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′]

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 🙂 

[yumprint-recipe id=’130′] 

Mango Bread (Paleo, gluten free, dairy free) + Murky Roles

IMG_2866 (640x427)Is being a father/mother = to being a good husband/wife? 

The other day hubby and I had a conversation about roles in parent hood. While it may seem clear cut on what our roles are, it can often be more murky than what it seems. IMG_2869 (427x640)

First up, it does depends on your definition of what a husband or wife should be. For some people, it is about being a partner in life. We uplift each other, we give honest thoughts, we pray. Perhaps we enjoy checking out cafes and coffee. We have heart to heart conversations, have similar thoughts on current affairs. We may share a love for musicals. We do housework together and is there for each other when the going gets tough.We have a good laugh. Most of all we like each other.

Then we have definition of what a parent is like. The usual routine, caring for a child, playing. We may think that providing financially is also one of our roles. IMG_2866 (640x427)

Gently, we teased out the differences. Being a mother/father may contribute being a partner in a relationship but it does not define it. I love seeing hubby being a dad. It gives me great joy when I see hubby plays with Asher or teaching him a skill that I did not even think of teaching. I love seeing how Asher looks up to his dad with those eyes that says “daddy is his hero”. It makes me warm and fuzzy. It fills me with love. Yet I also long for those days and luxuries when I have hubby’s undivided attention. Flowers and gifts. Notes in my lunch box and sweet words. Hubby too realises that he misses being the centre of my attention where I am more flexible in my scheduling, more spontaneous in checking out food places and perhaps less snappiness when I’m tired. He misses my messages on why I love him, and why I respect him. He cares for those evenings when we do not have to rushed to finish getting ready for the next day but just enjoy each other’s company. He would like our conversation to be round us and our dreams/goals- and not just be around what we need to do and need each other to do.

Being a parent is hard work. Being in a marriage and a parent = triple the hard work. The unspoken is that it takes a lot of effort to keep a family together. I certainly appreciate having this conversation to keep me in check, but in reflection of our day to day actions as a couple. IMG_2867 (640x427)

This is one of hubby’s favourite breakfast in summer. The sweetness and creaminess of mango means the bread does not need any other sweeter. Asher for some reason does not like mangos. I think it is the texture (I’m sure he will come around though). Sometimes I may not make something (in order to maximise amount of return for the energy output to make it) because Asher doesn’t eat it as much- but this time, it is for hubby because he likes it. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’118′] 

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. 

[yumprint-recipe id=’48’] 

Ricotta Chives Waffles + Work Life Balance

IMG_1845 (640x427)Balance is such an subjective word. What is balance for you may not be balance for us. A recent conversation with a close girlfriend got me thinking….

Balance is the perceive notion that there is even weight given. Work-Life Balance would suggest that one has managed to figure out how to ensure both are given equal amount of attention and work. Equal. That word lies heavily on me. I would love to say I’m happy with the “balance” on the day in and out basis. Sure I like my job, and I certainly like being at home. Is it balance? I think “balance” means fine tuning takes place on a weekly, if not daily basis. IMG_1849 (640x427)

In reality, I believe that it is what we choose to prioritise. What we choose to concentrate and focus on, and perhaps  even what we choose to let go. Balance is perhaps not the best word for us. Like most people, we have bad and good weeks. We have events that throw us off. Our emotions get better of us. Or perhaps someone falling sick means plans need adjustment. 

Balance perhaps is what you perceive as working for your family. Each family takes it quite differently because most of us have different priorities plus developmental changes What we choose to do depends on that too. Balance for us means we have to accept that at our stage in life, we may not get as much time together as a couple than what we have before. However, we choose to spend time as a family figuring out Asher’s personality, likes/dislikes and how can we develop him in his potential. We chose for me to work which means we have to make do with simple or batch cooking for meals, adequate cleanliness and ironing that sometimes pile up. We choose for hubby to concentrate on his career, which means he looks for opportunities to develop himself. I choose to concentrate on strength and performance at the gym, which means I’m trying to focus less on image but more on development. IMG_1845 (640x427)

Do we want more of something? That’s a big YES! Perhaps it is human nature, but hubby and I love to have more time together. We are still learning how to be a couple again on top of being parents. We like to spend more time doing up parts of the house, and most of all, be able to have more time with both sides of our families. There are times when hubby and I give up going for courses because we have other priorities even though the courses might interest us. 

Is balance a series of choices then? 

It’s a really interesting topic because hubby and I never talked about being “balance”. We spoke about how we need to shift things around to make things work. One thing that works to our advantage is that the working hours in Australia is shorter than Asia. That provides the perceive notion that we have a more balance approach to life. Somehow I do agree with that because the shorter hours means there are more option provided to us. I also feel for my family and friends whose life seem to be consume with work. I believe we do work hard here though. I think it is such a myth that being in laid back Australia means there are no hard workers around. Sure we all know of people who slack or we might even question why some individuals are in certain positions. However, I know more people who takes work seriously and commit themselves to it when they are there. Hubby starts work 7ish, and I know that he has already started replying emails and working while on public transport, right down to when he comes back. My part time hours means I generally do not have a break (Yes, I know, probably not legal but I like to make sure my minutes are well accounted for) on some days. I have friends who push themselves and work longer hours than they should. 

Balance perhaps is a cultural option as well. Perhaps we are luckily here because we have the option. That I count us very very lucky.

If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably aware that whenever I can, I like to have breakfasts at any time of the day. On our wedding anniversary, I made some waffles for lunch. It was a real simple savoury one that we enjoyed with some lovely gluten free lamb and rosemary sausages. I did have a small side salad that was not shown in the picture. For these waffles, I attempted to whip the egg whites to give it more of a lift. However, I neglected to note that my waffle maker does thin and crispy waffles. Not the Belgium style type. So…. my waffles turned out crispy anyway! Major DOH moment. IMG_1848 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’44’] 

Carrot and Basil Bread

IMG_1844 (640x427)I see it in his eyes. He is tired. What do you do when one of your favourite person in the world is tired? 

From an encouraging word, to making sure meals are being looked after. Truth is, the rat race isn’t easy. Just like a modern woman battling with the balance of working and home, I can see that the modern man is facing that as well.IMG_1842 (640x427)

My hubby is a hands on father. I remember in the first 6 months that Asher was born, hubby said he felt that he could not do much. In fact, he did. He changed Asher’s first diaper, get peed on, and practiced unconditional love when Asher screamed for 3 hours when he was born in his arms, while I was in theatre. At home, he does the laundry, emptied the bins and water the plants. He make us breakfast once a week. He wakes up in the middle of the night when Asher wakes, even if it is to make me a hot drink or to cuddle Asher while I have a loo break.

IMG_1839 (427x640)These days,  he is even more hands on with Asher. No matter how tired he is when he returns home, he would spend time playing and cuddling him. I know that in the morning, he would leave work a little later just so he can have some time with him. 

With each family, there are challenges. Ours is no different. Sometimes I think hubby faces the same challenges I do in balancing it all. I see it in his face. Choosing work or being at home a few minutes early. Sleeping in an extra few minutes or getting up to empty the dishwasher. Replying that email or reading a book. Having a child also means the focus is a lot on him, and our relationship can get neglected. I cannot put more on him because I know his time is filled. That can be a spiralling cycle where I feel tired from not asking from help. 

I’m grateful though that, those choices he make made us where we are and who we are. 

I make this loaf for a few reasons. The biggest one is that it is a portable snack or breakfast item for hubby. The other, was the celebrate our friends who visited from Singapore a while back. They stayed for breakfast and we had a ball. Nourishing my friends’ tummy resulted in me and Asher feeling nourished with adult company and friendship. Besides, carrot and basil is a combination that can’t go wrong. More veggies in the morning? yes please!Carrot and Basil Loaf

[yumprint-recipe id=’43’] 

 

Coconut and Date Cookies aka Anzac Cookies (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free) + Roles Definition Husband and Wife

IMG_1825 (640x427)What defines you as a wife or husband? Is it your ability to keep the house clean, manage the kids or bring in the bacon? It sounds so deep and meaningful but it all comes down to what your perception of what you think a wife or husband look like in a marriage. 

