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Overdue recipe- Christmas Dark Chocolate Panforte Slice + Dads’ struggles

IMG_2860 (640x427)hello MARCH! Are you sure we are fast approaching and finishing quarter of the year? I absolutely cannot wait to just have a few weeks off. 

I’m not sure what’s going on but January and February seems full on. Clearly our bodies are exhausted. We are starting to have minor colds- which we don’t usually have. We get cranky at each other and we forget things. 

I read somewhere that mums have to learn how to look after themselves- because at the end of the year, if we fall into a heap, EVERYTHING falls into a heap. IMG_2855 (640x427)

So true.

As I read that article though, I feel a tinge of unfairness for dads. Yes, we mums have to look out for each other and for ourselves. We also have it harder on many different levels. Sacrificing income, career advancement, adult conversation, sleep, hobbies, fitness, our bodies,… I remember someone asked me before “so what do you do at mothers group? drink tea?”. I nearly fell off my chair with the audacity of that statement. I thought and still tell my friends that even if we do that, we have earned it. IMG_2862 (640x427)

It is however unfair for dads too. I reflected on some things that fathers may struggle with

  • For some jobs, being a male means it is harder to ask for part time hours (despite policies). Kinda like a bro code where it is unspoken but cannot be broken
  • Awkwardness in parents room sometimes when there are just chairs for breastfeeding mums., and they walk straight in. Almost like they have to learn how to just look straight ahead and see that as no difference to a mum breastfeeding in public/ restaurants.
  • Public restrooms when they are by themselves, and no parents room in sight with a child the opposite sex. 
  • Taking time off to care for children. Hubby’s work place is great but he said there are some work places where it is still expected for mums to take time off when child is sick and less so for dad
  • Dads needing to look after their own mental health or health too. There are dads who golf and go out for drinks, but there are also dads who are exhausted from working and helping out at home. 
  • Bringing out memories of how they were parented and how different they are trying to be. 

The list might be short but I think at times I fall into the trap of forgetting it is tough being a dad too. Panforte

Today’s recipe is quite late but I thought I might document this anyway. I call it a Christmas Panforte slice. I wasn’t planning on writing it up as I did it on a whim last Christmas. It was such a hit and I received lovely comments that I thought I should write it down here for anyone who wants the recipe. We do not often have dried fruits in the house but it was Christmas afteralll. I love the combination of fruits, nuts and spices.It does not require baking- and come to think of it, makes a nice gift any time of the year! And no, it has absolute no relevance to the above post except that when I’m a little tired, it shows how all over the place my thoughts are!IMG_2852 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’117′] 

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Orange Cheesecake Instant Ice-cream (Gluten Free, Clean eating) + Thankful

IMG_2681 (640x427)My favourite week of the year is here! The oven is being cranked up, the tree is decorated and we even have tinsel this year! Presents are wrapped. Music is playing. It is the season to be thankful. IMG_2678 (427x640)

As Christmas approaches, I’m always wondering how am I going to teach Asher how to be thankful. How do I explain that Christmas isn’t just about gifts and trees? I hope to add to this list but lately this is what hubby and I have been doing:

  1. As part of our bed time routine, we pray. Often I ask Asher what would he like to pray for. Of course, being a 2 year old, his priorities are his trains and cars. I try to extend that to praying for safety in travelling, the invention of transport vehicles, for bringing daddy home from work (and to work)…etc However, a couple of weeks ago, Asher said he wanted to “pray of A because she has a sore tummy”. I was so touched that I had tears in my eyes!
  2. Hubby and I spoke to him about giving and sharing. Demonstrating, role modelling and role playing with teddy (doggy) and friends. That was hard work! A toddler is naturally ego centric, what feels good should just be done over and over again…and sharing doesn’t always feel good immediately! Imagine our smiles when Asher started to share some food or an item with us, or with a friend. 
  3. Reading bible stories to him, especially the story of Jesus. While it still has mixed reactions, he was very intrigued by the baby born in a manger around horses.IMG_2681 (640x427)

And then it is about us as adults. The rush, the work end hecticness, the uncertainty of what may happen next year, the food prep, the presents organisation… all that add up and we may not be as thankful for each other. How many times have I snapped? How many times have I felt that my head was exploding? The unkind words or action that flow through me. So there comes forgiveness and I’m glad and humbled. Forgiveness breeds thankfulness and gratefulness. I know that as a mother and a wife, I want to fill our house with that as much as we can. IMG_2684 (640x427)

So while I have Christmas cookies to share (check out my instagram), I can’t help but whip up some ice-cream for the warm summer weather at Christmas. I’m making a version to bring to our Christmas lunch this year! But to cool all of us down, I hope you will enjoy my Orange Cheesecake Ice-cream. Optional: with a shot of nespresso to make a zesty affogato. IMG_2676 (640x427)

So at this Christmas, I’m thankful for you. Thankful for the love my friends have and the support you have given me. Thankful for the space to write my thoughts and sort out my ramblings. 

Merry Christmas xx 

[yumprint-recipe id=’101′] 

 

Rosewater Pistachio Coconut Cookies (Gluten Free, Paleo, Clean eating) + Christmas is coming!

