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′]

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

IMG_3053 (427x640)

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

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

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

Saturday- No workout. Went for family walks.

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

Monday- HIT Mum Plyo Hell

 

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

IMG_0630

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

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

IMG_0686

Friday- HIT mum  Legs nd The trim tummy 10 mins

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

IMG_0766

Sunday- Rest day.

Monday- HIT mum All over BB 17 mins

Tuesday- Rest Day (travel day to Singapore)

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

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

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

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

IMG_0997

Sunday- Rest Day (Travel to Johor)

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

IMG_1211

Tuesday- Rest day

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

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

Friday- HIT Mum- The big 10 workout. 

Saturday- Rest Day

Sunday- Rest day. Travel back to Australia

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

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

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~IMG_3046 (640x427)

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

[yumprint-recipe id=’126′]

Fig and Hazelnut Cookies (Paleo, Gluten Free) + Toddler Play

Fig and Hazelnut CookiesA couple of weeks ago, I wrote generally about Asher’s play. I wanted to expand on that as in just a few short weeks, I have noticed his interest, concentration and language has shifted somewhat. In my attempt to be mindful and present focused, I slowed down and observe. It makes me realise how much he has grown since this post 6 months ago

Playing by himself– Since Asher was a little bub, he prefers someone to play with him. Understandably so, since playing with mummy or daddy is so much more fun than playing by himself. Lately though, I catch him wandering and exploring, coming up with little games by himself. His language has grown, and with that he reasons with himself. As he approach a puzzle, he talks to himself- problem solving along the way.  “This goes there. No it doesn’t. That one fits better”. Or “Hello yellow car, you need to go to the petrol station for fuel”. 

Imaginative play-That has expanded too. Using a water bottle as a “traffic light”. The tissue paper box as a “petrol station” or perhaps a block of towers as “school”. His ability to imagine and make things out of nothing still amazes me. 

Shopping/Role plays– This cracks me up. We have a play kitchen. He would take his shopping basket, fill it up with groceries, pay for it using his toy cash register and proceeded to head to the kitchen to pack away and cook us a meal. He was really pretending to be ME! He cooks us breakfasts (eggs of course), and make us tea. We have tea parties where he would pretend to boil water, complete with a jug of milk. We would pretend we are a zoo, and play act different animals (slide like a snake, crawl like a bear, hop like a kangaroo, walk like a duck)

Vehicles–  He is starting to categories now. He talks about emergency vehicles versus transport vehicles (Although of course emergency vehicles are also transport vehicles). We talk about ambulances, fire engines and police cars. We point out different reasons for using these services. He would pretend to be a pilot and want to fly a plane. Then a fireman next to fight fires. Of course he loves zooming his cars and play racing with them. We use concepts like fast and slow, over and under. We spoke about car safety and seat belts. We point out traffic lights in real life and talk about road safety (possibly a little too well because now he is scared of walking in car parks!). Hubby even takes things one step further and do mini excursions on the public buses with him! He is still into his Thomas the tank engines but thankfully has also expanded that to general trains and cars. 

Puzzles– Not only is he enjoying putting puzzles together, he is also liking flash cards. Matching games, and even counting ones. Although his concentration isn’t quite there yet and he often mis count, he makes me realise how fun learning can be. We match clock numbers to a real clock, we match numerical numbers to pictures of items. We have alphabet puzzles, transport ones and even robots where we have figure out the pattern. 

Music– Where do we even begin? He really loves music now. We bought him a drum kit and he totally loves it. He has a keyboard and he sings into the microphone. Then of course we have bells and tambourines. We dance to music and even when I’m doing food prep, he would start jumping and swaying, looking at me cheekily hinting that mummy should dance. 

Books-His favourite place to go to..the library. He loves books and more books. He likes books with transport, construction and more recently, even books on numbers. 

Rough Play– Tickles and more tickles. Jumping and running. He loves sitting on my tummy and then falling onto the carpet. We do old games like “aeroplane”- one that I raise him up using my legs while lying down. Upside down is another favourite. Climbing up and down stairs. I’m starting to introduce hoping to him. He likes his ball and would kick, throw and roll. We are attempting bouncing next. He loves his slides and play ground. IMG_2905 (640x427)

Messy play– He loves his play dough and painting. We haven’t got much into finger painting though although we have tried stamping. He enjoys water play quite a bit. 

Fine motor skills– We do a little threading, and he does like putting stickers on books. His pencil grip isn’t quite there yet but there is no hurry. His is interested in colours and doing a little scribbling at times. We do sorting out using tongs. We use colour pom poms and sort them into different tins. We try to talk about how sometimes we sort by shape, and other times by colours. 

