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Linseed Coconut Bread (Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_2155 (640x427)As the weather is still cool, I really like to bake a loaf of bread or some savoury loaf of some sort whenever we have soups. We love our soups, and it is one of the easiest thing I get to do to batch up cooking. A big pot of soup usually lasts us for 2 days. That means I can return home from a workout, and know that a warm comforting bowl awaits me. Soup is not the same without something toasty to dip into hence I am always on the look out for healthy bread recipes or ingredients that I can experiment at home.IMG_2154 (640x427)

As a family, we have decided that bread is one thing we can do with less. Gluten just does not sit well with hubby and myself. We are not coelics though, but does not like how too much bread makes us feel. If we are out, rye and sourdough are our choices, but at home, we see no reason to have food that isn’t as nutrient dense as what other ingredients can provide. IMG_2158 (640x427)

I find that psyllium husks and linseed meal provides a more bread like texture. I have created this bread 3-4 times now, and have adjusted the liquid to dry ingredients ratio. I think this makes the cut! A friend experimented with chia egg which I think will work well too if you are wanting the bread to be less “eggy” or for allergy reasons. Asher loves his with avocado in the morning, while hubby likes to place a few slices of smoked salmon on his. It is a rather smallish size bread loaf though, but I would think it could even work well as a sandwich. Now, I just have to experiment with this recipe to make it a decent jaffle bread toastie!

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Banana Carrot Bread (Paleo, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Clean Eating, Dairy Free)

IMG_2031 (640x427)This is my another attempt to make breakfasts ahead of time. On average, I would make a batch of banana bread or mini banana cakes for snacks/breakies every 6 – 8 weeks.  A batch of banana cakes freeze quite well so I usually make around 16 of them, freezing some and rationing it for breakfasts/snacks for the next 2 days.

Banana bread is always a winner in my household as it is portable and lovely when toasted up. Hubby loves his with a little butter while Asher just gobble it up whenever he sees it. It means I have one less thing to worry about in the morning. Now that my work hours are going to change mid August, I can see myself making more things in advanced. IMG_2030 (640x427)

On my work days, breakfast ideas for me are simple. 

– greek yogurt with fresh berries or passionfruit and 2 tbsp of my coconut granola

– soft boiled eggs with smoked salmon and sauerkraut. The best thing is that hubby wakes earlier than me so he would prepare them and I would have breakie ALL done when I come down to the kitchen! I love that. 

– maybe two slices of the banana bread

– Coconut Vanilla Chia pudding

– Coconut granola with kefir or almond milk 

For Asher and my hubby

– The above except both does not like yogurt!

– Asher likes banana and avocado or avocado with some pear or apple! 

– Asher would have rice puffs mixed with sliced almonds with milk

– Hubby might have a slice or two of whatever I baked and in the fridge. 

Other grab and go breakfasts ideas are welcomed. IMG_2026 (640x427)

I decided that I could shred and add some carrots to the banana bread one day- just for variety but also added nourishment and nutrients. We all loved it! The sweetness of carrots and banana went so well. I was so excited that I brought a few slices to our friends who then proceeded to send me a photo of her little boy giving a thumps up! More veggies into our kids can’t be wrong isn’t it!

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Almond and Coconut Bread (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free)

IMG_8957It’s a cliche. Time just seems to fly pass. It has been one year since my grandmother’s passing. 

My feelings are all over the place. Mostly I feel sad. I miss her terribly. I wish that I can pick up the iPad and give her a buzz early in the morning. Our conversations were simple. What did she eat. What did Asher do. What am I cooking today. IMG_8922

My eyes wandered around my bedroom when I went back to Singapore earlier. It has changed now. It felt empty. Her serene smiley photo looked at me. My graduation photo standing proud on her cabinet. Ever since I was 3 days old, I was under her care and supervision. I slept in the same room as her till I was 16 years old- and even then, I shared a room with her whenever I come back to visit. Her room was mine and vice versa. 1929236_53220558090_8130603_n

Thoughts of “Why did I not pick up her symptoms earlier” haunt me from time to time. Before our trip to Bali, I would ring her everyday. While we were in Bali, I rang her twice. The weekend we were back,  I spoke to her on Friday and recall her saying she wasn’t feeling well. Reassuring me that she will be ok, she went to see the GP and came back telling me that GP said her digestive system was weak and she is to drink more fluid and rest. I spoke to her on Sunday again, with my mother and I agreeing that it’s time to make a trip to the hospital. She was jovial and said she was preparing to have a shower before heading to the local hospital. 

That was the last long conversation we had. 

If only.  

