Turkish Delight + friends in motherhood

IMG_3256 (640x427)Enjoying a nourish bowl with a dear friend one afternoon, we spoke about how empty our tanks have become. Being a mother it seems is draining. Friendships are harder to maintain- not because you don’t want to but even typing on whats app seems tiring. Conversations become more curt and straight to the point. Not because we want to come across as snobbish or fussy, but because we have less energy to be tactful or waste time trying to be gentle. 

The make up face. The clean clothes we are wearing. The weary smiles. Sometimes motherhood transform friendships. It is not because we don’t want to, but because in our quietness and straight to the point conversation we know that as long as our kids are happy, no one gets killed and we get coffee… the day is good. Very good. IMG_3259 (640x427)

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Wild Orange Coconut Caramel Jelly Slice + Mum Talk

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

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

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

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

And if all else fails, hand child to husband. 

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

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Matcha Goji Slice (Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free) + Food Judgement P2

IMG_3162 (640x427)Would it be a surprise to you if I say that our food decisions are evolving? At certain points of my life, I have become strict- often having “good food” and “bad food”. I followed strictly to my meal plans, and had great success in achieving several goals. In the process, I discover that there is no such thing as good or bad food- it is food that your body can manage and feel good in. 

Most people I know, would not say “I feel bad eating real food”. While I do have a bite of non-gluten, non-paleo and sugar filled, wheat filled desserts or meals here and there, I eat there being informed that they are for taste and enjoyment. Not health reasons. I still cringe when people think I’m restrictive or “am forever on a diet”. Is health diet a good enough reason? Matcha Goji Slice

The other day, we went out for dinner. It was relaxing, I had a glass of sparkling and ate mostly the meat and vegetables. I had a few bites of a wonderful tasting goats cheese ball (deep fried of course and Asher finished MINE!), and perhaps one of the crispy cracker that went with the guacamole. Perhaps it was my body not being used to gluten, or there was something there that I reacted to- but boy for nearly a week did my gut suffered 😦 While it was not as bad as previously, I was feeling sluggish, together with feelings of bloated, with odd hunger but with no appetite. It seriously reminded me of my IBS days, but in a milder form. IMG_3160 (640x427)

That totally reminded me of why we eat the way we do. I do not regret that dinner, it was a happy occasion and the food tasted wonderful. It did however, remind me that no one else need to judge about my health but me. 

Did I ever mention that I like raw desserts? Oh yes. Must be a million times. This simple Matcha Goji Slice is very low in sugar, gluten free, paleo friendly, high in anti oxidants and tastes like home. Note to self- investing in good quality matcha is a must. I suspect that poorer quality oxidises even quicker. IMG_3163 (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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Happy 7th Year Wedding Anniversary + Persistence + Super Fudgy Brownies

pre weddingThis weekend mark our 7th year wedding anniversary. It is such a cliche, but 7 years seem to have fly  by quickly. 

The 7 years have been filled with adventures. There were moments of stillness, but mostly, we stood side by side each other. 

pre wedding 2The low lights

  • Managing through cancer in the family
  • Stumbling through my grandmother’s health and death
  • Dealing with infertility
  • Work issues
  • Finding out feet as a couple, learning about our values 
  • Learning how to live with each other and working out how to manage our differencestea ceremony

Then we have our high lights

  • Celebrating pregnancy and birth of our son
  • Travelling
  • Learning and embracing our identity as a couple
  • Building and moving into our home 
  • Learning how to be a couple againpregnancy

I’m sure we have more in both lists 🙂 

The last point about learning how to be a couple though rings so true to us right now. Being a parent certainly adds to a different dimension of being a couple for sure. So far this year, we have decided to change a few things to enjoy tine being parents but also to have time being together as a couple. We are definitely finding that hard as whatever little time we have together is filled with conversation about everything else. 

