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Hazelnut Coffee Cookies with a Chocolate Drizzle (Paleo, Gluten Free, Eating Clean)+ Eating Socially

IMG_2163 (640x427)One of the challenges about choosing a lifestyle on clean eating is saying “no” at social events. Having worked on site and at home for about a year following Asher’s birth means there is little or no reason to have food with colleagues on site. Usually there would be some salad options or cold meats that I would happily have. At other social events, I would simply choose vegetables and meat, avoiding any sauces or baked goods usually. I make exceptions of course. When I know how much effort the host makes or it simply looks too good to say no to, I pick my battles and choose to indulge. 

Having start work in a clinic recently, it hit me that colleagues bond by eating. Being invited to a few morning teas means it is inevitable that I will look odd sitting there with my cup of green tea and not partaking in any of those delicious looking brownies or lemon tart that is on display. On my first day, I choose to have a slice of dark chocolate tart. The birthday girl said it was dark chocolate with some custard powder. The headache that I had after that lingered for hours and that totally reminded me of how my body has responded to not having too much sugar and processed food after a while. All a little strange though as I still have small bites of sweet desserts when I dine out with hubby or with friends, but I have not had one of those headaches for a while. It was a tiny wedge too which again, reminds me of how easily sugar or processed ingredients add up. IMG_2165 (640x427)

Since then, I have been careful to avoid most sweet treats at work. I explained that my body appeared to not respond well to sugar, gluten and processed foods in general and have been advised to avoid them. So far, it worked and it didn’t look too awkward with my hot cup of tea and conversations. What reinforced me was the recent check up where my bloods and ultrasound showed PCOS symptoms as being managed. My GP stressed that I need to continue to be vigilant about my diet. In my head, I know that if I ever choose to indulge, it has to be awesomely good (and be willing to bear with the effects after. Not at work for sure!) 

I think to the outside world, it must seem contradicting. A piece of dark chocolate, a spoonful of cake or taste of ice-cream seems ok but not a slice of chocolate tart? How controlling do one has to be in food then? Is it borderline being food obsessed or having an eating disorder? I can see why those questions can start to occur. IMG_2159 (640x427)

We headed out to dinner the other day with some friends. We had slow cooked beef ribs with carrots, sausage with sauerkraut and a bunch of other sides. For dessert, between the 4 of us and 2 toddlers, we had pumpkin pie and panna cotta with meringue and lemon curd. Did I taste any? Of course I did. Did I stop after some small bites? Yep. I was able to put my fork down after enjoying some. I tasted it enough to enjoy and did not feel like having any more. Did I freak? Not really. Naturally though, I did not want any other fruit or other foods when I came home except for a hot rooibos tea. The next day, I ate what I usually do on a Sunday. 

It is about seeing the whole picture. Loving my food means I like to try new things. Yet, I have to be conscious and in tune with how my body will react to it. Did I die from having that chocolate tart and headache? Nope. Did I obsess around it? Nope. I live and learn. I like to think it is about maturity and reading my body better. There are people with food allergies (think coeliac and nut allergies) and health conditions (e.g. diabetes) where people have no qualms saying it is ok to be selective. I truly think that there is no one size fits all and if that works for your family and body, then we should embrace it.  I would also like to think that it is ok to give myself permission to make that judgment on whether or not I want to eat that. Food is to be nourishing and enjoyed. IMG_2166 (640x427)

I made these hazelnut coffee cookies one Friday afternoon when hubby had a tough week. I know he loves cookies and the smell of freshly baked goods when he walk in the door. Having some hazelnut meal at home, I paired it with coffee which turned out really lovely. It didn’t taste crisp for long though and I had to double baked it. still, I enjoyed that hazelnut crunch and change from almond meal. That is one cookie that I’m good with feeding my family (except for Asher with the coffee!) with. 

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Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Tart + Reconnection in a Marriage

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut TartHave you ever have those moments in your marriage that you appear to be travelling on the same page, but really you are going in opposite directions? 

A friend attended a wedding recently. In the midst of our happy conversation, I recall moments of our weddings, attendance of friends’ weddings and being part of the bridal party. We are at the age where we have witnessed quite a few of our friends getting hitched. We laughed a lot, danced and even shed a few tears at some of these unions. 

A wedding is not a marriage. Marriage that comes after the celebration is the real test. Marriages go through their developmental stages of changes. Adjusting to being newly weds, negotiating families dynamics, readjusting when a child arrive… Indeed there are so many stressors when a child arrive. IMG_1888 (640x427)

Unfortunately where we have been in happy parties, we are also aware of unions that are at the risk of being dissolved. Tears, anger, frustration and betrayal. They make us realise how vulnerable a marriage is. 

Those moments where hubby and I are travelling in opposite directions often leave warning signs. Exhaustion, one of us being sick, Asher being unwell, a conversation did not involve us or each other but rather the everyday routine. While we can be in synch, we became out of synch. It doesn’t feel like we are in a team anymore, but rather we are just existing in our everyday life. We start to do our own checklist of tasks, but neglect to see what each other needs. IMG_1891 (640x427)

One thing we have learned, is to not leave these not of sync moments for too long. We learned that it is inevitable that moments like that will occur. I will be lying to say we never have those days. The reconnection bit is hard but needed. 

Sometimes, all we need is a good chocolate tart, hot cup of tea and some music. Perhaps a long walk or time set aside to have a proper conversation on what happened. Other times, the build up becomes an argument. Over small things. Another warning sign that shock us into taking action. I needed to calm down, and hubby went out to grab some errands. Then he returned with a coffee cup and suddenly, it all seems better. The act of care. It says “I’m in this” and nothing else but us matters again. IMG_1889 (640x427)

I love how this tart turned out because I finally nailed the pastry! It was easy to remove and has a melt in your mouth texture. Turns out less is more and it worked! Happy moment. Less learnt- simplicity works the best. 

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