Deep down, I knew it was a matter of time. The past year leading to her passing has been tough. She was pushed and had a fracture. She was in and out of the hospital 3-4 times for illnesses that she conquered over and over. She was fighting for time. IMG_7742

I treasure all my time with her. I’m the lucky one. Being her grand daughter, I benefited from her attention and time. I was in a very privileged position to know her. Beneath her “fierceness”, was her generosity, humour, kindness and warmth. She showed through her actions. Family member needing some cash flow? She bought food. Mum being unwell, she made soups. She encouraged me through university despite her sometimes old fashioned comments about how girls does not need higher education. She stood proudly next to me and bought me flowers at my doctorate graduation ceremony. 

To me, she would always be the wise one. IMG_7491

Her passing has left an emptiness in my life and heart. A missing piece. Life goes on and I know she would want me to live better. That was why she worked hard- for the next generations to have better.

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Grandmother likes bread. She would have it almost every morning. It was soft, easy to digest.I have been experimenting for a little while now and found that psyllium husk makes this clean loaf more “bread like”. What would she say I wonder if I make her this bread? I’m guessing she would say it’s more dense that what she is used to. Nevertheless, she would chomp it down with real butter. That’s what thing I learnt from her. Butter always makes bread taste better.IMG_1703 (427x640)

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Date and Coconut Loaf (Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_1253 (640x427)Counting our blessings takes practice. Going through life, it is very easy to take things for granted or see our challenges as huge. The “big picture” is often not seen as we focus on the difficulty that we are facing currently. 

I saw Asher having a mini melt down when I took his toy car away the other day (because it was lunch time and we eat first then play). It reminded me that to him, it must feel like the end of the world when something upsetting happen. The “big picture” is that he learn how to focus on his food and hunger/full cues and not be overly distracted (Which he usually is) if he has a toy car in hand at the same time. 

Applying this in our adult life can be somewhat tricky. Hubby and I were talking about our goals and plans for this year as a family and as a couple. We spoke about our work and the direction this year may bring. There is a level of uncertainty for me as I’m currently on a contract till mid year. We pondered questions such as is it the right time for me to increase my days of work, or continue my current hours. We discussed our travel plans. Then we talked about his work and career path. IMG_1250 (640x427)

Sneakingly, those doubtful words creeped in. “Oh what if my contract does not get renewed or I’m not offered a permanent position?” I asked anxiously. Hubby then spoke about how nice it would be to work closer to home or one with more flexibility. oh and “Oh too bad we cannot travel to whatever place for some time”. 

Then it hit us. Have we missed the point completely? To count our blessings that we have jobs that pay the bills, and a house to return to. Food on our table, and clothes that we can wear. Time on the weekend that we spend together as a family. Friends that we trust and speak to. Technology that allows us to connect with overseas family and friends. 

We may not know what is around the corner. One thing for sure, is that we need to count our blessings that we are together as a family. Yes, those uncertainties will always be present. God’s big picture may not always be revealed. IMG_1254 (640x427)

This year, we are learning to take deep breathes and roll with what may come our way. 

I made this Date and Coconut Loaf out of a whim one afternoon. It’s light and crumby and goes very well with Earl Grey or coffee. My delight is when Asher wants “more cake” and when hubby returns home after a hard day at work, and have something sweet and freshly baked for him. IMG_1252 (640x427)

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Lemon Coconut Loaf

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A working mum. It has been over a month once since I started working. Some days are tricky and some days are easier. I thank God everyday that my work is flexible and I can shift my hours around. It has also given me full admiration to full time working mums out there, juggling home and family life balance.

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For me, it’s all about being organised. I make meal plans anyway but now I have to consider 1) Can Asher eat this, 2) How much time do I have that day? and 3) budget. On the days I work, we tend to have either soups made from the day before, or perhaps an oven baked dish that I have pre marinated and prepared in the fridge. That just require me to pop it in the oven before I head to the gym or pick Asher up from day care. I’m also using the thermal cooker that my mother gave me a lot more. Nothing beats having a warm, chinese style broth after work. My kind of comfort food.

I’m also getting better and cutting vegetables and preparing ingredients the night before or perhaps even on the weekend. Most of the time, cooking is the easy bit. It’s the prep work and washing up!

Whenever I can, I make snacks and cakes in batches. I stock up on nuts, and we cut up a batch of vege sticks every few days. Some nights, I might even boil a few eggs and put in the fridge for some quick and handy protein attack. On nights I choose not to cook, we have tins of tuna or salmon on stand by or a frozen batch of soup. Otherwise, it could also be a roast chicken from the deli with salad for dinner.

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The one thing excellent about cooking and eating clean is that everything is simplified. Even baking. Take this lemon and coconut loaf that I have adapted from WholeFoodSimply. It took me 10 minutes max to whipped the batter up. The washing up took a bit more but hey, it was worth it. I have changed the ratio a little and find that it makes the loaf a lighter one. Sometimes coconut flour makes cakes quite dense, but you might find it’s the reverse for this. Perhaps a little too crumbly but it was delish with a cup of tea. Lemon desserts are certainly growing on me!