Rosewater cookiesOk! Officially the end of November now. Summer is definitely fast approaching, and one of my favourite season is here.

Every year, I attempt to be organised for Christmas. Some years I’m more organised than others. Mostly though, I dislike the last minute rush in finding presents because I dislikes purchasing items for friends and family just for the sake of. I admit I have fallen short quite a few times, but ideally, the best present is when I spot it, balancing it up with its cost and thinking “oh that would be perfect for ____”. IMG_2604 (640x427)

The added time pressure this year probably did not help. As a family, we decided that we have taken a notch down in our commitments and have been enjoying low key weekends where we spent more time at home and at parks. Much as I like shopping, we choose not to walk around shopping centres and head home after a family lunch out on a Sunday. The slowing down is GREAT for us, but less so as I feel that I have less inspiration for gifts. 

I’m guessing that this year, I will manage by utilising online shopping a lot more. I used it quite abit when Asher was a tiny bub in our first year of Christmas, but will attempt to do so more this year..and hopefully still end up with more thoughtful gifts. I have begun with my list, and will start working my way through! IMG_2599 (640x427)

One of the other thing I like about this season is Christmas bakes. I’m not sure if rosewater belongs to the festiveness of Christmas but I was playing around with it and came up with this cookie. Maybe more cinnamon and dried fruit might jazz it up further. I’m not sure. Still, cookies are one of my favourite treat food and definitely will be enjoyed this summer. 

Ros

[yumprint-recipe id=’94’] 

Orange Chocolate Mousse Slice- Paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free

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My oven is working full speed, the tree is up, music is playing and presents wrapped. I’m in love with Christmas and it’s fast approaching us!

Christmas to us means more than just the festiveness. It’s a celebration of us being saved by Christ. I’m first to admit that I enjoy buying and giving gifts, but often need to remind myself that there is more to Christmas than gifts.

Slow down to speed up. It’s one of my favourite statements. I say it all the time. To myself, at home and at work. And as Christmas is approaching, I thought I could pen down a few things about how I have been feeling about myself since this post.

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Food, Exercise and Self Image

Amazingly, since my little rant, I went back on track. It was a touch and go 2 weeks where I felt down and discouraged. Chatting with my coach, girlfriends and hubby made me realised how much I have fallen into the trap of being focused on appearance. My coach said that he wished that one day, I will not be trapped in making a decision on how I should be feeling based on what I think how I should look or feel. Life is a journey and while I always thought that I have fought my demons well, its tail peaked out from time to time. That was one of those time and I just had to tackle it.

I have noted some difference in my torso and arms- with my remedial masseur noticing similar differences in my glutes, shoulders and arms. Performance at the gym has increased- I’m doing cleans with weights that I have not done before, and double KB squats and lunges. Again, I realised that I’m celebrating these milestones more and more, and trusting the process.

I weighed myself after 3 months and…. yes I gained 1.4 kg but some calculations reviewed that body fat remained largely the same but muscle has increased by at least 1.2kg.

That brought out some ambivalent feelings within me. I hated seeing the number on the scale and instantly felt pudgy. Isn’t that interesting? Right now though, I’m doing my best to focus on performance goals and leave the scales where it belongs- the cupboard.

Being patient and recognising where I have come from has been a huge huge lesson for me.

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Energy Levels

A mindset shift helps. While sleep is getting better, I’m learning to schedule in more reading and quiet time. Journalling helps but I need to remember to do it!

Coffee Update

I have reduced coffee intake to around 4-5 times a week as oppose to 6-7 times a week. I have not noticed any differences but then change is minor. One thing to note is that since reducing my dairy intake, I’m feeling less bloated again. Thank goodness there are heaps of places that offers almond milk coffee!

Christmas

So here comes Christmas and I’m excited to share this little slice that I came up with. I have not fully jumped on to the raw food bandwagon, but do like creating raw desserts from time to time. This Orange Chocolate Slice was one of them. I’m pretty proud of it actually as I think it tasted like chocolate orange mousse cake. Since we are having warm days, I like to eat it straight out from the freezer. This is a good quick dessert to whip up and perfect for warm Christmas day! Hope you enjoy this. I’m going to be spending some quality time with my family during this period of time but will be back with more recipes!

 

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Orange Mousse Chocolate Slice 

Base

1 cup of Walnuts

1 cup of desiccated coconut

5 dates soaked

2 tablespoons of Coconut oil

2 tablespoons of cacao powder

Blitz it all up in a food processor. Press down in a lined tin. Freeze it.

Mousse layer

1.5 cups of cashews soaked for a few hours or overnight

2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup

1/2 cup of cacao powder

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 cup of coconut milk

1/3 cup of orange juice

zest of an orange

After a rinse of the food processor bowl, place the above ingredients and give it a good whiz. Scrapping down and whiz till it becomes a very smooth paste without any grainy bits. Spoon onto frozen base. Place back to the freezer for a good 20 mins or so.

Topping

1/2 cup of coconut butter

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup of cacao powder

2 tablespoons of rice malt syrup.

Again, Whiz it all in the food processor. Spoon onto the mousse layer. Sprinkle with cacao nibs. Fridge or freeze till firm!

 

Wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS!