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′] 

 

News Flash! Hello Baby 2!

I have been quiet. 

For this reason. 

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We are happily and excitedly expecting our 2nd baby! 

 

Our history indicate that having 1 baby is a miracle. To be able to experience this another time, is truly a God’s gift. We prayed, we left it to God’s hands and surprisingly (or not so), it happened. 

 

I think back to my first trimester with Asher. Oh what joy, oh what fear and what agony. The knowledge that miscarriage is higher for us. The unforgiving morning sickness that left me hugging the toilet bowl. The visit to the doctor’s office which he told us it’s hospital or rest with monitoring at home. The non-stop-eating. The non-stop-puking. 

And then 3 years passed. Here we go again. 

The first trimester

Fortunately, I haven’t had much spewing. Just non stop nausea, fatigue, headaches,bloating and feeling “sick”. Still, I count my blessings that I continued to work, having to take minimum time off as I cope with these symptoms + viral infection. 

I had to admit there were times where TV was my life saviour while it entertained Asher as I sit resting. Ginger tea, and water seems to help. Eating regularly works too. I was perpetually hangry. Often feeling sad, pale, unhappy,and angry even when there isn’t any food in sight! 

I learned though, and stocked our fridge and pantry with relatively nourishing and nutrient dense food. Yes, I did had dim sum twice, and totally craved for zamberos and it’s black rice for 2 weeks in a row. Yes, we bought a packet of sweet potato chips once, but we shared it out and finished it only 4 days later (a mean feat!). I did crazy things like making myself a banana, cacao, date, almond milk, peanut butter shake at 8:30am in the morning just barely 2 hours after breakfast. Oh, and I heated that one up too. Hubby fried an egg for me at 10:30pm at night and I had it with kimchi. 

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Me having my hot cacao banana date drink.

Mostly though, I managed to eat well. Eating more, but better than when I had Asher. I attribute it to better eating habits, but also filling my body with more nutrient dense food prior to conception. With Asher, I was craving for heaps of carbs and I always wondered if me going low carb was a contributing factor. I was stuffing myself with breakfast biscuits (No way!), rice and just whatever carbs that I could get my hands to. This pregnancy, I didn’t have that urge to. I just needed to eat. I’m still fearful of weight gain, and my bump is noticeably bigger, but I feel like I have a better relationship with food and nutrition. 

Pregnancy is definitely a test for me. I feel fat, big and it’s a little sad saying farewell to my skinny jeans at week 8. Amazingly, I managed to fit into non-maternity clothes till week 13 and has only recently started taking out those to wear again. 

It is an ongoing process, I will have bad days, I shall admit that. Already I feel that I am gaining weight too quickly despite eating relatively better (it is still more). I feel that it is so easy to give in, and had to be conscious about it. Perhaps it is a combination of hormones, or my old self lingering (with my ease of weight gain), but I just have to keep going and keeping tabs. Hubby has been a great encourager and monitor. 

In terms of exercise, I had a few breaks, but mainly maintained with less intensity. I can’t seem to get a 16 kg turkish bell up, I have slowed down, and every workout seems to be harder work. This is all expected I suppose and I will keep chugging on. I’m proud that I’m still deadlifting, and squating (still doing 32kg gb squats). Listening to my body and slowing down. My motto is to “Turn up and if I don’t feel well, just stop and leave”. So far, I managed to finish all workouts, despite the pace and lesser intensity. 

Baby’s health is going ok. My NIPT was great but scans revealed that I need more monitoring. That again, reminds me that there are greater things to be concern at this stage. It’s not something I can control but only in God’s timing will I know what will happen. 

Asher is excited to be a big brother. Often speaking to my tummy and then saying “baby isn’t talking to me!” oh that poor little man! Soon, he will learn I am sure. 

So here we go! I will be back to update of course, Heaps to chat about. Still, this time round, I’m going to be documenting my journey and thoughts on being a parent of 2! 

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(me and my bump!)

Sweet Potato Coconut Tuna Patties

So there comes a point where I would like to share with you my post pregnancy weight lost. I wrote about my struggles here and here. So right now, I have managed to shed 20 kgs post birth (I dropped 10 kgs after Asher was born) and is now slightly below my pre-pregnancy weight. It wasn’t easy and that took me 6 months to achieve it.

