we do. This is one of my version of “oatmeal”. We hardly if ever have oats anymore. Generally over rated in nutrition value, I actually find ourselves become hungrier easily than eating a protein + fat rich breakfast. IMG_3244 (640x427)

Since I have been making our almond +cashew milk blend on a weekly basis, we have pulp left over. This is perfect for using left over pulp. IMG_3242 (640x427)

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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)

 

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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)

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Pear and Hazelnut Chai Loaf (Paleo Friendly, Gluten Free) + Children’s Party

IMG_3171 (640x427)I had to face one of my fears the other weekend. 

It was a kid’s party. I’m staring at tiny teddies, fairy bread, cordial, meat pies, iced cupcakes. Talk about gluten and sugar filled treats.

I breathe. 

Then I say to myself that… “it’s ok. Asher will be fine.” And was appalled by my own judgement of party food-especially when I spoke about not having judgement previously. IMG_3172 (640x427)

Asher got away with a small triangle of fairy bread and two tiny meat pies. 

There were lollies in the goodie bag, but he only wanted the bubbles. 

Then we ate lunch as a family at a cafe, where Asher tucked into a plate of roasted beetroot, potato, sweet potato, carrots, quinoa with almonds and even sneaked in some spinach leaves. 

All will be ok.Pear loaf

I posted this on Instagram and it was re posted a few times. Totally a favourite in my household.

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Mango Bread (Paleo, gluten free, dairy free) + Murky Roles

IMG_2866 (640x427)Is being a father/mother = to being a good husband/wife? 

The other day hubby and I had a conversation about roles in parent hood. While it may seem clear cut on what our roles are, it can often be more murky than what it seems. IMG_2869 (427x640)

First up, it does depends on your definition of what a husband or wife should be. For some people, it is about being a partner in life. We uplift each other, we give honest thoughts, we pray. Perhaps we enjoy checking out cafes and coffee. We have heart to heart conversations, have similar thoughts on current affairs. We may share a love for musicals. We do housework together and is there for each other when the going gets tough.We have a good laugh. Most of all we like each other.

Then we have definition of what a parent is like. The usual routine, caring for a child, playing. We may think that providing financially is also one of our roles. IMG_2866 (640x427)

Gently, we teased out the differences. Being a mother/father may contribute being a partner in a relationship but it does not define it. I love seeing hubby being a dad. It gives me great joy when I see hubby plays with Asher or teaching him a skill that I did not even think of teaching. I love seeing how Asher looks up to his dad with those eyes that says “daddy is his hero”. It makes me warm and fuzzy. It fills me with love. Yet I also long for those days and luxuries when I have hubby’s undivided attention. Flowers and gifts. Notes in my lunch box and sweet words. Hubby too realises that he misses being the centre of my attention where I am more flexible in my scheduling, more spontaneous in checking out food places and perhaps less snappiness when I’m tired. He misses my messages on why I love him, and why I respect him. He cares for those evenings when we do not have to rushed to finish getting ready for the next day but just enjoy each other’s company. He would like our conversation to be round us and our dreams/goals- and not just be around what we need to do and need each other to do.

Being a parent is hard work. Being in a marriage and a parent = triple the hard work. The unspoken is that it takes a lot of effort to keep a family together. I certainly appreciate having this conversation to keep me in check, but in reflection of our day to day actions as a couple. IMG_2867 (640x427)

This is one of hubby’s favourite breakfast in summer. The sweetness and creaminess of mango means the bread does not need any other sweeter. Asher for some reason does not like mangos. I think it is the texture (I’m sure he will come around though). Sometimes I may not make something (in order to maximise amount of return for the energy output to make it) because Asher doesn’t eat it as much- but this time, it is for hubby because he likes it. 

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Tuna Pumpkin Patties (Gluten Free, Paleo, Clean Eating, Nut Free, Dairy Free) + Play

Pumpkin Tuna PattiesI’m catching up on my toddler’s food series! One of the things I like doing for Asher on days home with him is to make lunches. Some days we have a mix of left overs. Other days, I make him a soba noodle stir fry, or even sushi. Yes, we have grains for Asher from time to time in our household. 

My days off are so precious with him. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like a “day off” but more like a “day on”. It is  a chance for us to learn, play and socialise. We have play dates. We have swimming lessons. Sometimes we put on music and we dance. We head to a library and borrow books. I view these activities as crucial to his social development. He learn from us socialising with others. He gets to enjoy being around books. In a cafe, he understands how to hold his cup properly (and we are still working on neatness/spoon and fork skills). At home, we learned that household chores need to be done (He puts away his clothes, toys and books). He cooks with me (maths with counting and fire danger). We do groceries. We paint. We do play dough. Sometimes, we do too much and I learn to back off and have a PJs morning from time to time. IMG_2751 (640x427)

Letting him lead with play is so interesting. He makes me play with cars, using boxes as different “stations”. We go “shopping” with him making me hold the basket in a certain way- down o the bit where we need to scan food to pay for it. He wants me to chase him around the house and even play ball. He builds lego hybrid vehicles of a digger and fire engine. 