Prior to our wedding, we had pre marital counselling which revealed that hubby and I are traditional in our nature. We appear to have our own defined roles. For example, hubby takes the rubbish out. I like to do the cooking. Many of our definitions and image are of course shaped by what we see around us. Our parents, friends, relatives and even media. IMG_1821 (640x427)

Fast forward 6 years later, we realised that it goes deeper than that. As marriage falls into a lovely comfortable rhythm, it is so easy to mistake these roles as fixed. A marriage is after all a partnership. When one needs help, the other pull him/her up. When a particular household chore can’t be completed, the other, knowing what it is, can attempt if not at least asked how the chore is done. Sometimes, it is no longer the “that’s her job” or “that’s his role” anymore. 

Staying at home part time makes me do more. I can fix things (aka put together broken toys), open jars (all those gym workout is making me stronger), take the rubbish out, clear the dishwasher, drive to more places, play rough, learn how to operate the entertainment system at home, and dare I say it, even lift heavy items. (Given a chance and a need, I might even change the lightbulb). Doing these things make me appreciate hubby more- after all, most of the time, he does them. Deep in my heart, I hope he realises how much I do around too! IMG_1822 (640x427)

Which brings me to the next point. Do you know and appreciate what your partner/spouse is doing? Has marriage and your relationship fallen into the rhythm that it has easily fallen into defined roles and responsibilities? 

Having a child makes me realise how much we co depend on each other. That used to scare me. Prior to marriage, I was the pro single career focused woman who has a clear vision in my head on what my life will be. Ask hubby. He asked me to be his girlfriend, I interviewed him for the position as my life partner. As time goes on, I realised I have fallen not only for him, but lean heavily on his support as a life partner. Sure, when we both get busy, it can fall into the way side. Marriage is after all a process not the end of a relationship. It’s a team. One I hope we can role model to our young Asher. 

Marriage and deep and meaningful conversation aside, I created these Anzac look alike cookies in April. I call them coconut and date too because I believe that the traditional Anzac cookies would probably not have fancy ingredients like dates and almond meal! They are pretty yummy though. Truth be told, I’m trying to figure out a cookie recipe that Asher will have at home. Day care and sometimes church creche would provide him with an arrowroot Arnott biscuits. Nothing wrong with them if you can take them, but I am trying to find something that is more nutrition denied. One day, I will figure it out! This one? Not a winner in his books, but certainly in ours!IMG_1820 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’41’]

Cashew and Hazelnut Brittle (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean Eating)

Cashew and Hazelnut BritterMy husband is not a big snacker. You would think that with my constant experimenting in the kitchen, and fridge filled with snacks, he would be excited about it. Truth is, sometimes he is and sometimes he isn’t. Even if I have spent time making a double layer hazelnut torte (which I did!) for our Anniversary, he would eat it but he wouldn’t go hunting for it. 

I have said before that my husband has a better relationship with food than myself. He eats when he is hungry and if he enjoys it. He doesn’t see any whatsoever emotional attachment to food even if it is a cake for our anniversary. To him, our anniversary is bigger than a slice of cake. He is appreciative of course, but how he eats reflects his healthy relationship with good and attunement to his hunger cues. IMG_1768 (640x427)

This brittle changes things (This plus cookies and sesame snaps). He raids the fridge for it. He requested it to be placed in his snack box. He loves it so much that the whole container disappeared in 2 days. 

Then I know, I have found a winner. Why wouldn’t this be? It is crunchy, it is rich and it is not sickly sweet. It is just a celebration of cashews, hazelnuts and vanilla creaminess with a crunch. IMG_1765 (640x427)

[yumprint-recipe id=’38’]

Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary

1909802_115666213090_2525726_nI look back at our wedding photos and videos. I remembered what an epic party that was. A celebration of us. 

6 years later. 