 (yes me and my big tum tum and massive weight gain at 37 weeks pregnant)

I was glad though, that my focus wasn’t about losing weight initially. It was about getting fitter and fuelling my body right. I started writing a food diary and eating well- like really well. I’m talking clean food 90% of the time and treats 10%. As you have read here, I love my food so it is impossible of to survive on a diet of lettuce leaves and chicken breasts. I eat beef, lamb, seafood, all kinds of vegetables and listened to my body. For snacks, I had eggs, nuts, chia pudding, cheese, home made granola bars and muesli, yogurt and bliss balls (and all the bakes I make!).

Exercise? I went slow. I went for daily walks, then pilates and mums and bubs swimming classes. I returned back to met con, konga and boxing- and here I am. In the process, I won a challenge set by my gym and is now fitter than ever before. I’m not stick thin and is actually the happiest I have been with the way I look. I don’t judge myself as much as more importantly, I feel strong.  At the moment, I go to the gym 4x a week- twice met con and twice boxing. I walk with my husband and baby all other days and try to incorporate pilates stretches on other days. When I feel like it, I might throw in a home body workout here and there- but that’s not often.

The other day, a good friend told me that she wants to practise clean eating too.  So she came over for lunch after her workout and we tucked into some healthy tuna and sweet potato patties. Oh, the kids loved it too! I feel proud when friends and family believed in what I am doing. Perhaps to the rest of the world, it may seem strange or obsess or I am not eaten “real food”. Trust me, I am. When does eating non processed packaged stuff (including breakfast cereals) become real? We have become mesmerised by the media my friends. It’s time to get down to the basics I reckon. And enjoy food the way it is supposed to be enjoyed.

Sweet Potato Coconut Tuna Patties (around 16 patties)
1 sweet potato steamed or roasted in oven. Mashed it.
2 cans of tuna
1 chilli chopped
handful of curry leaves chopped
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tablespoon of coconut flour
1 egg

Shredded coconut to coat
Coconut oil to fry

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a spoon or your hands. Shape into patties and fry them in a pan using coconut oil. Serve with a side salad.

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My Experience of Confinement and Hand Pulled Noodles/Mee Hoon Kuey

It’s nearly week 4 of my confinement. I am very blessed. Having my parents and grandmother travel from Singapore to help out as we get used to having a baby. My very generous mother took time off work and as a family, we decided that they will be spending 2+ months with us. It’s a big deal, as not only does little Asher has a chance to know his grandparents and great-grandmother, we have not stayed together under one roof since I was 16 for such a long period of time.

Confinement, as the name suggests, indicate that I am confined to at home during the first month of Asher’s life or post delivery. While many would say confinement is like “jail at home”, I begged to differ. For most of it, I agree with the concept. This month is used more for recovery and getting used to parenthood to a new infant with help from women who have been through it. Not to mention, I enjoy the confinement food;which is meant to restore energy and nourishment to the body.

I did break a few rules of course. Traditionally, I’m not allowed to wash my hair. Well, rest assured, I did wash my hair but probably every few days. Given that it is winter and I’m not in humid Singapore, that does not bother me. Grandma explained I have to keep my body warm to prevent any future illnesses. Well, I guess I did listen by showering and washing my hair in hot water and blow drying it immediately.

Then of course, there is this myth that one should not drink water as that causes water retention. As I am breastfeeding, I need to keep the hydration up so I drank a combination of water and the warm logan/red date/ginger drink. My poor mother has to keep reminding me to drink it to the point she would give me a mug of it while I breastfeed.

Usually the baby is looked after by the confinement lady (which in this case, my whole family) to provide maximum rest for the new mother. Asher is sleeping with us though, and most of his needs are taken care by us. While it is tiring, my mother understood that it is important for breastfeeding reasons. My family stepped in to look after Asher, so that I can take a nap or shower during the day.

Confinement means I am not allowed out. Well, I broke that twice. Once when I needed some documents signed so it was a quick 30 mins trip, whereas the other time, I could not resist and headed to a children and baby expo that was held once a year. My mother went with me and we had a great time being out. The expo was indoors though and we kept it fairly short.

My mum prepared most of the food, with many of it ginger based. Due to my surgery, Mum lessen the amount of ginger as it was said that to much “heat producing” food might cause infections. Nevertheless, I enjoyed all the meals for numerous reasons. While I love cooking, it’s really lovely having mum looking after me (!) and it is one less thing I need to worry about while I get to know Asher better.