Of course, we also have those days where he has to learn about his feeling. Those floor tantrums. Tears. It’s all part of toddlerhood. Most times, I sit with him, stroke him and say when he is ready I am here. Maintaining consistency and natural consequences is what we tend to use for discipline. 

I digress. Since Asher likes anything “Pancake”. Making fritters for him seems like a no brainer. I always roast extra pumpkin or sweet potato to freeze. Combine with tuna and eggs, these fritters are jam packed with great protein and vegetables. Serving it on lighting mcqueen plate is optional but necessary. IMG_2750 (640x427)

Tuna

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Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes (Nut Free, Gluten Free, Clean Eating)

Blueberry Ricotta PancakesYes. Another pancake recipe. We pretty much make pancakes on a fortnightly to a weekly basis. Asher really likes his pancakes! Blueberries of course is another favourite of us. IMG_2745 (640x427)

The funny thing is that Asher does not seem to like cheese (or nut butter!?!) by itself. He is generally a great eater so I put it down to personal preference and how that might change as he gets older. We aren’t too fussed about dairy as it does have inflammatory properties, and being Asian just means Asher might be more prone to lactose intolerance later down his life. For us though, it is about teaching him that just because you don’t like one form of food doesn’t necessarily means another form isn’t delicious. 

From time to time we have ricotta in the house. This time round, we included ricotta in to our pancakes. The result was smooth and creamy. He scoffed it down in on time. These are nut free too which will be a handy thing to have in the future for school I’m sure! IMG_2744 (640x427)

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Guilt Free Time out + Powerhouse Pumpkin Slice (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free)

IMG_2740 (640x427)Earlier in the month, hubby and I spoke about our goals for this year. We dig deep and discussed having more time together as a couple. We discussed having individual time to ourselves. We spoke about our individual journey with God and needing to dive deeper spiritually. We chatted about family time and knowing when to say no- simplifying our routine. 

Time out individually, couple and as family can seem like an oxymoron. Truth me told, we need all 3. Individually and as a couple to strengthen our marriage but also to make us stronger as parents. When I asked hubby what would he like to see change. He replied “you to stress less”. That short sentence made me paused. At the bottom of my heart, I know why. When I’m less stressed, I give more. I see more and I do more. I’m kinder. I’m happier and I tend to be more present focused. IMG_2743 (640x427)

Yet on the other hand, I’m so conscious about us being an individualistic society that we need to see systemically what is required. My grandmother never had “time out” yet she had to manage. She just made do because that’s what she had to do. She did however, work closely with her large family and neighbours. She had a sense of humour. Her attitude was to do the best she can. She told me about liking what she does.

 The more we see that as a problem. The more we tend to feel guilty. IMG_2739 (640x427)

The thing is, time out is a term for re charging. Those days, my grandmother’s re charge was to have a cigarette. She was cranky as and she was “scary” in terms of her temper. She took panadols to deal with the pain. She had her bad days too but had to push on. She had to do what she needed to do. Looking back, I can see why she is strong but I can also see why her struggles to look after her body optimally lead to health issues. IMG_2740 (640x427)

My re charge? to do daily devotionals more regularly. To sit and read. To be ok with taking sick leave when I am sick. To have an occasional outing with friends. And if it all falls apart at times, it is to say that’s ok and just go with it! 

This powerhouse slice was invented in my kitchen when I was looking at an eggless but also less/no refined sugar alternative to bind a slice together. Often recipes call for a huge amount of rice malt/honey or brown sugar. I thought pumpkin might be an idea to add great carbs, but also a natural sweetness to it. This is more of a chewy slice rather than a crispy one. I think it is a powerhouse because it has great fats, good carbs and protein all in one. Best, it is easily portable for snacks. 

Oh, what will you be doing for Australia day tomorrow? We aren’t too sure yet, but it will definitely incorporate some family time together! 🙂

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY FOR TOMORROW! 

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Apple Blueberry Lemon Loaf (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean Eating, Dairy free and Nut Free)

IMG_2694 (640x427)You know my love for creating breakfasts. We have a great start to the new year with the public holidays. That usually means I try to make something up fresh for all of us. On other days though, I like to whip up a loaf of some sort and toast it for breakfasts for the boys. IMG_2699 (640x427)

I’m a little boring for breakfasts usually- I like my predictable yogurt with home made granola or eggs for breakfasts at home. Somehow, I find comfort in that. At times though, I do break the tradition and have waffles, pancakes or even a slice of loaf.

Breakfasts for lunch or snack? That’s a different story. You can find me eating eggs anytime of the day, or a sneaking in a spoonful of nut butter. Perhaps even toasting up a slice of banana bread before my workouts. Apple Blueberry Lemon Loaf

I love love love this loaf that I made some time back. A very simple Apple Blueberry Lemon Loaf. The sweetness of apples is balanced by the tartness of lemon and blueberries. It is nut free as well which is a good school item if that’s in your territory (not too far for me too!). 

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