3 weddings. What were we thinking? Crazy I say. It was such good fun being with our friends and family. Travelling with our friends and family. Heading straight into tradition. Dressing in my traditional “Kua” picked out for me by my grandmother. There were heaps of things she picked up for us actually. The sewing kit that I still used. The tea set that is kept away safely. The cute little bed side lamps- signifying that she hope our love will never dim. 10400347_99016513090_6655627_n

This year is a year of back to basics. The culture of busyness is so easy to fall into. Chasing something. Doing something. Never stops. Last year, it was a year of trying to put each other ahead of being parents10400347_99796313090_3484785_n

Probably one of the hardest thing we have done. I dare say, I have failed many times in that. On top of being parents, returning to work means things have to be placed on the back burner. I still have to constantly remind myself to turn that iPad off, or stop checking my emails. I find it harder to concentrate on our conversations as my mind wander off to different direction. 

I breathe. I think this is going to be a learning process. One that we can’t stop. 3784_80191798090_1900588_n

What I do appreciate though, is that after 6 years of being married- is that hubby never stops trying. The other day, I woke up to find 2 loads of laundry done and hung. Hot water is boiled so I can have my hot lemon water drink when I wake. Those simple things that counts so much. 

I think love has generally taken a different direction altogether. Mostly, I think being considerate shapes us and our relationship. Being considerate is when he knows I’m going to work and have huge days of meetings ahead- so he wakes up 15 minutes earlier to get more things done (that’s 5:30am!). Being considerate is when he schedules car servicing on the day that I can work from home- plus he drops Asher off and picks him up that day. So many inconveniences on his part, but he would do it   anyway. 3184_69694433090_1580589_n

Then we have kindness. Coming home before 5 pm means he has to start work early to finish work at around 4pm. Why? Because he knows I’m dying to get to the gym and have a quick workout. He knows moving means a lot to me- makes me less cranky, and I feel better generally through the day), so he does his best to make it happen. Kindness is when he smile and eat whatever I make anyway.. even it tastes average. 

6 years of consideration and kindness. I’m a lucky girl I think! 1909802_115666238090_6222445_n

Happy 6th Anniversary (which means we have been together for 10 years!) dear hubs! 

xx

wifey

The night before…. + Dark Almond Coconut Cookies

4742_87415738090_7739815_nIt was 6 years ago. Friends and family gathered. It was the night before. 

On the 23rd of April 2009. The day before we got signed on the dotted line. I don’t remember much, except that I felt the butterflies in my stomach, the quiet excitedness that I’m marrying the man that I love. 

Every year, I write a post on what I learned and what I aim to achieve in our married life for the next year. This year though, I thought I would do something in addition to that. I wanted to pause and recall those moments 6 years ago. 

So often life gets ahead of us. We rush and run. Work gets ahead. Having Asher changes things. It’s really easy to let time slips through our fingers and forget why we are here in the first place. 

6 years ago. The day before. 

I don’t remember much but I remember how I felt. 4742_87420313090_8171419_n

I was a ball of emotions. I don’t remember feeling fear. I remember feeling a sense of calm. I prayed. It was like I just knew that the decision will be the right one. I remembered thinking back my health scare (where I found a lump on my neck- turned out to be nothing), and how hubby held my hand and said he will be there. I recall those days where I was overweight and was heavier (and taller) than him while we were dating. That did not faze him. I thought back of my anxiety while writing my thesis. He greeted me with coffee. I closed my eyes and remembered how we prayed together, when we did not know if we should move our relationship forward. I giggle as I recall how anxious he was when he asked me to be his girlfriend and even more so when he asked me to marry him. 

Fast forward. 6 years. The day before we signed the papers. 

I want to remember those feelings because in this journey of 6 years. It was the level of commitment. Steadfastness. Kindness and forgiveness that brought us here. IMG_1660 (427x640)

I want to hold these feelings tight and close to me. It has been a lovely 6 years and I’m sure more to come. Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Cookies

These cookies have been 10 years in the making.  I know how much hubby loves these. I’m pleased to say my last experimentation worked. Coconut sugar was the key. It add the melt in your mouth texture, and not a lot was needed as well. You deserve every bite my darling! Thanks for the patience, as I made these gems!IMG_1658 (427x640)

[yumprint-recipe id=’29’]

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started