As the month ends, I will be glad to be able to go out for walks (I’m very eager to shed the baby weight), and run errands. I’m glad that while my family is pro-confinement, they also respect our wishes and allowed me to wash my hair, look after Asher and looked after all the other necessities! It’s a luxury and one that I am basked in the love and sacrifice of my family.

 I’m still quite behind in blogging my adventures of cooking before I delivered. In actual fact, I have bookmarked quite a few things I want to do when I am not working. Hubby commented that he really enjoyed me being a “housewife/domestic engineer” during that period of time!

Hand Torn Noodles or Mee Hoon Kuey is one of it. In theory, it is a really simple hawker dish to make. However, it requires time to do it. I chose it because I recall the happy memories that went with it. It was a dish of choice when I hang out with my dearest of friends. Three girls, sharing two bowls. One would prefer the meat, the other likes the vegetables in it. I’m the one who benefited the most- I like everything in the bowl of mee hoon kuey with extra chill.

There are many recipes out there for Mee Hoon Kuey, but I quite like this one. I added soya beans to the dried anchovies broth which I believe imparts a sweeter flavour. The other thing I changed, was to microwave some anchovies to make it crispy- rather than frying it in oil. The negative about it is that I couldn’t keep it crisp for a long time. I burnt two batches of it before getting the timing of the microwave right too.

The dough can’t be kept so this dish is best eaten fresh.

Next post- Asher’s full month celebration!

Hand Torn Noodles or Mee Hoon Kuey (Serves 2)
2 cups of flour
1 egg
1 tsp of oil
1/2 cup of water

Broth
1/2 cup of dried anchovies
1/4 cup of soya bean
2 litres of water

Toppings
handful of anchovies
mince pork marinated with soy, pepper and sesame oil
egg
a bunch of choy sum

To make the broth- boil everything for a hour or so

Start with the noodles- In a mixer with a dough hook, make a well in the flour. Add egg, salt and oil. Turn beater on and mix. Once it comes together, continue the beater till it becomes soft and springy. You can also do this by hand. Rest dough in a clean bowl for an hour.

Meanwhile, crisp the anchovies in the microwave by placing them on a plate. Microwave high for 30 seconds first. If they are crisp, great! If not, try for another 30 seconds.

Cook mince meat in a pan by heating some oil and frying it. Set it aside.

Once dough is ready, roll it out. Tear them into pieces.

Re boil the broth. Add dough in and cook till it floats up. Add choy sum and cook till done (That will take 30 seconds). Crack an egg in a small bowl and pour it in. Quickly dish the broth, hand pulled noodles, egg and veges into your serving bowl. The egg should be lightly poached. Top noodles with crisp anchovies, mince meat and chill.

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The Aftermath of Delivery- and Sweet potato and Coconut Balls

What a whirlwind three weeks. The promotion of a “parent” means we hardly have any sleep. They say sleep deprivation is the worse kind of torture and I think I understand why!

Many of my friends ask me if it was true that when a mum sees her baby, the pain is forgotten.  My answer to that is….. no. Contraction pain is like cramps, except it grows in intensity and later on, frequency. It is also called labour for a reason- pushing really takes energy and technique. The pushing pain is very different to contraction pains, since the theory is that we are working with the contractions to push. It takes stamina and strength. I was sweating buckets. Hubby told me after that the room was cool but all I recall was feeling really hot and sweaty.

The pain that I remember most is the recovery. Coming back from theatre, I had to wear special socks to prevent DVT. I have a borderline blood disorder that makes me slightly more susceptible to clots, plus the heavy duty epidural for the surgery means this risk has increased. The socks were uncomfortable and it came with a pump which is suppose to increase blood flow. I felt stuck to bed. Once the epidural starts wearing off, slowly and surely, I begin to feel the soreness and tenderness. One good thing is after delivery,the hospital staff is very willing to provide pain relief and at that point, I had to take some.

Holding Asher was difficult but I managed to later that afternoon and breast feeding began. It wasn’t ideal as I couldn’t begin breast feeding soon after he is born. Luckily though, Asher was keen and a few days later, my milk came in.