Yet 7 years of marriage has taught me one big thing. Persistence. That’s the beauty of marriage. While there needs to be an element of urgency (if not, we would be pushing our marriage to the back burner!), it is the persistence and the vow of commitment that stood out clearly. The “ok, that didn’t work out too well, let’s try again..and again..and again..and again” with the most important thing reviewing and trying. thomas family

Here is to even MORE years of being us and loving being us!IMG_3084 (640x427)

I would return soon with our celebration cake but HEY nothing spells celebration than chocolate right? This uses tahini, coconut butter and almond butter. It was so good that I cannot stop licking the spoon! Best of all, it is raw so it really takes seconds to whip up. IMG_3082 (640x427)

Happy 7th Year Wedding Anniversary 🙂 

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Raw Lemon Slice (Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_3066 (427x640)One of the lovely things about raw desserts and snacks is that it can be kept in the freezer. Before we left the country, I made up a batch of these Lemon Slices. Some we ate of course, but most of it was kept in the freezer. That way, when we are back, there is a little something there for us to munch on, or to put in snack boxes. IMG_3062 (640x427)

Since discovering doterra essential oils, there is no turning back. I love how many of their oils are food grade, which means it can be added to raw desserts and cooking. This raw lemon slice, I feel, was enhanced by the lemon essential oil that I placed in there. One word of warning though. I find that a little goes a long way! IMG_3064 (640x427)

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Peppermint Slice (Raw, Paleo, Gluten Free) + My little 15 minutes break

Peppermint SliceOne of my 2016 goals is to learn more about essential oils. So much so that I splurge and bought a kit together with a diffuser. Since I was a teenager, I have always used some form of essential oils. I love that how smell influence our feelings, and mood. I like the kind of warmness it brings to a room. While I am aware of the positive health benefits, I have not really investigate or study them. This year is the year. #self development 

So with some peppermint essential oil on hand, I decided to experiment and use 1-2 drops in my peppermint slice rather than essence. My theory is that having real oils is probably more potent if not better than a possible artificially made essence? The result though was a yummy slice that is not over powering. While I’m not usually a peppermint person, I do find that less is more, before it crosses over the line from being refreshing to over powering. IMG_2835 (640x427)

One of my current things to do is to make a raw treat every few weeks and pop them in the freezer. On weeks that I’m extremely busy or when I just need a little treat at the end of the day, that is available. It is so much easier to pack this for Hubby’s snack box too- it usually thaw out a little by mid morning. 

I’m learning how to allocate an afternoon a week when Asher naps to just sit and read. I’m still not overly great at this as I gravitate towards my work laptop or general packing things away. Friday afternoons though, I do find that I need to give my brain a little rest from multi tasking. My thing is to sit down with some form of reading material, berries and a cup of tea on hand. Perhaps sometimes with a mini treat like this slice. With the age of technology and multi tasking, that is a treat. Quietness and stillness. It may sound too simple but simplicity is what we need at times. IMG_2830 (427x640)

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Blueberry Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (Gluten Free)

Blueberry chocolate browniesI am often surprised how my taste buds have changed over the years. Occasionally, perhaps I must have come across as a food snob. If I have, I really don’t mean too! I feel like I have gone from a easy going eater, to someone with a list of “not to have” whenever friends ask if there is something they could provide that we would eat. You see, in our day to day life, we truly live by looking at what we eat than what we do not eat. 

What we eat? It’s as simple as real food. I keep our fridge and freezer stock with lovely WA produce as much as we can. 

What we try to avoid? Anything from a package. IMG_2772 (640x427)

Sometimes we get the giggle and laughs that we are “too healthy”. 

I often say that we make choices base on our journeys in life. Perhaps you are some one who can tolerate more sugar and salt than we can. Perhaps you know someone who have battled cancer and is embracing the low tox life style. Whatever it is, as long as you are conscious about it- then that’s ok! IMG_2773 (427x640)

We do however, have friends who share similar food preferences. And also friends who lovingly read up, research and attempt to make things for us that are low tox, and high in nutrients. Aren’t these friends great? I received gorgeous chocolate cakes, bliss balls, brittles and even savoury items. 

When it was my turn to gift. I thought I would like to make a special friend some brownies. I still wouldn’t call them my perfect brownies but they are pretty yummy. Served cold from the fridge. 

 

To my friends who celebrate Chinese New Year! Happy CNY 2016! IMG_2771 (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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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)

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