Gardening– I can’t say I do heaps of that. Hubby do that a lot more with him. He would help to water the plants with hubby pointing out to him how things grow. He has a look of pride when he takes in some herbs for me as I cook a tomato sauce for instance. 

Playing with friends-There is still a degree of parallel play, but I’m noticing that he is starting to attempt to interact with his friends. Perhaps sitting near them and showing them his cars. Perhaps chasing them while “driving” his car. He would laugh and clearly enjoying the company of his friends. He has started telling me who his friends are, and would ask to visit them. He is still not very good at sharing yet- but at least would sometimes pass the item to me , telling me that he is done with it and wanting me to pass it to the friend. 

IMG_2901 (427x640)So there we have it. I might miss some more but just writing this down makes me realise how much he learn through play. Certainly toddler hood is all about fun and I wish he will continue to have this inquisition of learning. 

I am back to baking cookies more regularly and this was one using some leftover dried figs. Figs and hazelnut goes quite well together. Asher loves mixing things and sit on the counter top watching me put these cookies together. He makes me realise that everything is interesting, and while I’m easily on auto mode, being with him helps me to slow down and smell the roses (or the cookies in this case). That is the beauty of having a toddler. IMG_2906 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’120′]

Berry Coconut Popsicles (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Dairy Free) + Toddler’s Conversations 1

Coconut Berries PopsiclesToddler’s conversations. 

Looking at the mirror…

Asher: “My name is Asher.”

Asher: Pointing to me. “Your name is Asher’s mummy” 

Me: “I have a name too! My name is Daphne.”

Asher: “No. Your name is Asher’s mummy.” 

Post dinner.

Me: “Would you like to try some jelly?” 

Asher: “Yes please!”

(after tasting it) Asher: “Nice. Well done mummy” 

Me: “Oh good. You like it? I need to make more then since the rest is for a party.”

Asher: “Good idea” 

Playing

Asher:”Car is thirsty.”

Goes to his play kitchen, found his kettle and pour into a tea cup. Proceeded to go to the front of the car with feeding motion.

Me:” What is the car drinking?”

Asher: “tea”

Me: “but car uses petrol for fuel and power.”

Asher: “ok. I feed car water” 

In the car

Hubby: “Ok Asher, we are heading out for lunch. You can have a cino later for a treat.”

Asher: “No daddy. it’s BABY CINO” 

Hubby: “Ok, baby cino.”

Me: “mmm.. can I have a baby cino too?”

Asher: “No. Mummy drink tea.”

Me: “Sweetheart, mummy wants a coffee.”

Asher: “No. Mummy drink tea.” 

Singing

Us: “Wheels on the bus go round and round..round and round…

Me: “All day long” 

Asher (Holding my face and shaking his head) : “it’s all through the town mummy! ”

Packing his toys

Talking to himself :”Pack away pack away. Don’t lose it” 

IMG_2804 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’114′]

Salted Caramel Coffee Slice with Chocolate Swirls (Paleo, Gluten Free and Dairy Free) + 16 years in Australia

I arrived in Australia in 2000. 2 huge luggage cases full of stationery* and “must haves”. My mother and grandmother came with me. As an interim place to stay, I was housed in St Thomas along UWA. I was a teenager. Fresh out of secondary school. I was excited and fearless.IMG_2754 (640x427)

I moved into a little shared housing. For the first time in my life, I learned how to cook, do my laundry and clean the house. My mother checked in with me but together with my grandmother, they left following a week and a half in Perth. They decided that it was time that their little girl grow up and just learn how to be independent. 

I have never been away from them before. Till this day, I still remember how sad my grandmother’s eyes looked but how she smiled courageously. Over the years, I had the privilege of her visiting for long periods of time through my University life. Those memories are precious. Coffee Caramel Slice

There is much to write on. I was home sick. I wrecked up $300 bills worth of calls to friends and text messages to my family. In those days, we even had “icq” to connect with friends. My best girl friends would save money and call me. I would purchase “calling cards” and use public phones. I survived on packaged pasta sachets, and would drenched every thing with oyster sauce. Indo mee was a staple. With an fried egg of course. IMG_2757 (640x427)

The better memories. Road trips. Late night suppers. Chats with friends. The rush to get my thesis(es) done-till the point I was sleeping surrounded by papers and books. The eerie corridor of the university labs at 1am. Learning new “words” in the aussie slang. Enjoying pub food and wineries. Embracing different cultures. Loving cafes and coffees. 