Within 6 hours, I managed to get out of bed and walked a couple of steps. The next day, I managed to shower. I still couldn’t move smoothly and needed the midwife or hubby’s help to carry baby to me. The pain in day 3 appears to be the worst, and I was tired easily even though all I did was to feed Asher , eat, sleep and walk around my room! However, by the end of week 1, while I was still waddling and feeling weak, I could get out of the bed smoothly.

Fortunately, physiotherapists at the ward provided ultrasound services which helped quicken recovery for tears. I stayed in hospital for 6 days (as Asher had jaundice) and I received physio treatment for 5 days. That, ice and pelvic floor exercises helped. Oh and a soft cushion on a hard chair!

While I did not forget the pain, I did not forget the joy either. I’m still a little in disbelief that we have a son. Or the amazement that he was in me just a mere 3 weeks ago. While I’m still not fully recovered, and goodness know when I can return to the gym, at least I can walk and move better now.

 To change the topic drastically, I wanted to share this recipe before I delivered. I made this in a week before Asher was born. When I was on leave, have plenty of sleep and had a big tummy. These sweet little things are kuehs. Kuehs are not really a dessert but a tea time treat. In all honesty, I have never had this kueh before. I saw it in the recipe book by Andrew Koh “Nonya Kueh Passions”. I think it is probably a modern version of ondeh ondeh.

Chewy on the outside and a sweet red bean paste on the inside, I was pleased with the outcome. The recipe did not state how many one can made. It reckon I made 80 of them!! Hubby had to take them to work and I was giving them away to other friends.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Balls (Made 80)
500 grams glutinous rice flour
50 grams sugar
450 ml water
350 grams mashed sweet potato
100 grams butter

100 grams wheat flour
150ml warm water

100 grams desiccated coconut
pinch of salt
500 grams red bean paste

Mix desiccated coconut with salt. Set aside.

Steam or microwave the red bean paste so it is slightly warm and soft. Mine was a pre packaged from the fridge.

Mix wheat flour and warm water together till it form a cooked dough. Place this dough with rice flour, sugar, water, sweet potato and butter together. Blend till a dough is formed.

Divide dough into tablespoons. Wrap a tsp of red bean paste in the dough. Cook the dough in a pot of boiling water. It will float up when it is done. Coat it with desiccated coconut.

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Birth Story of Asher

 Asher-fresh out of the oven

Hello! The two weeks absence probably indicate to you that we have welcomed our little bundle of joy into our lives. He arrived on the Wednesday 24th of July- a day before his due date. I’m a little biased but I do think he is very adorable.

It started in the morning of Tuesday the 23rd of July (you might noticed that was the last posting date as well!). I experienced a little spotting and mild cramping- nothing to worry about, but I rang the hospital anyway. I was scheduled to see my obstetrician at mid day so they advised that i keep to that appointment instead of going into the hospital for a check. Doc said my body is getting ready for labour and it could happen anytime now.

After the appointment, hubby and I took my mum out for lunch, and even headed to down to do some shopping. Mum wanted more herbs to prepare herbal soups for me and I willingly obliged. I recall asking my mum to slow down as I could feel the cramps, and she laughed saying that for a heavily pregnant woman, i was already walking fast.

Asher 3 days young

The rest of the evening was uneventful. I helped mum prepare dinner and as a family, we sat down for a meal. For some reason, by 9:30pm, the rest of my family decided to head to bed. Hubby and I sat in our living room and decided to watch some television. He joked that perhaps he should start timing my “cramps” just for a trial run. By 10pm, I said, probably a good idea to time the cramps. That was a good move, because by 11pm, those “cramps” were getting stronger. Perhaps I was in denial because I still did not think those were contractions. That continued till hubby informed me they were around 3-4 minutes apart with some being 2 minutes apart. We called the hospital who informed us that it would be good if we could stay at home, but they will be ready for us whenever we want to come in. I managed to wait till it was 1am, when the contractions were steadily increasingly in frequency and intensity and decided to take the drive to the hospital. Speaking of which, no one in my family knew we were in hospital till the next day.

Now, during this whole period of time, hubby tried his best to offer me massages, TENS machine, hot shower but all I wanted was to bend down at the peak of the contractions, and throw up. You know those back rub videos that you may see for women at labour? Well, I didn’t want any of those! I just wanted to hold his hand or his clothes to get through that pain.

