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)

 

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Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Crunch (Nut Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

IMG_2781 (640x427)Sometimes, only a muffin could do the trick. Muffins are great for many occasions. 

  1. Breakfasts
  2. Snack time- morning or afternoon
  3. Sneaking vegetables in
  4. Portable
  5. Quick and easy to make 

And those are just 5 reasons that I can think of. IMG_2778 (640x427)

Truth is, I’m very lucky. My son eats vegetables. Yep. I know. It’s God-sent. I know of many fussy kiddies and am just secretly glad that my son eats them. I see my girlfriends struggle and attempt so many different ways to get their children to have vegetables and fruits, and I really do feel their pain. IMG_2780 (640x427)

So why do I still include vegetables in muffins? I guess I believe that it is the most easy and natural way to bind ingredients with the natural goodness of starchy vegetables. Pumpkin is so versatile. I tend to have some stash away in the freezer. These muffins didn’t take me long to whip up at all, and I didn’t need to put in any sweetener the mixture, though I did add a touch of honey to the crunch topping. 

Another one for me to remember when Asher starts school! 

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Tuna Pumpkin Patties (Gluten Free, Paleo, Clean Eating, Nut Free, Dairy Free) + Play

Pumpkin Tuna PattiesI’m catching up on my toddler’s food series! One of the things I like doing for Asher on days home with him is to make lunches. Some days we have a mix of left overs. Other days, I make him a soba noodle stir fry, or even sushi. Yes, we have grains for Asher from time to time in our household. 

My days off are so precious with him. To be honest, it doesn’t feel like a “day off” but more like a “day on”. It is  a chance for us to learn, play and socialise. We have play dates. We have swimming lessons. Sometimes we put on music and we dance. We head to a library and borrow books. I view these activities as crucial to his social development. He learn from us socialising with others. He gets to enjoy being around books. In a cafe, he understands how to hold his cup properly (and we are still working on neatness/spoon and fork skills). At home, we learned that household chores need to be done (He puts away his clothes, toys and books). He cooks with me (maths with counting and fire danger). We do groceries. We paint. We do play dough. Sometimes, we do too much and I learn to back off and have a PJs morning from time to time. IMG_2751 (640x427)

Letting him lead with play is so interesting. He makes me play with cars, using boxes as different “stations”. We go “shopping” with him making me hold the basket in a certain way- down o the bit where we need to scan food to pay for it. He wants me to chase him around the house and even play ball. He builds lego hybrid vehicles of a digger and fire engine. 

Of course, we also have those days where he has to learn about his feeling. Those floor tantrums. Tears. It’s all part of toddlerhood. Most times, I sit with him, stroke him and say when he is ready I am here. Maintaining consistency and natural consequences is what we tend to use for discipline. 

I digress. Since Asher likes anything “Pancake”. Making fritters for him seems like a no brainer. I always roast extra pumpkin or sweet potato to freeze. Combine with tuna and eggs, these fritters are jam packed with great protein and vegetables. Serving it on lighting mcqueen plate is optional but necessary. IMG_2750 (640x427)

Tuna

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Guilt Free Time out + Powerhouse Pumpkin Slice (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free)

IMG_2740 (640x427)Earlier in the month, hubby and I spoke about our goals for this year. We dig deep and discussed having more time together as a couple. We discussed having individual time to ourselves. We spoke about our individual journey with God and needing to dive deeper spiritually. We chatted about family time and knowing when to say no- simplifying our routine. 

Time out individually, couple and as family can seem like an oxymoron. Truth me told, we need all 3. Individually and as a couple to strengthen our marriage but also to make us stronger as parents. When I asked hubby what would he like to see change. He replied “you to stress less”. That short sentence made me paused. At the bottom of my heart, I know why. When I’m less stressed, I give more. I see more and I do more. I’m kinder. I’m happier and I tend to be more present focused. IMG_2743 (640x427)

Yet on the other hand, I’m so conscious about us being an individualistic society that we need to see systemically what is required. My grandmother never had “time out” yet she had to manage. She just made do because that’s what she had to do. She did however, work closely with her large family and neighbours. She had a sense of humour. Her attitude was to do the best she can. She told me about liking what she does.

 The more we see that as a problem. The more we tend to feel guilty. IMG_2739 (640x427)

The thing is, time out is a term for re charging. Those days, my grandmother’s re charge was to have a cigarette. She was cranky as and she was “scary” in terms of her temper. She took panadols to deal with the pain. She had her bad days too but had to push on. She had to do what she needed to do. Looking back, I can see why she is strong but I can also see why her struggles to look after her body optimally lead to health issues. IMG_2740 (640x427)

My re charge? to do daily devotionals more regularly. To sit and read. To be ok with taking sick leave when I am sick. To have an occasional outing with friends. And if it all falls apart at times, it is to say that’s ok and just go with it! 

This powerhouse slice was invented in my kitchen when I was looking at an eggless but also less/no refined sugar alternative to bind a slice together. Often recipes call for a huge amount of rice malt/honey or brown sugar. I thought pumpkin might be an idea to add great carbs, but also a natural sweetness to it. This is more of a chewy slice rather than a crispy one. I think it is a powerhouse because it has great fats, good carbs and protein all in one. Best, it is easily portable for snacks. 

Oh, what will you be doing for Australia day tomorrow? We aren’t too sure yet, but it will definitely incorporate some family time together! 🙂

HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY FOR TOMORROW! 

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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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