Then, with a blink of an eye… I’m in Australia for longer than I was in Singapore. IMG_2761 (640x427)

This year, marked the start of the 17th year. Fleetingly, the thought came in my head a few times about this. After all, I consider myself a Singaporean and still holds a Singapore passport. Yet, I also identify myself with Australia. This is my home now. I have a son who is Australian. A husband who will soon hold an Australian passport. We love our life here. 

It’s a start of more to come. 

What is best to celebrate with a slice. A relatively creamy slice with the almond butter, coconut milk and tahini. It’s pretty addictive. I find it hard to stop at one! IMG_2759 (640x427)

*I still have left over stationery!

[yumprint-recipe id=’110′]

Toilet Training Adventures + Raw Papaya Salad (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

IMG_2734 (640x427)Asher is toilet trained! Woohoo! What a milestone…and what a journey it has been. Asher started using the potty real early on- when he was 4 months young. Some thing changed at around the year mark where he just refused to sit on it. He could even tell me that he is scared. My pre assumptions is that he is starting to notice many different kinds of feelings then, and perhaps that was a tad over whelming. I should have persevered though because fast forward, he was no where close to being off his nappies. 

That was when hubby and I discussed doing a dual approach. We read books, brought him to the loo with us, we even showed him you tube clips (yes! they have potty songs too!). We went shopping for underwear and told him what big boys do on the toilet. Then we picked a date- 1st of Jan for us to say good bye to nappies. On the day itself, we simply told him we are saying goodbye to nappies through the day, and we are teaching him to use the toilet. 

The first day was HARD. Our goal was just to help him get acquainted with the toilet. There were close to 20 accidents that day.  By the end of the day, he was comfortable on the toilet. We went through times where he had no realisation that he was going, till he realised but it was too late, to actually doing it on the toilet itself. By the end of the first week, we had moments where we totally felt he was not ready. Day care was really helpful by maintaining consistency (as much as they could), but it was also a regression since it was a new toilet and new people telling him to use the toilet. Smart kid told educators that he goes to the toilet at home but not at school/day care. Other heart string moments was when he asked is mama not happy when he had an accident. Much as I have tried to re assure him it was an accident, I guess I must have showed a disappointed face at times. 

Something clicked by day 8. He was compliant going to the toilet and when we were at a restaurant, he TOLD us he wanted to go. Wow! Day 9, we had a play date where there were NO accidents, went to the toilet with me when he was ready and then later in the day, whispered “go potty” to me. 

Still early days, and we have night and sleep time to go through. There are accidents when he becomes pre occupied. That’s ok. He is still learning. We still need to work out travelling as well, but again, we will just have to cross that path when we are close to it. 

For me, I’m just not sure how quickly that 2 years + have flown by and another milestone clicked. 

Raw Papaya Salad

If you have endured through the toilet training story, well done! I have never been squeamish around topics like this given the nature of my work in my early days with children with autism, and being used to baby sitting but I do agree that having Asher makes me think of toilet as another developmental milestone as natural as it can be! IMG_2737 (640x427)

And of course, while it seems “wrong” to pair our story with food. I can’t help myself but to share this lovely salad recipe. We love our salads in my household. Perhaps more so with hubby and myself as Asher finds salad leaves fibrous for him. I actually don’t have a “proper” recipe for this. It was just shredded vegetables that come together. Asher even tried some. Quick, easy and yummy! Now to find more raw papaya! IMG_2735 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’106′]

HOT HOT HOT! A Easy Summer Salad with Miso Almond Coconut Dressing

Miso almond dressingThere are times when I do question why do I continue to blog. I do not have a wide audience and really, this is more of a way for me to record down the recipes that I enjoy creating and thoughts of reflection. Then it became a routine and I simply just enjoy penning down some thoughts without the usual rules and boundaries of report writing! IMG_2710 (427x640)

Perhaps that is why my posts are shorter and shorter. It doesn’t mean I stop creating food though. Far for it! I am just finding it harder to find time to write, preferring to spend time with Asher and hubby instead. Still, I find it relaxing and will probably continue to do so. I just have to find the right balance and not feel that I need to put rules on myself in writing a post. IMG_2714 (640x427)

I’m finding it hard to write about the sort of main meals we have- it’s really easy and simple these days. We love a good salad and I made this dressing the other night and thought…hey, that’s really nice! Asher is really enjoying dipping things now and he really liked dipping blanched vegetables in this “sauce”. It’s a simple salad to whip up on hot days!

