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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 

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Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean eating) + Update on views of fitness and food

Pumpkin PancakesIt’s nearly the end of the year. I thought I would like to update myself (and if you are reading) about my thoughts on fitness, food and body image. I have written about scales talkfood judgement, and also my fitness routine. Things have changed since Feb 2015! 

There are many reasons. One is that I truly believe fitness is a journey. It does sound cliche, but the more I work out, the more I’m realising other reasons to do so. Yes, it started off as aesthetics, then it was the fear of returning to where I was. Gradually it became a competition with myself on how far I can push my body. Now, I’m at a space where I work out to feel good, be healthy, have energy, be strong and have fun. Do I want to pump out more pull ups? Oh you bet I do! Do I want to run faster, yep or tackle heavier weights? it’s there.

I have also learned though, that it is ok to take breaks. I used to feel SO bad about missing a session. Now, if I missed one, over the weekdays, I might choose to let it go, do something on my usual rest day, or turn on a HITT session. A good stretch or remedial massage is a fitness session too. 

Another big change is that my really really awesome gym closed in July 2015. I.grieved.big.time. Thankfully, the people that I work out together felt the same way and so we decided to do something about our grief and channelled it into our own workout sessions. We even have a name! I just have to remember it. 

I have a workout buddy now too. We decided that we want to continue the momentum and practice kettle bells. We bought some equipment and transformed one of my living areas into a home gym. 

My current work out routine

Monday- Metcon

Tuesday- Weights/Kbs

Wednesday- Boxing

Thursday- HITT or KBs

Friday- Rest day

Saturday- boxing

Sunday- Rest day 

Active rest days are the best. I walk, swim, run around, dance with Asher or do a BIG stretch. 

The biggest change of course is probably my mindset. 

I tracked food in June after discovering a couple of my pants became a little too tight (aka bursting) for my liking. I turned a notch down in snacking and returned to just sensible 3 meals with a snack before workout. I practiced being kind to myself and slip a coffee when I need or feel like one instead of berating myself for too much caffeine. I savoured dark chocolate and ate my berries. I continued to do what I used to do- which is to ask myself is the food item for pleasure or nourishment or both. Enjoying my food rather than freaking out.

I stopped weighing myself. 

Surprise surprise. My pants fit, I’m feeling better and I actually conquered turkish get ups. Plus hit a few PB with lifting weights. 

So what’s next?

  • Install a pull up bar
  • Continue to practice sensible eating. 
  • Continue with weights and hopefully able to deadlight heavier 
  • Be kind to self

Speaking of kindness, we are not in the US and I am more than aware that pumpkin season is sort of over. Here in my household though, it feels like pumpkin season is weekly. Asher is into pancakes and here is my attempt to include in a good dose of antioxidants and beta-carotene  in him. A dollop of coconut yogurt or yogurt completes it. Or if you are Asher, plain is the best way. 

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Pear Banana and Pecan Loaf (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean eating, nut Free) + Baking without added sweeteners

Pear Banana Pecan LoafWe found a lovely organic pear shop at the Manning Road markets. Their pears are so sweet and juicy that we cannot help but purchase a few from them each week. 

I have been experimenting baking more without adding any sweeteners to it. No raw honey or rice malt. Just simply the sweetness from the natural fruits. Cinnamon and vanilla naturally enhances the sweetness of most fruits. IMG_2290 (640x427)

We love banana bread in our household. When we first started out eating clean, we found that we needed to add some form of honey in our banana bread to get the desire sweetness. Now, we don’t even need that anymore. The sugar from bananas usually suffice. 

Adding pear though, brought it to another level. I reduced the amount of bananas in this as a small chopped pear is enough to compensate for it. We love the slight crunch of chopped pears that goes so well with pecans. It tasted even better when it is toasted. Asher cannot have enough of it, and I have to say, it makes the mornings that I work a lot easier when he munches down his breakfast faster. 

It is also nut free which makes me think I can refer to this recipe IMG_2293 (640x427)again when he starts school. 

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Imperfect Salted Caramel Slice (paleo, not so paleo, gluten free, clean eating, raw)

Imperfect Salted Caramel SliceI hesitated writing about this recipe because I wanted to fine tuned a few things. Hubby, being the biggest encourager that he is, insisted that I take some photos- despite the chocolate being a little rough, and my cutting of the slice is uneven as. His logic was that I make the decision later, but he loved this slice so much that he doesn’t see why I shouldn’t be sharing it. 

He reminded me that perfection can be a good and bad trait. I wrote about how in my desperation to “get it right”, I have once made a lemon tart 3 times. I wasn’t happy with the based once, the curd 2nd, and there was some cracks on my 3rd. Funny though, that once I put that to rest, the next tart I made- the base came out the way I wanted it to be. Sometimes, the best thing that one can do is to “put it down” and try again sometime later. IMG_1833 (640x427)

Have you ever experienced that? 

I can recall as a child, my mother used to coach me in doing my homework. I wasn’t a good student. I laughed and cringe now, as I became somewhat like a nerd when I was in University. Pre university days? Not so. Mum can probably fill up a book on stories of my whinging, running away (yes! I literally ran away from maths!), and down right resistant in completing any school work. Her persistence in me taught me exactly that trait. In some ways, she taught me what perfection stands for because she never give up. At the same time, when I was in secondary school and she found me in tears over some maths question (I guess by now you know my love-hate relationship with maths…), she encouraged me to take breaks and to re visit them again. IMG_1837 (640x427)

How many times do we persist on with something head on, only to become increasingly frustrated and stressed? Cortisol has been known to increase productivity. We know that through the stress curve, having some cortisol and adrenaline get things going quicker. However, we also know that it will come a point, where productivity falls. Your other instincts will kick in (aka fight or flight), and nothing just seem to make sense anymore. 

The little slice reminded me of just that. My imperfections are there for a reason. It’s ok to sit with that. Who knows, I may come back with a better and prettier slice. Just this moment though, sitting with it does not mean I’m giving up. It simply means exactly that. Pondering, savouring and taking in the moment. IMG_1836 (427x640)

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