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

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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. 

 

 

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)

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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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Orange Carrot Thyme Muffins (Gluten Free, Paleo, Dairy free. Nut Free) + Toddler woes

IMG_3150 (640x427)I have heard and known about the terrible 2s. While it is often viewed as the child being difficult, I looked it as if things just seem overwhelming for a 2-3 year old child. Plus, they are learning how to work the system. While we have beautiful days, we have not so good days too. 

So it came no surprise that for the past few weeks or so, the word “no” or even when I do not use the word but it implied the same thing, tears followed. Logically I know. The frontal lobe is developing and this little person is suddenly faced with what it seems uncontrollable flood of emotions. That of course, is that it can sometimes come with impulsiveness. As a parent, all I can do is to recognise that, being present, set boundaries, pray that the penny will drop and keep going. Showing empathy can be a struggle, but often my “you are disappointed are you?” and “that’s frustrating” was followed by tears, and a burrow into my shoulders. Then a quiet “yeah…” with a gentle nod. I’m learning how to sit with it. To let him accept that we have all these feelings and that is ok. There are moments where I even say “You can cry it out”, and to my surprise, there are times when he would tell me “not ready mummy.  I want to cry”. Oh what  a sweetheart. 

But it has a few magical moments too. Those “sorry mummy” and when I probe further it was “Asher did not listen”, or those spontaneous cuddles and “I love you very much Mama”. IMG_3149 (640x427)

I have often commented to my friends that my relationship with God has deepen since being a parent. Why? Well, let’s just say the amount of times I pray now probably tripled or even quadruple pre Asher days. I count myself as patient but boy, I had to walk away a few times and come back. There was one day, where I had to literally remove myself as I could feel myself tipping over the edge. Soon though, Asher came, apologies were given, the talk was made and cuddles were given. 

Just playing around with a few flavours here for a quick muffin snack. At one point, we went a tad crazy at the markets- coming home with way too many oranges. Now, you probably know that one of my favourite cake to make is orange. It’s too easy. Steam an orange and that provides both the moisture and sweetness to a cake. I don’t have to zest or juice either. Given that my time now is mainly to deal with temper tantrums, seeing the food processor in action is strangely calming…. 

I’m a big fan of adding vegetables to each meal. What’s the difference with a cake then? While we love herbs, I have only recently learned how to pair herbs with baked goods. This is one of my attempts. IMG_3152 (640x427)

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Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Slice aka “Snickers” (Paleo, Raw, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Dairy Free) + Coping with changes

IMG_3142 (640x427)It has been a busy few months. It is now May but time just seem to be ticking quickly away. So far we have,

  • Travelled
  • I have had a few stressful encounters at work 
  • Job offer followed by job change
  • Making the decision to slow down and focus on one job rather than two
  • Being immersed in the world of essential oils. Learning and using them
  • Making some goals around fitness and hitting them 

I have also learned to be kinder to myself and my family. That was a hard one to realise. As I become grouchier and grouchier, the realisation that I have not been taking time to re charge dawn on me. The decision to leave one job and focus on one was not an easy one. In the midst of trying to weigh up the pros and cons, thinking about how to make it work while still focusing on doing “my job right” ultimately lead to the biggest sacrifice.Salted Peanut Butter Caramel Slice

My family.

The symptoms were there. Snappy. Unable to be present focused. Feeling like I’m always in a rush. Feeling unappreciated. Forgetting things. 

So here we go again. Is there ever such thing as lesson learnt? While those indicators were there, it took me a while to realise what was going on. So to re focus I did

  • Decided not to schedule any thing for a day or two of the month. I did that on the past Monday and boy, Asher and I had heaps of fun together
  • There was a week when I had to swop work days. Instead of taking Asher out, I took a day out. I ran errands, met up with a friend for lunch and baked. No cleaning allowed. 
  • I spoke to hubby and he realised that perhaps he has been in the rush himself that he didn’t see the signs. So we made some changes there including scheduling some time to check in with each other.
  • There were some afternoons where I napped with Asher. Rest somehow is quite liberating.

There could be a few more changes in the next few months. Winding down a job, increasing time in one. Adapting to my current job. Still, I’m writing this list to remind me that it is ok to not having it all “balanced” all at once

Of course, indulging in what I love. Playing with my favourite ingredient recently- Peanut butter. I absolutely love this raw Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Chocolate Slice. It actually resembles snickers! IMG_3139 (640x427)

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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)

__________

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.” 

___________

IMG_3098 (640x427)

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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Orange Pistachio Cake (Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_3029 (640x427)Have you ever wondered how quickly time just seem to go by these days. So quickly that you can’t seem to catch your breath? In my teens, I had a grand plan. I wanted to graduate and find a job in my 20s. I wanted to travel and hopefully if God willing have a partner. Then along came Asher- which was of course, what we always wanted. Then it’s a matter of ….

Now what? IMG_3032 (640x427)

We are quick to reflect on our blessings. Also quick to realise that they “now what” is a reflection of our tiredness earlier in the year where we felt swamped with different commitments. Suddenly it seems that life became like a revolving door-where we just seem to go round and round in circles.

The holiday helped. More importantly we decided to take charge and make a few changes. Perhaps start my simplifying our life further. Scheduling less and less. Making time as a couple. Later in the year, there would be some work changes which would hopefully help in keeping me focus and less scattered. Tough decisions. 

Today, all I have to share is this quick and easy orange pistachio cakes. I’m using my food processor more often than none for baking these days. Giving it a few whiz and batter done. So easy! Plus I can put it all in the dish washer.IMG_3028 (640x427)

We love this easy to do tea cake and hope you do too. 

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Mango and Blueberry Jelly + Toddler’s Conversation P2

IMG_3026 (640x427)Playing with IQS gelatine resulted in quite a lovely jelly. I have made it 3 times with different fruits now and each time it was a winner. Often gelatine leaves a funny acidic after taste but with this, it wasn’t at all. I think this jelly would be a staple favourite at parties these days! 🙂 IMG_3025 (640x427)

Asher’s language has developed rapidly but more so, his reasoning skills. We have started documenting some of the things he has said..

In the car

Asher: “Petrol station! Where are you?”

silence

Asher: “Petrol station! You are not listening! Where are you?”

Silence

Asher: “Petrol station must listen to asher” 

… (Probably a reflection of me asking him to practice good listening aka do what I say)

_______

Asher: Where are we going?

Us: Markets!

At the door- Asher came with his Thomas bag stuffed full of plastic vegetables and fruits. “Let’s go marketing! I shopped for fruits and veggies!” 

______________

Asher: Where are we going?

us: “Where do you think?:

Asher: “Asher, mummy and daddy’s home!” 

(In KL with the same questions)

Asher: “grandma, grandpa AND ZORRO’s home” 

____________

At the airport

Asher: I want to go on the red aeroplane not the white one.

Daddy: Why?

Asher: White one is broken (Referring to the aero bridge not connected to the plane)

Asher: But daddy can fix it (blessed him….)

Daddy: How?

Asher: Bang bang them together

Daddy: Can asher fix it?

Asher: YES! Bang bang bang” ALL FIXED!

______________

Asher: Yummy dahl!

Daddy: Yes it is

Asher: Are you spicy daddy?

Daddy: ……

__________IMG_3022 (640x427)

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