At the hospital, I was quickly wheeled to the delivery suite when the nurses at the Emergency rooms learned that my contractions were only 3 mins apart and growing in intensity. They said usually women are there when it is 10 mins, not 4 mins! I got changed and was hooked up to a machine to check the contractions and heart rate. An internal (which even that I needed gas for!) revealed I was 4-5cm dilated already. She said, I am definitely not going home now. Well, all the walking in the afternoon probably worked!

I opted for epidural and had one done quite quickly and painlessly by 3am.  Gas just didn’t seem to be effective and I did not want pethidine. The midwife informed me that I was lucky that one of the best anaesthetist was on duty that day. Phew- someone with a steady hand I hope! God is good though, and Dr Alan put me at ease immediately.

One thing I noted was epidural made me shiver like crazy! Soon after, I was able to rest and napped till morning. A new mid wife greeted me at 7am and said I will see my baby today. Helene was her name. Soon after at around 9am, I was throwing up again. She thought that could indicate I was in transition. A quick check and it revealed I was 8 cm dilated.

My doc arrived at 10:30am and broke my waters. Things seem to happen quite quickly after that and I recall Helene told me I was fully dilated by 11:30 and ready to push. My epidural was also wearing off, but I was informed it would be better for me not to top it up at that time. I agreed. The pushing was probably the most tiring bit- I felt that I was pushing none stop through that time. Helene and hubby guided me, encouraging me, giving me cold towels and sips of water. I vaguely remembered other midwives trying to call my doctor but nobody could contact him for a while.

By 12:30, I was exhausted. My doctor finally arrived. I recall him seeing me push and told me that I was so close. Later, hubby informed me that bub’s head was nearly crowning but for some reason, the last few pushes did not seem to progress. Doc came to me and said “Daphne, remember what we discussed about using a little suction cup, I’m going to help you with that”. So I had a little cut, the vacuum was applied and I pushed. Asher was born just before 1pm. His screams could be heard nearly immediately and the doctor and midwife laughed and said we have a feisty one in our hands.

He was placed on me and all I could think of is that “Oh my, he has a head full of hair and is chubbier than what I thought!”. At 3.35 kg or 7.6 pounds, 49 cm long, he is sturdy.

Asher-6days young

Unfortunately, despite my doctor’s best intentions, Asher’s head bear down in his hurry to greet us. The doctor tried his best to patch me back, but eventually I was told that I needed to “head down to a room with better lights so that he could stitch me up properly as I have 3rd degree tears”. Which was translated to I needed surgery. Before I knew it, I was in theatre with a heavy dose of epidural and being stitched up. I managed to avoid the catheter throughout the labour process and now I needed one for surgery!  Hubby stayed with Asher in our room.

I returned back to the maternity ward at 2:30pm. All I wanted was to carry my little baby boy in my arms.

While the recovery from a 3rd degree tear wasn’t pleasant. I was pleased that at least I managed a delivery without any inducement drugs (since it is quite common to have it with epidural). I had a fabulous midwife- Helene who kept my spirits up and a doctor who came to me afterwards and said “you did what most would say is one of the hardest thing a woman has done- you should be proud of yourself” No doubt he probably said it to most women who delivered, but it certainly made me feel better about the process.

I have nothing by admiration for hubby. He witnessed the whole birth and was not scarred by the process (so he told me). He cuddled and looked after Asher by himself when I was in theatre. This is the man who made babies cry at supermarkets and dared not hold a new born infant. Now at home, I can say he changed diapers quicker than myself and could soothe Asher whenever it was needed. He hugged me and said he is very proud of me and our newborn. When I couldn’t get out of bed fast enough (due to the tears), he carried bub to me.

After the birth, we had to stay in the hospital for 6 days due to my “battle wounds” as doc puts it and Asher’s jaundice. While I was well looked after at the hospital, nothing beats being at home!!!

Glancing at our peacefully sleeping newborn (although at 3am in the morning, he wasn’t as peaceful!!) now, life will never be the same again. Yet somehow, we have a sense of pride that our little miracle has arrived. The miracle that we were told we will never going to have. He is testament to faith and love. Parenthood has started with its challenges already but we rather have that than not to experience it.

Asher’s name means blessed and happy. It is from the old testament of the Bible where Asher is the 8th son of Jacob.

While I am still waddling, and managing the best I can with my wounds- with prayers that there will be no long term damage, I’m taking motherhood all in.

