Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Using almond pulp) + Taking breaks

IMG_3330 (640x427)Do we need more cookie recipes? I vote yes! There is something about cookies that shouts comforting. I love the smell of these when it is fresh out of the oven. I created these using left over almond/cashew pulp from our fresh almond/cashew milk. I hate letting things go to waste, and would attempt to make something out of the pulp each week. IMG_3326 (640x427)

To make them more crispy, I deliberately toast them a little more. I omitted any oil but use nut butter to bind them together instead. Anything with chocolate is good isn’t it? So in goes 2 squares of dark lindt chocolate. 

Otherwise, life has been a tad overwhelming in our household. Luckily, hubby and I booked in a few days to the gorgeous Southwest earlier. We had  total blast. We enjoyed nature, slept heaps and ate. Having a near 3 year old is never quite relaxing of course, but the down time was much needed.IMG_3328 (640x427)

Which brings me my next point, why is it that we struggle to take breaks? Do we need to redefine breaks? Does it have to be a long overseas holiday? Or a few days at home? 

When hubby and I spoke about that, we realised that we can never quite “relax” at home. There is always a project or something that needs to be done. Those days are welcomed of course. We often feel accomplished when a section of the house has been decluttered, or if I have created meals that will last us for days. Taking a break for us, means not doing the daily responsibilities, getting out to enjoy nature, and family time. 

We are still learning as a family of what we should do. No doubt it will change (kids club? Bring it on!). However, we shall take what we can for now!IMG_3329 (427x640)

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Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free) + Respecting the process

IMG_3156 (640x427)When it comes to my self image, it is always a work in progress. You can read about what I wrote about self image, scales talk and food judgement in respective links. Over the past few months, I have more good days than bad. On those good days, I often am reminded by how far I have come and is respecting the process.

I accept that my body is mine and it is different. It has been through childhood obesity, and a fear of fitness. Some fears remain- I still struggle to participate in group sports games (although have actually attempted basketball and some form of soccer). I am the girl whose head just seem to attract any flying balls even when I am simply running OR standing minding my own business. I feel clumsy when I do any kind  of coordination exercises. I still cannot do a high box jump- not a lack of ability but my brain and my legs just can’t seem to communicate, and any technical work on weights takes me ages to master. I can hardly skip, and Asher will probably learn how to cycle before I do.  Heavy weights remain a challenge but I am getting better at it. IMG_3155 (640x427)

So with that into consideration, I’m doing ok. I do not have the toned arms that I envisioned myself having or the clear 6 pack (it’s just hiding). I feel soft some days and tougher on others. Like a dear friend once mentioned- me feeling crapped about myself or saying I feel soft or my tummy seems less firm may indicate other issues such as digestive or immunity rather than my immediate fear of “going backwards”. In reality, the core of the issue is that I have an underlying fear that I will return to my previous self in no time.IMG_3158 (640x427)

My fear is not unjustified. Look at this news article recently. I think healthy weight itself can be a mystery. For most, the formula isn’t too complicated. I took the “Low fat and just cardio like crazy” route and lost 32 kgs the first round. It wasn’t sustainable but I did it. Then, the 2nd time I did it, I took the “Nourish, eat well and just move smartly” method. Worked for me too. Still, with my experimentation of not weighing myself did result in some weight gain, I had to learn how to dial back food. 

The truth is, I may have to be careful for the rest of my life. However, I have embraced a few differences. I do not count calories anymore or keep a food diary. I try to eat well, and be kind to myself. The only “rules” I have is to always start with small bites, and avoid mainly gluten or refined sugar. If i do want to indulge in an extra coffee, I can. If I want to munch on a bliss ball, yes. I just stay away from processed food. I still cook most meals and move regularly. 

One thing I did note though, and with hubby’s observation..is that since I have started hitting my own goals on chin ups, pull ups, turkish get ups and doing double jb squats… I stand taller. I’m less self conscious. There is something about going against what I thought I could not do previously that helped. 

It will always be a journey of self. One that I’m learning not to rush it but respect the process. 

Oh, and enjoy this bickie with my coffee. It’s crumbier and easy. Yes it has some coconut sugar in it. But hey, it’s all relative. IMG_3154 (640x427)

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Hazelnut and Macadamia Cookies (Paleo, Gluten Free) + embracing challenges

Hazelnut and Macadamia CookiesSomeone said to me this week that the beauty of life is that there will always be ups and downs. It can never always be up. The downs make us grow as a person. 

There is a choice of whether or not we fight those feeling or embrace it. 

I grew up in a family with strong female personalities. My grandmother raised 3 kids herself.  My mother is firm, no nonsense who achieved her university degree as a mature aged student. Not only do I have the blood in me, but also I grew up with those values. To be fair, it is not just the females, my father has always been hard working and drilled morals in me even as a young child. IMG_2727 (640x427)

So what happened between Nov-Jan tested me big time. While I never considered myself as very career driven, I like to think of myself as an instrument to God’s work. I was 14 when the career option of being a psychologist resounded in me. I went wiht that, and never looked back since. I love my work despite its challenges. The event made me realise how vulnerable mothers or anyone wanting part time are, in returning back to work. 

 Uncertainty, difficult conversations and changes face me. A psychiatrist whom I worked with said that given that I am Asian, a woman and a mother means I am a minority. A minority whose culture and personality is more naturally inclined to quit and leave quietly. He warmly said to me to be firm. While the events or comments are by no means racist, rather they are to point out what is naturally against myself. What the psychiatrist said sat with me for a while. IMG_2729 (640x427)

So if this is a period of growth, then I would need to embrace these feelings. It is uncomfortable. It is challenging. It is not the end of the world. I have a plan and I tend to stick to it. Accept these feelings, run with it. We may be surprised by the outcome. 

In the mean time, I am challenging myself to the kitchen. My love for nut butter remains and having spotted Health Nut Foods, I could not resist getting some for ourselves. Our first was Cinnamon Mac. Absolutely delicious. In a cookie? Double the delish. Sandwiched with more nut butter? Ooopsie. What have I done… IMG_2723 (640x427)

ps- take 1 and savour it with coffee. 

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