[yumprint-recipe id=’103′]

A Simple Orange Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Yogurt Frosting (Not quite paleo, gluten free) + Christmas and Feasting

Simple orange coconut cakeIt’s beginning to look a lot like christmas…

I’m a huge fan of christmas. The decorations come up, the songs are playing and presents wrapped. It is a time to remind ourselves of the love that God has sent us.IMG_2660 (640x427)

It is also when people seem to think we can “let it go” and “indulge”. Instead of an “all or nothing” thinking, I prefer to think of it like any other day or time of the week. We decide consciously if we are going to eat it. Sometimes we may take a bite and decide against it (I’m the girl who takes the smallest slice/taste, nibble on it and then go have a bigger helping if I like it). If I have a glass of wine, I’m going to enjoy the glass. I choose to say no when I want to say no. If I say yes, I choose to enjoy it.IMG_2671 (640x427)

I view the same way with birthdays or any other special occasions. I know that the slice of cake will not cause me to gain 5 kg. Maybe christmas means we are expose to more of these treats. I think it is perfectly ok to have them. It is not about using it as an excuse to go crazy. 

There are many articles about feasting and “eating healthy” at Christmas. The formula I believe can be simple. More veggies, more salad, some protein and enjoy the treats- but acknowledge they are treats. Move and enjoy moving. 

I made this cake for my birthday back in October. I love oranges and I wanted to share cake with my dearest workout mates. It is really simple but it hit a spot in me. Perhaps it was my birthday, or that it is a layered cake. This year, I learned that celebrations are best with people I enjoy around me. IMG_2675 (640x427)

Cake can be nutrients dense with the right ingredients. Then, we can enjoy every bite and every slice with pleasure. This Christmas, I’m going to practice being kind, being less critical and really just treat food the way it is suppose to be treated. Food. Nourishing. Enjoyment. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’100′]

Raw Carrot Cake Bites

Raw carrot cake bitesThere are many raw treats popping up around Perth at the moment. I have my favourites- mainly those that does not use agave as a sweetener. I prefer the use of honey, rice malt, medjool dates or coconut sugar. While there are debates between the level of fructose in each kind of sweetener, I think it is best to use common sense and your taste buds to guide you. Agave does not sit well with me and neither does stevia. Personally, I think that whichever one you choose, less is more. IMG_2624 (640x427)

I love carrot cake. Maybe it is the deception of the goodness of carrots in a cake, but to me, that is comfort food. When hubby and I were in our university days, I fell terribly sick once. I hardly got out of bed and did not have appetite for any thing. Except for a big slice of carrot cake. Well, ok, that one slice was my breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fast forward to 14 years later, I still love a good slice of carrot cake. My taste buds have change of course and I’m finding most cakes are too sweet for me- to the point that I’m unable to enjoy the flavour of the cake while my tastebuds is stinging from the sugar hit. IMG_2630 (640x427)

Still, you can tell my love for it prevailed. For Asher’s full moon celebration, I made carrot cupcakes with cream cheese yogurt swirl. I did as similar layered cake for his 2nd year birthday when it was the combination of carrot and apple that won me over. 

So I guess it is no surprise that I would attempt to make a raw version of carrot cake. If you follow my instagram, you probably noticed that I made one before. My experiment of using  didn’t work the way I envisioned it to be (i know..what was I thinking). This round, I combined coconut butter with coconut milk and it worked so much better. Cream cheese wouldn’t hurt too I am sure. IMG_2625 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’96’]

Moroccan Mixed Nuts and Coconut Bars (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free) + My thoughts on snacks

IMG_2554 (640x427)I can be a mindless snacker. A handful of this and a handful of that usually adds up to more than what I like to admit what I can eat. I’m a lot more conscious about portion control these days. Making sure I have a small container of nuts rather than eating out of a packet. Spooning yogurt into my bowl rather than eating it from the tub. Things like that matters. IMG_2549 (640x427)

I find that I can go without a snack between breakfast and lunch on most days, unless I have big workout the evening before. However, come 4pm, I’m usually wanting a snack of some sort. Ideally to fuel me before my workout at around 5:30pm. Some of my favourite snacks are

  • coffee
  • 1/2 cup of chia pudding with blueberries
  • 100 grams yogurt with some of my granola or coconut flakes
  • a banana muffin
  • a banana with nut butter
  • handful of nuts, and some cheese 
  • A few bliss balls if I do make them
  • Few pieces of roast chicken 
  • Smoked salmon and cheese
  • Vege sticks- Carrot, cucumber, celery and capsicum 

Sometimes they are a combination of above. IMG_2552 (640x427)

My hubby though, like to keep his snack box handy at work. While he packs whatever that I make, I like to surprise him from time to time with a savoury item. I wouldn’t say they are the prettiest of the snacks and they do crumb quite easily. I see those crumbs as bonus though. This is morish and the crumbs are great with ice cream. Or in my mouth. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’92’]