I’m in confinement now but will definitely be posting during this period of time whenever I can!

asher-8days young

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5 Spice Honey Drumettes

The quiet anticipation of awaiting the arrival of bub is so precious. I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable and heavy. I can understand why the body gets to the stage where it is not practical or comfortable to hold a baby in any longer. However, I am also sitting in the moment where bub and I share that special space that only a mother and child can have.

It’s also a time where hubby and I reflect that life will probably never be the same again as a couple versus with a baby. We anticipate that regardless of how difficult it is, no one can fully prepared us for what will follow. Sleepless nights, dealing with bodily fluids, never having that flexibility that we are used to, costs, focused change.. oh what else have I missed? everything probably!

I have always spoken how marriage is a bond and this baby will bond us even more together. It will be a test for sure.

Getting increasingly tired means dinner preparation is slowing down too. Free range chicken drumettes were on sale at our local supermarket recently and we bought 3 kg of it! Lucky we have a big freezer now for bulk buys like this. I decided to marinate it the way my grandmother used to do it for me when I headed out for bbqs with friends as a teenager and stuck it in the oven to bake. The result was a no fuss but delicious quick dinner.

5 Spice Honey Drumettes (for 2-3 people)
10 little chicken drumettes
2 tsp of 5 spice powder
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
white pepper

Marinate chicken with all ingredients overnight or for 2 hours. Pre heat oven to 180C and bake chicken for 40 minutes or so.

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Banana Vanilla Pancakes with Berry Compote

Do you like the new look of my little space here? It has been 4 years since I changed the look of this blog. Given there will be some new beginnings, I thought it was a good time for some changes. It certainly reflect my inner self. Less cluttered, clearer and generally older! If you are into social media, follow me on Facebook or even instigram- I would love to hear from you. I will probably posts photos of our life journeys and bakes/cooks that may or may not make it here.

I am approaching the last weeks of pregnancy now. Bub is due anytime. I took parental leave early, partially because due to the nature of my work, it was recommended that I am home early. It’s a funny feeling being at home after working for a few years. The hubby commented that standards of dinners has improved, and he has less housework to worry about. I could wander around the shops in the day and take my time browsing at shelves. The house is more organised and cleaner, with clothes actually hanging where it is supposed to be at rather than in piles in baskets on the floor in our room. I’m catching up with a few friends during the day, and could enjoy the winter sunshine when we get it.

It’s a total different lifestyle.

Do I prefer it? or do I miss work? To be honest, it’s abit of both. I think I’m feeling the “honeymoon” of being at home and enjoying some peace, quiet and “me/us” time before baby arrives. I get to do things that I want to do with less stress. I miss the challenge of work and my colleagues. Work to me is not just a pay check. It will be interesting next year, when I have to decide when or if I do want to return to work.

After having a tricky few months to this pregnancy, I’m actually enjoying the 2nd half of 2nd trimester and of course, now the 3rd trimester. While I feel huge, it’s an amazing miraculous sensation feeling bub kick and respond to stimuli. I can’t wait to see baby, but at the same time, feeling protective of him in the womb. I’m nervous about labour, but excited that our new life will begin. I’m also looking forward to all the great confinement food that my grandmother is an expert about.

Given that I have been sharing my favourite breakfasts with you, here is another one. It is adapted from one of my favourite bloggers PaleoOMG– she comes up with the most amazing clean recipes. If you are looking for a delicious pancake recipe that won’t make you feel that you have an unhealthy morning- this is for you. Something to welcome the weekend!

Banana Vanilla Pancakes with Berry Compote (serves 2-around 4 smallish size pancakes)
1.5 banana (Just because I have that half a banana left over and want to use it up!)
1 egg
1.5 tablespoon of coconut flour
1 tsp of vanilla paste
1 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of baking soda
1 tsp of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Berry compote- 1 cup of berries, 1 tsp of raw honey

Blitz everything except berries and honey in a food processor. Heat pan with some coconut oil. Spoon a tablespoon of mixture and spread it out on pan. Cook till you see bubbles on the top and flip it. Repeat for rest of the batter.

In a saucepan, heat berries (I used frozen) with some honey. Stack pancakes and spoon berries on top. Tuck in.

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Zucchini Corn Cheesy Egg Muffins

I’m really sure that the past 6 months flew by just like that. I can’t believe we are in July already- this is our big month when we will get to see our little one soon.