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Lemon Coconut Loaf 

2.5 cups of desiccated coconut

1/4 cup of coconut flour

3/4 cup of coconut milk

4 eggs

1 tablespoon of rice malt syrup or honey

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1.5 tsp of bicarb soda

1 tsp of vanilla paste

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 180C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Whisk eggs, honey, lemon zest and juice, coconut milk and vanilla in a jug. Combine coconut flour, coconut, bicarb soda and salt in another bowl. Fold wet to dry. Bake for 40-45 minutes till done.

Apple and Cinnamon Bread

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My favourite thing to say is “this too shall pass”.

It worked when Asher was a newborn and did not know his nights and days.

It worked when I was pacing up and down the room between 11pm-3am sometimes 4 am settling him later on.

Or perhaps during the afternoons when he just wants to nap on me and refused to go down to his cot.

Or when he was sick.

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More recently, it became 3 weeks of sleep regression, teething, a bout of cold, vaccination and wonder “month”.

Woah, I was exhausted. I was a walking zombie but strangely was able to keep it together. The house was running well, I was hitting hard at the gym and we hardly missed any commitments. Perhaps to the world, things appeared ok.

Perhaps it was the case of “This too shall pass but I will also get used to it”.

I wouldn’t say I coped very well. I had emotional days where every step just seemed heavier and harder. My only outlet was exercising and having that 30 minutes by myself (and an extra 15 minutes of quietness in the car as I drove to the gym). That extra shot of caffeine helped too. By week 3, I spoke to a few girlfriends who reminded me that I need to sleep earlier and commit to less things.

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As it got better, and I’m starting to recover from it all, I reflected.  I realised that  I like taking on commitments when I’m tired because being productive helps me feel better. But being productive does not necessary means I get enough rest. It’s really is a fine line between completing projects, having that gash of oxytocin of accomplishment and overwhelming myself-rushing and not enjoying the process.

I have learned to say no, and to scheduled in rest time.  Active recovery is often used in the gym where rest days are respected and equally weighted as gym days. Between changing diapers, planning play routines for Asher and heading out to appointments… I lost that. I rushed around completing household chores, baking and preparing dinner when Asher takes a nap. I scheduled in two sometimes three appointments, and ran errands in between. Now, I try to read a magazine, or catch up on reading a few blogs… without guilt.

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And i’m sleeping earlier.

Meanwhile, I came across Teresa Cutter’s Apple and Cinnamon Bread recipe. What a gorgeous creation! It warmed the house up straight away on a rainy afternoon. Asher loved it it made a delightful afternoon tea treat. I made a few minor changes such as adding in crushed walnuts and ginger for warmth and texture. Hubby loved it toasted with a hint of butter.

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Apple and Cinnamon Bread (Serves 14)

2 cups of Almond Meal

3 eggs

3 apples grated

1 tsp of vanilla paste

1 tsp of ginger

2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1/2 cup of walnuts crushed

1/4 cup of coconut oil

2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

squeeze of lemon juice

half an apple sliced

1) Preheat Oven to 180C and line loaf tin.

2) Mix almond meal, walnuts, grated apple, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt together.

3) Whisk eggs and oil.

4) Pour to dry ingredients and fold through.

5) Spoon into loaf. Place apple slices on top and sprinkle a little more cinnamon on it.

6) Bake for 45 minutes till brown.

A VERY good for you Zucchini and Olive Loaf

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I have posted this before but I would like to update this recipe. After a few other experimentation, I found the addition of other ingredients really lift this loaf up to be a nutritious and delicious bread. In fact, I made this so many times that I need to re think what to bring for friends and picnics. The embarrassing moment when they start to associate you with “oh, the girl with the zucchini loaf!”

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Hubby likes this because it is so versatile. Toasting it up for breakfast, or having it with soup- the choice is yours. I kept some in the freezer and found that it freezes well too. I would even let Asher have some as a snack from time to time.

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I think it is a “Very good” for you loaf because it has a good mix of protein from the nut meal and heaps of vegetables as well. A good way to sneak in more goodness to your body I say! You can choose to omit the cheese for a strict paleo meal plan but I prefer a little cheese in mine.

A VERY Good for you Zucchini and Olive Loaf 

1.5 cup of almond meal

3/4 cup arrow root starch

1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

5 eggs

1.5 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of zucchini grated

2 carrots grated

1 capsicum finely chopped

1/4 cup of chopped up sundried tomatoes

1/4 cup of chopped olives

1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
Pepitas and Sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

Lined loaf pan with baking paper. Whisk dry ingredients together and wet (excluding veges, olives and cheese) in another jug. Pour wet to dry and fold through. Fold through all vegetables, sundried tomatoes and olives last. Pour in pan, sprinkle seeds on top and bake for 35-40 minutes.