It also means I feel huge! I feel blessed that I have not experienced much backache or pains for that matter this pregnancy- just lots of throwing up, feeling sick, heartburn and exhaustion. You may recall that I posted before (here and here) regarding my journey from being unhealthy and obese to being healthy. Well, my normal exercise regime has gone out of the window and of course, I’m eating more carbs than I ever did before. I have become rounder and rounder.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still active! I am proud to say I engaged in boxing exercises till I was 7 months pregnant, continued to do Konga and managed to squeeze in plenty of walks, hydrotherapy and yoga. I’m now in my last stretch and still continue to gym and walk. I did what I could and even so, I gained more than what I would like to be.

I have a great doctor, who informed me that as I am active and healthy, weight gain is not a bad thing- it is a good thing that baby is growing well. That’s my consolation that it is not about me- it is about bub after all.

There are times, when I do feel a little down, and a fear that I would be the same obese/unhealthy teenager that I was. Fear is illogical though, and deep down I know that the knowledge I gained over the years will help after bub is born. And perhaps my body will never be the same again but I can give myself permission to feel down at times, and then remember that it has gone through the journey of life. The body is truly amazing.

I do try to make healthy breakfast options. Now that it is winter, I liked warm cooked breakfasts even more. I came up with these eggy muffin cups one evening. It’s really whisked baked eggs with great vegetable and cheesy goodness. I love mine with a hint of chill. I usually make them the night before, and just warm it up for breakfast or for an afternoon snack.

Hope you will like it as much as I do. 🙂

Zucchini Corn Cheesy Egg Muffins (makes around 10)
5 eggs
1/2 zucchini grated
1/4 cup of frozen cup kernels
1/2 cup of grated cheese
salt and pepper
1 chili padi or chill flakes

Preheat Oven to 180C. Fill muffin tray with liners. Whisk all ingredients together and spoon into muffin liners. Bake for around 20-25 minutes. Serve warm!

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French Toast with Shitake Mushrooms, Bacon and Maple Syrup

I do love a good breakfast. It sets the day up and makes us feel good. Hubby is more of a morning person than I am- but even so, I love the stillness of the day and how give little tell tales of what a fresh beginning looks like.

I wouldn’t call this a “everyday breakfast”. It was more of a brunch for us! Ever since I started to eat clean more frequently, we rarely have bread in the house. Pregnant though, does bring certain challenges and I find myself wanting more carbs than ever. Armed with a few additional slices of bread that is almost at the end of its life, I soaked it with some egg and panfried it.

I have had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup before and thought, hey, we could do a french toast version. My new found love for fresh shitake mushrooms is probably the most healthy ingredients in this dish! Nevertheless, the combination of french toast, grilled shitake mushrooms and a slice of bacon with a drizzle of maple syrup… it was yum!

This little bottle of maple syrup was bought near the markets at Brooklyn Bridge.

I said goodbye to my colleagues last friday. It probably would not be a permanent goodbye, but it invoked so many emotions in me. Sadness, relief, glad, anxiety…. It marks a change in my identity. I recall the first day of work, so full of excitement of what I can accomplish and learn and in my years of being in this organisation, I felt so blessed that I have been invited to into so many homes. Into many distraught families and in one way or another, I learned heaps from them as I work with them to have some clarity of what needs to be done next. On an organisation level, I’m walking away from beautiful colleagues who have a heart of gold and I am proud to be associated with them.

Work does not define me, yet it is part of who I am. As I settled into the idea of being a mum, and dare I say it…. a domestic goddess trainee, I know that the change will be good.

Plus, it gives me a chance to try out and cook up a different kind of storm in the kitchen.

French Toast with Shitake Mushrooms, Bacon and Maple Syrup (Serves 2-3)
2 pieces of bread
3 eggs
1/4 cup of almond milk
sprinkle of sugar
knob of butter

200 grams of shitake mushrooms
handful of chives
1 tsp of chopped garlic
1 knob of butter

2 slices of bacon- make it free range and grass fed
maple syrup

Whisk up eggs with almond milk and sugar. Soak bread into it. Heat pan up and melt butter. Sizzle bread on it.

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté mushrooms with butter and garlic. Toss in chives. Set aside. Sizzle bacon on it.

Assemble french toast, mushrooms and bacon on it. Drizzle maple syrup. Dig in! You will be full for hours!

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